Wednesday, September 24, 2014

New city initiative Shaping Spokane asks residents to share why their 'hoods rock

Posted By on Wed, Sep 24, 2014 at 2:51 PM


Some of the "hidden gems" throughout Spokane's 27 neighborhoods are well known by residents, but there's a lot about these places, and other parts of town, that are lesser known even to people who've lived here for all or much of their lives.

Through a new initiative launched yesterday called Shaping Spokane (, the city wants to know what we think are the best assets of our 'hoods. This information submitted by the public about where we live, work, and recreate is to be used for city planning over the next two decades relating to land use, transportation, economic development and other public projects. 

In other words, why should the city or anyone else invest in your 'hood? 

Citizens can give their input several ways — online, via email or by filling out a physical booklet. Once the public submission period closes at the end of October, city staff will sort through comments and summarize each neighborhood's profile, then passing along that information to neighborhood councils to proofread and finalize. 

Already, little color-coded icons are popping up on the Shaping Spokane interactive map. One user in the Emerson-Garfield neighborhood submitted a comment lauding Corbin Park for its historic value and modern amenities as a public gathering space. In the Chief Garry Park neighborhood, a user added an icon to share a local "pocket park," calling it a "great place off the beaten path for kids to enjoy safe fun." 

Users can highlight places and stories by tagging them on the map with color-coded icons, representing locations as "hidden gems," "defining features," "favorite destinations," "what you love" about Spokane and other reasons a place is special.

To save your submission, close the pop-up window.
  • To save your submission, close the pop-up window.

We tested out the interactive map and it's fairly simple to submit your nominations. After selecting the icon you want to use to highlight a place, click on a spot on the map to place it. There's also a built-in search function if you don't feel like guessing or scrolling around the map to find a specific location. However, we immediately noticed that the newer streets of Kendall Yards aren't in this mapping system after a search for the Inlander office's address took us to somewhere in South Carolina.

After your icon has been placed, type what you want to share about that location in the text boxes provided. To save the pin, simply close the pop-up box using the "X" in the upper right. This was a little confusing at first because the pop-up includes a delete and a photo-upload option, but no "save" button. 

The Shaping Spokane site also includes a feature called "My Neighborhood Story" for users to submit narrative responses to prompts about their neighborhood, as well as a list of neighborhood-specific discussion threads

Not sure what official neighborhood you live or work in? The map blocks out each official neighborhoods' boundaries, and to see a list of all 27 Spokane 'hoods, visit the discussion page mentioned above.

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CONCERT REVIEW: Dave Rawlings Machine live up to high expectations at the Bing

Posted By on Wed, Sep 24, 2014 at 2:24 PM


Dave Rawlings and Gillian Welch are songwriting royalty among Americana music fans, with two decades of recordings and tours as a duo — mostly under Welch’s name — helping them build up an incredible amount of good will. Surround them with an amazing band, as happened Tuesday at Spokane’s Bing Crosby Theater, and you have the makings of an unforgettable night.

Rawlings was the ostensible leader of the proceedings, held as they were under the Dave Rawlings Machine moniker. But what happened on stage was close to an old-fashioned hootenanny, with Rawlings regularly asking the others to step up and take over lead vocals or break out an instrumental solo. Welch, naturally, garnered loud hoots from the crowd filling the venue, and guitarist/former Old Crow Medicine Show member Willie Watson had some of the best songs of the night when he took center stage (metaphorically speaking — he stayed at stage-right all night). Even bass player Paul Kowert was offered a few opportunities to take over vocals with his baritone, most notably on the show-closing cover of the Band’s “The Weight.”

The only person on stage who didn’t sing lead at any point was the man whose introduction elicited the loudest roar all night. John Paul Jones, most notably a former member of hard rock pioneers Led Zeppelin, sang plenty of harmonies with the others, while his mandolin solos mesmerized regularly on songs like “To Be Young (is to Be Sad, is to Be High)” and a scorching cover of Bob Dylan’s “Queen Jane Approximately” late in the show; he and Rawlings traded rapid-fire licks throughout that one, with Rawlings even looping in a few bars of the Allman Brothers’ “Midnight Rider” along the way.

In a show full of highlights, it’s hard to pick out favorite moments. The obvious joy on display, led by Rawlings and his huge grin and self-deprecating between-song banter, was infectious. It’s hard for me to remember seeing a band smile so much during a show. The crowd regularly burst into applause at particularly strong instrumental passages, even mid-song, and every break between tunes was met with whoops and hollers.

Rawlings kicked off the proceedings with “The Monkey and the Engineer,” a Jesse Fuller tune the Grateful Dead was fond of, followed by an as-yet-recorded tune, “Candy.” Watson took over for an old-time mountain song, “Dry Bones,” before Welch took lead for the first time on a harmonica-driven “Wayside Back in Time” from her Soul Journey album.

Next came a transcendent run of songs highlighted by the Machine’s first-ever performance, according to Rawlings' introduction, of Bob Dylan’s “As I Went Out One Morning,” the aforementioned “To Be Young (is to Be Sad, is to Be High),” which Rawlings wrote with Ryan Adams, and Watson’s take on “Keep It Clean.” From that point on, the crowd was fully engaged, clapping and stomping along with the fast tunes, falling silent during the ballads.

The band took a break mid-show, and the crowd serenaded Watson with “Happy Birthday” after intermission before Rawlings led his Machine through a second set full of winning performances. Rawlings’ own “Ruby” featured some stunning four-part harmonies between him, Welch, Jones and Watson. Welch led the way through “Will the Circle Be Unbroken” before a raucous rip through bluegrass spiritual “He Will Set Your Fields on Fire” — the picking got so fast Welch exclaimed at its conclusion, “I think my pick is smaller now!”

The latter stages of the show were heavy on cover songs. “I Hear Them All,” a song Rawlings co-wrote with Old Crow Medicine Show, was mashed up with a stirring “This Land is Your Land.” The epic combination of Bright Eyes’ “Method Acting” and Neil Young’s “Cortez the Killer” stretched a good 10 minutes, and I would have happily taken more.

Dylan’s “Queen Jane Approximately” closed down the second set, leading to a thrilling encore of Led Zeppelin’s “Going to California,” Jones’ mandolin leading the way while Rawlings tackled vocals. Welch’s “Miss Ohio” satisfied a woman who’d been shouting for it all night before the band closed it down with “The Weight,” a song that’s probably been covered a few too many times, but never by any group of musicians more skilled than the Dave Rawlings Machine.

Here's a little something of what they sounded like, from the Dave Rawlings Machine website, filmed last year before a show in Georgia: 

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WEED WEDNESDAY: Pot helps Peyton's pizza business; Maureen Dowd hangs out with Willie Nelson

Posted By on Wed, Sep 24, 2014 at 1:02 PM


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

Spokane County has a new pot store, bringing us to six licensed and five confirmed open. (Feel free to make the trip across the mountains, Seattleites.) Green Light opened on East Trent over the weekend and co-owner Brandon Olson tells us prices range from $18-$23 a gram and the store expects concentrates and edibles in coming weeks. Find all the stores open in the region on our map here. Statewide, 57 stores and 233 growers have been licensed, 35 infused products (from trail mix to soda) have been approved for sale and stores have sold more than $16 million worth of weed, generating about $4 million in state taxes.

After Seattle police determined one of their officers had gone on some sort of personal anti-pot crusade and issued 80 percent of the department's tickets for public consumption in the first half of the year, the city prosecutor will dismiss 100 tickets and give refunds to 22 people who'd already paid, reports the AP.

Also in Seattle, competition is alive and well: Staff at the city's only open I-502 store say a dealer has been parking his Buick in front of their store looking to poach their customers.

In Colorado, schools may be out millions of cannabis tax dollars because of a loophole that allows some pot transfers to be tax-free. (Denver Post)

In what has proven a highly effective way to get her story to go viral, an Alaskan TV news reporter quit on air by revealing she's the owner of a marijuana club and saying of her current job, "F—- it." She's since released another video (her dramatic TV reporter cadence in full force) explaining her reasons for supporting legalization.

Financial advice site NerdWallet has a new analysis of how much money each state could make per year from marijuana legalization, based on estimated demand and taxes. Nationwide, pot taxes could generate more than $3 billion, according to the study, and the estimates for Washington are in line with recent state forecasts. Read more about where all those taxes go and how businesses are reacting to them in this week's Inlander.

Addictions specialist and former VH1 Celebrity Rehab host Drew Pinsky told a group in Denver last week he believes marijuana "acts like an opiate and causes severe addiction," reports the Denver Post.

In an interview with Sports Illustrated's Peter King, Denver Broncos quarterback and Papa John's franchise owner Peyton Manning says the "pizza business is pretty good out here, believe it or not, due to some recent law changes."

And here's what happens when New York Times columnist and how-not-to-do-edibles case study Maureen Dowd hangs out with Willie Nelson.

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Dan Butterworth kicks off Gonzaga's 2014-15 Visiting Writers Series tonight

Posted By on Wed, Sep 24, 2014 at 12:34 PM


Spokane poet Dan Butterworth, who's also a professor of literature and writing at Gonzaga University, is the first guest for this year's Visiting Writers Series.

Gonzaga hosts several writers and poets annually as part of the series, organized by the university's English department and College of Arts and Sciences. Featured artists read their works aloud, take questions from the audience and discuss their careers and creative processes. 

The Visiting Writer Series this academic year also hosts poet Brenda Hillman (Oct. 21), writers Joanna Luloff (Nov. 20), Douglas Kearney (March 25) and Michael Gurian (April 15); and Pulitzer Prize winner Marilynne Robinson (Feb. 18).

Butterworth's writing has been published by Algonquin Books and Lost Horse Press. Radium Watch Dial Painters, a compilation of his poems, is a finalist for the Washington State Book Awards. Tonight, he reads excerpts from this book in the Cataldo Globe Room at 7:30 pm. The event is free and open to the public. 

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MORNING BRIEFING: Audits, wars, and Star Wars

Posted By on Wed, Sep 24, 2014 at 10:03 AM


Another year, another problematic audit finding for the City of Spokane’s Community, Housing and Human Services Department. (SR)

Spokane discusses a city-wide drug test, of sorts. (SR)

A Sandpoint woman, hit by a firework, is suing a Priest Lake resort. (KREM)


Obama gives a speech at the UN criticizing ISIS for its poor life choices. (NYT)

Another hostage is beheaded, this one in Algeria. (NYT)

The Michael Brown memorial burns down, sparking a whole new wave of unrest in Ferguson. (The Wire)


PBS explores the physics of space battles. Pew pew pew! (AV Club)
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