Thursday, July 28, 2016

Spokane Valley City Council is finally whole again

Posted By on Thu, Jul 28, 2016 at 11:50 AM


It's been three months since all the seats on Spokane Valley City Council were occupied. 

First, Dean Grafos resigned. He had deep frustrations with the four-person council majority, who he called "so driven by their ideology that it's like talking to a brick wall." Shortly after, Chuck Hafner resigned, citing similar frustration. Then, Bill Bates resigned due to health issues, and Bill Gothmann's time filling in for him expired. 

But after choosing two replacements weeks ago, Spokane Valley finally has a full council again after appointing Michael Munch to fill the seat on Tuesday.

Munch is the president of Able Construction. He was treasurer of Stevens County Republican Party from 2012 until 2014. He says he's from the area, but has only been a resident of the Valley for a year and a half.

He threw his name in the hat for the City Council position because he feels its "part of our duty" as citizens to serve for local government "when and if we're able to." For Munch, that time is now, when he'll soon no longer have to work out of town as much. 

As for his goals while serving on council, he says he wants to "continue to make government more friendly towards businesses and the citizens." He says funding needed road maintenance without raising taxes will be one of the first challenges the council will face. 

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WA attorney general fires back at states challenging federal transgender guidelines

Posted By on Thu, Jul 28, 2016 at 10:30 AM


Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson is messing with Texas (and Idaho and some other states).

On Wednesday, Ferguson filed a brief on behalf of Washington, in addition to 11 other states and the District of Columbia, that supports a federal guideline intended to ensure the civil rights of transgender students. The brief also takes aim at states challenging the protections in federal court.

“While Plaintiffs’ claimed harms are hypothetical, the discrimination suffered by transgender individuals is all too real,” reads the brief. “Such discrimination harms transgender individuals at work, at school, and in public, causing tangible economic, emotional, and health consequences.”

The sweeping set of guidelines, introduced last spring, directs schools to treat transgender students in a way that’s consistent with their gender identity. The guidelines cover everything from using a student’s preferred pronoun to addressing harassment. They also cover more contentious areas, calling on schools to allow transgender students to use the bathrooms and locker rooms of their choice. Districts that didn’t comply risked losing federal funds.

The guidelines swiftly triggered a lawsuit from 11 states, led by the attorney general of Texas that later drew support from Idaho, that argued the they would transform “workplaces and educational settings across the country into laboratories for a massive social experiment, flouting the democratic process, and running roughshod over commonsense policies protecting children and basic privacy rights.”

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Straub investigator calls shenanigans on City Attorney's office, Obama goes Reagan, and other big headlines

Posted By on Thu, Jul 28, 2016 at 9:21 AM

By speaking with the Straub investigator on Tuesday, Laura McAloon has imperiled her future as City Attorney. - COURTESY OF WORKLAND & WITHERSPOON
  • Courtesy of Workland & Witherspoon
  • By speaking with the Straub investigator on Tuesday, Laura McAloon has imperiled her future as City Attorney.

Cut my life into pieces: This is the Straub report
Kris Cappel finally comes out with her long-anticipated report: And it's 126 pages, packed with huge revelations. In particular, about Theresa Sanders, Frank Straub, and the city attorney's office. It makes for some pretty Cappel-ing reading. 

Windoe pangs
Do you like music? Weird. We prefer podcasts about finance. But whatever floats your boat. Here are some songs from some of Spokane's hippest bands.

Coffee Run 
Check out these badass out-of-the-way coffee shops.  


Trust rebuilt, then shattered 

Three days ago, Ben Stuckart praised Laura McAloon in The Inlander, calling her a great attorney. Now, believing she inappropriately interfered with the Straub investigator's report, he's furious at her and says he won't vote for her for city attorney.  To the Inlander, McAloon denies she did anything of the sort. [Spokesman-Review]

The cops are coming!

The Sheriff's office and the Spokane Police Department have added much-needed cops. [Spokesman-Review]

Warded Away
 Jeff Ward and Lora Gervais, the two leaders of the Kootenai County Reagan Republicans, resign, because they can't stomach Trump.  [CDA Press]


But is America ready for a black president?
Barack Obama gives a Reagan-esque speech that tells Republicans, Dude, I know you. We don't always like each other, but Trump — he's not you. [New York Times]

The pen can certainly be a dangerous weapon, in the right hands
A Washington Post reporter is barred from a Mike Pence rally — and patted down. [Washington Post]

Maybe they need to symbolize some sort of 'reset' on their relationship?

Why Trump-loving Putin doesn't care for Clinton. Hint: It's not that they find her laugh grating. [Washington Post]
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Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Fresh Spokane music from Windoe, Lavoy, Crystalline and many more just in time for summer

Posted By on Wed, Jul 27, 2016 at 4:06 PM

Windoe, through a cloud of mist.
  • Windoe, through a cloud of mist.

If you're ready for a bunch of brand new tracks this summer, look no further than these local bands' new tunes. Below you'll find links to mostly singles and EPs — apparently full albums aren't as cool right now — and among the bunch you're bound to find something to make your spirits sing. 

"Seat At York Table"
Karli Ingersoll (of the Bartlett, Cathedral Pearls, Prairie War and Super Sparkle fame) is always working on something new, and with her solo project Windoe's newest single, released just last week, she taps into the the dreamiest guitar heaven to pull out an upbeat yet pretty sad song. You can hear Windoe perform Wednesday night in Kendall Yards at the Rock the Nest concert series.

"Navigation Song"
The local folk-rock act hasn't released new music since 2014, but here with "Navigation Song" Folkinception shows they're on the way to more. The old-timey single was released last month as a demo and will only be available for a limited amount of time. Get your taste now. 

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Check out these Spokane-area coffee shops off the beaten track

Posted By on Wed, Jul 27, 2016 at 1:00 PM

Tom Sawyer Country Coffee is tucked away, but well worth finding. - SARAH PHILP
  • Sarah Philp
  • Tom Sawyer Country Coffee is tucked away, but well worth finding.

The scent of fresh espresso permeates the air, and a charismatic barista mans the counter to take your order. Hip-looking college kids sit at some tables, basking in the soft glows of their laptop screens as they sip on their tasty beverages. The place is sleek and clean, dusted to perfection, but also decorated tastefully and distinctively.

The above imagery describes just about every good coffee shop in existence, and can likely be applied to your preferred espresso destination. When you're on the hunt for your morning (or afternoon, or evening) joe, sometimes your favorite cafe fits the bill. But other times, you want to venture somewhere new, somewhere besides the established local greats — the Rockwood Bakeries and Atticuses of the world. When that urge strikes, you don't want to be left helpless to frantically Google an appealing option, or resort to one of your safe bets. Instead, prepare for the situation beforehand by educating yourself on the below trio of great, lesser-known espresso joints in the Spokane area.

Tom Sawyer Country Coffee
608 N. Maple | 818-3355
Nestled just west of the Kendall Yards commercial strip on a corner you might never find unless you're looking for it, Tom Sawyer qualifies as a true hidden gem. Its owner, 73-year-old Gary Tom Sawyer, has been roasting coffee for the better part of 55 years, but the doors to his Spokane shop just opened last October. A gaping garage door opens when the weather allows for it, while the company's large, red metal roasting equipment gives the inside an almost industrial feel. Old coffee cans, containers, and french presses adorn the shelves on the walls, contributing to a vintage vibe, and several glass-covered tables give the room a communal feel. It's usually quiet in the shop, but comfortably so, with customers sounding the door's chime as they enter and exit from time to time. The menu isn't overly ambitious, but the flavors are top-notch, and the baristas are willing to lend suggestions. It isn't uncommon to hear them asking their customers' names; the place seems intent on building the kinds of relationships that make for an enduring, beloved business. If you're in the mood for a refreshing treat, try an iced latte with Tom's signature toddy shots. You won't regret it.

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Condon administration hid damning records until after election — and other big revelations

Posted By on Wed, Jul 27, 2016 at 12:59 PM

An independent investigator says Mayor Condon's administration purposefully withheld relevant records about ousted Chief Frank Straub until after his re-election.
  • An independent investigator says Mayor Condon's administration purposefully withheld relevant records about ousted Chief Frank Straub until after his re-election.

It took more than half a year to complete — with delays, internal battles and controversies hammering it right up to the very end. It's 126 pages. And that's the summary.

But now the findings of an independent investigation into how the city of Spokane handled allegations concerning former police Chief Frank Straub has been released. We're still combing through the documents, but we've already identified scores of revelations. 

And remember, this is without  the independent investigator, Kris Cappel, getting to see every document. 

1. The city administrators and city attorney intentionally withheld public records from the city clerk until after Mayor David Condon's re-election — and in doing so, potentially violated Washington state public records law. 

"Based on all of the evidence we considered, we conclude that [City Administrator] Theresa Sanders and [City Attorney Nancy] Isserlis intentionally withheld information from the City Clerk about the existence of the documents at issue with the intent and purpose of delaying the production of those records until after the Mayor’s election," Cappel wrote. 

And, considering Condon became the first Spokane mayor re-elected in over 40 years, it worked. 

City Council President Ben Stuckart says he and his attorney consider intentionally withholding responsive records to be a violation of the Washington state public records act.

Remember, Condon, Sanders and City Spokesman Brian Coddington have all lambasted their critics, charging that criticism against them on this issue was "politically motivated." In fact, Cappel charges, all three manipulated the public records process with the intent and purpose of politics.

In a statement, Sanders continued this tack, accusing Cappel of reaching a predetermined conclusion.

“I am angered and troubled by the reviewer’s statement that I intentionally withheld information," Sanders says. "She has reached a predetermined conclusion that is inconsistent with the statements and documentation utilized in preparing her report." 

She quoted the City Clerk Terri Pfister's statement denying that the mayor, Sanders or Coddington had asked her to withhold or delay the records. 

But that wasn't Cappel's argument. Her conclusion argues that Sanders knew key records existed, but didn't provide them to the city clerk. 
Ms. Sanders was aware that the November 24 records existed but never informed the City Clerk. She affirmatively represented that she had no responsive records or that her records were forwarded to legal in connection with potential litigation. Ms. Sanders did not describe the records she forwarded. Ms. Sanders also never requested her staff to search for the relevant correspondences, which were stored electronically and in hard copy in the Mayor’s office, and produced to this investigator by the Mayor’s staff within an hour of requesting the documents.

Condon and Coddington were also aware of the Sanders texts and notes, Cappel wrote, but there is no evidence they ever told the city clerk of their existence. 

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Hillary Clinton makes history, Daiquiri Factory guy in trouble again and other morning headlines

Posted By on Wed, Jul 27, 2016 at 9:25 AM


SPORTS: Four Spokane Indians players will play in the All-Star game
MUSIC: Peep these new music videos from Stevie Lynne, Moretta, the Backups and the Broken Thumbs
NEWS: ICYMI, staff writer Jake Thomas drummed up some info on the dudes challenging Cathy McMorris Rodgers so you don't have to.


• The man who tried to assassinate Ronald Reagan in 1981 will be released from a psychiatric hospital, a federal judge ruled today. John W. Hinckley Jr., now 61, was found not guilty by reason of insanity after he fired a revolver outside a hotel where Reagan had just spoke. He wounded the president and four other men. 

• Hillary Clinton became the first woman nominated for president by a major party yesterday.

• The remaining three Baltimore police officers charged in the death of Freddie Gray have been dropped.

• Jamie Pendleton, better known as the Daiquiri Factory guy, is in legal trouble again. This time, he's under investigation for identity theft. Police suspect Pendleton used his estranged daughter's name to apply for a liquor license to reopen his bar earlier this year. (KXLY)
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Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Four Spokane Indians players heading to the all-star game

Posted By on Tue, Jul 26, 2016 at 4:43 PM

click image Xavier Turner - MILB.COM
  • Xavier Turner
click image Tyler Ferguson - MILB.COM
  • Tyler Ferguson
click image Seth Spivey - MILB.COM
  • Seth Spivey
click image Chad Smith - MILB.COM
  • Chad Smith

The second annual Northwest League vs. Pioneer League All-Star game is back with four Spokane Indians players being selected to play for the NWL team. The players include third baseman Xavier Turner, catcher Seth Spivey, pitcher Tyler Ferguson and outfielder Chad Smith. 

Last year Spokane has hosted the game at Avista Stadium with an almost-full capacity of 7,083 fans attending.

“The is a tremendous honor and a great opportunity to compete against some of the top players at this level,” said Spivey, who was also a mid-season all-star in 2014 as a second baseman. “We look forward to representing Spokane and the NWL in Ogden.”

In addition to Spivey, Smith joins the all-stars as the youngest hitter in the league at 18, former Vanderbilt star Turner is hitting .337, and pitcher Ferguson is fourth in the league in strikeouts despite pitching out of the bullpen, with 41 so far. 

The game is happening on Tuesday, August 2, at 6 pm Pacific at the Lindquist Field in Ogden, Utah. A Home Run Derby will begin before the game at 4 pm, with the first pitch of the game scheduled for 6 pm. 

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WATCH THIS: Fresh local videos from Stevie Lynne, Moretta, the Backups and the Broken Thumbs

Posted By on Tue, Jul 26, 2016 at 3:04 PM

The Broken Thumbs
  • The Broken Thumbs

The music video isn't dead. As stated in an Inlander article earlier this year, MTV is bringing more music to its programming and the channel continues to present Music Video Awards (see the newly-announced nominations right here, which Beyoncé slayed), but it's YouTube that continues to bring music videos to the people — especially locally made ones, like the following. Here's what some area acts have been up to in the last month or so:

"Cue the Silence"
This Coeur d'Alene metalcore act's newest song (released July 15) may seem angry, but it's all about finding the will to persevere. Their new accompanying lyric music video only helps to drive the four-piece's point home. Their 3,000-plus Facebook fans should be pleased.

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CONCERT REVIEW: Parker Millsap's stirring, rootsy tunes thrill in Spokane

Posted By on Tue, Jul 26, 2016 at 10:33 AM

Parker Millsap at The Bartlett - DAN NAILEN
  • Dan Nailen
  • Parker Millsap at The Bartlett

There's a feeling that comes with seeing a young artist on the rise exceed expectations on stage, a building excitement song by song that what you're witnessing is not just as good as advertised, but on the verge of something huge.

That was certainly the case for me watching Parker Millsap on stage at the Bartlett Monday, playing to a near-sold-out room. I'd already heard and fell in love with his two most-recent albums, his 2014 self-titled release and the new The Very Last Day. But seeing Millsap and his three backing musicians deliver live, ripping through 19 songs ranging from foot-stomping rave-ups to delicate ballads, was an entirely different experience than popping on some headphones. The 23-year-old is a charismatic frontman, a smiling bandleader easy with his between-song banter and in trading barbs with his fellow musicians. 

More importantly, every song was an absolute killer performance, each building on the previous to the point that my interior monologue went from "this guy's going to be huge" to "Holy shit he's good!" to "In five years I'm probably going to be driving long distances to see this guy." Millsap's blend of rock, country, blues and folk hits me right in my roots-loving sweet spot.

The set leaned heavily on The Very Last Day, as well it should; Millsap's latest earned him a nomination for Album of the Year from the Americana Music Association, alongside established elders Lucinda Williams, Jason Isbell and Chris Stapleton.

The show-opening "Pining" is a poppy love song and set the joyful tone early. "Heaven Sent," an epic ballad about a young Christian man and his father coming to grips with his homosexuality, was excellent, as was "Morning Blues," on which Millsap played electric guitar and strapped on a harmonica. 

"This is a song about the nuclear annihilation of everyone and everything, and I hope you enjoy it," Millsap said by way of introducing the title track to The Very Last Day, a nice indication of his sense of humor. He introduced "You Gotta Move" by saying with a big grin and perfect comic timing,"this is an old blues song about the Rapture. Or something." 

Elsewhere, songs from his self-titled album made clear there were some fans in the audience who knew his work well; both "Old Time Religion" and "Truck Stop Gospel" had folks in the crowd singing along. He covered "Comin' Undone," a song he wrote with Sarah Jarosz for her latest album, as well as old blues tune "The Hesitation Blues," working up a sweat early in the show on that one. 

Millsap's band was excellent, too; standup bassist Michael Rose, drummer Paddy Ryan and fiddler Daniel Foulks (introduced by Millsap as "the only Eagles fan in the band," despite wearing an Iggy and the Stooges T-shirt) all fleshed out the songs more than capably, giving Millsap the ability to bounce between guitars. 

When Millsap strapped on an electric for the first time for a brand-new song, "Other Arrangements," it offered a glimpse into an exciting future for his music. The tune was a shambling blues-rock number, delivered loud and kind of sloppy. It was, in a word, awesome. 

But you can say that for Millsap's whole show. 
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