Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Eat less meat: Local chefs participate in James Beard "Blended Burger Project"

Posted By on Wed, Jun 14, 2017 at 11:08 AM


A lot of people tend to mistake me for a vegetarian, which is understandable because I eat a fair amount of veggie burgers and meat alternatives, like tofu. I'm not a vegetarian, but I do consciously try to limit my intake of meat for many reasons.

This confession, however, doesn't mean I don't enjoy a juicy burger — which are not hard to find in this town — every now and then. But my own and America's collective love of ground beef patties comes with a cost, to our health (everything in moderation, folks) and to the environment. These concerns are paramount in the James Beard Foundation's annual Blended Burger Project, going on now, which challenges chefs across the country to blend ground meat with chopped mushrooms to make a "an incredibly delicious patty that's healthier for your guests and more sustainable for the planet."

Sample Prohibition's mushroom-blended burger through July 31.
  • Sample Prohibition's mushroom-blended burger through July 31.
The competition started on May 29, and runs through July 31. To qualify for the program, chefs must swap at least 25 percent of their burgers' animal protein with mushrooms.

Of the nearly 350 chefs across the nation who've signed up to participate in this year's Blended Burger Project, three Spokane eateries are on the list: Prohibition Gastropub in North Spokane and Remedy Kitchen and Tavern on the South Hill. Allie's Vegan Pizzeria & Cafe was a late entrant to the competition, and is offering an all-vegan burger with tempeh bacon, cashew cheese and barbecue mayo.

At Prohibition, find Chef John Leonetti's "Voot Burger," which contains a blend of shiitake, oyster and cremini mushrooms with his signature coffee-grounds-infused beef. The Voot comes with greens, feta, diced onion, tomatoes and a fontina cream sauce, and is served atop a pretzel bun.

Adding finely chopped mushrooms to a ground meat blend — whether beef, turkey, lamb, pork or something else — can heighten the rich and savory characteristics, called umami, of both the meat and the mushrooms. Subbing mushrooms for ground meats also reduces sodium, calories and fat without a major sacrifice in flavor, according to information from the national nonprofit Mushroom Council, a partner in the Blended Burger Project.

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Empire Health Foundation sues Deaconess, Spokane Valley hospitals over charity care

Posted By on Wed, Jun 14, 2017 at 9:53 AM


Empire Health Foundation is suing the for-profit company that bought Deaconess and Valley hospitals along with the Rockwood Clinic in 2008, claiming the company has shorted the community on charity care by at least $55 million.

The suit, filed in U.S. District Court in Spokane Monday, claims that Tennessee-based Community Health Systems has not been complying with state law on charity care — care provided free of cost to very low-income people — or with an agreement signed when CHS bought Empire Health Services (now called Rockwood Health System).

CHS on the other hand, argues that the complaint misconstrues the contract and state law.

When the sale was closed and Empire Health Foundation was formed, the foundation filled the shoes of the seller, and is now able to enforce the agreement, explains Ele Hamburger, an attorney representing Empire Health.

When the state Department of Health gave CHS permission to do business as a hospital through what's called a certificate of need, part of that was contingent on CHS making reasonable efforts to meet or exceed regional levels of charity care, Hamburger says.

But the foundation claims that according to publicly reported data, the two hospitals provide less charity care than other Eastern Washington hospitals on average.

FROM THE COMPLAINT EMPIRE HEALTH FOUNDATION FILED AGAINST COMMUNITY HEALTH SYSTEMS IN U.S. DISTRICT COURT
  • From the complaint Empire Health Foundation filed against Community Health Systems in U.S. District Court

From 2009 to 2015, the costs used to calculate charity care went up 14.7 percent each year at Valley Hospital, and 9.4 percent at Deaconess, compared to an average 6.1 percent per year at other Eastern Washington hospitals. Taking that into account, the difference in charity care could actually be as high as $110 million, the complaint alleges.

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GOP congressman among several injured in shootings outside D.C., shutdown looms in Olympia, and morning headlines

Posted By on Wed, Jun 14, 2017 at 9:24 AM

At least five people were injured early this morning in Arlington, Virginia, when a gunman opened fire on a group of Republican congressmen and staffers practicing for a baseball game.
  • At least five people were injured early this morning in Arlington, Virginia, when a gunman opened fire on a group of Republican congressmen and staffers practicing for a baseball game.

ON INLANDER.COM

NEWS: U.S. attorneys fire back at claims that they withheld crucial evidence in a Spokane Valley marijuana grow op case; the stakes are high, as one man could go to prison for life.

NEWS: A group opposed to a "road diet" on Monroe Street has paid for a new billboard targeting two Spokane city councilmembers up for reelection in November. Just one problem: Neither Breean Beggs nor Candace Mumm ever voted for the lane reduction.


IN OTHER NEWS


Gunman targets GOP lawmakers in Virginia

House Majority Whip Steve Scalise of Louisiana was one of at least five people injured early this morning in Arlington, Virginia, as a gunman opened fire on a group of GOP congressmen and staffers practicing for a baseball game. The gunman, who was shot by Capitol Police and has died in a D.C.-area hospital, was identified as 66-year-old James Hodgkinson of Belleville, Illinois. (Washington Post)

Crunch time in Olympia
Washington Governor Jay Inslee, vowing to "kickstart" stalled negotiations, has ordered the state legislature to come up with a two-year budget plan by the end of the month; if they can't, a government shutdown looms on July 1. (KUOW)

New era for CdA Ironman
This August's Ironman triathlon in Coeur d'Alene will be the last as a full 140.6-mile race, ending a 14-year run. A smaller half-Ironman will continue to be conducted in CdA. (Spokesman-Review)

Mariners draft Zags' Mills
Gonzaga's Wyatt Mills, a right-handed pitcher who played his high school ball at G-Prep, was selected by the Seattle Mariners with the 93rd overall pick in the third round of major league baseball's draft. (Spokesman-Review)

Will the Warriors pass?
The Golden State Warriors, NBA champions for the second time in three years, say that talk of refusing a trip to Donald Trump's White House is premature, although at least one Warrior has made it clear where he stands on the subject. (Los Angeles Times, CBS Sports)

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Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Federal prosecutors fire back at claims that they withheld evidence in Spokane Valley marijuana grow case

Posted By on Tue, Jun 13, 2017 at 3:47 PM

Jerad Kynaston (center) with his attorneys Alison Guernsey and Jeff Dahlberg. - YOUNG KWAK PHOTO
  • Young Kwak photo
  • Jerad Kynaston (center) with his attorneys Alison Guernsey and Jeff Dahlberg.

Accusations that federal prosecutors withheld evidence in the case that could send one man to prison for life for a marijuana grow operation are not true, according to recently filed court documents.

Last month, defense attorneys for Jerad Kynaston of Spokane Valley and four co-defendants suggested that United States attorneys neglected to hand over "freetalk" reports in the 5-year-old case, and that those reports could show that the men were operating within the state's medical marijuana laws.

But in court documents filed last week, Assistant U.S. Attorney Russell Smoot writes that the reports do not contain new information. He fires back at defense attorneys, saying their claims "relied on a vague, speculative proffer invoking discovery and aspersions of 'Brady' violations."

"Indeed, the defendants have not, because they cannot, demonstrate that the United States has failed to meet its Brady obligations," Smoot writes, referring to the U.S. Supreme Court case Brady v. Maryland, which requires the government to turn over all evidence that could point to a person's innocence.

Federal defender Alison Guernsey says she disagrees with the U.S. attorney's recent statements in court documents, but declined to elaborate before the defense team's June 28 deadline to file a response with the court.

The reports in question document "freetalk" interviews in 2012 with at least four defendants. Federal prosecutors say information contained in those reports is duplicative of other reports handed over in 2012. Generally, a "freetalk" is an opportunity for suspects or defendants to give law enforcement information without incriminating themselves, or in exchange for a potentially lighter sentence.

In this case, Assistant. U.S. Attorney Patrick Cashman has described the freetalks in court as conversations between at least four defendants, the police and at least one federal prosecutor.

The defense team has now received the freetalk reports, attorneys confirm, but they've been filed under seal and are not publicly available.

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Councilmembers Beggs and Mumm never voted on Monroe lane reduction — but billboard targets them anyway

Posted By on Tue, Jun 13, 2017 at 2:27 PM

A billboard near the intersection of Monroe Street and Northwest Boulevard slams Spokane City Councilmembers Breean Beggs and Candace Mumm for being supportive of the Monroe Street lane reduction. - DANIEL WALTERS PHOTO
  • Daniel Walters photo
  • A billboard near the intersection of Monroe Street and Northwest Boulevard slams Spokane City Councilmembers Breean Beggs and Candace Mumm for being supportive of the Monroe Street lane reduction.

The opportunity for opponents of the city's plan to reduce the number of lanes on the 1.12-mile stretch of North Monroe Street between Kiernan and Indiana avenues appears to have already passed.

"We announced back in April that we are moving ahead with the project. It’s now in design. We’re moving ahead," city spokeswoman Marlene Feist says. "We're not going back to this discussion again."

That doesn't mean that the opponents to the lane reduction are giving up. If anything, they're upping their rhetoric, attempting to attach a political price to supporters of the North Monroe road diet project.

The Monroe Street Business Association has put up a billboard urging voters to "Remember in November!" that Councilmembers Breean Beggs and Candace Mumm "do not support business" and that they "advocate wasteful spending."

"We're just putting councilmembers on notice who don’t believe in businesses that they're going to have a hard time getting re-elected in the fall," says Gary Jarvis, president of the Monroe Street Business Association, a group that formed in opposition to the lane reduction. For more than a year, they've been warning of traffic jams and shuttered businesses if the five lanes on that section of Monroe are reduced to three.

The billboard is just north of the corner of Monroe Street and Northwest Boulevard, above Bellwether Brewing — which is one of the businesses ardently backing the Monroe Street road diet.

But here's the thing: Beggs — whose first name is spelled wrong on the sign — and Mumm didn't technically vote for the Monroe Street lane reduction.

"It’s an administration initiative. The council hasn’t proposed or led or asked to vote on anything," Beggs says. "All I can imagine is whoever paid for [the billboard] is not happy, and we’re the two who are up for election."


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Judge declares mistrial in case of former Spokane cop charged with rape; new trial set for August

Posted By on Tue, Jun 13, 2017 at 12:23 PM

Sgt. Gordon Ennis: Mistrial declared in the rape case against the former Spokane cop.
  • Sgt. Gordon Ennis: Mistrial declared in the rape case against the former Spokane cop.

A Spokane judge declared a mistrial Monday in the sexual assault case against a former Spokane police sergeant, who is accused of raping a female officer after a drunken house party.

Judge James Triplet sent the extra-large, 120-person jury pool home on the same day jury selection was set to begin after the former cop's defense attorney scoffed at what he calls a "pro-prosecution" article that ran in the Spokesman-Review over the weekend.

"Did you see the article?" defense attorney Rob Cossey asks. "What bothered me most, is for example, the paper made a big deal about a motion not to reference the alleged victim as a 'slut.'"

Cossey says that motion filed by prosecutors contained boilerplate language for sexual assault cases, and he objects to the insinuation that his trial strategy was to attack the alleged victim's character and sexual history. He asked the judge for a mistrial on those grounds, he says. Cossey emphasized that his argument was not based on juror misconduct, which could include potential jurors talking about the case among each other and/or discussing news coverage.

"It just skewed the whole reality," Cossey says of the daily newspaper's coverage.

A new trial date has been set for August. Asked whether he expects the trial to be moved to another county, Cossey says he'd prefer it stay in Spokane.

"I don't necessarily think so, but we're going to talk more about it because over half of the jurors have been reading about [the case]," he says.

Spokane County Prosecutor Kelly Fitzgerald did not immediately respond to a phone call seeking comment.
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Rape case against ex-Spokane cop declared a mistrial, Warriors take down King James, and morning headlines

Posted By on Tue, Jun 13, 2017 at 9:42 AM


ON INLANDER.COM


NEWS: A group called Safer Spokane that's pushing to charge a fine for coal and oil cars that travel by train through the city without meeting certain standards turned in 5,200 signatures to Spokane City Hall yesterday, meaning there's a good chance that its ballot initiative, Proposition 6, will be voted on in November.


IN OTHER NEWS


What happens when a 73-win team adds Kevin Durant
One year after giving up a 3-1 series lead and losing the NBA Finals, the Golden State Warriors finished off the Cleveland Cavaliers last night in Game 5 to reclaim the title. Golden State's newest addition, Kevin Durant, was Finals MVP. Sports Illustrated's Lee Jenkins has a great breakdown of how the Warriors' Draymond Green recruited Durant to the team immediately after last year's Finals loss.

Sgt. Gordon Ennis: Mistrial declared in the rape case against the former Spokane cop.
  • Sgt. Gordon Ennis: Mistrial declared in the rape case against the former Spokane cop.
Blame the newspaper
Spokane County Superior Court Judge James Triplet declared a mistrial in the rape case against former Spokane police Sgt. Gordon Ennis; his attorney requested the mistrial during the jury selection, apparently because of a Spokesman-Review story he considers biased toward the prosecution, according to the newspaper. Other news outlets, like KXLY, say the mistrial was declared because it was impossible to seat a jury unfamiliar with the case's details.

False promise?
Community Health Systems, owner of Deaconess and Valley hospitals, promised to meet or exceed the average level of hospital charity care spending in Eastern Washington, but has failed to meet that promise, according to a lawsuit filed by the Empire Health Foundation. The lawsuit accused CHS, which is in the process of selling both hospitals, of not providing $110 million worth of charity care promised to low-income patients. (Spokesman-Review)

Quiet down, Coeur d'Alene!

If there's one thing you'll notice in downtown Coeur d'Alene, it's that people really love driving loud vehicles. The CdA Press says a city ordinance will try to quiet those cars, targeting "tricked-out cars, pickup trucks and motorcycles that spew smoke and noise just for the fun of it."

Not so special
After President Trump said he was considering dismissing special counsel Robert Mueller, the former FBI director appointed to oversee the investigation of the Trump campaign's connection to Russia, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein says there is no basis to fire Mueller, and that he's the only person who could do so. (Associated Press)
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Monday, June 12, 2017

Safer Spokane submits oil and coal train initiative signatures, aiming to get on November ballot

Posted By on Mon, Jun 12, 2017 at 4:16 PM

Jim Lee with the Safer Spokane campaign hands in roughly 5,200 signatures at the Spokane City Clerk's office on Monday as other volunteers and supporters, including City Councilman Breean Beggs (right), look on. The citizens initiative, which would levy a fine on oil and coal train cars unless safety measures are taken, needs about half that number of signatures to qualify for the November ballot. - SAMANTHA WOHLFEIL
  • Samantha Wohlfeil
  • Jim Lee with the Safer Spokane campaign hands in roughly 5,200 signatures at the Spokane City Clerk's office on Monday as other volunteers and supporters, including City Councilman Breean Beggs (right), look on. The citizens initiative, which would levy a fine on oil and coal train cars unless safety measures are taken, needs about half that number of signatures to qualify for the November ballot.

Dozens of oil and coal trains roll through Spokane every week, something that Safer Spokane organizers worry puts the city at undue risk.

That's why the group is promoting a citizens initiative, which they're calling Proposition 6, that would essentially levy a $261 fine (per car) on the owners of uncovered rail cars full of coal, and tank cars carrying unconditioned crude oil.

Organizers turned in 5,200 signatures at Spokane City Hall on Monday afternoon, more than the needed 2,585 signatures, which means city voters will likely be asked to decide on the measure in November.

It's still got a ways to go, though.

First, the County Auditor's office will verify that at least the minimum number of signatures match registered city voters and aren't duplicated, and then send that back to the city clerk.

Then, the City Council has to agree to put the measure on the November ballot by Aug. 1, according to the Auditor's office.

Along the way, it's likely to face heavy criticism, as it has already.

C

ritics of the measure, including railroad companies, say that local governments don't have jurisdiction over rail transportation, but Safer Spokane organizers argue that Congress allows local jurisdictions to put rules in place when it comes to local safety risks.

"The railcar owners could avoid liability by simply covering the coal cars and pre-conditioning the oil to remove the highly flammable liquid gas like they do in Texas," Safer Spokane states under the "Frequently Asked Questions" section of its website. "The law would not ban oil or coal trains, but would require modest safety measures to substantially reduce the chances of a fiery derailment in downtown Spokane."

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Maryland, D.C. sue Trump over emoluments clauses, Riverfront Park pavilion's cover up in the air, and morning headlines

Posted By on Mon, Jun 12, 2017 at 9:24 AM


ON INLANDER.COM


NEWS: A Spokane public defender who helps defend poor and disadvantaged clients is recognized for his work, which among other things includes hosting a free legal clinic and being a leader in Spokane's Community Court.
pavilion.jpg

NEWS: To cover it, or not to cover it? That's the question the Spokane Park Board has put off voting on until next month, while they get more information about what it would take to cover the U.S. Pavilion in Riverfront Park.  

WHAT'S UP?
 Looking for something to do this week? We've got you covered, from baseball to music, food to film.


IN OTHER NEWS

First time for everything
Maryland and D.C. attorneys general filed a lawsuit against President Trump today, alleging that because he hasn't cut ties with his businesses, he's violating the emoluments clauses of the U.S. Constitution, which the New York Times reports is a first: "The complaint enters uncharted legal territory: No state has previously accused a president of violating the emoluments clauses."

Operation 'restoration'

Crews have finished replanting saplings where more than a mile of trees were illegally bulldozed in April, the Spokesman-Review reports. It remains to be seen if the young trees will weather the hot summer, concerned parties pointed out.

Open Sessions
Attorney General Jeff Sessions will testify before Congress on Tuesday; he'll likely be asked about what ousted FBI Director James Comey meant last week when he said the FBI had information "that would have made it 'problematic' for Sessions to be involved in the probe" into Russia and the 2016 election (before he recused himself), reports the Washington Post.
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Sunday, June 11, 2017

THIS WEEK: Crave! NW, NY Dog Film Festival, Bazaar and Spokane Indians opening night

Posted By on Sun, Jun 11, 2017 at 1:01 PM

Opening Night of the Spokane Indians' 2017 Northwest League season is Thursday.
  • Opening Night of the Spokane Indians' 2017 Northwest League season is Thursday.

With kids finishing their school year and summer in full swing, no doubt you need some entertainment options at the ready. Our event listings and Staff Picks are here to help.

Here are some highlights of the week ahead:

Monday, June 12

COMMUNITY | An intriguing discussion happening at the Coeur d'Alene Public Library, as a panel including activists and historians will tackle "The Role of Blacks in Idaho."

Tuesday, June 13

LIVE BANDS | Seattle blues-rockers Ayron Jones and the Way return to kick out some Happy Hour jams at the Hotel RL. We wrote about the band a little while back, so a free gig seems a nice way to spend a Tuesday afternoon. Here's a little sample of his sound:


OUTDOORS | The South Hill Library hosts a representative from the Washington Trails Association; she'll drop some knowledge about "Hikes in the Spokane Area." A perfect primer for summer, and it's free at 6 pm.

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Today | Fri | Sat | Sun | Mon | Tue | Wed
Moore-Turner Heritage Gardens Tours

Moore-Turner Heritage Gardens Tours @ Moore-Turner Heritage Gardens

Thu., June 22, Thu., July 13, Sun., July 16, Thu., July 20, Sun., July 23, Thu., July 27, Sun., July 30 and Thu., Aug. 31

All of today's events | Staff Picks

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