Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Spokane Council builds sick-leave task force, says goodbye to "Hookerville"

Posted By on Tue, May 5, 2015 at 3:43 PM


Here’s what happened at the May 4 Spokane City Council meeting:

People will no longer be allowed to utter the word “Hookerville” at Spokane City Council meetings.

The city’s legislative body appointed members of task force that will help craft an upcoming earned-sick-safe-leave ordinance, which will include an opponent of the entire idea.

And a regulatory framework for short-term rentals, such as Airbnb, was approved.

Don’t say “Hookerville”
George McGrath, civic gadfly, said "Hookerville" for the last time in front of City Council on Monday.
  • George McGrath, civic gadfly, said "Hookerville" for the last time in front of City Council on Monday.


During city council’s open forum period, when anyone gets three minutes to tell Spokane’s lawmakers almost anything they want, George McGrath, who regularly shows up to berate the council, was ordered to stop using the word “Hookerville” to refer to East Sprague Avenue, a part of town that has struggled with prostitution. 

In the past, McGrath has referred to a pedestrian bridge that will link Washington State University Spokane to East Sprague Avenue as the “bridge to Hookerville.” But last night, two members of city council weren’t having it.

“That is just offensive, and I think we are all getting a little tired of hearing the term 'bridge to Hookerville,’” said Councilwoman Karen Stratton, interrupting McGrath, who was in the middle of an anti-City Council tirade when he used the offending word. “So I respectfully request that Mr. McGrath not use that term anymore.”

McGrath pushed back, but Council President Ben Stuckart cut him off. “I'm asking that you not to use that word any more in City Council Chambers,” said Stuckart. “It's offensive and many people have complained about it.”

“So my First Amendment rights are gone because I'm at the meeting of the Spokane City Council and some people don't like the terms I use?” said McGrath.

“Your three minutes are up,” replied Stuckart.

“Yes they are,” scoffed McGrath.

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KHQ's conspiracy-laden chemtrails story is false balance at its worst

Posted By on Tue, May 5, 2015 at 3:13 PM

It's a "sweeps" period for local TV news stations, which sometimes means we get top-shelf investigatory journalism. Other times, we get stories like this one from KHQ. 

Those streaks of white in the sky left by planes? Scientists will tell you they're "contrails," the result of condensed water vapor freezing around aircraft exhaust. But KHQ talked to some other guys, who will tell you they're "chemtrails" — poison dumped from the sky for nefarious purposes. 
Fiction. - KHQ LOCAL NEWS
  • KHQ Local News
  • Fiction.

"Victor Correa researched the topic, talked with some experts, and he has both sides of the stories," anchor Dan Kleckner begins.  

That's the first problem. This isn't an issue where there are truly "both sides." There's a factual question here — are planes secretly spraying harmful chemicals onto unsuspecting civilians below? — that has a true-false answer. (And all the actual experts say "false.")

It's a problem that media critics call "false balance." It comes up with GMOs, climate change, vaccines, creation science, and other issues, where the vast majority of scientists believe one thing, but media outlets give equal time to "both sides," calling the issue a "controversy."

(Watch this Last Week Tonight clip to get an idea of how absurd that can be.)

"It's an issue raised by people who have genuine concerns, but are often labeled as 'crazy' or 'conspiracy theorists' and tonight we've given them an opportunity to voice their concerns," Correa says. "Some say it's simply exhaust from airplanes, but others, like Brian Sawyer of Spokane, say it's much worse."

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TUESDAY TASTE: My Morning Jacket, Best Coast among week's new releases

Posted By on Tue, May 5, 2015 at 2:04 PM


Each week we dive into the new releases in music and home video to help you decide what to buy, watch and listen to, and what to skip. It's called the Tuesday Taste, and this week is full of some great tunes. Let's do it: 

MUSIC

This week is full of fine new releases, and picking highlights is a fool's game. But I'm just the kind of fool to do it! There are so many new albums out that at least warrant a listen that I can't even focus on Mikal Cronin, Ivan & Alyosha, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Metz and Mumford and Sons. Go spin those new records when you can. 

In the meantime, here are the three releases I'm most excited for this week: 

My Morning Jacket, The Waterfall. The Louisville crew has spent a few years gathering their thoughts and whipping up some new epic riffs, and I'm giddy from what I've heard so far from the new music. And rumor has it they have enough songs recorded to put out a new set perhaps later this year or in 2016. You can stream the whole thing here, and here's a sample: 

Best Coast, California Nights.  
The duo mesmerized me with their past recordings, and seeing them live last year just cemented me as a new fan. Here's a new vid for the title track of California Nights

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Insane Clown Posse goes old school with record tour, stops in Spokane tonight

Posted By on Tue, May 5, 2015 at 11:15 AM

Insane Clown Posse members Shaggy 2 Dope, left, and Violent J hit record stores across the nation for the next month promoting their new album.
  • Insane Clown Posse members Shaggy 2 Dope, left, and Violent J hit record stores across the nation for the next month promoting their new album.

Break out the face paint!

Tonight, the Detroit-based horrorcore duo Insane Clown Posse come through town as part of their "The Marvelous Missing Link’s Traveling In-Store Insanity Tour.” Yes, the juggalo/juggalette favorites head to the Spokane Valley Hasting’s (15312 E. Sprague Ave.) in honor of their brand new album release The Marvelous Missing Link (Lost). And they won’t perform at all.

They’ll start signing things, anything you want, at 6 pm. Expect a DJ spinning ICP tunes and exclusive merchandise.

We caught up with Shaggy 2 Dope (born Joseph "Joey" Utsler) while at a tour stop in Sioux Falls, South Dakota (“a lovely sunny and warm day,” he says). He discussed the decision to do an album signing tour, his favorite Faygo flavor and why people should attend the Gathering of the Juggalos.

INLANDER: Do artists still do in-store album tours? How did you decide to do that?
SHAGGY 2 DOPE: I don’t know, obviously some people because we are. We haven’t done it in so many years, though, and we thought: Let’s connect with the juggalos, connect with people. It gets really emotional and you get emotional with them. Having to go through that every day is a rough ride. Our music just changes people. People come up and tell us they were contemplating suicide and then they listened to our music and didn’t, and that’s tough. But the tons of positivity that comes with it equals it out, it’s a reason why we do this. We’re here to kick it with the everyday average Joe.

What kinds of things do you like to sign for fans?
There’s stuff that’s really hard to sign. Especially the tank tops and the hats, those are hard to sign, and if it’s raining, it doesn’t work. We have things to sign and pass out, too, though. Everyone gets something.

What’s it like not performing at all out on the road?
It’s weird being on the road not doing shows. We’ll go back to the hotel and then it feels like we should be doing a show afterward. When you’ve been on the road for so many years, the tour bus becomes a ship of doom. You get bored. You look forward to doing the show. We’re doing a lot of chilling out and watching movies. We’re definitely not out partying every night — we’re not as young as we used to be.

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Ex-prosecutor's ex-con "pen pal" sentenced for gun charge

Posted By on Tue, May 5, 2015 at 10:44 AM

baumrucker.jpg

You might remember Matthew Baumrucker, the 31-year-old who pleaded guilty to a felony possession of a firearm charge earlier this year. He's the man who captured the heart of the former Spokane County deputy prosecutor Marriya Wright in 2013, along with the attention of the national media

Baumrucker was sentenced to 92 months in federal prison yesterday and has elected to serve that time at a facility in Florida.

As for Wright, she pleaded guilty last year to second-degree rendering criminal assistance after she gave Baumrucker a ride to a motel in Spokane Valley when he was being pursued by police for assault in March of 2013. She is no longer a Spokane County prosecutor, though she is still able to practice law in Washington. Police eventually arrested Baumrucker at the motel, where officers found a firearm on the air conditioning unit outside the window. 

According to a previous Inlander story, Baumrucker's first encounter with Wright was in 2010 when she prosecuted him for violating a protection order. Later that year, he sent her a letter without response. In 2013, though, he continued writing to her from jail, appealing to her Christian sensitivities.

When he was released later that year, the relationship blossomed. Witnesses say the two met in person several times, including at least one time when they made out in her car. They also texted almost daily — detectives counted 1,280 texts over a period of a few months — wishing sweet dreams at night and sharing intimate secrets. 

Even after Baumrucker was arrested from that Spokane Valley motel in March 2012, the relationship continued. Wright visited him at least 10 times, according to Spokane County Jail records. The letters continued as well, one of them contained a picture of her in a bikini at a body building competition. 

An excerpt from one of Wright's letters reads: "Sometimes when I talk to you or read your letters, I would swear that we must have been best friends/soulmates/whatever you want to call it, and I'm sure great lovers too in a past life or something. I never really believed in that kind of thing before, but something about you is always so familiar."   
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Spokane County Jail inmate found dead in cell

Posted By on Tue, May 5, 2015 at 10:04 AM


A Spokane County Corrections Officer found an inmate in his cell sometime Monday afternoon, unresponsive with a sheet wrapped around his neck. The officer called for backup and began “life-saving efforts”, according to the Sheriff's Office press release.

Additional jail staff and emergency responders tried to revive the inmate, but to no avail. Eventually, the Spokane County Sheriff’s Department Major Crimes Detectives were called in to investigate the death. 

The inmate— whose name will be released once the Medical Examiner's Office notifies his family, probably this afternoon — was locked in his cell alone at the time of death. Sheriff's Office Deputy Mark Gregory wouldn't elaborate on how long the man had been alone in his cell.

“All I can say is that at the time this occurred the person was in a cell by themselves,” says Gregory.

Gregory expects more information will be released when the investigation into the death has been completed. 
 
"Any time there is a death that wasn’t something that was planned upon that occurs, whether it is at a residence or a jail, we always treat everything as a criminal investigation," says Gregory.

The Spokane County Jail has drawn heat for neglecting inmates in the past. Last month a jury awarded $8 million to the family of a man who died at the Airway Heights Corrections Center in 2012.

Update: According to the Spokane County Medical Examiner's Office the inmate who committed suicide at the Spokane County Jail Monday was 46-year-old John A. Everitt. The cause of death was "hanging by ligature".
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International film, traditional Irish tunes and hip-hop on the Palouse

Posted By on Tue, May 5, 2015 at 9:30 AM


A bevy of great entertainment opportunities are there for your perusal in our event listings and Staff Picks

Here are a few recommends from Tuesday, May 5: 

FILM | The Spokane Falls Community College International Film Festival hits the Garland Tuesday night for a screening of Butterfly's Tongue at 7:15 pm. Here's a trailer: 

LIVE BANDS | Kelly's Irish Pub in Coeur d'Alene has a night of traditional tunes courtesy of Arvid Lundin & Deep Roots

LIVE BANDS | Chance the Rapper hits the Kibbie Dome for Finals Fest at the University of Idaho. The hip-hop show is open to the public as well as students. 


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MB: CdA police officer shot, Huckabee joins GOP race, Of Mice and Men targeted

Posted By on Tue, May 5, 2015 at 7:10 AM


HERE

A Coeur d'Alene police officer was shot early this morning at a traffic stop, and is in critical condition. (Spokesman-Review)

The Coeur d'Alene School District is considering removing John Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men from its 9th grade curriculum due to it's "profanity" and "negative" tone. The classic novel was written 78 years ago, and been part of the curriculum since 2002. (CdA Press)

Is there a serial killer in Spokane? (Inlander)

The Garland Theater was added to the registry of historic places. (KXLY)

THERE

A U.S. college student arrested for crossing into North Korea from China says that was his intention all along. (CNN)

Former Arkansas governor, weight-loss guru and talk show host Mike Huckabee has joined the race for the Republican presidential nomination. (New York Times)

Singer Lauryn Hill cancelled a concert in Israel in reaction to protests from fans and activists over rights abuses in the country. (Al Jazeera-America)






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Monday, May 4, 2015

One memorable Bloomsday wipeout; Results books arrive Tuesday

Posted By on Mon, May 4, 2015 at 2:38 PM


No doubt your social media feeds have been full of images from Sunday's Bloomsday run, where more than 42,000 racers and walkers took to the streets on a beautiful day for some great exercise and one big party. We have a great gallery of pictures from all over the Bloomsday course that is well worth your time to check out. 

Among them you might spot some shots of first-time Bloomsday racer Adam Finney, a 32-year-old Chicago native who came to Spokane this year for the wheelchair race, only to hit the pavement in a dramatic crash that was caught by our photographer Ryan Sullivan. It's no shock that the big hills might cause a few tumbles, and we're happy to report race organizers told The Inlander Finney was fine after being taken to the emergency room. He even plans on coming back and racing Bloomsday again next year. 

Sullivan was waiting at the crossover of Latah Creek, less than two miles into the course, and watching for the first wave of wheelchair racers since they took off from the starting line earlier than the other groups. He figures Finney was about the 10th or 11th racer to come zipping down the hill. 

"It looked like he just came into the corner with too much speed," Sullivan says. "He veered right and connected with the curb, and he actually ended up under the guardrail instead of going right into it, which was good."

Finney and the paramedics got a laugh, Sullivan says, when a second group of medics joined the first responders and started doing a routine check of Finney's wounds. One of the medics asked if he was feeling a lot of pain in his legs — before noticing the nearby wheelchair and apologizing with a laugh, "Oh, I'm an idiot." 

Here's a look at Finney's wreck and the emergency crew helping him out: 
Finney wipes out. - RYAN SULLIVAN
  • Ryan Sullivan
  • Finney wipes out.

Emergency crews tend to the racer. - RYAN SULLIVAN
  • Ryan Sullivan
  • Emergency crews tend to the racer.

Finney is in good spirits despite the end of his race. - RYAN SULLIVAN
  • Ryan Sullivan
  • Finney is in good spirits despite the end of his race.
Prepping for a trip to the ER, where reports are Finney is just fine. - RYAN SULLIVAN
  • Ryan Sullivan
  • Prepping for a trip to the ER, where reports are Finney is just fine.

For all the participants, here's a reminder that the results books for Bloomsday 2015 will be available on Tuesday, May 5. 
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Are Spokane detectives on the trail of a serial killer?

Posted By on Mon, May 4, 2015 at 11:47 AM


Ruby Jean Doss was from Detroit but people called her Memphis. She was a 27-year-old mother. At the dawn of 1986 she was getting by slinging sex along East Sprague Avenue. A petite 5-foot-3, she weighed just 90 pounds. The night of Jan. 30 she wore a puffy rabbit fur coat and a sleek black wig.

She turned up in a barren field near the intersection of North Fiske Street and East Ferry Avenue. A homeless man found her corpse late that frigid night. She had been struck in the head, sexually assaulted and strangled. Her killer left the fluffy coat and the wig, strewn near her body in the field.

Her child-length legs tried to run, detectives said at the time, but it was no match for him that night. But who was he? Nearly 30 years later, we still don't know.

But there's a new suspect. Former Pasco Police Officer named Richard J Aguirre. Of course, there have been other suspects in the past. Early on, detectives suspected a Spokane County assistant public defender. He committed suicide in 1989. More recently, attention turned to a Montana drifter implicated in the 1987 slaying of 58-year-old Rochelle English.

Aguirre joined the Pasco force in 1988 and resigned recently following a third-degree rape charge. After the accusations in Pasco came to light, Aguirre was asked to give his DNA which was then entered into the Combined DNA Index System. Doss’s hands had been swabbed for DNA when she was found in 1986 and that profile had been floating around the system waiting for a match since 2002.

So Aguirre's DNA hits the system and, officials say, it was a match. Could there be an innocent explanation? Aguirre’s attorney, Scott Johnson has indicated that there could be. More on that to come. 

Police executed a search warrant at Aguirre’s home last month. Then, last Thursday, the Spokane Police Department held a press conference where they outed Aguirre as a suspect, a somewhat unusual move in a case where the suspect hasn’t been arrested.


Keisha Doss, Ruby's daughter, was happy to hear that detectives are still working the case all these years later, SPD Lt. Steve Wohl said at the press conference.

The spate of killings nearly 30 years ago didn’t end with Doss. A number of women were found strangled in 1986 and 1987. Some of the murders have been solved, but there are at least two that remain unsolved murders and bear eerie similarities to the Doss murder. Also, the possible hallmarks of a serial killer. 30-year-old Mary Ann Turner was found beside a garage Nov 4, 1986. 37-year-old Kathleen DeHart was found in the basement of an apartment building July 5, 1987. Both women were believed to have worked in the sex industry and both had been strangled. Their families are still waiting for answers.
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