Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Update: Washington bills banning firefighting foam chemicals could be first in nation

Posted By on Tue, Feb 13, 2018 at 9:40 AM

Residents near Fairchild have had to drink bottled water since the chemicals PFOA and PFOS were found in high concentrations in their wells. - YOUNG KWAK PHOTO
  • Young Kwak photo
  • Residents near Fairchild have had to drink bottled water since the chemicals PFOA and PFOS were found in high concentrations in their wells.

Earlier this year, we told you about two bills that would restrict or ban chemicals in the same family as those that have contaminated water near Fairchild Air Force Base.

The bills, which would restrict per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, commonly referred to as PFAS, in firefighting foam and food packaging, have changed slightly on their way through the process.

But both have already passed through their first chamber, and if approved by the other, they'd be the first bans of their kind in the country, says Ivy Sager-Rosenthal, communications director for Toxic-Free Future.

The food-packaging bill, HB 2658, would require a study of alternate materials that can be used for paper food wrappers and containers that need to be grease- or water-resistant, to be completed by 2020. A ban on the chemicals in food packaging could start in 2022. It passed the House 56-41, with one excused.

The second bill, SB 6413, would require companies to disclose if the chemicals are in equipment sold to firefighters starting in July 2018, and restrict the manufacture, sale and distribution of firefighting foam containing the materials starting in July 2020, except in places where federal law requires it, such as at airports. The engrossed substitute bill passed the Senate 39-8, with two excused. It's scheduled for a hearing in the House Committee on the Environment Thursday morning.
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Russia likely to meddle again, Chloe Kim wins Olympic gold, and morning headlines

Posted By on Tue, Feb 13, 2018 at 9:25 AM


SPORTS: In the Zags' revenge game against Saint Mary's, they showed their March potential.

NEWS: Native American women go missing at shocking rates; these women want to change that.


Whose side are you on?
With immigration pressing in Congress, Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers and her Democratic challenger Lisa Brown are — surprise! — split on the issue. McMorris Rodgers agrees with President Donald Trump in many cases, and Brown, well, does not. (Spokesman-Review)

Detective gets a DUI
A detective with the Spokane Police Department is on administrative leave after he was arrested for a DUI. He was hired by the Spokane Police Department in 1992. (KXLY)

Leaving no doubt
U.S. Olympic snowboarder Chloe Kim already had the gold medal for the halfpipe in hand, then she beat her previous score anyway. (The Guardian)

War on democracy
Russia believes it succeeded in weakening American faith in democracy by meddling in the 2016 presidential election, intelligence chiefs say, so it's going to do it again in 2018. (New York Times)
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Monday, February 12, 2018

Alexie wins Carnegie, bitcoin is Washington's new-age gold rush, and morning headlines

Posted By on Mon, Feb 12, 2018 at 10:00 AM


Weakening science in Idaho, again
Lawmakers in Idaho really don't want to require curriculum in the state to touch on climate change as impacted by human activity, and at least one doesn't mind if students decide the Earth is flat.

Time's Up Spokane
Late last week, Spokane community leaders talked about what limits exist in the current criminal justice system for survivors of sexual assault, and answered questions from concerned attendees, several of whom shared their personal experiences.


Arrests and pepper spray at UW Patriot Prayer rally
Protestors clashed with speakers and attendees at a Patriot Prayer rally on University of Washington's campus this weekend, which resulted in arrests and pepper spray being used (one Stranger reporter continued to live stream after getting sprayed). (The Stranger)

You don't have to say
On Sunday, Sherman Alexie won a Carnegie Medal for literary excellence for his memoir, "You don't have to say you love me." (Spokesman-Review)

71 dead in Russia plane crash
It's still not clear what caused an airliner leaving Moscow, Russia, on Sunday to crash just minutes later, killing everyone on board. (BBC) 

A new gold rush
Washington state is a popular place for new bitcoin miners, who need cheap electricity, and lots of it. (Wall Street Journal)
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Friday, February 9, 2018

Spokane leaders talk Time's Up, resources for sexual assault survivors

Posted By on Fri, Feb 9, 2018 at 4:42 PM

Dozens of people gathered at the Northeast Community Center Thursday night, Feb. 8, to hear from Spokane leaders and talk about what can be done to help survivors of sexual assault and harassment. - SAMANTHA WOHLFEIL PHOTO
  • Samantha Wohlfeil photo
  • Dozens of people gathered at the Northeast Community Center Thursday night, Feb. 8, to hear from Spokane leaders and talk about what can be done to help survivors of sexual assault and harassment.

Start by believing people.

Over and over, a panel of experts who work with victims of sex crimes and sexual harassment told a crowd gathered at the Northeast Community Center that the first and best thing the community can do to help victims of sex crimes and sexual harassment is to start by believing people who say they've been hurt.

Among those who spoke were sexual assault victim advocates, survivors, a judge, the sheriff, special victims detectives and prosecutors, medical and legal professionals, and others whose work touches on the topic.

"I think we have done a really poor job as a society of how we react when we first hear a report of sexual assault," says Sgt. Mike McNab, supervisor of Spokane Police Department's Special Victims Unit. "We always react with doubt, skepticism, and I think this reaction has come from the stereotype that’s false, that I refer to as the 'real rape.'"

That's the stereotype where a "boogie man" jumps out of the bushes, attacks a victim, who fights back with everything she has, then the police swoop in and save the day, McNab says.

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Idaho lawmakers try to weaken climate change language in school science standards — again

Posted By on Fri, Feb 9, 2018 at 4:32 PM

Despite the Idaho Department of Education's effort to carefully craft education standards on climate change over the last year, lawmakers in the state's House Education Committee remain skeptical of teaching students that human-caused global warming exists.

Rep. Scott Syme
  • Rep. Scott Syme
A year ago, the Idaho House Education Committee approved science standards for schools, but excluded five paragraphs related to climate change. As the Inlander wrote in June, it meant Idaho was the first state where lawmakers had successfully removed the teaching of climate science from curriculum requirements. And the decision last February came with comments from Rep. Scott Syme (R-Caldwell) about the need to cover "both sides of the debate" when it comes to human-caused global warming, in spite of the scientific consensus on the topic.

Little has changed this year. This week, the House Education Committee approved a set of climate standards with some discussion of climate change, but they rejected supporting content dealing with climate change and human impact on the environment, as well as a section on nonrenewable sources of energy.

The state's Senate Education Committee will have its own say in the standards. But if they're approved as they were in the House, says Glenn Branch, deputy director of the National Center for Science Education, it "would be a problem for teachers."

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Olympics start, Condon speaks, government shuts and reopens and more

Posted By on Fri, Feb 9, 2018 at 9:48 AM

Mayor David Condon will give his State of the City address today - DANIEL WALTERS PHOTO
  • Daniel Walters photo
  • Mayor David Condon will give his State of the City address today


15:17 at AMC
Nathan Weinbender plays Nathan Weinbender as Nathan Weinbender previews movies like 15:17 to Paris.

In Other News...

Urban experience! Sustainable resources! Catch it!
The Spokesman-Review previews Mayor David Condon's State of the City speech today. (Spokesman-Review)

Marshall plan
The Washington state Senate passes a bill to help the Marshallese. We wrote about it here. (Spokesman-Review)

Turn it off and turn it on again

We had a very brief government shutdown again last night. But early this morning, a huge budget deal passed, raising the debt ceiling. If you are wondering if most Republicans fought valiantly to prevent the deficit from increasing, the answer is not even close. (CNN)

I learned it from watching you, Mr. President
TV viewers were furious that TV networks sunk so low as to quote the president saying "shithole." (BuzzFeed)

It's pretty much the Olympics of sporting events
The Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea kicked off last night with a show of unity between North Korea and South Korea.

Didn't do the reading
Trump doesn't like to read written intelligence briefing. Instead, he prefers to hear people talk. We all have different learning styles.
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Thursday, February 8, 2018

Pelosi sets a record, Spokane bar owner apologizes and morning headlines

Posted By on Thu, Feb 8, 2018 at 9:23 AM


'This isn't the immigration center'
A local bar owner's racial discrimination of one of his patrons has drawn the ire of many in Spokane. The owner's daughter now says she's taking over, and is considering changing the name of Rick's Ringside Pub, which has been in business for nearly 30 years.

Bare-bones rock
Spokane's Donna Donna, a basic guitar/drums duo, is playing an album release party at the Bartlett this Friday.

Rollin' into Idaho
Colson Whitehead, the Pulitzer-winning author of The Underground Railroad, is giving a talk at the University of Idaho next week (Feb. 12). The incredible success of his acclaimed work of fiction (the book also won a National Book Award, was a choice for Oprah's book club and earned a spot on President Barack Obama's reading list) still has Whitehead spinning.


'There are some things that simply cannot be allowed'
A Portland woman says she was sexually assaulted by two prominent men — one a former candidate for Multnomah County Commission, Charles McGee, the other, Aubré Dickson, a banking executive and member of the Portland Housing Development Center. McGee cut short an interview before responding to questions about the alleged assault. Dickson ignored interview requests for weeks. (Willamette Week)

Play option
Spokane voters will decide by next week whether to approve two bond requests for more than $100 million each that would go toward building new athletic facilities in the Mead and Central Valley school districts. (Spokesman-Review)

Broken record
California Rep. Nancy Pelosi likely sent a record for longest speech delivered in the House chamber — speaking for eight hours and seven minutes. The House Democratic leader's monologue was a tactic to delay debate on legislation needed to keep the government open. A short-term funding bill will expire Thursday at midnight. (New York Times)
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Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Local bar owner tells woman "this isn't the immigration center," then points toward the door

Posted By on Wed, Feb 7, 2018 at 1:08 PM

Lo Heinen thought it was a joke at first — not a good joke, mind you, but the words that had popped out of the bar owner's mouth were so shocking and offensive, all she could do was wait for a punchline.

Then, she says, he repeated them: "This isn't the immigration center," the owner of Rick's Ringside Pub told Heinen again. Then he pointed to the door.

"I was shell-shocked," Heinen says. "I didn't know what to say, so I walked out."

The incident unfolded last week at the Garland District bar where Heinen had planned to meet a group of friends. She approached the bar and handed the bartender her expired ID along with a valid, temporary paper ID. The bartender declined to accept it, which is when the owner, Rick Shontell, walked over, she says.

"When I looked at him, he was kind of mumbly and slurring his speech," says Heinen, who has been to the bar several times before.

Shortly after the incident, Heinen's husband, who is also named Rick, posted a simple request to Facebook:


The post has been shared more than 500 times, and touched off a flurry of comments from friends and strangers offering support.


Within an hour of her husband's post, Heinen says the bartender reached out to apologize:

"Hi! I'm the girl who carded your wife. I wanted to personally apologize on behalf of my owner which I know doesn't make up for his crude disgusting behavior. Your wife was a total sweetheart and very understanding when I explained we couldn't accept paper IDs. I am SO SORRY my boss said that, I hope you guys will come back when I'm working and maybe when he's not here. Again, my deepest sincerest apologies."

Other employees of the bar also left comments apologizing for their boss:


The next day, Shontell took to Facebook to offer his own apology:


But the damage was already done. In less than a week, people have flooded the bar's Facebook page with one-star ratings and told others to boycott the bar.

Mac and Jack's Brewery chimed in as well:


"I took it as insincere," Heinen says of Shontell's Facebook apology. "I don't think he would have apologized if it wouldn't have become public. There's no way he would have apologized even online if it wouldn't be affecting his bottom line."

In a conversation with the Inlander, Shontell's daughter, Renae, emphasizes that her father wishes to meet with Heinen to apologize.

"We're not taking it lightly," Renae Shontell says. "Sometimes people say things, and he said it, and he feels terrible. What he said was wrong, and he knows he can't take it away, but he wants to try and make it right."

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Congress near spending bill, EWU moves on East Sprague, and morning headlines

Posted By on Wed, Feb 7, 2018 at 9:58 AM


NEWS: Coeur d'Alene Public Schools found a permanent superintendent: Steven Cook, from Colorado.

FOOD: The Spokane Central Market will house roughly a dozen restaurants inside a shared space downtown.


Moving in
Eastern Washington University will move three degree programs, about 1,000 students, from its Cheney campus into Spokane. They will go to class in a new building along East Sprague Avenue, in the booming University District. (Spokesman-Review)

Near nature, near fires
The Spokane Fire Department is preparing early for wildfire season. And, not to freak you out or anything, but half of the homes in the Spokane metro area are at a high wildfire risk area.

A major obstacle
Senate leaders are close to an agreement that would avert another government shut down, New York Times reports. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, meanwhile, says the Senate should change the rules that would allow Democrats to block spending bills. (Spokesman-Review)

Change of ownership
The Los Angeles Times has been sold to a billionaire from the L.A. area, ending a long-troubled relationship with the paper's previous owners. (Washington Post)
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Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Coeur d'Alene Public Schools has found a permanent superintendent

Posted By on Tue, Feb 6, 2018 at 12:59 PM

Steven Cook is poised to take over as CDA Schools superintendent - COURTESY OF COEUR D'ALENE PUBLIC SCHOOLS
  • Courtesy of Coeur d'Alene Public Schools
  • Steven Cook is poised to take over as CDA Schools superintendent

It's been more than a year since Matthew Handelman resigned as superintendent of Coeur d'Alene Public Schools.

And now, the district says it has found a permanent replacement.

Coeur d'Alene Public Schools chose Steven Cook to lead the district, starting July 1.

"We are excited to offer this position to a career educator who will bring a high level of expertise, skills and leadership to the role," says Board Chairman Casey Morrisroe in a statement.

Cook comes from Colorado, where he's deputy superintendent for the Douglas County School District in Denver. There, he oversees everything from professional development to special education and career and technical education. He began his education career in Kansas, where he spent 24 years, including 13 years as a science teacher.

In a statement, he says "all kids are hungry to learn" if they are set up for success.

"I believe in igniting kids' natural passion for learning through powerful school experiences and excellent relationships with staff. I believe we must help all kids discover their unseen potentials."

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Power 2 the Poetry Open Mic @ Downtown Spokane Library

Tue., Feb. 20, 6-7:30 p.m.

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