Thursday, February 23, 2017

Kalispel Tribe announces family-friendly expansion for Northern Quest

Posted By on Thu, Feb 23, 2017 at 9:39 AM

An artist's rendering of the future look of the Northern Quest Resort & Casino.
  • An artist's rendering of the future look of the Northern Quest Resort & Casino.

The Kalispel Tribe announced Wednesday its plans for a $20 million expansion of its resort and casino in Airway Heights, most it focused on additional options for people less interested in gambling and more interested in a family getaway.

A supersized arcade focused on non-violent games, a children's entertainment center and daycare, additional dining and shopping options and a new high-end RV park are all part of the expansion that will include 40,000 additional square feet connected to the current south side of the Northern Quest Resort & Casino building.

"We're excited to bring additional family-friendly entertainment options to the West Plains," said Phil Haugen, Kalispel Tribal Economic Authority COO via press release. "For many years, our vision has included the desire to develop the property south of Northern Quest and create an even larger entertainment destination with a true sense of place and community."

The resort plans to break ground on the expansion this spring, with a grand opening of the new features envisioned for spring of 2018. The addition will continue the ongoing evolution of the West Plains as an entertainment destination, which also includes the expected 2017 opening of the Spokane Tribe's Hard Rock Hotel and casino in Airway Heights.
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"New" planets discovered, city still mum on street director ouster and other news

Posted By on Thu, Feb 23, 2017 at 9:25 AM


Former Spokane Street Director Mark Serbousek
  • Former Spokane Street Director Mark Serbousek
NEWS: Spokane city officials are still mum on reasons why longtime Street Director Mark Serbousek was booted from his position.

MUSIC: Jack Casady and Jorma Kaukonen will bring their acoustic blues to the Chateau Rive this Saturday. They're playing two sets 7:30 (sold out) and 10 pm.

GONZAGA: Women weren't allowed to attend Gonzaga University until 1948. A new on-campus exhibit shows how they shaped the campus then and for future students.


Gender Discrimination Suit Settled
The Department of Justice settled a gender discrimination lawsuit with a former Spokane prosecutor. Katherine "Jill" Bolton claimed she was paid less than a male colleague and her authority was undermined by men in the office. Bolton's attorney, Mary Schultz, said the $225,000 settlement was the largest paid by the DOJ for a gender discrimination suit. (Spokesman Review)

Bathroom Discrimination Bolstered
• President Donald Trump reversed Obama's order allowing students to use the bathroom in line with their gender identity. Trump's order reportedly divided members of his cabinet with Attorney General Jeff Sessions opposing the expansion of transgender rights and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos initially opposing Trump's decision. (New York Times)

Racial Discrimination Struck Down
• The U.S. Supreme Court ruled yesterday that a man sentenced to death in Texas can seek a new sentence after his own defense team called a witness who testified that the man was more likely to commit new crimes because he is black. (The Atlantic)

New Planets?
• Astronomers say they've discovered at least seven Earth-sized planets orbiting a single star 40 light years away. The planets might have water on their surfaces, and could therefore support life. (CNN)
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Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Living longer, slimming down and new Spokane options for dental care

Posted By on Wed, Feb 22, 2017 at 4:20 PM

With new dental clinics opening in Spokane, emergency room visits due to dental distress will hopefully go down.
  • With new dental clinics opening in Spokane, emergency room visits due to dental distress will hopefully go down.

Tooth troubles
More than 3,600 people headed to local emergency rooms in 2015 to get help with dental pain. Most of those visits could have been avoided if better preventive and specialized care were more readily available. Unfortunately, many of the region’s Medicaid patients aren’t able to access dental treatment due to a provider shortage in the region.

That’s why Providence Health Care, CHAS Health and the Spokane District Dental Society are teaming up to open two new dental clinics, as well as offer up to six dental residency slots to train future specialty dentists. A large outpatient clinic will be situated near Providence Holy Family, while a smaller hospital-based clinic at Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center will assist dental patients who have other medical issues, such as cardiac disease, cancer and dementia. Getting the clinics up and running will cost $5 million. They are expected to open next year.

Read more about how teeth affect your health here.

New high in life expectancy — but not in U.S.
How long will you live? If you are a woman in South Korea, a lot longer according to a new study published in the Lancet. For the first time, life expectancy for a population group has topped 90 years. The country is noted for investing in “childhood nutrition, education and technology, as well as low blood pressure, low levels of smoking and good access to health care.”

The United States had the lowest life span prediction among high-income countries, checking in at a little more than 83 years for women, and 79.5 for men.

Slim Down
Looking for some new ideas on how to lose weight? Healing Spokane will present a forum, “Weight Loss: Beyond the Ordinary Approach,” on February 28 from 6 to 7:30 pm at the WSU/EWU Auditorium at 668 N. Riverpoint Blvd. Healing Spokane is a group of healthcare providers, including doctors, as well as representatives from other fields including chiropractic, massage, naturopathy and acupuncture. The goal is to provide insights from complementary and integrative specialties about a variety of topics.
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Spokane Mayor to help celebrate new daytime emergency shelter for families

Posted By on Wed, Feb 22, 2017 at 1:22 PM

Spokane Mayor David Condon and organizers from Family Promise of Spokane will celebrate the recent opening of the city's first daytime emergency shelter for families on Thursday morning. 
Mayor Condon
  • Mayor Condon
The ribbon cutting is set for 11 am tomorrow at 631 S. Richard Allen Ct., outside the Emmanuel Family Life Center.

The shelter, called Open Doors, opened in early December, and is open to anyone who is homeless with children. It's open every day from 7:30 am to 7:30 pm.
It was made possible with help from a city grant, and is operated in partnership with the Salvation Army, which runs a night shelter.

Light snacks and a tour of Open Doors will be offered during the event.
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Seattle may sue Trump, city splits with meter service, and morning headlines

Posted By on Wed, Feb 22, 2017 at 9:46 AM

The shadow of Frank Straub remains cast over City Hall
  • The shadow of Frank Straub remains cast over City Hall



Remember former Police Chief Frank Straub and his incredibly expensive lawsuit against the City of Spokane? Well, even though it got tossed out by a District Court judge, it's currently under appeal in the 9th Circuit.

A couple more of those, and we're talking real bake-sale money
The Wellpinit School District got busted by the State Auditor for getting $400,000 dollars in state funding it shouldn't have.

Here comes the Fastball!
And other '90s rock bands to the Northern Quest Casino.


In City of Spokane, Parking Meter Gets Busted For Not Paying YOU!
The company that the City of Spokane was using for pay-by-phone parking meters owes the city $80,000, so the city is ditching it. (Spokesman-Review)

It's like Seattle doesn't like Trump or something
Seattle Mayor Ed Murray may sue Trump to figure out, among other stuff, how, exactly, he's defining sanctuary cities. (Spokesman-Review)

Swedish Fishy
The Seattle Times claims the head of Swedish Health Services, after it exposed all sorts of shady shenanigans in its neurosurgery institute. (Seattle Times)


Basket of Deportables
Trump's immigration plans will dramatically expand the types of unauthorized immigrants who are deported. (New York Times)

Bathroom Pass?
Ed Secretary Betsy DeVos doesn't like the Trump administration's proposal to rescind protections for transgender students in public schools. But Jeff Sessions is a firm supporter of it. (New York Times)

Minus the Milo
The Conservative Political Action Conference is today, and it's Trumpier than ever. (Washington Post)
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Tuesday, February 21, 2017

The lawsuit from former Police Chief Frank Straub? It's still happening.

Posted By on Tue, Feb 21, 2017 at 4:20 PM

With the appeal of police Chief Frank Straub before the Ninth Circuit, Straub's attorney, Mary Schultz, says the case has a pretty good shot of going to trial. - PHOTO COURTESY OF MARY SCHULTZ
  • Photo courtesy of Mary Schultz
  • With the appeal of police Chief Frank Straub before the Ninth Circuit, Straub's attorney, Mary Schultz, says the case has a pretty good shot of going to trial.

The fallout over the forced resignation of former police Chief Frank Straub — way back in September of 2015 — has already cost the city of Spokane more than they ever paid Straub as police chief.

Even though the public has moved on from the controversy, the legal case is still looming.

And as the City of Spokane refuses to give even the city council an explanation for why it booted Mark Serbousek from his role as street director, the ongoing legal case may provide some insight into why the city has been so tight-lipped.

Sure, in June, a U.S. District Court judge dismissed Straub's due process lawsuit in summary judgment — a major blow to Straub's case. But Straub quickly appealed to the Ninth Circuit. And the Ninth Circuit took the case.

For months, Straub's attorney Mary Schultz, and attorneys for the city, Mayor David Condon, City Administrator Theresa Sanders and former City Attorney Nancy Isserlis have been filing briefs in the appeal.

Schultz says she's pretty confident that it will be remanded back to the district trial court.

"This has a very important message to it, that is really going to need the Ninth Circuit to rule on it," Schultz says. "It’s the Fourteenth Amendment right to due process."

The lynchpin of Schultz's arguments come down to Condon's decision to distribute two letters from members of police leadership, accusing Straub of "unreasonable emotional outbursts, personal attacks, threats regarding ... employment and position, scare tactics, retaliation, degradation of character, demeaning and condescending treatment" and "profane and highly inappropriate language."

Continue reading »

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State auditor: Wellpinit School District overfunded $400,000 for ALE programs

Posted By on Tue, Feb 21, 2017 at 1:07 PM

A state auditor's office investigation has found that Wellpinit School District took more than $400,000 in state funding that it shouldn't have during the 2014-15 school year because it didn't report enrollment in two "Alternative Learning Experience" programs properly.

But Cheryl Thresher, who managed the state auditor's office investigation, stresses that the district did not deliberately violate compliance procedures to get more state funding.

The issues stemmed from Wellpinit School District's two Alternative Learning Experience programs, otherwise known as ALE programs: Wellpinit Alliance - Columbia Basin J.C. in Moses Lake, and Wellpinit - Fort Semco High School. ALEs offer individualized onsite and online curricula to students outside of a traditional school setting.

Districts are supposed to report the number of hours students participate in the programs to the Washington Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, and those hours are used as the basis for funding. But according to the state auditor's office, the district did not have internal controls in place to follow compliance with the reporting procedures, and it over-reported student hours. That led to the district being overfunded by $412,923.

"There are a lot of compliance requirements to claim funding for ALE programs," Thresher says.

In its investigation, the auditor's office looked at 14 students during the 2014-15 school year. The office found instances where the district claimed more hours than the student learning plan indicated, that monthly evaluations were missing, and that other requirements for reporting were not done properly.

The office recommends that the district put internal control in place to ensure all ALE compliance requirements are met prior to claiming the students for funding.

In its response to the investigation, the district says it has done that.

"Our district plans to work closely with OSPI to address and correct the auditor's findings," it said in a statement. "Having a clean audit for our ALE program is important to the district — as reflected in prior desk audits where our program was found to be compliant."

View the auditor's full report here.
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Hey '90s rock lovers: Everclear, Vertical Horizon & Fastball headed to Northern Quest

Posted By on Tue, Feb 21, 2017 at 11:46 AM

Everclear headlines in Airway Heights May 13.
  • Everclear headlines in Airway Heights May 13.

In the late '90s, few bands had the kind of hot streak enjoyed by Portland-based Everclear, the pop-rock crew led by Art Alexakis that had just enough edge to appeal to the so-called Alternative Nation, and enough hooks to land songs like "Santa Monica," "Everything to Everyone" and "Father of Mine" in heavy rotation on the radio and MTV.

Alexakis is still going, with a new Everclear lineup and a relatively new album, Black is the New Black, and they'll be headlining a show at Northern Quest Resort & Casino on May 13. They'll be joined by fellow '90s success stories Vertical Horizon and Fastball on the bill. Tickets go on sale Friday morning at 6 am through a special presale (use the code NQSOCIAL when you go to buy), through the Northern Quest Resort & Casino website. Otherwise, they go on sale Saturday at 8:30 am; tickets are $45/$55/$65 for the show.

Everclear delivered three straight platinum-selling albums in their heyday, including Sparkle and Fade (1995), So Much for the Afterglow (1997) and the ridiculously titled Songs from an American Movie Vol. 1: Learning How to Smile (2000).

Vertical Horizon is best know for their 1999 hit "Everything You Want," while Fastball is a real bonus in this show as far as I'm concerned. The Texas band had a couple of hits in "The Way" and "Fire Escape" and continues to make really catchy, straightforward rock a couple decades later.

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McMorris Rodgers' Spokane tour, Trump's immigration policy, and morning headlines

Posted By on Tue, Feb 21, 2017 at 9:18 AM


Answering the call
After constituents asked for U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers to be more accessible, she spent her day meeting privately with various people before she took questions during a conference call Monday night. But the call ended after less than an hour due to "technical difficulties." (Spokesman-Review)

Killed by his brother
A 17-year-old boy allegedly stabbed his twin brother to death on Sunday in Coulee City. He's been charged with manslaughter and assault. (KXLY)

Shouldn't it be the other way around?
Two Spokane doctors may owe money to insurance companies and 8,000 patients or clients, with the couple filing $191 million personal bankruptcy last month. But nobody seems to know exactly why these doctors, a psychiatrist and gynecologist, would owe their patients money. (Spokesman-Review)


Expelling undocumented immigrants
More undocumented immigrants will be deported under the Trump administration, according to plans released by the Department of Homeland Security on Tuesday translating President Donald Trump's executive orders into policy. Any undocumented individual convicted of a criminal offense will be subject to deportation, and 10,000 new immigration and customs agents will be hired.

Condemning Jewish threats
Responding to a rise in threats against the Jewish community, Trump finally spoke out against anti-semitism Tuesday. He called the threats "horrible" and "painful," and added that they are "are very sad reminder of the work that still must be done to root out hate and prejudice and evil."

Triggering the right

Milo Yiannopoulos, the right-wing Breitbart editor who has made a business out of provoking liberals, had a book deal canceled and was disinvited to this year's Conservative Political Action Conference after his comments that seemed to endorse sex between younger boys and older men. Now, even Breitbart may be thinking of cutting ties with him.
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Monday, February 20, 2017

Still undefeated, Zags nab 5th consecutive title as WCC season champs

Of the team's 20 WCC titles, 16 have come during Mark Few’s 18 years as head coach.

Posted By on Mon, Feb 20, 2017 at 9:52 AM

Redshirt senior center Przemek Karnowski (No. 24) has been a constant for the team these past five years. - YOUNG KWAK
  • Young Kwak
  • Redshirt senior center Przemek Karnowski (No. 24) has been a constant for the team these past five years.

Saturday’s matinee was as much another blowout win as it was a display of just how good the Gonzaga men’s basketball program has been over the years.

The Zags (28-0, 16-0 WCC) won their first regular season West Coast Conference championship during the 1994 season. Their 82-61 victory over the Pacific Tigers (10-19, 4-12) clinched at least a share of the program’s 20th regular season title.

“It’s one of those things that I take a lot of pride in,” Few said.

Of those 20 titles, 16 have come during Mark Few’s 18 years as head coach. And this year’s marks five straight titles for the Zags. Few isn’t the only thing that ties these five titles together, though. There’s been another constant on the team during that span: redshirt senior center Przemek Karnowski.

“I’m just happy that for five years that I’ve been here we’ve won it every season,” Karnowski said. “It feels good.”

To win five regular season titles in as many years requires, obviously, winning a lot of games. And that’s exactly what Karnowski has done. The big man from Poland picked up career victory number 128 against Pacific. He’s now five games shy of the NCAA career record for victories, currently held by former Duke Blue Devil Shane Battier.

Karnowski’s long and storied career began in the 2013 season. As a freshman, on the first Gonzaga team to be ranked No. 1, he came off the bench behind Kelly Olynyk and Sam Dower.

Olynyk, now in his fourth season with the NBA’s Boston Celtics, and Dower were in attendance at the Kennel to catch this edition of the No. 1 ranked Zags. Having a couple of former Bulldogs in the house was yet another highlight in an exciting season here in Spokane.

“We’re enjoying the heck out of every day on this ride,” Few said. “Obviously we want to take it as far as possible. But we’re also going to enjoy every day and every moment and every win.”

The Zags, and their fans, have two more chances to enjoy wins before heading to Las Vegas for the WCC Tournament. Next Thursday they head to San Diego to take on the Toreros before returning home for the season finale against BYU Saturday.
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