Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Skywalk this way: Newly renovated Twigs Bistro at River Park Square is open

Posted By on Tue, Oct 6, 2015 at 3:40 PM

Twigs Bistro at River Park Square re-opened Tuesday - MAX CARTER
  • Max Carter
  • Twigs Bistro at River Park Square re-opened Tuesday

After an extensive renovation Twigs Bistro in River Park Square has re-opened, boasting a 1,200 square foot "landing" that overlooks Post Street and the mall atrium. Interestingly, the far end of the landing connects with the part of the food court where Twigs was originally located in River Park Square

According to the bistro and martini bar's Director of Operations Casey Curtis, the new landing provides guests
The view of the new "landing" at Twigs Bistro at River Park Square - MAX CARTER
  • Max Carter
  • The view of the new "landing" at Twigs Bistro at River Park Square
 with a fantastic dining experience and great views of the mall and the city of Spokane.

"The biggest change is the different sight lines and the views," Curtis said. "There are things that we're not used to seeing at Twigs, and now there are plenty of different spots you can sit in, not just on the landing. You can view into the mall, you can view out into downtown Spokane, and then as the holidays roll around, the tree will be right here as well."

The renovation also included significant improvements to the bar and lounge areas, Curis said.

"A lot of people are really excited about the lounge. It's very inviting, there are TVs and it's cozier than our previous lounge was," he said. "We expanded the bar as well. There used to only be six tables in the lounge and about 12 seats at the bar, and now there are 19 tables in the lounge and 20 seats at the bar top."

Already a popular place to get a bite or have a drink, Twigs at River Park Square just stepped up their game big time. The restaurant is now open and fully operational, and the landing is available for seating on a first come, first serve basis. 
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Gonzaga's Kyle Wiltjer is CBS's preseason player of the year

Posted By on Tue, Oct 6, 2015 at 3:08 PM


You probably didn't know it, but college basketball players are already practicing, even as you're just getting settled into the football season. Well, Spokane, it looks like you can start cranking up the Gonzaga Hype Machine a little bit early this year because some sort of insane news just rolled into town.

Gonzaga forward Kyle Wiltjer has been named not just to CBS Sports' preseason All-American team, but they took it a step further and he is the official Preseason National Player of the Year. In other words, the talking heads over at CBS think the best player in college basketball for the 2015-16 season resides in Spokane. This is somewhat of a surprise, but hey, Wiltjer is probably going to light it up this year, right?

And just think, only a few months ago, there were rumors swirling that Wiltjer, who scored 16.8 points a game last year, but was known to explode at times for a lot more than that, was going to leave for the NBA Draft. Some GU student even said he'd cleaned out his apartment and everything and was all but a distant memory for the Zags. Well, thankfully, Wiltjer decided he was OK sticking around Gonzaga for his senior season.

If that loss to Duke to end the Zags memorable Elite Eight run last year has clouded your memory as to who the Zags still have in addition to Wiltjer, just know this: Przemek Karnowski and Domantas Sabonis will still be down on the post, and the Zags still have plenty of post-Pangos/Bell guard power in Kyle Dranginis and Josh Perkins.

Yes, it's only October 6, but let the Zag mania creep into your life now that you know they have the Best Player in Basketball. 
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Check out the Jaws 19 trailer released for the 30th anniversary of Back to the Future

Posted By on Tue, Oct 6, 2015 at 11:01 AM


As anyone who's seen Back to the Future II will tell you, the flick made some bold predictions for what would be happening in the world on Oct. 21, 2015. 

According to the 1989 sequel to the monster-sized hit original, we'd all be riding hoverboards around, we'd have flying cars, and the Chicago Cubs would finally win the World Series. We have no hoverboards and our cars are sadly still grounded, but hey, the Cubs are in the baseball playoffs, so that's something. 

In Back to the Future II, lead character Marty McFly also sees a movie preview for Jaws 19, a funny gag about how common big-budget movie sequels were becoming at the time Back to the Future II (a big-budget movie sequel, of course) arrived in theaters. To help celebrate the 30th anniversary of the original Back to the Future, Universal Pictures put out a gag trailer for Jaws 19, and I would rather see it than another Sharknado sequel. 

Check it out: 

And, of course, you can see Back to the Future II at the next Inlander Suds and Cinema, slated for, naturally, Oct. 21, 2015. It's a Wednesday night, there will be No-Li beer on hand, and you can win your very own flux capacitor. 
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Municipal workers endorse Lichty in Spokane mayoral race

Posted By on Tue, Oct 6, 2015 at 9:33 AM

Spokane city workers want a new boss.

The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 270, the union representing non-managerial rank-and-file workers in Spokane’s municipal government, have endorsed Shar Lichty, who is challenging David Condon for mayor.
Shar Lichty
  • Shar Lichty

“We endorsed Shar Lichty because her values seemed to line up more with ours,” says Jim Tieken, the union’s political action coordinator.

Specifically, Tieken says Lichty was more in agreement with the union on wage increases and benefits packages. Condon, he says, would like to put compensation more in line with the private sector and cites how the mayor discussed turning the city’s pension system into a 401k shortly after being elected.

“Being the largest union to represent city employees, it is clear that Mayor Condon’s poor leadership goes beyond his choices for top administrative positions,” said Lichty in a prepared statement. “His employees are dissatisfied with his performance in the job he was elected to do.”

In a statement, Condon replied, "Regardless of Local 270's endorsements, I look forward to continue working with them and the other city unions should I have the honor of serving a second term. I will continue to work to make city hall more efficient and find innovative ways to serve all the people of Spokane."

In other endorsements, the union took a neutral stance on the Worker Bill of Rights. It endorsed City Council candidate Lori Kinnear and incumbent Councilwoman Karen Stratton, as well as Council President Ben Stuckart.

Randy Ramos, who is challenging arch-conservative Councilman Mike Fagan for reelection, did not get the union’s endorsement.

“We’re not sure what’s going on with Randy’s campaign,” says Tieken. “We just haven’t seen much of Randy, unfortunately.”
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Dolezal's a hero, Marco's a Muppet and other bold claims in the news

Posted By on Tue, Oct 6, 2015 at 9:10 AM


Spokane's long police ombudsman drought continues, as controversial ombudsman candidate Robert Breeden declines to move to Spokane for a four-month trial period while his past is being investigated. That doesn't mean he's not willing to be the ombudsman. He just wants commitment. 

Smoking is bad for your health.
And the Spokane Regional Health District wants it to be bad for your employment, too. The District has been encouraging companies to discriminate against smokers, hiring non-smokers for specific jobs. They're leading by example. At the Spokane Regional Health District, Smokers Need Not Apply.

Don't threaten to kill two people in your culinary program. Police arrested the guy who allegedly did just that at Spokane Community College.

11-year-old Aiden Kemp is paralyzed from the neck down. So Gonzaga University engineering students are building him a specialized recumbent bicycle for his birthday. 

But do you know who's the real hero? Rihanna says. Spokane celebrity civil-rights superstar Rachel Dolezal

As the Jeb! crumbles in the polls, his friend-turned-rival Marco Rubio looks to benefit. Rubio, young and charismatic, began the race as few Republican voters' first choice. But he's practically everyone's second choice, the New York Times' Upshot blog explains. And as the field winnows down, second choices begin to become first choices.

It's been long established that Mitt Romney is Guy Smiley, but which Muppets represent this year's crop of GOP candidates? The New Yorker investigates, concluding, with good reason, that Donald Trump is Animal.  
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Monday, October 5, 2015

Breeden declines interim ombudsman job; still interested in permanent position

Posted By on Mon, Oct 5, 2015 at 12:26 PM


Robert Breeden declined the offer to serve as Spokane's interim ombudsman. 

The Office of Police Ombudsman Commission voted last week to offer Breeden, who lives in Florida, the four-month appointment. The the five-member commission also voted to send an investigator to Florida to look into allegations surrounding Breeden's treatment of employees while he was the assistant special agent in charge of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement in Miami.

"Due to my current personal financial and professional obligations, I cannot accept the interim assignment," Breeden says in an email to commissioners. "But I do remain interested in the permanent ombudsman position, and will gladly cooperate with the additional vetting the Office of Police Ombudsman Commission agreed to pursue."

The commission also voted last week to ask the city council for funds to send investigators to Florida and Victoria, British Columbia, where another candidate, Raheel Humayun, works.  

The next OPO Commission meeting is tomorrow, Oct. 6 at 5:30 in City Council chambers. 
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Monday Morning Place Kicker: Mondays are better with Seahawk games, Cougars struggle, Mariners finally stop playing baseball

Posted By on Mon, Oct 5, 2015 at 12:03 PM


So if you're like me, you don't like Mondays, mostly because of their far-off proximity to the weekend and also because Garfield told you at a young age that Mondays suck.

But isn't it nice on this particular Monday to realize that the day is capped off with a Seahawks game? In case you didn't know, the Seahawks play the Lions on Monday Night Football (ESPN, 5:30 pm) and that's why I started my day by putting out my 12th Man flag, eating a hearty game day breakfast and preparing mentally for the Hawks battle over in Seattle this evening. Oh, and mentally preparing for a productive work day, too, of course.

This got me really pumped up, and it should do the same for you.
Seattle hasn't done so great in prime-time games as of late. There was the Sunday night loss in Green Bay a couple weeks ago and then that whole, uh, Super Bowl thing back in February. But you can take comfort in knowing that the Seahawks are very good when playing on Monday Night Football. In fact, no other NFL team is better than the Hawks on Mondays, not by a long shot. The franchise is 21-8 on MNF, good for a .724 winning percentage — the next winningest record is San Francisco at just .642.

So that's a good sign of how things will shake out at CenturyLink Field tonight. Also good for the Hawks is the fact that they're playing the Detroit Lions who have been very much like the Detroit Lions of old this season, starting out at 0-3. The Lions, though, are not a pushover, despite that record. They have receivers Calvin Johnson and Golden Tate, the latter of whom will make his first return to Seattle since leaving the team after the 2013 season. If Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford finds those guys for big plays — of which the Hawks have given up a few, especially in their first two losses — Detroit could hang in there.

Stafford won't have to deal with Seahawks defensive lineman and terrorizing pass rusher Brandon Mebane, though. Mebane is ruled out for the contest with a strained groin. Also on the injury front, there will be no Beast Mode tonight. Marshawn Lynch has an issue with his hamstring and is going to sit out tonight. As a Beast Mode devotee, I find myself strangely OK with this. First off, Marshawn hasn't looked full-speed out there as of late and clearly he needs to rest. Secondly, I don't mind backup running back Thomas Rawls. Sure, he's a rookie from Central Michigan, but he went for 105 yards last week and is a gritty runner.

The Seahawks will need Rawls to be productive in order to set up with passing game, which seemed to finally come to life in the second half of their 26-0 beating of Chicago last week. Hopefully Doug Baldwin and Jermaine Kearse will finally get going. And Jimmy Graham will get the goddamn ball. Don't worry about it, OK?

Hopefully you're in appropriate Seahawks gear at your place of employment today. Kinda like this dude.
Moving on to the college game, Washington State could not pull off the win down in Berkeley on Saturday afternoon, losing to Cal 34-28. It was a frustrating loss for the Cougs, mostly because they had a chance to win against the 24th ranked team in the country. In fact, they had a lot of chances, thanks to some Cal miscues, but Luke Falk and company could not punch it in on a pair of fourth quarter drives that could have put them ahead.

Something to note in this one: Yes, the Cougars are a passing team. Ya know, Air Raid and all that. But holy crap, they only ran for 14 yards in this game. And that was on 25 attempts. So they actually tried to run the ball and that's what they got.

It was the Cougars' 28th loss in their last 29 games against ranked opponents. They head to Eugene on Saturday to visit a struggling Oregon team that is not great on covering the pass — so that could be an upset to keep an eye on.

Idaho went to the deep South — which is where they'll about every other week for the rest of the season, due to their inexplicable membership in a conference of Southern teams — and did not win. The Vandals lost to Arkansas State 49-35 to fall to 1-4 on the season. They tried a new quarterback, Jake Luton, but that didn't help change Idaho's fortune. He threw three interceptions.

They'll try to get their first win against an FCS opponent next week when they head back south to face Troy.

The Seattle Mariners' grand experiment in disappointment came to an end yesterday with a meaningless 3-2 win over the hapless Oakland A's. The win brought their final record for the season to 76-86, which is about 25 wins shy of where a lot of us thought the M's would end up this year.

Can you believe this is the same team that not just hopeful fans like myself, but real live experts thought would make it to the World Series? It looked like they finally had the offense to make it somewhere, but unfortunately Robbie Cano and others forgot how to hit for the first half of the season and their bullpen was like something out of a Roland Emmerich movie. Even King Felix wasn't always that kingly.

Finally, though, the Mariners can no longer hurt us on a daily basis with their improbable extra-innings losses. As for next season? Who the hell knows. They've got a new GM and should have their stars back, but after this year, I have no hope in anything anymore. 
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CONCERT REVIEW: A magical night with Big Gigantic and the Floozies

Posted By on Mon, Oct 5, 2015 at 11:28 AM

The Floozies' Matt and Mark Hill join Big Gigantic's Dominic Lalli and Jeremy Salken for an encore. - MAX CARTER
  • Max Carter
  • The Floozies' Matt and Mark Hill join Big Gigantic's Dominic Lalli and Jeremy Salken for an encore.

As the sun set on another weekend and the city of Spokane prepared for Monday, several hundred blessed few were at the Knitting Factory to witness a night of pure musical fusion. Big Gigantic's Get On Up tour came through Spokane red-hot, and boy did things get funky.

Beauflexx looks on at the stage that he set. - MAX CARTER
  • Max Carter
  • Beauflexx looks on at the stage that he set.
Things kicked off with Beauflexx, a Seattle-native living in Spokane who has played shows and festivals with the likes of Datsik, Steve Aoki and the Dirty Phonics. Setting the stage for the bigger acts isn't always easy, but Beauflexx made it look simple, filling the audience's ears with driving dub step and house beats. Not as funky as the Floozies and Big Gigantic, Beauflexx set the energy high from the start, but one could just sense a longing in the air... a longing for the funk.

When the Floozies took the stage, guitar and drum sticks in hand, the entire atmosphere in the building changed. From the first tasty guitar phrase, there was a sense that something incredible was about to happen. The energy between the crowd and guitarist Matt Hill was palpable as he drank from his beer on stage, grinning from ear to ear. This wasn't your everyday EDM show. This was a concert, with live music and live energy, and the audience was feeling it, on their skin, in their ears and in their hearts. On this Sunday night, everybody in that building was fighting for just a bit more weekend, and for those few hours, nobody had a worry in the world. 

And then Big Gigantic happened. With the honk of a saxophone, everybody in the Knitting Factory found themselves a part of a revolution. It was a climax of euphoria for a music-loving millennial; the integrity of live, genuine music with the thrill of EDM and bass drops. Big G opened with a couple of hits, including their new single "Good Times Roll", and as the main act got into the meat of their set list, I was filled with hope. The whole room was filled with hope. It was as if with every delicious lick played by Dominic Lalli on his iconic saxophone, he was elevating every person in that room to a new level. In a world filled with pop music, cheap hooks and a billion "up and coming" electronic artists, Big Gigantic satiates the desire for music of greater integrity. 

As Lalli and bandmate Jeremy Salken worked their way into the back end of their set with bangers like "Sky High" and "Get On Up", I couldn't help but feel romantic about it all. My love for jazz and funk music was rekindled. After finishing up their set, to nobody's surprise, Big Gigantic was called back for an encore and they didn't disappoint. The curtain call lasted about 15 minutes, including an appearance on stage by the members of the Floozies. 

With the final drop, that evening ended, leaving the audience members to stroll out into the night in bewilderment of what they had just experienced. The echo of Lalli's saxophone seemed to float out into the crisp October air.
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Meet your barista: Promise Boutelle at Caffé Affogato

Posted By on Mon, Oct 5, 2015 at 11:00 AM

  • Kailee Haong

Caffé Affogato, located in the front of the quirky, open-market downtown venue called the Saranac Commons, is an Italian-style cafe, making its debut early this year. Stylistically simple and occupying a small area, the cafe serves a wide variety of beverages, including affogatos, tea and even ice creams. Eastern Washington University junior, Promise Boutelle, has lived in Spokane since she was a child, and has had an inclination toward coffee since the age of 15. You can head downtown and find Promise behind the counter, chatting with customers and making drinks.

INLANDER: How did you end up at Caffé Affogato?
BOUTELLE: We opened in February, and I think I was hired at the end of April. It’s a pretty new cafe still. So, this girl that I actually went to school with, Syd, she worked here from like the very beginning, before it was even a shop because she knew the owner. So I knew Syd, and I saw her posting on Instagram all the time of this cute little cafe and I was so jealous, so I would go in there and get coffee and I kind of just talked my way into it, basically. They happened to be needing a floater, someone who covers shifts every once in awhile, and so I did that and I got the job. I did that for a while, and then the manager at the time had to quit, and then I basically got all of his hours. It worked out pretty nicely.

Do you have any jobs aside from being a barista?
For a long time I was working the espresso stand at Eastern [Washington University], since I go to school there. I’ve worked many barista jobs, but right now this is the only job, and I only want this job because I love it so much.

Do you want to stay in Spokane after you graduate?
No. I mean, don’t get me wrong, this year I’ve actually really learned to love Spokane. I like it way more now than I liked it in high school. In high school, I hated Spokane. I don’t know, I see myself everywhere because I want to travel. I plan on moving to Denmark, I want to live in Canada, I want to live on the West Side — anywhere. That’s the only reason I say ‘no.’ But maybe later down the road.

  • Kailee Haong

What are your hobbies?
I love listening to music, I love going to concerts, I’m going to a concert tomorrow, actually. Purity Ring, it’s at the Knitting Factory. I like going to music festivals like Sasquatch, it’s my thing. I go every year. I love holistic medicine type of stuff; I like plants, gardening. I love like, I don’t know, I love nurturing my body. I love listening to my body, like ‘what does it need?’ or how to I heal it — oh, yoga. I love doing yoga. I’m that typical hippie girl.

Are there any current coffee trends going on right now?
Yeah, that frickin’ latte art stuff. We actually just held a competition, it’s a latte throwdown, I think it was like a week ago. Yeah, latte art is like a huge thing right now. I mean, it’s cool, but I feel like everyone tries to do the same design, and with me, I’m not that good at the free pour, but I love just making it look pretty. It doesn’t have to be that same flower thing, you know? I can do a heart, too.

What’s the most rewarding thing about your job?
Probably just building that customer-barista relationship with each other. Just really getting to know your customers as friends, or as people, because I run into them all the time because I work downtown — I almost live downtown. It’s just fun getting to know them... I get a lot of regulars, but because the cafe is in such a cool spot, people will like randomly just look into it. We get tons of those people, too.

Could you share a favorite memory?
I don’t know. I’ve had so many. I don’t know if I’ve had just one favorite moment, I’ve had a lot. Probably just like laughing about whatever. There are a lot of nice people and it’s just a good atmosphere. Not even just the people I work with, but like the people that work at Mediterrano, the bakery, the brewery guys — they’re all so fun and I feel like we’re just one giant family in there.

Are you a coffee or a tea person?
It depends on my mood, because I’m naturally super energized, so I don’t really need coffee. I mean, I drink coffee probably once, sometimes twice a week, only when I need it. I like both. It just depends.

What is your favorite drink?
I love yerba mate green tea. I love just plain soy lattes, sometimes with like honey and cinnamon. And I love drinking cold brew, only what I’ll do is I’ll steam the cold brew. It’s different than a drip coffee, it’s a lot better for you than regular coffee. I usually prefer hot drinks, so I’ll just steam it and put some honey and cinnamon in it.

If you could describe the coffee shop in one word, what would it be?

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INTERVIEW: Cheryl Strayed on her love for the PNW, how fame hasn't changed her and what's next

Posted By on Mon, Oct 5, 2015 at 10:30 AM


Cheryl Strayed’s 2012 memoir Wild, a story of journeying on the Pacific Crest Trail alone, greatly affected millions of readers worldwide. Last Thursday, the author spoke to a room of more than 1,200 for the YWCA’s annual Women of Achievement luncheon, which raised an unprecedented $285,000 to support victims of domestic violence.

Just before the event began, the Inlander had the pleasure of sitting down with Strayed for a quick 15 minute interview. Here’s what she had to say: 

INLANDER: When you sit down to write, what does it physically look like?
First of all, I don’t sit down to write, I have recently acquired a treadmill desk, so this is breaking news — I don’t think I’ve told a journalist this. I recently bought a treadmill desk; the goal is not to get a workout but that you’re moving. I’ve been walking lately and writing. I do sit down to write also. Really, none of those trappings that Hollywood has represented about writers, I don’t do those. I don’t smoke. I do curse though, I’m famous for that. I really try to find a deep silence, I don’t mean in a literal way, I mean like a silence within the self. Writing takes an enormous amount of concentration and that is exacerbated by the kind of writing. When it’s a deep examination of the human condition, whether that’s my own life or mining my past and experiences and telling the stories or creating the characters and doing that same thing. So that’s hard — it’s hard to achieve that in my life as a mother, I have two kids who are 9 and 11, and also hard being an ambassador for Wild. I write when someone else has my children, when I say to myself “you’ve got to do this.” I love writing, I don’t love anything else quite the way I love writing. But I also resist and dread it and have a lot of anxiety about it. I’ve been writing a bit over the past three years. But 2016 will be a deep return to my work. I have another book coming out this month, but it’s a book of quotations, it’s not that next book. So that’s what I’ll be working on next.

Continue reading »

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