Wednesday, February 15, 2017

When probation can't protect you from revenge

Torture and grammar at center of Washington Court of Appeals case

Posted By on Wed, Feb 15, 2017 at 1:01 PM

Ahmet Hopovac had two toenails plucked from his feet and three fingers severed with an axe by gang members. He says the Washington Department of Corrections is partially responsible because terms of his probation meant he couldn't protect himself and officers said they couldn't help him. In an opinion released Tuesday, the Washington State Court of Appeals disagreed.
Judge George Fearing
  • Judge George Fearing

But in a partial dissent Chief Judge George Fearing zoomed in on the majority's interpretation of whether a plural noun (in this case "opportunities") can also work in the singular, legally speaking. You can read the opinion, and Fearing's dissent, at the bottom of this post.

Here is what went down:

Hopovac was released from Grant County jail in 2011 following a sentence for burglary, theft and forgery. He was barred from leaving Grant County and from possessing a gun, among other restrictions, as part of his probation. Hopovac had no home in Washington, and requested to transfer his corrections supervision to Idaho, where he would live with family. He had a line on a job, too, according to court documents.

Idaho denied his request, in part, because corrections officials in Idaho did not receive all the necessary paperwork (Hopovac had also used drugs and missed an appointment with his probation officer, which are violations of his supervision).

Hopovac resubmitted the transfer request, this time including the appropriate paperwork, but in the meantime, he got caught up in some gang drama.

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Trump campaign communicated with Russian spies, dead coyotes on frat porches, and other news

Posted By on Wed, Feb 15, 2017 at 9:43 AM

Yesterday, on February 14, media outlets revealed that the Trump campaign was secretly communicating with Russian intelligence throughout the election. - DANIEL WALTERS PHOTO ILLUSTRATION
  • Daniel Walters photo illustration
  • Yesterday, on February 14, media outlets revealed that the Trump campaign was secretly communicating with Russian intelligence throughout the election.


Ice to See You

Careful drivers! It's like Super Mario Bros 3 World 6 out there! (Spokesman-Review)

The trial of Spokane's own torture psychologists may face even more delays. (Spokesman-Review)

Like the Country Western music version of The Godfather

Four Greek houses in the University of Idaho have found dead coyotes on their doorsteps. U of I really needs to crack down on coyote-drinking on campus. (KXLY)


Maybe they were just telling Russia, "Hey, whatever you do, don't interfere in our election? Multiple Trump aides were in regular contact with Russian intelligence during the election. (New York Times)

It's a personnel matter
The ousting of national security advisor Michael Flynn has created (more) chaos in the Trump White House. (Washington Post)

Bibi on board?

Prime Minister Bibi Netnyahu is visiting the Trump White House today. (The Atlantic)
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Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Trump security advisor resigns, sheriff gets his gun, and other morning headlines

Posted By on Tue, Feb 14, 2017 at 9:26 AM


ARTS & CULTURE: Zuill Bailey, the music director of the Northwest Bach Festival in Spokane, brought home a Grammy.

FOR FUN!: Do you love Daniel Tosh? Do you hate him? Do you think he's a little funny but worry what that says about your taste in humor? Well, he's coming to Spokane in May.


Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich - YOUNG KWAK
  • Young Kwak
  • Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich
Good guys with guns
On Saturday, Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich wasn't let into the Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena while armed, something Knezovich objected to because, in his words, "the sheriff is never off-duty." But the sheriff, using his diplomatic skills, talked it over with arena staff, who he says apologized to him and cleared the air before agreeing to exempt on-duty, off-duty and retired officers with the permission of the sheriff or police chief from the venue's gun-free policy. (Spokesman-Review)

American carnage on the streets of Spokane
For one woman, the potholes in Spokane are more than a nuisance. She says they're so bad that they've undone all the work she's done to recover from a car accident in August, describing it as "physical carnage." She hasn't told the city about this, however. (KXLY)

Recession recovery
Spokane has been slow to recover from the recession, but new college and medical facilities are bringing higher-wage jobs to Spokane. (Spokesman-Review)


All the best people
Michael Flynn has resigned as national security adviser to President Donald Trump after misleading White House officials about potentially illegal contacts with the Russian ambassador to the United States. The Washington Post reported Monday shortly before his resignation that the Justice Department warned the White House last month about Flynn's misleading statements.

Treasury secretary confirmed
Steven Mnuchin, a former Goldman Sachs banker was confirmed by the Senate in a 53 to 47 vote then sworn in to serve as treasury secretary.
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Monday, February 13, 2017

Daniel Tosh bringing his "Tosh.Show on Campus" tour to Spokane

Posted By on Mon, Feb 13, 2017 at 3:25 PM

Daniel Tosh performs in Spokane May 4.
  • Daniel Tosh performs in Spokane May 4.

Love him or loathe him — those seem to be the two default possibilities when it comes to the occasionally dark, often juvenile comedy of Daniel Tosh.

A lot of people fall in the "love" camp, obviously, given the long-running success of his Comedy Central clip show Tosh.o, and the fact that his standup tour is playing in the Spokane Arena when it comes through Spokane.

Tosh's show is Thursday, May 4, at 7:30 pm in the arena's Star Theater configuration. Tickets are $25 for students, and $45, $55 and $75 for the general public. They go on sale Friday at 10 am.

He'll be joined by writers and comedians who work on his show for this tour. Given the slate of schools Tosh is visiting on the tour, maybe this is further indication of Gonzaga basketball putting the school in the big-time.

Here's a little taste of Tosh's standup:

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Zuill Bailey Brings Home the Grammy

Posted By on Mon, Feb 13, 2017 at 2:14 PM

The week before the Grammy Awards, Zuill Bailey says he felt like he had been “strapped to the front of a freight train” — from the build-up since the nominations were announced, to the red-eye flight from Alaska to Los Angeles, to the well-wishers popping up on his phone. So how does he feel now that he has one of those little golden gramophone statues for his mantle?
Zuill Bailey, winning a Grammy last night. Next week: his 2017 Bach Festival kicks off in Spokane.
  • Zuill Bailey, winning a Grammy last night. Next week: his 2017 Bach Festival kicks off in Spokane.

“Such exhilarating chaos… nonstop for 12 hours,” Bailey texted after winning Best Classical Instrumental Solo on Sunday night. “The Grammys were electrifying.”

Bailey has been music director of the Northwest Bach Festival in Spokane since 2014; his 2017 festival kicks off next Tuesday, Feb. 21.

“Tales of Hemingway” was a Grammy darling, winning three — for Bailey’s solo cello playing, but also for Best Contemporary Classical Composition and Best Classical Compendium. The piece reflects composer Michael Daugherty’s “obsession,” as Bailey puts it, with Ernest Hemingway and depicts several of his novels and stories. Daugherty recruited Bailey to be his cellist for the piece and wrote it with his skills in mind. Bailey will perform “Tales of Hemingway” as part of the festival, on March 2 at Barrister Winery.

As critic Nick Barnard described it in his review on MusicWeb International, Bailey exhibits “total technical security,” in the performance, “but also a willingness to push the expressive envelope with playing of a very wide dynamic range and great tonal variety.”

“Psychologically, I am bound to this piece,” Bailey says. “Most things we play, we’re reinterpreting the past. This is new music. This was written for me. This is the present and the future, and that excites people.”

The story of the recording is a bit harrowing, as Daugherty wanted the Nashville Symphony to record the premiere performance in April of 2015.

“I only had three or four weeks to get it ready,” Bailey recalls. “In fact, I learned the piece in the Davenport Hotel, during the Bach Festival. Then, at the premiere, things were being changed right up until I walked on stage.”

Another fun fact: They had to redo the final bars of the piece.

“At the end of the performance, the audience went berserk,” Bailey says. “Michael walked out on stage, and one of us said something like, ‘Well, we’ve really got something here!’ Then they evacuated the hall so we could re-record the final 15 seconds.

“Knowing that every note I played would be forever, you have to deal with that fear,” Bailey says. “But really, I had been practicing for that moment for 40 years.”
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Weekend hoops: Gonzaga's open road, Cougars rough weekend in the mountains

Posted By on Mon, Feb 13, 2017 at 10:17 AM

Przemek Karnowski had a dominant game against St. Mary's on Saturday. - GONZAGA ATHLETICS
  • Gonzaga Athletics
  • Przemek Karnowski had a dominant game against St. Mary's on Saturday.

As we hit mid-February, it's time to turn our full attention to March Madness (with all due respect to my fellow baseball fans geeking out over the start of spring training with pitchers and catchers reporting this week).

Here in the Inland Northwest, that means tracking Gonzaga, obviously, who received one of the four No. 1 seeds in the NCAA's first-ever preliminary seeding announcement over the weekend, but also Eastern Washington, Idaho and Washington State, who all need to make a run through their conference tournaments to get into the Big Dance.

Let's break it down:


On Saturday, the NCAA revealed its first list of the tourney's top 16 seeds, a blatant attempt to build up the hype to Selection Sunday. Obviously those seeds will move around a lot between now and the end of the conference tournaments in early March, but the big news was that Gonzaga got a preliminary No. 1 seed — but was only the No. 4 overall seed, behind Villanova, Kansas and Baylor.

That, of course, got some Zags fans up in arms about being "disrespected" by the selection committee. Whatever — does anyone ever remember who the No. 1 overall seed is after March Madness gets going? Nope. Getting a No. 1 seed and winning the West Coast Conference remain the Zags primary goals, and they got a step closer to that Saturday when they went to St. Mary's and beat the Gaels for the second time this year. The Zags are now two games up on St. Mary's with four games to go, including games this week against San Francisco and Pacific in The Kennel.

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Grammys, refugee rally, Trump team scandal and morning headlines

Posted By on Mon, Feb 13, 2017 at 9:16 AM



WHAT'S UP: Portland rocker Sallie Ford headlines The Bartlett and former Royal Ballet dancers offer an elegant look at life and death for Valentine's Day; later this week, check out the romantic waltz A Little Night Music, and don't miss the star-powered homage to Jimi Hendrix at Northern Quest Casino.

A new initiative from the Spokane Police Department will aim squarely at reducing an infamous problem in Spokane: property crime.

FOR FUN!: With 11 days to go in their Kickstarter campaign, two Spokane-based game creators have received over $74,000 to fund their fast-paced tabletop game, Dice Throne.


An "A" and "B" conversation
Adele said "Hello" to big wins for album of the year, and record and song of the year,
but made sure Beyoncé got several shoutouts for Lemonade, which earned Best Urban Contemporary Album, and for the expectant diva's show-stopping celebration of motherhood. (The New York Times)

Band together
Thousands of people packed a rally supporting the refugee community on Sunday at Gonzaga, where speakers shared their hopes and fears in the wake of Trump's ban targeting both legal and illegal immigrants and refugees. (Spokesman-Review)

Watch: After four years of vetting and doubts due to Trump's travel ban, Assid Nahi, his brother Habid and their families were reunited at Spokane International Airport on Saturday after arriving from Iraq. (KXLY)

It's probably recorded
Concern is growing about national security adviser Michael Flynn's December call with the Russian ambassador, in which Flynn contradicted White House statements about sanctions against Russia, well before Trump took office. Flynn and the Trump administration have not been able to deny the allegations in recent days. (CNN)

(Un)even flow

Nearly 200,000 people in Northern California have been evacuated due to fears that the Oroville Dam, the nation's tallest, will overflow after a winter of heavy rainfall; crews are assessing the situation this morning. (CNN)

Have a great week!
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Sunday, February 12, 2017

THIS WEEK: Sallie Ford, A Little Night Music, BalletBoyz, Hendrix and more

Posted By on Sun, Feb 12, 2017 at 1:00 PM

Sallie Ford headlines a show at The Bartlett on Wednesday.
  • Sallie Ford headlines a show at The Bartlett on Wednesday.

You can find all manner of worthwhile activities in our event listings and Staff Picks, from protests to pop music shows, so be sure to check those out often.

Here are some highlights of the week ahead:

Monday, Feb. 13

WORDS | Jazz music can be daunting for those of us not well-versed in the form. Jazz historian Ted Gioia is here to help, offering a crash course in Moscow on Monday that's a nice prelude to the upcoming Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival.

Tuesday, Feb. 14

MUSEUMS | Tuesdays mean half-price admission to the MAC, so go check out the new exhibit about Ice Age Mammoths and Mastodons. Read all about it here in our preview story.

DANCE | Celebrate a little Valentine's Day action a bit differently with BalletBoyz: Life at the Fox. The group is an all-male dance ensemble founded by former dancers of the UK’s renowned Royal Ballet, and they offer an elegant, funny and sometimes strange take on life and death in this show.

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Friday, February 10, 2017

Car wars: Spokane Police Department creating new task force to fight car theft

Posted By on Fri, Feb 10, 2017 at 4:59 PM

Mayor David Condon delivers his State 2017 State of the City address - DANIEL WALTERS PHOTO
  • Daniel Walters photo
  • Mayor David Condon delivers his State 2017 State of the City address
During today's State of the City speech, Spokane Mayor David Condon announced a slew of new initiatives, including one aimed squarely at an infamous problem in Spokane: Property crime.

The police department is launching a Vehicle Theft Task Force, focusing entirely on reducing the steady stream of car thefts. Spokane may not be in as bad a spot as 2010, when Spokane County ranked fourth in the nation for car thefts, but it's still pretty dismal.

"We're third in the state and there's not a day that goes by where we don't usually have three cars stolen at least," Police Chief Craig Meidl says today. "Sometimes five or six."

And while the city's recently made progress reducing other types of property crime, like burglary, vehicle thefts have been more difficult to address.

"At the beginning of October, we were down in every property crime category. Every single one, except for vehicle thefts and larcenies," Meidl says. "Rather than just sitting there and saying, 'Yep, vehicle thefts are up again,' I just told the command staff, we're going to focus on vehicle thefts. We know we have a problem."

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Local tabletop game makers find fast success for crowd-funded project Dice Throne

Posted By on Fri, Feb 10, 2017 at 4:50 PM


When Manny Trembley and Nate Chatellier showed up to the first day of the PAX South gaming convention in Houston last month, the Kickstarter project they set up to fund their game Dice Throne had already reached its modest goal of $15,000.

This happened in less than 48 hours.

Today, with 13 days left in the campaign, Dice Throne has received nearly $69,000 in pledges from more than 1,300 backers.

The Spokane-based game creators were at PAX (a regional version of the all-encompassing gaming convention started in Seattle by the creators of the Penny Arcade webcomic) because Dice Throne was chosen as one of eight featured games for the convention's Tabletop Indie Showcase. There, Trembley and Chatellier spent three days, Jan. 27-29, demoing their game to attendees.
Trembley, left, and Chatellier, demoed Dice Throne at PAX South last month. - DICE THRONE
  • Dice Throne
  • Trembley, left, and Chatellier, demoed Dice Throne at PAX South last month.

Dice Throne is a two- to four-player combat game using unique dice and cards that then interact with a player's chosen hero character; each hero has its own dice and cards that aid it in combat and defense. Fast-paced and quick to learn, the game's basic dice-rolling mechanics are comparable to Yahtzee, but it draws influence and inspiration from other familiar tabletop games, like Magic: the Gathering (the game's turn phases are very similar).

Each hero offers a different style of play, and their fantasy archetypes — the game's four core characters include the Barbarian (a tank-y combat fighter), the Pyromancer (spells and fast direct damage), the Shadow Thief (a poison-flinging rogue), and the Moon Elf (ranged, with damage deflection skills) — will be familiar to anyone who dabbles in such realms.

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Mammoths & Mastodons: Titans of the Ice Age

Mammoths & Mastodons: Titans of the Ice Age @ Northwest Museum of Arts & Culture

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