Friday, May 25, 2018

An inaccurate, right-wing clickbait video prompted death threats to 2018's National Teacher of the Year

Posted By on Fri, May 25, 2018 at 1:39 PM

  • Daniel Walters photo

When Ferris teacher Mandy Manning recieved the National Teacher of the Year award earlier this month, she shook President Donald Trump's hand. Three times.

But that didn't stop a right-wing clickbait farm from acting like she'd snubbed him — sending her a torrent of hate mail, sprinkled with a healthy helping of death threats.

Manning isn't a huge fan of the president, to be clear. As a teacher of refugee and immigrant students, the last year and a half has been a challenge. She's an advisor for the Ferris Gay-Straight Alliance. She's had transgender students on her basketball team.

So when she was invited to the White House as a National Teacher of the Year, she wanted to user her platform to stand up for her students. She brought letters that her immigrant and refugee students wrote to give to the president, to share their stories. She wore pins championing transgender and gay rights issues, intending to show that she was supporting them.

She wasn't going there to be a jerk.

"I was very focused. I've got to make sure that people listen to me, so I can't be totally rude," Manning says at a Pivot Story Slam storytelling show last night. "I was very careful. I was the very best person I could be."

So while she didn't applaud when the president came in the room, she shook his hand as he handed her the letters backstage.

"I said, 'Here are the letters from my students, and I really hope you read them," Manning says. "And he said he would read it. He also said it was very nice and I asked if maybe he would come to visit. So maybe one day he'll come to Spokane!"

And then she shook his hand again before they parted backstage.

She shook Trump's hand again during the public ceremony.

"I was really trying very, very hard to be gracious and polite," Manning tells The Inlander. "There’s a lot of pictures of me out there, and smiling directly at him as he’s giving me my award."

But a right-wing clickbait site called IJR Red put out a different take on Facebook. The video, titled "Teacher of the Year Meets Trump — But Bashes Him the Entire Time," scored to intense violin music, accuses her of outright refusing to shake hands on "multiple occasions."

The video is edited to show a clip of Trump shaking the hand of the teacher next to Manning, to make it look like she refused to shake the hand of Trump.

Continue reading »

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Dolezal accused of welfare fraud, government loses track of 1,500 child immigrants and other morning headlines

Posted By on Fri, May 25, 2018 at 9:11 AM

Rachel Dolezal is being accused of lying to get food stamps - YOUNG KWAK PHOTO
  • Young Kwak photo
  • Rachel Dolezal is being accused of lying to get food stamps


Trash Talk
Ben Stuckart and Karen Stratton rip into Public Works Division director Scott Simmons for how he allegedly treats his employees.

The cost of eviction
Months after Carlyle Care Center shut down its mental health services, one of its former clients wandered off and died of exposure.


Throwing shade
Worried about shade on Riverfront Park, the Plan Commission may reconsider its building height restrictions.

Welfare check on the welfare check
KHQ breaks the latest in the Rachel Dolezal saga: She's being accused of food stamp fraud.  (KHQ)

Imagine 1,500 pictures on 1,500 milk cartons
The government can't keep track of where it sent unaccompanied minors crossing at the borders. (New York Times)

Out for unicorn blood
How a Wall Street Journal reporter took down one of the biggest corporate frauds in Silicon Valley history. (New York Magazine)


How the much-hyped North Korea summit blew up on the launchpad. (Washington Post)

[Insert grisly immigrant-smearing anecdote here]
The Washington Post goes behind the scenes as Trump discusses how he speaks about immigration:

"Acting as if he was at a rally, he then read aloud a few made up Hispanic names and described potential crimes they could have committed, like rape or murder. Then, he said, the crowds would roar when the criminals were thrown out of the country — as they did when he highlighted crimes by illegal immigrants at his rallies, according to a person present for the exchange and another briefed on it later." (Washington Post)
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Thursday, May 24, 2018

NFL says players must stand, racist Sandpoint man reappears and morning headlines

Posted By on Thu, May 24, 2018 at 9:33 AM


NEWS: A woman worked for years to escape a past of drugs and abuse. A routine letter from police sent her back.

FICTION: Motif, a short story by local author Jess Walter.

MUSIC: Can't miss acts at this year's Sasquatch! festival.


"Very white, very racist North Idaho"
So says Sandpoint resident Scott Rhodes on his podcast. Rhodes has been accused by police of spreading racist propaganda in the parking lot at Sandpoint High School and is apparently behind the robocalls aimed at Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein, calling her a "traitorous jew." (Spokesman-Review)

"I own this right here"
So says a Milwaukee Police officer to Milwaukee Bucks guard Sterling Brown as the officer escalates a 2 am confrontation between the two in a Walgreens parking lot in January. The Milwaukee Police Department only just released body camera footage of the encounter that contradicts the officers description of Brown as "aggressive."

The officer initially confronted Brown because he parked illegally across two handicapped spaces. The officer calls for back up and Brown ends up getting shocked with a Taser. The Milwaukee Police chief has apologized for the officer "acting inappropriately." The Bucks called the arrest "shameful and inexcusable." Brown intends to sue. (Deadspin, Sports Illustrated)

Human remains as fertilizer
A deputy coroner in Canyon County, Idaho, has filed a tort claim against the elected Coroner Vicki DeGeus-Morris to the tune of $800,000. Lori LaRoche is accusing her boss of "personal and professional harassment," and claims DeGeus-Morris took unclaimed human remains to use as fertilizer. (Idaho Press Tribune)

From the ground up
A former Chicago White Sox groundskeeper, Nevest Coleman, returned to his job at what is now Guaranteed Rate Field on the South Side after 24 years. He was serving time for the rape and murder of a vicious sexual assault and murder of a 20-year-old woman. DNA evidence led a judge to declare him innocent. District attorneys are sure they had the right man. (ESPN)

So much for that Nobel Peace Prize
Actually, President Donald Trump will not meet with the leader of North Korea, Kim Jong-Un, next month. In a letter to Kim, Trump cited "tremendous anger and open hostility displayed in your most recent statement," as the reason for his cancellation.

Trump apparently didn't like it when a North Korean official called Vice President Mike Pence's comments about the North Korean government "ignorant and stupid." (New York Times)

All rise
NFL owners announced a new policy requiring players to stand for the national anthem or wait in the locker room. Owners, some fans and the president of the United States have rebuked players for kneeling during the national anthem in protest of racial injustice and police brutality — a movement started by former 49er QB Colin Kaepernick.

Kaepernick has filed a grievance against the league, alleging owners colluded to keep him off NFL rosters. Today, we learned that the NFL hired a consulting firm to gauge American's reaction to Kaepernick's 2017 free agency. (Washington Post and Yahoo!)
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Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Third inmate in 12 months commits suicide at the Spokane County Jail

Posted By on Wed, May 23, 2018 at 11:31 AM


A male inmate in the Spokane County Jail attempted suicide last Saturday and was pronounced dead at the hospital Monday, according to a news release from the Spokane County Sheriff's Office.

This is the third suicide of a person who was housed in the jail in the past 12 months. A fourth inmate died in March of this year while in custody at the jail due to a medical issue. That death is still under investigation, Sheriff's Office spokesman Deputy Mark Gregory says. Investigators are waiting on laboratory test results.

Sheriff's detectives are investigating the most recent suicide. The man's name, age and charge have not yet been released.

A jail officer found the man unresponsive in his cell just before 2 pm Saturday and called for assistance, the Sheriff's Office news release says. The man was the only person in his cell, and he was not on suicide watch.

Medical staff and jail officers attempted to revive the man before he was transferred to the hospital. The man was released from jail custody due to the "seriousness of his life-threatening condition," the news release says, and into the custody of his next of kin. He was pronounced dead Monday.

This story is developing and will be updated.
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Visual poetry in Spokane, Northwest wildlife battle caught on camera, Kilauea's wrath and other headlines

Posted By on Wed, May 23, 2018 at 9:30 AM


ART: Using “visual poetry,” Spokane filmmaker documented local poet Ellen Welcker to compete in the Seattle International Film Festival Fly Filmmaking Challenge. Her documentary will premier in Seattle on Monday, May 28.

NEWS: Four North Idaho schools received grant money from the Kootenai County Environmental Alliance to help them learn about their environment.


Fox, eagle, rabbit battle royale
A fox and an eagle battled over a rabbit during the weekend in San Juan Island. The battle was caught on camera by Northwest photographers and shared widely across social media. The victor? The eagle. Duh. (Seattle Times)

Fox kit 1. Eagle 0 #sanjuan #eagles #fox #foxkit #summer2018 #viral

A post shared by Zachary Hartje (@zachary_hartje) on

Spokane deputies arrest man for animal cruelty
Deputies arrested Clinton Burrill on Monday on charges of animal cruelty after discovering a dead and mutilated horse at his residence. Deputies said he killed and likely tortured the animal because his ex-girlfriend didn’t want to be with him anymore. (Spokesman-Review)
Trump tried to fire Robert Mueller a long time ago — but the White House attorney threatened to resign if he did. - WIKIMEDIA COMMONS
  • Wikimedia Commons
  • Trump tried to fire Robert Mueller a long time ago — but the White House attorney threatened to resign if he did.

Oh, the possibilities

The New York Times suggests some potential outcomes for the Mueller investigation, now seemingly in its last days. (New York Times)

Kilauea’s wrath
The Hawaii County Civil Defense agency announced that lava from the Kilauea Volcano had begun to encroach on a significant source of the island’s power, the Puna Geothermal Venture.

"There's a steam release, there's many chemicals, but primarily the critical factor would be hydrogen sulfide, a very deadly gas," said Hawaii's Emergency Management Agency chief, Tom Travis, in reference to what would happen if the lava reached the plant.

Consider this one of the many reasons I’m happy to live here in the Northwest. (NPR)
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Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Spokane filmmaker Kendra Ann Sherrill heads to Seattle for documentary challenge

Posted By on Tue, May 22, 2018 at 4:29 PM

Swirling paint is one of many unique visuals in Sherrill's documentary about local poet Ellen Welcker's collaborative project, The Pink Tablet.  - KENDRA ANN SHERRILL
  • Kendra Ann Sherrill
  • Swirling paint is one of many unique visuals in Sherrill's documentary about local poet Ellen Welcker's collaborative project, The Pink Tablet.

Usually when offered a job, it’s one we’ve applied for.

Not in the case of Spokane filmmaker Kendra Ann Sherrill. Unbeknownst to her, Sherrill was nominated and accepted into this year’s Seattle International Film Festival (SIFF)’s Fly Filmmaking Challenge.

“I was very puzzlingly surprised,” Sherrill says. "I've always wanted to be involved in SIFF in some capacity, and getting this opportunity to do this year was super exciting. So yeah, completely random, but a very happy surprise.”

Sherrill was one of six filmmakers across Washington state selected to participate in the Fly Filmmaking Challenge. The task: make a 5-7-minute documentary on a budget of $500 in 10 weeks. The goal: Highlight an artist and their creative process in your community.

The festival provided a list of different arts disciplines the filmmakers could choose to feature a subject in. From that list, Sherrill, who's also the Spokane International Film Festival's assistant director, settled on literature. Then the search for a subject began. After asking around, she soon she came across Spokane poet Ellen Welcker.

Welcker was in the midst of planning a collaborative performance poetry project called The Pink Tablet. More than a dozen local artists came together to create the staged production back in February. The "feral opera” combined dance, song, spoken word, music and visual stage effects.

After meeting the filmmaker, Welcker says Sherrill left quite the impression on her.

“As soon as we met, I could see why she was selected," Welcker says.

Unlike a traditional documentary with mostly footage of the artist and the performance, Sherrill went for a different approach. With clips of swirling paint and a dollar jerked around on a string, the filmmaker describes her work as a “visual poem.”

“Poetry — it’s not the most tangible of art forms — so I thought it’d be really interesting if the entire film, we just heard Ellen’s words and her voice, because her words are her art,” Sherrill says. “I just wanted to do her justice.”

Kendra Ann Sherrill is a 2014 graduate of the film program at Eastern Washington University. Currently she is an assistant director with the Spokane International Film Festival and serves on the board of the Spokane Film Project. - KENDRA ANN SHERRILL
  • Kendra Ann Sherrill
  • Kendra Ann Sherrill is a 2014 graduate of the film program at Eastern Washington University. Currently she is an assistant director with the Spokane International Film Festival and serves on the board of the Spokane Film Project.
Sherrill's intent was to illustrate the meaning of the performance, rather than simply document it. One of her fears with this approach was how the viewers at SIFF will respond to it.

“[I] 100 percent took a risk because I did not do it the way I think they wanted me to,” Sherrill says, referring to the challenge's judges. “I think they’re gonna be fine with it, but I definitely took a risk.”

One of the major lessons Sherrill took away from working with Welcker was the two artist's contrasting creative processes. Sherrill is a planner, with her work structured and international. Welcker is the opposite. The poet loves to be thrown into the unknown and work by natural instinct, a mindset Sherrill had to adopt for this project.

“When I began to make the film I tried to approach it with my creative process, and I found myself in her creative process of scrambling and trying to use my instincts to figure out things," Sherrill says. "It was just a very interesting trick the universe played on me.”

SIFF was founded in 1976 and is one of the most highly attended film festivals in the country, with more than 140,000 attendees annually. The festival partnered this year with the nonprofit Washington Filmworks to bring back the Fly Filmmaking Challenge after a three-year hiatus. This year marks the first time that challenge was open to anyone in the state.

SIFF runs until June 10, and Sherrill's film, The Pink Tablet, premieres on Monday, May 28, at 3:30 pm at the SIFF Cinema Uptown and will be screened again on June 6. Showtimes for  all the films in the Fly Filmmaking Challenge can be found on SIFF's website.
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With new grants, these North Idaho schools are looking to improve climate science education

Posted By on Tue, May 22, 2018 at 10:30 AM

Timberlake High School students demonstrate how to measure snowpack - WILSON CRISCIONE PHOTO
  • Wilson Criscione photo
  • Timberlake High School students demonstrate how to measure snowpack

In an ongoing effort to further improve climate science education in North Idaho, the Kootenai Environmental Alliance has awarded four North Idaho Schools money for field trips and supplies.

The four grants will provide teachers the resources they need to teach kids about their environment through firsthand experience, the Kootenai Environmental Alliance says.

"Schools don't have the funds to do field trips and buy equipment," says Sharon Bosley, with Kootenai Environmental Alliance.

Spread between four different schools, KEA awarded a total of $2,500. Lake City High School's Outdoor Studies program, which has been featured in the Washington Post, will take $1,000 to use on a field trip to the Coeur d'Alene River where students will test the water quality. Timberlake High School, which the Inlander wrote about in March, was awarded $500 for new kits to test water quality in Spirit Lake and Brickel Creek. Greensferry Elementary got $500 for science kits to study ecosystems and New Visions High School got another $500 for probes for the school's greenhouse.

It may sound like a modest amount of money, but for teachers that can be a huge difference, Bosley says. Timberlake High School, for instance, had students test water last year but didn't have enough kits for all the kids who wanted to participate.

Lake City and Timberlake High Schools both participate in "The Confluence Project," an educational model focusing on water-science education that University of Idaho graduates developed years ago. The KEA helps fund the project. It ends in a "Youth Water Summit" in Coeur d'Alene. That summit, where students present their research at a conference-style event, is on Tuesday.

The projects that students will present at the summit all have to do with the local watershed, which can include snowpack levels, water quality or other watershed issues.

"The kids will get to have a real scientific conference," Bosley says.

Through the year-long project, kids are connected with scientists and professionals from the University of Idaho, the Coeur d'Alene Tribe, Idaho Department of Environmental Quality and others.

So far, students from seven local schools participate in the project.

"Connecting high school youth to local experts is incredibly powerful, and through this process, we are able to enhance science education and critical thinking skills in participating classrooms," says Laura Laumatia, Coeur d'Alene Tribe Lake Management Plan Coordinator. 
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Teen ordered to pay $36 million for wildfire, Pend Oreille flooding to get worse and other morning headlines

Posted By on Tue, May 22, 2018 at 9:19 AM


NEWS: Tererai Trent, who helps provide education to girls in rural Zimbabwe, will share her inspiring story at a Women Helping Women Fund luncheon.


Stabbed man identified
The man stabbed to death last week has been identified as Corey Ward, a cook at Manito Tap House on the South Hill. A suspect in the stabbing has not been arrested yet. (Spokesman-Review)

Meter monitoring
Soon, Avista customers in Washington can track their energy use within a 24-hour period. The so-called "smart meter" system will allow customers to sign up for alerts if their energy use begins to exceed their average consumption. (Spokesman-Review)
The Pend Oreille River between Ione and Cusick off Highway 20. - KEITH CAMPBELL PHOTO
  • Keith Campbell photo
  • The Pend Oreille River between Ione and Cusick off Highway 20.

Flooded with bad news
The flooding is continuing in the Inland Northwest, northeast of Spokane and into North Idaho. The flooding of Pend Oreille River, which already is seeping into people's homes, is only expected to get worse. (KXLY)

The price you pay
The teen who started the destructive Eagle Creek Fire that swept through the Columbia River Gorge has been ordered to pay back over $36 million in restitution. The payment would go toward the U.S. Forest Service and Oregon Department of Transportation. Oregon state law allows payments to stop after a decade if a juvenile completes probation, doesn't commit new offenses and pays on time. (Oregonian)

Trump trade
The trade talks with China have been muddled by infighting within the Trump Administration. The mixed messages within the administration and broadcast to the country have weakened the U.S. position in the talks, the New York Times reports. (New York Times)
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Monday, May 21, 2018

Tererai Trent to share her inspiring story at Women Helping Women Fund lunch

Posted By on Mon, May 21, 2018 at 4:40 PM

  • Dr. Tererai Trent
What makes you rise from your bed in the morning?
What excites you?
If you close your eyes, what world do you want to see?

Rather than merely asking girls and women "What do you want to be when you grow up?" these are the kinds of thought-provoking questions Dr. Tererai Trent wants to talk about. Don't just think outside of the box, she says. Toss it out altogether.

"I want to be asked about what I envision my world to be, given what it is today," Trent says. "What do you think your purpose is in this life and why do you think that’s your purpose?"

Trent's journey to become a Ph.D.-educated woman who helps provide educational opportunities to girls in her rural community in Zimbabwe started years ago after a worker from Heifer International asked her a similarly meaningful question: What are your dreams?

Trent will speak at the Women Helping Women Fund's 26th annual luncheon on Tuesday, May 22, at the Spokane Convention Center, and after more than 30 hours of travel from Zimbabwe to Spokane, she was kind enough to sit down with the Inlander Monday morning to talk about her dreams and how she sees the empowerment of women as the key to the future.

Passion and Defining Your Future

Like her mother before her, and her grandmother before that, Trent was married off as a young teen. She had four children by the time she was 18, and she wasn't given the chance to complete her education, though she badly wanted to.

"I always say that sometimes we become passionate about something because once in a while we were broken with that very thing," Trent says.  "And so when we rise, we find our redemption and our healing in righting or in healing that very thing that once was part of our soul wounds."

Trent tries to focus on the positive work she's doing now, rather than anything from the past, as it's important not to let the bad things that have happened define you, she says.

"Sometimes I think we become fascinated by the ugliness of our past and forget the value that we bring," Trent says. "And as women we need to champion and be inspired by what we are doing as women and never to look at having the ugly past define us."

Her passion became earning her own education and then empowering other women and girls to choose the life they want to lead. That starts with education, knowing they don't need to rely on a man for their livelihood, and being able to choose to have as many or few children as they want, Trent says. It continues with work opportunities, mentorship and building a network of support with other women, she says.

Focusing on Dreams

When she was asked what her dreams were all those years ago, Trent's mother told her to write them down and bury them.

"I come from a culture where they believe the infant, when the baby’s umbilical cord is buried deep in the ground — the female elders, the wisdom carriers — they believe wherever this child goes, their umbilical cord will remind them of their birth place," Trent says. "So my mother said, 'These dreams will follow you wherever you go.'"

When she was about to bury her four dreams — to go to America, to get an undergraduate, a master's, and a Ph.D. — Trent's mother told her to write another.

"My mother said, 'Your dreams will have better meaning when they are tied to the betterment of your community,'" Trent says.

So she wrote a fifth: that she'd be able to come back and provide education for other girls so they wouldn't have the same experiences she'd had.

After taking eight years to earn her GED, Trent went on to Oklahoma State University and earned her bachelor's, master's and Ph.D. After the 20-year journey to achieve her first four dreams, it was time to focus on her fifth.

"Today we have more than 62 million girls worldwide that are being denied the right to an education, and we have about 700 million women today who were either married before the age of 18 or had babies before the age of 18, and I am one of them," Trent says. "That makes it a moral obligation for me to work around those issues, because that’s what pained me, that’s what hurt me, those were my soul wounds. So I find redemption in doing that."

Supporting Education

In 2011, Oprah Winfrey had Trent on her show and donated $1.5 million to help Trent build a school in Zimbabwe. (Oprah later revealed that in 25 years of running her show, Trent was her all-time favorite guest.)

Now, Trent helps with 11 public schools in rural Zimbabwe. There are some kids whose families have opted to let them walk as far as 10 or 12 kilometers each way just to go to school, she says.

And it's not just the education that she's supporting.

Trent helped rally support for a canteen to feed the children lunch, because many of them come from extremely poor families and weren't getting meals before their long walk. Now, she's working on an artisan workshop to provide an employment platform for women so they can earn money to send their children on to college.

"The education of girls is tied to the empowerment of their mothers and grandmothers," Trent says. "If they are not educated and empowered themselves, how can we expect these beautiful human beings to find the resources to send their children to school?"

Change through Resources

Through increased educational opportunities, Trent is seeing real change in her community. Old men now bring their young daughters to her and ask if they too can be successful like she has been.

She's found that it's actually a lot less about shifting cultural beliefs than she once thought.

"All along, I used to think that the men did not want their daughters to go to school," Trent says. "But through this process and experience, I’ve realized, 1) it’s ignorance, 2) they never saw a role model of a woman bringing education and empowering communities, so there was no belief of women doing anything."

When she came back from her time in the U.S. and started building up the school, it came down to resources being the necessary ingredient.

"We are shifting and redefining what we used to think is culture. It’s not. It’s abject poverty," she says. "When you provide resources and empower communities, they are more likely to empower the next generation."

Pulling up Other Women

In everything she does, Trent focuses on how women at the top of the ladder can help pull up the women who are down below, due to poverty, lack of opportunities and circumstance.

She writes about her own life and what can be done to improve the lives of women in her book The Awakened Woman, which came out in October last year.

"Can we rally to help pull these women up, so all of us are in a position where we say, 'We rise. We are awakened women,'" Trent says. "Because it is only through our collectiveness that it is going to make our world a better world."

Trent says that's why she loves the work of the Women Helping Women Fund, which focuses on providing grants to nonprofits that help women and children in ways "that remove the social, economic and educational barriers preventing women from reaching their full intellectual and vocational potential."

"I truly believe that it is going to take the collective of women to change this world," she says.
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Seattle research close to curing cancer, cougar kills Seattle man and other morning headlines

Posted By on Mon, May 21, 2018 at 9:23 AM


NEWS: Berry good news: The Berry-Go-Round ride will be opening in Riverfront Park on Memorial Day.
  • Young Kwak Photo

NEWS: Employees at Spokane's Fire Station 2 have been accused of sexual harassment, bullying and general harassment of probationary firefighters. A human resources  investigation has substantiated some of the claims.

NEWS: Police, prosecutors, judges, victim advocates and survivors gathered for the End the Silence Domestic Violence Town Hall on Thursday to talk about a litany of solutions that could make the criminal justice system better for survivors and help reduce instances of violence.


Cougar kills Seattle man in first deadly cougar encounter in nearly 100 years
Two Seattle men were attacked by a cougar while mountain biking near North Bend on Saturday, and while they initially scared it off, the cougar attacked again and killed one of the men in the first deadly cougar attack in 94 years. (Associated Press)

Don't expect a Seattle-style head tax for homelessness in Spokane
Seattle recently passed a controversial tax on businesses with the most employees and profits to address homelessness, but there doesn't seem to be interest in looking at a similar style tax in Spokane, the Spokesman-Review reports after checking in with elected officials. (Spokesman-Review)

Cancer cure could be close in Seattle
The Seattle Times' Pacific Northwest Magazine reports: In ongoing research at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, patients' immune systems are being tweaked to fight some of the trickiest cancers that resist other treatments, and it's working at incredible rates, enough for some researchers to say cures for some cancers could be very close. (Seattle Times)

Mawwaige, mawwaige is what bwings us heah togevuh todayyyy
If you were stuck under a rock this weekend, you might hear people at the office talking about how some royal people tied the knot. (CNN)
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