Friday, July 29, 2016

FILM REVIEW: The Innocents a heady exploration of faith, fact

Posted By on Fri, Jul 29, 2016 at 10:30 AM

A nun frantically seeks medical help for a fellow sister in The Innocents
  • A nun frantically seeks medical help for a fellow sister in The Innocents

During the opening scene of The Innocents, a group of nuns recite their morning prayers. The camera pans slowly, delicately, to show their faces, simultaneously framing the abbey's arches in striking, patterned fashion. A woman's tortured howl echoes through the hall. Most of the nuns ignore the disruption, but one seems agitated. She neglects to bow at the prayer's end as all the others do.

This scene sets the stage for the film to follow with a brand of concise effectiveness that's rarely witnessed. Despite a total absence of dialogue, it immediately establishes the conflict that anchors the film: the internal clash of religious beliefs with the horrors of reality. 

Soon after the opening sequence, viewers are introduced to Mathilda (Lou de Laage), a French Red Cross doctor working relief in post-World War II Poland. One night, Mathilda reluctantly follows a desperate summons to an abbey, where she finds a nun on the verge of giving birth. Mathilda learns that the nunnery has been ravaged by rape, swept through by a company of Soviet soldiers in the aftermath of the war, leaving many of the nuns pregnant. The abbess (Agata Kulesza) worries that if the Polish Red Cross is notified of the nunnery's state, their violation of religious protocol will be reported, and the abbey will be shut down. Thus, Mathilda finds herself the sole caretaker able to save the nuns' lives while allowing them to salvage their faith. 

Of course, the task proves hardly simple. Mathilda is met at every turn with resistance. Some nuns are terrified to let the doctor examine their bodies, fearing eternal damnation if they break their sacred oaths. It's difficult not to groan at their stubbornness at points; Mathilda's atheistic insistence that the nuns' dire need for medical treatment trumps all potential religious consequence certainly seems the side that viewers are more likely to take in the ideological conflict. 

But The Innocents is careful to temper its portrayal of the situation so as not to come across as condemning religion. Each of its complex, nuanced characters adds a unique wrinkle. For instance, the tragically devout abbess, who boasts probably more shades of grey than anyone else in the film, is a fascinating personality, and viewers will likely find themselves forced to reevaluate their opinions of her over the narrative's course as her motivations are unveiled.

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Condon not backing down, Hillary speaks and headlines to end your week

Posted By on Fri, Jul 29, 2016 at 9:24 AM


NEWS: Straub report cites at least 25 times that city officials were alerted to the chief's concerning behavior
FOOD: Spokane chef advances to final round of vegan cooking competition
FOR FUN! How to make sure you're not missing Facebook page's posts, including the Inlander's
INHEALTH: Counteracting desk time, new energy drinks and farming at home
NEWS: Spokane Valley City Council is finally whole again
NEWS: WA attorney general fires back at state challenging federal transgender guidelines 


Condon not backing down
In the wake of a damning report on the city's handling of the ouster of former police Cheif Frank Straub, Mayor Condon has stated that he's personally done nothing wrong and won't resign(KXLY)

Unkown irritant at Fairchild
About a dozen people mysteriously fell ill at Fairchild Air Force Base yesterday. The cause is unknown, but the building's ventilation system is suspected to be the cause.  All employees sickened have been treated and released. (Spokesman-Review)

Zika arrives in mainland U.S.

Florida officials have confirmed that four people in the Miami area have contracted the Zika virus.

It's official
Hillary Clinton formally accepted the Democratic Party nomination for president. Here are highlights from her speech:

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Thursday, July 28, 2016

Straub report cites at least 25 times that city officials were alerted to the chief's concerning behavior

Posted By on Thu, Jul 28, 2016 at 6:35 PM

Time after time, Cappel's report reveals, police department employees raised concerns about former Spokane police Chief Frank Straub.
  • Time after time, Cappel's report reveals, police department employees raised concerns about former Spokane police Chief Frank Straub.

The Condon administration can't say it wasn't told. 

Since at least the fall of 2013, questions have loomed around City Hall about police Chief Frank Straub. 

Was Straub a loose cannon who got results? The sort of leader who generated complaints, self-demotions and frustration purely because of his willingness to take, in his words, "decisive leadership and definitive action in a ‘hostile environment'" in order to "break the ‘strangle hold’ these officers had on the department?"

Or was he a destructive boss who, as a newly released investigative report indicates, was abrasive, unprofessional, and verbally abusive, volatile, threatening, demeaning, profane, vulgar? Was he the guy who, as the report concludes, "managed by fear and intimidation," "created a hostile work environment in violation of the City’s general harassment policies" and wielded personnel moves as a weapon to punish employees who crossed him? 

Before his forced resignation, the report by investigator Kris Cappel reveals, the city never conducted a full-scale investigation into that issue. Yet, the Cappel report outlines time and time again when police department employees alerted Condon administration officials — including city attorneys and the Human Resources director — to red flags about Straub's behavior. City Councilman Ben Stuckart said three different employees brought concerns to him. By April of 2015, the mayor, the city administrator, and the chief financial officer had also been told directly about serious concerns about Straub.

Here's Cappel: 
As early as the fall of 2013, the Administration and members of the City Attorney’s office were generally aware that Chief Straub had an explosive temper, that he sometimes mistreated his staff, and that he had an unprofessional management style.

It does not appear, however, that the Condon Administration or the lawyers knew about or fully appreciated the depth and breadth of the SPD’s concerns about Chief Straub’s leadership until the meetings with the Association and the executive team in September 2015. 
Many of these concerns the police department raised echoed complaints that had been made in his previous job in Indianapolis, which he left facing a vote of no confidence. Yet, even as Straub created chaos within the department, sparking self-demotions and transfers, the Cappel report portrays the Condon administration as incurious about why. 

When Assistant Chief Craig Meidl took a three-step demotion in February 2014, "no one from the Condon Administration asked him why he was stepping down" Cappel writes. 

And after Brad Arleth was demoted, Cappel says, the city put out a press release saying it was "mutually agreed-upon under the department’s reorganization." Arleth told Cappel that was false — it was forced. He sent an email to city spokesman Brian Coddington explaining it was false, Arleth told Cappel, but never got a reply back. (In a bit of symmetry, Condon later also referred to Straub's resignation — signed under threat of termination — as a mutual decision.)

The closest the city got to a broad formal investigation into Straub was limited to one incident — a profanity-laced blowup on March 31, 2015. That one was conducted by city attorneys, not human resources. No notes were taken, a major witness was not interviewed, and the inquiry was limited to just that incident — not Straub's overall behavior. 

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Spokane chef advances to final round of vegan cooking competition

Posted By on Thu, Jul 28, 2016 at 4:30 PM

Atania Gilmore, owner of Allie's Vegan Pizzeria, poses with one of her restaurant's signature pies. - MEGHAN KIRK
  • Meghan Kirk
  • Atania Gilmore, owner of Allie's Vegan Pizzeria, poses with one of her restaurant's signature pies.

Chef Pavel Nosov, the head chef at locally owned, much-lauded Allie's Vegan Pizzeria & Cafe, recently emerged as a finalist in Round 1 of Vegan FoodService's Vegan Chef Competition. 

Vegan FoodService is a California-based organization that works to connect vegan restaurants with sources for ingredients. In hosting this competition, the organization hopes to "provide innovative chefs a platform to shine with a personal twist on health and taste," as per its website. 

In the first round, participating chefs had to prepare a 
Head Chef Nosov will compete in Round 2 of the competition early this month.
  • Head Chef Nosov will compete in Round 2 of the competition early this month.
dish with ingredients requested from Vegan FoodService. Their resulting recipes were sent into the organization for judging in a variety of categories by a panel of three professional chefs.

Nosov advanced to the second and final round of the competition, along with four other vegan-food chefs, who were chosen from an entrant pool of 100. Three of the first-round victors hail from California, and one from Oregon. Nosov is the only Washington-based chef to advance to Round 2. 

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How to make sure you're not missing Facebook page's posts, including the Inlander's

Posted By on Thu, Jul 28, 2016 at 3:30 PM


So Facebook went and changed its News Feed algorithm again, and depending on how you use the social media giant to augment your daily interactions, this is either a good thing, or a bad thing.

For media outlets like us, it's a bad thing. The recent round of News Feed changes were implemented about a month ago to prioritize posts by your network of family and friends over the posts of non-human entities you follow, namely pages of businesses and other organizations that also have a Facebook presence. According to Facebook, this change is one that's long been asked for by a large percentage of its more than 1.6 billion users.

However, let's not forget that these days, the majority of U.S. adults — 62 percent — are getting their daily stream of news through social media, with 44 percent of them accessing that news via Facebook. So yeah, news outlets like the Inlander rely a lot on the social media behemoth to disseminate our content. It's the main place where users go to not only connect with friends and family, but to see what's going on in their world, locally or elsewhere. And of all the major social media outlets out there, Facebook is far and away the biggest driver to Inlander content, too. 

Without turning this post in a woeful lament of what an unfortunate change this is when it comes to getting you, dear readers, to actually click and read the stories our staff so diligently toil to produce, let's focus on how you can make sure you're not missing the Facebook page content you really want to be seeing in your feed. (To be clear, we have already seen a noticeable decrease in how many followers are seeing our posts, stories from the print edition and new web content which we share on Facebook each day.)

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Counteracting desk time, new energy drinks and farming at home

Posted By on Thu, Jul 28, 2016 at 12:44 PM


It’s no secret that sitting around staring at a screen is not what your body is all about. Still, you have to make a living. And that often means long hours at a desk, or in a car. A new study offers hope: just an hour of physical activity a day eliminated the risks from sitting around for 8 hours. Don’t have time for a trip to the gym to while away an hour on the treadmill? Consider burning calories doing household chores instead! It’s a win-win. In just an hour your abode is spotless, your workout complete, your life prolonged. 

Drink up
You won’t need a powerful drink developed by the Army if your workout consists of mowing the lawn. But for long-distance athletes, and soldiers deployed in battle, a new ketone-based concoction seems to hold surprising benefits. The beverage circumvents the body’s normal glycogen-burning/lactate build up process by substituting ketones for fuel. High-level athletes who drank it not only had less lactate build-up (which causes muscle soreness), but also went an average of 400 meters farther in a 30-minute bicycling test than test subjects consuming other sports drinks. Researchers say the drink “challenges our fundamental understanding of human physiology.” It’s expected to be on the market within the year. 

Become an urban farmer
Ever wish you could transform a useless patch of lawn into a brimming cornucopia of summer produce? Or maybe you’d like to gather fresh eggs for breakfast right from your own backyard? Help is at hand. The Spokane Conservation District has received a $47,000 grant aimed at encouraging local farming and conservation efforts, particularly in areas of the city with poor access to fresh foods. Look forward to a tour in September to view urban market gardens and composting, as well as urban livestock and forest management. There will also be workshops and technical assistance available for those who want to give urban farming a try. For more information contact Pat Munts the Small Farms Coordinator at the Spokane Conservation District, 509-535-7274 ext. 231.
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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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