Wednesday, October 18, 2017

FILM: What's hitting movie theaters on Friday

Posted By on Wed, Oct 18, 2017 at 3:23 PM

Harry Dean Stanton stars in Lucky, opening Friday at the Magic Lantern.
  • Harry Dean Stanton stars in Lucky, opening Friday at the Magic Lantern.

This week's film releases — there are a lot of 'em — feature a little bit of everything: tragedy, comedy, serial killers, bad drag. And that's just the new Tyler Perry movie.

Here's what you can look forward to seeing.

The directorial debut of actor Andy Serkis, a lush biopic about Robin Cavendish, a polio-afflicted Brit who helped design breakthrough medical devices in the mid-20th century. Rated PG-13.

The guy who wrote a bunch of those Roland Emmerich disaster films in the ’90s has a crack at his own. As is genre tradition, an international all-star cast runs from tsunamis, hurricanes and the like. Rated PG-13.

LUCKY (3½ stars)
Opening at the Magic Lantern, the final star vehicle for the late, great Harry Dean Stanton is a gentle, modest, subtly quirky study of the daily routine of a 90-something veteran facing his twilight years. Features one- or two-scene cameos from the likes of Ron Livingston, Ed Begley Jr., Tom Skerritt and David Lynch as a fedora-sporting man with a beloved pet tortoise named President Roosevelt. Not rated.

Liam Neeson stars as modern history’s most famous whistleblower, best known as Deep Throat, who helped Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein bring the Nixon administration to its knees. Rated PG-13.

This fact-based drama enmeshes us within the ranks of Arizona firefighters known as the Granite Mountain Hotshots, specifically as they attempt to contain the deadly Yarnell Hill wildfire in 2013. Rated PG-13.

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Spokane judge OK's necessity defense for climate change lawbreaker

Posted By on Wed, Oct 18, 2017 at 1:29 PM

George Taylor is one of several oil train protestors who refer to themselves as the "Climate Defenders." - DANIEL WALTERS PHOTO
  • Daniel Walters photo
  • George Taylor is one of several oil train protestors who refer to themselves as the "Climate Defenders."

The reverend believed he had no choice. Now he'll make his case to the jury.

Rev. George Taylor stood on railway tracks in September 2016 to protest what he believes to be insidious coal and oil trains rumbling through downtown Spokane, and their contribution to global climate change. Taylor, a spry 77-year-old, knew he was breaking the law. And that's the point.

He's currently facing misdemeanor charges of trespassing and obstructing or delaying a train. In court, he explained to the judge that the other ways in which he's attempted to halt the flow of coal and oil — lobbying, attending public hearings, writing to legislators, protesting — have thus far been unsuccessful.

Taylor argued that he, and the other senior citizen activists arrested on train tracks last year, were left with no choice but to break the law. His co-defendants have taken plea deals. But in order for Taylor to present his argument — known as the necessity defense — to a jury, he needed a judge's permission.

Following testimony from Taylor and experts including a climate change scientist, Spokane County District Court Judge Debra Hayes will allow the uncommon legal defense to go to a jury.

"The ultimate goal would be to keep those fossil fuels in the ground in Wyoming and Montana where they're not going to do any damage to anybody," Taylor said during a June interview. "So that would be my goal. But this is an attempt to bring to the public the urgency of this problem."

Taylor's attorney, Rachael Osborn, called Hayes' ruling "fitting for these unusual times." She notes that a judge in a Minnesota court also recently approved a necessity defense for climate change activists.

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Murray's heath-care fix, judges block Trump's third travel ban, morning headlines

Posted By on Wed, Oct 18, 2017 at 9:29 AM


NEWS: A bipartisan agreement between Washington Sen. Patty Murray and Tennessee Sen. Lamar Alexander to provide funding for critical subsidies to health insurers is intended to stabilize health insurance markets under the Affordable Care Act. (via New York Times)

NEWS: This morning on Twitter, President Trump denied a Florida congresswoman's claims that he told a grieving Army widow her husband, one of four soldiers killed in an attack in Niger earlier this month, "knew what he was signing up for." (via New York Times)

Next Thursday at the Garland Theater, the Upper Columbia United Tribes debut United By Water, a film commemorating the emotional 2016 gathering for their first tribal journey by canoe since 1943, when the Grand Coulee Dam was completed.

ARTS & CULTURE: The new photo project "Meet the Joneses" explores the Inland Northwest through a 1950s family of plastic figurines.

FOOD: Winter's coming, and we know exactly what to do with a rotisserie chicken.

Washington Sen. Patty Murray reached a bipartisan agreement to stabilize health insurance markets under the Affordable Care Act, defying President Trump's executive order last week aimed at undermining the ACA. - THE NEW YORK TIMES
  • The New York Times
  • Washington Sen. Patty Murray reached a bipartisan agreement to stabilize health insurance markets under the Affordable Care Act, defying President Trump's executive order last week aimed at undermining the ACA.


Third time's not the charm
A federal judge in Maryland has joined his counterpart in Hawaii in blocking parts of the third and latest version of President Trump's controversial travel ban — which was set to take effect this morning — saying that the president's own words show it was clearly aimed at Muslims, in violation of the Constitution. (Washington Post)

No laughing matter
President Trump reportedly joked that Vice President Mike Pence "wants to hang" all gay people. Trump also reportedly mocked Pence's extremist evangelical Christian positions, including opposing abortion and the rights of LGBTQ Americans. (The Hill, New Yorker)
• Trump's joke about Pence would affirm the long-held concerns of many in the LGBTQ community. (Washington Post)

Thanks, but no thanks
Pennsylvania GOP Rep. Tom Marino, who pulled out of consideration to head the Office of National Drug Control Policy on Tuesday, is the 11th nominee to withdraw from consideration for a Trump administration post. (CNN)
• Last April, Rep. Marino helped drug companies pass an industry-friendly law that hobbled the Drug Enforcement Agency's efforts to halt the spread of the opioid crisis; he took nearly $100,000 from the pharmaceutical lobby while advocating for the law. (CNN)
The drug industry's triumph over the DEA. (Washington Post)

Washington AG sues DeVos
Bob Ferguson, Washington's attorney general, sued Education Secretary Betsy DeVos for suspending an Obama-era rule intended to keep for-profit colleges from offering worthless degrees, leaving graduates with high levels of debt. It's the 17th time that Ferguson's office has sued the Trump administration in less than nine months. (Seattle Times)

Cyclist killed in I-90 hit-and-run
Idaho State Police are asking for the public's help to identify a bicyclist killed in a hit-and-run crash last night on I-90's westbound lanes at milepost 15.5 in Coeur d'Alene. (KHQ)

Accused murdered claims another victim
Donovan Culps, accused in last month's murder of a Cheney pot shop employee, now claims he's responsible for a separate "revenge" killing on the Yakama Reservation last year. (KHQ)

Drone near-disaster
It's been revealed that a drone crashed into a passenger plane above an airport in Québec City last week, raising new safety concerns about unmanned aircraft. (New York Times)
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Upper Columbia United Tribes set to debut film on emotional 2016 gathering

Posted By on Wed, Oct 18, 2017 at 8:31 AM

Traditional canoes used by UCUT tribes for their first tribal canoe gathering since 1943. - UPPER COLUMBIA UNITED TRIBES
  • Upper Columbia United Tribes
  • Traditional canoes used by UCUT tribes for their first tribal canoe gathering since 1943.

In 2016, the five tribes of the Upper Columbia United Tribes, or UCUT, had their first tribal canoe journey and gathering at Kettle Falls since the Grand Coulee Dam flooded their tribes' traditional waterways and they last joined for what is now known as the Ceremony of Tears in 1943.

A new film, United By Water, is a documentary of the 2016 journey, exploring each step from building the traditional canoes to traveling through the water to the gathering of the Spokane Tribe, Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation, Kalispel Tribe, Coeur d'Alene Tribe and Kootenai Tribe of Idaho.

The film, a production of War Pony Pictures, was directed by Derrick LaMere and is narrated by author Sherman Alexie, and it will debut with a special screening at the Garland Theater on Thursday, Oct. 26, at 6:45 pm. It is open to all ages, and the screening is free.

Here's a trailer for United By Water:

UNITED BY WATER - OFFICIAL TRAILER from War Pony Pictures on Vimeo.

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Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Bitchin' Bites on a Budget: Rotisserie chicken 3 ways

Posted By on Tue, Oct 17, 2017 at 11:58 AM

Shout-out to anyone on a budget because of your job/student loans/expensive rent/life:

We may eat cheap, but that doesn't mean we can't make some bitchin' food.

To share some of the best food budget hacks I know, I'll be attempting a semi-regular blog featuring affordable recipes and meal-planning tips, which will mostly consist of sharing whatever weird food habit I'm in that month or week. My tastes might not align with yours, or the season, but I'm totally open to suggestions if you've got 'em (hit me up at if you have ideas or questions).

Most of the time I'll try to make meals that cost $2 or less per serving, with an eye on making meals you can reheat for lunch or dinner. Making the meals ahead will also save on cooking time during the week.

For this first installment, I'm going to brag on one of my all-time favorite ways to make your dollar go further: the rotisserie chicken.

Most grocery stores have these babies hot and ready by the time you get off work, and while they're delicious right out of the container, there are a few things you can do to get even more out of that tasty bird.

The one I got this week ran me about $7 at Safeway. With a few other pantry staples (mayo, pepper, seasonings) and fresh veggies, here's how I make several meals from the same chicken:

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PHOTOS: “Meet the Joneses” explores the Inland Northwest

Posted By on Tue, Oct 17, 2017 at 9:36 AM

  • Jonathan Hollingsworth
  • Lake Coeur d'Alene

Two words come to mind — bizarro and whimsical — when you encounter “Meet the Joneses,” a photo project by New York-based writer and visual artist Jonathan Hollingsworth, who’s brought to life the Jones clan, a circa 1950s family of plastic figurines making its way in the world.

Hollingsworth, who eventually plans to recount the family’s journey in a book, added to the project during a recent visit to the Pacific Northwest; find more of those images below. You can also follow the Joneses on Facebook and Instagram.

Hollingsworth's previous work includes the photo book Left Behind: Life and Death on the U.S. Border, which documented the items and artifacts left behind by immigrants who died during the perilous journey to America.

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Spokane unveils new snowplow plan, WSU searches for new AD, morning headlines

Posted By on Tue, Oct 17, 2017 at 9:16 AM


Mayor David Condon standing in front of one of the city's new snowplows. - DANIEL WALTERS PHOTO
  • Daniel Walters photo
  • Mayor David Condon standing in front of one of the city's new snowplows.
NEWS: With another hellish winter likely on the way, the city of Spokane has a new snowplow plan that will see workers plowing the moment it snows — though that will create bigger berms.

NEWS: This week, we wrote about the issues caused by the stalled state capital budget. Here's a list of the major projects on hold because of it.

NATION: Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl has pleaded guilty to desertion and misbehavior before the enemy. Bergdahl, 31, from Hailey, Idaho, was held captive by the Taliban for five years before the Obama administration traded him for five Taliban detainees at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. (via New York Times)


No longer unspoken
The hashtag #MeToo has exploded on social media, signifying all the women who have been sexually harassed or assaulted, and helping people to understand the prevalence of such behavior in society. (The Atlantic)

Watch for falling trees!
Strong winds are expected to roll into town today, with gusts reaching up to 40 or 50 mph. Don't worry; this is nothing like the historic Noiveme2015 windstorm. (KREM)

Community divided
After admitting the process was botched, the Spokane City Council voted 4-2 to allow the Martin Luther King Jr. Family Outreach center to operate the East Central Community Center. (Spokesman-Review)

Moos on the loose
Following Bill Moos' unexpected departure from his position as WSU athletic director, the university has named John Johnson, senior associate athletic director, to lead the athletic department in the interim. WSU President Kirk Schulz also announced the members of a committee that will begin the search for a new athletic director. (KXLY)

ISIS loses its capital
U.S.-backed forces in Syria claim to have taken over full control of Raqqa, the Islamic State's one-time capital that held symbolic significance. (Washington Post)
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Monday, October 16, 2017

Spokane's new snowplow plan: Faster plowing, narrower streets, bigger berms

Posted By on Mon, Oct 16, 2017 at 5:41 PM

Mayor David Condon stands in front of a front-end loader equipped with a gate that can drop down to prevent snow from being plowed in front of driveways. - DANIEL WALTERS PHOTO
  • Daniel Walters photo
  • Mayor David Condon stands in front of a front-end loader equipped with a gate that can drop down to prevent snow from being plowed in front of driveways.

Winter is coming to Spokane.

And if it's anything like last winter, it will be a snowy hell of fury and flurries. Last winter, complaints abounded about the city's snow response, including objections from the neighborhoods, downtown businesses and school districts.

In fact, last year, in the middle of snow season, then-Streets Director Mark Serbousek was fired from his position.

But with new Streets Director Gary Kaesemeyer in place, the Condon administration and City Councilwoman Amber Waldref have been pushing to try to reinvent the way the city gets plowed.

They even put out a survey in April to get feedback from Spokane residents.

Today, the city officially outlined their new snow-plowing strategy at a press conference in front of a new front-end loader snowplow.

"The heart of our new plan is really pretty simple," Condon said at today's press conference. "More plowing in more areas sooner."

And so far, at least, they're doing it without spending extra money. Instead, they're shifting staff from other departments to man snowplows during the snow season, and changing the order of planned fleet replacement to buy new equipment.

"We've heard you, and we're going to tackle snow differently as a result," Condon says.

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Here's what else is held up locally while Washington has no capital budget

Posted By on Mon, Oct 16, 2017 at 2:57 PM

In this week's issue, we highlighted some of the issues that have come up while the state doesn't have a capital budget, including lost jobs and construction projects put on hold.

Here are a few details on regional projects waiting on the capital budget to be approved that didn't make it into the story. Proposed allocations came from the Washington State Senate's version of the capital budget:

Eastern Washington University Interdisciplinary Science Center: $67 million
The largest line item coming to the Spokane area is a proposed $67 million for Eastern’s new science building, which will house the four key disciplines: Biology, Chemistry/Biochemistry, Geology and Physics. In the works for years, the building will replace the current 1962-built structure, which isn’t in the best shape, says Dave Meany, EWU spokesman.

“With a 33% increase in students enrolled in STEM programs, this is a critical project for Eastern,” Meany writes in an email.

Eastern Washington Clean Sites Initiative: about $10.3 million
At sites where the party responsible for pollution can’t be held accountable, the state Department of Ecology may take over cleanup. The impacts of not having the capital budget vary between projects, says Angie Wirkkala, finance manager for Ecology’s Toxics Cleanup Program, but most cleanups have been in the works for years, and if they’re near a construction phase, it can be hard to stop and start.

“That makes uncertainty not only for the department about how to find a good stopping point, but for the communities relying on that for economic growth and restoration,” Wirkkala says.

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MONDAY MORNING PLACEKICKER: Eastern now Washington's only Top 10 team

Posted By on Mon, Oct 16, 2017 at 10:53 AM

Is that a blue-and-gold train about to run us over, or just the Cal Bears? - WSU ATHLETICS
  • WSU Athletics
  • Is that a blue-and-gold train about to run us over, or just the Cal Bears?

It was one ugly weekend for fans of the region's top-tier college football teams, with both Top 10-ranked Washington State and Washington falling in huge upsets, and Idaho blowing a big lead at home. At least Eastern Washington seems to have righted the ship after early-season travails. Let's break it down:

Correct me if I'm wrong, as I'm a relatively new transplant to the area, but "Cougin' it" means losing a game in the last minutes in a painful way that defies explanation, correct? So I guess we'll call what happened in Berkeley on Friday night as a good, old-fashioned ass-kicking, with the Cougs going down to the Cal Bears, 37-3.

Yes, 37-3.

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