Thursday, February 16, 2017

No, the fire code did not limit McMorris Rodgers' office to only meeting with two citizens at a time

Posted By on Thu, Feb 16, 2017 at 1:19 PM

While the fire-code restricts this public waiting area to two people at a time — the entire office can hold 30. - DANIEL WALTERS PHOTO
  • Daniel Walters photo
  • While the fire-code restricts this public waiting area to two people at a time — the entire office can hold 30.

The last few weeks, some of those upset at U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers have been directing their frustration at the City of Spokane's fire marshal.

"I’ve been getting a lot of emails from a lot of upset people for the last couple days," Spokane City Fire Marshal Michael Miller says.

Two weeks ago, the Peace and Justice Action League and other protesters were gathered outside of McMorris Rodgers' office building, with grievances over President Donald Trump's immigration executive order, his intent to repeal Obamacare, his proposal to build a wall, and his intent to push forward oil pipelines. They carried postcards representing concerns from even more constituents.

But instead of large groups being allowed to go into McMorris Rodgers' office to express their concerns, only a few protesters were allowed at a time.

“We had over 1,000 postcards that day. We wanted to go in in groups to deliver those," PJALS organizer Shar Lichty says. Instead, some protesters were waiting nearly three hours to speak with McMorris Rodgers' staff.

And as social media posts and newspaper stories detailed the reason for the bottleneck, the fire marshal got the blame, with the suggestions that the fire marshal had ruled that only two members of the public could be in her office simultaneously.

Not quite.

"I think somebody got badly quoted," says Miller. "I did not issue any ruling saying only two members of the public could be in Cathy McMorris Rodgers' office at the same time."

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Richland florist's gay-marriage decision, Carl's Jr. regains CEO, and morning headlines

Posted By on Thu, Feb 16, 2017 at 9:44 AM

State Supreme Court decides that in Washington florists can't decide to not serve gay couples.
  • State Supreme Court decides that in Washington florists can't decide to not serve gay couples.


The chef/owner of Fleur de Sel in Post Falls is a semi-finalist for a prestigious James Beard Award for culinary excellence.

The Court of Appeals in Washington state juggled the responsibility of the state to protect criminals on probation from revenge-minded peers in a recent decision that relied on the judges interpretation of ... grammar?

Check out what Inlander staffers have been listening to lately.


Gay-rights victory in WA

The Washington state Supreme Court decided today that a Richland florist did indeed discriminate when she refused to do business with a gay couple. The florist had argued that her religious beliefs kept her from doing the couple's wedding, but the state won its argument that Washington's anti-discrimination laws were broken when she refused to take the job. (Seattle Times)

Not exactly the entrepreneurial spirit we expect
A woman accused of embezzling funds that were supposed to be for a memorial fund benefitting the families of two people who drowned in Coeur d'Alene last summer reportedly used the money to start a business, Wildflower Boutique and Salon in Cheney. (KHQ)

Take me to the river
A man who allegedly threatened some students on the Gonzaga campus before leading police on a foot chase and eventually jumping in the Spokane River. He was apprehended with no further efforts of flight. (KREM)

For sale?
Spokane medical testing lab PAML might be on the brink of being sold, causing some consternation among local employees. (Spokesman-Review)


Back to Carl's Jr. for Labor nominee
President Trump's nominee to be Labor Secretary, Andrew Pudzer, withdrew himself from consideration yesterday after Republic senators let it be known he didn't have the votes for approval. Never one to dilly-dally, Trump already reportedly has another nominee ready to go for the position. (CNN)

Interesting choice

While the world is reeling from the revelation that Trump's national security advisor was having secret (and not-so-secret) chats with Russian officials before inauguration day, resulting in Michael Flynn's resignation, congressional investigators are vowing to investigate. One might think they'd investigate links between the administration and Putin's government, but instead they want to know about who's telling the media about what's happening in the White House. (BBC)
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Wednesday, February 15, 2017

What We've Been... Listening To

Posted By on Wed, Feb 15, 2017 at 4:25 PM

Welcome back to the Inlander staff's semi-regular rundown of the cool and worthwhile things we've been into lately: words we've been reading, shows we've been watching, music/podcasts we've been listening to, and tasty treats we've been drinking/eating. This week, we're telling you about the tunes and 'casts you should be checking out right now:

Find past installments of "What We've Been..." here:

Mike Watt, “ring spiel” tour 95
I’ve been listening to Mike Watt’s new live album, “ring spiel” tour 95, a document of the punk legend’s first solo tour after years leading The Minutemen and fIREHOSE. Ostensibly, the tour was to promote Watt’s then-new album Ball-hog or Tugboat?, but the fact that his backing band was made up of folks like Foo Fighters’ Dave Grohl and Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder brought a bunch of fans out of the woodwork for shows headlined by the burly, politically-minded bass player. When you listen to this live set of 16 songs culled from Watt’s various bands, you might not notice the influence of his more-famous backing players (except for when Vedder steps to the mic for “Against The '70s"), but you’ll certainly get a lesson in aggressive punk delivered with masterful musicianship and just the right amount of teetering-on-the-edge-of-sloppy performances driven by an enthusiastic crowd and an even more enthusiastic Watt. The guy is still at it 22 years later, and it’s a joy to time-travel back to when Watt was just getting his solo sea legs. (DAN NAILEN)

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Post Falls' Fleur de Sel chef-owner is 2017 James Beard Award semifinalist

Posted By on Wed, Feb 15, 2017 at 1:20 PM

Chef Zirroti opened Fleur de Sel in 2008. - YOUNG KWAK
  • Young Kwak
  • Chef Zirroti opened Fleur de Sel in 2008.

For the third consecutive year, one of the Inland Northwest's finest minds in food has been named a semifinalist for the prestigious James Beard Award.

French-born Chef Laurent Zirotti, who owns the Post Falls destination spot Fleur de Sel, is the only chef from the Inland Northwest to be named in the Best Chef: Northwest award category, joining a list of 19 others mostly from the Portland and Seattle area.

In 2016, local chef and restaurant owner Adam Hegsted was named a semifinalist in the same category, as was Spokane chef-owner Jeremy Hansen in 2015.

The announcement honoring Zirotti, who opened Fleur de Sel in 2008 with his wife Patricia, comes at an ideal time if you've never been — and if you take every chance you get to visit the celebrated restaurant, familiarly known as FDS — as we're only about a week away from the start of 2017 Inlander Restaurant Week (Feb. 23-March 5). Find Fleur de Sel's $29 per person menu at (As a diner who was introduced to the restaurant during last year's IRW, I highly recommend the chicken and truffles.)

The list of 2017 James Beard Award semifinalists will be narrowed down again a month from now, to five nominees in each category, on March 15. Final winners in each of the 21 award categories are then honored during a special event May 1 in Chicago.

The James Beard Awards are organized by its namesake James Beard Foundation, which opens an online call for entries in October. More than 24,000 entries were received for the Foundation's 27th annual honors.
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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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