Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Former parking lot could turn into climbing wall, trailhead entrance into Riverfront Park

Posted By on Wed, Mar 29, 2017 at 4:25 PM

An ugly photo of an ugly lot that may become a gorgeous trailhead - DANIEL WALTERS PHOTO
  • Daniel Walters photo
  • An ugly photo of an ugly lot that may become a gorgeous trailhead

How do you turn a dull, frumpy parking lot into a gorgeous homecoming queen? Makeover, of course.

Everything is still in flux, and things could change. But the plan sounds like it could do for the area directly north of the Monroe and Post Street bridges what Huntington Park did for the Avista property below the Post Street Bridge.

With a city council resolution Monday night, the city moved toward a plan that could result in a new climbing wall facility and the jumping-off point for three different local trails.

It starts with the Bosch Lot.

Way back in 1975 — a year after the World's Fair — the city acquired a little over an acre northwest of Riverfront Park using Department of Housing and Urban Development and Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office funds. The intent of using the funds for that lot, according to City of Spokane Chief Financial Officer Gavin Cooley, was for recreation.

Instead, the lot became, well, a parking lot. Not exactly the highest and best use for recreation.

More recently, the lot has been turned into a big pit so the city can install a combined sewer overflow tank, part of the city's huge plan to stop dumping so much wastewater directly into the river.

That's the boring (but important) stuff. The cool stuff comes next.

"It won't be a vacant parking lot anymore," City Council President Ben Stuckart said at the council meeting Monday. "The owner of Coeur Coffee has always wondered why we have kept that a vacant lot, because it will help that whole area if we have buildings on there and not a vacant parking lot. It's a beautiful area. And now is the opportune time to
as we're building to CSO tank to move forward on that."

First, the city would like to sell or lease some the Bosch lot to a private developer to construct a climbing wall facility. The facility would include public parking.

"Parks has been talking about this ground on the North Bank," Cooley says. "What if we put a climbing wall on this property?"

Ideally,  the thinking goes, the sale or lease would generate enough revenue to help pay for a host of other improvements in the immediate area. The rest of the lot, and the currently closed section of Bridge Avenue between Monroe Street and Post Street, would be turned into a trailhead.

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Spokane Valley declares itself an "inclusive city" with nondiscrimination resolution

Posted By on Wed, Mar 29, 2017 at 3:58 PM


Tuesday, Spokane Valley City Council unanimously passed a resolution affirming it as an "inclusive city" where discrimination is not tolerated.

The resolution received support at the meeting from Spokane NAACP President Phil Tyler and members of the Spokane County Human Rights Task Force. The resolution declared that "discrimination of any form is not and shall not be tolerated," and that "all individuals, families, and businesses are welcome so that they may flourish and prosper within its boundaries."

This comes two days after the city of Spokane approved a human rights ordinance. But Spokane's ordinance is different than Spokane Valley's resolution. Spokane's ordinance is more comprehensive, including updates to its own rules and outlining protection and enforcement of civil rights under municipal code. Spokane Valley's resolution, on the other hand, mostly re-affirms Washington's nondiscrimination law, the state constitution, and the Valley's commitment to inclusiveness.

Spokane Valley councilman Ed Pace says that's not insignificant.

"It's not trivial, what we did," Pace says. "It's us standing up and saying, 'we really believe this stuff.'"

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Court of Appeals rules in favor of Mt. Spokane ski area expansion

Posted By on Wed, Mar 29, 2017 at 3:18 PM

The ski area expansion at Mt. Spokane is another step closer to reality after a court decision Tuesday.
  • The ski area expansion at Mt. Spokane is another step closer to reality after a court decision Tuesday.

It was okay for Washington state to designate a portion of Mount Spokane for recreation, which will allow for a new ski lift and runs, according to a 2-1 Court of Appeals decision posted on Tuesday.

In 2014, the state Parks and Recreation Commission found that part of an 800-acre site on the northwest side of the mountain could be used for recreation, a portion could be used for things like backcountry skiing, hiking and other activities already taking place, and protected a portion as natural forest area. New ski runs would go on a portion of the 279 recreation acres.

In Tuesday's decision, two Washington State Court of Appeals Division II judges found, as did a superior court judge, that the Commission did not act arbitrarily or capriciously in classifying that portion of the mountain as recreation land.

Those appealing the Commission's decision, including the Lands Council and environmental groups, with support from the Spokane Tribe, argued that the classification went against the Commission's own policies, "ignored the evidence of the area's natural resource value," and ignored the cultural resources guidance of its policies, but the court disagrees, according to the decision.

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Uber unions, Brexit begins, Trump gets dirty, and morning headlines

Posted By on Wed, Mar 29, 2017 at 9:09 AM


MUSIC: Fleet Foxes are back (minus Father John Misty) and they're coming to Spokane.

NEWS: The Pullman branch of Spokane Falls 
SFCC classes will move to this WSU building. - COURTESY OF CCS
  • Courtesy of CCS
  • SFCC classes will move to this WSU building.
Community College will move onto  Washington State University's campus
next week, leaving its space at the Gladish Community Center in order to save on rent.

MUSIC: Some big names across genres will hit the local stage as part of Northern Quest's 2017 summer concert schedule: Willie Nelson, Flo Rida, Alice Cooper, Toby Keith and more.


It's time for a divorce
Just as couples who divorce have to figure out who gets what, and how much money they each walk away with, the United Kingdom and European Union have started a two-year break-up process, and money could be a central part of the fight, the Associated Press reports. (AP)

An object in motion stays in motion
While President Donald Trump signed an executive order that could shelve the Clean Power Plan put in place under former President Barack Obama, Washington state is likely to move forward in meeting or exceeding the goals put forth under that plan. (Seattle Times)

Helping those who refuse help
Los Angeles social workers are trying to figure out how to help people with severe mental illness get off the streets and into treatment, but there are strict rules for involuntary treatment, and sometimes people claim they've got a place to stay or someone coming to help them, even when they don't. (Los Angeles Times)

Uber organization
Union leaders are trying to organize Uber drivers in Seattle, but court cases could soon decide whether independent contractors are even allowed to unionize under federal law, The Seattle Times reports. (Seattle Times)
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Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Seattle's Fleet Foxes have reunited, and they're coming to Spokane

Posted By on Tue, Mar 28, 2017 at 3:34 PM


It sure seems like we've been dropping an awful lot of local concert announcements lately, and here's another: Fleet Foxes, the critically adored alt-folk outfit from Seattle, are scheduled to play one of their first shows in six years at the Knitting Factory on May 16, and tickets go on sale tomorrow.

The band first rose to prominence with its 2008 self-titled debut, which was named best album of the year by Pitchfork, Mojo and Billboard. After touring with their Grammy-nominated sophomore LP Helplessness Blues, Fleet Foxes went on hiatus in 2013, and frontman and songwriter Robin Pecknold went back to college at Columbia.

(And for those who are curious, former Foxes drummer Josh Tillman, better known as the pop provocateur Father John Misty, will not be returning to the lineup.)

Now the band's back together, and they've announced a new album titled Crack-Up, which is set for release in June. The first single, the complex, nine-minute-long "Third of May," picks up where the last record left off, continuing the band's penchant for strummy, intricately-harmonized Americana.

The Foxes' upcoming tour kicks off in Missoula on May 15 and continues with a handful of concerts in mid-size Pacific Northwest theaters. Prices for their Spokane show have yet to be announced, but you can snatch up a ticket tomorrow morning at 10 am.
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Willie, Flo Rida, Sammy Hagar and Alice Cooper among Northern Quest's 2017 summer concert lineup — see it here

Posted By on Tue, Mar 28, 2017 at 1:51 PM

Alice Cooper kicks off this summer's shows at Northern Quest.
  • Alice Cooper kicks off this summer's shows at Northern Quest.

From classic rock to country legends to hip-hop heavyweights, there's a little something for all tastes at this year's summer concert series at Northern Quest Resort & Casino.

Here's a breakdown of all the summer has to offer (although the resort could always add some shows at a later date):

ALICE COOPER, June 18, $45/$55/$65, on sale April 1. The shock-rock legend puts on a great live show, and you might be able to catch him golfing somewhere earlier in the day if you can recognize him without his makeup.

SAMMY HAGAR AND THE CIRCLE, June 30, $65/$75/$85, on sale April 1. The longtime lead singer for Van Halen and solo artist brings a band that includes former Van Halen bassist Michael Anthony, drummer Jason (son of John) Bonham and guitarist Vic Johnson to delve into all eras of Hagar's career, plus a few Zeppelin covers.

SUBLIME WITH ROME AND THE OFFSPRING, July 6, $44/$65/$85, on sale April 1. Two of the biggest bands of the '90s on tour together and delivering hits like "What I Got" and "Keep 'Em Separated."

DONNY AND MARIE, July 16, $55/$65/$85, on sale April 1. They've performed together on Las Vegas and toured separately for years, but this show is the rare treat when the two '70s icons hit the road together for a show.

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Community Colleges of Spokane moves Pullman classes to WSU campus

Posted By on Tue, Mar 28, 2017 at 1:47 PM

Community college classes will be held in this WSU building starting April 3 - COURTESY OF CCS
  • Courtesy of CCS
  • Community college classes will be held in this WSU building starting April 3

Starting Monday, Spokane Falls Community College students will move to the Washington State University campus for classes, allowing SFCC to maintain its branch in Pullman while modestly cutting costs.

Last year, Community Colleges of Spokane Chancellor Christine Johnson said the SFCC Pullman would remain in some capacity, but CCS was looking at a way to keep it there affordably. CCS, at the time, was looking to trim its budget by up to 10 percent. By June, CCS announced that it was in talks with WSU to move the Pullman branch from the Gladish Community Center starting in January.

The move took longer than anticipated, but last week WSU and CCS announced it was happening.

"Washington State University has always been a strong partner to our community colleges," SFCC President Janet Gullickson said in the news release. "Moving our Pullman operations onto their campus takes that partnership to a whole new level and allows us to greatly enhance the educational opportunities for our students."

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Idaho farmer's double life, Spokane construction season, and morning headlines

Posted By on Tue, Mar 28, 2017 at 9:24 AM


MUSIC: Did you catch Social Distortion while they were in Spokane over the weekend? Here's our review.

NEWS: After a botched euthanasia of a dog, a man is suing Washington State University and the state in a case that could set a new legal precedent.

MUSIC: Coming soon to Spokane, relive the '90s with Matchbox Twenty and Counting Crows.


Idaho farmer lived secret life as Florida man
A North Idaho farmer just wanted to live a simple life in the country, but after 17 years, his other life, as a felon in Florida, finally caught up with him. (Spokesman-Review)

Back to work
The days are getting longer, the snow has melted, and the grass is growing. That's right, Spokane: It's construction season. (KXLY)

It's wet outside
If it seems like this March has been rainier than usual, you are correct. Already, this has been the fourth wettest March on record in Spokane. (Spokesman-Review)

Nunes asked to recuse himself
House Democrats want Rep. Devin Nunes, the Republican chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, to recuse himself from the investigation of possible Russian interference with the 2016 election. Democrats say his relationship with President Trump means he can't be impartial. Nunes has rejected the idea.

Pressing on
After "the longest prayer we've ever had," House Republicans say they're not giving up on repealing Obamacare just yet. (CNN)
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Monday, March 27, 2017

Lawsuit over 'torturous' euthanasia of Cle Elum man's dog could set new precedent

Posted By on Mon, Mar 27, 2017 at 12:31 PM

  • Courtesy of Rob Repin
  • Kaisa

Kaisa was not supposed to wake up. The grey and white Alaskan malamute was diagnosed with cancer, and veterinarians gave her only months to live. Her owner, Rob Repin, made the difficult decision to have her put down.

What was supposed to be a peaceful goodbye to Kaisa, Repin's sole companion for the past 11 years, quickly turned into a torturous ordeal. Nearly five years later, it's not over.

Repin sued Washington State University and Washington state in a case that raises issues never before considered in courts throughout the country, according to a Washington State Court of Appeals commissioner's ruling. Repin, a reclusive gold prospector who lives in a 420-square-foot cabin that he built himself, is asking for compensation for the emotional distress caused by his dog's botched euthanasia.

If successful, his lawsuit could break new legal ground for pet owners in Washington. His claim focuses on the debate between the role of a pet. Was Kaisa "just a dog?" A piece of Repin's property? Or was she, as Repin describes, his family?

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Spokane Arena adds Matchbox 20, Counting Crows, Piano Guys to upcoming schedule

Posted By on Mon, Mar 27, 2017 at 11:59 AM

Adam Duritz of Counting Crows (left) and Rob Thomas of Matchbox 20
  • Adam Duritz of Counting Crows (left) and Rob Thomas of Matchbox 20

The Spokane Arena continues to bulk up its upcoming concert schedule with an impressive roster of names.

The big announcement of the week is that '90s hitmakers Matchbox 20 and Counting Crows will kick off a co-headlining tour in Spokane on July 12. The tour coincides with the 20th anniversary of Matchbox 20's breakthrough album Yourself or Someone Like You (doesn't that make you feel old?), a blockbuster LP that spawned the Top 40 singles "3 A.M.," "Push," "Back to Good" and "Real World." Counting Crows have been around even longer, best known for the alt-rock radio staples "Mr. Jones" and "A Long December."

Tickets for the show range from $35 to $85, and they go on sale Fri, March 31, at noon through TicketsWest.
The Piano Guys
  • The Piano Guys

And on Oct. 12, the Piano Guys will return to the Arena after playing there last May. Best known for imaginative YouTube videos featuring instrumental renditions of everything from Justin Timberlake's "Can't Stop the Feeling" to "Let It Go" from Frozen, the Utah-based quartet recently released its sixth studio album, Uncharted.

Tickets start at $29.50 and run all the way up to $179.50; they're available at 10 am this Friday through TicketsWest.

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