Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Indigenous Peoples' Day, alien signals and headlines for your Tuesday

Posted By on Tue, Aug 30, 2016 at 9:13 AM


Who speaks for Condon recall? The recall petition filer? The #RECALLCONDON page? The Daiquiri Factory guy?

Pat Benatar strolls down memory lane with a night full of hits 


Spokane City Council changes Columbus Day 
The second Monday in October is now Indigenous Peoples' Day in Spokane. Last night city council voted to join a handful of other cities that have changed Columbus Day from a day honoring the controversial explorer to a day honoring native people. (Spokesman-Review)

Idaho panel split on Medicaid expansion
A group of Idaho lawmakers tasked with finding a way to provide medical insurance for those too poor to qualify for healthcare exchanges are split on a solution. Half of the 10-member panel opposes expanding Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. Others have suggested more modest approaches. (Idaho Statesman)

Did Earth just receive an alien signal?
Astronomers have turned their instruments on a star 94 light years from Earth after a Russian telescope detected a strong signal that could be coming from "a civilization with capabilities beyond those of humankind."

RIP Gene Wilder
Gene Wilder, an actor known for his roles in films such as Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory and Blazing Saddles, is dead at 83. 

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Monday, August 29, 2016

Who speaks for Condon recall? The recall petition filer? The #RECALLCONDON page? The Daiquiri Factory guy?

Posted By on Mon, Aug 29, 2016 at 3:29 PM

One of the three Facebook pages focused on recalling Condon
  • One of the three Facebook pages focused on recalling Condon

As every organizer knows, the trouble with grassroots movements is you can't always determine how the grassroots grow. 

It happened to the Occupy Wall Street movement, where protests against corporate power and bank bailouts produced competing groups with contradictory messages.

It happened to the Tea Party, where a slew of Super PACs preyed upon activists to get rich without actually doing much to advance Tea Party goals.

And it's happened to Black Lives Matter, where a movement that preaches non-violence was tarred with a few isolated protestors chanting "What do we want? Dead cops!"

So this, from the very beginning, has been a challenge for the effort to recall Spokane Mayor David Condon. 

Ben Rall, a Spokane Green Party activist, says he was in Pensacola, Florida, on a military tour when the news broke last November that the city had hidden sexual harassment allegations against its former police chief until after Mayor Condon's re-election. 

Rall started the #RECALLCONDON page shortly after, more than 8 months before CPA David Green submitted an official recall petition. 

"Within three days, we were up to 600 people," Rall says. 

The message the woman who led the Jim West recall sent a #RECALLCONDON page administrator. - FACEBOOK.COM SCREENSHOT
  • Facebook.com screenshot
  • The message the woman who led the Jim West recall sent a #RECALLCONDON page administrator.
It attracted plenty of attention: Environmental activist Mara Spitzer, one of the page's administrators, says that Shannon Sullivan, the woman behind the 2005 Jim West recall, contacted Spitzer a few months ago, and told her that she was there if she needed any advice. 

On Aug. 1, Sullivan tagged Spitzer in a photo of a school of small fish teaming up to eat a larger one. "DON'T PANIC," it said. "ORGANISE.

"I think she was just saying, 'Organize'," Spitzer says. "Just an encouragement thing. That’s the way I took it. Trying to encourage the recall."

But over the past year, without a clearly identified leader, the page became a clearinghouse for anti-Condon links and screeds. For example, Rick “Harpman Hatter” Bocook, a top-hatted street musician with a penchant for feuding with downtown business owners, flooded the page with pictures of his anti-Condon sidewalk chalk art. 

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CONCERT REVIEW: Pat Benatar strolls down memory lane with a night full of hits

Posted By on Mon, Aug 29, 2016 at 10:38 AM

Somewhere up there Pat Benatar and Neil Giraldo are rocking out. - DAN NAILEN
  • Dan Nailen
  • Somewhere up there Pat Benatar and Neil Giraldo are rocking out.

In case anyone attending the Pat Benatar Northern Quest show Saturday was unaware of the significant role she and her songwriting partner/husband Neil Giraldo played in '80s-era rock and pop music, well, the couple proved happy to help out. 

Before they even took the stage, the crowd got a lengthy biographical film about their history, both personal and professional, that included plenty of video clips from the early days of MTV when Benatar was one of the only female faces gracing the channel, and one of the most potent voices on rock radio as well. 

Benatar and Giraldo also talked — a lot — throughout the show. About the songs. About each other. About their influences. Lots and lots of talking. A few songs in, as Benatar told the crowd the band's current road trip is the "We Live For Love Tour," named for her 1979 debut album In the Heat of the Night, she informed the audience — a near sell-out — that this month marks the 35th anniversary of MTV (she had the second video ever played, "You Better Run"), the 36th anniversary of her Crimes of Passion album, the 37th anniversary of the start of her musical partnership with Giraldo, and the 34th anniversary of their wedding anniversary, noting with a joke, "Of course, I was only 12" when they got hitched. 

Whew. Did I mention there was a lot of talking? 

Thankfully, when Benatar and Giraldo got down to business with their backing band, they offered a far more convincing case for historical significance to American rock music history than anything they said between tunes. 

The 63-year-old Benatar still has rock-solid pipes, and the songs she and the guitar-man hubby she calls "Spider" wrote and performed together through the Reagan era filled arenas and airwaves then and still sound pretty great now. 

The opening trio of "All Fired Up," "We Live for Love" and "Invincible" came rapid-fire before the delicate piano intro of "Promises in the Dark" opened up into the familiar riff-rock favorite. 

The least-familiar tune of the night was the mellow "In These Times" from an acoustic album the pair made in 1997, Innamorata. Other than that, it was hit after hit, including "We Belong," "Heartbreaker," "Hit Me With Your Best Shot" and, of course, "Love is a Battlefield." 

"One of the great things about being around forever is you have a plethora of stories to tell," Benatar said before talking about being holed up in a cheap Oklahoma City hotel when she saw MTV hit the air, a nice way of introducing "You Better Run." 

Among the pleasant surprises were a brief foray into some of Benatar's '80s peers, including Rick Springfield's "Jessie's Girl" and an acoustic cover of Prince's "When Doves Cry." 

About the opener
Melissa Etheridge is no typical opener, and she delivered a strong hour of her straightforward rock full of her hits like "I Want to Come Over," "Come to My Window" and "I'm the Only One." Apparently she didn't realize she had 90 minutes to play, because after a big goodbye an hour in, Etheridge and her band came back for 30 minutes they filled mostly with an epic jam and a drum solo. Not exactly her strong suit. 
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New school discipline policy, reindeer deaths and Monday headlines

Posted By on Mon, Aug 29, 2016 at 9:37 AM


THIS WEEK: Boy bands, pig-outs, Zombie flicks, Schweitzer Fall Fest and more
ARTS & CULTURE: Z Nation crew shooting around Spokane, including in Inlander's backyard


Spokane schools adopt new discipline policy
In hopes of decreasing its high rate of suspensions, Spokane Public Schools has unveiled a new student discipline policy that puts new emphasis on communication and staff training. (Spokesman-Review)

Fire rages in central Washington
Officials have ordered evacuations as a fire in Chelan County has grown and threatened homes. (KXLY)

Drug maker offers cheaper EpiPen
In response to a steep price increase of a potentially life-saving allergy auto-injector, Mylan is offering a generic version of the device at $300, half the price of the brand name version. However, critics say more  could be done to make EpiPens more affordable. (Reuters)

Lightning strike kills hundreds of reindeer
In Norway, government officials are reporting that an unprecedented 300 reindeer have been left dead in the wake of a lighting storm.  (ABC)
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Sunday, August 28, 2016

THIS WEEK: Boy bands, pig-outs, Zombie flicks Schweitzer Fall Fest and more

Posted By on Sun, Aug 28, 2016 at 1:00 PM

Schweitzer Fall Fast is Labor Day weekend.
  • Schweitzer Fall Fast is Labor Day weekend.

Well, that was fast. Given the end of August and start of football season, I guess we can go ahead and say we're in the fall. But we can do our best to take advantage of the last strains of summer this week with some good times found in our event listings and Staff Picks. 

Here are some highlights of the week ahead: 

Monday, Aug. 29

SPORTS & OUTDOORS | The Spokane Indians are in their final homestand of the season (at least until the playoffs), so head out to Avista Stadium for a game against Hillsboro at 6:30 pm. 

Tuesday, Aug. 30

LIVE BANDS | Boy-band alert! The 5 Seconds of Summer show at Spokane Arena was seemingly announced when the Aussie lads in the group were still mere fetuses, and the day is finally here. Ready your carpools. Here's a fan-shot taste of what's in store. Bring earplugs, parents: 

Wednesday, Aug. 31

FOOD & DRINK | The annual mix of fair-food grub, music and games hits Riverfront Park once again — yes, it's opening day of Pig Out in the Park! It's year 37, so celebrate with a fried Twinkie or something. 

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Friday, August 26, 2016

THIS WEEKEND IN MUSIC: Ghostland Observatory, Pat Benatar, Minus the Bear, Green Fest and more

Posted By on Fri, Aug 26, 2016 at 3:34 PM

Dracula capes can be cool, Ghosland Observatory shows.
  • Dracula capes can be cool, Ghosland Observatory shows.

Ghostland Observatory’s Aaron Behrens and Thomas Ross Turner create pop music, sprinkled with glorious flashes of rock and soul, that will make you dance long into the night. Their shows often employ laser lights and flashy capes, and their steadfast fans are beyond ecstatic that they’re back from a hiatus. The Austin, Texas, duo is currently out on tour, one of their first since 2012, when they stepped away from the band (Behrens pursued a side project), only playing a few select shows here and there over the years. They’re playing the Knitting Factory Friday night starting at 8 pm. Who knows when they’ll be here next? You probably should go.

Girls do rock! And the Girls Rock Lab is a local program set up specifically to help give girls the opportunity to set free their rock ’n’ roll sensibilities. Through week-long workshops, volunteers work with girls ages 8 to 16, helping them write songs, start bands, practice and perform, all in a safe and collaborative environment. On Saturday at 7 pm, participants share the Bartlett stage with talented local female bands Mama Doll, Phlegm Fatale, Windoe and Violet Catastrophe for a final showcase. While the show is free, donations to the program are encouraged. 

Bringing in headliners Afroman and Bowling for Soup (who doesn't want to relive the early 2000s?) is the largest Green Fest yet, going down at Black Diamond in Spokane Valley. The event also includes more than 20 local punk and rock acts beginning at 11:30 am. Cost is $20. 

Pat Benatar
and her guitar-playing husband Neil Giraldo, are back in to prove that they do indeed belong together. Their Northern Quest show starts at 7:30 pm Saturday, with tickets starting at $45. Opening for the pair is super awesome rocker Melissa Etheridge

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Z Nation crew shooting around Spokane, including in Inlander's backyard

Posted By on Fri, Aug 26, 2016 at 12:16 PM

A group of Z-Nation actors hop on a cart for a ride down to a shooting location near the Spokane River.
  • A group of Z-Nation actors hop on a cart for a ride down to a shooting location near the Spokane River.

On Thursday, the cast and crew behind Syfy's hit zombie series Z Nation assembled in Kendall Yards to shoot a scene for the show's upcoming third season. The Inlander managed to sneak a peek at the set and grab some details on the scene in question.

Several trucks had parked in the barren, dirt-covered area on Summit Parkway just off Monroe, and crew members went about their duties as carts carried people and equipment to and from the shooting locations. Filming occurred on either side of the Spokane River. Fully-costumed cast members sauntered about in ragged clothing, carrying realistic-looking firearms and in many cases sporting elaborate makeup jobs (though no zombies were present).

Marc Dahlstrom, one of the show's producers, chatted with us about the scene, which is intended for inclusion in the thirteenth episode of the show's third season.

"It's a scene that's taking place kind of under the Monroe Street Bridge," Dahlstrom says. "There's that circle roundabout overlook to the Falls, and we've made it basically an encampment where our heroes and some other guys trying to save the world have gathered to plot the next step on what they need to do to save mankind and kill all the zombies."

Much of the main cast assembled on-set for the scene, including Keith Allan, who plays the virus-immune Alvin Murphy, and Kellita Smith, the actress behind protagonist Roberta Warren.

Z Nation's third season premieres on Syfy on September 16. Keep an eye out for filming around downtown today. And check below for more of the photos we snapped on and around the set.

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Spokane considers Columbus Day, sheep killed in fire and other morning headlines

Posted By on Fri, Aug 26, 2016 at 9:13 AM


CONCERT REVIEW: Shawn Colvin & Steve Earle deliver a vibrant show at the Bing

: Clean your instruments, electronic coma hopes and sepsis scares

: The Justice Department argues the fixed-cash bail is unconstitutional and disproportionately impacts the poor

: Two first-hand witnesses recall the citywide pain of the Jim West recall


Sorry, Christopher
  • Sorry, Christopher
War against Columbus Day
Spokane City Council will vote Monday on whether it will rename Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples Day. (Spokesman-Review)

Counting sheep

The Yale Road fire wiped out tons of barley and has devastated about a dozen homes. And, tragically, it also trapped 400 sheep owned by one farmer, killing most of them. (KXLY)

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Thursday, August 25, 2016

Two first-hand witnesses recall the citywide pain of the Jim West recall

Posted By on Thu, Aug 25, 2016 at 4:10 PM

From left: Councilwoman Karen Stratton, former Mayor  Jim West and former City Councilwoman Lois Stratton on the night of Jim West's recall. - FRONTLINE PHOTO
  • Frontline photo
  • From left: Councilwoman Karen Stratton, former Mayor Jim West and former City Councilwoman Lois Stratton on the night of Jim West's recall.

Today, Karen Stratton is a city councilwoman, and one of the most vocal critics of Spokane Mayor David Condon and his administration. Today, Gavin Cooley is the city's chief financial officer, and one of the Condon administration's most ardent cheerleaders. 

Their views diverge significantly on the recent scandal centering on how Condon and the city handled the still-unproven sexual harassment allegations against the police chief and subsequent media inquiries.

Now, there's been a recall attempt against Condon. It's no surprise that Cooley hasn't championed the recall against his boss. Yet Stratton hasn't been pushing it, either.

"Because I've lived through one, I'm probably a little less inclined to be very verbal. It's a hard process. It's hard on the family. It's hard on your staff," Stratton says. "Because I've lived through one, I don't necessarily want to be too close to the next one as it goes on. I've just chosen to stand back and — I think of Jim a lot right now." 

Both Stratton and Cooley were there, knee-deep, during the 2005 recall of Mayor Jim West. They saw what it did to the city and to the mayor they both respected. They see significant differences between then and now.

Flashback to 11 years ago: It's a snowy evening on Dec. 6, 2005. Both Stratton and Cooley are in the kitchen of Stratton's mother's house, standing beside West, watching as the final nail was driven into the coffin of the mayor's political career.

Stratton stands on her heels to switch the channels on the old TV atop the fridge as the results of the recall vote come in. 

"This is it," West says. His fingers drum on his coffee cup as he waits. 

It's a landslide: 65 percent to 35 percent.

"I lost," West says. "Big time. That's huge. Oh. Yeah." 

He winces, takes a drink and recoils as the scale of the loss sets in. 

"My god, it's huge," West repeats. 

Stratton's mom, Lois Stratton, a former city councilwoman who served with West in the state legislature, attempts to offer condolences: "You'll probably live longer, Jim," Stratton says. "You'll probably live longer."  

West would die less than eight months later, due to complications from a cancer surgery. 

But back in that kitchen, on recall night, Cooley pops open a bottle of champagne. It's not to celebrate the loss, of course, but to commemorate what had been. 

West lifts his glass. 

"Here's to the city of Spokane," West says, his voice cracking slightly. "You know, it's a great place. Good people. We made great progress. We had a good year and a half — two years. You know, this place deserves to be excellent." 

His eyes are just a little teary. 

"So do your best. Keep up the good work," West says. "And thanks for being there." 

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Justice Department argues fixed-cash bail unconstitutional, disproportionately impacts poor

Posted By on Thu, Aug 25, 2016 at 1:23 PM

Inside the Spokane County Jail
  • Inside the Spokane County Jail

Keeping people locked in jail before trial without considering whether or not they can afford their bail is unconstitutional, according to a brief filed last week by the U.S. Department of Justice.

"Bail practices that fail to account for indigence are not only unconstitutional, but also conflict with sound public policy considerations," the Justice Department argues.

In the case out of Georgia, Maurice Walker was held in jail for six days on charges of being drunk in public (or more precisely "a pedestrian under the influence"). He was given a bail of $160.00 based on a "fixed-bail" schedule.

The Justice Department argues that "fixed-bail" policies — those that require a certain amount of bail based on the crime and do not consider a defendant's ability to pay — are a violation of the 14th Amendment's equal protection clause. In other words, justice is not served when release or incarceration depends solely on a person's ability to pay.

The Inlander wrote about the issue of money bail last year. In that story, David Hill, who was homeless, was charged with felony drug possession. His bail was set at $500, which means it would have cost him $50 to get out with the help of a bondsman. Instead, he sat in jail for 11 days costing taxpayers $120 per day. He ended up pleading guilty to a lesser charge.

(The Justice Department's stance on fixed bail comes on the heels of its announcement to phase out the use of private federal prisons.)

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