Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Posted By on Tue, May 31, 2016 at 5:03 PM

click to enlarge Clearly, booty shorts have yet to retire.
Clearly, booty shorts have yet to retire.

No longer is it only the musicians who get to dress up in fun ways for shows. At Sasquatch! you can fashionably become anyone you want — hippie, hipster, stripper, banana. Unlike other big festivals, such as the more designer clothing-obsessed Coachella or the neon spandex of Paradiso, the annual Memorial Day Weekend festival has its own fashion flavor. This gives many an opportunity to dress in full Halloween costumes (the guys in banana suits made an appearance this year, as always), but also in ways that their grandmothers would most likely not approve of.

Many of the same old looks were there, like the captain hats and rice paddy hats, but some of the bigger trends were new. Here's what we saw:

Bras be gone
There is much conflicting research about the helpfulness of a brassiere, and at this year's Sasquatch! many on the female side opted to let loose in their tanks and halter tops. Whether this is a good look is all based on your point of view. But I do believe there is a way to burn the bra while still finding adequately padded tops (for nippage purposes). Let's work on this for next year.

Double topknots and braids
You can no longer have just one bun or one braid, it's got to be two — and this included some men. Princess Leia clearly, would approve of this trend. 

Tummies and backs were key
The 1990s/early-2000s tummy-bearing days are here. In previous years it's been more about showing off the backs than the stomach, but now you gotta do both. 

Blankets as panchos
I assure you this isn't fashionable, wearing a blanket around your shoulders as one would with a poncho or cape. But with temps nearing 50 degrees at night, I found the keeping-warm look especially heartening. One guy even had a sleeping bag he sewed together except at the arm holes. 

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Posted By on Tue, May 31, 2016 at 4:16 PM

click to enlarge Nurses and their supporters gather in a show of solidarity at Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center. - JAKE THOMAS
Jake Thomas
Nurses and their supporters gather in a show of solidarity at Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center.

Over 200 registered nurses and their supporters made a gesture of solidarity Tuesday morning outside of the administrative offices at Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center, intending to reinforce their demands in an ongoing labor negotiation.

The nurses, represented by the Washington State Nurses Association, have since December been in negotiations with Providence over a new contract. Outside the building, supporters honked their horns at the nurses, who crowded together wearing blue shirts with an emblem of a heart and the words “Nurses at the Heart.” The crowd broke into cheers as a group marched into the building to deliver a petition signed by community members supporting the nurses.

Deborah Perry, a nurse on the negotiating team, says the two sticking points in the negotiations are over medical benefits and staffing levels. She says Providence wants to reduce dental and vision benefits included in the nurses’ health plan. The last contract negotiation three years ago left nurses with a high deductible and more out-of-pocket costs in their health plans, says Perry.

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Posted By on Tue, May 31, 2016 at 1:27 PM

click to enlarge Another crazy year, the 15th, to be exact, is in the books. - LAURA JOHNSON
Laura Johnson
Another crazy year, the 15th, to be exact, is in the books.

The day after Sasquatch! is often filled with aching and longing. Your bones ache and you long for two extra days of sleep to get over what you’ve just experienced. But Tuesday is here, meaning many packed up their campsites this morning to get back to work this morning. What matters is that this year’s annual festival, for all of its faults, was still supremely entertaining and enlightening. Here is the best and the worst of what went down over Memorial Day Weekend at the Gorge Amphitheatre.

Where were the people?
click to enlarge Dancing and swinging the night away.
Dancing and swinging the night away.

The views were there, the music was there, but for some reason, Sasquatch! 2016 saw about 10,000 less people than the year previously, according to Live Nation festival workers. This of course made camping far roomier than in years past, and stages were often surrounded with people who actually wanted to see a certain band (read: fewer bros). It’s uncertain if this outcome was a result of festival oversaturation, if the lineup wasn’t as stellar as years past, the outrageous expense of it all ($350 for a ticket, $150 for a basic campsite — food, drink and the gas to get there not included), the fact people can’t do one-day passes anymore, or probably, a mix of all of the above. It just shows that next year festival promoters will have to step it up. No doubt this year was a learning experience for them.

Safety response time was on point.
This year, someone in my distant friend group imbibed a little too much without drinking enough water. Sunday night, he was near the front of the stage for the Big Grams (Big Boi/Phantogram) show and fell over. Scary. His friends rushed him out of the crowd and went and found someone from Live Nation. Within two minutes, paramedics rushed to his aid with a golf cart. As he couldn’t walk at all, they got him to the medical tent and gave him an IV. He wasn’t that bad off. Two other girls inside the tent were waiting to be airlifted to the nearest hospital. Heart paddles were at the ready as their pulses were low. To the men and women who have to look after festival-goers each year, you deserve major props.
click to enlarge The clouds look ominous but it never rained the whole weekend.
The clouds look ominous but it never rained the whole weekend.

Band cancelation updates w
ere not on point.
It's always windy at the Gorge, but not like this. Sunday saw winds of more than 50 miles per hour, which meant five bands on the main stage were displaced, and more than one campsite was completely decimated by tornado-esque gusts. As a wildfire raged through part of Central Washington (smoke permeated the sky), people inside the festival raged because there was seemingly no information. The Sasquatch! Twitter page and app weren’t updated fast enough and finally when Alabama Shakes got the green light to go on, many were still left in the dark. Luckily, Tacocat and Chewelah native Allen Stone were rescheduled. 

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Posted By on Tue, May 31, 2016 at 10:23 AM

Everyone has a thing they hate about driving in Spokane.

Maybe it's the 5:15 pm eastbound I-90 traffic jam. Maybe it's the detours on your way to other detours. Maybe it's the potholes so deep that, when you gaze into them, they gaze back into you. Maybe it's Inlander journalists slowing down the path of your giant red pickup truck by biking on a street with a common bicycle.

For me, it's the infamous Maple Street Bridge merge.

It goes like this: Driving westbound on Riverside, you hook a right on the ramp to head north across the Maple Street Bridge. But as you drive down the ramp there's a big concrete barrier in the way, blocking your view of the traffic coming from your left. 

If you're unlucky enough to hit it during rush hour, you'll often end up coming to a full and complete stop at the point of merging. As the cars whoosh past you on your left, and the cars pile up behind you, you've got to crook your neck around, out your window, and find the right moment to speed between the gaps in the traffic, merging from zero miles an hour to traffic speed. 

Last Monday, I called Julie Happy, division communication manager for the Department of Business and Developer Services to see if anything could be done to fix the most irritating merge in Spokane.

That very night, while biking home, I spotted an accident near the merge. Exactly what I fear every time I drive this street:
click to enlarge An accident on Monday night last week at about 7:30 pm on the Maple Street Bridge - DANIEL WALTERS PHOTO
Daniel Walters photo
An accident on Monday night last week at about 7:30 pm on the Maple Street Bridge

In 2015, there were six accidents on the bridge's ramp alone, all rear-end collisions.

So can it be improved? Probably not.

"The ramp is an extension of the bridge and has design standards which have to be met. One of those is a crash-certified barrier for traffic which the existing concrete barrier meets," Happy wrote in an e-mail. "These barriers have a certain height and shape to meet standards. They cannot be cut down and still meet standards."

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Posted By on Tue, May 31, 2016 at 9:07 AM


NEWS: Can someone afford an apartment on minimum wage in Spokane or Coeur d'Alene?


Fire at Sasquatch!
People who went to Sasquatch! over the weekend at one point saw smoke from a wildfire burning three miles away, and the main stage at the festival was shut down for nine hours due to high winds. But the fire was quickly contained without too much of an impact on the festival. (Seattle Times)

...and another fire in Eastern Washington
A fire burned 36 acres north of Airway Heights on Sunday, including two outbuildings, and it nearly destroyed a home while prompting evacuations. Fire crews are still cleaning up. (KXLY)

Spokane Valley email reveals possible open-meetings violation
Before firing Spokane Valley City Manager Mike Jackson, Mayor Rod Higgins forwarded an email from a former Spokane County undersheriff to the other three council majority members that suggested Jackson "would need to be put under control and quit hiding contracts and study findings" related to the city's police services with the sheriff's office. That communication could have been a violation of the state Open Public Meetings Act. (Spokesman-Review) 

Stick to your guns
After Cincinnati zookeepers shot and killed a rare gorilla on Saturday after a 3-year-old got into its enclosure, sparking outrage about how the situation was handled, the zoo's director said they would respond the same way if it happened again. (CNN)

Warriors complete comeback
On Saturday, former Washington State University star and Golden State Warriors guard Klay Thompson hit an NBA playoff record 11 3-pointers to keep his team afloat in game 6 of the Western Conference Finals. In game 7 last night, the Warriors, led by MVP Stephen Curry, moved on to the NBA Finals by beating the Oklahoma City Thunder 96-88. The Warriors are just the 10th team in NBA history to win a playoff series after being down 3-1, and will face the Cleveland Cavaliers in starting Thursday. (Sports Illustrated)

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Friday, May 27, 2016

Posted By on Fri, May 27, 2016 at 2:34 PM

No one working full time on minimum wage in any state, city or county in the U.S. can afford a two-bedroom apartment, including in Spokane and Coeur d’Alene.

That’s the conclusion of a new report from the National Low Income Housing Coalition that found that Washington is the 10th most expensive state in the country for housing. Idaho ranked 44th.

The report calculated what someone would make working 40 hours a week and compared that to what someone would need to earn to afford an apartment without it costing more than 30 percent of their income on rent and utilities (a federal guideline often used to calculate reasonable housing costs).

In the Spokane metropolitan area, the report found, someone would need to make $15.17 or have an annual income of $31,560 to afford the fair market value (another federal guideline) of a $789-a-month two-bedroom apartment. Washington state already has one of the highest minimum wages in the country at $9.47 an hour. Thirty seven percent of Spokane area households are renters, and they earn an estimated hourly mean wage of $11.19, according to the report.

In the Coeur d’Alene area, the report found, someone would need to make $14.77 an hour (more than double the state’s $7.25 an hour minimum wage) to afford a $768-a-month two bedroom apartment. According to the report, 30 percent of the city’s residents are renters who make an estimated $10.22 hourly mean wage.

Unsurprisingly, the greatest disparity in Washington is in the Seattle area. Despite the city being on track to implement its $15-an-hour minimum wage, someone working minimum wage would need to make $29.29 an hour to afford a $1,523-a-month apartment.

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Posted By on Fri, May 27, 2016 at 9:08 AM


Sheriff says deputies will renew rape investigation of former Bowdish Middle School teacher
InHealth: How are we going to get all that food to Mars, you guys?


Hearing held on Longview coal terminal 

People drove to Spokane from Idaho and Montana to weigh in on a proposed coal terminal in Longview, Washington. If approved, 16 coal trains would pass through communities in Idaho, Montana and Washington daily as they make their way to the terminal.

Cellphones could be giving you cancer
A new study from the U.S. National Toxicology Program has found that male rats exposed to large doses of radiation from cellphones developed brain and heart tumors. 

Rise of superbugs?
American military researchers have found the first ever patient infected with a bacteria that's resistant to an antibiotic often used on germs that resist all other drugs. Although the patient has recovered, the incident raises concerns about "superbugs," bacteria that can't be treated with antibiotics. 

Daiquiri Factory reopening
Remember the Daiquiri Factory? Well Jamie Pendleton, an embattled local businessman, is planning o reopening the establishment this summer. However, Spokane police have objected, noting the high volume of calls for service to the business. 

Obama appears at atomic bomb memorial
Barack Obama became the first sitting U.S. president to visit Hiroshima, one of two Japanese cities bombed with atomic weapons during WWII. In his remarks, Obama stopped short of apologizing for the bombing but called on the world to "choose a future when Hiroshima and Nagasaki are not considered the dawn of atomic warfare but as the start of our own moral awakening.”

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Thursday, May 26, 2016

Posted By on Thu, May 26, 2016 at 4:02 PM

Years after the case was declared inactive, Spokane County sheriff's deputies will make another push to investigate allegations that former Bowdish Middle School teacher Anthony Cucinotti raped a sixth-grade student, according to Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich. 

Cucinotti was a part of our cover story last week that tackled how area school districts sometimes fail to protect kids from sexually abusive teachers. The Central Valley School District fielded complaints about Cucinotti's behavior, which included anger outbursts and allegations of inappropriate relationships with girls, for a period of over 16 years.

Cucinotti resigned in 2009 amid a district investigation after Emily Keenan, one of his sixth-grade students, told a school counselor that Cucinotti snapped her bra in class. He moved to California, where he remains today.

Three years later, when Keenan was 14, she also reported that Cucinotti had raped her multiple times over the course of the 2008-09 school year. She would later say that when he snapped her bra that day in class, he whispered "I'm gonna do it again," in her ear. 

But law enforcement officials never interviewed Cucinotti about the rape allegations. Sheriff's deputies reached out to the Huntington Beach Police Department in California for help contacting Cucinotti, but law enforcement failed to contact him. Knezovich says the officers in California "could never get him to come to the door." With no physical evidence and no witnesses, the case was declared inactive in 2013. 

A civil lawsuit was filed in 2013 against Central Valley School District, alleging that the district failed to protect Keenan by downplaying previous complaints about Cucinotti's misconduct. Cucinotti was found by attorneys and deposed in 2014 as part of that case. Earlier this year, Central Valley settled the case and awarded Keenan $2.5 million. The money came from the district's insurance.

Knezovich says he told his sexual assault unit Thursday to once again actively investigate the allegations against Cucinotti. He says "if we get further information, we will pursue this case."

When asked if there was anything more the sheriff's office could have done to find and interview the alleged rapist years ago, Knezovich says: "Answer that question for me, honestly. I'm not trying to be flippant ... what we have is an unsubstantiated report of a crime. We can't find any corroborating evidence. There's no probable cause."

He stresses that the sheriff's office takes rape allegations seriously, but sometimes deputies must rely on other agencies to help out. He added that the sexual assault unit has not increased its number of detectives in decades due to a lack of resources. He says there has been no attempt to rectify the problem that, as the population and the case loads for the sexual assault unit has increased, the number of detectives has not. He says the volume of these types of cases is "crushing."

"It comes to the point where sooner or later somebody has to do something to give us some resources so we can serve the public in a way we would like to," he says.

Sgt. Aaron Myhre, the head of the Spokane County Sheriff's Office sexual assault unit, says his unit has taken 40 child abuse or sex crimes reports just this week. 

"And that's just since Monday. Over the weekends we get a lot more. I've got four guys, and those aren't all getting assigned to them," Myhre says. "It's kind of just triaging them as they come in, deciding which need to be worked right away."

The statute of limitations runs until a victim's 30th birthday. Keenan is 19. Myhre says it is more difficult to investigate rape cases if a suspect crosses jurisdictions, and it's even harder if there's a delay in reporting. 

"And that's not the fault of anybody. Sometimes victims don't feel comfortable disclosing stuff with anybody and they keep it inside and hide it and when they do disclose it, sometimes it's several years later. Some are 10 years later," Myhre says. "That makes investigations much more difficult when collecting evidence than it does if it was something that happened last night or three days. Those are challenges, but sometimes challenges we can work through." 

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Posted By on Thu, May 26, 2016 at 9:57 AM

This trip to Mars is making me hungry
NASA is confronting a rather significant but mundane problem as it plans for a trip to Mars: how to store food so that it lasts five years. Enter Washington State University researcher Shyam Sablani who is part of a team that received a $450,000 grant to create plastic packaging that better resists oxygen and water vapor. Glass and metal containers currently offer the best shelf life, but they don’t work with new microwave technology used to preserve food. The new plastic packaging could also be used by the military and for commercial purposes.

Animal Love
For the homeless, a pet offers companionship and security. But having a pet also means there’s another mouth to feed. For the last year, 7th grader Avery Plank has been offering free bags of pet food for pet-owners attending the Blessings Under the Bridge meal every Wednesday evening. Avery collects dog food from local donors, including Costco, URM, Country Store, North 40 and Natural Grocers. He repackages it into one gallon resealable bags of dog food and quart-size bags of cat food. Project Unconditional Love goes through as many as twelve, 40-gallon storage tubs of packaged food each week. Contribute pet food and other supplies at the donation barrel at the Country Store on Newport Highway or donate online.  

Lift a Pint for the Animal Kingdom
Spokane's Bellwether Brewing hosts a pint night today, May 26, from 3-9 pm, with $1 from every pint sold donated to the Higher Ground Animal Sanctuary. Higher Ground is an animal refuge in Green Bluff that offers a home to creatures large and small, ranging from horses and donkeys down to rabbits and birds. Their mission? To “rescue homeless animals or animals in need, offer a place of refuge to peacefully live out their lives, and share our work and their stories to create opportunities for Humane Education.” Cheers to that.

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Posted By on Thu, May 26, 2016 at 9:39 AM


• These three bike cops know downtown better than anyone

• Hey guys, Volume is coming. Check out our Q&A with headliner Shabazz Palaces.

• An LA school district also settled a pricey lawsuit for sexual misconduct by a teacher. (Context: last week's cover story explores how local districts fail to protect students from predatory teachers. You should read it.) 

• Actually, Spokane might not be one of the most dangerous cities in the country (unless you're a bike). 


• Kyle Odom, the former Marine who shot Coeur d'Alene Pastor Tim Remington in March will not face attempted murder charges. Prosecutors amended Odom's charges to aggravated battery, which carries the same maximum 15 year sentence in Idaho but has a lower standard of proof. (Spokesman-Review)

• A federal judge in Brooklyn understands how a felony conviction can cripple a person's status in society. Yesterday, Judge Frederic Block sentenced a woman to probation rather than jail time for a drug offense, basically saying the label "felon" is punishment enough. He pointed to the nearly 50,000 federal and state statutory penalties on felons outside of prison. 

• Trump is OFFICIALLY the GOP nominee; Inexplicably, Bernie and Trump will debate; Meanwhile Hillary's catching some flack from the State Department's inspector general for her use of a private email server

• U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced earlier this week that she will seek the death penalty for Dylann Roof, the white man who walked into an African American church in South Carolina and killed nine people as they worshiped. Here's writer and author Ta-Nehisi Coates on why Roof shouldn't face capital punishment

• Remember when Hulk Hogan (aka Terry Bollea) won $140 million from the gossip website Gawker 'cause they published a sex video of him? Well this week we learned that tech billionaire, Peter Thiel, picked up Hogan's legal bills to the tune of about $10 million. Thiel is a cofounder of PayPal and one of the earliest investors in Facebook. Gawker outed him as being gay nearly a decade ago. 

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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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