Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Posted By on Wed, Dec 31, 2014 at 2:02 PM

In this week's issue, we look back at the biggest news and culture stories from 2014. But just because we write 'em, doesn't mean you read 'em (sigh). Here, dear readers, are the stories you clicked on the most. From zombies to Bigfoot, Dr. Who to Adam Morrison, rediscover our 10 most popular stories from the past year: 

10. On the menu at the Spokane Downtown Daiquiri Factory: 'Date Grape Koolaid'
Spokane Downtown Daiquiri Factory Facebook
Last January, former Inlander reporter Heidi Groover broke news about about a distastefully named beverage at what was once Spokane's most notorious downtown bar. The controversy, which was covered by TIME, Jezebel and Cosmopolitan, sparked protests, a menu change and an eventual eviction.  

9. In defense of Steven Moffat, Doctor Who's controversial showrunner
In an insightful analysis of Doctor Who writer Steven Moffat's career, the Inlander's resident TV expert Daniel Walters defends Moffat against his critics. "Doctor Who is a show about the wonder and terror of time as well the wonder and terror of space," Walters writes. "Moffat understands that, using time travel as a tool to explore the horror of old age and loneliness, to examine the redemptive power, not of love, but of memory." 

8. We all watched "Z Nation" and here's what we thought
Zombie baby lives! - Z NATION
Z Nation
Zombie baby lives!
In September, the Inlander staff gathered 'round pizza and diet soda and watched the first episode of Z Nation, the Spokane-shot, post-apocalyptic, definitely-not-The-Walking-Dead SyFy series about zombies taking over the world. Our critical take: "not that bad" and for the love of God, no more zombie babies. 

7. Dawn of the Donut to close next week
Dawn of the Donut opened last August. - YOUNG KWAK
Young Kwak
Dawn of the Donut opened last August.
A little over a year after it opened, Spokane's favorite zombie-themed, art-stealing donut shop took to Facebook to announce its unexpected closure. The shop rose from the dead (see what I did there?) under new ownership and a new name a month later.

6. Full Circle
Adam Morrison joined the Gonzaga coaching staff as a student assistant. - STEPHEN SCHLANGE
Stephen Schlange
Adam Morrison joined the Gonzaga coaching staff as a student assistant.
Last March, Mike Bookey profiled Gonzaga basketball legend Adam Morrison, eight years after he led the nation in scoring, and his new career as a college hoops coach. 

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Posted By on Wed, Dec 31, 2014 at 12:16 PM

click to enlarge BREWSTRAVELER.COM
The premise is a beer-drinker's suds-soaked dream. Spend a year visiting breweries across North America, doing little else other than drinking beer.

Well, until you start thinking about details like hangovers and calories and burned-out tastebuds. But two guys from Dallas, Brandon Wurtz and Michael Roberts, actually did this, spending all of 2014 tasting their way across the continent. The numbers they racked up are impressive, if not shocking: 789 different breweries, 7,124 unique beers (averaging more than 19 tastes per day) and 40,000 miles logged (apparently relying mostly on campgrounds and kind strangers for lodging). They documented their efforts on their blog, Brews Traveler 365.

The guys rolled through the Spokane area and visited Budge Brothers, No-Li, Perry Street, Ramblin' Road, Twelve String and also made it over to North Idaho for stops at Selkirk Abbey in Post Falls and Slate Creek in Coeur d'Alene.

Here's a full list of all the breweries they visited and if you really want to get wonky, here's the beers they tasted.

Anybody up for a road trip?

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Posted By on Wed, Dec 31, 2014 at 11:02 AM

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

In July, pot stores opened up their doors as the retail portion of the state’s marijuana legalization initiative went into effect. Proponents of the initiative argued that legalizing marijuana would create new economic activity and provide money for state coffers. So how much money is there in the newly legitimate ganja business as the year comes to a close?

According to figures released just yesterday by the Washington State Liquor Control Board (the agency that oversees legal pot), there has been over $63 million in pot sales in the state, which generated nearly $16 million in taxes.

Those numbers have been trending upwards. In August, there was about $7 million in sales, which rose to $15 million by December.

In other news:

Now that President Barack Obama no longer has to worry about any upcoming elections, he’s taken bold actions on climate change and immigration. Surely he’ll do something similarly bold on marijuana legalization, like flying out to Washington or Colorado, firing up a doobie and calling for an all-out end to the drug war before dropping bales of pot out of Air Force One on this way home, right? At the very least he’ll call for marijuana legalization (in a very qualified and measured way), right?

No, he won’t. In an interview with the Huffington Post, Dan Pfeiffer, a White House senior adviser, said that Obama administration has “nothing” else planned on marijuana policy.

Remember Mike Gravel? He was a former U.S. senator from Alaska who read the top secret Pentagon Papers into the congressional record and ran a very cranky campaign for president in 2008. In a sign that marijuana culture is becoming increasingly mainstream, Gravel, an outspoken critic of the war on drugs, will now head up KUSH, a company that will develop and market cannabis products for the medicinal and recreational markets.

Washington D.C.’s new attorney general says that the district’s marijuana legalization law can go forward despite attempts by Congress to block it.

Colorado’s attorney general has issued an opinion finding that making hash oil at home is still illegal, reports The Cannabist. The opinion is based on the placement of a single comma in the amendment to Colorado’s Constitution that legalizes pot.

Pot food is about to get fancy, reports The New York Times.

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Posted By on Wed, Dec 31, 2014 at 10:02 AM

It's New Year's Eve, so chances are pretty good you have your day and night planned. If not, be sure to check out our event listings and Staff Picks for some suggestions. 

Here are a few highlights I found for Wednesday, Dec. 31: 

COMMUNITY | Ya heard? It's New Year's Eve! That means there is a ridiculous amount of fun to be had out and about. The city is hosting First Night Spokane if you're looking for something on the "family-friendly" tip,with activities all over downtown, inside and out. 

MUSIC EVENTS & CONCERTS | The Spokane Symphony hosts a special performance of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony every New Year's Eve, so you can class up your evening pretty easily with a visit to the Fox. 

LIVE BANDS | The Bartlett is hosting a slew of fine local bands Wednesday night, including Lavoy, Normal Babies and Pine League. 

LIVE BANDS | If you didn't read our Bone Thugs-N-Harmony preview story, go ahead and do it right now. Then consider checking out the Cleveland crew's show at The Knitting Factory. Here's a little taste of what they do so well: 
There are SO many events happening, you really need to check out complete listings, or at least read our comprehensive story of New Year's Eve options. Then get out there with the old pros and the amateurs who only throw down on New Year's Eve and St. Patrick's Day. Just be safe and live to rage into 2015. 

The What's Up? blog will be recovering with the rest of you on January 1, we'll catch you when we're conscious again on Friday. 

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Posted By on Wed, Dec 31, 2014 at 8:38 AM


In Hayden, Idaho, a toddler shot and killed his mother with a handgun pulled from a purse designed to carry concealed weapons that was a Christmas gift from just a few days earlier. (Inlander)

Spokane Valley man still trying to find out who injured him in a serious hit-and-run a month ago. (KREM)

A 6-year-old boy was injured in a fire at the trailer where his family is living. (S-R)

Family of man found dead at Eastern State Hospital after an apparent assault in 2013 is suing. (S-R)


Recovery of the AirAsia plane and passengers continues in tough weather conditions. (BBC)

Maryland is commuting the sentences of the last four prisoners on the state's death row. (AP)

GOP in damage-control mode heading into 2015 after one congressman convicted of tax evasion, and another found to have spoken at white supremacist rally. (Washington Post)

The flu has hit epidemic levels in the United States, according to the CDC — not too late to get that flu shot! (CNN)

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Posted By on Wed, Dec 31, 2014 at 8:12 AM

The purse that Veronica Rutledge brought into the Hayden Wal-Mart — the purse with a special pocket for a concealed weapon, the purse where her 2-year-old son found a loaded gun inside and discharged it, killing her — had been a Christmas present from her husband just days earlier, the Washington Post reports.

It wasn't an unusual gift, considering the couple both loved guns, loved hunting and had concealed weapons permits.

Rutledge was 29, a high school valedictorian and a University of Idaho grad, who worked at the Idaho National Laboratory and lived in Blackfoot, Idaho. On Tuesday morning, she had taken her son and three nieces to Wal-Mart, and it was there, around 10 am, the toddler unzipped the special purse pocket and found the gun. 

Rutledge's father-in-law tells the Post that he’s angry — not at Rutledge or his grandson, but at people using the tragedy to grandstand about gun rights.

“They are painting Veronica as irresponsible, and that is not the case,” he told the Post. “… I brought my son up around guns, and he has extensive experience shooting it. And Veronica had had hand gun classes; they’re both licensed to carry, and this wasn’t just some purse she had thrown her gun into.”

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Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Posted By on Tue, Dec 30, 2014 at 5:44 PM

The young mother accidentally shot and killed by her 2-year-old son in a Hayden Wal-Mart has been identified as 29-year-old Veronica J. Rutledge from Blackfoot, Idaho.

Rutledge's son was seated in a shopping cart around 10 am Tuesday morning when he reached into Rutledge's purse, pulled out her concealed weapon and discharged it, the Kootenai County Sheriff's Office says. Rutledge had been shopping with the toddler and other family members at the time.

“A very sad incident occurred at our store today involving the death of a female customer,” Wal-Mart says in a statement. “We are fully cooperating with the Kootenai County Sheriff’s deputies as they investigate this matter.”

KREM is reporting that Rutledge did have a concealed weapons permit, which she acquired in Spokane. The Washington State Department of Licensing reported that 2012 ended with more than 367,800 active concealed weapons permits on the books, as the Inlander previously reported. The Idaho State Police listed 87, 248 active permits, as of January 2013.

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Posted By on Tue, Dec 30, 2014 at 3:45 PM

Each Tuesday we clue you in on the best new music and home video releases, and even though we're two days from 2015 and the music biz has basically shut down for the moment, there are a couple of vids potentially worth your time on New Year's Eve or for viewing during a break in New Year's Day football. Check 'em out: 


Even though he doesn't crank out the flicks at the same pace as in his earlier days, Denzel Washington remains one bad man, and capable of starring in an action flick like The Equalizer, the big-screen adaptation of a much-beloved '80s TV series. Antoine Fuqua, who teamed with Washington for Training Day, directs this one, too, although it wasn't as well-received as that Oscar-winner. Here's a look: 
Tusk is director Kevin Smith's latest effort, and stars Justin Long as a podcaster who is captured, enslaved and experimented on by a wily old coot with a thing for walruses. Or something like that. Check the trailer: 

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Posted By on Tue, Dec 30, 2014 at 2:43 PM

click to enlarge Pizza Rita's 5-lb. challenge pizza. - KIANNA GARDNER
Kianna Gardner
Pizza Rita's 5-lb. challenge pizza.

Many have tried but only few have triumphed. To be exact, only 28 contestants amongst 130 brave souls have conquered the infamous Pizza Rita 5-pound pizza challenge. These true testimonies to talent gorged their way through 24 oz. of crust, 12 oz. of sauce, 9 oz. of cheese and 35 oz. of various meats and veggies to earn their rightful plaque on the wall of champions.

The rules of the challenge are simple: the pizza must be consumed within 30 minutes, only one person can tackle the monstrous pizza, substitutions can be made as long as the weight remains at five pounds and previous winners can only partake once a year following their victory.

Spokane's Torrey Lybbert holds the current winning record at 11 minutes and 48 seconds. In addition to a plaque on the wall, winners receive Rita Bucks (Pizza Rita gift certificates so they can eat even MORE pizza), a $40 donation to a charity of the winner’s choice, a stomachache and a pride boost. 

In recent years however, Pizza Rita has seen a decline in people daring to try their hand at the 5-lb. challenge. In light of so little participation, owner Brian Dickmann will be adding a new gut-busting pizza challenge to the list: Rita’s Rapid Challenge.

“It will be a test of speed,” Dickmann says. “If someone can consume a large thin-crust single-topping pizza in under five minutes we will give them 50 Rita Bucks.”

The thin-crust pizza is meant to entice participation from those who are intimidated by the original 5-pound challenge.

According to Dickmann, Pizza Rita offers these contests for three main reasons: for charity, for fun and to demonstrate the true meaning of a “large pizza.” 

“Everyone says ‘we have a large pizza’ but really, how large is large?” Dickmann says.

Pizza Rita hopes to begin offering the Rita’s Rapid Challenge this January. These challenges are not for the faint of heart, and those willing to eat his or her heart out can mentally prepare themselves for the physical turmoil by reading former Inlander staff writer and current contributor Jordy Byrd's testimony of the 5-pound challenge here.

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Posted By on Tue, Dec 30, 2014 at 10:31 AM

It's New Year's Eve Eve, so raging is not an option, it's a requirement as you get ready for Wednesday's New Year's Eve festivities. At the very least you'll want to get out and take advantage of your days off from work. Check out our event listings and carefully considered Staff Picks for some options.

No time? No problem. Here are some highlights for Tuesday, Dec. 30: 

LIVE BANDS | If you dig a little soulful, Spanish-inflected music, check out Deryan Mateo, a flamenco guitarist playing Tuesday night at Baby Bar. 

FILM/COMMUNITY | If you haven't heard the songs from Frozen a few (thousand) too many times yet, the South Hill branch of the Spokane Library is hosting a screening/singalong of the Disney hit Tuesday at 2 pm.

FILM | With Christmas in the rearview, Totally Tubular Tuesdays at the Garland Theater returns to its regular, retro programming. This week's selection? The original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie. You know, the one that gave us Vanilla Ice's lone career feature film highlight: 

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Dressing the Abbey: The Iconic Wardrobe of Downton Abbey @ Northwest Museum of Arts & Culture

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