Thursday, July 30, 2015

CONCERT REVIEW: Whitey Morgan converts the Bartlett into a honky-tonk

Posted By on Thu, Jul 30, 2015 at 10:45 AM

  • Dan Nailen

Even before Whitey Morgan and the 78's took the stage Wednesday night, you could tell it was going to be an atypical night at the Bartlett just by scanning the crowd. Mohawked fans mingled with unironic cowboy hats, and some country-loving fans brought their pre-adolescent kids along for the show at a place more known for indie-rock and modern folk than honky-tonk tunes.

Then again, almost everything about Whitey Morgan's sound in 2015 is atypical, too. While arenas across the U.S. are selling out shows by atrocious "bro-country" clowns and pop stars in country clothing, Morgan is delivering real-deal twang with edge that harkens back to '70s outlaws like Waylon Jennings, George Jones and Johnny Paycheck. With a band that included three guitars (including Morgan), as well as pedal-steel, bass and drums, his songs veer from drinking song to drinking song, with occasional tangents into heartbreak ballads. And then more drinking songs. 

It all makes for a highly entertaining show for the people there to hear some authentic country as well as those yearning to do a little two-steppin'. Last night, Morgan and his charges filled the set with songs from his excellent new album, Sonic Ranch, a record that captures the stellar interplay between the leader and his band. Three-part harmonies between Morgan, acoustic guitarist Tony Martinez (who opened the show as well) and lead guitarist Joey Spina were genuinely thrilling to hear fill the room, and those three locked into numerous guitar rave-ups throughout the night, joined by pedal-steel master Brett Robinson, whose crying instrument is as responsible for giving Morgan's songs their authentic-country vibe as the man's lyrics full of woman-done-me-wrong tales.

"Ain't Gonna Take It Anymore," with its sing-along refrain of "If I'm going down tonight / I'm going down drinkin'!" was one boisterous highlight among the new songs, as was "Me and the Whiskey" about halfway through the set. Among the new ballads, "Drunken Nights in the City" stood out as a song Morgan will surely include in his shows for years to come. 

Well-chosen covers that introduce young fans to the legends who inspired him are a big part of Morgan's shows and albums, and Wednesday night was no different. The band's stellar take on Johnny Paycheck's "Cocaine Train" offered the first round of those stunning harmonies. Another cover of Bruce Springsteen's "I'm On Fire" featured Morgan and Co. taking the slight pop ditty and turning it into a sprawling instrumental workout that showcased all six men on stage. A cover of Waylon Jennings' "Waymore's Blues" toward set's end was excellent, particularly teased with the Eagles' "Seven Bridges Road," which Morgan abruptly cut off to shift the band into arguably his most prominent influence's tune. 

Elsewhere, old favorites likes "Bad News," "Another Round" and "Sinner" thrilled the folks filling about two-thirds of the Bartlett. And "Turn Up The Bottle," dedicated to George Jones, had the crowd hoisting beer cans and bottles skyward. The size of the crowd didn't disappoint Morgan, who noted that he and the band have traveled through Spokane "thousands of times" before this, their first gig in the Lilac City. 

"Spokane, this is our first date," Morgan mused five songs into the show. "I feel like it's going pretty good. I'm feeling like I might get lucky." 

On this night, it was the Spokane outlaw country fans who were the lucky ones. Hopefully Morgan and the 78's enjoyed it enough to call again. 
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MB: Eyman's back, teacher draft picks, and more Airway Heights mayor condemnation

Posted By on Thu, Jul 30, 2015 at 9:25 AM


A Tim Eyman initiative's back on the ballot. And guess what? It's against taxes. (Spokesman-Review)

More than half of Airway Heights' city staff has signed a letter condemning the small town mayor. (Spokesman-Review)

Sandersmania strikes Post Falls! (CDA Press)


A new video of a cop shooting a black man during a traffic stop. (New York Times)

As the mentally ill fill the jails, a psychologist takes control of a jail in Chicago. (New York Times)

What was it like when Marco Rubio was a city councilman? Boring, turns out. (Washington Post)


If we treated teachers like we did athletes:

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Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Psych ward at Sacred Heart retains doctors, agrees to cut bed count by two-thirds

Posted By on Wed, Jul 29, 2015 at 2:35 PM

As far as reductions go, two-thirds is pretty significant. Imagine reducing your weight or your wardrobe or the time you spend sleeping by two-thirds. Crazy, right? Now imagine Spokane's only inpatient psychiatric hospital — which currently has space for 48 adults and 24 children experiencing acute mental health crises — reducing it's bed count by 66 percent.  

You won't have to imagine for long; it's about to happen September 6. Providence Medical Group's Sacred Heart Hospital announced the reduction to 12 adult beds and 12 pediatric beds in a press release celebrating the retention of five of the seven doctors who had threatened to quit in June. "We have five right now that have signed contracts," says Providence's External Communications Director Elizabeth DeRuyter.

So why did all of Sacred Heart's seven psychiatric physicians turn in resignation letters in the first place?

"The issue was related to workload. The demand for psychiatric services is high and despite our best efforts to recruit and get more staff, we couldn't keep up with demand," says Providence Medical Group's Chief Medical Officer Kirk Rowbotham. "This was not about money, this was about lifestyle and workload." 

The hospital plans to alleviate the workload problem by reducing the number of patients they take in, at least temporarily. Sacred Heart will  "draw down" the bed count as they transition to a new model of care. By October, Providence hopes to hire additional doctors and begin bringing the bed-count back up. It could be touch and go for a bit, though, due to a national shortage of psychiatric doctors. The shortage of providers is felt more acutely in Spokane County, where 8 percent of residents have psychiatric needs, compared with a national average of 5 percent. "It's very difficult to recruit psychiatrists to the need that we have," says Rowbotham.

Sacred Heart is changing the way providers care for patients to a more team-based model in an effort to make the hospital more attractive to doctors. "We redesigned our program to make it more appealing. It's been very well received by psychiatrists, and we have three viable candidates, including one that's very close to signing a contract," says Rowbotham.

Continue reading »

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WW: DEA head says pot "probably" not as bad as heroin, Oregon TV anchor fired for positive weed test

Posted By on Wed, Jul 29, 2015 at 11:16 AM

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]

Here are the headlines of the past week in weed: 

Former prisoner of war and Idaho native Bowe Bergdahl popped up in the news again this week — during a raid on a California pot farm. (KREM)

Over in Oregon, where weed is now legal for recreation use as well as medical use, a TV news anchor was fired after testing positive for THC (Potlander). She doesn't seem too broken up about it. She's now calling herself a marijuana advocate:

Speaking of Oregon, the governor earlier this week signed a law that allows recreational pot sales to start earlier than originally intended, this Oct. 1. (High Times)

One of the so-called Kettle Falls Five was sentenced to 16 months in prison by the feds. (The Cannabist)

Senate Bill 5052, designed to align Washington's medical and recreational marijuana industries, went into effect on Friday (The Columbian). The good: Post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injuries can qualify patients for a medical marijuana card. The band: medical marijuana patients could lose the ability to get medicine that's proven to work in their individual cases as medical shops are forced to re-apply for licenses. 

The new head of the DEA, while admitting he's "not an expert," acknowledged that pot is probably not as bad as heroin. (US News & World Report). 
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MB: CdA Goat killer, (a different) casino battle, and Inslee's carbon workaround

Posted By on Wed, Jul 29, 2015 at 9:36 AM


No, Inslee isn't going to upset the transportation budget. But he's still going to find a way to further regulate carbon emissions. (Spokesman-Review) 

If this were still the 80s, we'd be speculating about a Satanic ritual. Instead, we're simply asking: Who stabbed three Coeur d'Alene goats? (KXLY)

Should Woodrow Wilson join the ranks of shamed historical figures not fit to title our elementary schools? (Spokesman-Review)

Five of the seven "resigning" psychiatrists at Sacred Heart have agreed to stay on, after workload changes. (Spokesman-Review)


Two Washington state Indian tribes are fighting over the placement of a new casino. No, not the tribes you're thinking of. (NPR)

College students are actually beginning to pick majors that may earn them money someday. (Vox)

How many times has your personal info been hacked? If this quiz asks for your credit card info, don't give it. (New York Times)

Migrants have been trying to storm the Channel Tunnel between France and Great Britain. (New York Times)


How Always Sunny manages to still be pretty great after 10 seasons. (AV Club) 
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Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Drug-test providers have trouble helping ID dangerous drugs at events like Paradiso

Posted By on Tue, Jul 28, 2015 at 3:40 PM


Adam Auctor parks his car along an empty stretch of road in Swan Lake, New York. It’s 2 am as he slogs a miles through densely wooded forest, over a swamp, and across a bramble-choked creek. He reaches his destination wet and dirty and lobs the sacks he’s carrying over the six-foot chain link fence where a co-conspirator waits to intercept the booty. Auctor will smuggle in additional bags in the trucks of food vendors and merchants headed into the Mysteryland USA festival here tomorrow.

Auctor isn’t a drug smuggler; he relayed this scenario in an interview with the Inlander to show the lengths he has to go to to help festival-goers figure out what is actually in the drugs they plan on using. Auctor's company makes kits that test drugs for adulterants — additives or cutting agents used by drug dealers to stretch their products and sell more of less-pure product — and he sneaks 2,000 of these baseball-sized kits into each festival he attends. 

“We do what we need to to save lives,” says Auctor, though he's operating a business, not a charity; his basic MDMA test kit sells for $20 and is also available online

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Nominations for Spokane's 2015 Urban Design Awards open

Posted By on Tue, Jul 28, 2015 at 2:15 PM

The 108-year-old SIERR building renovated by McKinstry won an Urban Design Award in 2013. - YOUNG KWAK
  • Young Kwak
  • The 108-year-old SIERR building renovated by McKinstry won an Urban Design Award in 2013.

Calling all urban designers: submissions are now open for the 2015 Spokane Mayor’s Urban Design Awards. 

The awards, which began in 2007 and take place every other year, celebrate the architecture, urban and landscape design which, Mayor David Condon says, help shape the Spokane experience.

“Spokane is defined in part by how it is experienced through its many varying lenses and attractive features that include beautiful architecture, historical buildings, plazas, parks and landscapes,” Condon said in a press release. “The Urban Design Awards encourage and recognize the talents of those who add to this sense of identity and place by sharing their creativity in the public places we all enjoy.”

This year’s awards are also unique in the partnership between the City of Spokane and Spokane Arts, to facilitate further awareness and knowledge of how excellent design and city planning make Spokane even more, to steal from the motto, “near perfect.”

As for the award-giving process, the call for entries is open until midnight August 14 on, which includes a 15-point summary of design qualities sought.

Winners from the last time the awards were given, in 2013, include the SIERR/McKinstry building, the new Westview Elementary, the SFCC Music Building renovation, and the Fountain Cafe at Riverfront Park. 

The submissions are first assessed by the City’s Design Review Board which recommends entries to the Mayor’s office, which will present the awards in late October at the closing party for the second annual Create Spokane Arts Month.

In need of some inspiration on what calls for good urban design in Spokane? Look no further than the current issue's cover story, on the Lilac City's rich architectural history. 

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New study shows beer generates more than good times and hangovers, like jobs and taxes

Posted By on Tue, Jul 28, 2015 at 1:09 PM


We're currently working on our upcoming Beer Issue — hitting the streets August 20 — so the Inlander staff has beer on the brain a bit more than usual. Walk past some of our cubicles, and you might recognize the signs of a thirsty writer or editor

After a little bit of reporting, it turns out beer is not only a delicious treat, it's a pretty significant part of the economy. Sounds like a great reason to raise a toast — cheers!

The folks at something called the Beer Institute and the National Beer Wholesalers Association today released a new study called "Beer Serves America: A Study of the U.S. Beer Industry's Economic Contribution," and in the report (put together by John Dunham and Associates), they break down things like how beer contributes to jobs and taxes both nationally and in each of the states. You can read the report if you want to get into the minutiae, but we thought there were a few noteworthy stats Inlander readers might be interested in: 
  • Overall, the beer industry generates about $252.6 billion in economic activity, which equates to about 1.5 percent of the U.S. Gross Domestic Product. 
  • Based on data from 2014, beer is responsible for the existence of about 1.75 million jobs, ranging from the people working at the breweries themselves to all the suppliers affiliated with the industry — bottle and can manufacturers, cardboard companies, marketing enterprises and the like. 
  • The total number of breweries has grown by 2,290 in the past two years, most of them microbreweries and brewpubs. Residents of the Inland Northwest can certainly attest to that trend as our ale trail is growing like crazy. 
  • Nearly $50 billion in taxes is generated by the production of beer and other malt beverages (those hard lemonades, etc.), and those taxes make up about 40 percent of the price we pay for a beer. 
  • In Washington state, the beer industry generates nearly $3 billion in economic activity, and roughly 38 percent of the retail price of beers goes toward federal and state taxes.
  • In Idaho, the beer biz generates about $460 million in economic activity, and roughly 37 percent of the price of each beer goes toward taxes. 
You can check out the data of any state you like with this handy website. And watch for that Beer Issue coming August 20.
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MB: Envision Spokane gets unwanted ballot language, Trump's attorney threatens reporter, kids eat pot cookies

Posted By on Tue, Jul 28, 2015 at 9:42 AM


The Spokane City Council votes to pair two "advisory questions" with Envision Spokane's initiative, over their objections. (Spokesman-Review)

Pot edibles can look like cookies or candy. Kids love cookies and candy. Cue the problem. (KXLY)

WSU snags a crew of UW researchers to look into public health concerns facing minority groups. (Spokesman-Review)


A third undercover video is released by the anti-Planned Parenthood group, this one with a former phlebotomist of a company called StemExpress. This release, like the others, includes both an unedited and an unedited version.  (The Hill)

Obama could win a third term, says Obama. If Obama wanted to or the law allowed it, but Obama doesn't. (New York Times)

And now it's that season where the attorney of the leading Republican candidate for president says you can't be raped by your spouse and then threatens a reporter and then apologizes. #Trump (Washington Post)

Jon Stewart has the ear of the president — and more importantly, the president has the ear of Jon Stewart. (Slate)


Here's a map of the United States by home value, which gets really squished around the Montana/Wyoming area. (Vox)
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Monday, July 27, 2015

Slipknot to tear up Spokane Arena Oct. 20

Posted By on Mon, Jul 27, 2015 at 1:17 PM


Just in time for Halloween, the Iowa metal band Slipknot — famous for wearing costumes all year round — comes to take over the Spokane Arena, October 20. The raging show leads up to the act’s Knotfest festival (sporting the tagline: "A happening that will awaken your darkest senses") in California just days later.

The band rose to fame in the late ’90s, around the same time as other nu-metal acts like Korn and Limp Bizkit, which Slipknot tries to distance itself from. The group, through many a lineup change and much time off, has gone on to pull in 11 platinum and 39 gold record certifications worldwide, and most recently many accolades for its 2014 effort, .5: The Gray Chapter.

Enjoying this heart-stopping, often terrifyingly dark music is more about the feeling the nine-piece evokes rather than the melodies, as it’s often difficult to distinguish between songs. But for avid local followers of the crew (and they were ranked No. 17 on this year’s Arena Bucket List, proving there are quite a few fans here), this band is sure to put on one of the most intense shows in recent Arena history. Suicidal Tendencies and Beartooth will open for the metal act, helping everyone let loose. 

Tickets are $35 and $45 and go on sale Friday.

Check out the act's most recent single “Killpop” below:

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