Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Spokane City Council signs off on "parklets"

Posted By on Tue, Sep 1, 2015 at 10:28 AM

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Parklets — small parks about the size of two parking spaces — could be coming to downtown Spokane and throughout the rest of the city.

Last night, Spokane City Council passed a resolution requesting Mayor David Condon’s administration work with the Downtown Spokane Partnership, downtown’s business association, to implement a 60-day parklet demonstration.

The idea was spearheaded by a nonprofit organization Yes (You Express Studio). The group’s president José Barajas told the council that parklets, which were championed in San Francisco, will include seating, bike racks and vegetation.

“But one thing that it does is that is serves as a platform or as a stage for cultural events: music, dance, performance,” he told the council. “It not only does that, but it encourages people walk and to shop and to stay downtown.”

Barajas said that his group surveyed downtown businesses to see what they thought about the concept. While most thought it was a good idea, he said some were concerned about losing parking. He said his group could install a parklet in two hours and disassemble it an hour.

“One thing to know is this is all privately funded,” he said, noting that Yes will cover all the insurance and maintenance on the first parklet, which could be installed between Stevens and Washington streets. Yes will also monitor who uses it.

Responding to a question from Councilman Mike Allen, Barajas said that there is no incident of a car running into a parklet in cities where they’ve been installed and they’ve exceeded Seattle’s safety standards. Barajas was also asked by Councilman Mike Fagan about how parklets would be affected by Spokane’s sit-lie ordinance, said that the parklet would be watched by Yes and nearby businesses to prevent any vandalism or unsavory activity.

Barajas said he hopes parklets will eventually spread throughout downtown and across the city after the pilot project.

“I’m very fond of this idea because I love Spokane,” said Barajas. “I think it’s a hidden gem.”

The five people who spoke during the public comment period all seemed to like the idea. Even civic gadfly George McGrath, who is typically opposed to almost everything the council does, noted that the parklet “looks good.” But lefty activist Alfredo Llamedo told the council that he would use the parklet to challenge the city’s sit-lie ordinance.

“I intend to get every homeless person I can find to sit in this structure,” he told the council.

“We’ll sleep in them; we’ll camp in them,” he said. “This will be fun.”

The resolution passed 5-1 (Council President Ben Stuckart was absent), with Fagan voting no. 
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MB: Possible teachers' strike, still no gay marriage licenses in KY, murder rates rising

Posted By on Tue, Sep 1, 2015 at 9:36 AM


HERE 

A Spokane public accountant was indicted on federal tax fraud and evasion when he failed to report $1.7 million in income and filed fake personal tax returns. (Spokesman-Review) 

Spokane Public School teachers start school this week with the looming possibility of a strike as soon as this Friday. (KREM) 

Mayor David Condon released his 2016 capital and operation budget proposals Monday. (Spokesman-Review)

THERE

A federal judge ruled that employers can refuse to provide insurance coverage for contraception based on moral, not just religious, beliefs. Judge Richard J. Leon wrote that religious groups' special exemption amounted to "regulatory favoritism." (The Boston Globe)

A Kentucky Clerk is still denying gay marriage licenses despite the Supreme Court's decision in Obergefell v. Hodges earlier this year. (CNN)

Murder rates are on the rise in many U.S. cities . Milwaukee, St. Louis and Baltimore are the top three. (New York Times)

POLICE 

A video of police shooting a man in San Antonio appears to show that he had his hands up when he was shot. (KSAT)

Crime and punishment could be a major issue at the center of the 2016 presidential campaign, as several Republicans, including presidential candidate Ted Cruz, are stepping up their pro-police rhetoric in the wake of the shooting of a Texas police officer. (Dallas Morning News)

A bipartisan group of Senate Judiciary Committee members is expected to announce a deal meant to relieve overcrowded federal prisons. The bill would give judges more discretion in sentencing nonviolent drug offenders, and well-behaved inmates could earn time off their sentences. (The Daily Signal)
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Monday, August 31, 2015

THIS WEEK: Heroes of Dirt, Bach, Biters, Melvins and pigging out all weekend

Posted By on Mon, Aug 31, 2015 at 11:28 AM


In an instant it seems like we've gone from insane heat of summer to fall. Maybe it's the kids going back to school. Maybe it's the break in the smoke. Whatever the reason, it feels like a new season is upon us, so take a gander at our event listings and Staff Picks often to see what's happening all autumn. 

Here's a crash course in the week ahead, going into Labor Day weekend: 

Monday, Aug. 31

COMMUNITY | Today at Shadle Park, it's Doggie Dip day at the pool! Just be sure to bring your pup a towel, it's chilly outside from 5-7 pm. 

FOOD & DRINK | These last gasps of summer also mean, better get to storing your summer veggies. Spokane Valley Library is hosting a free class at 6:30 pm on Pickling Summer Vegetables

Tuesday, Sept. 1

MUSIC EVENTS & CONCERTS | It's time for Bach @ Barrister, a new concert series at Barrister Winery where Northwest Bach Festival Artistic Director and renowned cellist Zuill Bailey joins with guitarist David Leisner. Expect a program full of works by Schubert, Leisner, Saint-Saëns and Paganini. Concertgoers will receive an autographed CD with their ticket price. It also happens Wednesday. 

FOOD & DRINK | Hey home brewers, the Inland Brewers Unite Social Night drops by the latest spot for a tasty beverage in the Garland District, Filt

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CONCERT REVIEW: Huey Lewis & the News brought a bar band vibe to town

Posted By on Mon, Aug 31, 2015 at 10:35 AM

Huey Lewis & The News love their sunglasses.
  • Huey Lewis & The News love their sunglasses.

There are a few things about Huey Lewis & The News that makes the band better than your average oldies act touring around in 2015. 

First, of course, is a jumbo-sized catalog of hits to draw from when they hit the stage. Huey and his charges were so prevalent on the radio and MTV in the '80s that they can easily play a show of nothing by recognizable crowd-pleasers, as opposed to some legacy bands who try to stretch their three big hits into a 90-minute show. They can't resist throwing a few new tunes in the set, of course, but they don't have to pad the set with junk. 

The band also has a great sense of humor about being an oldies band, with the affable frontman making several good-spirited jokes about his own age, and that of his audience, as well as the tendency of classic rock crowds to hate hearing new music from their favorite old bands. To wit: At one point, after asking how many in the crowd had seen the band before, Lewis said, "I know some people have seen us before. And I know how they feel. 'I'm tired of the old stuff. I want to hear the new stuff!'" That was a pretty funny way to introduce one of the few new songs delivered at the sold-out show at Northern Quest Resort & Casino Sunday night, a so-so tuned called "Her Love is Killing Me." 

The biggest advantage Huey Lewis & the News take to the stage in 2015, though, is that the band is fully capable of sounding exactly as they did during their heyday three decades ago. Back when they were megastars, they were pretty much a bar band with a really good-looking frontman, playing straightforward rock 'n' roll tunes that nodded to soul and R&B here and there. In 2015, Huey is still a pretty good-looking dude, the hooks remain the same, and band (abetted by a horn section) sounds great playing a set of monster hits, well-chosen covers and those few new songs. 

With stars visible for the first time in recent memory, and a chilly bite in the air that definitely felt like fall, Lewis and Co. took the stage to the heartbeat of "The Heart of Rock and Roll," a song that is not only one of the band's biggest hits, but gives them the opportunity to shout "Spokane!" in the spot typically held for "Detroit!" 

"If This Is It" and "I Want a New Drug" came in rapid succession, and the band had the crowd on its feet from the get-go, where they stayed through a show that included an excellent a cappella mini-set mid-show, a staple of Lewis and the band through the years. The band's take on "Little Bitty Pretty One" was excellent, and a primo example of how the band reaches backwards to rock's early years to forge their own pop-rock style. 

Longtime members of the News, guitarist/saxophonist Johnny Colla and drummer Bill Gibson got some big love from the crowd when Lewis introduced the band, as did lead guitarist Stef Burns, who spent the night stepping forward for surprisingly raucous guitar solos song after song; there were moments I thought the show was turning into a tribute to Carlos Santana thanks to the repeated focus on Burns' guitar. 

Among the highlights of the show were "Jacob's Ladder," "Heart and Soul" and "It's Alright," and the reggae-tinged "While We're Young" was the best among the yet-to-be-released songs that the band delivered. 

Opening the show was a surprisingly spry Eddie Money, who laced a set full of hits like "Baby Hold On to Me," "Shakin'" and "Two Tickets to Paradise" with some true enthusiasm for the casino's outdoor venue: "I'm up 150 bucks!" 

There are still a couple of shows left in Northern Quest's "summer" season, but be forewarned, it was pretty damn cold by the end of this trip back in time with Huey and Eddie. Dress accordingly if you hit "Weird Al" Yankovic or the Yes/Toto show.
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MB: Spokane SWAT incident, McKinley now Denali, ISIS's war on history

Posted By on Mon, Aug 31, 2015 at 9:06 AM


HERE:

Washington fires cause loss of livestock, grazing land, miles of fence and water sources for ranchers. (Spokesman-Review)

An eastern Idaho woman filed a complaint that says an Idaho State Trooper coerced her to have sex with him in his patrol car. (KXLY)

The Spokane County Sheriff's SWAT team arrested a man Sunday who officials say was holding a woman hostage. Neither the victim nor the suspect were seriously injured during the incident. (KREM)  

The three candidates for police ombudsman made their way around town last week. Will one candidate's online comments hurt his chances? (Inlander) 

THERE: 

North America's tallest mountain, Mount McKinley (20,237 feet), will be renamed Denali as it was first known by Alaska Natives, thanks to an executive order by President Obama. (USA Today). Obama will be in Alaska today to talk about climate change. (New York Times)

The man accused of shooting a Texas sheriff's deputy "execution-style" will be arraigned today on capital murder charges. If indicted by a grand jury, he could face the death penalty. The shooting occurred last week at a Chevron station in Houston as the deputy was gassing up his patrol car. (Washington Post)

Syrian officials are unsure how much damage an explosion near the Temple of Bel caused the ancient structure. Activists are saying the Islamic State is responsible for the blast. (Chicago Tribune)

CRIMINAL JUSTICE

Missouri is number one in death penalty executions per capita (yes, even more that Texas). (The Marshall Project)

A 24-year-old black man was found dead in his jail cell while he waited for trial. Jamycheal Mitchell was held for four months without bail in Virginia for allegedly stealing $5 worth of groceries. (The Guardian) 

The trial of a North Carolina cop who shot an unarmed black man in September 2013 ended in a hung jury last week. North Carolina Attorney General, Roy Cooper, says the case will not be retried. (WCNC)
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Friday, August 28, 2015

Will police ombudsman candidate Allen Huggins' online comments hurt his chances for the job?

Posted By on Fri, Aug 28, 2015 at 7:01 PM

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Allen Huggins, one of the three final candidates for the police ombudsman job, has a prominent online presence in the Wall Street Journal comments section. He's also written op-eds for the Coeur d'Alene Press and the California Peace Officers' Association website. The CPOA is a nonprofit leadership organization for law enforcement in California.  

As was first reported by the Spokesman Review, some of Huggins' comments about the Black Lives Matter movement on a Wall Street Journal article are controversial: 
"In reality, they only matter when the other party is a white officer. Otherwise, not a peep from Obama, Sharpton and their bands of myopic rioters. Proof, you say? Sure. How much coverage is the Memphis murder of a white cop being killed by the black suspect getting?" 
We asked Huggins how he expects a person of color to feel comfortable coming to him (were he to be hired as the ombudsman) with a complaint with the confidence that he would handle it fairly: 

"They should feel comfortable because I care about all lives," he says. "I care about people who are mistreated and who've had an issue with the police. It doesn't matter what race they are to me. That comment has to do with the hypocrisy of how they pick and choose their argument. ... My frustration is that this movement is selective about what they choose to say, but ignore the elephant in the room, which is black kids as the victims of other black kids. Where are they for that?" 

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Why the Albertson Foundation is using a bright yellow deer to get Idaho kids to college

Posted By on Fri, Aug 28, 2015 at 2:55 PM

What's this bright yellow deer all about? That's the question the J.A. and Kathryn Albertson Family Foundation want you to ask. - PHOTO COURTESY OF ALBERTSON FOUNDATION
  • Photo courtesy of Albertson Foundation
  • What's this bright yellow deer all about? That's the question the J.A. and Kathryn Albertson Family Foundation want you to ask.

Earlier this year, the Inlander asked a big question: Why are so few Idaho kids going on to college? Not just a four-year college, but community colleges or tech programs. The Go-On rate is stuck around 50 percent. 

It's a problem that's nearly as bad in Washington and Oregon as well. But Idaho has the J.A. and Kathryn Albertson Family Foundation, a well-funded organization that's been trying to fix that problem since 2008. They launched multiple ad campaigns, gave grants to schools, and gave universities scholarships. And in some schools things got better. 

But statewide, the numbers have remained dismal. 

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Meet the three candidates for Spokane police ombudsman

Posted By on Fri, Aug 28, 2015 at 2:04 PM

Robert Breeden, Allen Huggins, Raheel Humayun - YOUNG KWAK PHOTO
  • Young Kwak Photo
  • Robert Breeden, Allen Huggins, Raheel Humayun


The three finalists for the Spokane Police Ombudsman made their rounds from forums to luncheons to public interviews throughout the past two days as the city got a little closer to filling the long-vacant position. The Office of Police Ombudsman Commission announced Thursday evening that it will hold a meeting September 1 for comments from the public, and a decision could be made as soon as September 9.

The three candidates are: 

Raheel Humayun
, an investigator for British Columbia's Office of the Ombudsperson. Humayun was also an instructor with the Justice Institute of British Columbia and a forensics investigator for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Of the three, he is the only one who hasn't been a law enforcement officer.

Robert Breeden is a former law enforcement officer of 32 years in Florida. Most recently, Breeden was a special agent in charge of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement in Miami.

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THIS WEEKEND IN MUSIC: Wimps, Hip-hop 4 Hope and Huey Lewis and the News

Posted By on Fri, Aug 28, 2015 at 11:19 AM


FRIDAY

It’s one of those nights when the Baby Bar/Neato Burrito is sure to be packed to the gills. Tonight’s super Washington punk lineup features Seattle-based Pony Time (listen to their new single “Really Nice Guys” right here) and Wimps (read our preview story on them here) along with some of Spokane’s favorites, 66beat and Phlegm Fatale. It’s going to get crazy. Show up at 9 pm for the free 21+ show.

Celebrate hip-hop’s uplifting side over at the Hip-Hop 4 Hope event at nYne, featuring Seattle’s Yodi Mac along with King Kuzey, Purpose and Kosh. The show is a fundraiser for inner city youth and begins at 8 pm. $5 cover at the door but donations are accepted.

SATURDAY
Folk music isn’t going anywhere and Saturday’s lineup at Jones Radiator proves that with Southern singer-songwriter Daniel Amedee taking the stage. Local folksters Feral Anthem also perform, as do the Seattle-based ska group Bad Koala. Start time is 9 pm, supposedly. 

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MB: Macklemore caught on tape, fed lands closed, and would-be-leaders say controversial things

Posted By on Fri, Aug 28, 2015 at 9:22 AM


HERE

Macklemore and his crew caught live on tape vandalizing Downtown Spokane; breaking traffic laws. (Inlander)

What one police ombudsman candidate thinks of Black Lives Matter. (He doesn't sound like a fan.) (Spokesman-Review)

Maybe there won't be a teacher's strike in Spokane Public Schools after all. (Spokesman-Review)

In Idaho, many federal and state lands have been closed due to the wildfire danger. (CDA Press)

THERE

Draconian immigration policies cause hundreds to flee across the border — in Venezuela. (New York Times) 

A day after the Democratic National Committee slammed Rand Paul for appearing on stage with local politicians who've compared abortion providers to Nazis, Hillary Clinton herself compared several Republican candidates to terrorists (for their views on abortion.)  (The Hill)

Ashley Madison's parent company's CEO is stepping down. Presumably not to spend more time with his family. (Washington Post)

TRUMPISMS


Did you know that Donald Trump's said some controversial things? Politico found nearly 200 of the classiest things he's ever said. (Politico) 
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