Tuesday, February 21, 2017

The lawsuit from former Police Chief Frank Straub? It's still happening.

Posted By on Tue, Feb 21, 2017 at 4:20 PM

With the appeal of police Chief Frank Straub before the Ninth Circuit, Straub's attorney, Mary Schultz, says the case has a pretty good shot of going to trial. - PHOTO COURTESY OF MARY SCHULTZ
  • Photo courtesy of Mary Schultz
  • With the appeal of police Chief Frank Straub before the Ninth Circuit, Straub's attorney, Mary Schultz, says the case has a pretty good shot of going to trial.

The fallout over the forced resignation of former police Chief Frank Straub — way back in September of 2015 — has already cost the city of Spokane more than they ever paid Straub as police chief.

Even though the public has moved on from the controversy, the legal case is still looming.

And as the City of Spokane refuses to give even the city council an explanation for why it booted Mark Serbousek from his role as street director, the ongoing legal case may provide some insight into why the city has been so tight-lipped.

Sure, in June, a U.S. District Court judge dismissed Straub's due process lawsuit in summary judgment — a major blow to Straub's case. But Straub quickly appealed to the Ninth Circuit. And the Ninth Circuit took the case.

For months, Straub's attorney Mary Schultz, and attorneys for the city, Mayor David Condon, City Administrator Theresa Sanders and former City Attorney Nancy Isserlis have been filing briefs in the appeal.

Schultz says she's pretty confident that it will be remanded back to the district trial court.

"This has a very important message to it, that is really going to need the Ninth Circuit to rule on it," Schultz says. "It’s the Fourteenth Amendment right to due process."

The lynchpin of Schultz's arguments come down to Condon's decision to distribute two letters from members of police leadership, accusing Straub of "unreasonable emotional outbursts, personal attacks, threats regarding ... employment and position, scare tactics, retaliation, degradation of character, demeaning and condescending treatment" and "profane and highly inappropriate language."

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State auditor: Wellpinit School District overfunded $400,000 for ALE programs

Posted By on Tue, Feb 21, 2017 at 1:07 PM


A state auditor's office investigation has found that Wellpinit School District took more than $400,000 in state funding that it shouldn't have during the 2014-15 school year because it didn't report enrollment in two "Alternative Learning Experience" programs properly.
be6fcdca6f8a9325dac4cdb2904f04ad.png

But Cheryl Thresher, who managed the state auditor's office investigation, stresses that the district did not deliberately violate compliance procedures to get more state funding.

The issues stemmed from Wellpinit School District's two Alternative Learning Experience programs, otherwise known as ALE programs: Wellpinit Alliance - Columbia Basin J.C. in Moses Lake, and Wellpinit - Fort Semco High School. ALEs offer individualized onsite and online curricula to students outside of a traditional school setting.

Districts are supposed to report the number of hours students participate in the programs to the Washington Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, and those hours are used as the basis for funding. But according to the state auditor's office, the district did not have internal controls in place to follow compliance with the reporting procedures, and it over-reported student hours. That led to the district being overfunded by $412,923.

"There are a lot of compliance requirements to claim funding for ALE programs," Thresher says.

In its investigation, the auditor's office looked at 14 students during the 2014-15 school year. The office found instances where the district claimed more hours than the student learning plan indicated, that monthly evaluations were missing, and that other requirements for reporting were not done properly.

The office recommends that the district put internal control in place to ensure all ALE compliance requirements are met prior to claiming the students for funding.

In its response to the investigation, the district says it has done that.

"Our district plans to work closely with OSPI to address and correct the auditor's findings," it said in a statement. "Having a clean audit for our ALE program is important to the district — as reflected in prior desk audits where our program was found to be compliant."

View the auditor's full report here.
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Hey '90s rock lovers: Everclear, Vertical Horizon & Fastball headed to Northern Quest

Posted By on Tue, Feb 21, 2017 at 11:46 AM

Everclear headlines in Airway Heights May 13.
  • Everclear headlines in Airway Heights May 13.

In the late '90s, few bands had the kind of hot streak enjoyed by Portland-based Everclear, the pop-rock crew led by Art Alexakis that had just enough edge to appeal to the so-called Alternative Nation, and enough hooks to land songs like "Santa Monica," "Everything to Everyone" and "Father of Mine" in heavy rotation on the radio and MTV.

Alexakis is still going, with a new Everclear lineup and a relatively new album, Black is the New Black, and they'll be headlining a show at Northern Quest Resort & Casino on May 13. They'll be joined by fellow '90s success stories Vertical Horizon and Fastball on the bill. Tickets go on sale Friday morning at 6 am through a special presale (use the code NQSOCIAL when you go to buy), through the Northern Quest Resort & Casino website. Otherwise, they go on sale Saturday at 8:30 am; tickets are $45/$55/$65 for the show.

Everclear delivered three straight platinum-selling albums in their heyday, including Sparkle and Fade (1995), So Much for the Afterglow (1997) and the ridiculously titled Songs from an American Movie Vol. 1: Learning How to Smile (2000).

Vertical Horizon is best know for their 1999 hit "Everything You Want," while Fastball is a real bonus in this show as far as I'm concerned. The Texas band had a couple of hits in "The Way" and "Fire Escape" and continues to make really catchy, straightforward rock a couple decades later.

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McMorris Rodgers' Spokane tour, Trump's immigration policy, and morning headlines

Posted By on Tue, Feb 21, 2017 at 9:18 AM


HERE


art15854.jpg
Answering the call
After constituents asked for U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers to be more accessible, she spent her day meeting privately with various people before she took questions during a conference call Monday night. But the call ended after less than an hour due to "technical difficulties." (Spokesman-Review)

Killed by his brother
A 17-year-old boy allegedly stabbed his twin brother to death on Sunday in Coulee City. He's been charged with manslaughter and assault. (KXLY)

Shouldn't it be the other way around?
Two Spokane doctors may owe money to insurance companies and 8,000 patients or clients, with the couple filing $191 million personal bankruptcy last month. But nobody seems to know exactly why these doctors, a psychiatrist and gynecologist, would owe their patients money. (Spokesman-Review)

THERE

Expelling undocumented immigrants
More undocumented immigrants will be deported under the Trump administration, according to plans released by the Department of Homeland Security on Tuesday translating President Donald Trump's executive orders into policy. Any undocumented individual convicted of a criminal offense will be subject to deportation, and 10,000 new immigration and customs agents will be hired.

Condemning Jewish threats
Responding to a rise in threats against the Jewish community, Trump finally spoke out against anti-semitism Tuesday. He called the threats "horrible" and "painful," and added that they are "are very sad reminder of the work that still must be done to root out hate and prejudice and evil."

Triggering the right

Milo Yiannopoulos, the right-wing Breitbart editor who has made a business out of provoking liberals, had a book deal canceled and was disinvited to this year's Conservative Political Action Conference after his comments that seemed to endorse sex between younger boys and older men. Now, even Breitbart may be thinking of cutting ties with him.
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Monday, February 20, 2017

Still undefeated, Zags nab 5th consecutive title as WCC season champs

Of the team's 20 WCC titles, 16 have come during Mark Few’s 18 years as head coach.

Posted By on Mon, Feb 20, 2017 at 9:52 AM

Redshirt senior center Przemek Karnowski (No. 24) has been a constant for the team these past five years. - YOUNG KWAK
  • Young Kwak
  • Redshirt senior center Przemek Karnowski (No. 24) has been a constant for the team these past five years.

Saturday’s matinee was as much another blowout win as it was a display of just how good the Gonzaga men’s basketball program has been over the years.

The Zags (28-0, 16-0 WCC) won their first regular season West Coast Conference championship during the 1994 season. Their 82-61 victory over the Pacific Tigers (10-19, 4-12) clinched at least a share of the program’s 20th regular season title.

“It’s one of those things that I take a lot of pride in,” Few said.

Of those 20 titles, 16 have come during Mark Few’s 18 years as head coach. And this year’s marks five straight titles for the Zags. Few isn’t the only thing that ties these five titles together, though. There’s been another constant on the team during that span: redshirt senior center Przemek Karnowski.

“I’m just happy that for five years that I’ve been here we’ve won it every season,” Karnowski said. “It feels good.”

To win five regular season titles in as many years requires, obviously, winning a lot of games. And that’s exactly what Karnowski has done. The big man from Poland picked up career victory number 128 against Pacific. He’s now five games shy of the NCAA career record for victories, currently held by former Duke Blue Devil Shane Battier.

Karnowski’s long and storied career began in the 2013 season. As a freshman, on the first Gonzaga team to be ranked No. 1, he came off the bench behind Kelly Olynyk and Sam Dower.

Olynyk, now in his fourth season with the NBA’s Boston Celtics, and Dower were in attendance at the Kennel to catch this edition of the No. 1 ranked Zags. Having a couple of former Bulldogs in the house was yet another highlight in an exciting season here in Spokane.

“We’re enjoying the heck out of every day on this ride,” Few said. “Obviously we want to take it as far as possible. But we’re also going to enjoy every day and every moment and every win.”

The Zags, and their fans, have two more chances to enjoy wins before heading to Las Vegas for the WCC Tournament. Next Thursday they head to San Diego to take on the Toreros before returning home for the season finale against BYU Saturday.
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Trump on Sweden and immigration; plus, other news to start your week

Posted By on Mon, Feb 20, 2017 at 9:37 AM

click image Meatbodies is playing this Wednesday; their new album, Alice, has echoes of late-era Beatles crossed with Black Sabbath. - ADA RAJKOVIC
  • ADA RAJKOVIC
  • Meatbodies is playing this Wednesday; their new album, Alice, has echoes of late-era Beatles crossed with Black Sabbath.
ON INLANDER.COM

WHAT'S UP: In this last full week of February, make sure to check out: Meatbodies, who will unleash some intricate punk tunes at The Observatory; the Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival, which turns 50; and Taste Spokane, where you can sample some of Spokane's best restaurants, wineries and breweries, and much more.

MUSIC: Spokane's '90s-era rock scene comes back to life through a Garageland photo exhibit running through the end of February.

CULTURE: Leyna Krow's first book is filled with surreal stories about space, squids, snakes, sinking ships and much more.


IN OTHER NEWS

17-year-old accused of killing twin brother
Grant County deputies say a 17-year-old boy is dead after his twin brother stabbed him during a disagreement; the victim's twin brother is in custody, and will appear in court on Tuesday for the first time. (KXLY)

Swedon't know what you're talking about
President Trump implied on Saturday that Sweden had had some kind of terror attack or recent troubles due to their immigration and refugee policies, leaving Swedes confused as to what he was referring to. Trump cleared things up as usual, by handing off the blame to Fox News. (The New York Times)

Very real news
Two Trump memos being drafted would immediately allow the deportation of "vastly more" undocumented immigrants; despite Michael Flynn's resignation as national security adviser, the Trump administration seems to be continuing its "back-channel" plans for Russia and Ukraine. (The New York Times)

Senators rushin' to preserve Russia-related materials
The move comes as part of the Senate Intelligence Committee's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election; more than a dozen agencies and individuals were asked to preserve those communications.
(CNN)
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Sunday, February 19, 2017

THIS WEEK: Meatbodies, Lionel Hampton fest turns 50, Taste Spokane and more

Posted By on Sun, Feb 19, 2017 at 1:00 PM

Esperanza Spalding, Grammy-winning bassist, plays at the Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival in Moscow this year.
  • Esperanza Spalding, Grammy-winning bassist, plays at the Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival in Moscow this year.

Believe it or not, this is the last full week of February. All things spring-y is are right around the corner. Celebrate with a little trip through our event listings and Staff Picks to find some fun out on the town.

Here are some highlights of the week ahead:

Monday, Feb. 20

WORDS | The Bartlett hosts this month's edition of the Spokane Poetry Slam.

Tuesday, Feb. 21


SPORTS | A favorite for all-ages and no matter what year it is — that's the Harlem Globetrotters, the long-running basketball team that loves two things: 1. doing tricks with the basketball, and 2. destroying the dreams of the Washington Generals. They're playing at the Spokane Arena tonight.

FILM/BENEFIT | The Magic Lantern is hosting a screening of I Am Not Your Negro, the critically hailed documentary about author James Baldwin. Proceeds go to help the Black Lens newspaper. Here's a look at the film:

Wednesday, Feb. 22

LIVE MUSIC | Jerry Joseph spent three decades creating a vast catalog of music incorporating everything from roots rock to reggae, working with an impressive array of musicians including members of the Decemberists and Widespread Panic. He’s always worth the price of admission and he's playing at the Bartlett tonight with his band The Jackmormons for $10.

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Friday, February 17, 2017

Zags stay undefeated, take down San Francisco 96-61

Karnowski and Williams-Goss once again lead the way after a tough first half

Posted By on Fri, Feb 17, 2017 at 9:39 AM

Gonzaga big man Przemek Karnowski continued his late-season run of huge performances.
  • Gonzaga big man Przemek Karnowski continued his late-season run of huge performances.

Gonzaga’s 96-61 victory wasn’t as easy as it looked. After all, final scores never really tell the whole story.

Entering Thursday’s clash with the San Francisco Dons (18-10, 8-7 WCC) the Zags (27-0, 15-0 WCC) were winning games by an average of 23.4 points. They won their 27th by 35 to remain undefeated on the season. But don’t say they never get tested in West Coast Conference play.

“They [the Dons] can really cut you up if you’re not ready to go,” Zags coach Mark Few said after the game.

And that they did as Gonzaga trailed for most of the first half. With 9:30 to play in the first San Francisco held a multi-possession lead. On one end the Dons were dropping in threes, which teams don’t normally do against this year’s Zags. On the other, a zone defense frustrated the Zags, who were forced to swing the ball from side to side without much success.

But when the ball did get inside, big Przemek Karnowski (23 points) was ready to work. And so was the guy tasked with getting him the ball, Nigel Williams-Goss (30 points, seven assists).

“Nigel’s had a good run against them [the Dons],” Few said, “and big Shem has been delivering exceptionally well this past month.”

Last month in Gonzaga’s 95-80 victory over the Dons in San Francisco, Williams-Goss set a career high with 36 points. Thursday in Spokane he was needed once again.

Williams-Goss (15.6 ppg) and Karnowski (12.8 ppg) have been the faces of the team this season, as well as its two leading scorers, and Thursday’s performance was an affirmation of their role. But going forward for this usually balanced offense — this was only the second game all season in which two Zags scored over 20 points — they may have to step up more often.

“We have a bunch of guys capable of scoring 20,” Few said. “The beauty of it is that we have so many that we don’t always need them to.”

Unfortunately, that bunch has shrunk. A broken finger kept Killian Tillie out of the game, and Bryan Alberts was sidelined with a sprained ankle. Few stressed how players would need to step up to fill those absences. Going off of Thursday’s example, it looks as if his upperclassmen leaders are up to task.

It was a sluggish start against a streaky opponent, coupled with a shortened bench, that tested Gonzaga Thursday. Saturday afternoon the test will come from the Pacific Tigers.
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Chaotic Trump news conference, special snowflakes and morning headlines

Posted By on Fri, Feb 17, 2017 at 9:22 AM

ON INLANDER.COM

NEWS: Spokane Public Schools has seen improvement 
click image A few "special snowflakes" amount to nothing. Enough, and you have an avalanche. - JESSIE HYNES
  • JESSIE HYNES
  • A few "special snowflakes" amount to nothing. Enough, and you have an avalanche.
since committing to reducing suspensions, but the hardest part is yet to come.

COMMENT: After Trump's inauguration, the depiction of millennial liberals as fragile and sensitive seems more off target than ever.

MUSIC: A Jimi Hendrix tribute brings the icon's old bass player and an amazing cast of guitarists to Spokane.

IN OTHER NEWS

Did we change the meaning of "fine-tuned"?
click image Trump trotted out his favorite talking points at Thursday's conference, and said his team is running like a "fine-tuned machine." - KEVIN LAMARQUE/REUTERS
  • KEVIN LAMARQUE/REUTERS
  • Trump trotted out his favorite talking points at Thursday's conference, and said his team is running like a "fine-tuned machine."

President Trump's news conference yesterday was all about the issues affecting the American people, as usual — just kidding, it was mostly another anti-media venting session riddled with falsehoods and straw men. (The New York Times)

I'm too old for this
Ret. Vice Adm. Bob Howard has declined President Trump's offer to be national security adviser, and says he's focusing on family now that he's retired. (CNN)

All washed up
Spokane County has declared a state of emergency due to road issues, including washouts; one man in Adams Co. is lucky to be alive after a washout surprised him on his way to work. (KREM)
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Thursday, February 16, 2017

PHOTOS: 11 Iraqi refugees reuniting with family in Spokane after Trump's immigration order put on hold

Posted By on Thu, Feb 16, 2017 at 4:26 PM

Three families. Eleven lives. Iraqi men, women and children — all of them refugees — came through the Spokane International Airport on Saturday.

Assad Al-Sawaedi, one of the refugees, notes that that same day back in Baghdad, cops clashed with demonstrators. At least seven died and hundreds were wounded. Coming to America may have saved his life.

This, ultimately, is what an executive order and a court case can mean to real people.

This week, we have the full story about the three families who arrived in Spokane after Attorney General Bob Ferguson's lawsuit caused President Donald Trump's executive order to be lifted. Read it now.

Then come back here and browse through our photos from families reuniting at the airport.

Hamid Nahi and his brother Assad Al-Sawaedi laugh about the ways they used to tease each other growing up in Iraq. - DANIEL WALTERS PHOTO
  • Daniel Walters Photo
  • Hamid Nahi and his brother Assad Al-Sawaedi laugh about the ways they used to tease each other growing up in Iraq.

Reunited after many years, Hamid Nahi and his brother Assad Al-Sawaedi take a selfie to celebrate. - DANIEL WALTERS PHOTO
  • Daniel Walters photo
  • Reunited after many years, Hamid Nahi and his brother Assad Al-Sawaedi take a selfie to celebrate.

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Today | Thu | Fri | Sat | Sun | Mon | Tue
A Little Night Music

A Little Night Music @ Spokane Civic Theatre

Thursdays-Saturdays, 7:30 p.m. and Sundays, 2 p.m. Continues through March 5

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