Thursday, April 30, 2015

Posted By on Thu, Apr 30, 2015 at 12:15 PM

click to enlarge If Godes was frustrated when the fence was moved, she became even more so when she noticed a herd of goats she believes to belong to Pratt grazing around the headstones. - COURTESY OF DONNA GODES
Courtesy of Donna Godes
If Godes was frustrated when the fence was moved, she became even more so when she noticed a herd of goats she believes to belong to Pratt grazing around the headstones.

For years Jim Carney had mowed around the huge hunk of concrete in his Spokane Valley lawn. He always planned to move it, someday. That day came recently when, in a moment of gusto, he dug around the corners of the slab and heaved it from the soil. He flipped it over and did a double take when he saw the inscription. Carney had just uprooted a tombstone.

The name of the deceased wasn’t hard to make out: Sergeant Major William L.V. Myers, a World War I veteran who died in 1968. Was this Myers fellow in Carney’s backyard?

“He doesn’t belong inside the garage here, he deserves some kind of internment,” Carney told KREM 2. It turned out Myers wasn’t actually in Carney’s backyard, though. Just his tombstone.

KREM 2 and the Veterans of Foreign Wars set about finding Myers' family. After circulating the images and dramatic story on social media, they got their answer: Myers is safely buried elsewhere in a shared grave with his wife, marked by a single headstone. The 250-pound tombstone found in Carney’s yard was salvaged by one of his sons and later forgotten in the yard. Now the monument is back in the family.

Up in Northport, Washington, a property line dispute would be a lot clearer cut if all grave markers were as durable as Myers’. Last May, Stevens County Sheriff's Deputy Paul Murray was dispatched to investigate reports that 61-year-old John Pratt was tearing down a fence. When Murray arrived at the scene, the cyclone fence had already been torn down and moved. Five feet deep into his neighbors property. Fence moves are often risky business, but particularly so in Pratt’s case because his property line is shared with a historic cemetery. Forest Home Cemetery caretaker Donna Godes believes Pratt's fence now sits directly on top of graves, many of which are not clearly marked. The cemetery was dedicated in 1912 but Godes says the oldest grave marker dates to 1851. It is home to as many as 400 graves, an impressive feat in a town with a population of 295. Many of Godes relative, including her great-great grandparents, are buried there. She plans to be buried there herself one day.

“Mr. Pratt stated he has been fighting over the fence line for the past ten years,” wrote Murray in his initial report. Stevens County  Prosecutor Tim Rasmussen charged Pratt with the Unlawful Removal of a Grave Marker later that month.

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Posted By on Thu, Apr 30, 2015 at 11:19 AM

It's been 40 years since the first same-sex marriage license was issued in Boulder, Colorado. We've come a long way since then. 

Here in Washington, voters legalized gay marriage in 2012, and Idaho's ban on same-sex marriages was ruled unconstitutional last October with a costly lawsuit in federal court.   

One of the first couples to receive a marriage license from Boulder's County Clerk, Anthony Sullivan and Richard Adams, were married April 21, 1975. They first met at a bar in downtown Los Angeles called the Closet in 1971, the Washington Post reports, and were inseparable ever since. 

Sullivan was Australian and at the time he met Adams was in LA on a tourist visa. After the couple got hitched in Colorado, Adams applied for a spouse's visa on Sullivan's behalf but was denied.

The letter from the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service dated November 24, 1975, shows just how far we've come. The letter denies the spouse's visa, saying "You have failed to establish that a bona fide marital relationship can exist between two faggots."

Adams appealed the decision, marking the first time a federal court was asked to consider same-sex marriage, but lost when Judge Anthony Kennedy of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that a "spouse" refers to a partner of the opposite sex for immigration purposes. 

Interestingly enough, Judge Kennedy is now Supreme Court Justice Kennedy, who penned three of the Supreme Court's opinions on gay marriage — Romer v. Evans, Lawrence v. Texas, and United States v. Windsor — and could very well be the swing vote as the U.S. Supreme Court discusses the issue this week. 

Both men were living in LA when Adams died in 2012, their Boulder marriage still on the books, though Sullivan was technically living in the country illegally. After Adam's death, Sullivan wrote to President Obama requesting an apology, the Washington Post reports. The director of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (formerly the INS), responded: "This agency should never treat any individual with the disrespect shown toward you and Mr. Adams. You have my sincerest apology for the years of hurt caused by the deeply offensive and hateful language used in the November 24, 1975, decision and my deepest condolences on your loss." 

Check out what each justice had to say Tuesday about gay marriage here.

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Posted By on Thu, Apr 30, 2015 at 10:25 AM

The last day of April means on more chance to finish off the month in style. Perhaps a cruise through our event listings and Staff Picks can help. 

Here are a few highlights I found for Thursday, April 30: 

FILM | The Garland Theater is hosting the Wild & Scenic Film Festival tonight at 7 pm, and while you're enjoying a wide array of great short films concerning nature and the exploitation of our natural resources, you'll be supporting the Spokane Riverkeeper at the same time. 

VISUAL ARTS | If you're an artist, or just love watching them work, head to Boots Bakery tonight for the Spokane Artist Trading Card Swap at 5:30 pm, and see some really cool, really small original works produced and traded. 

LIVE BANDS | The Big Dipper has a full night of tunes, courtesy of The Wicks, The Tone Collaborative and Nick Foster. Here's a sample of The Wicks: 

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Posted By on Thu, Apr 30, 2015 at 9:50 AM

The three female members of Spokane City Council had a bake sale yesterday to benefit the Women & Children's Free Restaurant, a nonprofit that serves women and children in need.

But because I am male, I had to pay a full dollar for my store-bought white chocolate chip cookie. Women only had to pay 78 cents.
click to enlarge The three female members of Spokane City Council held a decidedly unequal bake sale. - JAKE THOMAS
Jake Thomas
The three female members of Spokane City Council held a decidedly unequal bake sale.

The point of the event wasn’t just to raise funds for a nonprofit using a manifestly unfair bake sale, but to also call attention to what the female trio of council members says is a manifestly unfair situation: Women are paid less than men in both the public and private sectors in Spokane.

According to their figures, a woman working for the City of Spokane makes $11,614 less than a man on average. Women, who make up about half of the city’s population, only account for about a quarter of the city’s workforce.

In Spokane’s private sector, a woman will make $9,124 less over the course of a year than a man with similar qualifications. When race is factored in, the numbers look even less equitable.

To start fixing the situation, the three female members of city council, Candace Mumm, Karen Stratton and Amber Waldref, announced that they will introduce a resolution that to create a task force that will look into pay gender and racial pay gaps in the city. The task force will be comprised of 17 representatives from various unions, the city council, the mayor's office, business associations and ethnic groups, along with a couple of academics specializing in gender studies and economics, respectively. After meeting for six months, the task force will produce a report analyzing the issue that will include recommendations on how to decrease gender and race-based pay disparities in the city.

“The whole purpose is to discuss the inequity in wages with the whole community,” says Stratton, who hopes the work of the task force will eventually close the gap in the private sector as well.

On his way out of City Hall, Councilman Mike Fagan handed me what he referred to as his “dissent” before hurrying out.
click to enlarge Mike Fagan dissents. - JAKE THOMAS
Jake Thomas
Mike Fagan dissents.

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Posted By on Thu, Apr 30, 2015 at 9:26 AM


Washington state Representative Susan Fagan (R-Pullman) is set to resign tomorrow after being accused of serious ethics violations, including fudging mileage and expense reports. (Spokesman)

A second case of the measles in Spokane has been confirmed. (Inlander)

Spokane's female city council members held a gender wage gap bake sale yesterday to raise awareness of wage inequity in city jobs. Men could get a cookie for $1, while women could buy one for 78 cents. (KXLY)


A prisoner in the same police transport as Freddie Gray says he thinks Gray was intentionally trying to hurt himself. (Washington Post)

The man who killed cannibal serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer in prison speaks out about why he did it. (CNN)

Vermont independent Bernie Sanders announced his run for the presidency on the Democratic ticket. (New York Times)

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Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Posted By on Wed, Apr 29, 2015 at 5:06 PM

We still don’t know how the measles got to Spokane, but its highly contagious and spreading. The second confirmed case was diagnosed in a close contact of the first patient. According to a press release from the Spokane Regional Health District, anyone who visited the following locations at the times listed could be infected:

Thursday, April 23
7:30 am – 3:30 pm Madeleine’s Café – 415 W Main

Thursday, April 23
5:00 pm – 8:00 pm
WinCo Foods – 9257 N Nevada

Friday, April 24
7:30 am – 3:00 pm Madeleine’s Café – 415 W Main

There’s no need to worry about frequenting these establishments from here on out. But if you were present in any of the windows listed, you’ll probably want to check out this article about what to do if you get the measles.

Health district officials have been busy making contact with people who may have been exposed to the confirmed measles patients. So far, they’ve cleared 250 people because they were immune or vaccinated. The remaining 50 are under orders to stay home for 21 days and are being closely monitored. Those individuals are likely stewing at home wishing they had opted to partake in the measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine.

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Posted By on Wed, Apr 29, 2015 at 4:11 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

“That shit will kill you,” is the response I get when I call up a local head shop and ask for Spice, a synthetic cannabinoid. Calls to other pipe shops and other weed-related establishments draw similarly perplexed responses when I call to ask if they sell Spice or any other synthetic cannabinoids. I’m still not sure where you can buy it in Spokane.

In Spokane, it might be hard to get your hands on synthetic cannabinoids — chemicals mixed with some plant matter to resemble marijuana — but other parts of the country are struggling with people getting high on the potent substance. The American Association of Poison Control Centers has seen a spike in recent years in the number of people nationally that are using the substance, which is often marketed as legal high.

Although it looks like marijuana, synthetic cannabinoids are significantly more toxic and their use can cause seizures, psychosis and even death. Most of the problems with synthetic cannabinoids appear to be occurring in states in back east, such as Alabama, Mississippi, Florida, New York and New Jersey.

“We’re not seeing the numbers they’re seeing on the East Coast,” says Alexander Garrard, clinical managing director of the Washington Poison Center.

According to Garrard, the number of calls to the center regarding exposure to synthetic cannabinoids has been on the decline. In 2011, the center received about 160 calls, he says. Last year, it received about 80.

Garrard says that the center has received calls from hospitals who’ve needed six people to restrain a patient having a violent reaction to synthetic cannabinoids. Some patients, he says, need to be placed on antipsychotics after their experience with the substance.

“It’s the type of patient that is very scary to treat,” he says.

Fortunately, he says synthetic cannabinoids never caught on with the drug-using community in Washington state. That might have something to do with people opting for legal weed over synthetics, but he doesn’t have evidence to directly correlate the two.

But the Washington State Legislature isn’t taking any chances and is considering legislation that will make synthetic cannabinoids along with cathinones and methcathinone, better known as “bath salts,” illegal.

Linda Graham, health policy and communications manager with the Spokane Regional Health District, says she doesn’t have any evidence that the use of synthetics is problem in Spokane. But she does note that companies will keep coming up with new chemicals that people will ingest.

“One of the things I’ve discovered is there are basically no limits on the degree to which people will go to get high or abuse their bodies,” says Graham. “It is truly amazing.”

Here’s the news elsewhere:

Bernie Sanders, Vermont’s independent socialist senator, is going to challenge Hillary Clinton for the Democratic presidential nomination. He’s also open to legalization of marijuana.

Texas lawmakers are considering a bill that would allow cannabidiol to treat seizures, which is not unlike the measure that failed to become law in Idaho.

Could marijuana legalization be on the ballot in Louisiana?

Two University of Akron students are developing a test to see if drivers have been using marijuana.

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Posted By on Wed, Apr 29, 2015 at 2:37 PM

Congrats, Spokane! A random website has determined — using pretty random criteria — that the Lilac City is one of the "15 Best Cities for Newlyweds." 

How did we end up so highly thought of by the good people at Well, they apparently took into consideration "affordability, entertainment, housing, employment opportunities and more" when coming up with their list, as well as the rankings of another website's list,'s rundown of the "best cities for young people." 

Yes, the name of that site is It's a site dedicated to, you guessed it, meaningless lists of rankings. But I digress. 

Spokane lands at No. 11 among the "15 Best Cities for Newlyweds," ahead of such hotbeds of young-couple action as Brooklyn, Indiana (not the Brooklyn you've heard of, but the one with a population of less than 2,000 in America's heartland), and the strip-mall Mecca of Irvine, Calif., but behind such desirable spots as Newark, Oakland, and Tulsa. Because when you're a newlywed, you want to spend a lot of time dodging tornados or, well, being in New Jersey. describes Spokane as "a fantasy made real for couples who love the outdoors and the arts." And, it continues, "Let’s not forget that Spokane also has some of the best libraries, parks, schools and realty around."

Check out the entire list right here

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Posted By on Wed, Apr 29, 2015 at 10:10 AM

Midweek on a gloriously sunny stretch of days seems a fine time to get out of the house. Check out our event listings and Staff Picks for some ideas.

Here are a few things that caught my eye for Wednesday, April 29: 

BENEFIT/FILM | The Bing is hosting a screening of The Space Between at 7 pm, with proceeds going toward a humanitarian mission to Kenya in 2016. Here's a look at the film:

The Space Between (trailer) from North Projects on Vimeo.

LIVE BANDS | Jared and the Mill, Lavoy and The Young Wild bring some live tunes to the Big Dipper. 

PERFORMANCE ARTS | The Spokane Arena welcomes the start of a series of performances by Cirque du Soleil's Varekai show. Prepare to be amazed with some serious acrobatic insanity. 

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Posted By on Wed, Apr 29, 2015 at 9:46 AM


The numbers show that it's failing, but as of this morning the measure to increase local sales taxes to pay for improvements to the Spokane Transit Authority is too close to call. (Spokesman)

Spokane County Commissioner Shelly O'Quinn wants to expand the number of commissioners from three to five. (Spokesman)

It's still unknown what the specific allegations are against EWU fraternity Sigma Phi Epsilon, which has been suspended while its national organization investigates. (Inlander)

A man inducted into the Spokane Library Foundations's new Citizen Hall of Fame, said to be the first African-American elected official in Washington state, was actually white. (Spokesman)  


Schools in Baltimore reopened today and a calm seems to be spreading across the city after several days of controversial riots spurred by acts of police brutality. (USA Today)

While much of the recent attention on the U.S. Supreme Court has been on its arguments over gay marriage, a hearing today about the constitutionality of lethal injection got pretty heated. (Washington Post)

Pope Francis speaks out about the gender wage gap. (Sydney Morning Herald)

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

Tuesdays-Sundays. Continues through May 2
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