Monday, April 11, 2016

Posted By on Mon, Apr 11, 2016 at 9:29 AM

click to enlarge Country royalty Dolly Parton comes to Airway Heights in September.
Country royalty Dolly Parton comes to Airway Heights in September.

UPDATE: It’s time to look toward the summer, when a stellar concert lineup heads toward the Northern Quest Resort & Casino's outdoor venue. Today, the 2016 Pepsi Outdoor Summer Concert lineup grew with the announcements of Dolly Parton and Duran Duran. Tickets for these two shows go on sale April 16. 

Duran Duran - Sept. 2, $65/$85/$105
The '80s synthpop sensations, who never did officially break up, are back out touring. The English act has seen a recent resurgence in popularity with their 2015 album Paper Gods getting them back in the spotlight. 

Dolly Parton - Sept. 22, $89/$109/$129
Yes, country legend and feminist Dolly Parton is set to finish out this year's concert series. She may be 70, but this woman, who wrote the seminal hits "Jolene" and "I Will Always Love You" (before Whitney got her hands on it) is still ever the performer. There's a whole section of her tour bus designated for glitzy outfits and wigs — you know she's gonna entertain. 

Here’s what was previously announced for the series:

Goo Goo Dolls with Collective Soul & Tribe Society – July 6, $45/$55/$75
After their big hits in the 1990s, Goo Goo Dolls are still working hard, recently recording a brand new album at Bear Creek Studio in Woodinville, Washington, which they’re touring behind this summer.

The Avett Bros with Grace Potter – July 19, $45/$55/$75
The Americana act the Avett Brothers have just announced — with a letter that sounded almost like they were breaking up — that they’re releasing a new album, called True Sadness, in June and with this show, we’ll get to hear it live. And don't show up late for this one: opener Grace Potter has pipes and legs for days. 

Culture Club with English Beat & Berlin – Aug. 12, $
click to enlarge The original Culture Club lineup, including Boy George, comes through Northern Quest this summer.
The original Culture Club lineup, including Boy George, comes through Northern Quest this summer.
The English Beat has already rolled through the Bartlett twice in about a year’s time, but here they open for the new wave '80s group, Boy George’s own Culture Club, who are now touring with the original lineup.

Big & Rich and Gary Allan – Aug. 17, $55/$65/$85
Country duo Big & Rich went on a hiatus from 2008-2011, but now they're running strong. 

Steve Miller Band with Foghat – Aug. 22, $55/$65/$85
Steve Miller Band was last in the area for the Festival at Sandpoint in 2013, and psychedelic rock fans will be pleased to have "the Joker" back in our midst. Classic-rock act Foghat is still kickin’ and opening.

Pat Benatar & Neil Giraldo and Melissa Etheridge – Aug. 27, $45/$55/$75
Melissa Etheridge returns to this particular summer concert series for the second year in a row. While last time she threw down a party with Blondie and Joan Jett, this time she’s with Pat Benatar and her husband/guitarist Neil Giraldo.

Dierks Bentley – Sept. 21, $75/$95/$115
He’s country, and a lot of people are excited about that.

Call the box office at 481-6700 or go to for tickets and information. 

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Thursday, March 31, 2016

Posted By on Thu, Mar 31, 2016 at 5:36 PM

A federal judge has ordered the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare to restore $30 million of Medicaid funding for programs for adults with disabilities and develop new protections for these individuals. The ruling is in response to a lawsuit by the state’s affiliate of the American Civil Liberties Union, which successfully argued in court that the department cut assistance for this population without giving adequate notice nor following proper procedures.

The injunction, issued by Chief Federal Judge B. Lynn Winmill on March 30, is the latest in a four-year, class-action lawsuit representing 4,000 Idahoans on Medicaid, the federal government’s health insurance program for low-income people that is administered by states. According to the court order, Medicaid pays for developmentally disabled individuals “eligible for long-term institutional care but choose to live instead in their own homes or in community settings.”

The lawsuit argued that the IDHW didn’t give enough notice to these individuals that their level of support was going to be reduced. It also argued that the department's budgeting process improperly reduced assistance for some recipients. The court found that the cuts “arbitrarily deprives participants of their property rights and hence violates due process.”

Under the court order, the department will have to come up with a plan to ensure that individuals affected are getting all the assistance they’re entitled to. In court, the department wouldn’t disclose why it cut individuals’ Medicaid assistance and argued that the formulas it used to determine how much help someone was entitled to was a “trade secret.”

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Posted By on Thu, Mar 31, 2016 at 4:17 PM

click to enlarge Shana Smith's "Unveiled"
Shana Smith's "Unveiled"

After days of tirelessly trying to track down the miscreants who stole her painting off the wall of a local bar, Shana Smith was told the police will not be helping her get the painting back. 

Frustrating doesn't begin to describe it, she said yesterday, exhausted.

Now, police are saying they will in fact investigate the theft. So why the change of heart? Asst. Chief Craig Meidl says it has a lot to do with the video evidence.

Spokane Police Lt. Dave McCabe says he initially didn't assign the case to a detective because, despite good follow up information — video evidence, names of suspects, a phone number, address and license plate — the case did not meet the criteria for investigation. Which is to say the painting wasn't worth enough money.

Smith says the painting is worth around $1,200, which according to state law, that makes the crime a felony.

"We have to triage all the property crime reports as they come in," McCabe says. "The ones we end up assigning typically have a very high loss of property, like in the several thousand dollar range."

He adds that police will prioritize crimes they believe are committed by one person or one group of people.

After speaking with Meidl, McCabe says, they decided to assign the case to a detective in the Targeted Crimes Unit, which has four detectives compared to the two out of the South Precinct where the case ordinarily would have been assigned.

The Targeted Crimes Unit typically investigates repeat offenders. 

Meanwhile, Smith has been doing her own investigating. She's also offered a reward — a free commissioned painting — for whomever can help get her painting back. 

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Posted By on Thu, Mar 31, 2016 at 12:10 PM

click to enlarge Chef Chad White
Chef Chad White

The Steel Barrel Tap Room is hoping to open its doors in time for Bloomsday, and whenever the brewery-incubator space in the Luminaria Building launches, Chef Chad White will debut his new ceviche spot right alongside. 

Zona Blanca Ceviche bar will be a small counter-service raw bar that White says will specialize in the coastal flavors of Mexico. White, who recently moved back to his Spokane hometown after establishing himself in San Diego's dining scene and appearing on the most recent season of Top Chef, has traveled extensively throughout Mexico. The flavors he found will fill the menu of his first Spokane eatery. 

Most of the menu at Zona Blanca will be filled with ceviches representing different coastal regions of Mexico — Baja, Sinaloa, Veracruz and others — while also including other street snacks such as Carne Seca marinated in lime, chiles and cilantro, chicharrones with hot sauce and "possibly a torta or two."  

Spokane, White said via email, "still lacks in its offerings of non-watered down and over-Americanized ethnic food establishments, and with Zona Blanca I intend to help feed the appetite of those looking for just that."

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Posted By on Thu, Mar 31, 2016 at 10:31 AM

click to enlarge Back in 2014, Candace Mumm was critical of councilmembers for suggesting the city council jobs should become full-time positions. Times change.
Back in 2014, Candace Mumm was critical of councilmembers for suggesting the city council jobs should become full-time positions. Times change.

The Salary Review Commission was meant to take the air out of the political football of city council salary raises.

But this time, the opposite has happened. 

This week the commission voted to give a 44 percent raise to most of the council members, bumping their salaries up to $45,000. City Council President Ben Stuckart got a smaller raise to his larger salary, bringing his total to $58,630.

The commission's decision has sparked criticism from former council member Mike Allen.
Local conservatives are furious about it, with one local conservative activist attempting to start a referendum against the pay increase. City Councilman Mike Fagan — one of the beneficiaries of the big raise — raises that possibility that "we’re going to have to roll back salaries... because of the eruption we’re hearing from the public right now." He says he's torn. 

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Posted By on Thu, Mar 31, 2016 at 9:21 AM

click to enlarge Carli Lloyd and Hope Solo are among American women soccer players brining a wage discrimination suit.
Carli Lloyd and Hope Solo are among American women soccer players brining a wage discrimination suit.


• How well do we track dishonest cops
• Is Spokane Public Schools discriminating against special ed students? 
• Happy Hour of the week: Lantern Tap House


• Washington state's budget includes millions for construction projects in Spokane area. (Spokesman Review) 

• The police officers who killed an unarmed black man in Minneapolis last November will not face criminal charges, according to the Hennepin County prosecutor. (Hennepin released documents and video he used to make his decision.) No cop in Minnesota has faced charges in a shooting, Taser or restraint death since 2000 — 143 have died at the hands of police in that time frame. 

• "In early April 1976, [three U.S. Supreme Court justices] met for lunch at the Monocle, a venerable Washington steakhouse, and decided the future of the American death penalty." 

It's been about 40 years since that decision to bring capital punishment back only four years after the country's highest court killed it. Here's how it's failed

• President Obama commuted 61 more prison sentences, bumping his total to 248. That's more than the seven previous presidents combined. Here's a list of the most recent commutations. 

I'm about to drop by a meeting with a few folks whose prison sentences were commuted either by President Bush, President Clinton, or me. They don't know this yet, but I'm going to invite them to join me for lunch so I can hear their stories firsthand.They're Americans who’d been serving time on the kind of outdated sentences that are clogging up our jails and burning through our tax dollars. Simply put, their punishments didn't fit the crime.Today, I issued 61 more commutations to folks a lot like these – most of them are low-level drug offenders whose sentences would have been shorter if they were convicted under today’s laws. I believe America is a nation of second chances, and with hard work, responsibility, and better choices, people can change their lives and contribute to our society.That’s why as long as I’m President, I’m going to keep working for a justice system that restores a sense of fairness, uses tax dollars more wisely, and keeps our communities safe.

Posted by President Obama on Wednesday, March 30, 2016

• Five of the United States' best women soccer players say they're the "driving economic force" for U.S. Soccer, but they're making significantly less than players on the men's national team. 

Virtual reality studio has aspirations beyond gaming. (Spokesman-Review) 

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Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Posted By on Wed, Mar 30, 2016 at 3:00 PM

This room at The Lantern Taphouse used to be Perry Street Cafe - JENNIFER DEBARROS
Jennifer DeBarros
This room at The Lantern Taphouse used to be Perry Street Cafe

Usually, if I find myself alone at a restaurant waiting for my tardy friends to join me for a drink after work, I would start feeling a little anxious around the time I realized I'd gone through my entire Twitter feed and exhausted my only source of entertainment. Each minute the pressure would mount, and I'd feel the need to repeatedly explain to the waitress that there is, in fact, a reason I'm taking up this four-person table. 

At The Lantern Taphouse, however, I never felt that pressure. 

At 5 pm on a Friday, the Lantern feels less like a restaurant and more like a cafe that happens to have excellent food, beer and cocktails. That's probably because where I was sitting, away from the small bar, actually used to be the Perry Street Cafe before it closed a couple years ago and the Lantern snatched up the extra space. It's the kind of place where it's normal for a guy like me to sit at a table against the wall, sip a drink and not be questioned about when I'll order something else, or when those two other people are supposed to show up (they eventually did 20 minutes later, by the way, but I'm not bitter). 

The brick walls, the fireplace and the lanterns — actual lanterns! — on top of the mantle all made for a cozy atmosphere. Couples of all ages talked over food and drinks. As the night went on, Gonzaga fans, wearing their Gonzaga sweaters and blue jeans, trickled in with their kids. The men's basketball team was about to play Syracuse in the Sweet Sixteen — a game the Zags somehow lost in the final minutes. But this isn't a sports bar, and it doesn't have TVs in every corner. There's one screen above the fireplace, kind of like in a living room. 

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Posted By on Wed, Mar 30, 2016 at 9:32 AM



• With claims that Spokane Doesn't Suck at an all time high, the Inlander provides seven posters with a more nuanced, sophisticated take. Sadly, I didn't have time to make the "Spokane Doesn't Suck As Much As Batman V. Superman" poster.

Union Busting Busted 

• With the death of just one man, the right of public sector unions to force members to pay at least some membership dues has been preserved. 

College Swap

• EWU just made transferring from a Community College a whole lot easier

The Loss of Patty Duke

Patty Duke, one of the Northwest's most iconic actresses, has died. 

Bodices! Will! Be! Ripped!
Local writer of sexy paranormal Viking stories has received a double honor from the Romance Writers of America. 


If Every Session is Special.... None of Them Are!

Breath easy. The Washington legislation session is over for another year, bringing our long, national nightmare of snarky Rep. Michael Baumgartner tweets to a close. For now. For now. (Spokesman-Review)

We've All Been There, Man

An attempt to reconcile a relationship has ended with a woman allegedly stabbing her boyfriend in the stomach. (Spokesman-Review)

This Never Would Have Happened At Washington Water Power

You know how hard it can be to work through the bureaucracy at Avista just to answer a simple question? The Spokane Police feel the same way. (KREM)

Battery Included
click to enlarge Trump Campaign Manager Corey Lewandowski (artist's visualization) - THE SIMPSONS
The Simpsons
Trump Campaign Manager Corey Lewandowski (artist's visualization)
• Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski has been charged with simple battery after he forcefully grabbed then-Breitbart reporter Michelle Fields. Security cameras, audio recorders, and a Washington Post reporter witnessed it. Fields tweeted photographic evidence of bruises. But Trump can't seem to remember that iconic reality-show phrase — what was it again? "I'm asking for your resignation?" "Turn in your gun and badge?" "You've been made redundant?" "We're moving in a different direction?" — and ditch the guy.

Instead, Trump has cycled through a variety of contradictory rationale, including that she was making the whole thing up, that those bruises could have come from anywhere to — and to be clear, this came from a presidential candidate and not a Saturday Night Live sketch — that the pen Fields was holding could have been a tiny bomb, and Lewandowski was playing the role of an amateur Jack Bauer in saving his boss. 

Let's Break A Deal

Remember when Republicans got Trump to sign a pledge saying he'd support the presidential nominee, even if it wasn't him? They thought they had a deal? Well, Trump is altering the deal. Pray he does not alter it further.  Really, that's what happens when you trust Dealbreaker Jones. And the other Republicans are following suit. 

From A to Zika 
They hated each other. They couldn't stand each other. But a team of rival scientists will have to put aside their differences and learn to work together on one... last... mission. The Zika Job.

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Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Posted By on Tue, Mar 29, 2016 at 3:37 PM

One of the worst things about college — besides the workload, living situation and other issues — is worrying which credits you need to obtain your degree. Even worse is taking courses and having those credits not apply to a degree. 

That's especially true for students who transfer to four-year universities from community colleges. Many become confused with course requirements without support from advisors and fail to navigate the transition process. Washington, as we at the Inlander wrote in January, has one of the worst community college to four-year college transfer rates in the nation. 

And if students do make the transfer before officially completing their AA degree, they often are left on their own to make sure they've met all the requirements, and that those credits have been applied, so they can earn an AA before moving on to a bachelor's degree. An AA is good to have for transfer students — without it, for example, they sometimes have to retake general education classes.

Yet an agreement announced Tuesday between Eastern Washington University and the State Board of Community and Technical Colleges may have just made that process a bit easier. Under the agreement, community and technical college students who transfer to EWU without first completing their AA degree no longer have to do all the work to make sure the credits at EWU count toward their AA degree. Now, advisors will facilitate the reverse credit-transfer process using "existing technology," according to a press release, because college students are busy and have enough to worry about. 

EWU had an agreement like this in place with Spokane Community College and Spokane Falls Community College since 2014. This new agreement applies to all 34 community and technical colleges across the state. 

The data will be automatically shared between EWU and the community college. Washington State University already has a similar agreement with the SBCTC, but EWU's agreement, in contrast, will opt transfer students into the program when they apply to the university, not after they're in a program like at WSU. 

EWU is the only public university in Washington to have such an agreement, but maybe not for long. The state legislature passed a bill this session that requires four-year college programs to work with the SBCTC to create plans for allowing transfers of academic credits from four-year schools to community and technical colleges — the kind of plan EWU and SBCTC have just agreed on. Gov. Jay Inslee vetoed the bill during his veto spree, but the state Senate overruled that veto. 

College administrators hope these kinds of agreements will alleviate the problem of reverse transfers being underutilized because students are either unaware of the option or are too busy. 

"This is all about college completion," says EWU President Mary Cullinan. "We have a proud tradition of smoothly transferring students from community colleges to Eastern Washington University. It makes good sense to allow credits to flow the other way to round out an associate degree." 

Joyce Hammer, SBCTC director of transfer education, adds that earning an AA degree while in college will help students find employment before earning a four-year degree. 

"For students who are working their way through college, the two-year degree can make a difference in their employability right away," Hammer says. 

Yet she says there are still benefits to finishing an associate degree before making the transfer. For example, those students who already met their general education requirements will already be juniors upon transfer. Also, the reverse-credit transfer only applies to transfer students who have already completed 60 credits at a community or technical college. 

The agreement is effective immediately. 

Laura McDowell, a spokeswoman for SBCTC, said Tuesday that the board is looking forward to similar reverse-credit agreements with more four-year state institutions. She notes that they help students for another reason: confidence.  

"We've really found that the educational process is really a series of momentum points, that students become motivated as they reach successful points in their academic careers," she says. "Students who transfer early and complete credits have already done work to get an AA degree, the benefit (of this agreement) is that they actually received what they earned." 

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Posted By on Tue, Mar 29, 2016 at 3:00 PM

Earlier today, the U.S. Supreme Court tied 4-4 on a closely watched court case that conservatives hoped would deliver a potentially crippling blow to organized labor that would’ve been felt in Washington state.

At issue with the case, Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association, was a California law that required public employees who chose not join unions to still pay them fees for representation, collective bargaining and lobbying. More than 20 states, including Washington, have similar laws. The arrangement keeps unions, which hold political clout in states like Washington, viable. Critics argue that this arrangement unfairly forces employees to pay for political activities they may disagree with, violating their First Amendment rights.

The tie is possible with the vacancy created by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia, considered part of the court’s conservative wing who was seen as likely to vote to strike down California’s law. A lower court ruling favoring the union will stand. 

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Reclaiming Culture: The Tlingit and Haida Tribes of Alaska Repatriation @ Northwest Museum of Arts & Culture

Tuesdays-Sundays. Continues through May 2
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