Thursday, October 8, 2015

Kootenai County Sheriff's Office sniffs out two phone scams

Posted By on Thu, Oct 8, 2015 at 9:25 AM


The Kootenai County Sheriff's Office is warning the public about two phone scams asking for money and personal information. 

The first is a call from a recording claiming to affiliated with the Kootenai County Jail and asking to put money on an inmate's telephone account with a credit card. The number commonly used is 866-516-0155. It appears the number has been disconnected. 

"No one from the Sheriff's Office will be calling you and no auto-dialer from the Sheriff's Office will call asking for credit card information," Sheriff Ben Wolfinger said in a news release. 

The second scam asks family members of recently deceased veterans for money to bring a life insurance policy up to date. The number associated with this scam is 800-772-1233, and it, too, appears to be out of service. 

Wolfinger says his office sees a new jail-related scam about once a month. 

"Don't give personal identifying information or credit card information to someone you do not know or where you did not initiate a business contact," he said via email. 

There have been no arrests made in connection with these scams. 
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Wednesday, October 7, 2015

WW: Council candidate talks weed, Spokane Valley says no more pot businesses

Posted By on Wed, Oct 7, 2015 at 3:39 PM

Welcome back to Weed Wednesday, your weekly dose of pot news. Wondering what this is about? Click. Looking for our previous marijuana coverage? Click. Got a question or tip?
Email me at [email protected]

Evan Verduin is running for Spokane City Council against incumbent Councilwoman Karen Stratton. He wants the council to get back to legislating on basic municipal services and avoid social issues that he says are needlessly divisive. Backed by Mayor David Condon, he says he’ll be independent and will bring a business perspective to the council, which he and Condon both say is needed. 
Evan Verduin is running for City Council. - JAKE THOMAS
  • Jake Thomas
  • Evan Verduin is running for City Council.

But what does he think about weed? The Inlander asked.

Inlander: What did you think about 502 when that was being considered?
Verduin: Honestly, I just let the voters decide. So, with my experience with pot, I've seen friends that have used it. Through college I was exposed to it in my fraternity at U-Dub (University of Washington). I'm still not 100 percent convinced that it doesn't lead to other types of drug use. I've had two friends who started out smoking pot and then went into prescription painkillers. Now, that it's legal, obviously some numbers came out recently showing a lot sales in the state, and maybe that revenue could be put to good use, but there should be some education on the topic. I personally would never use it.

Have you ever used it?
I have. In college.

When was the last time you used it?
Probably freshman year in college. Just being honest. Honestly, there’s probably three times I can think of in my life I’ve used it.

Was 502 a good idea or a bad idea?
[Pauses] 502 was an initiative. Again, the initiative process should run its course and the voters approved it. So I support it because the voters approved it. If it was a City Council item, I would probably be hesitant to approve it. Like, let’s say the question was, can we legalize it in the city of Spokane? I probably wouldn’t have jumped on board as a council member. But it's there, and people do it.

In other news, the big story last week was the Kettle Falls Five were sentenced.

The Spokesman-Review reports that "[federal Judge Thomas Rice gave] Rolland Gregg to 2 years and 9 months in prison. He gave Gregg’s wife, Michelle, and his mother, Rhonda Firestack-Harvey, 1 year and 1 day in federal custody. All will remain out of prison pending an appeal, a notice of which will be filed in the next two weeks, said lead defense attorney Phil Telfeyan."

Larry Harvey, the family’s patriarch, had his charges dismissed due to a terminal cancer diagnosis. He later died. Jason Zucker took a plea deal before trial and was sentenced to 16 months in federal prison.

“Jail time for the Kettle Falls defendants is an embarrassment to the judicial system,” said Steph Sherer, executive director of the pro-medical marijuana group Americans for Safe Access, in a prepared statement. “We’re calling on President Obama to pardon all three defendants immediately.”

Marijuana is "infinitely worse" worse than tobacco says Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper,

Don’t call the cops to tell them you’re too high.

Support for legalizing marijuana in Texas is gaining traction.

Spokane Valley has put a moratorium on all new marijuana businesses.
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Listen (or don't) to an outrageous robocall against a Sandpoint mayoral candidate

Posted By on Wed, Oct 7, 2015 at 3:19 PM

Politics has long had whisper campaigns, with negative rumors — racial, sexual, criminal — spread secretly by campaigns. Of course, with the advent of the automated robocall, you don't need to be subtle about it anymore.

So it is with a recent robocall against Sandpoint mayoral candidate Shelby Rognstad. It warns Rognstad's support for high-density zoning will plunge Sandpoint into a crime-ridden hellhole of "undesirable elements." If that sounds a bit racist to you, let me assure you: It's more racist in context. 

It also calls Ferguson, Missouri, a "violent jungle of looters and primitive destroyers."
Listen to the full robocall ad here:

Drawing on the full transcript from Better Idaho, I'll offer point-by-point context.  The narrator adopts a faux-deep sinister voice that sounds like a half-hearted parody of a negative campaign ad
Sandpoint City Council president Shelby Rognstad has been targeted by robocall that seems, well, listen for yourself - PROVIDED BY SHELBY ROGNSTAD
  • Provided by Shelby Rognstad
  • Sandpoint City Council president Shelby Rognstad has been targeted by robocall that seems, well, listen for yourself

Shelby thinks you’re stupid. Now he’s out of job and needs a paycheck and he wants you to give it to him by letting him be mayor of Sandpoint.
I called up Rognstad to ask him about this. He's guessing that the anonymous caller is referring to the fact that about two months ago he closed the Common Knowledge cafe and bookstore that he owns. 

"I'm running for this office and it will require nearly full-time dedication to this race," Rognstad says. And, yes, the economic reality was part of it. The business climate has changed in Sandpoint, he says. And that's a good thing. Where, at one time, a retail bookstore and café that serves organic breakfast and lunch was unique, lately other similar business have opened up. It's never easy to run a bookstore, especially if you have competition.

But it's not like he's unemployed. Rognstad still has Rognstad Enterprises (a real estate holding company) and Rognstad Capital (a private lending company) to keep himself occupied. Oh, yeah, and he's the Sandpoint city council president. So no, he says, he doesn't need the money. 

Continue reading »

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How Donald Trump is a lot like your drunk neighbor

Posted By on Wed, Oct 7, 2015 at 2:36 PM


Donald Trump has always sounded sort of familiar to me. Not in the tone of his voice, really, or anything like that, but rather his penchant for employing endless self-aggrandizing hyperbole and the sort of word choice practices that would never have him say "self-aggrandizing hyperbole." This sounds like someone I know... but I could never quite pin it down.

Thankfully, the guys at Friend Dog Studios made the connection for me. Donald Trump can, at times, really sound a lot like that drunk neighbor of yours who's always making outlandish comments about his bench-pressing abilities or Sunday football predictions.

You know this sort of guy (or gal), right? I know I do.

The Kansas City-based Friend Dog crew has taken some of Trump's classiest, most luxurious statements from his ongoing presidential run/reality show and let them come out of the mouth of that really drunk guy on the other side of the fence. Enjoy, but remember, if you think any of this is funny, you're a loser.

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SLIDESHOW: Scenes from this year's Terrain

Posted By on Wed, Oct 7, 2015 at 1:15 PM

The eighth edition of Terrain, which has become one of Spokane’s most anticipated cultural events, packed the downtown Washington Cracker Co. building with some 8,200 people over the course of Friday night. Terrain, which featured wall-to-wall artistic exhibits, live music, literary readings, film screenings and more, took advantage of an expanded space this year that led to the sale of more than $14,000 worth of art. The arts organization, evolving beyond just a once-a-year event, is using a Kickstarter campaign titled The Campaign for Terrain in hopes of building a permanent home for cultural happenings on the site. You can donate toward their $25,000 goal through Nov. 2.

Scenes from Terrain 2015
Scenes from Terrain 2015 Scenes from Terrain 2015 Scenes from Terrain 2015 Scenes from Terrain 2015 Scenes from Terrain 2015 Scenes from Terrain 2015 Scenes from Terrain 2015 Scenes from Terrain 2015

Scenes from Terrain 2015

The eighth edition of Terrain packed the downtown Washington Cracker Co. building with some 8,200 people over the course of Friday night.

By Kristen Black

Click to View 36 slides

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Patrick Rushing, Hillary's e-mails, bare shoulders and other controversial things

Posted By on Wed, Oct 7, 2015 at 9:59 AM

Oh, hey, remember Patrick Rushing of controversial Facebook posting fame? Well, he's running for Cheney School Board, against a Liberian refugee.

A Bonner County hospital's former CFO has surrendered on embezzlement charges.
I have returned.
  • I have returned.

The "Great Bare Shoulders" at Coeur d'Alene School Dances Controversy continues.

The easiest way to fill your empty garage? Create a civil forfeiture unit. About 40 percent of the vehicles were seized vehicles under the  drug seizure law or the felony seizure law.

But all that loot has created additional problems for the police department: "If we’re going to continue to seize vehicles at the rate we are, then we will need additional storage for that,” evidence supervisor Kevin Berry says.

Governor Jay Inslee is pushing for a "conversion therapy" ban on psychologists and therapists promising they can turn gay people straight (or at least straighter) despite every bit of evidence to the contrary. 

The Boise Weekly takes on the Patriot and III%-er movement in Idaho. We took on this story here

TV used to be about awful people who were great at their job. Now, the anti-heroes are just plain awful at pretty much everything.

The firm managing Hillary Clinton's e-mail server was allegedly told to reduce the number of e-mails it was backing up after the e-mail controversy had arisen, leading one employee to worry that "this whole thing really is covering up some shaddy (sic) shit.
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Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Skywalk this way: Newly renovated Twigs Bistro at River Park Square is open

Posted By on Tue, Oct 6, 2015 at 3:40 PM

Twigs Bistro at River Park Square re-opened Tuesday - MAX CARTER
  • Max Carter
  • Twigs Bistro at River Park Square re-opened Tuesday

After an extensive renovation Twigs Bistro in River Park Square has re-opened, boasting a 1,200 square foot "landing" that overlooks Post Street and the mall atrium. Interestingly, the far end of the landing connects with the part of the food court where Twigs was originally located in River Park Square

According to the bistro and martini bar's Director of Operations Casey Curtis, the new landing provides guests
The view of the new "landing" at Twigs Bistro at River Park Square - MAX CARTER
  • Max Carter
  • The view of the new "landing" at Twigs Bistro at River Park Square
 with a fantastic dining experience and great views of the mall and the city of Spokane.

"The biggest change is the different sight lines and the views," Curtis said. "There are things that we're not used to seeing at Twigs, and now there are plenty of different spots you can sit in, not just on the landing. You can view into the mall, you can view out into downtown Spokane, and then as the holidays roll around, the tree will be right here as well."

The renovation also included significant improvements to the bar and lounge areas, Curis said.

"A lot of people are really excited about the lounge. It's very inviting, there are TVs and it's cozier than our previous lounge was," he said. "We expanded the bar as well. There used to only be six tables in the lounge and about 12 seats at the bar, and now there are 19 tables in the lounge and 20 seats at the bar top."

Already a popular place to get a bite or have a drink, Twigs at River Park Square just stepped up their game big time. The restaurant is now open and fully operational, and the landing is available for seating on a first come, first serve basis. 
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Gonzaga's Kyle Wiltjer is CBS's preseason player of the year

Posted By on Tue, Oct 6, 2015 at 3:08 PM


You probably didn't know it, but college basketball players are already practicing, even as you're just getting settled into the football season. Well, Spokane, it looks like you can start cranking up the Gonzaga Hype Machine a little bit early this year because some sort of insane news just rolled into town.

Gonzaga forward Kyle Wiltjer has been named not just to CBS Sports' preseason All-American team, but they took it a step further and he is the official Preseason National Player of the Year. In other words, the talking heads over at CBS think the best player in college basketball for the 2015-16 season resides in Spokane. This is somewhat of a surprise, but hey, Wiltjer is probably going to light it up this year, right?

And just think, only a few months ago, there were rumors swirling that Wiltjer, who scored 16.8 points a game last year, but was known to explode at times for a lot more than that, was going to leave for the NBA Draft. Some GU student even said he'd cleaned out his apartment and everything and was all but a distant memory for the Zags. Well, thankfully, Wiltjer decided he was OK sticking around Gonzaga for his senior season.

If that loss to Duke to end the Zags memorable Elite Eight run last year has clouded your memory as to who the Zags still have in addition to Wiltjer, just know this: Przemek Karnowski and Domantas Sabonis will still be down on the post, and the Zags still have plenty of post-Pangos/Bell guard power in Kyle Dranginis and Josh Perkins.

Yes, it's only October 6, but let the Zag mania creep into your life now that you know they have the Best Player in Basketball. 
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Check out the Jaws 19 trailer released for the 30th anniversary of Back to the Future

Posted By on Tue, Oct 6, 2015 at 11:01 AM


As anyone who's seen Back to the Future II will tell you, the flick made some bold predictions for what would be happening in the world on Oct. 21, 2015. 

According to the 1989 sequel to the monster-sized hit original, we'd all be riding hoverboards around, we'd have flying cars, and the Chicago Cubs would finally win the World Series. We have no hoverboards and our cars are sadly still grounded, but hey, the Cubs are in the baseball playoffs, so that's something. 

In Back to the Future II, lead character Marty McFly also sees a movie preview for Jaws 19, a funny gag about how common big-budget movie sequels were becoming at the time Back to the Future II (a big-budget movie sequel, of course) arrived in theaters. To help celebrate the 30th anniversary of the original Back to the Future, Universal Pictures put out a gag trailer for Jaws 19, and I would rather see it than another Sharknado sequel. 

Check it out: 

And, of course, you can see Back to the Future II at the next Inlander Suds and Cinema, slated for, naturally, Oct. 21, 2015. It's a Wednesday night, there will be No-Li beer on hand, and you can win your very own flux capacitor. 
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Municipal workers endorse Lichty in Spokane mayoral race

Posted By on Tue, Oct 6, 2015 at 9:33 AM

Spokane city workers want a new boss.

The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 270, the union representing non-managerial rank-and-file workers in Spokane’s municipal government, have endorsed Shar Lichty, who is challenging David Condon for mayor.
Shar Lichty
  • Shar Lichty

“We endorsed Shar Lichty because her values seemed to line up more with ours,” says Jim Tieken, the union’s political action coordinator.

Specifically, Tieken says Lichty was more in agreement with the union on wage increases and benefits packages. Condon, he says, would like to put compensation more in line with the private sector and cites how the mayor discussed turning the city’s pension system into a 401k shortly after being elected.

“Being the largest union to represent city employees, it is clear that Mayor Condon’s poor leadership goes beyond his choices for top administrative positions,” said Lichty in a prepared statement. “His employees are dissatisfied with his performance in the job he was elected to do.”

In a statement, Condon replied, "Regardless of Local 270's endorsements, I look forward to continue working with them and the other city unions should I have the honor of serving a second term. I will continue to work to make city hall more efficient and find innovative ways to serve all the people of Spokane."

In other endorsements, the union took a neutral stance on the Worker Bill of Rights. It endorsed City Council candidate Lori Kinnear and incumbent Councilwoman Karen Stratton, as well as Council President Ben Stuckart.

Randy Ramos, who is challenging arch-conservative Councilman Mike Fagan for reelection, did not get the union’s endorsement.

“We’re not sure what’s going on with Randy’s campaign,” says Tieken. “We just haven’t seen much of Randy, unfortunately.”
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