Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Washington AG proposes solutions to the state's skyrocketing opioid crisis

Posted By on Wed, Nov 22, 2017 at 11:02 AM

Opioids are killing people at a rate that is skyrocketing out of control — on average, two people per day in Washington state, according to a report released today by Attorney General Bob Ferguson's office.

  • Courtesy of the Attorney General's report "Reducing the Supply of Illegal Opioids in Washington State"

The report, released in concert with Washington State Patrol Chief John Batiste and Skagit County Prosecuting Attorney Rich Weyrich, lays out several policies to eradicate the drug's devastating impact.

The recommendations touch on public awareness, overprescribing by doctors, data collection, treatment and illegal sales.

Ferguson is also submitting three bills to the state legislature, one of which addresses the state's prescription-monitoring program that tracks when doctors prescribe drugs such as opioids.

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FCC threatens net neutrality, Trump cozies up to Roy Moore, morning headlines

Posted By on Wed, Nov 22, 2017 at 9:27 AM


With the intent of preventing teen suicide and the help of a generous donation, Daybreak Youth Services opens a new Spokane psychiatric evaluation and treatment center for girls under 18 in crisis.

The Apple Cup is Saturday in Seattle; we've got a Q&A with Cougars Hall of Famer Paul Sorensen, who weighs in on WSU's fast and aggressive defense.

NEWS: The Federal Communications Commission announced plans to dismantle landmark net neutrality regulations ensuring equal access to the internet. The proposal by FCC Chairman Ajit Pai would be a sweeping repeal of rules put in place by the Obama administration. (via New York Times)

NEWS: A security breach at the ride-hailing company Uber,  kept secret for the past year, put the personal data of more than 57 million people at risk. (via New York Times)


Trump nearly endorses Roy Moore
President Trump threw embattled Alabama GOP Senate candidate Roy Moore a lifeline yesterday, breaking with prominent D.C. Republicans who've said they believe several women accusing the 70-year-old Moore, a former Chief Justice of Alabama's Supreme Court, of pursuing sexual relations with teenagers when he was in his 30s.
Unlike their elders, the New Yorker says that Alabama's young Republicans are wrestling with the allegations against Roy Moore. (New Yorker)
Moore was banned from a Gadsden, Alabama, mall in the 1980s for aggressive behavior that included making sexual advances to underage girls, reports the New Yorker.
Beyond teenage girls: Every other terrible thing about Roy Moore. (New York Times)

Navy plane crashes off coast of Japan

A U.S. Navy C2-A Greyhound propeller cargo plane carrying 11 crew members and passengers crashed today southeast of Okinawa, Japan, the fifth accident this year for the Seventh Fleet, the Navy’s largest overseas fleet. Eight people were rescued; U.S. and Japanese naval forces are searching for the other three. (New York Times)

House Democrats move against Conyers
Democratic leadership moved swiftly against the House’s longest-serving member, calling for the Ethics Committee to investigate sexual harassment charges against 88-year-old Michigan Rep. John Conyers Jr., the Judiciary Committee's top Democrat. Conyers, first elected in 1964 from a Detroit district, confirmed settling a wrongful termination complaint from a staff member who had accused him of sexual harassment. (New York Times)
The unfolding Conyers scandal has jolted House Democrats. (Politico)

City council may extend "ban the box" policy

Monday night, Spokane's city council will consider an extension of the “ban the box” policy applying to private employers within city limits, after eliminating the question about prior criminal history from public employment applications in 2014. (Spokesman-Review)

Avista shareholders OK deal
Avist, founded 128 years as the Washington Water Power Company, announced that its shareholders have approved the Spokane-based utility company’s acquisition by the Ontario company Hydro One, a deal that would pay Avista $5.3 billion. (Spokane Public Radio)

Search continues for missing submarine
Ships and planes combed a wider area of the frigid South Atlantic in a fruitless hunt for signs of the ARA San Juan, a missing Argentine submarine with a crew of 44, adding to growing concerns about the sub not heard from in six days; it's believed to have only enough oxygen to last for seven days. (CBS News)
What we know about Argentina's missing submarine. (CNN)

Grows on the down low
Even in an age of legalization, marijuana grows deemed illegal by the state continue to proliferate in Washington; the latest numbers from the Washington State Patrol show that 89 illegal grow ops were shut down over the past year. (Spokane Public Radio)

RIP, David Cassidy
The actor/musician, best known for playing teen heartthrob Keith Partridge on the early-'70s music sitcom The Partridge Family, died at 67 of liver failure. (NPR)
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Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Aiming to prevent teen suicide, Daybreak opens new Spokane center for girls in crisis

Posted By on Tue, Nov 21, 2017 at 3:00 PM

Daybreak CEO Annette Klinefelter, right, hugging Bev Coplin on Tuesday at the opening of the new psychiatric evaluation and treatment center for girls under 18 in downtown Spokane. - WILSON CRISCIONE PHOTO
  • Wilson Criscione photo
  • Daybreak CEO Annette Klinefelter, right, hugging Bev Coplin on Tuesday at the opening of the new psychiatric evaluation and treatment center for girls under 18 in downtown Spokane.

More than two years ago, Terry and Bev Coplin saw something they'll never forget. They were the sole witnesses when a 31-year-old, the same age as their son, committed suicide in Colorado.

Ever since, the Coplins have dedicated themselves to preventing suicide. It's why they gave a generous donation to Daybreak Youth Services that allowed Daybreak to open a new 13-bed psychiatric evaluation and treatment center for girls under 18, which opened today.

"This is a happy day here," Bev Coplin tells the Inlander. "This is a wonderful thing that's happening. We really feel like out of that tragedy has come something that is very positive and beautiful."

Four of the 13 beds at Daybreak's just-opened evaluation and treatment center. - WILSON CRISCIONE PHOTO
  • Wilson Criscione photo
  • Four of the 13 beds at Daybreak's just-opened evaluation and treatment center.
The evaluation and treatment center has 13 beds for girls in psychiatric crisis, including suicide attempts or ideations, severe depression, psychosis, anxiety disorders, schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. It's located in the girls-only Daybreak inpatient residential treatment facility in downtown Spokane, at 628 S. Cowley St. Annette Klinefelter, Daybreak CEO, says the gift from the Coplins allowed Daybreak to transform a residential wing to an area accommodating the 13 beds for the evaluation and treatment center.

Nowhere else in Spokane, she says, is there a similar facility with a continuum of care that allows girls to enter the evaluation and treatment center and then, if need be, transition into the residential treatment center for substance abuse and mental health.

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Hawks lose a heartbreaker, Charlie Rose accused of sexual harassment, morning headlines

Posted By on Tue, Nov 21, 2017 at 9:26 AM


ARTS & CULTURE: Claudia Castro Luna of Seattle will succeed Spokane's Tod Marshall as Washington state poet laureate.


We saw this coming
After costly mistakes in the first half put them in an early deficit, the Seahawks stormed back thanks to Russell Wilson and had a chance to send the Monday Night Football game against the Atlanta Falcons into overtime. All kicker Blair Walsh had to do was make a 52-yard field goal. But Walsh missed the field goal, and the Hawks lost 34-31 in a heartbreaker. (Seattle Times)

It's about time
A woman has been named assistant fire chief in the Spokane Fire Department for the first time. Trisha Wolford will help Fire Chief Brian Schaeffer with planning, coordinating and administering the SPD's activities; she begins Dec. 27. (Spokesman-Review)

Explicit photo drive in Medical Lake
Detectives are investigating after finding out that a 17-year-old Medical Lake High School student had been charging others for access to a Google Drive account that contained nude pictures of girls ages 14 to 17, many of whom attended Medical Lake High School. No arrests have been made. (KXLY)

Him too
Charlie Rose, longtime TV hot for CBS and PBS and a correspondent for 60 Minutes, has been accused by eight women of making unwanted sexual advances, including lewd phone calls, walking around naked and groping them. (Washington Post)

Media elite
The U.S. Justice Department has sued to block AT&T, one of the nation's largest internet and telephone providers, from merging with Time Warner. The merger would create a media and telecommunications behemoth, but the Justice Department argues it would weaken competition. (New York Times)
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Monday, November 20, 2017

Charles Manson dead at 83, ongoing problems at Hanford, morning headlines

Posted By on Mon, Nov 20, 2017 at 9:51 AM


'Lemon Pepper Chicken'
We asked Mark Anderson, Spokane's new poet laureate, four questions.

Space Needle discovery
After decades, a long-forgotten time capsule has been discovered near the Space Needle's main elevators. (via New York Times)


Nuclear option at Hanford
The board charged with oversight of the Hanford radioactive waste cleanup is sounding the alarm on "design problems that risk explosive and radioactive releases," a new report shows. Some wonder if the board's report will have any impact, and whether the board itself will still exist under President Trump. (Seattle Times)

Charles Manson dies in prison
The serial murderer and leader of a cult "family," Charles Manson, is dead at 83: Remember his victims. (Los Angeles Times)

Walking while black in Florida
Five years of data for tickets issued to pedestrians in Florida reveal disproportionate impact on black people, especially those living in poor neighborhoods. (ProPublica, Florida Times-Union)
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Friday, November 17, 2017

Trump's selective outrage, Navy pilot draws a phallus in the sky, morning headlines

Posted By on Fri, Nov 17, 2017 at 9:21 AM


NEWS: A member of the Kettle Falls Five wants Congress to keep states' protection for medical marijuana.

NEWS: Days before regulators will decide whether to grant the final permit needed to begin construction on the controversial Keystone XL pipeline, a pipeline constructed by the same company spilled 210,000 gallons in South Dakota yesterday. (via New York Times)


Look up! No, don't...
A Navy pilot thought it would be funny to trace a penis in the sky with an aircraft's contrails above Okanogan County. The Naval Air Station in Whidbey Island is taking the matter very seriously, telling KREM that "we find this absolutely unacceptable, of zero training value and we are holding the crew accountable."

Choose your own outrage
Donald Trump, the president who has been accused by more than a dozen women of sexual harassment or misconduct and has bragged about sexually assaulting women, criticized Sen. Al Franken yesterday after allegations surfaced that the Minnesota Democrat forcibly kissed and groped a woman on a USO tour in 2006, two years before he was elected to the Senate.

Trump remains silent, however, on the allegations that Alabama Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore sexually assaulted several underage girls decades ago. (Associated Press)

Lake City HS student arrested
Following a string of threats at the school, a Lake City High School student was arrested yesterday for referencing a gun while verbally threatening another student. (CdA Press)

Tax reform
Republican members of the House passed a sweeping $1.5 trillion tax cut yesterday, despite objections from Democrats that it only benefits corporations and the rich at the expense of the middle class. The Senate is coming up with its own bill. (New York Times)
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Thursday, November 16, 2017

One of the Kettle Falls Five encourages Congress to keep states' protection for medical marijuana

Posted By on Thu, Nov 16, 2017 at 3:12 PM

Two members of the so-called Kettle Falls Five: Larry Harvey — who died in 2015 — and his wife, Rhonda Firestack-Harvey, on land where they once grew medical marijuana near Colville. - YOUNG KWAK PHOTO
  • Young Kwak photo
  • Two members of the so-called Kettle Falls Five: Larry Harvey — who died in 2015 — and his wife, Rhonda Firestack-Harvey, on land where they once grew medical marijuana near Colville.

This week Rhonda Firestack-Harvey is back in Washington, D.C., speaking to members of Congress about the budget bill that saved her family.

Firestack-Harvey is one member of a family which has become known as the Kettle Falls Five. They gained national attention in 2012 when federal agents raided their medical marijuana farm north of Colville. Despite the fact that the grow was in compliance with state medical marijuana law, three of the five were convicted in 2015.

One defendant, a family friend, took a plea deal before trial. Firestack-Harvey's husband, Larry, was dismissed from the case after he was diagnosed with cancer. Larry Harvey died in 2015, six months after the charges were dropped.

The three appealed their convictions, and have waited years while the case has lingered in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Late last month, U.S. Attorneys announced in a brief that "the Department of Justice has decided not to prosecute this case further."

The reason the feds were not allowed to spend money prosecuting the medical grow? A budget appropriations bill known as the Rohrabacher-Farr Amendment, which passed in 2014 after Harvey lobbied Congress.

The bill prohibits the federal government from spending money to block states from implementing legal medical marijuana laws, including criminal prosecutions. It has been renewed each year since 2014, but expires next month. It is unclear whether that section of the budget bill will be renewed for 2018.

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who has been vocal about his disdain for marijuana, earlier this year asked Congress to eliminate the bill.

"It's not over yet," Firestack-Harvey says in a phone interview from D.C. "This is about protecting everybody in the cannabis world."

From Wednesday through Friday, she says she'll be speaking with representatives to tell her story.
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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

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

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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