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Bigfoot Bandits 

A Bigfoot is lost, then found. Plus, fighting school reform and a “first” for Spokane cyclists.

click to enlarge Joy Arch’s sasquatch.
  • Joy Arch’s sasquatch.

Sasquatch Shenanigans

When Joy Arch realized her 8-foot, 300-pound steel Bigfoot statue was missing from beside her downtown business last week, she knew it wouldn’t be long before someone spotted it.

“He’s not easily hidden,” says Arch, the owner of Roost, the home-furnishing store on West Main Avenue that was home to Biggie the Bigfoot until he went missing last week.

Medical Lake police found the statue at Medical Lake High School the next day in what Arch suspects was an end-of-the-school-year prank. Arch says she thinks the thieves must have used a large truck to remove the Bigfoot because of its height, weight and the steel bolts and chains anchoring it to the ground and wall.

The sculpture, which Arch’s husband made, is worth about $800, she says, plus the sentimental value.

“Nothing could really replace him,” Arch says. “There’s nothing quite as unique.” (Heidi Groover)


Reverse-Reforming Idaho’s Schools

Both stalwart supporters and ardent critics of Tom Luna can agree on one thing: The education reform he proposed in Idaho was pretty radical. Across three bills, the state superintendent of public instruction limited teachers’ bargaining rights and cut funding for teachers and salaries, but increased funding for technology — promising portable computers for students — and implemented a merit pay system.

Despite protesting hordes, all three bills were passed into law by the legislature and the governor earlier this spring. But now the real fight begins.

Almost as soon as they had a chance, the Idahoans for Responsible Education Reform, led by Boise parent Mike Lanza, started collecting signatures for three separate referenda to overturn each of the three bills. “The repercussions [of Luna’s reform] are already being felt across the state,” Lanza says.

On Monday, Lanza’s group turned in more than 72,000 signatures for each referendum. That’s about 50 percent more than required. Unusual for statewide initiatives, Lanza says only about 15 percent of the signatures came from professional signature gatherers. The rest were gathered by 3,000 statewide volunteers. 

Idaho Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter has vowed to personally fight against the referenda. A separate group has been trying to recall Luna from office since February.  (Daniel Walters)


Bikes 16, Cars 0

It was a $2,000 project that might not bring a single new customer to the Elk Public House in Spokane’s Browne’s Addition, but “it was the right thing to do and it’s pretty cool.”

At least that’s how the Elk’s general manager, Marshall Powell, sees it.

A parking spot directly in front of the pub’s entrance is now home to four yellow U-shaped bike racks, a yearlong project that was a first for the city.

The city of Spokane had never before given a business permission to replace a city-owned off-street parking spot with bike racks, says Spokane’s Bike and Pedestrian Coordinator, Grant Wencel. There were some concerns, he says: Would bikers be safe among traffic looking for parking? Who would keep the bike racks clean? Who would pay for their installation?

But a year later the city approved the project, requiring the owners to pay for the racks, install them, paint a white stripe around them (a stripe that cost the Elk $850 between permits and labor) and make sure the area stays presentable.

The racks, which will be officially “christened” at a party this Sunday at the Elk, can hold about 16 bikes at a time and have already seen heavy use, Powell says.

Wencel says he won’t be surprised if other businesses want to install their own on-street bike parking this year, and he thinks the city is coming around.

“It shows that the city is willing to do some things we haven’t done in past that make sense,” Wencel says. (Heidi Groover)

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