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Monday, January 19, 2015

MB: Cancer in the Kettle Falls Five, rich getting richer, GOP debates

Posted By on Mon, Jan 19, 2015 at 9:21 AM


HERE

Larry Harvey, a member of a family dubbed the “Kettle Falls Five” who are all facing stiff federal drug charges for growing medical pot, has cancer. (HuffPost)

His lawyer, citing a recent congressional action, has filed a motion to dismiss the case. (INLANDER)

More than 1,000 people gathered outside Idaho’s Capitol to push for a civil rights bill that might get passed this year. (S-R)

The Seattle Seahawks are going back to the Super Bowl. (S-R)

THERE

The world’s wealthiest 1 percent will soon own more than half the world’s wealth. (BBC)

Are you excited for the endless presidential debates in anticipation of the 2016 elections? Sorry to be a downer, but the Republican National Committee is trying to have fewer this time around. (CSM)

Remember when alleged North Korean hackers attacked Sony? Well, it looks like the U.S. hacked North Korea first. (NYT)

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Friday, January 16, 2015

Rachel Dolezal explains why "Shorty can't breathe either" is problematic

Posted By on Fri, Jan 16, 2015 at 5:02 PM

The sign outside the Hillside Inn Restaurant
  • The sign outside the Hillside Inn Restaurant

Newly elected Spokane NAACP President Rachel Dolezal was surprised yesterday when she received a phone call from a Spokesman-Review reporter, asking for her thoughts on a message posted on a sign outside a local diner: "Shorty can't breathe either." 

The sign, erected in the parking lot of the Hillside Inn Restaurant, was inspired by the death of  88-year-old WWII veteran Delbert "Shorty" Belton.  Dolezal, who's also an Inlander columnist, hadn't heard about it, so she thought she'd take a look for herself. Around 1 pm Thursday afternoon, after she got off work, Dolezal drove over to the Hillside Inn and asked to speak with the owner, Annie Pennington, about its phrasing. 

In August 2013, Belton was beaten to death by two black teenagers. One of the suspects, Kenan Adams-Kinard, pleaded guilty to murder earlier this month. His accused accomplice, Demetrius Glenn, is scheduled to go to trial in March. Pennington, who used to serve Belton at the restaurant, told the Spokesman she changed the sign after Adams-Kinard pleaded guilty. "It’s nothing racial,” she said. “We did it in honor of Shorty because he’s a selfless, helpless old man, and if we don’t take care of our grandpas, no one will."

When approached by Dolezal, Pennington, Dolezal says, was "immediately defensive" and asked her to leave. According to the Spokesman, Pennington later called City Councilman Mike Fagan about complaints that the sign was "racist."
Screenshot of Mike Fagan's Facebook page
  • Screenshot of Mike Fagan's Facebook page


Now the controversy around the sign is playing out in the comments section of the Spokesman story and on Fagan's Facebook page, where he implicitly accuses Dolezal ("someone else who allegedly represents the local NAACP") of race-baiting and confronting Pennington. But that's not what happened, Dolezal says. 

"I just wanted to go inside and have a conversation and see if we could discuss the implications of appropriating the Eric Garner quote," Dolezal told the Inlander. "It just seems like there’s some dissonance with understanding the context, and so I wanted to invite a conversation and see if we could reach some understanding of it."

Garner, a black man, was killed in Staten Island last July from a police officer's chokehold. As he was restrained and wrestled to the ground by multiple officers, he repeated the words "I can't breathe" eight times before losing consciousness. After a New York grand jury declined to bring charges against the officer who killed him, Garner's words have become a rallying cry for protesters around the country in demonstrations against unprosecuted police killings of unarmed black men and boys, like Michael Brown, John Crawford and Tamir Rice.    

"If there's an analogy being made, I think it’s a bit bizarre," Dolezal says, "to draw that parallel with a movement that’s about people being murdered and those murders not being brought to justice at all, versus a case where there's probable cause and no proof of murder — and it certainly wasn't videotaped — yet there has been every effort to penalize the two teenagers."

"I can't breathe," Dolezal says, is also a "metaphor for that larger deficit of racial and social justice."

Long before Eric Garner and Michael Brown's deaths, Frantz Fanon, a Mozambique-born philosopher and anti-colonial revolutionary said, "We revolt simply because, for many reasons, we can no longer breathe." 

"The strangling of Eric Garner's case reminds us of our cultural memory of the strangling through the nooses," she says. "That's the context for that statement. 

"There's still loss on all sides," she continues. "The sign is alienating and pushes back on an aspect of the community that is also hurting and in pain right now."
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Mobius loses its space in March, but the Spokane Public Library has come to its rescue

Posted By on Fri, Jan 16, 2015 at 3:11 PM

Until the new location is ready, Mobius exhibits will migrate to the downtown Spokane library - YOUNG KWAK PHOTO
  • Young Kwak photo
  • Until the new location is ready, Mobius exhibits will migrate to the downtown Spokane library

In retrospect, it may have been a poor choice to locate Mobius Science Center in a Cowles Co. building smack-dab in the middle of an in-demand retail sector. 

"Nationally, a successful science center and a retail environment usually don’t mix well," says Phil Lindsey, director of Mobius since April of last year. "You will find there are malls and such that do have museums in them. But they are rarely long term residents." 

In fact, none of the previous four science centers he worked at had been paying rent in a retail environment. And for the Mobius business model, it looked impossible. 

It had cost Mobius about $12 million to retrofit and open in the space in 2012, and from the very start, Mobius struggled to meet projections. (Anne Cowles, wife of Spokesman publisher Stacey Cowles, had been a member of the Mobius board when the Cowles site was selected, but had recused herself from discussions over the site selection) According to the Spokesman-Review, Mobius and the nearby Mobius Kids had paid $413,232 in lease payments in 2012, a massive chunk of the non-profit's budget.

Lindsey says the Cowles had been giving Mobius some relief on their lease payments when he arrived, but he knew the science center needed to relocate to be sustainable. 

That became doubly true when the Cowles Co. informed Mobius it needed to be out by the end of March to make way for another retailer. 

"We are getting the space back at the end of March and we have plans for the building," Bryn West, general manager for River Park Square and Cowles Co. landlord for Mobius. Contractually, however, she can't elaborate on what those plans are. "I hate to have all this this information at my fingertips, but [not be able] to breath a word of it." 

West says the Cowles Co. gave Mobius a heads up in early 2014 to give them plenty of time to figure out an alternative plan. The Cowles, after all, have long been advocates for a science center in Spokane.

"Its very close to our hearts," West says. "I want to make sure they're taken care of."

The good news: Last year, Avista stepped forward with an unbeatable deal. For the rock-bottom lease price of a dollar a year, Avista would let Mobius use its old 1911 brick building, right next to Riverfront Park and the Avista substation, as a new location. 

"This is part of Avista’s active partnership with the community," Avista spokeswoman Jessie Wuerst says. 

For everyone involved, it looks like an eventual win-win. Mobius will get a larger space and have the ability to easily balance their budget without a big rent payment.  

"I think that they have found a financial model that's going to work for them," West says. "To bring in bigger and better exhibits and draw traffic."

The bad news: Renovating an ancient building to make way for Mobius, and figuring out a mass of specifics, takes time. Lindsey hopes the building will be ready by the end of the year, but that would be long after they were kicked out. In other words, until the new place is ready, Mobius needed to essentially find a friend's couch to crash on. 

That friend turned out to be the Spokane Public Library.

"We signed this agreement on Tuesday of just this week," says Andrew Chanse, Spokane Public Library district director. 

The library plans to relocate its children's section in its downtown location and put Mobius on the third floor. That gives the science center a little less than half the space it had previously, but through layout magic, Mobius will be able to fit in about two-thirds of their current exhibits in the space. 

The library — funded by levy dollars and the City of Spokane — won't charge Mobius for using the space. "We’re looking at it as a science exhibit, like we’ve developed in the past with Discover Earth and Discover Tech. We’re all about education and learning." It's all part of an experiment, Chanse says, to figure out if that space could continually to be used interactively after Mobius leaves.

And at Mobius, despite all the hoops it still has to jump through and deals it has to work out, there's a sense of relief. Not having massive lease checks constantly hanging over their head will do that. 

"We’re really excited by it," Lindsey says. "Nothing but huge potential for growth and the ability to deliver on our mission," 
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Lawyer in Kettle Falls Five case moves to dismiss charges

Posted By on Fri, Jan 16, 2015 at 2:12 PM


The lawyer representing the Kettle Falls Five, an Eastern Washington family facing federal charges for growing medical marijuana, has filed a motion to dismiss the case.

The motion filed January 15 in U.S. District Court for Eastern Washington by Robert Fischer argues that a congressional spending bill, signed into law by the president, makes it clear that federal money should not be used to pursue cases against individuals who possess or grow pot under their state’s medical marijuana programs.

The case involves Larry Harvey, a man in his 70s who used medical pot to treat gout, and his family who were raided in 2013 by federal agents for growing medical marijuana on their property. The family was charged with growing and distributing marijuana under federal law, and they could each face 10 years in prison if convicted.

Their situation highlights an ongoing conflict between the 23 states that have medical marijuana laws and the federal government, which does not recognize the illicit drug as having any sort of legitimate use.

Late last year, Congress passed a spending bill that contained a bipartisan amendment that cut off funding for the U.S. Department of Justice for activities that would prevent these states from “implementing” their laws. There is some concern that the wording of the legislation is sufficiently vague to allow the feds to continue to pursue medical marijuana growers and patients, but the motion argues that the legislative intent of Congress is clear:

“[T]he basic premise that ‘medical marijuana’ has no currently accepted medical use at all, is now in conflict with congressional intent in passing the Act, as shown from the record of the floor debates providing reasons for the passage of the Act. 

Motion to Dismiss


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City council has conditions for mystery downtown retailer

Posted By on Fri, Jan 16, 2015 at 12:06 PM

news5-1.jpg
During a study session held yesterday afternoon, members of city council seemed open to a key request from a national retailer that’s interested in setting up shop in downtown Spokane. But before they signed off, council members had a few conditions of their own.

The Downtown Spokane Partnership is currently courting a large retailer to move into a property on the Northwest corner of Main and Wall streets. No one will say who the retailer is, but one of the company’s requirements before any deal is sealed is that the city to vacate 17 feet of the public right of way on Wall Street.

At the session, DSP President Mark Richard said that he’s heard “excellent feedback” from nearby property owners about the new prospective tenant. Council President Ben Stuckart went further saying that the project was “very, very important to the stability of downtown.”

Councilman Mike Allen suggested that two covenants be added to any vacation of the public right-of-way for the project. Under these covenants, if the building came down or if it remained vacant for five years, the public right-of-way would revert back to the city.

The Spokane Transit Authority is planning on using Wall Street for the route of its Central City Line. Although the vacation being requested by the prospective retailer wouldn’t interfere with the the STA’s plans, Stuckart said that he wanted an agreement that clarified that the project would not impede bus access.

Richard said he was “90 percent” certain the project would go forward and hoped to submit an application for vacation of the public-right-of-way by February.
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MB: Flu shot effectiveness, Belgium terrorists thwarted, Earth is so hot right now

Posted By on Fri, Jan 16, 2015 at 9:17 AM


HERE

Burglars attempted to break into a local WSP impound lot yesterday, potentially targeting a car containing a pound of meth and other drugs. (S-R)

The flu shot has been deemed only 23 percent effective with this year’s strain of viruses. (KXLY) Still, doctors (and likely your mothers) urge you to get the shot anyway.

Ever had your car window smashed in or bike stolen? Gov. Jay Inslee unveiled his plan to reduce the state’s sky-high property crime rate. (INLANDER)

THERE

A new study shows a majority of U.S. public school students now live in poverty. (WaPo)

A potential Belgium terrorist attack - one that would have targeted police - has been thwarted. (CNN)

2014 was Earth’s warmest year on record. (LAT)

The head of Medicare and Medicaid is stepping down. (NYT)

SEAHAWKS
Are you ready for Sunday? 


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Thursday, January 15, 2015

Spokesman-Review runs the controversial Charlie Hebdo cover

Posted By on Thu, Jan 15, 2015 at 4:19 PM

Today the Spokesman-Review joined the growing number of newspapers to have published the controversial cover of French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo. Two heavily-armed gunmen stormed the offices of Hebdo, long known for its provocative covers taking aim at French politicians and world religions, last Wednesday, killing 12 people. The paper had previously been firebombed due to its portrayal of the Prophet Muhammad.
Screen_Shot_2015-01-15_at_4.27.44_PM.png

The resulting anti-terror demonstration after the massacre drew leaders from across the globe, and became possibly the biggest rally in French history

Very few mainstream US media outlets republished the more provocative Charlie Hebdo covers, including one of Muhammad french-kissing a Charlie Hebdo cartoonist, after the attacks. Many Muslims consider illustrations of the Prophet Muhammad to be offensive, though the Koran does not explicitly forbid them, and several Muslim paintings from history have depicted him.

Some news outlets pixelated the covers, while others selectively cropped them. Some explained they censored the covers were for reasons of tact, while others cited concern for their freelancers in vulnerable places around the world. 

Yet most US papers did choose to publish Charlie Hebdo's latest cover, compiled with surviving staff members in the offices of the French daily Libération. In the image, a crying Prophet Muhammed holds the now-iconic slogan of solidarity "Je Suis Charlie," while "All is Forgiven" is written in French above.  

Yet Dean Baquet of the New York Times was an exception, drawing salvos from media critics and the paper's own ombudsman, who pointed out double-standards.

Political cartoonists, including Matt Bors at The Nib, have drawn their own cartoons of Muhammad in response, while others have drawn cartoons detailing their fear. Others, like the The Lego Movie directors, created their own homages to classic Charlie Hebdo covers. 
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Inslee has new plan to reduce property crime

Posted By on Thu, Jan 15, 2015 at 11:58 AM

220px-Jay_Inslee__Official_Portrait__c112th_Congress.jpg
Gov. Jay Inslee has unveiled his plan to reduce the state’s sky-high property crime rate (a problem present in Spokane) that’s based on the idea that repeat offenders should receive supervision and treatment.

According to the a press release from the governor’s office, the problem is that Washington sends repeat property offenders to prison for sentences that are two to three times longer on average than other states that have sentencing guidelines. However, when the offenders have done their time, they aren’t supervised, and, according to the governor’s office, there is research that shows that supervision and treatment are the most effective methods to reduce reoffending.

The problem, according to the report, is particularly bad in high-population areas. In fiscal year 2013, King County, which accounts for 29 percent of the state’s population, saw 33 percent of the state’s reported property crime. Spokane County, which accounts for 7 percent of the state’s population, saw 11 percent of its reported property crime.

If enacted, the plan, which has bipartisan support, would require a mandatory period of post-release supervision and treatment for property offenders.

The Washington State Institute for Public Policy, another think tank, found the plan would reduce crime by 1,000 victimizations annually and the number of people reoffending would fall by 13 percent. It would also save the state up to $290 million in corrections spending over a six-year period.

The plan is outlined outlined in a report by the Council of State Governments Justice Center, a think tank with offices in Seattle, Washington D.C. and elsewhere.


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MB: Downtown homicide, Oscar noms here and Post Falls deemed boring

Posted By on Thu, Jan 15, 2015 at 9:46 AM


HERE
Spokane police are investigating a homicide that took place this morning at the Downtowner Motel. (S-R)

A train was derailed late last night blocking Cheney-Spokane road. No one was injured but the closure of the road could last up to eight hours. (KREM)

Oh no! A real estate blog, movato.com, has ranked Post Falls as the second most boring city in Idaho. (CdA Press)

THERE
Finally, the Oscar nominations are here! And they're quite all white. (LAT)

After a string of security lapses, four top Secret Service executives have been ousted from their posts. (WaPo)

Canadians didn’t take to Target. (Minneapolis S-T)

Starting tomorrow, it will be far easier for Americans to travel to Cuba. (NYT) 
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Wednesday, January 14, 2015

WW: New Airway Heights pot store; Nancy Grace versus 2 Chainz

Posted By on Wed, Jan 14, 2015 at 11:31 AM


Welcome back to Weed Wednesday, your weekly dose of pot news. Wondering what this is about? Click. Looking for our previous marijuana coverage? Click. Got a question or tip? Email me at: [email protected]

Airway Heights is getting a new member of the “I-502 family” called the Top Shelf.

The proprietor of the recreational marijuana shop is Florence Childs, an 80-year-old who opened it up on Saturday, January 10. Her family always told her that she was the luckiest person they knew. So when the lottery opened up for licenses, she decided to apply, drawing a license.

She doesn’t smoke any pot herself, but, she says, “I believe it’s here to stay, and I believe it does a lot of good.”

The store’s selection of bud is, for the moment, grown entirely in Spokane, Cheney and Liberty Lakes, says Jenn Bordoy, the store’s manager.

“I just think from having gone from a bartender to budtender that the local just does better with people,” she says.

The store sells marijuana-infused cookies for $12, grams ranging from $15 to $25 and half grams of concentrates that go for $20 to $40.

The Top Shelf, located at 1305 S. Hayford Road, is having its grand opening on Saturday, January 24. It’ll feature glass-blowers and local farmers who will be available with “sniffy jars” and answers about their products.

Childs and Bordoy stressed that they they don’t give any advice on medical marijuana or give out any samples. So don’t expect any.

Here’s the news:

Under federal law, marijuana is as bad as heroin or LSD. But a federal judge in California could challenge that.

Rumors are swirling in New York City that Mayor Bill de Blasio and his wife regularly smoke pot. Gawker reports that these rumors are coming from the police, who’ve had a frosty relationship with the mayor.

The Buckeye State might be next to legalize pot. 

Indiana lawmakers pushing for some sort of medical marijuana bill can’t get other legislators on board and it’s all the fault of states with more liberalized pot laws. 

About half of Michigan voters want to legalize pot.

Illinois has a medical marijuana law, but Pat Quinn, who recently left the governor’s office, didn’t allow a single license for growers or sellers despite vowing to do so. His successor, Republican Bruce Rauner, isn’t much groovier.

Lastly, here’s a video of Nancy Grace and 2 Chainz arguing about marijuana:


This post has been updated to reflect a new grand opening date for Top Shelf.

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