Thursday, November 16, 2017

New blood-pressure guidelines; human stem cells heal rats' spinal injuries

Posted By on Thu, Nov 16, 2017 at 12:53 PM

Get (that blood pressure) down!
Stark new recommendations about optimal blood pressure may have many reaching for a home monitor to see if they're at risk for complications like heart attack and stroke, in a story also reported on, via the New York Times.

Previously, blood pressure was considered high if it 
topped out over 140/90 mm  Hg, but that's no longer the case. Now people with blood-pressure readings of 130-139/80-89 mm Hg will be considered to have high blood pressure. The American Heart Association announced the new guidelines in a statement this week, noting the dangers of blood pressure higher than 130/80.

“We want to be straight with people — if you already have a doubling of risk, you need to know about it. It doesn’t mean you need medication, but it’s a yellow light that you need to be lowering your blood pressure, mainly with non-drug approaches," said the guideline's lead author.

Here are the new categories:
Normal: Less than 120 mm Hg for systolic and 80 mm Hg for diastolic.
Elevated: Between 120-129 for systolic, and less than 80 for diastolic.
Stage 1 hypertension: Between 130-139 for systolic or between 80-89 for diastolic.
Stage 2 hypertension: At least 140 for systolic or at least 90 mm Hg for diastolic.

Learn about how, and why, to lower your blood pressure from our InHealth archives:

Healing spinal-cord injury
Paraplegic rats regained the ability to walk and sensation was restored in their hindquarters after Israeli scientists implanted human stem cells along their severed spinal cords, according to research published this week. The stem cells were obtained from the mouths of human donors:

"Three weeks after introduction of the stem cells, 42 percent of the implanted paraplegic rats showed a markedly improved ability to support weight on their hind limbs and walk. 75 percent of the treated rats also responded to gross stimuli to the hind limbs and tail. In contrast, control paraplegic rats that did not receive stem cells showed no improved mobility or sensory responses," says the study's lead researcher.

Research is ongoing to determine why some rats didn't respond: "Although there is still some way to go before it can be applied in humans, this research gives hope."
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Pot vs. beer, Sen. Al Franken accused of sexual harassment, morning headlines

Posted By on Thu, Nov 16, 2017 at 9:47 AM


Painful epidemic
Deaths linked to opioids, including prescription painkillers, has become a nationwide epidemic. So why can't we fix it?

Get off the bus!
A disabled woman was taken off a bus and detained at Spokane's Greyhound station by U.S. Border Patrol agents. The woman admitted that she was undocumented, but local attorneys say the incident reflects more aggressive immigration enforcement under President Trump.

"It used to be that criminals were a priority, and now we're snatching disabled women off a bus after spending time with her daughters," says Coeur d'Alene immigration attorney Vanessa Nelsen.

Pot vs. beer
As states legalize cannabis, younger people are turning away from beer to take a few tokes instead. Even Anheuser-Busch's chief marketing director can see the writing on the wall, joining the advisory board for GreenRush Group, a tech startup aiming to become the Amazon of weed.


Franken accused of sexual harassment
Leeann Tweeden, formerly a model and sports commentator, now an on-air personality for L.A.  morning radio show,  accused Minnesota Democratic Sen. Al Franken of forcibly kissing and groping her while she was asleep on a USO tour in 2006 (there's photographic evidence). Tweeden wrote a personal account of both incidents. Franken says he remembers the incident differently, but issued an apology. (New York Times, KABC)

Pricey painting
A long-lost Leonardo da Vinci painting of Jesus Christ commissioned by King Louis XII of France was sold at auction for more $450 million — smashing the previous world record for auctioned artwork. (The Guardian)

Honoring Achebe
Chinua Achebe would have been 87 today; Google honored the famed Nigerian storyteller with a Doodle. Achebe is considered the father of modern African literature. His first novel, 1958's Things Fall Apart, explores the clash between Western colonialism and traditional African society.

"The world has no end, and what is good among one people is an abomination with others," Achebe wrote. (Brain Pickings, The Independent)
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Wednesday, November 15, 2017

FILM: What's hitting movie theaters this Friday

Posted By on Wed, Nov 15, 2017 at 1:52 PM

Justice League
  • Justice League

As Oscar season heats up, expect some serious award contenders to start gradually making their way onto Spokane screens in the next few months (we're always a bit behind, movie-wise). The Florida Project is this week's notable critical darling, a festival hit that's been attracting buzz since premiering at Cannes. Oh, and don't forget about that scrappy little indie production Justice League; hopefully it finds an audience.

Here's what's opening this week.

Opening at the Magic Lantern is this vivid snapshot of life in a run-down motel in Orlando, shot on location with a cast of mostly non-actors. Structured as a series of vignettes, our critic Seth Sommerfeld calls it a winsome, bittersweet look at a childhood in poverty. From the director of 2015's acclaimed Tangerine. Rated R.

The latest DC blockbuster from Zack Snyder reunites Batman and Wonder Woman, then teams them up with Aquaman, the Flash and Cyborg to take down world-destroying supervillain Steppenwolf. That the movie runs just shy of two hours will likely be its only form of restraint. Rated PG-13.

This cheap-looking animated film finally answers the question no one has ever asked: What were the animals like at the Nativity? The huge voice cast includes Oprah Winfrey, Mariah Carey and Christopher Plummer. Rated PG.

WONDER (2 stars)
A little boy with facial deformities (Jacob Tremblay of Room) is sent off to public school for the first time, with his encouraging parents (Julia Roberts and Owen Wilson) looking on. Critic MaryAnn Johanson says this adaptation of R.J. Palacio’s bestselling YA novel has sweetness to spare, but it all but bashes you over the head with its messages. Rated PG.
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Come on down! Whitworth senior appears on The Price is Right

Posted By on Wed, Nov 15, 2017 at 12:29 PM

Danny Butler, a senior at Whitworth University, is taking the nondisclosure agreement he signed with The Price Is Right seriously, but his zeal for being on the show is apparent.

A self-proclaimed "superfan" of the long-
Whitworth University senior Danny Butler is at far right.
  • Whitworth University senior Danny Butler is at far right.
running CBS game show (it launched in 1956, running on NBC, then ABC, through 1965, then came back in its current form on CBS in September 1972) — he gave up his eighth birthday party to watch the first Million-Dollar Showcase Showdown back in 2004 — this is the second time Butler has attended a taping and his first time as a contestant in the hot seat.  We spoke briefly over the phone prior to the airing of the show, recounting the process of the day's taping and how he was chosen to be a contestant.

Danny tells me he was homeschooled and would watch the show during a morning break, between 10 and 11, as a kid. En route to California on a family vacation in 2016, Danny managed to get tickets for a taping of the show, telling this family once he arrived in the state. Everyone agreed, and a Tuesday morning void of an itinerary was filled. Danny's sister Bailee would end up as a contestant on this show, winning an Alaskan getaway but eventually losing the Showcase Showdown finale.

On his most recent trip to The Price is Right stage, Danny and his family showed up at 7:30 am, along with a throng of about 300 other people.

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5 dead in NoCal shooting rampage, coup in Zimbabwe, morning headlines

Posted By on Wed, Nov 15, 2017 at 9:19 AM


Today marks the start of Spokane's snow season; get your RVs and boat trailers off the streets, and park your cars on the odd side.

FOR FUN: Hello, winter! Mt. Spokane Ski & Snowboard Park opens on Friday.


"Bizarre, murderous rampage" in Northern California
Five people are dead, including the gunman, and 10 others wounded in Tehama County, 115 miles north of Sacramento, in the nation's latest mass shooting. The barrage of gunfire lasted 45 minutes yesterday morning, covering several locations including an elementary school which the gunman tried but failed to enter, where two children were shot. The 43-year-old gunman had been out on bail after being charged with assault with a deadly weapon, and was involved in a domestic violence incident Monday night requiring a police response. (San Francisco Chronicle, Red Bluff Daily News)
Video: "We have a total of seven shooting scenes." Where the Rancho Tehama shootings took place. (Sacramento Bee)
President Trump tweeted his condolences to last week's shooting victims in south Texas, not yesterday's shooting victims in Northern California. (CBS News)

"I had no recollection ... I'm not aware"
An unsteady Attorney General Jeff Sessions endured lengthy questioning by the House Judiciary Committee, taking friendly fire from Republicans as well as stinging rebukes from Democrats. Sessions was unable to recall any Russian influence on Donald Trump's campaign, except when claiming that he acted to block that influence. (New York Times)
Four key takeaways from Sessions' congressional hearing. (Washington Post)
Could Trump fire Sessions and Robert Mueller and still retain GOP support? (The Hill )

"Obviously I've made a few people mad"
Roy Moore angrily denied multiple allegation of sexual misconduct.
  • Roy Moore angrily denied multiple allegation of sexual misconduct.

Embattled Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore addressed the God Save America Revival conference at the Walker Springs Baptist Church in Jackson, Alabama, angrily denying allegations of sexual misconduct after a fifth female accuser came forward, with lurid details of Moore forcing himself upon her 40 years ago. She was a 16-year-old waitress at the time; he was district attorney of Etowah County, Alabama. (CBS News)
Mitch McConnell turns to Trump after defiant Moore refuses to quit. (Los Angeles Times)
The Republican effort to oust Moore is falling on deaf ears in Alabama. (Chicago Tribune)
Arizona GOP Sen. Jeff Flake: "I would run to the polling place" to vote for Moore's Democratic opponent, Doug Jones. (TIME)
How Moore could help Trump dispense with his current nemesis. (Washington Post)

Military coup in Zimbabwe

Tanks and military vehicles are on the streets in the southern African country of Zimbabwe, and the military has taken custody of Robert Mugabe, president for the past 30 years and prime minister for the previous seven; the 93-year-old is the only leader the country of 16 million, formerly known as Rhodesia, has known since declaring independence in 1980. (New York Times)

Eagles soar at Stanford
Eastern Washington's men's basketball team defeated a Pac-12 opponent for the first time in nearly 15 years — when the conference was the Pac-10 — last night in Palo Alto, California. Senior Bogdan Bliznyuk scored 23 points as the Eagles, who hit 11 of 25 shots from three-point range, beat Stanford 67-61. (Spokesman-Review)

Bruins trio returns to L.A. from China
Three freshman basketball players from UCLA arrived back in Los Angeles last night, one week after being arrested in China on shoplifting charges. The trio, including LiAngelo Ball, younger brother of Lakers rookie Lonzo Ball, had been held under house arrest in Hangzhou; their teammates left the country one day after playing their season-opening game Friday 110 miles away in Shanghai. (Los Angeles Times)
Trump scolds LiAngelo Ball: "Are you going to thank me?" (San Jose Mercury News)
The UCLA trio should be suspended for the season, writes the L.A. Times' Bill Plaschke.

Proposed Newport smelter draws praise, criticism

A silicon smelter a Canadian company seeks to build in Newport could bring 150 jobs to the economically depressed city in Pend Oreille County, but some question the project's "high-paying" jobs and are concerned about its environmental impact. (Spokane Public Radio)

His silence speaks volumes
One person has had nothing to say about Colin Kaepernick being named "Citizen of the Year" by GQ magazine: the former NFL quarterback himself. (San Francisco Chronicle)
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Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Hello, winter! Mt. Spokane Ski & Snowboard Park opening Friday

Posted By on Tue, Nov 14, 2017 at 4:38 PM

If your equipment isn't tuned and ready, you're already falling behind.
  • If your equipment isn't tuned and ready, you're already falling behind.

Another day, another announcement of an early-season opening at one of our local ski spots.

And there was much rejoicing.

Mt. Spokane Ski & Snowboard Park sent out word that they will open this Friday, Nov. 17, with discounted tickets due to the limited terrain and early season conditions. For $30 for adults and $25 for kids, you can make turns from lifts 2, 3 and 5.

"Coverage is excellent on the groomed runs!" the statement says. "Early season conditions do exist. 10 runs will be open and groomed, and the Terrain Park Crew is hammering down to get a bunch of features built."

You can check out the Mt. Spokane webcam to see the conditions for yourself here.

Maybe that big winter that's been rumored for the Inland Northwest is coming to fruition. Between hitting the slopes, give our latest Snowlander issue a read, on stands now and featuring information on no less than 48 Northwest resorts waiting for you.

And, of course, don't forget the Inlander Winter Party this weekend (Friday, 4 to 9 pm; Saturday, 10 am to 7 pm) where you can get some sweet deals, including free passes, from various ski shops and resorts.
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Get your RVs and boat trailers off the street today, Spokane

And park your cars on the odd side of the street, people

Posted By on Tue, Nov 14, 2017 at 4:33 PM

It's okay to park your RV on the top of a mountain — just not on the streets within the city limits. - ANGELA PONTAROLO PHOTO
  • Angela Pontarolo photo
  • It's okay to park your RV on the top of a mountain — just not on the streets within the city limits.

Today, Nov. 15, is the start of Spokane's snow season and the beginning of the city's glorious new snow plan.

So what does that mean for you? Your boat trailers and RVs need to be off the street entirely.

"They’re going to have to find a storage location," says city spokeswoman Marlene Feist. "If that’s on Grandpa’s 10 acres outside of town, great. If it’s in a covered facility or a facility  that allows vehicle storage outside in or if there’s room in your garage, great."

The city has been hinting at this for a while, dropping off little friendly reminder "bookmarks" on trailers and RVs parked on the street for the last few weeks. Some neighborhood councils have also been spreading the word.

So are you going to get pounced on right away if you're lazy and forget to move them? Probably not.

Feist says that RV scofflaws will likely not be punished immediately. The city's Code Enforcement department will follow up with additional notices.

But eventually?

"We have the option to tow if people don’t comply," Feist says.

And for the rest of you, remember: You're only supposed to park on the odd side of the street. Don't know if you're on the odd or even side? Walk outside, and look at the numbers in front of your house. If it ends in a 1, 3, 5, 7, or 9, then you're in luck.

Feist stresses that Code Enforcement isn't planning on cracking down with an iron fist or anything.

"We’ve asked them to make it a habit to park on the odd side of the street," Feist says. "Use common sense where it makes sense to do so. It’s most critical when it’s a snow day."

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Sessions grilled on Russia, sentence in CdA pastor's shooting, morning headlines

Posted By on Tue, Nov 14, 2017 at 9:10 AM


NEWS: You already knew that Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson likes suing the Trump Administration. Now, thanks to our running tally, you get to know exactly how many times he's sued Trump — it's up to 17.

SPORTS: Gonzaga's formula for success on the court has much more to do with player development than one-and-dones.


Higgins survives in the Valley
Rod Higgins, chosen to be mayor by his fellow Spokane Valley city councilmembers, survived a tough election, narrowly edging challenger Chris Jackson in the latest count. (Spokesman-Review)

Son accused of murdering father
What apparently started as some sort of family dispute north of Spokane ended with a 35-year-old man, Matthew Bossard, murdering his father, Robert, and leaving his body in the bathtub, according to police. (Spokesman-Review)

Justice served

Kyle Odom was sentenced to 25 years in prison yesterday, a year and a half after he wrote a manifesto about an alien conspiracy to enslave the human race, then shot a Coeur d'Alene pastor who he suspected was part of it before fleeing to Washington, D.C., where he was arrested throwing items over the White House fence. (KXLY)

Sessions' spotty memory
Attorney General Jeff Sessions: Selective memory in House testimony.
  • Attorney General Jeff Sessions:
    Selective memory in House testimony.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions is being grilled by the House Judiciary Committee about his contacts with Russians during the 2016 election, and he's having a hard time remembering things that might incriminate him. As the New York Times puts it: "Mr. Sessions said he could not remember much about Russian influence on the Trump campaign, except when he could block such influence."

Wikileaks messages leaked

As his dad underwent his presidential campaign, Donald Trump Jr. was secretly messaged several times on Twitter by WikiLeaks, which solicited Trump Jr.'s cooperation on a series of requests, some of which Trump Jr. followed through on. (The Atlantic)
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Monday, November 13, 2017

THE FUZZ: Headshot leads to policy change discussion, Freeman High thief pleads guilty

Posted By on Mon, Nov 13, 2017 at 2:28 PM


Welcome to The Fuzz, featuring a rundown of law enforcement-related news from Eastern Washington, North Idaho and elsewhere throughout the Pacific Northwest.

This week: a conversation about use of force reform, murder charges in domestic violence-related death, a backlog of heroin tests in Idaho, and one Freeman High thief pleaded guilty.

1. Spokane police ombudsman and police chief to re-evaluate use of force policy

Police ombudsman Bart Logue and SPD Chief Craig Meidl announced last week that they intend to consider changes to the department's use of force policy.

One fatal shooting in particular has lingered in the back of Logue's mind. In April 2016, officers fixed their guns on a man outside the House of Charity shelter. The man held a knife to his chest and pleaded with officers to kill him.

The man was killed by police gunfire, and the officers were cleared of criminal charges and internal policy violations. But during internal reviews, one officer, who fired a rifle, told investigators that he aimed for the man's head.

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MONDAY MORNING PLACEKICKER: WSU now in control, Eags surprise on the road

Posted By on Mon, Nov 13, 2017 at 11:42 AM

Luke Falk set the Pac-12 career record for touchdown passes; he currently has 118 TDs in his four years as a Coug. - WSU ATHLETICS
  • WSU Athletics
  • Luke Falk set the Pac-12 career record for touchdown passes; he currently has 118 TDs in his four years as a Coug.

Thanks to some stellar D in Salt Lake City and another horrid road trip for UW, Washington State took control of the Pac-12 North over the weekend, while Eastern Washington and Whitworth both won as well. Let's break down the weekend's football action:


With Luke Falk setting the Pac-12's all-time record for touchdown passes and the Cougar defense forcing seven turnovers, Washington State cruised to a win at Utah on Saturday in a game that wasn't really as close as the final 33-25 score.

Falk will get the headlines for setting the record in his home state — he threw for 311 yards and three touchdowns — but the real story of the game was defensive tackle Hercules Mata'afa. He was seemingly everywhere in the Utah backfield, tallying three sacks and countless disruptions.

Continue reading »

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