Sunday, December 31, 2017

Posted By on Sun, Dec 31, 2017 at 10:38 AM

click to enlarge Harold Balazs died Saturday night at age 89. - YOUNG KWAK
Young Kwak
Harold Balazs died Saturday night at age 89.

Over more than seven decades, Harold Balazs produced an uncounted number of private artworks — drawings, prints, enamel panels and jewelry, sculpture and assemblages — and hundreds of public works throughout Washington, Alaska, Oregon, California, Montana and Idaho, as well as a piece in Westlake, Ohio, where he was born. Locally, his public work includes the Rotary Fountain at the entrance of Riverfront Park and a piece known as the "Lantern" outside of the INB Performing Arts Center.

“[Harold’s] legacy is spread all over town and what he’s left behind, in all the churches and residences and commercial buildings,” says fellow artist and longtime friend, Steve Adams, in Planned Chaos, the first episode of Spokane Arts’ recently released the “Meet the Makers” video series. “To call him a Renaissance man doesn’t even cover it; he’s so multi-talented in so many different ways and works in so many different materials.”

Balazs died Saturday night at age 89, although a final exhibition, I Did It My Way, is set to open on Jan. 12 at The Art Spirit Gallery in Coeur d'Alene. It will mark the end of long and remarkable career of an artist whose legacy looms large over the region.

“Everyone calls [Harold] 'a force of nature,' and of course he really was and his influence just is multi-generational,” says Tom Kundig, whose father, Moritz Kundig, met Balazs in the ‘50s while skiing. The senior Kundig, an architect and designer of the Unitarian Church and Spokane Civic Theater, was part of a cadre of Modernists who helped define Spokane’s cityscape; Balazs fell right in with them.

“Harold is the most generous guy I know,” says longtime friend and fellow artist Mel McCuddin, who met Balazs met in the mid-'50s at the Corbin Art Center. McCuddin’s earliest impression of Balazs was of how devoted he was to making a living with his art, especially his enamel jewelry and other items he sold through the former furnishings store, Joel. He sometimes wondered if Balazs might have had an easier time living elsewhere.

“He felt about New York like I do; you could get swallowed up by it,” says McCuddin, who was 80 when he and 85-year-old Harold exhibited together at The Art Spirit Gallery.

It was an honor to know him, adds McCuddin. “He’s going to leave a big hole when he’s gone.”

Pick up next week's Inlander for a larger tribute to Balazs' long, distinguished life and career.

Tags: ,

Friday, December 29, 2017

It's a terrible time to be a duck or a cougar

Posted By on Fri, Dec 29, 2017 at 9:45 AM

click to enlarge A Riverfront Park duck cries for justice for his Aberdeen brothers - DANIEL WALTERS PHOTO
Daniel Walters photo
A Riverfront Park duck cries for justice for his Aberdeen brothers

Duck, duck, duck, duck, duck,  duck, duck, duck, duck, duck,  duck, duck, duck, duck, duck,  duck, duck, duck, duck, duck, duck, duck, duck, duck, duck, duck, duck, duck, goose
Who put 28 ducks in garbage bags near Aberdeen, Washington? The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife wants to know. (Spokesman-Review)

What a $4 million coaching salary gets you
WSU's Holiday Bowl ends with a humiliating loss to Michigan State, 42 to 17. (Spokesman-Review)

Missed calls

Extremely rural Shoshone county lost 911 service when its power went out. (KREM)

Trickling down
The INB regional bank is offering Christmas bonuses thanks to the GOP's massive corporate tax cut. (KXLY)

Nobody respects a leader who's accountable to the law
In an interview with the New York Times, Trump laments that the investigation into his possible collusion with Russia is making the United States look "very bad." (New York Times)

Problems with the subway
Former Seattle Times reporter Brian Rosenthal continues his incredible work showing the corruption, mismanagement and underinvestments that have made the New York subways such a disaster. (New York Times)

Problems with the Subway
The $5 footlong is such an amazing deal, it may hurt a lot of Subway franchisees. (Washington Post)

Dave's world
Dave Barry is here with his annual year in review to make us all feel better about 2017, the year we will remember most for being absolutely amazing for Taylor Swift.

Tags: , ,

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Posted By on Thu, Dec 28, 2017 at 9:42 AM


NEWS: After losing her son in the Freeman High School shooting — and her husband months before that — Ami Strahan searches for strength to move on.

NEWS: A partnership between the city and Spokane Public Schools could bring major changes to Spokane.

NEWS: The new Ice Ribbon in Riverfront Park is a hit — it's already brought in more gross revenue than the city got for the Ice Palace in all of 2016.

FILM: Plenty of movies were good this year, but many other movies were not. Here's a list of the worst.


Roy meets world
Roy Moore, the former Republican candidate for an Alabama Senate seat who faced allegations of child molestation, refuses to believe he lost the election to Doug Jones. He's filed a legal complaint alleging "election-fraud," because he says it's unlikely Democrats could turn out the way they did, even though rumors of fraud have been investigated and debunked. (Washington Post)

Bombing in Afghanistan
ISIS has claimed responsibility for a bombing attack that killed 41 people in a Shiite cultural center in Kabul. (New York Times)

Snow on the way
Meteorologists expect four to six inches of snow to fall across Spokane and into the Idaho Panhandle today. (KREM)

Plow responsibility
Spokane County is warning people that they should never plow county roads. Spokane Valley meanwhile, may fine you if you don't keep your sidewalk clear of snow. (KXLY)

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Posted By on Wed, Dec 27, 2017 at 3:43 PM

As I compile my upcoming list of the year’s best films, I’m realizing there was actually a lot to like in the towering inferno that was 2017.

But there was also plenty to hate, and just to get these experiences out of my system, here are a handful of the dumbest, lamest, most torturous watches of the last 12 months.

The R-Rated Comedy

With the exception of the very funny Girls Trip, which was a sleeper hit this summer, every crude, raunchy, adults-only comedy of 2017 was dire. Dreary. Lame. ABYSMAL.

The absolute worst of the bunch — not just of this category, but of all movies — was CHiPs, a toxic adaptation of the ’70s cop show. Its screenplay is credited to director/star Dax Shepard, but it could just as easily have been written by a 15-year-old boy who learned the few things he knows about swearing and sex from a 4chan board. It possesses not a single redeeming virtue.

More horrible R-rated comedies:
Baywatch, another bottom-of-the-barrel TV adaptation that couldn’t even figure out what was funny about the old show in the first place.
Fist Fight, a zero-joke, role-reversed take on Three O’Clock High, with Charlie Day and Ice Cube at their most annoying.
The House, a Will Ferrell-Amy Poehler vehicle so sloppy and haphazard that I’m not convinced it was ever finished (and don't let Chance the Rapper convince you otherwise).
Rough Night, one of the laziest, most sluggish comedies ever made about drugs, corpses, swingers and mobsters.
Snatched, which brought Goldie Hawn back to the screen and saddled her with lame slapstick.
(And while I didn’t see the currently-playing Father Figures, starring Owen Wilson and Ed Helms, I’ll assume it belongs here, too.)

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Posted By on Wed, Dec 27, 2017 at 2:48 PM

click to enlarge The sheer number of ice-ribbon skaters has made it challenging to turn around skates quickly enough - DANIEL WALTERS PHOTO
Daniel Walters photo
The sheer number of ice-ribbon skaters has made it challenging to turn around skates quickly enough

For now, at least, there's no question that Riverfront Park's new Ice Ribbon is a much more successful ice-skating facility than the old Ice Palace under the Pavilion.

"In the first 17 days, we’ve already surpassed the gross revenue for the Ice Palace in 2016," says Riverfront Park Director Jon Moog. In that time, he says, ticket sales, season pass sales, and skate rentals brought in $239,920.

That's over double the $112,000 in gross revenue raised from ticket sales, season passes and rentals from the Ice Palace last year. Even if you include Ice Palace facility rentals in that number, that only brings the 2016 total to $238,436.

Yes, the comparisons aren't certain, Moog stresses, noting he's not quite sure if the 2016 revenue figures had already subtracted taxes from the totals.

But other numbers for success are clear: In all of 2016, Moog says, the Ice Palace sold only 163 season passes. This year, partly because the season pass costs were lowered from $53 to $30, they've sold 806 in just the first few weeks the Ice Ribbon has been operating.

In all of 2016, the Ice Palace had around 26,000 paid admissions. With more than 21,000 paid admissions this season, the Ice Ribbon is rapidly closing in on that figure, too.

Wild success, of course, has created its own set of challenges.

"We have in our inventory about 860 pairs of skates," Moog says. "That’s not enough to keep up with demand."

Partly, it's been more a matter of demographics. So far, he says, there has a higher-than-expected percentage of adults, who generally have larger feet than children.

Tags: , , ,

Posted By on Wed, Dec 27, 2017 at 10:00 AM

Spokane is seeking donated items to give to people experiencing homelessness as officials conduct this year's point-in-time count.
Spokane is seeking donated items to give to people experiencing homelessness as officials conduct this year's point-in-time count.

Leading up to the city's annual point-in-time count, Spokane is asking for donated items that can be handed out to people experiencing homelessness as they are contacted for the count.

The point-in-time count is intended to capture a snapshot of the scope of homelessness on a single day and gather data that can help the city and service agencies know where to focus their efforts. 

In late January the city will send out people to count and talk to people living in shelters, on the streets, and in other situations because they don't have homes. While they do so, the city wants workers to be able to hand out needed items to those they encounter, and that's where the city is asking for your help.

Here's what they hope you'll donate to the Everybody Counts drive before Jan. 22:

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Posted By on Wed, Dec 27, 2017 at 9:56 AM


Aim high
Spokane leaders are ready to pitch Boeing on the idea of building a new plane right here in Eastern Washington.

Panic time?
Gonzaga looked great early this season, but the men's basketball team has had some bumps of late as it preps for conference play. Is the team in trouble?


Mmm, donuts
A long-time bank in downtown Spokane could be the region's first "food hall," joining a national trend of cramming a bunch of tasty spots under one roof. (Spokesman-Review)

Harsh reaction
Spokane police arrested a suspect in a recent South Hill murder; it was possibly motivated by a threat of eviction on the suspect's father. (KXLY/Spokesman-Review)

Siri, how are my bowels?
Big Tech is becoming an ever-more-present part of healthcare in America, for good or ill. (New York Times)

Last meals?
Prison food doesn't have a great reputation to start with. Now a study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicates the food is actually making inmates sick. (The Atlantic).

Tags: ,

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Posted By on Tue, Dec 26, 2017 at 2:17 PM

Spokane hopes to bring Boeing to the region to manufacture a new midsize airplane - YOUNG KWAK
Young Kwak
Spokane hopes to bring Boeing to the region to manufacture a new midsize airplane

Months after county, the city and the airport teamed up to form a group that will attract development to the West Plains, local leaders say they have their eyes on their target: Boeing.

The West Plains PDA and Greater Spokane Incorporated will recruit Boeing to the Spokane region for the design, production and assembly of a new midsize airplane, called the "NMA" airplane. The groups will create a task force aimed at attracting the new plane and a major economic opportunity.

Larry Krauter, CEO of Spokane International Airport and Chairman of the PDA board, tells the Inlander it would be a "tremendous" shift in the regional economy if Boeing were to choose West Plains.

"We'd be looking at direct job creation of hundreds of jobs, if not more, and of course the multiplier impact of those jobs throughout the supply chain and the potential to attract additional businesses," Krauter says.

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Posted By on Tue, Dec 26, 2017 at 10:23 AM

click to enlarge The Kennel kids have had reason for consternation in recent games. - LIBBY KAMROWSKI
Libby Kamrowski
The Kennel kids have had reason for consternation in recent games.

The Zags were unbelievably good last season. Lately, though, they’ve looked underwhelming. Are the wheels falling off, or are fans under the spell of some serious recency bias?

If you see the glass as being half full, you’ll take a 2-1 record that includes a 30-point blowout and a narrow two-point loss to a good San Diego State team inside one of college basketball’s toughest road venues. But after the Zags’ most recent three games, many fans are seeing the glass as half empty. Their focus is on how the Zags played three sloppy games in a row, all against inferior competition, and needed overtime at home to survive against a bad North Dakota team.

Both viewpoints are accurate. A 72-70 loss at Viejas Arena, against an Aztecs team likely to make the NCAA Tournament, isn’t going to hurt the Zags much on Selection Sunday. And while the play was sloppy, Gonzaga was in it until the end. But then again, they lost when they should’ve won. And North Dakota had no business hanging with the Zags, yet the Fighting Hawks nearly pulled off an upset that would’ve been highly detrimental to Gonzaga’s NCAA Tournament resume.

So, what can we make of all this? Where do the Zags stand at the end of the non-conference portion of the season? It’s too soon to panic, but past time to throw away any rose-colored glasses. Maybe the best thing to do is take a look back at history.

Last season Gonzaga navigated non-conference play with a 12-0 record. This year’s Zags are clearly not as good as last year’s. Nobody expected they would be. So what’s the problem?

Gonzaga has made 19 consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances, and in eight of those seasons the Zags have entered West Coast Conference play with more than three losses. In six of those eight seasons they’ve won at least one NCAA Tournament game. Three of those seasons came to and end in the Sweet 16. Back in 1999, when the Zags dropped four games before conference play, they advanced to the Elite Eight.

Tags: , , , , ,

Posted By on Tue, Dec 26, 2017 at 9:30 AM

click to enlarge Cirque Dreams Holidaze swings through the INB Wednesday and Thursday.
Cirque Dreams Holidaze swings through the INB Wednesday and Thursday.

You did it! You survived another Christmas, and you hopefully have a few days off to goof around with friends and family before the new year arrives. Here are some highlights from our event listings and Staff Picks for the week ahead:

Tuesday, Dec. 26

COMMUNITY | Go check out the life-size gingerbread house at Hotel RL before it goes away. We wrote a story about thing, and it's pretty amazing.

Wednesday, Dec. 27

THEATER | Extend your Christmas fun a bit with the incredible aerial artistry on display with Cirque Dreams Holidaze, tonight and Thursday at the INB.

Tags: , ,

American Inheritance: Unpacking World War II @ Northwest Museum of Arts & Culture

Tuesdays-Sundays, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Continues through May 23
  • or