Monday, January 19, 2015

MONDAY MORNING PLACEKICKER: The Seahawks miracle is the only thing anyone will be talking about today

Posted By on Mon, Jan 19, 2015 at 11:43 AM


Hopefully you aren't working today because it's Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. But if you are at the office, it's likely that the first hour (or two) of the work day featured very little real work and a whole hell of a lot of people standing around trying to collectively process what happened in Seattle yesterday afternoon.

Even non-fans know what I'm talking about, because of TV or Twitter or the fact that the neighbor you've never met came to your door screaming that the Seahawks were going to the Super Bowl.

Seattle took down the Green Bay Packers in overtime by a score of 28-22. The score of was 19-7 Green Bay with just five minutes left in the game, making this one of the most ridiculous comebacks in NFL history. I know I've never seen anything like it.

But let's try to piece it all back together and remember all the outrageous plays that had to happen for the Seahawks to pull this off on a day when the typically reliable hunk of Jesus-loving muscle Russell Wilson threw four interceptions.

I'm a believer in the Seahawks since birth, but there was a part of me beginning to navigate through the stages of grief about halfway through the third quarter. The Hawks offense couldn't do anything and Wilson looked like he'd forgotten where he was half the time. It was all very sad. Then there was some light and the offense creeped down the field...only to stall in the red zone. Hell, we'll settle for a field goal, I thought. The following happened next:
So many unlikely things have to happen here and without this play, I think the game is pretty much over. First Jon Ryan, a punter whose also the holder (and a Canadian), has to make it to the corner and then has to throw a ball to a guy who's never made a catch in the NFL. And yes, all those things happened.

Then, the Seahawks had to play their best defense against a Packers team that was trying to backpedal their way into the Super Bowl with an ultra-conservative string of play calls. The Hawks got the ball back and Wilson threw a gem to Marshawn Lynch, who would take it inside the 10 yard line, setting up an easy run for Wilson.

Which brings us to the onside kick — one of the most exciting, but typically deflating plays in football — which yesterday changed the course of Seahawks history. You have to feel for the Packers player who let the ball bounce off his head and into the arms of Seahawks reserve receiver Chris Matthews (I'd never heard of him, either), but whatever, we'll take it.
Marshawn Lynch was playing like a man out for blood the entire second half. Maybe he was pissed that the NFL wouldn't let him wear his gold (as in made with actual gold) cleats, or maybe the guy just exists to punish would-be tacklers. He took the ball and did this, which, of course, included the obligatory nut-grab.
OK, so now the Seahawks have a 20-19 lead, which would be fine if they weren't facing Aaron Rodgers, a quarterback who can use the remaining minute and change on the clock to easily get his team within field goal range (which he did on the drive that followed). So, they needed a 2-point conversion, which they accomplished with a game of Flyer's Up. Here's how it sounded from inside the packed Century Link.
After Green Bay's far-too-easy drive for a field goal, the game headed to overtime. And any longtime fan who saw the Seahawks and Packers standing at mid field for an overtime coin flip was immediately haunted by this unfortunate Matt Hasselbeck moment from 2003. But thankfully the Seahawks kept their mouths shut when the coin flipped their way — which was also one of the biggest strokes of luck for Seattle on a day when they were already absurdly lucky.

So what the hell, first and ten just across midfield? Let's chuck this thing to Jermaine Kearse, the guy who hadn't caught a ball all day, and actually seen all the balls thrown his way get intercepted. Touchdown, game over. Seahawks are going back to the Super Bowl and I'm lying in front of my television set trying to figure out what the hell just happened.

There were other sporty things that happened this weekend, too, but no one will ever remember them, so we'll just leave you with this image of Seahawks defensive lineman Michael Bennet riding a police officer's bicycle. 
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MLK Day, poetry slams and Beatlemania runs wild

Posted By on Mon, Jan 19, 2015 at 10:10 AM

You survived the weekend, but you still have some life in you? Good thing we have a slew of event listings and Staff Picks available to help you plot your next move. 

If you don't have time to look, here are some highlights for Monday, Jan. 19: 

COMMUNITY | It's Martin Luther King, Jr., Day, so if you already missed the parade at 10 am this morning, you still have time to catch recitals of the famous "I Have a Dream" speech later in the day. 

WORDS | It's time for Spokane Poetry Slam at the Bartlett, this month featuring Paulie Lipman, a slam vet from Denver who's advanced to the National Poetry Slam eight times. 

LIVE BANDS | Beatlemania might be long gone, but Beatles fanatics keep tribute bands like Rain — A Tribute to the Beatles working hard all year long. They cover all eras of the band, but still probably don't do enough George tunes. Here's a clip of them on Good Morning America, in which you hear their sound, and see George Stephanopoulos's soul die a little inside: 

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MB: Cancer in the Kettle Falls Five, rich getting richer, GOP debates

Posted By on Mon, Jan 19, 2015 at 9:21 AM


Larry Harvey, a member of a family dubbed the “Kettle Falls Five” who are all facing stiff federal drug charges for growing medical pot, has cancer. (HuffPost)

His lawyer, citing a recent congressional action, has filed a motion to dismiss the case. (INLANDER)

More than 1,000 people gathered outside Idaho’s Capitol to push for a civil rights bill that might get passed this year. (S-R)

The Seattle Seahawks are going back to the Super Bowl. (S-R)


The world’s wealthiest 1 percent will soon own more than half the world’s wealth. (BBC)

Are you excited for the endless presidential debates in anticipation of the 2016 elections? Sorry to be a downer, but the Republican National Committee is trying to have fewer this time around. (CSM)

Remember when alleged North Korean hackers attacked Sony? Well, it looks like the U.S. hacked North Korea first. (NYT)

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Saturday, January 17, 2015

The Hop! is closing but moving

Posted By on Sat, Jan 17, 2015 at 4:32 PM


Nearly four years after opening at its Monroe Street location, the Hop! is closing at the end of this month. The good news for all local music fans however, is the business will move downtown to the old A-Club/Club 412 location on Sprague. The new all-ages music club will be renamed Pinnacle Northwest, or the Pin, for short.

The Hop! owner T.C. Chavez, who previously owned the Cretin Hop, says he’s not sad to see the place go.

“I’m looking forward to some new ground but it’s going to be challenging, I’m not getting any younger,” he says.

The Hop! had a scare in 2013 when one person was shot and killed in the parking lot of the venue. But the business managed to stay afloat and that’s not the reason Chavez is moving. The owner of the building has plans to sell and when Chavez heard the lease was up on the Sprague location, he jumped at the chance, he says.

“After our final show January 31, we’re tearing down the stage and everything,” Chavez says.

The new location, which currently sits at a larger 299-person capacity, will feature all of the same sorts of shows you've come to know and love from the Hop! including hip-hop and metal shows, but offer even more types of concerts appealing to all ages. Chavez also has plans to serve food and open for more hours.

At this time, the Pin is tentatively set to have host its first concert Thursday, February 5, “as long as all of the paperwork goes through and everything works smoothly,” Chavez says.

Chavez is confident he has what it takes to run a concert business in a spot where others have failed.

“I know what it takes to survive in this business,” he says. “We’re surviving and there is money in the bank. I've gotten to understand this market pretty well. I know what it can support and what it can’t.”
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Friday, January 16, 2015

Rachel Dolezal explains why "Shorty can't breathe either" is problematic

Posted By on Fri, Jan 16, 2015 at 5:02 PM

The sign outside the Hillside Inn Restaurant
  • The sign outside the Hillside Inn Restaurant

Newly elected Spokane NAACP President Rachel Dolezal was surprised yesterday when she received a phone call from a Spokesman-Review reporter, asking for her thoughts on a message posted on a sign outside a local diner: "Shorty can't breathe either." 

The sign, erected in the parking lot of the Hillside Inn Restaurant, was inspired by the death of  88-year-old WWII veteran Delbert "Shorty" Belton.  Dolezal, who's also an Inlander columnist, hadn't heard about it, so she thought she'd take a look for herself. Around 1 pm Thursday afternoon, after she got off work, Dolezal drove over to the Hillside Inn and asked to speak with the owner, Annie Pennington, about its phrasing. 

In August 2013, Belton was beaten to death by two black teenagers. One of the suspects, Kenan Adams-Kinard, pleaded guilty to murder earlier this month. His accused accomplice, Demetrius Glenn, is scheduled to go to trial in March. Pennington, who used to serve Belton at the restaurant, told the Spokesman she changed the sign after Adams-Kinard pleaded guilty. "It’s nothing racial,” she said. “We did it in honor of Shorty because he’s a selfless, helpless old man, and if we don’t take care of our grandpas, no one will."

When approached by Dolezal, Pennington, Dolezal says, was "immediately defensive" and asked her to leave. According to the Spokesman, Pennington later called City Councilman Mike Fagan about complaints that the sign was "racist."
Screenshot of Mike Fagan's Facebook page
  • Screenshot of Mike Fagan's Facebook page

Now the controversy around the sign is playing out in the comments section of the Spokesman story and on Fagan's Facebook page, where he implicitly accuses Dolezal ("someone else who allegedly represents the local NAACP") of race-baiting and confronting Pennington. But that's not what happened, Dolezal says. 

"I just wanted to go inside and have a conversation and see if we could discuss the implications of appropriating the Eric Garner quote," Dolezal told the Inlander. "It just seems like there’s some dissonance with understanding the context, and so I wanted to invite a conversation and see if we could reach some understanding of it."

Garner, a black man, was killed in Staten Island last July from a police officer's chokehold. As he was restrained and wrestled to the ground by multiple officers, he repeated the words "I can't breathe" eight times before losing consciousness. After a New York grand jury declined to bring charges against the officer who killed him, Garner's words have become a rallying cry for protesters around the country in demonstrations against unprosecuted police killings of unarmed black men and boys, like Michael Brown, John Crawford and Tamir Rice.    

"If there's an analogy being made, I think it’s a bit bizarre," Dolezal says, "to draw that parallel with a movement that’s about people being murdered and those murders not being brought to justice at all, versus a case where there's probable cause and no proof of murder — and it certainly wasn't videotaped — yet there has been every effort to penalize the two teenagers."

"I can't breathe," Dolezal says, is also a "metaphor for that larger deficit of racial and social justice."

Long before Eric Garner and Michael Brown's deaths, Frantz Fanon, a Mozambique-born philosopher and anti-colonial revolutionary said, "We revolt simply because, for many reasons, we can no longer breathe." 

"The strangling of Eric Garner's case reminds us of our cultural memory of the strangling through the nooses," she says. "That's the context for that statement. 

"There's still loss on all sides," she continues. "The sign is alienating and pushes back on an aspect of the community that is also hurting and in pain right now."
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Gonzaga learns about L.A. traffic and why free throws matter

Posted By on Fri, Jan 16, 2015 at 4:02 PM


You didn't think it was going to be easy, did you?

While Gonzaga is the No. 3 team in the land (at least according to the polls), the notion that the Zags were just going to steamroll through the WCC schedule is some silly thinking, my friend. The target on the back of the perennial league leaders is as big and bright as ever this season and the WCC has some teams that can surprise you.

And then there are nights like last night at Pepperdine, which can pop out of nowhere, throwing rankings and statistical certainties into the Pacific Ocean. Long story short, the Zags won 78-76 in one of the weirder contest in recent memory.

The Zags found themselves sitting on their bus on the Pacific Coast Highway (PCH to the denizens of Southern California) thanks to a traffic jam caused by a driver slamming into a light poll. TV announcers said the team was staying in Marina Del Rey and the drive up to Malibu (which is about 20 miles away) took them nearly two and a half hours, meaning they got off the bus less than 45 minutes before the scheduled tip off. Coach Mark Few gives a major hat tip to Pepperdine coach Marty Wilson, who agreed to start the game just after 8 pm, rather than the scheduled 7:30 pm tip time. Yeah, the late start made our local broadcast of the game nudge into one of the last ever episodes of Parenthood, but was a game that didn't skimp on the entertainment.

Did the traffic jam effect the outcome of the game? Probably. College athletes are used to routines. Everything is timed out on game days — when they eat, study, get on the bus, sleep, tweet — and a disruption to that formula doesn't bode well, especially when you're more than a thousand miles from home.

Now, does the traffic jam (or just "driving" as they call it in LA) explain why Gonzaga missed 19 free throws? It's the only logical explanation for how a team that has been averaging 70 percent from the free throw line (not amazing, but good enough) on the season could go so cold (14 of 33). It's even weirder because the Zags shot the lights out from the field (almost 57 percent, which is very, very good). Let's say the Zags shot their standard 70 percent last night — they would have made 23 free throws, giving them an easy 11 point win.

More likely, the reason behind the close game is that Pepperdine is good this season, a statement that no one has uttered for about a decade (the Waves haven't taken down Gonzaga since 2002). That doesn't explain the free throws, but it's the reason Pepperdine was able to come storming back in the second half, getting the shoebox-sized Firestone Fieldhouse roaring at times. The Waves Jett Raines (winner, best first name category) had 22 points and the beastly Stacy Davis had 21 of his own for a team that's going to be a pain in the ass for whoever faces them in the WCC tourney come March. Also, keep that in mind Pepperdine beat BYU in Provo last week

Or, maybe the free throw mystery was a result of Kevin Pangos' new hairdo, a Rick Springfield-esque blow dry number that our web editor Dan Nailen speculated about.
    One guy who doesn't need to worry about hair, because he keeps his Marine-short, is Kyle Wiltjer (who once had awesome hair of his own), who wasn't bothered by traffic or anything else, scoring 24 points, many of them on a second half tear when the dude couldn't miss. It was some Larry Bird and Michael Jordan eating Big Macs sort of stuff at times

But the Zags pulled out the win on what was, again, a weird night. You can count on a few other weird nights in the Weird Coast Conference as we head toward March. The Zags are still in LA, where they'll play Loyola Marymount (who are coming off their first WCC win of the season), which is only two miles from their hotel. So, in traffic, that's like only a 45-minute drive.

Because the Zags game was delayed, it overlapped with what was a dynamite Pac-12 matchup down in Pullman that you probably didn't see. In a college basketball season that's been marked by low scoring and sloooow styles of play, the up-and-down shoot-out between WSU and Oregon was easily one of the most fun games I've tuned into this season. The final score? 108-99 — those are some late 1980s sorts of numbers.

The game was tied 94-94 going into overtime in Ernie Kent's first time coaching against his former team, and then the Cougars, thanks to three 20-point performances, including 26 points from surprise star Josh Hawkinson pulled away to secure their third win of the Pac-12 schedule. 
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Mobius loses its space in March, but the Spokane Public Library has come to its rescue

Posted By on Fri, Jan 16, 2015 at 3:11 PM

Until the new location is ready, Mobius exhibits will migrate to the downtown Spokane library - YOUNG KWAK PHOTO
  • Young Kwak photo
  • Until the new location is ready, Mobius exhibits will migrate to the downtown Spokane library

In retrospect, it may have been a poor choice to locate Mobius Science Center in a Cowles Co. building smack-dab in the middle of an in-demand retail sector. 

"Nationally, a successful science center and a retail environment usually don’t mix well," says Phil Lindsey, director of Mobius since April of last year. "You will find there are malls and such that do have museums in them. But they are rarely long term residents." 

In fact, none of the previous four science centers he worked at had been paying rent in a retail environment. And for the Mobius business model, it looked impossible. 

It had cost Mobius about $12 million to retrofit and open in the space in 2012, and from the very start, Mobius struggled to meet projections. (Anne Cowles, wife of Spokesman publisher Stacey Cowles, had been a member of the Mobius board when the Cowles site was selected, but had recused herself from discussions over the site selection) According to the Spokesman-Review, Mobius and the nearby Mobius Kids had paid $413,232 in lease payments in 2012, a massive chunk of the non-profit's budget.

Lindsey says the Cowles had been giving Mobius some relief on their lease payments when he arrived, but he knew the science center needed to relocate to be sustainable. 

That became doubly true when the Cowles Co. informed Mobius it needed to be out by the end of March to make way for another retailer. 

"We are getting the space back at the end of March and we have plans for the building," Bryn West, general manager for River Park Square and Cowles Co. landlord for Mobius. Contractually, however, she can't elaborate on what those plans are. "I hate to have all this this information at my fingertips, but [not be able] to breath a word of it." 

West says the Cowles Co. gave Mobius a heads up in early 2014 to give them plenty of time to figure out an alternative plan. The Cowles, after all, have long been advocates for a science center in Spokane.

"Its very close to our hearts," West says. "I want to make sure they're taken care of."

The good news: Last year, Avista stepped forward with an unbeatable deal. For the rock-bottom lease price of a dollar a year, Avista would let Mobius use its old 1911 brick building, right next to Riverfront Park and the Avista substation, as a new location. 

"This is part of Avista’s active partnership with the community," Avista spokeswoman Jessie Wuerst says. 

For everyone involved, it looks like an eventual win-win. Mobius will get a larger space and have the ability to easily balance their budget without a big rent payment.  

"I think that they have found a financial model that's going to work for them," West says. "To bring in bigger and better exhibits and draw traffic."

The bad news: Renovating an ancient building to make way for Mobius, and figuring out a mass of specifics, takes time. Lindsey hopes the building will be ready by the end of the year, but that would be long after they were kicked out. In other words, until the new place is ready, Mobius needed to essentially find a friend's couch to crash on. 

That friend turned out to be the Spokane Public Library.

"We signed this agreement on Tuesday of just this week," says Andrew Chanse, Spokane Public Library district director. 

The library plans to relocate its children's section in its downtown location and put Mobius on the third floor. That gives the science center a little less than half the space it had previously, but through layout magic, Mobius will be able to fit in about two-thirds of their current exhibits in the space. 

The library — funded by levy dollars and the City of Spokane — won't charge Mobius for using the space. "We’re looking at it as a science exhibit, like we’ve developed in the past with Discover Earth and Discover Tech. We’re all about education and learning." It's all part of an experiment, Chanse says, to figure out if that space could continually to be used interactively after Mobius leaves.

And at Mobius, despite all the hoops it still has to jump through and deals it has to work out, there's a sense of relief. Not having massive lease checks constantly hanging over their head will do that. 

"We’re really excited by it," Lindsey says. "Nothing but huge potential for growth and the ability to deliver on our mission," 
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Lawyer in Kettle Falls Five case moves to dismiss charges

Posted By on Fri, Jan 16, 2015 at 2:12 PM

The lawyer representing the Kettle Falls Five, an Eastern Washington family facing federal charges for growing medical marijuana, has filed a motion to dismiss the case.

The motion filed January 15 in U.S. District Court for Eastern Washington by Robert Fischer argues that a congressional spending bill, signed into law by the president, makes it clear that federal money should not be used to pursue cases against individuals who possess or grow pot under their state’s medical marijuana programs.

The case involves Larry Harvey, a man in his 70s who used medical pot to treat gout, and his family who were raided in 2013 by federal agents for growing medical marijuana on their property. The family was charged with growing and distributing marijuana under federal law, and they could each face 10 years in prison if convicted.

Their situation highlights an ongoing conflict between the 23 states that have medical marijuana laws and the federal government, which does not recognize the illicit drug as having any sort of legitimate use.

Late last year, Congress passed a spending bill that contained a bipartisan amendment that cut off funding for the U.S. Department of Justice for activities that would prevent these states from “implementing” their laws. There is some concern that the wording of the legislation is sufficiently vague to allow the feds to continue to pursue medical marijuana growers and patients, but the motion argues that the legislative intent of Congress is clear:

“[T]he basic premise that ‘medical marijuana’ has no currently accepted medical use at all, is now in conflict with congressional intent in passing the Act, as shown from the record of the floor debates providing reasons for the passage of the Act. 

Motion to Dismiss

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THIS WEEKEND IN MUSIC: Free shows galore!

Posted By on Fri, Jan 16, 2015 at 12:39 PM

We’re not all made of money. And that’s what the host of local music shows are here to help with this weekend. Take advantage of the free cover and get out there.


Flannel Math Animal
Math rock can seem tedious and sometimes boring. But the local instrumental duo Flannel Math Animal are fascinating to listen to. They have an album release party at Hamilton Studio tonight at 9 pm. Read our feature story on the band here.

Dem Empire

On their recent Mythos EP, local rockers Dem Empire whet our appetite for their infectious music with just two songs. The relatively new, Spokane-based four-piece is already polished, exciting and best of all, catchy. Their music pulls in influences from new wave and punk, psychedelic grooves and bass-driven funk. Lead singer Will Zobrist confidently sing-yells his way through lyrics about surviving humanity in the information age. This is the kind of loud, in-your-face music you need after a hard week at work. They’re playing Baby Bar tonight at 9 pm along with local acts the Smokes and Cycles.

The Bartlett Awards
Go hang out at the Bartlett Saturday night and find out which bands and artists have won at the first-ever Bartlett Awards. Local bands Loomer, Friends of Mine and Sea Giant offer up entertainment throughout the evening. You can still vote for your favorite acts who played at the Bartlett over the last year here.

Outcold No. 2
The promoters at the Viking realize it’s cold outside. To amp up the heat, a boatload of bands inundate the venue Saturday for the annual Outcold Concert Series. Local and regional (mostly rock) acts Thirion X, Seven Cycles, Death By Pirates, the Broken Thumbs, Beyond Today, Driven In Waves, DIVIDES and Drop Off perform at either the outdoor tent stage (complete with plenty of space heaters), or indoor stage. Get free tickets from any of the bands or the venue prior to the event, otherwise it’s $5. Revolver Bar & Lounge will host the prefunk event Friday night with special performances by Death By Pirates and Banish the Echo.

Underground 15 shows normally don’t have a cover and that trend continues Saturday with its concert featuring talented local metal bands RaisedByWolves, Cold Blooded and Dark White Light. The show starts at 9:30 pm.

Winter Beer Festival

The Lantern Tap House hosts a beer festival all weekend. Not only does the event feature 24 breweries and heated tents, but also three nights of free musical entertainment. Seattle rock act Cloud Person plays Friday, Americana band Marshall McLean Band on Saturday and Irish band Floating Crowbar on Sunday. All music begins at 10 pm.


Hell’s Belles at Knitting Factory, at 8:30 pm Saturday. $13.50. Read our preview story here.
— The Bartlett anniversary party features Tango Alpha Tango and Dead Serious Lovers. It stars at 8 pm Friday and is $15 at the door. 
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City council has conditions for mystery downtown retailer

Posted By on Fri, Jan 16, 2015 at 12:06 PM

During a study session held yesterday afternoon, members of city council seemed open to a key request from a national retailer that’s interested in setting up shop in downtown Spokane. But before they signed off, council members had a few conditions of their own.

The Downtown Spokane Partnership is currently courting a large retailer to move into a property on the Northwest corner of Main and Wall streets. No one will say who the retailer is, but one of the company’s requirements before any deal is sealed is that the city to vacate 17 feet of the public right of way on Wall Street.

At the session, DSP President Mark Richard said that he’s heard “excellent feedback” from nearby property owners about the new prospective tenant. Council President Ben Stuckart went further saying that the project was “very, very important to the stability of downtown.”

Councilman Mike Allen suggested that two covenants be added to any vacation of the public right-of-way for the project. Under these covenants, if the building came down or if it remained vacant for five years, the public right-of-way would revert back to the city.

The Spokane Transit Authority is planning on using Wall Street for the route of its Central City Line. Although the vacation being requested by the prospective retailer wouldn’t interfere with the the STA’s plans, Stuckart said that he wanted an agreement that clarified that the project would not impede bus access.

Richard said he was “90 percent” certain the project would go forward and hoped to submit an application for vacation of the public-right-of-way by February.
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