Monday, February 27, 2017

A private investigator didn't reveal Rachel Dolezal's lies—the Coeur d'Alene Press did

Posted By on Mon, Feb 27, 2017 at 4:56 PM

Rachel Dolezal has continued to make international news, with the upcoming release of her new memoir. - YOUNG KWAK PHOTO
  • Young Kwak photo
  • Rachel Dolezal has continued to make international news, with the upcoming release of her new memoir.

This weekend, the Spokesman-Review had a quick takedown of another outlandish claim in the latest international profile of former NAACP President Rachel Dolezal: that Dolezal's lies about her race were revealed because former Police Chief Frank Straub, wanting to sabotage her work on the police ombudsman commission, hired a private investigator who uncovered Dolezal's subterfuge.

But while it busts one myth, the Spokesman-Review article perpetuates another: That it was private investigator Ted Pulver that played the crucial role in revealing that Dolezal was pretending to be black this entire time: "The private investigator who discovered information that led to former NAACP Spokane chapter leader Rachel Dolezal’s family identifying her as white has denied he was hired by then-police Chief Frank Straub."

In fact, the credit goes to the Couer D'Alene Press, the paper that actually broke the story.

"Rachel Dolezal was a case that, when I started working on it, there were other people working on it as well," says Pulver. Pulver says he did tip off the Spokesman-Review and KXLY that he was working on the case. But when he contacted reporter Jeff Selle at the Coeur d'Alene Press, Selle was already working on the story.

"He was on the case before I met him," Pulver says.

Selle and his fellow Press reporter Maureen Dolan say that it was her spate of hate-crime allegations that inspired them to start investigating.

(The Inlander started investigating for the same reason, but the Coeur d'Alene Press got to the truth first.)

Pulver says he and Selle compared notes on their separate investigations.

"We had the back and forth. We both had a little bit of something," Pulver says. "We both were very interested in pursuing it. He did his thing, and I did my thing."

Selle, in a comment on Facebook, confirms that he spoke with Pulver, but says that the only thing that Pulver had that he didn't was an interview with her ex-husband — an interview the Press ultimately didn't end up using.

"I didn't have to convince Rachel's parents to talk to Jeff Selle," Pulver says.

After the Press story broke, KXLY's famous interview with Dolezal helped the story go viral, but even there, the Press provided an assist.

"I am the one who provided KXLY with the photo of her so-called African-American father and her birth certificate that her mother sent me," Selle writes. KXLY was more than generous enough to credit the Press with the scoop.

(Pulver wouldn't say exactly who his clients were — only that there were more than one of them, some of them were "very, very affluent," from out of state, and that absolutely none of them were associated with law enforcement.)

So why does all this matter? Because the Dolezal revelation isn't a story about mysterious forces successfully using a P.I. to take down a troublesome racial justice activist. Nor is it the story of an embittered family spontaneously deciding to call up a local newspaper to out their actually-white daughter.

Instead, it's the story about two reporters at a small-town publication picking up the phone and doing the legwork to find the truth.

"This 'private-investigator conspiracy' is just ridiculous," Selle writes. "I was the one who contacted Rachel's parents."
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Spokane police takes a 'big step backward' with transparency

Posted By on Mon, Feb 27, 2017 at 3:37 PM

When a cop is accused of doing something wrong — whether it be an actual crime or a violation of internal policies — the department's internal affairs office investigates.

Those investigations have historically included the officers' names and details of their behavior, and investigative records were posted on the Spokane police website.

That is no longer the case.

In the spring of 2016, SPD scrubbed its site of the investigations and only recently replaced them with watered-down summaries of 2016 cases, modeled after the Seattle Police Department. No summaries from subsequent years, or from 2017 so far, are posted. Currently, SPD does not intend to write summaries for cases before 2016, Meidl says, due to lack of sufficient staff.

"Right now our level of transparency is limited by staffing," Chief Craig Meidl says, adding that the department has lost at least two clerical employees since former Chief Frank Straub left the department.

"We essentially wanted to move away from having names on the website," SPD Assistant Chief Justin Lundgren told city council members during the Public Safety Committee meeting last week. "We've been hearing complaints from witnesses, witness officers and accused officers."

Lundgren also explained that posting information on the internet ensures that it will live forever. Although not illegal, Lundgren acknowledged, publishing investigations online means the public can access the information beyond the time limit past which SPD is required to retain the records.

"Sometimes the names, under the law, aren't allowed to be redacted," he said. "So unless there's some sort of specific concern by the complainant or by the officers involved, there's very narrow legal justification that we have to redact names."

In other words, part of SPD's gripe is that they're not allowed to redact information that used to be easy to access on their website.

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Oscars blunder, Zags fall, new homeless shelter and morning headlines

Posted By on Mon, Feb 27, 2017 at 9:15 AM


click image Rose Hemingway and Curt Hansen perform in the traveling production of Kinky Boots. - MATTHEW MURPHY
  • Rose Hemingway and Curt Hansen perform in the traveling production of Kinky Boots.

WHAT'S UP: We could all use a few good laughs, so here's a few ways you can tickle your funny bone and have some fun this March: catch comedian Brian Posehn at the Spokane Comedy Club, see Workaholics' Adam Devine at The Bing, and don't miss the touring version of Broadway hit Kinky Boots (read our story about it here).

FOOD: Need some help deciding which Inlander Restaurant Week eatery to check out this week? Check out some opening night reports (raviolo al uovo reviews and prime rib analysis) from Inlander team members — you have until this Saturday to get a piece of the goodness.

NEWS: Spokane opens its doors to homeless families at a new daytime shelter, Open Doors, which offers hot showers, case management and emergency shelter.


It appears so
click image "La La Land" producer Jordan Horowitz holds up the winner card reading actual Best Picture winner "Moonlight" with actor Warren Beatty onstage during the 89th Annual Academy Awards. - KEVIN WINTER/GETTY IMAGES
  • "La La Land" producer Jordan Horowitz holds up the winner card reading actual Best Picture winner "Moonlight" with actor Warren Beatty onstage during the 89th Annual Academy Awards.

The Zags' run for an unbeaten regular season came to an untimely end after Saturday's 79-71 upset by BYU over former-No. 1 Gonzaga. (Spokesman-Review)

And Best Gaffe goes to...
One wrong envelope and it all goes to chaos — Moonlight took home best picture after an Oscars blunder in which the mistaken La La Land cast was still up on stage giving speeches when they found out that they were actually not the winners. Check out the play-by-play. (New York Times, CNN)

Father of fallen Navy SEAL calls out Trump admin
After declining to meet with Trump, Bill Owens is calling for an investigation into the death of his son William "Ryan" Owens during a late-January raid in Yemen, questioning why there was a mission so early into the administration. (CNN)

Have a great week!
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Sunday, February 26, 2017

THIS WEEK: Brian Posehn, Adam Devine, Kinky Boots and more

Posted By on Sun, Feb 26, 2017 at 1:00 PM

Comedian Brian Posehn headlines five shows at the Spokane Comedy Club this week.
  • Comedian Brian Posehn headlines five shows at the Spokane Comedy Club this week.

Plenty of good ways to great March can be found in our event listings and Staff Picks, so check those out along with the dining options of our ongoing Inlander Restaurant Week and get out on the town.

Here are some highlights of the week ahead:

Monday, Feb. 27

FILM/WORDS | The Moran Prairie Library hosts a free screening and discussion of Unslut, a film about so-called "slut shaming" and gender bullying. Read our story about the film here.

Tuesday, Feb. 28

THEATER | The touring version of Broadway hit Kinky Boots opens its Spokane run tonight. Read our story about it and get ready to get kinky.

LIVE BANDS | The Northwest of Nashville rootsy throwdown returns to The Bartlett tonight, with sets by Jenny Anne Mannan, Folkinception and The Holy Broke.

Wednesday, March 1

LIVE BANDS | Andy Black (aka Andy Biersack) is best known as the founder and frontman of Black Veil Brides, but on his debut solo album The Shadow Side, he jumps feet first into a world of programmed beats, ’80s-flavored synths and anthemic choruses, according to our music writer Ben Salmon. Black headlines the Knit tonight; here's a little sample of his sound:

COMEDY | Adam Devine's career could go right down the shitter from this moment forward and he'd still be a 
legend just for helping bring the glorious Workaholics to life. I don't expect said toilet-bowling to occur, though, because he's a funny cat. And he's bringing his standup to The Bing tonight.

Thursday, March 2

LIVE MUSIC | I'm not typically one to extoll the virtues of the ukulele, having seen far too many unskilled players in my life. But I can say that Jake Shimabukuro is easily the best uke player I've ever seen (granted, a short list), and well worth seeing in person if you can. Think of him as the Jimmy Page of the uke, or Hendrix, or Eddie Van Halen. Whatever your shredder of choice — he's it on the ukulele. He's headlining the Bing. Here's a taste:

COMEDY | Brian Posehn is one of the best standups around, a veteran of the touring circuit and favored presence on shows like Mr. Show and The Sarah Silverman Program. He's playing all weekend at the Spokane Comedy Club, starting tonight.

Friday, March 3

WORDS | PBS personality Rick Steves swings by Spokane for a European Travel Talk, where you'll hear great stories and prepare to make your own.

Saturday, March 4

COMMUNITY | Join the festivities for International Women's Day in Spokane at the Women's Club of Spokane, featuring keynote speaker Favianna Rodriguez, an interdisciplinary artist, cultural organizer, and activist based out of Oakland.
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Friday, February 24, 2017

Spokane opens doors to homeless families at daytime shelter

Posted By on Fri, Feb 24, 2017 at 2:30 PM

It’s Thursday morning. You wake up before 7 a.m. after staying in a shelter overnight, step out into the bone-chilling 24-degree weather, and have to figure out where you can take your kids for the day until the warm space reopens in the evening.

Until December, your only option might have been to go to the library, a grocery store, anywhere public enough to let you hang out for a while sheltered from the cold.

Now, says Steve Allen, executive director of Family Promise of Spokane, for the first time in Spokane’s history, homeless families have another option during the day, designed just for them.

Open Doors

Allen was joined by Mayor David Condon and other city officials Thursday as they 

Spokane Mayor David Condon speaks at a ribbon cutting for the city's first daytime shelter for homeless families Thursday, Feb. 23, 2017. - SAMANTHA WOHLFEIL
  • Samantha Wohlfeil
  • Spokane Mayor David Condon speaks at a ribbon cutting for the city's first daytime shelter for homeless families Thursday, Feb. 23, 2017.

celebrated the recent opening of Open Doors family day shelter, which offers hot showers, case management and emergency shelter to families in need.

The shelter, located off Richard Allen Court in East Central, is open 7 days a week from 7:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Since opening in early December, the shelter has had about 30 to 40 people walk through the door every day, says Joe Ader, Open Doors director.

“We’re one of few shelters that doesn’t separate men and women, so families can stay together,” Ader says.

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Inlander Restaurant Week: Reports from opening night

Posted By on Fri, Feb 24, 2017 at 1:42 PM

Chef Tanya Broesder’s seared tenderloin dish at Masselow’s. - YOUNG KWAK
  • Young Kwak
  • Chef Tanya Broesder’s seared tenderloin dish at Masselow’s.

With the opening night of Inlander Restaurant Week just hours away, we checked in with Masselow’s Chef Tanya Broesder to see how the calm before the storm was going. “We’re ready,” she said Thursday afternoon, adding that a lot of the final preparations have to do with prepping the waitstaff for what’s to come.

“It’s like Valentine’s Day for 10 days in a row,” says Julie Holland, director of communications for Northern Quest Resort and Casino, where Masselow’s is the signature restaurant. “We know we have to be on our game.”

Servers will meet lots of new people during the run of IRW, and even though it’s sure to be busy, Broesder wants to maintain the quality of service diners expect from Masselow’s. Finishing touches aside, the food’s been in the works since early January.

“I’ve been working with my suppliers for the best beef tenderloin and salmon we can get,” Broesder says. “The salmon was a huge hit last year, so we kept it on the menu for this year, too.”

Night one is now in the books, with a busy weekend of dining out starting up tonight. You can peruse the menus of the 100+ participating restaurants to make your own plan. Here are some of the experiences Inlander team members had out on the town Thursday.

Emily Walden, account executive

Rolling in toward the end of a busy opening night, Emily got a table right away — which is unusual, as Ruins does not take reservations and is busy on weekends year-round. She immediately took advantage of the Drink Local option — the Mr. Wednesday cocktail, featuring Dry Fly gin and fennel liqueur. “Yummy!”

And her group loved the raviolo al uovo: “The broth by itself was wonderful,” says Emily, “but then you break the egg and mix in the creme fraiche and it turned into a whole new thing that was amazing. And the braised beef was to die for.”

Nutella fans, you are on notice: One of Ruins’ dessert choices is Nutella tiramisu.

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John Mayer schedules summer performance at the Gorge

Posted By on Fri, Feb 24, 2017 at 11:35 AM

John Mayer is set to perform at the Gorge Amphitheatre on July 21.
  • John Mayer is set to perform at the Gorge Amphitheatre on July 21.

It's cool to hate on John Mayer.

He's churned out a lot of safe blues rock over the years. He's said some dumb stuff in interviews. He probably takes himself a bit too seriously. But it's impossible to deny that the guy's a solid guitarist, and he's generated a huge fan base since releasing his first album in 2001.

Mayer has made a habit of playing the Gorge Amphitheatre every few years, and his upcoming summer tour has him returning to George, Washington, on July 21. Earlier today, Mayer released an EP titled The Search for Everything: Wave Two, a sequel of sorts to a four-song collection he dropped last month.

July's concert marks the first time Mayer has played a solo gig at the Gorge since 2013. He was there last summer with Dead and Company, a jam band he formed with the surviving members of the Grateful Dead.

Tickets go on sale next Saturday, March 4, at 10 am on and through Ticketmaster outlets.

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Did the Spokesman-Review just jinx the undefeated Zags?

Posted By on Fri, Feb 24, 2017 at 9:58 AM

Want to see into the future? Subscribers to the Spokesman-Review are able to do just that today — reading about Gonzaga's perfect regular season record (30-0!) a day before the Zags play their final game on Saturday against BYU. (Thursday night, the Gonzaga crushed San Diego to take their record to 29-0 on the season.)

You can find the digital version of the four-page section, with tomorrow's date, on the SR's website this morning — with the paper declaring, "After completing a perfect regular season, Gonzaga sets its sights on making an unprecedented postseason run."

Obviously, it's a safe bet that the No.1 team in America will beat BYU on their home court — catch the action on ESPN at 7:15 Saturday — but then again ... talk to old President Dewey about hubris in newspapers.

UPDATED 11:40 AM TODAY: Fearing the wrath of the basketball gods — and Zag fans everywhere — the Spokesman-Review has now taken down the special, end-of-the-season section.

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Restaurant week kicks off, Spokane physicians at a loss, and morning headlines

Posted By on Fri, Feb 24, 2017 at 9:48 AM


click image Fudge from Saranac Public House, one of the 101 eateries participating in Inlander Restaurant Week.
  • Fudge from Saranac Public House, one of the 101 eateries participating in Inlander Restaurant Week.

FOOD: Inlander Restaurant Week (Feb. 23-Mar. 4) is in full swing — check out some of our menu picks, learn more about the charity and people this week benefits, some food trends  you can try out, and more in our IRW Guide out now.

MUSIC: Julia Keefe's path to this year's Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival headlining stage started as a Spokane middle-schooler.

FOOD: New all-ages venue Lucky Puppy joins its big brother Scotty's Doghouse as a Logan neighborhood hangout.


Docs can't tell us what's up
The two Spokane physicians who filed a $191 million bankruptcy struggled to explain their own personal finances at their hearing yesterday, much less the business decisions behind their failed medical companies. (Spokesman-Review)
click image Gavin Grimm, 17, a transgender student with a lawsuit before the Supreme Court next month, was embraced by Vanessa Ford, whose daughter is transgender, at a rally outside the White House on Wednesday. - AL DRAGO/THE NEW YORK TIMES
  • AL DRAGO/The New York Times
  • Gavin Grimm, 17, a transgender student with a lawsuit before the Supreme Court next month, was embraced by Vanessa Ford, whose daughter is transgender, at a rally outside the White House on Wednesday.

The face behind the case
Meet 17-year-old Gavin Grimm, the transgender student and lead plaintiff in the "bathroom debate" court case
 that's headed to the Supreme Court. (New York Times)

Conservative conference
Trump just finished speaking at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC, the event Milo Yiannopoulos was disinvited from recently for his comments about sex between "younger boys and older men").

Trump, who skipped CPAC in 2016 and was booed when he went in 2015, said in nationalist, campaign-era overtones that he's "not representing the globe. I'm representing your country." (CNN)
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Thursday, February 23, 2017

Washington schools chief says transgender students will be protected despite Trump

But Idaho is a different story

Posted By on Thu, Feb 23, 2017 at 11:20 AM


Wednesday, President Donald Trump rolled back federal guidelines for transgender students that required schools to let those students use the bathrooms of their choice.

The move essentially leaves it up to the states to make decisions on protecting transgender students. And in Washington and Idaho, those protections look much different.

The federal decision won't impact how transgender students are treated in Washington schools, says Chris Reykdal, Washington state Superintendent of Public Instruction. Washington state law will continue to protect transgender students, and losing the federal guidelines shouldn't affect any district policies.

"Our state laws are explicit," Reykdal says. "We must not discriminate against our students, no matter their gender identity or sexual orientation."

The federal guidelines unveiled last year by President Obama made more of a difference in Idaho. When Obama directed school districts to let transgender students use the restrooms matching their gender identities in May, Idaho leaders, including Superintentent Sherri Ybarra, objected to the protections. Ybarra called the move "extreme top-down overreach," in a statement, and Gov. Butch Otter said the guidelines disregard states' rights and local control of schools.

The words "gender identity" or "sexual orientation" are not included in Idaho's human rights law.

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