Wednesday, January 18, 2017

WA attorney general sues nation's largest student loan servicer

Posted By on Wed, Jan 18, 2017 at 3:56 PM

Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson
  • Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson

Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson announced today that his office has filed a lawsuit against Navient, the nation's largest student loan servicer, in a case that could impacts thousands of former or current Washington college students.

Ferguson accused Navient, formerly Sallie Mae, of "unfair and deceptive practices" in its student loan business. That includes predatory loans targeting students attending for-profit colleges that have low graduation rates, steering students toward short-term forbearances and engaging in aggressive and misleading collection tactics.

"We are not going to allow private entities to pad their bottom lines on the backs of struggling students," Ferguson said in a press conference today.

The lawsuit was filed in King County Superior Court and is the culmination of a multi-year investigation by Washington, Illinois and the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The CFPB filed its own lawsuit against Navient today as well, but Ferguson says his lawsuit is different because it's more focused on Washingtonians and covers Navient's practices prior to 2010, when it was still called Sallie Mae.

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Obama frees Wikileaker, education nominee hearings get grizzly, ice storm hits Spokane

Posted By on Wed, Jan 18, 2017 at 9:59 AM

But do the Berenstain Bears qualify for vouchers?
  • But do the Berenstain Bears qualify for vouchers?


Distortion Wave

Social Distortion is coming to Spokane in March.


Ice to See You
An ice storm causes school delays and closures, and shuts down key roads. (Spokesman-Review)

If only we had the video footage from the secret fire alarm camera

Two different reps say they witnessed Idaho Rep. Heather Scott climb on her desk, pull out her knife, and cut a small black object away from the ceiling after asking if it could be a camera.  (Spokesman-Review)

KXLY interviews the neighbors in the proximity of the two cops shot in Blanchard, Idaho. (Spokesman-Review)


Free Manning

Obama frees Chelsea Manning, the former soldier who leaked reams of important secret information to WikiLeaks, thus causing partisans who just switched their positions on WikiLeaks to have to switch back. (New York Times)

Bear-ly Educated
Trump Secretary of Education nominee Betsy DeVos discusses the finer points of education policy, like what if some schools need to allow guns to fend off grizzly bear attacks. (Washington Post)

Van Jones, along with having a badass name, tells Conan how he called Trump's win.

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Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Social Distortion heading to Spokane in March

Posted By on Tue, Jan 17, 2017 at 11:05 AM


Legendary SoCal punks Social Distortion are still going strong nearly four decades into their career, and they're heading to Spokane for a show this spring.

The crew led by Mike Ness and best known for songs like "Mommy's Little Monster," "Ball and Chain," "Bad Luck" and a mean cover of Johnny Cash's "Ring of Fire" will play the Knitting Factory on Saturday, March 25. Tickets are $35 (there's also a $135 VIP package with early admission and all sorts of goodies) and go on sale Friday at 9 am via TicketWeb outlets and the Knitting Factory website. Jade Jackson opens the show, and it's all-ages, so you older punks can bring the kids.

Here's a little taste of what Social D will be bringing to town:

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Trump's approval at historic low, two Idaho deputies shot and morning headlines

Posted By on Tue, Jan 17, 2017 at 9:20 AM



NEWS: No, Spokane's mumps outbreak is not proof that vaccines don't work.


Killing the death penalty
Gov. Jay Inslee, Attorney General Bob Ferguson and former Attorney General Rob McKenna are asking the state legislature to abolish the death penalty. (Q13)

Bye, Beau
Beau Baldwin, the most successful coach in EWU football history, is taking a job at California as the offensive coordinator. (Spokesman-Review)

Not quite the Ice Storm
A storm is coming that will bring freezing rain, sleet, snow and rain. But today, all you need to worry about is that freezing rain, which will turn into ice once it lands. (KXLY)

Police shooting in Bonner County
Two Bonner County sheriff's deputies were shot Monday as they tried to arrest a man in Blanchard, Idaho. Though each deputy was shot three times, their injuries are not life threatening and they were taken to Kootenai Health for treatment. There, too, is the suspect, who was also shot. (Spokesman-Review)

'Save our health care!'
Cathy McMorris Rodgers gave a speech during the Martin Luther King Jr. Rally at the convention center, but part of that speech was drowned out by people chanting "save our health care!" (KHQ) Today, a nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office released a report that says repealing major provisions of the Affordable Care Act, as McMorris Rodgers and other Republicans are trying to do, would cost 18 million people their health insurance within the first year.

Donald Trump will enter his presidency with an approval rating of just 40 percent, the lowest of any recent president. But the president-elect doesn't care about polls, and perhaps he shouldn't. He wrote on Twitter: "The same people who did the phony election polls, and were so wrong, are not doing approval rating polls. They are rigged just like before."
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Monday, January 16, 2017

No, Spokane's mumps outbreak is not proof that vaccines don't work

Posted By on Mon, Jan 16, 2017 at 3:16 PM

Because a small percentage don't work, but you're still more likely to get mumps without a vaccine
  • Because a small percentage don't work, but you're still more likely to get mumps without a vaccine

Today, the Spokane Regional Health District announced that 44 people in Spokane have mumps, in what SRHD spokeswoman Kim Papich tells the Inlander may be Spokane's worst mumps outbreak in "decades."

The outbreak is becoming a problem that's causing the health district to order students without a mumps vaccination to stay home. And the outbreak is likely to grow — Papich says the health district is investigating about 10 new cases of mumps per day.

But some anti-vaxxers are clinging to the fact that out of the 44 people with mumps, at least 27 actually were vaccinated.

This has thrown comment pages on local news stories into the inevitable chaos expected of every single internet debate about vaccines. You'll find questions like, "If vaccines actually worked, then how come it didn't protect those 27 people from getting mumps?" and "How come there's more vaccinated people with mumps than unvaccinated people with mumps?"

These are questions that can be explained. For starters, nobody is saying that the MMR vaccine works 100 percent of the time. In fact, the vaccine is around 88 percent effective. Still, a person who has received the vaccine is about nine times less likely to get mumps than an unvaccinated person exposed the same virus, according to the health district.

So, how could more vaccinated people have mumps than unvaccinated people? Because, simply, there are more vaccinated people in Spokane than unvaccinated people.

I realize this can be hard to wrap your head around, but stay with me. In evaluating the effectiveness of a vaccine, public health officials assess what they call the virus's "attack rate" among those who are vaccinated and those who are not. That means they evaluate the rate at which each population — vaccinated and unvaccinated — is infected with the virus. The virus infects a higher number of vaccinated people, but at a lower rate, percentage-wise, than unvaccinated people.

Put another way, that means you're still more likely to get mumps if you're unvaccinated.

Consider this example from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Say there are 1,000 people in a community. Most (95 percent) of those people are vaccinated, but 50 are not. The virus attacks only 3 percent of the 950 people who were vaccinated, but 30 percent of the 50 people who are not. In this scenario, 44 people got sick during the outbreak (it's just a coincidence that the CDC used 44 as the total number of infected people). The unvaccinated people were far more likely to be infected by the virus, yet there would be fewer unvaccinated people with the virus (15) than vaccinated people with the disease (29).

This is not a direct comparison to Spokane's latest outbreak and the 44 current cases, in which eight people were unvaccinated. The health district does not know whether or not nine people were vaccinated or not. But the point that health officials have been trying to explain is this: The fact that vaccinated people have the mumps virus should not be interpreted, on its own, as evidence that the vaccine does not work.

Of course, public health officials have been trying to explain this for a while now, and many people remain unconvinced. Let the debate rage on.
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Police shoot man on South Hill, Trump's combative weekend and morning headlines

Posted By on Mon, Jan 16, 2017 at 9:31 AM

Georgia Rep. John Lewis, a civil rights hero, had beef with Trump over the weekend.
  • Georgia Rep. John Lewis, a civil rights hero, had beef with Trump over the weekend.


Spokane police shot and killed a man on the lower South Hill Sunday. Details are still sketchy at best.

Entertainment options this week include a Jewish Heritage film fest, hard rockers Chevelle and a Woman's March on Spokane.


Local loss
Spokane Superior Court Judge Sam Cozza, a Gonzaga grad and booster, was hailed for his fairness in the court and generosity off it. He died on Sunday of complications from a heart bypass. (Spokesman-Review).

Almost at the top
Gonzaga's men's basketball team put a beat down on conference rival St. Mary's Saturday night, and remain undefeated, yet won't be No. 1 in the polls this week. (ESPN)

Get out the waders
Believe it or not, temperatures above freezing are headed to the Inland Northwest, and with them the threat of flooding is on the radar. (KXLY)


Not a racist, nor a historian
President-elect Donald Trump spent the days leading up to today's Martin Luther King Day holiday lambasting a civil rights hero on Twitter and canceling a planned trip to the Smithsonian's African American history museum. (New York Times/NY Daily News).

National intelligence
Meanwhile, Trump and the outgoing CIA director are trading barbs over the Donald's apparent lack of savvy when it comes to Russia (from the CIA's perspective), and the agency's potentially being behind the so-called Trump dossier that Buzzfeed published, full of unseemly things about the president-elect (from Trump's perspective). (CNN)

America's NATO allies aren't too excited about the next president's calling the organization "obsolete." (BBC)

It's Martin Luther King Day

Watch his "I Have a Dream" speech if you can't go the parade in downtown Spokane:

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Few details yet in fatal Spokane police shooting

Posted By on Mon, Jan 16, 2017 at 8:09 AM

Shortly after 12:30 am Sunday, a man was shot and killed by a Spokane police officer.

Neither the name of the deceased man nor the name of the officer have been released. Few details are available at this point, but here's what we know so far from police:

A Spokane police officer contacted a man at 9th and Adams Street in the Cannon Hill area. The man pulled a knife on the officer and ran. The foot chase ended at 5th and Walnut, where multiple officers fired Tasers at the man, according to a news release from the Spokane Police Department. The Tasers did not work, and at least one officer fired at the man, Spokane Police Chief Craig Meidl told reporters Sunday afternoon. Meidl added that the man had interacted with law enforcement in the past.

The man was pronounced dead at the scene after an EMT-certified officer gave medical aid. Meidl said at least five officers were in the area when the shots were fired, and no officers were seriously injured.

The Spokane County Sheriff's Office will investigate the shooting, which includes reviewing body camera footage and interviewing officers and other witnesses.

Although we don't know specific details of why the officer initially approached the man, Meidl emphasized that the officer was patrolling in a "hot spot" — an area the police focus their resources in an attempt to reduce the relatively high level of crime. At any one time, SPD focuses on seven hot spots throughout the city, Meidl said.

"We ask our officers to be proactive in those areas," Meild said. "And this is one of those cases where the officer was being proactive in attempting to drive down break-ins in that area. It's a very unfortunate circumstance. It's certainly not the way we would have liked to see the situation go, but we are going to do our best efforts to keep the community safe as well."
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Sunday, January 15, 2017

THIS WEEK: Chevelle, Jewish film fest, MLK Day and Women's March on Spokane

Posted By on Sun, Jan 15, 2017 at 1:00 PM

Chevelle headlines in Spokane this week.
  • Chevelle headlines in Spokane this week.

Start your day celebrating Martin Luther King, Jr., if you have the day off or can get away from the office for a little parade action downtown, then plot a week of fun using our event listings and Staff Picks.

Here are some highlights of the week ahead:

Monday, Jan. 16

SPORTS & OUTDOORS | You can also celebrate MLK Day by taking advantage of one of Washington state's Free State Park Days, and Monday is one of them.

Tuesday, Jan. 17

WORDS | Like to party, but quietly? Spark Central has you covered with its Silent Reading Party. Start a new book or finish off a new favorite, just keep your mouth zipped, mmmkay?

LIVE BANDS | Chevelle has had a sneaky successful career, and the trio comes through for a headlining gig at the Knitting Factory sure to please fans of its hard-driving tunes. Here's a little sample:

Wednesday, Jan. 18

COMMUNITY | The SFCC Black Student Union welcomes poet/filmmaker Donisha Rita-Claire, granddaughter of Bob and Rita Marley for a talk to help celebrate MLK Day.

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Friday, January 13, 2017

Gonzaga and St. Mary's finally face off — and it's all Zags

Posted By on Fri, Jan 13, 2017 at 10:07 PM

Nigel Williams-Goss had a game high 19 points in a beat-down of Saint Mary's.
  • Nigel Williams-Goss had a game high 19 points in a beat-down of Saint Mary's.

It’s still technically winter break at Gonzaga, but a date with arch-rival Saint Mary’s drew the Kennel Club back to campus a few days before classes start up this week. 

After a string of games in front of docile crowds for the holiday break, the students showed a national television audience just how electric this building can be, even in a blowout.

And that youthful  energy powered the fifth-ranked Zags to a 17-0 record by dispatching the 21st ranked Gaels 79-56.

“We know it’s the toughest game on the schedule,” Saint Mary’s coach Randy Bennett said of the annual trip to Gonzaga.

That tough atmosphere came into play in the Zags favor over the final minutes of the first half. After a string of lackluster defensive possessions, Mark Few had his team employ a trap on a Saint Mary’s inbounds play. It frustrated the Gaels and the ball ended up with Johnathan Williams near half court. The junior forward took it to the basket for a thunderous dunk that sent the Kennel into a frenzy.

The building kept rocking as the Zags followed that by forcing a shot clock violation.

Saint Mary’s likes to play slow on the offensive end, with their possessions this season lasting an average of 20 seconds. But if they last 30 ticks, they're served with a violation. Gonzaga’s defense frustrated the Gaels all night, blocking six shots and forcing nine turnovers.

On the offensive end, Nigel Williams-Goss led the way with a game-high 19 points and six assists. Jordan Mathews (16 points), Johnathan Williams (14 points) and Zach Collins (10 points) also scored in double figures. Most impressively, however, was  the Zags' shooting touch tonight.

Of the eight Bulldogs who saw game action before garbage time, only Przemek Karnowski (nine points) shot below 50 percent from the field. Overall, Gonzaga went 65 percent from the field Saturday. And that happened against a strong defense.

Saint Mary’s gave up 56.6 points per game over their first 16 contests this season. The hot shooting Zags needed just 31 minutes to pass that mark.

Gaels’ junior center Jock Landale, an all-America candidate averaging 17.8 points per game, was held to just 10 tonight. The big Aussie went into foul trouble early in the first half, and again in the second, before fouling out of the game late.

When he picked up his fifth and final foul a full throated Kennel Club let a chant rain down on the Gael, “na na na na, hey hey hey, goodbye.

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THIS WEEKEND IN MUSIC: Hell's Belles, The Drip CD Release, Standing Rock benefit

Posted By on Fri, Jan 13, 2017 at 2:08 PM

Don't let the cold win! Go out this weekend and find a local concert to crash. Dance along, listen and scream. Let the music warm your soul.

They call themselves audio terrorists, and for 10 years Richland-based the Drip has truly assaulted earholes with their extremely loud metal attacks. Today, the quintet is finally releasing their first full-length album, The Haunting Fear of Inevitability, and they come to the Observatory to share this joy with Spokane fans. This music is for people who enjoy the idea of standing out in a pulverizing thunderstorm with absolutely no shelter in sight. There are crashes and booms galore, along with tons of raging guitar licks pouring down on top of your skull. And when Brandon Caldwell starts screaming, it sounds like the end is truly near — but you won’t care. You’ll just want to keep screaming right along with him, all night long.  The show starts at 8 pm and is $8.

Tonight, the Pin! hosts a huge punk show with Scatterbox, Foxtrot Epidemic, Skunktopus and Bullets or Balloons. The super loud concert starts at 7:30 pm and is $5. For anyone who hasn't checked out the Pin! recently, they now have up and downstairs bars running.

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Women's March on Spokane

Women's March on Spokane @ Spokane Convention Center

Sat., Jan. 21, 11 a.m.-4 p.m.

All of today's events | Staff Picks

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