Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Local UFC athletes celebrate a weekend victory, prep for upcoming bouts

Posted By on Wed, Jan 28, 2015 at 3:03 PM

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She's back! 

Spokane's own Julianna Pena — the fiery mixed martial artist who's become a fan favorite since landing a contract in 2013 with the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) as champion of its 18th consecutive The Ultimate Fighter competition series — is getting back into the cage this spring.

The classically beautiful and deeply motivated athlete hasn't been able to compete since that November 2013 victory. Pena sustained a devastating knee injury one year ago while training at her Spokane gym, Sikjitsu, and initial predictions were that she might never return to the sport. Those sentiments, however, only made the relentlessly determined Pena — one of a small percentage of women in a sport dominated by male athletes and fans — push herself even harder to make a full recovery and return.

And just yesterday, the UFC announced Pena is indeed scheduled to return to the ring on April 4, against a recent UFC newcomer, Russian fighter Milana Dudieva. What's remarkable about that matchup, however, is that Dudieva most recently fought Pena's teammate and training partner, Elizabeth Phillips, at a hotly contested matchup in Macau, China, last summer. (Read our feature on Phillips and Pena written just before that event.)

After Phillips was declared the loser of the fight against Dudieva, UFC President Dana White removed a judge (a move later determined by the organization to be a breach of protocol), upset with the match's scoring, and of the bout before it. The upsetting loss was an unexpected blow to Phillips, her fans and even sports writers covering the event, who believed Phillips to have undoubtedly bested her opponent. 

But with the upcoming matchup of Pena vs. Dudieva, fans of the two Spokane-based women can hope to get their revenge. Long-time fans of mixed martial arts and the UFC may also question whether the organization's pairing of Pena and Dudieva was an intentional move to rally both fighters and their audiences.

Following Phillips' loss in August, Spokane's two UFC-signed male athletes — teammates to the two women, all four coached by Sikjitsu owner Rick Little — both suffered defeats as well. Sam Sicilia lost via submission in September, just weeks after his training partner Mike Chiesa experience an incredibly disappointing defeat. Chiesa's opponent in that event, Joe Lauzon, landed a skin-splitting blow to his face, forcing doctors on site to call an end to the contest. 

It's been a rocky year for the Sikjitsu team, but things are looking up. Just this past weekend, on Jan. 24, Sicilia knocked his opponent (Akira Corassani) out cold in a furious exchange of fists. The KO happened with a minute-and-a-half remaining in the first of three rounds, and Sicilia was considered the underdog going in.

And joining Pena on the April 4 fight card is Chiesa, who's set to go up against Canadian fighter Mitch Clarke. Both men hold professional records of 11 wins and two losses.

It's going to be a big night for Spokane's top MMA athletes — one not to miss. 


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WW: Washington State Legislature thinks about marijuana; Jamaica is about to change law on pot

Posted By on Wed, Jan 28, 2015 at 2:19 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]

The Washington State Legislature is in full effect, and some lawmakers have pot on their mind as they scramble to get bills pushed through before the session ends.

Perhaps the most notable weed-related topic this session are attempts to bring greater clarity to the state’s freewheeling medical marijuana program and its relationship to the restrictive recreational market. One proposal that’s getting attention is the idea of essentially folding the medical program into the recreational. Proponents of the idea say that it makes no sense to have a largely untaxed and unregulated medical market running parallel to a tightly regulated recreational market. Opponents says that it will undermine the medical marijuana market, which patients rely on for medicine.

Here’s a smattering other marijuana-related bills lawmakers are pondering:

SB 5417 would direct more marijuana tax money to local governments. Jurisdictions that have banned marijuana shops would get none of it.

SB 5002 would make it a traffic infraction to posses an open container of marijuana in a car where it could accessed by the driver or passenger.

HB 1041 would allow people who have a marijuana-related misdemeanor on their record to apply to get it vacated because the drug is legal now. A similar bill introduced last session ended up going nowhere after pushback from prosecutors.

SB 5051 would allow marijuana businesses to deliver their products right to your door.

HB 1650 would allow law enforcement to auction off pot and concentrates that have been illegally grown or produced.

SB 5493 would establish that cannabis health and beauty aids (which are pot-enhanced products intended to enhance the health or appearance of the user that don’t cross the blood-brain barrier) shouldn’t be regulated like pot.

Here’s the news elsewhere:

The American Academy of Pediatrics, citing how a pot conviction can ruin someone’s life early on, is calling for the decriminalization of marijuana while also concluding that some kids could benefit from medical use of the drug.  

Which recreational pot shop in Washington is the highest grossing (drum roll), it’s one right next Oregon.

In Ohio, activists are saying that a marijuana legalization initiative will “positively, absolutely be on the ballot” in 2015.

Apple says it won’t allow marijuana apps on its App Store.

After the feds announced last year that tribal governments can make their own pot laws, one tribe in Mendocino County, California (of course) will start growing its own medical marijuana.

Jamaica looks like it’s poised to decriminalize marijuana. Decriminalization is not the same as legalization, but still.


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Killer talk, local tunes and outlaw country on the Palouse

Posted By on Wed, Jan 28, 2015 at 10:24 AM


Happy humpday, folks! You can find myriad ways to get out and about to celebrate making it halfway to the weekend in our event listings and Staff Picks

Here are a few of the highlights for Wednesday, Jan. 28: 

LIVE MUSIC | People on the Palouse have it really good on Wednesday as the excellent Whitey Morgan and the 78s drop by John's Alley in Moscow for a show. If you like old-school outlaw country, Morgan is for you. This is a fine excuse for a midweek road trip for anyone in Spokane or Northern Idaho. Here's a bit of Morgan doing his thing: 
LIVE MUSIC | In Spokane, Mootsy's is hosting a fine show, too, courtesy of Mirror Mirror, the Smokes and Loomer. 

COMMUNITY | Humanities Washington is hosting what is sure to be an intriguing discussion in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo terrorist attack in France. The Think & Drink session hosted by Shann Ray will discuss "killer cartoons" with political cartoonist Milt Priggee and David Fenner, an Islam expert from UW. 
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MB: Jan Quintrall resigns while Michelle Obama rocks the Middle East

Posted By on Wed, Jan 28, 2015 at 9:55 AM


HERE


Jan Quintrall, Spokane's beleaguered division director of business and development services, resigns from the city. (Inlander)

Autism intervention will be studied in Spokane County. (SR)

In our new issue hitting the web today and the streets Thursday, we have a story about controversial "instant-racing machines" that are supposed to be historical horse-race wagering machines, but look a lot like slots: Turns out, the Idaho State Racing Commission head, the guy who regulates the machines in Idaho? He's simultaneously a lobbyist for a track in Wyoming. (Idaho Statesman)

THERE

Months after Bergdahl, another prisoner-trade-for-hostage deal is offered. (NYT)

Finally, a story where Michelle Obama's fashion choices are actually newsworthy. (Washington Post)

The Atlantic takes on the housing vacancy story that no one's talking about. (The Atlantic)

GREENSHAMING

Seattle has figured out a way to get its residents to compost food waste — shame those who don't. (The Atlantic)

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Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Quintrall leaves City, saying "... I have broken the public’s trust, and I can’t repair that."

Posted By on Tue, Jan 27, 2015 at 4:59 PM

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It's been nearly three months since Jan Quintrall, division director of business and development services, kicked off a wave of controversy for firing city planning director Scott Chesney. Now Quintrall herself is leaving.

"I love the City, and I’m terribly proud of what we’ve been building and the progress we’ve made,” Quintrall said in a press release from the city. “The recent attention on me has made it clear that I have broken the public’s trust, and I can’t repair that.”

In December, the Inlander wrote about Quintrall's powerful role and her penchant for controversy with her hiring and firing decisions.

Without a college degree, Quintrall did not meet the minimum qualification — cited in her job description when she was hired — of having of "a Bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university with a major in Business Administration, Marketing, Finance, or a closely related field." 

But she came highly recommended from Condon's city administrator, Theresa Sanders, and former city chief operating officer, John Pilcher, for her work at the Spokane Club and the Better Business Bureau. After she took the job, she was praised for swiftly bringing about considerable improvements in her division, particularly in decreasing permit times. 

“Jan has broken down barriers, pushed her division and others in the City to think beyond traditional ways of doing things, and delivered tremendous results for the citizens she served,” Mayor David Condon said in a press release. “She has laid a tremendous foundation and built a great team that Scott will continue its good work with Scott.”

The scrutiny over Quintrall, however, has not let up since she fired Chesney. The city council expressed frustration over a big ticket lunch at the Spokane Club — she complained about the expense of Chesney's staff lunches when firing him. She was also being investigated by the Civil Service Commission over her hiring of a temporary worker. 
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Sharma Shields reading from her new book, which you can see in person tonight

Posted By on Tue, Jan 27, 2015 at 3:29 PM


Last week, I wrote a big story about Sharma Shields, the Spokane author who's new book The Sasquatch Hunter's Almanac is finally out today. 

If you haven't heard, it's one hell of a book that takes place mostly in the Inland Northwest and, yes, features a sasquatch. Or...maybe it doesn't. That's up to you — when you read the book.

Shields will be at Auntie's Bookstore tonight at 7 pm to read from (and sign) copies of the book, which has already received some very positive reviews from national publications. Here's sample of what to expect from the Shields and her book.

And here's Shields giving some background on how she was inspired to write the novel.
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Kinnear running for city council

Posted By on Tue, Jan 27, 2015 at 2:37 PM


Lori Kinnear, legislative assistant to Councilwoman Amber Waldref, tells the Inlander that she’s filed paperwork to run for city council in District 2.

The position is currently held by Mike Allen, who hasn’t announced if he’s running for reelection later this year. Downtown business owner and perennial candidate John Waite has announced he’s running.

Kinnear has served as a legislative assistant for the past six years, working on legislation that encompasses dangerous dogs, economic development, human trafficking and other issues. “I’ve learned a lot and I think it’s time to apply what I’ve learned,” says Kinnear, who also wants to work with her boss as more of an equal.

Kinnear says that she is particularly proud of recent work done by the city council on development incentives meant to avoid urban sprawl as well as a neighborhood notification system that apprises residents of cell tower construction and other development.

“I am excited about this,” she says. “I’ve wanted to do this for a long time. It’s a way of giving back to the community.”

Kinnear says that she’ll likely have to cut back on her hours as a legislative assistant as the campaign picks up, but she says she has no intention of resigning at this point and has the blessing of Waldref.

“I work at the pleasure of Councilmember Waldref, and the rules clearly say that she can hire me and fire me,” she says.

Kinnear, who previously lived in Seattle, has worked as a newspaper reporter, an ad copywriter, a small business owner and for TINCAN, a defunct nonprofit that helped people access technology.

She moved to Spokane in 2000 with her husband, whose family has lived here since 1896.


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City council is ready for some football (and some cute boys and fried chicken)

Posted By on Tue, Jan 27, 2015 at 12:05 PM

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Sometimes city council meetings can be heated and divisive events. But last night, city council appeared united on one topic: football.

The Inlander caught up with a few of the 12th men (and women) to see what they’re doing for the game.


Councilman Mike Allen
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What’s going to be the score?

“I think Seattle, defense under 20 points.”

Where are you watching the game?

"We're hosting a house party."

Do you have any rituals or food you’re planning?

“Pomegranate martinis.”






Councilman Jon Snyder
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What’s going to be the final score?

That’s going to be a tough one. 24-17, Seahawks.

Where are you going to watch the game?

“Probably at home with family and friends.”

Snyder says he doesn’t have cable, but does have an “ancient antenna” on his roof that allows him to watch the game.

Any special rituals or food?

“I gotta watch the game with people interested in the game. I always wear the colors. I gotta eat before because I get too nervous.”

“Last year’s game was the perfect Super Bowl because if you’re rooting for the perfect team you want no doubt. But this year could be a nail-biter.”




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Council President Ben Stuckart

What will be the final score?

“Seahawks, 34-24.”

Where will you watch it?

“At home with my wife and mother.”

Do you have any rituals?

“I just yell a lot and cook good food.”

What do you cook?

“I think we are going to have prime rib this year.”




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Councilwoman Karen Stratton



So where are you watching the game?

“I don’t pay any any attention to it. I look for the cute ones and point them out to my husband who tells me who they are, and then I watch the commercials. I don’t understand it.”






Councilwoman Amber Waldref
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What will be the final score?

“Seahawks by 14.”

Where will you watch it?

“At home. We’ll project it onto a wall and have people over.”

“I’m much more the football fan than my husband, so I gotta twist his arm.”

This weekend Waldref will be attending a conference in Baltimore. She told her husband that by

“Sunday you better have this figured out.”

Any special rituals or food?

“KFC this year.”

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TUESDAY TASTE: Rootsy tunes and artistic flicks highlight the week's new releases

Posted By on Tue, Jan 27, 2015 at 11:05 AM


Each week we sift through all manner of awful and mundane new music and home video releases to give you the lowdown on what's worth your time and money. We call it Tuesday Taste, and it's Tuesday, so let's do this: 

MUSIC
After last week's blast of riches, this week seems a bit weak by comparison when it comes to new music releases. But there are definitely a few worth checking out, particularly for fans of tunes with a dash of twang: 

The Lone Bellow has a sound that seems forged in the Deep South, but the trio actually hooked up in Brooklyn, and their songs blend a rootsy vibe with excellent vocal interplay. Then Came the Morning is the follow-up to the band's stellar self-titled debut. Here's the title track: 

The Dodos are heading to Spokane in March, meaning there's plenty of time to get to know the Bay Area's indie-rock duo's guitar/drum sound and wicked way with a song. Now 10 years into their life as a band, their new release Individ is a strong set recalling their best past work. Hear a bit right here: 
Punch Brothers are one of the most creative acoustic groups around, and led by mandolin madman Chris Thile, the group delves into classical, folk, bluegrass and rock in their music. As a live act, they're hard to beat, but their recordings are pretty special, too. Their latest is called The Phosphorescent Blues. Here's a taste: 
MOVIES & TV
The big mainstream DVD releases this week are Fury, the Brad Pitt war flick that got decent reviews, but suffered by being a bit plodding, and by having Shia Lebeouf in the cast. The Judge garnered Robert Duvall an Oscar nomination despite generally bad reviews. And while I love Duvall and Robert Downey, Jr., the 141-minute running time was too daunting for me to take on. Maybe you're different, or just have a lot of time on your hands. 

If that's the case, let me recommend a couple of lesser-seen flicks: 

The Book of Life got a wide release and did okay at the box office. But given how much money most mainstream animated fare earns, it almost seems like a bomb. That's a shame, because the story is pretty strong, delving into Mexican myths and legends, and the animation is excellent in this Day of the Dead-inspired flick. If you're the type of person who can easily get lost in the visuals of a film, give it a shot. Here's a look: 
Art and Craft is a documentary about a master art forger named Mark Landis, who wasn't interested in getting rich so much as wanting to look like a kind philanthropist as he gives away what people think are masterpieces. The movie delves into Landis' life, particularly what happens when an art expert exposes his ruse. Here's a look: 


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Dirty blues and squeaky-clean flicks

Posted By on Tue, Jan 27, 2015 at 10:04 AM


You know we have all manner of interesting events available for your perusal 24/7, as well as Staff Picks suggested by our team of professionals. 

If you don't have the time or inclination to scroll yourself, here are some highlights for Tuesday, Jan. 27: 

LIVE MUSIC | The Bartlett hosts Bass Drum of Death at 8 pm, and the Mississippi garage rockers are sure to bring the most beautiful noise to the cozy confines of the place. Have a listen, and a look at a totally insane Bass Drum of Death vid: 
FILM | Yup, it's Totally Tubular Tuesday again at the Garland, and this week that means a cheap screening of the classic Mary Poppins at 7 pm. There must be at least a few ways to turn the Julie Andrews/Dick Van Dyke vehicle into a worthy drinking game. At the very least it could be entertaining to hear people sing along to "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocius" after a few pops at Bon Bon. 

TRIVIA | The Backyard Public House is a fine new watering hole (read a bit about it here), and they have trivia going on Tuesday night, so you have a perfect chance to scope the scene and test your brain at the same time. 
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Spokane Artist Trading Card Meeting

Spokane Artist Trading Card Meeting @ Boots Bakery & Lounge

Thu., Jan. 29, 5:30-7 p.m.

All of today's events | Staff Picks

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