Monday, April 27, 2015

In Idaho, resistance to marijuana runs deep

Posted By on Mon, Apr 27, 2015 at 11:02 AM

In our current issue, we wrote about how New Approach Idaho, a group of pro-pot activists, is attempting to sidestep the legislature in the Gem State with an initiative that would legalize medical marijuana and decriminalize possession of the drug.

Although New Approach Idaho has a high bar to clear, it’s probably the only way the state’s pot laws will change because elected officials don’t want anything to do with marijuana.

Idaho is a conservative state to be sure. A Democrat hasn’t been elected governor since 1977, Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney won 65 percent of the vote in 2012 and both houses of the legislature are dominated by the GOP. But in other states where the GOP is the prevailing party, elected officials have been a bit groovier with marijuana.

Consider this: On April 16, Georgia Republican Gov. Nathan Deal signed a medical marijuana bill passed by the Republican-dominated legislature. On the very same day, Idaho Republican Gov. Butch Otter vetoed a significantly narrower bill that would allow for the use of cannabinol oil, which contains virtually no THC, to be used to treat children and others experiencing severe seizures. Both Utah, which has a sizable Mormon population, and Alabama allow medical use of CBD oil.

State Rep. Tom Loertscher, R- Iona, says after hearing “heart-wrenching” stories from families with severely epileptic children desperate for a therapy that would stop their debilitating seizures, he sponsored a bill allowing the therapy.

Lawmakers (who almost killed the bill) and the governor heard the same stories. But they also heard from law enforcement who said they would be burdened trying to differentiate CBD oil from other marijuana byproducts and from the state Office of Drug Policy, which called the therapy “unproven.”

“They think it’s the slippery-slope argument, that it’s the gateway to legalizing it in the state,” says Loertscher, who is also dead-set against medical marijuana, of the bill’s opponents.

State Rep.Vito Barbieri, R- Dalton Gardens, voted for the bill and was disappointed to see it vetoed. He says that medical marijuana is unlikely to become a reality in the state. In 2013, the legislature passed a resolution expressing that marijuana would never become legal for any reason.

“I think that it’s just been illegal for so long,” he says. “It’s a psychotropic and most of the members of the Legislature just don’t want to go there.”

Bill Esbensen, spokesperson for New Approach Idaho, attributes resistance among lawmakers and the governor to “ignorance and bigotry.”

“Prohibition has been thrust upon us for so long and so hard that it’s harder for these older legislative people, and they are older, to believe anything good about cannabis,” he says.

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Metal at the arena, mayhem at Baby Bar and conspiracies about at The Bing

Posted By on Mon, Apr 27, 2015 at 10:00 AM

It's the last week of April, and the sunny skies mean there are no excuses when it comes to getting out and about. Take a look through our event listings and Staff Picks for some inspiration. 

Here are a few highlights for Monday, April 27: 

LIVE BANDS | If you like your rock big, loud and metallic, you'll want to make your way to the Spokane Arena tonight for the show headlined by Volbeat, opened by Crobot, and all about (for me, at least) Anthrax, playing in the middle slot. They are legends and one of the Big Four of thrash-metal pioneering acts, and they'll be delivering nearly three decades of mosh-worthy tunes, like this one: 

| The Baby Bar has one hell of a big show going on, too, courtesy of The Gooch Palms, Death Valley Girls, 66beat, Phelgm Fatlae and Street Tang. 

THEATER | The Bing Crosby Theater hosts a live performance of the quirky podcast Welcome to Night Vale, a podcast come to life exploring life in a fictional town full of strange happenings
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MB: Supreme Court weighs gay marriage, Obama's jabs, Spokane Country Club sale?

Posted By on Mon, Apr 27, 2015 at 9:14 AM


$8 million in improvements to taxiways at Felts Field in the next two years. (Spokesman-Review)

Spokane police believe a man found with a gunshot wound in a car in the East Central Neighborhood Saturday shot himself. He was pronounced dead at the scene. (Spokesman-Review) 

Spokane Country Club could soon be up for sale after $1.4 million verdict. (Spokesman-Review) 

Everest climbers hit by avalanche, need helicopter rescue. At least 18 dead. (Seattle Times)

Seattle police back from vacation. (Seattle Times) 


Gay rights lawyers prepare for tomorrow's U.S. Supreme Court arguments over gay marriage. (New York Times) 

Loretta Lynch (finally) sworn in at U.S. Attorney General. (NPR) 

Death toll in Nepal swells past 3,800 after magnitude-7.8 earthquake. (New York Times) 

Trial of James Holmes, man who opened fire in a Denver-area theater, begins today. (Los Angeles Times) 

The funeral for Freddie Gray, the 25-year-old black man who died in police custody in Baltimore, was held today. Gray's death sparked protests all over Baltimore. Police arrested 35 people on Sunday; six officers were injured during protests. (Baltimore Sun) 


Obama talked about his "bucket list" for the remainder of his presidency and used an "anger translator" at the WHCD. (YouTube) 

Cecily Strong didn't hold back either. (YouTube)

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Friday, April 24, 2015

THIS WEEKEND IN MUSIC: Orgy, Tech N9ne and Anthrax

Posted By on Fri, Apr 24, 2015 at 5:14 PM


Check for yourself here.

Orgy (the band, not the event) is coming to the Palomino Saturday. Orgy disbanded in 2004, but now the original singer Jay Gordon is back with some hired hands and some new tunes rooted in hard rock with some electronic flourishes. Thirion X, Helldorado, 9ELECTRIC and Death Valley High open for the band. Cost is $20 at the door.

Buzz Vineyard turns 65 and also releasing a new album full of folksy, singer-songwriter songs at Jones Radiator Saturday. Not bad for one night. The show starts at 7:30 pm.

Seattle’s the Lucky Boys are preparing to bring their brand of cutthroat (Kimi Cutthroat is their lead singer, after all) punk rock sound to Mootsy's stage Saturday. Redvolt (out of Richland) and Siamese Suicide open the show at 9 pm. 

Big Dipper brings in the always-cool Fly Moon Royalty Saturday. The Seattle duo expertly combines hip-hop and diva soul music to create music you’ll want to dance to all night. The always funky Flying Spiders open up the show that starts 7 pm. The cost is $12 at the door. 

Also, note the seventh Round at the Bartlett happens Saturday featuring Cami Bradley. 

No matter what the rumors have convinced you of, Tech N9ne does not have a house in Spokane. But he still comes through town at least twice a year, often playing at the Knitting Factory as he will this Sunday. The show starts at 7:30 pm and features openers Krizz Kaliko, Chris Webby, Murs and more. Cost is $28 for the all-ages show. Read our recent story here

House of Shem, the hottest reggae act out of New Zealand comes through the Red Room Lounge Sunday. Valley of Green opens for the show that starts at 9 pm. 

Danish rockers Volbeat headlines the Spokane Arena Monday night with the help of Anthrax (known as one of the "Big Four" in metal, along with Megadeth, Slayer and Metallica) and groove-rock Crobot Monday. A ticket is $40 at the door. Expect the night to rock seriously hard.

Meanwhile, over at the Baby Bar/Neato Burrito the Gooch Palms, Death Valley Girls, 66beat, Phlegm Fatale, Street Tang play for free. The show there is expected to rock equally as hard but with much more of a punk/grunge taste. Starts at 8 pm. 

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The measles are back in Spokane County… what now?

Posted By on Fri, Apr 24, 2015 at 2:40 PM

The measles have arrived in Spokane. An adult employee of the Qdoba Mexican restaurant on South Grand Avenue has been diagnosed with the first Spokane County case of measles since 1994. No one knows how the measles got here but KREM 2 has the scoop on where they’ve been since arriving, if you’re worried.

You know who’s not worried about the measles? City Council Member Mike Fagan, who caught heat earlier this year for his anti-vax beliefs. 

“What’s the big deal? Across the nation we see several hundred cases a year,” says Fagan.

In modern America, most of us are vaccinated against the measles, though in Spokane County schools between 2006 and 2010, the vaccine opt-out rate was 9 percent.

Fagan is pretty sure he was vaccinated long ago. His children were vaccinated. His baby granddaughter? She’s vaccinated, too. If you aren’t as lucky as the Fagan clan, though, I have you covered with a quick measles experience FAQ:

How do I get the measles?
The easiest way is to be in the same room as someone who has them. The measles spread when the infected person coughs, breathes, sneezes or talks, and you breathe it in. Also, the measles can hang around and infect people for up to two hours after the infected person leaves.

When will I know?
If you are infected, you probably won’t find out right away. According to the Spokane Regional Health District, the measles don't show themselves for seven to 21 days. So if you were at Qdoba between 3 pm and 11 pm Sunday, April 12, my advice would be: Don’t trip. Maybe you’ll get the measles, maybe you won’t. Probably not the best time to plan an impromptu theme park vacation, though. Just kick back and know that you’ll be better able to assess by no later than May 2 whether you’ve been infected.

Continue reading »

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Why one anti-tax Spokane Valley councilman voted to raise lodging taxes

Posted By on Fri, Apr 24, 2015 at 1:45 PM

Ed Pace isn't a fan of tax increases, but this is an exception
  • Ed Pace isn't a fan of tax increases, but this is an exception

Ed Pace, like most sitting on the deeply conservative Spokane Valley City Council, isn't a fan of raising taxes. He's voting against the STA ballot initiative, even though he likes the plan. He's against the gas-tax increase that Republicans supported to raise transportation funds. He's in favor of lowering the Valley's property tax by one percent.

"Were going to be looking at lowering the gambling tax," says Pace, a retired Lutheran pastor says. "I believe in the reality of sin, but I don’t believe in sin taxes. That’s social engineering." 

So why'd he vote for a 1.3 percent increase in lodging taxes this month? For a couple reasons, he says.  

1) The tax has a specific purpose

The lodging tax on hotel rooms increasing from 2 percent to 3.3 percent gives Spokane Valley about $500,000 extra to work with, but only for specific projects. 

"The money will not go to the general fund. It will not go to making government bigger," Pace says.  "It will go into a savings account for now, for some [future] capitol expense that will be for promoting tourism for Spokane Valley."

The plan is to use it to build something, or some things, to help turn the Valley into more of a destination. 

"It will benefit the community," Pace says. "It will attract people to community. They’ll stay at hotels, they’ll shop at stores, they’ll eat at restaurants. It will bring money into the local economy. That’s real money, based on business not on government grants. That’s why it’s okay."

Continue reading »

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Let the Hoopfest hype begin: The new poster is out

Posted By on Fri, Apr 24, 2015 at 11:23 AM

If you're closely watching the clock run down on the Spokane Hoopfest website — as a player, fan, or someone who wants to Airbnb your house during the craziness — you know that we're only (as of this writing) 63 days, 20 hours and 50 minutes from tip-off. 

Plenty of time to work on your jumper, sure. And the arrival of this year's poster featuring now-former Gonzaga hoops legends Kevin Pangos and Gary Bell, Jr., along with Gonzaga Prep grad and former EWU hoopster Parker Kelly, is reason to get excited. The photo is by Danscape Media, and features a back alley showdown between the three guys who just finished off amazing seasons at their respective schools, and three colorfully clad kids ready to hoop it up.

Here it is: 

If you want to play in the 2015 Spokane Hoopfest, deadline for guaranteed registration is May 11, and you can do it right here. You might be able to get in after that, but it'll cost more, and there are no guarantees. 
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Lyrics Born headlines Elkfest 2015

Posted By on Fri, Apr 24, 2015 at 10:54 AM

For its 11th year, Elkfest brings in an eclectic mix of regional and local artists, including headliner/Japanese-born rapper Lyrics Born. Since the early ’90s, the artist (aka Tsutomu “Tom” Shimura) has made socially conscious music that more than transcends his Bay Area home. He’s the type of dude who flows over hard beats but is also influenced by soul, jazz and jam-band music. His upcoming album Real People features Trombone Shorty and Galactic. Expect him to start his set off strong with the groovin' hit "Callin' Out." Seattle blues rockers the Grizzled Mighty, who play Spokane at least once a year, should offer up a wild set, as well. Here are the other bands to get excited about.


Touring acts
Lyrics Born
The Grizzled Mighty
Ayron Jones & the Way
Robert Jon & the Wreck
Rust on the Rails
Megan Wilde

Local acts
Hey! is for Horses
Flying Spiders
Pine League
DJ Ahem
Leftover Soul

The free Browne’s Addition block party, happening the weekend following Volume, runs June 5 through 7. As always, the event is all-ages, although the beer gardens are 21+.

Last year, headliners Minus the Bear weren’t announced until closer to the event, so we’ll see if any other big acts are added later. Either way, the lineup as-is will make up a fantastic soundtrack for a weekend in the sun. 
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Guys and Dolls, kegs and casks, and Walter Kirn at Get Lit! in Spokane tonight

Posted By on Fri, Apr 24, 2015 at 10:05 AM

Happy Friday, and congrats on making it through another work week. At least for those of you gainfully employed. For all of us, working or not, Friday is a great day to delve into the Inlander's event listings and Staff Picks to find something fun to do. 

Here are some highlights I found for Friday, April 24: 

WORDS | Get Lit! continues its literary tear across the city and the week, and tonight I'm particularly into the reading/conversation with author Walter Kirn and local author/newspaper man Shawn Vestal. Check out our interview with Kirn, author of the excellent Blood Will Out, and consider a trip to check that out. 

THEATER | The touring Broadway production of Guys and Dolls drops in at the INB Performing Arts Center for a weekend's worth of shows. 

BENEFIT | The 13th Annual Cask and Keg Auction is going down at Arbor Crest Wine Cellars, raising money for Spokane Valley Firefighters Benevolent Association. Good cause, great drinks. Do it to it. 
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MB: Powdered alcohol, drag racing in Couer d’Alene and cable mergers

Posted By on Fri, Apr 24, 2015 at 9:10 AM


Powdered alcohol will not be legal in Washington, probably ever. (Inlander)

There’s drama at the Spokane County Commission, with Commissioner Al French accusing his two counterparts of undermining open meetings law. (Spokesman)

Police in Couer d’Alene say they have a problem with drag racing. (KREM)


After much stalling, Loretta Lynch has been confirmed by the Senate as the next U.S. attorney general. (NPR)

Jeb Bush has gone Paleo. (New York Times)

Cable behemoths Comcast and Time Warner won’t be merging after all. (Guardian)

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