Wednesday, April 19, 2017

A handful of new restaurants, bars and tasting rooms on the way, or open now

Posted By on Wed, Apr 19, 2017 at 3:58 PM

Patio dining season is here (depending on the day) and farmers market season in the Inland Northwest is just around the corner. To tide us all over until the months of regional bounty hit full swing, here are the latest tidbits on what's happening in, or on its way to, the local dining scene.

New places to check out now:

Craft & Gather's roasted beet salad. - CRAFT & GATHER FACEBOOK
  • Craft & Gather Facebook
  • Craft & Gather's roasted beet salad.
Craft & Gather
Opening earlier this week, the restaurant focused on local ingredients makes its home at the former Painted Hills Golf Course clubhouse, off of Dishman-Mica Road in Spokane Valley. Opened by two industry vets who've each worked at establishments around the country, Craft & Gather's menu leans toward what (apologies to all the chefs who roll their eyes at this term; sometimes you gotta keep it basic) appears to be upscale pub food, or Northwest comfort fare: entrées include several burgers, a fried chicken sandwich, ribeye with wild mushrooms, salmon with lentils, and an indulgent grilled cheese; sides and starters range from beet salad to seasonal veggies, polenta fries and steamed clams. An accompanying beer list is appropriately Northwest- and Spokane-focused, with offerings from River City, No-Li, Iron Goat, Slate Creek, Daft Badger, Orlison and more. Craft & Gather is now open daily, from 3-10 pm; happy hour is 3-5 pm. (Stay tuned in the coming weeks for our feature on this new spot.)

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The Stranger interviews Rachel Dolezal, Aaron Hernandez found dead, and morning headlines

Posted By on Wed, Apr 19, 2017 at 9:43 AM


The view from the westside
The Stranger sent a team of writers to Spokane to tell its Seattle readers something that many of us here already know: Spokane, contrary to some popular opinion, is OK. Our literary scene is "blooming," our record store scene is "booming," our food scene is growing, and a city councilwoman doubles as "The Weed Queen." There's also this hard-hitting interview in which Ijeoma Oluo, a black woman, interviews former Inlander columnist Rachel Dolezal, a white woman who identifies as black. Give it a read.

Rachel Dolezal
  • Rachel Dolezal
Standoff in north Spokane
A driver was weaving on U.S. Highway 395 last night. When state troopers tried to pull him over, it started a chase. The driver hit spike strips, then kept driving without tires, then there was a police standoff on Division that involved the bomb squad and a robot. Eventually, he was handcuffed and taken into custody, according to the Washington State Patrol. (KXLY)

Goodbye, Nigel
Gonzaga junior guard Nigel Williams-Goss will declare for the NBA Draft, making him the second Zag to leave (Zach Collins was the other) after the team's memorable Final Four run. (Spokesman-Review)


NFL star/convicted murderer found dead
Aaron Hernandez, the former New England Patriots star tight end convicted of murder, apparently hanged himself in prison with a bed sheet, according to the Massachusetts Department of Corrections. (Washington Post)

Democrat nearly wins Georgia House seat

In what could have been a referendum on President Trump, a Democrat hoping to win a special congressional election in Georgia narrowly failed to win outright, gaining 48 percent of the vote — he needed 50 percent to avoid a runoff. He'll have another chance to win the seat in June. (New York Times)
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Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Bloomsday 2017 is coming; better get registered

Posted By on Tue, Apr 18, 2017 at 10:01 AM

Bloomsday 2001
  • Bloomsday 2001

Bloomsday has been around a really long time. This year's race on May 7 will be the 41st edition of Spokane's revered road rumble.

Given its longevity — recounted in our sweet oral history published last year — I would guess that some of the runners are old-school, in the sense that they register for the race using the good ol' U.S. Postal Service. If that's you or anyone you know, you need to have your entry postmarked today to take advantage of the $18 entry fee. If you need to pick up an entry form, you can get one at area Washington Trust Banks, Albertsons and Safeway stores, Franz Bakery outlets, Premera Blue Cross, Holy Family Hospital and Sacred Heart Medical Center.

Of course, you can register online through April 23 right here.

Happy running, Bloomies!
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Missing teen found safe in Idaho, Trump faces tax-reform challenge, and morning headlines

Posted By on Tue, Apr 18, 2017 at 9:23 AM


NEWS: What would have happened if City Council President Ben Stuckart ran against David Condon for mayor in 2015? This previously unreported poll gives us some clues.

MUSIC: Elkfest announces this year's lineup, and it's as 
San Francisco R&B collective Afrolicious is a highlight of this year's Elkfest lineup.
  • San Francisco R&B collective Afrolicious is a highlight of this year's Elkfest lineup.
eclectic as ever. 


Making amends
After a road was illegally plowed through a natural area near High Drive, two city council members called for immediate restoration. Avista is now leading the efforts to restore it. (Spokesman-Review)

Punished for running
An Idaho teenager who went missing after prom on Friday was found safe, according to the Orofino Police Department. Now, he could be criminally charged for running away. (KXLY)

Mall shooter dies in jail
The man accused of killing five people during a mall shooting in western Washington in September was found dead in jail yesterday. The Skagit County Prosecuting Attorney says Arcan Cetin, 20, died of an apparent suicide by hanging himself. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Keeping kids safe
The Coeur d'Alene School District is looking at ways to more effectively check the backgrounds of new hires. This follows a controversy in which a teacher, who lost his chiropractic license for having sex with a patient, was fired. He has since been charged with a sex crime. (Coeur d'Alene Press)

What about your taxes?
As President Trump pushes for tax reform, demands that he release his own taxes may derail any tax overhaul. (New York Times)
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Monday, April 17, 2017

Unreported poll previewed a Condon vs. Stuckart mayoral battle that never was

Posted By on Mon, Apr 17, 2017 at 4:02 PM

The face-off that might have been in November 2015.
  • The face-off that might have been in November 2015.

The political action committee had about as a generic a name as you could get: "Spokane Citizens for Political Education."

It only lasted for a few months in 2014 and 2015. Three union organizations — the Washington State Council of County and City Employees, the City of Spokane Managerial & Professional Association, and the Spokane Firefighters Union PAC — donated the entirety of the PAC's $12,600 campaign coffers.

And $12,400 of that was spent hiring a polling firm, EMC Research, to test a key question: How would City Council President Ben Stuckart fare if he ran against Mayor David Condon in the 2015 election?

While the favorable ratings of several other mayoral candidates, including City Councilwoman Candace Mumm and WSU Spokane Chancellor Lisa Brown, also were polled, the bulk of the questions were aimed at examining Stuckart and Condon. The phrase "Stuckart for Mayor" at the bottom of the PowerPoint presentation prepared by EMC leaves little doubt about the intentions behind the survey.

Now, the survey has re-emerged as the subject of an April 7 Public Disclosure Commission complaint by Glen Morgan, the same conservative activist who filed the massive PDC complaint that resulted in the resignation of Spokane County Democrats executive director Jim CastroLang.

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Elkfest announces this year's lineup of artists, and it's as eclectic as ever

Posted By on Mon, Apr 17, 2017 at 3:32 PM

  • Afrolicious

Elkfest, the three-day music festival that takes over the Browne's Addition neighborhood every year in late spring, just announced its upcoming lineup. From June 9-11, you can get an earful of soul, reggae, folk, rock and blues tunes, and it's all free.

This year's Elkfest roster is as eclectic as ever, featuring the San Francisco R&B collective Afrolicious, the San Diego dream-pop band the Donkeys and self-described "traveling singer-songwriter" Dustin Thomas. Local artists include Marshall McLean, Folkinception, Griffey and Fat Lady, who's performing at the Inlander's 420 Party later this week.

Although standing around and listening to tunes won't cost you a penny, hanging out in the adjacent beer gardens (if you're 21 and older, that is) will run you just $2.

A detailed schedule has yet to be announced, but until then, here's a list of participating artists.
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Congress gets Obamacare, Spokane judge finds 3 men innocent, and morning headlines

Posted By on Mon, Apr 17, 2017 at 9:39 AM


NEWS: The Spokane County Democratic Party not only filed campaign donations late or improperly, but also used money it had set aside only for scholarships to keep things running.

NEWS: A Spokane prosecuting attorney was appointed to fill the
When it comes to North Korea, the U.S. is running out of patience, says Tillerson.
  • When it comes to North Korea, the U.S. is running out of patience, says Tillerson.
late Judge Sam Cozza's spot on the Spokane County Superior Court bench.

NEWS: Three men who were wrongly convicted in a robbery and later found innocent due to lack of evidence have now had their names cleared after a Spokane judge found they were actually innocent, meaning that a lot of state money will likely be coming their way.

MUSIC: Miss the Outercourse and Dancing Plague of 1518 show last Thursday night? Tuck's got you covered.


Congress gets Obamacare, too
The Washington Post takes a look at claims about the health coverage that members of Congress get; it's a little complicated, but many of them are on the exchanges. (Washington Post)

What to do about North Korea
Recent displays to show North Korea's nuclear strength and U.S. efforts to deal with the underlying issues have been compared to the "Cuban missile crisis in slow motion," with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson recently saying a strategy of patience is ending, the New York Times reports. (New York Times)
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Friday, April 14, 2017

CONCERT REVIEW: Spokane's Outercourse, Dancing Plague of 1518 kick off mini-tour

Posted By on Fri, Apr 14, 2017 at 5:08 PM


For those who were willing to come out on Thursday for a free local show at the Baby Bar, Outercourse and the Dancing Plague of 1518 kicked off their upcoming four-show tour last night, and it was a blaring launch.

Connor Knowles' solo project, Dancing Plague, opened the night with an equally haunting and thumping set of darkwave electronic music, using a beats machine, guitar riffs, synth layers, processed vocals and found sounds to pair with his projected visuals.

The Dancing Plague of 1518 will be damned if you don't find yourself at least nodding along to the whirling basslines or shifting your feet with his syncopated synthetic drums. Knowles' act is a refreshing addition to a local music scene that often gets labeled as being too genre-specific. Knowles has come out with two EPs over the short year or so he's recorded as this project.

Heavy Seventeen linked the two touring acts with a middle set that offered up plenty of lo-fi alt-rock vibes. There was plenty of bobbing and shuffling from the crowd as the band enjoyed playing slacker rock that feels timeless. It was a treat to listen to some good buzzing alt-rock and to see the fun that frontman Matt Lakin and company have.

Outercourse closed out the night with a set that seemed to only get better the further they got into it. Fresh off the release of their Spring '17 tape, the band, led by vocalist and guitarist Ben Jennings, showed the acumen it takes to be a solid lo-fi project.

Jennings and fellow guitarist Alex Smith adeptly slice through the mix of bassist Adam Smith and drummer Norman Robbins. Jennings' vocals rest atop the lo-fi buzzing and pinging guitars and will quickly swerve from yelps and singing into gravelly shouts whenever he and Smith rip into their next bouncing riff.

This is most likely the final lineup for Jennings' project, which has seen its current members swap instruments over the last three years. And it's the final roster for good reason, as their closing number, "Mel's Hole," played to the individual fortes of each member. It was a pleasure to see the band play off of each other in the closing break, with Robbins blasting through the solos on his battered drum kit.

Outercourse and Dancing Plague of 1518 will play Eugene (Old Nick's Pub), Tacoma (Bob's Java Jive) and Bellingham (The Swillery) over the holiday weekend, April 14-16.
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Drumheller No! Spokane County Dems used scholarship money for operations, leaving some members irate

Posted By on Fri, Apr 14, 2017 at 4:56 PM

Former Spokane County Democrats chairwoman Sally Jackson was irate when the Democrats took money from the fund that was supposed to be used for scholarships. - DANIEL WALTERS PHOTO
  • Daniel Walters photo
  • Former Spokane County Democrats chairwoman Sally Jackson was irate when the Democrats took money from the fund that was supposed to be used for scholarships.

When Dan Lambert arrived at Lincoln Center for the Spokane County Democrats' viewing party of the second presidential debate, it wasn't just to watch Hillary Clinton duke it out with Donald Trump.

Lambert, a Spokane County Democratic party activist for 28 years, came armed with a copy of Spokane County Democrats' board minutes from 2009, and the copy of a dead party member's will. He wanted to show the minutes to Jim CastroLang — then both the chair and the executive director of the Spokane County Democrats. Lambert says that CastroLang looked shocked by what he saw.

“He turned a couple shades lighter [in] color,” Lambert says. “This was all new information. He did not know about this.”

This week, we have a story about the resignation of CastroLang after a Public Disclosure Commission complaint revealed the local Democratic party's error-strewn, heavily delayed reporting to the PDC. Internally, longtime party members' frustration regarding their leadership was about more than just mistakes with campaign finance PDC filings.

It was about CastroLang's decision to take money specifically set aside for scholarships (and nothing else) and use it to pay operating costs.

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Spokane County prosecutor appointed to Superior Court bench

Posted By on Fri, Apr 14, 2017 at 12:08 PM

Hazel speaking at a Spokane County Bar Association luncheon during his tenure as president. - COURTESY OF TONY HAZEL
  • Courtesy of Tony Hazel
  • Hazel speaking at a Spokane County Bar Association luncheon during his tenure as president.

Gov. Jay Inslee appointed a career prosecuting attorney to the Spokane County Superior Court bench, replacing the late Judge Sam Cozza.

Tony Hazel, a proponent of criminal justice reform and a prosecutor in Spokane for the past 13 years, will fill the final spot on the 12-person bench. Cozza was Spokane's presiding judge when he died in mid-January, and Judge Michael Price has taken on that role. Details on what types of cases Hazel will handle as a judge are still being worked out, he says. He expects to be seated on the bench within a couple of weeks.

"I'm honored to have been selected, and I look forward to pursuing the judgeship for some time," Hazel says, indicating that he intends to run for re-election when the term is up in 2020. "I'm committed to public safety and fairness, and ensuring that I run the people's courtroom in a manner that gives justice a chance to prevail."

Hazel, a graduate of Gonzaga University and the Gonzaga School of Law, started his career as a prosecutor in Yakima before taking the job in Spokane. The bulk of his experience is in criminal prosecutions, he says. Hazel helped establish the identity theft task force in Spokane, and has handled multiple homicide cases.

Recently, though, Hazel has worked on the civil side of the law, specifically on cases involving mental health.

Throughout his tenure, Hazel has been one of the leaders in local criminal justice reform within the prosecutor's office. Hazel served on the public safety transition team when Mayor David Condon was first elected in 2011, and was part of the panel pushing to reactivate the Regional Law and Justice Council.

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