Friday, September 22, 2017

Family member of slain Cheney marijuana store employee speaks out

Memorial benefit honoring Cameron Smith tonight at downtown's Unforgiven Lounge

Posted By on Fri, Sep 22, 2017 at 10:12 AM

When Cameron Smith found out that his cousin was 
Cameron Smith (right) with his cousin, Eric. The two were like brothers. - COURTESY OF ERIC SMITH
  • Courtesy of Eric Smith
  • Cameron Smith (right) with his cousin, Eric. The two were like brothers.
losing his sight, he took him to the movies. The pair saw See No Evil, Hear No Evil, a comedy about a blind man and a deaf man who witness a murder.

"He was like 'Easy,' you gotta laugh and not let these things get you down," Smith's cousin, Eric Smith, says, referring to his nickname. He says Cameron's lighthearted reassurance that day, and in the time since, helped him come to terms with his vision loss.

That kind of dependability was typical for the man Eric Smith considers a brother. So when news spread that Cameron had been kidnapped, Eric Smith says, the calls came flooding in.

"Everybody knew Cam," he says.

Cameron was kidnapped at gunpoint from outside the Cheney marijuana store where he worked earlier this month. The 46-year-old was eating lunch in his car when a disgruntled man fired twice into the driver's side window, according to surveillance footage. The man then got into Cameron's car and drove away with him still inside.

Police have arrested the suspect, Donovan Culps, in what appears to be a random act of violence. Culps admitted to killing Cameron during an interview with a local TV news station, saying "I was having a bad day. A very bad day, and he got the ugly side of it."

Before he shot Cameron, Culps was reportedly denied entry to the pot shop because he didn't have an ID, employees have said.

Police found Cameron's body days later.

"He told me he was so happy being in Washington," Eric Smith says now from his home in Atlanta. "He would say 'Easy, man, this is the best move I made. Makin' money, workin' hard. I'm about to have my million by the time I'm 50."

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North Korea calls Trump a "dotard," Washington a big loser in GOP health care bill, morning headlines

Posted By on Fri, Sep 22, 2017 at 9:24 AM

Kim Jong-un is shaping up to be as aggressive as a leader as his dad.
  • Kim Jong-un is shaping up to be as aggressive as a leader as his dad.


"Maria destroyed us"
Devastating damage is widespread and 100 percent of the island of Puerto Rico is without power in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria. (via New York Times)

The value of seeing Dad try to figure out how to start the lawnmower
Why letting your children see you struggle to meet your goals can be vital for building their own resilience.


Shell game
How a big conglomeration of companies created a bogus shell company to win a big Hanford contract. (Spokesman-Review)

The lawyers are due on Monroe Street
Monroe Street businesses have filed a $15 million lawsuit to try to stop the Monroe Street lane reduction. (Spokesman-Review)

Powerful Spokane developer in serious 4-wheeler crash

Harley Douglass, son of wealthy Spokane real estate tycoon Harlan Douglass, was left with serious injuries, while his brother-in-law was killed. (Spokesman-Review)

Life imitates South Park

North Korea leader Kim Jong-un is not happy with President Trump, calling him, among other things, a mentally deranged dotard. (New York Times)

Winners and losers
Most states, including Washington, would stand to lose major health care funding if the Senate's Cassidy-Graham health care bill passes. But because Idaho didn't take the initial Medicaid expansion dollars, it would see significant increases. (Washington Post)

Send in the drones

Remember how those on the antiwar left and the libertarian right were upset at President Obama's use of drones? Trump plans to use them even more aggressively. (The Atlantic)

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Thursday, September 21, 2017

Infants imitate adult persistence, 8 no-bake desserts under 300 calories, and charcoal's role in skin care

Posted By on Thu, Sep 21, 2017 at 2:36 PM

You'd never guess by looking at this bowl of deliciousness, but this no-bake dessert comes in at less than 300 calories.
  • You'd never guess by looking at this bowl of deliciousness, but this no-bake dessert comes in at less than 300 calories.

Let them see you struggle!
"Grit" is the new buzzword in parenting — in our efforts to create a happy life for our kids, how can we raise them to also persist in the face of challenges? New research shows one way to do just that is to let them observe you working hard to solve your own problems.

“It fits with a lot of prior research showing that infants are good at imitating adults’ goals,” says Temple University psychology professor Liz Gunderson, “but it goes one step further in showing that infants can imitate adults’ persistence toward a goal.”

It's time for treats

All of a sudden, it's darn cold outside! While decadent desserts seem like a deserved reward for endearing rainy, inclement weather, in the long run, you know they're not a great idea. Fear not! Here's a collection of eight dessert recipes that fit right into your healthy diet.

Skin losing that summer glow?
Are skin-care products with activated charcoal the answer? "It's basically awesome for getting into pores and sticking to dead skin cells, excess debris and sebum [oil secreted by pores] — that's why it's popular," says Stephanie Guerra, whose Spokane-based natural skin-care line, Kani Botanicals, includes a few products containing activated charcoal. Here's what you need to look for to make sure the product you are considering will be effective.
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Raúl Labrador on the DREAM Act, punky protest, purse snatchers and morning headlines

Posted By on Thu, Sep 21, 2017 at 9:38 AM


Idaho Congressman Raúl Labrador: A change of heart on immigration.
  • Idaho Congressman Raúl Labrador: A change of heart on immigration.
IMMIGRATION: As an attorney advocating for immigrants, Raúl Labrador argued in favor of the DREAM Act to protect people who came to the United States illegally as young children. As a congressman and candidate for Idaho governor, things have changed.

PUNKS: New York-based punk band the Casualties is playing a controversial show at The Pin! next Monday. But allegations of sexual assault against the band's frontman Jorge Herrera have drawn the ire of the local punk community. In protest, four women-fronted punk bands will also play at Mootsy's the same night.  Donations at the door will go toward the YWCA and the Spokane chapter of the National Organization for Women.

LAWSUIT: The only privately owned prison company in Washington state is accused of paying detainees $1 per day, or in some cases in chips, soda and snacks, for maintenance of Tacoma's Northwest Detention Center. Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson says that's a violation of the state's minimum wage laws.


One man and two women face criminal charges for stealing the purse of a Freeman High School mother while she ran to the school, unsure whether her children were alive, wounded or dead. The trio allegedly racked up more than $36,000 in fraudulent charges. (KHQ)

More than 850,00 Washington and Idaho residents could lose health care coverage if the most recent Republican bill, known as Graham-Cassidy, becomes law. The U.S. Senate is scheduled to vote on the legislation by the end of the month. (Spokesman-Review)

At least 230 people — including 21 children and four adults in a school — are dead after a devastating 7.1 magnitude earthquake rocked Mexico on Tuesday. Rescue crews are still frantically searching through the rubble. (The Guardian)   

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Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Apply to become Spokane's next Poet Laureate!

Posted By on Wed, Sep 20, 2017 at 4:42 PM

Spokane's third Poet Laureate has yet to be named, and 
Spokane's soon-to-be outgoing Poet Laureate, Laura Read.
  • Spokane's soon-to-be outgoing Poet Laureate, Laura Read.
Spokane Arts needs your help — before the end of this month — to do so. 

The two-year appointment of the city's official poetry position is much more than a title. Poet Laureates are tasked with promoting and supporting an appreciation of literary arts in the greater Spokane area through events, workshops and other programming. Here are some more specifics on the position's responsibilities, directly from Spokane Arts' Poet Laureate application form:
"As both a local resident and a distinguished poet, the Poet Laureate will represent and celebrate the rich literary history and the diversity of Eastern Washington. As a spokesperson for the area’s literary community, the Poet Laureate will help reinforce the role of literature in civic life and will actively participate in ceremonial, educational and cultural activities in the community during the  term of service. The Poet Laureate program is administered by Spokane Arts. Interested poets must submit their own application; there is no nomination process."

Do note that last bit: "Interested poets must submit their own application." So, everyone reading this post, if you know a locally based, profound penner of poetry, encourage them to fill out the application, like ASAP! The deadline to apply is Saturday, Sept. 30.

Current Spokane Poet Laureate Laura Read (click the link to see her contributions to the Inlander's 2016 Poetry Issue) passes the torch to her predecessor during the Spokane Arts Awards on Nov. 4, an event that serves as the culmination of Create Spokane Arts Month in October. Read has served as Spokane's Poet Laureate since October 2015; the next person to hold the position will serve until the city's fou rth Poet Laureate is appointed in the fall of 2019.

Spokane's first Poet Laureate, who helped usher in the literary program, was award-winning local writer and Whitworth University professor Thom Caraway.
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WSU Spokane researcher exploring if online pain management tool can reduce opioid use

Posted By on Wed, Sep 20, 2017 at 3:45 PM

For people trying to manage chronic or persistent pain, it's possible that online programs may help.

Marian Wilson, assistant professor at Washington State University's College of Nursing in Spokane, has focused her research on helping people use online resources and alternative techniques to manage their pain and mental health, with an eye on empowering people to feel more confident in their ability to handle their own health.

As insurers and doctors are getting more reluctant to prescribe opioids for long-term pain treatment, that research is more important now, Wilson says.

"Especially now when we’re finding a lot of people with 
difficulty getting doctors to fill prescriptions, clinics are closing down and physicians are prescribing less, we have this growing group of people that relied on opioids, but are now having their access cut off," she says. "We never want those people to stay in pain and have no options."

In recent years, Wilson studied whether tools, such as the Goalistics Chronic Pain Management Program, are effective for helping people deal with pain.

Over the next five years, that work will continue, as she specifically investigates whether Goalistics can help people not only manage their pain better, but also reduce their dosage or help them stop using opioids.

The program teaches patients to recognize their own negative thinking, gives them tips for meditation and physical activity that can reduce pain, and explores social relationships, which can become strained for people with persistent pain, Wilson says.

"It aims to target some of the psychological aspects of pain management that people who have not been to a specific pain management clinic or a cognitive behavioral therapist might not have been exposed to, or if they have, maybe haven't been adopted into practice," she says.

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Washington AG sues for-profit prison company that pays inmates in chips and candy

Posted By on Wed, Sep 20, 2017 at 3:19 PM

Protestors outside the Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma bring attention to dreadful conditions on the inside. - COURTESY OF THE NWDC RESISTANCE
  • Courtesy of the NWDC Resistance
  • Protestors outside the Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma bring attention to dreadful conditions on the inside.

In exchange for cooking, doing laundry, cleaning bathrooms and working on the overall upkeep of Washington state's only privately owned prison, its inmates are paid about $1 per day. Or they're given a few extra snacks. Both are violations of the state's minimum wage law, according to a lawsuit filed today by the state Attorney General's Office against the company that operates the facility.

"A multi-billion dollar corporation is trying to get away with paying its workers $1 per day," AG Bob Ferguson says in a prepared statement. "That shouldn't happen in America, and I will not tolerate it happening in Washington. For-profit companies cannot exploit Washington workers."

Washington's lawsuit, filed in Pierce County, alleges that the GEO Group, Inc. is violating the state's minimum wage laws by paying Northwest Detention Center detainees a pittance for work that's required to maintain the facility.

NWDC, located in Tacoma, houses people awaiting civil immigration hearings or deportation. As of January 2017, Washington's minimum wage law requires that workers earn at least $11 an hour.

The law does not apply to "any resident, inmate or patient of a state, county or municipal correctional, detention, treatment or rehabilitative institution." But, Ferguson argues, "there are no exemptions for private, for-profit facilities like NWDC."

"The bottom line is that a fair wage should be paid for a day of work," says Joel Sacks, director of the state Department of Labor and Industries.

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Aww, thanks! Food & Wine magazine sings the praises of Spokane's food and wine scene

Posted By on Wed, Sep 20, 2017 at 2:57 PM


Not that Spokane needs any validation from outsiders — really! we don't! — but it's always nice when someone from outside the region recognizes the inherent awesomeness of the Inland Northwest.

Case in point: this new feature on Food & Wine magazine's website about the wonders of our food and beer scene. The writer, David Landsel, hems and haws a bit about the city's rough reputation before getting to the good stuff and pointing out that the food and drink scene is "so much better than most visitors will be expecting."

"You'll find a great little scene in Spokane," Landsel writes. "Plenty of source-conscious, farm-to-table dining, great farmers markets, not to mention a whole slew of the sort of coffee shops, craft breweries and urban wineries you'd hope to find in this part of the world."

He goes on to name-check Steel Barrel Taproom, the Wandering Table and Barrister Winery, among other Spokane spots.

You can read the entire piece here.
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Hundreds dead in Mexico quake, Hurricane Maria lashes Puerto Rico, morning headlines

Posted By on Wed, Sep 20, 2017 at 9:24 AM

People in Mexico City walk past debris after an powerful 7.1 earthquake struck the metropolitan area of 21 million. - THE NEW YORK TIMES
  • The New York Times
  • People in Mexico City walk past debris after an powerful 7.1 earthquake struck the metropolitan area of 21 million.


EARTHQUAKE: A 7.1 quake struck the central Mexican state of Morelos yesterday; the epicenter was 76 miles south of Mexico City, where at least 44 buildings are reported to have collapsed or been severely damaged, with many people buried under the rubble. The death toll, currently more than 200, is expected to rise. (via New York Times)

With three days left in a long, hot, smoky summer, Schweitzer Mountain Resort in Sandpoint received its first measurable snow yesterday. More snow falling in Montana began extinguishing long-burning wildfires.


Maria slams Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico

After striking the U.S. Virgin Islands as a Category 5 storm, leaving widespread flooding in its wake, Hurricane Maria weakened slightly to Category 4 before slamming into Puerto Rico this morning with winds of 155 miles per hour; at least 12 of 18 inches of rain are predicted, and the entire island is expected to lose power. (New York Times)

More on the Mexican earthquake
Watch: Here's what it looked like during and after yesterday's 7.1 quake. (Los Angeles Times)
• This is just the latest in Mexico's history of cataclysmic earthquakes. (Washington Post)
• In a grim coincidence, yesterday's quake struck on the 32nd anniversary of an 8.0 earthquake in 1985 that claimed thousands of lives. (Los Angeles Times)

I-90 crash claims life of Spokane artist

Michaelanne Foster, a Gonzaga Prep graduate who grew up in Spokane and was a member of the city's Richmond Art Collective and an Inlander contributor, died on Monday night when the car she was driving struck the rear end of a stopped semitruck on I-90 near the Freya overpass. She was 24. (Spokesman-Review)

Preu to hang up his baton
Eckart Preu, the Spokane Symphony's longtime music director and conductor, announced that the 2018-19 season would be his last with the orchestra he has led since 2004. (Spokesman-Review)

Ethics complaint targets 7th District's Kretz

Rep. Joel Kretz, an Omak Republican representing northeast Washington's 7th District, is the subject of an ethics complaint, filed by the group Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, claiming that repeatedly over the past six years, Kretz inappropriately pressured and threatened WSU officials to take action against Dr. Robert Wielgus, a leading wolf researcher. Kretz denies that any ethical violations took place. (Spokane Public Radio)

No boundaries here

Bonners Ferry's Boundary County Library has been named the 2017 "Best Small Library in America" by Library Journal magazine. The annual award, which comes with a $5,000 prize, honors exemplary work of libraries serving populations under 25,000, more than double the size of the North Idaho county. (Spokesman-Review)

Call for action against WSU College Republicans

A dozen Democratic members of the Washington state legislature wrote a letter to WSU President Kirk Schulz urging him to take punitive action against the campus chapter of the College Republicans. James Allsup was forced to resign as WSU College Republicans president last month after the extent of his involvement in the violent, deadly "Unite the Right" rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, was revealed. (Spokesman-Review)

For now, FBI staying put
The federal government canceled a costly, decade-long search for a new Federal Bureau of Investigation headquarters that spanned the Bush, Obama and Trump administrations. (Washington Post)
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Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Your prayers for snow are working; check out this morning's scene at Schweitzer

Posted By on Tue, Sep 19, 2017 at 11:58 AM

Yes, it was smoky and hovering in the 90s a mere 
Marking the year's first snow. - SCHWEITZER MOUNTAIN RESORT
  • Schweitzer Mountain Resort
  • Marking the year's first snow.
couple of weeks ago. And we ended a seemingly endless string of precipitation-free days just a couple of days ago. But for those of us interested in all things winter sports-related, the pictures sent our way from Schweitzer Mountain Resort are enough to get us salivating for snow season.

Check out the scene at the mountain's Sky House:

  • Schweitzer Mountain Resort
  • Schweitzer's Sky House

You can see on this weather radar that there's plenty of precipitation in the mountain areas between Spokane and Missoula; elsewhere in Montana, the early snow has helped with their nasty wildfire season.

Schweitzer is planning on Dec. 1 for its opening day. 49 Degrees North plans to open around Thanksgiving if possible, while Lookout Pass is aiming for Nov. 23. Silver Mountain is likely looking at Thanksgiving weekend, too, if last season is any indication.

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Inland Northwest Craft Beer Fest @ Avista Stadium

Fri., Sept. 22, 4-9 p.m. and Sat., Sept. 23, 12-7 p.m.

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