As residents assess the damage and start rebuilding, the Carlton Complex Fire in Central Washington continues to burn. Officials reported this morning that the fire had grown by another 673 acres and hot weather has forced the delay of some containment efforts.
Our cover story this week shares some of the stories of community strength and human perseverance demonstrated by the residents displaced by what has grown into the largest wildfire in the state’s history.
For those seeking more information on the fire, officials have established a regularly updated website for the latest news. The newest information has the fire at 251,698 acres with 71 percent containment around the perimeter.
Fire officials previously broke the fire into three zones to localize command, but the fire has slowed to the point where the plan is to consolidate command under a single team again.
A map released earlier this week shows the progression of the fire from green areas to the outside, red edges.
To track current or future fires, check the InciWeb database of major fires. Officials update larger fires multiple times a day.
For future reference, here’s a brief explanation of common wildfire fighting terms including “backfire,” “crowning” and “slope-over.”
The Spokane Regional Transportation Council has released a new bike map of the region, showing roads with bike lanes, roads where bikes are prohibited and suggested routes as well as landmarks like trailheads, bike shops and ParkNRide lots. While we can hope for a time when more roads are at least "shared roadways," this will give you a sense of where things are now so you can plan the safest ride possible.
Multiple cougar sightings in recent weeks, including fatal attack on horse in Deer Lake. (S-R)
Community rallies to replace stolen veteran support trailer. (KXLY)
Engineering dive team inspecting pedestrian bridges at Riverfront Park. (KREM)
Seattle cop under investigation for allegedly using coin toss to decide marijuana citations. (Seattle Times)
Montana transient sentenced to 15 years in prison for beating man over pork chop dispute. (Missoulian)
Mother's unexplained disappearance from Portland area increasingly strange mystery. (Oregonian)
Ebola death toll passes 700 in West African outbreak, state of emergency declared. (BBC)
CIA admits improperly breaking into Senate Intelligence Committee computer network. (NY Times)
Sharknado 2 premiered last night, which inspired plenty of snark, but SyFy also premiered its first teaser for the Spokane-filmed "Z Nation" zombie show coming in September:
Welcome back to Weed Wednesday, your weekly dose of pot news. Wondering what this is about? Click. Looking for our previous marijuana coverage? Click. Got a question or tip? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hey everyone. If my email inbox is any indication, you're all wondering where's the (legal, recreational) weed? Spokane Green Leaf remains the only of Spokane County's three licensed retailers that's open. They've expanded their hours, but prices are still $25-27 a gram. Satori is still hoping to open Aug. 1 and Green Star Cannabis at some unspecified future date. (Speaking of Satori, we got a press release from Satori Dance Studio on South Monroe this week pointing out that they now share a name with a pot shop. “If their customers mistakenly step into my studio, I’ll happily give them a pair of dance shoes instead of a plant,” the owner said.) Sativa Sisters in the Valley hasn't yet been licensed, but they're advertising an August opening as well. The liquor board is continuing to license retailers as they pass their final inspections, and has now licensed 33 total. Before you start thinking you'd be better off on the westside, though, note that Seattle's one and only store is closed awaiting a product delivery on Friday.
Now, onto the news. The New York Times has editorialized in favor of federal marijuana legalization. Yeah, I know. Woah. (This, of course, has led to more talking heads discussing the issue and not being able to resist making dumb jokes. It also will not change the paper's drug-free policy for employees.) Read the editorial and check out the series they're rolling out about their position here. Certainly, this is a big deal. But to some it wasn't much of a surprise. Here's an excerpt from The Cannabist's conversations with activists about the editorial:
“I wasn’t really terribly surprised,” said Aaron Smith, executive director of the National Cannabis Industry Association, one of the largest trade groups in the American marijuana industry. “Colorado especially having taken the lead in replacing the criminal market with a regulated one has demonstrated to the world that not only does the sky not fall when marijuana is legal and regulated, but there are huge benefits to the economy and the community.
“We’re seeing millions in tax revenues and thousands of jobs, and at the same time crime is down across the spectrum in Denver and tourism is up — and people from throughout the country can now see what regulated cannabis looks like.”
I can't let the Times get mentioned without sharing this marijuana trend piece they posted last week. The story covers marijuana-friendly weddings with a mix of eye-rollers ("The rules and regulations about marijuana ... are still being written and constantly changing, like springtime weather in the Rockies.") and some interesting stuff (whether pot gets everyone mingling or causes them to leave the dance floor empty). Read at your own risk.
Senators from Washington and Colorado sent a letter this week to the White House chief of staff and the U.S. attorney general asking for "regulatory clarity" on pot laws. Read the letter here.
In Portland, city leaders may be looking to pass a pot tax before the state legalization initiative there gets a vote in November, Willamette Week reports. A rule in the measure says cities can't add extra taxes on marijuana, but there's a chance taxes passed before the vote could be grandfathered in.
Here in Washington, the start of the Kettle Falls Five trial we wrote about earlier this year has been postponed while attorneys review more evidence. A researcher on the westside is testing sewage to see how many people are using pot. And the Spokesman had a story over the weekend about how cops can still get search warrants if they smell marijuana — whether they have evidence state marijuana laws are being broken or not. Read more here.
A new study shows no link between the legalization of medical marijuana and an increase in underage use of the drug, reports the Washington Post. This has been an issue for opponents of a move to legalize medical marijuana in Florida.
Common Core textbooks arrive at Spokane area elementary schools. (S-R)
Airplane with blown tire makes emergency landing in Spokane. (KREM)
Small boat explodes at Lake Pend Oreille, injuring man and grandson. (KHQ)
Kimberly Jeffreys, wife in Spokane development fraud, sentenced to 90 days of home confinement. (S-R)
Bainbridge Island ferry loses power, stranding hundreds in Puget Sound. (Seattle Times)
Idaho suspends plan to hire professional hunter to kill wolves in Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness. (Missoulian)
American economy shows 4-percent growth in second quarter. (LA Times)
Israeli shells reportedly strike UN school, killing at least 20 people. (NYT)
Jury awards former wrestler and senator Jesse Ventura $1.8 million in bizarre defamation case against renowned military sniper and best-selling author, who was murdered last year. (WaPost)
Wednesday is your last day to get rid of green debris from last week’s storm for free.
The City of Spokane is waiving the fees for small branches and other yard waste at the Waste to Energy Facility (2900 S. Geiger Blvd.) and North County Transfer Station (22123 Elk-Chattaroy Road). The cost is normally $5 for up to 220 pounds of material. The temporary fee break does not include “logs, roofing, vinyl fencing or similar materials.”
Over the weekend, 600 people brought 150 tons of materials for disposal, according to the city.
Meanwhile, the city is also offering a new grant program for neighborhoods looking to plant more trees, which could be a way to eventually replace those lost in the storm. More information on how to apply here.
The storm that hit just after 4 pm last week downed trees across the northern part of the city and county and knocked out power to thousands of homes and businesses. Clean up and relocation continues.