Monday, November 20, 2017

Minus Kam and Sherm, Seahawks host Falcons on Monday Night Football

Posted By on Mon, Nov 20, 2017 at 2:56 PM

Russell Wilson, Thomas Rawls and the rest of the Seahawks hope to have something to celebrate tonight in their only Monday Night Football appearance when they host the Falcons, who knocked them out of last season's NFC playoffs. - SEAHAWKS.COM
  • Russell Wilson, Thomas Rawls and the rest of the Seahawks hope to have something to celebrate tonight in their only Monday Night Football appearance when they host the Falcons, who knocked them out of last season's NFC playoffs.

In the aftermath of Richard Sherman's season-ending ruptured Achilles tendon, Seahawks fans could at least take comfort in the return of Earl Thomas, who plays Monday night after a two-game, three-week absence as the 5-4 Falcons, away from home for the fourth time in their past five games and looking nothing like the NFC champions they were just nine months ago, come calling.

But that was before the news that Kam Chancellor's season is almost certainly over as well, ended by a neck injury — first diagnosed as a stinger — he suffered in the Cardinals' final possession in the Hawks' costly 22-16 victory at Arizona on Nov. 9. The Hawks are likely to place the four-time Pro Bowl strong safety on injured reserve, ending his season early for the first time in his eight-year career.

What was likely Chancellor's final game of 2017 was also his best — nine of his team-high 10 tackles were solo stops; he knocked down a Drew Stanton pass; forced Adrian Peterson's fumble on the first play from scrimmage, setting the Hawks up at the Cardinals' 48; and tackled Peterson, like Chancellor a future Hall of Famer, in the end zone for a safety that gave the Hawks a 9-7 lead early in the second quarter.

As with fellow eight-year veteran Thomas, who has inserted himself into Comeback Player of the Year discussion — he broke the tibia in his left leg in Week 13, ending his 2016 season — Chancellor entered the season coming off surgery, in his case to remove bone spurs from both ankles.

In this case, the next man up is Bradley McDougald, signed away from the Buccaneers as a free agent to a one-year, $2 million deal in March, a little-noted transaction at the time that's proving to be a big deal in light of the Seahawks' suddenly injury-riddled secondary.

McDougald spent the past two games filling in for Thomas, a four-time Pro Bowl free safety who along with middle linebacker Bobby Wagner is the quarterback of Seattle's defense, responsible for diagnosing offensive formations and getting his teammates in the right position before the ball is snapped.

Now McDougald switches over to strong safety, where he's tasked with replacing Chancellor, the defense's soul, a physical, intimidating enforcer and tone-setter.

At 6-1, 210, McDougald was a bigger option at free safety than the 5-10, 202-pound Thomas, but at strong safety is nowhere near Chancellor's chiseled 6-foot-3, 230-pound frame. In three-plus seasons in Tampa Bay, the fifth-year pro with strong ball skills — he was a two-way player (wide receiver/safety) his first two college seasons at Kansas — started 36 games at free safety, including 31 of 32 his final two years.

The cavalry has arrived in a besieged Seahawks secondary in the form of Byron Maxwell, who spent his first four seasons with Seattle, playing a meaningful role on two Super Bowl teams, but left in 2015 for a six-year, $63 million free-agent deal from the Eagles; he played just one season in Philadelphia before being dealt to Miami. The Hawks are fortunate to still have another veteran corner in Jeremy Lane, who steps in for Sherman; the nickel back, sent to Houston in the Duane Brown trade three weeks ago, was returned by the Texans after failing his physical.

It will be the first time since January 2011 that the Seahawks take the field without Sherman's presence as a shutdown corner; since then, their defense has never been without two among the trio of Sherman, Thomas and Chancellor.

Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan has had success against the Seahawks, even with all of thei best defensive backs healthy, secondary with all of its best players healthy, completing two-thirds of his passes and averaging 260 yards in six games against the Hawks under Pete Carroll, and throwing for three touchdowns in four of them, including a 36-20 victory in January in an NFC divisional playoff game in Atlanta.

Former Huskies and USC head coach Steve Sarkisian, regarded as an offensive savant of sorts at the college level and hired by then-Trojans coach Carroll in 2001, has been a bust in his first season as offensive coordinator in Atlanta, responsible for an offense that has scored just 197 points (a 21.9 average) through nine games; the Falcons racked up 540 points (a 33.8 average) last season under Kyle Shanahan, who left to coach the 49ers.

As long as Russell Wilson (290 yards, one touchdown, four fumbles; Seattle has recovered all of them) remains the Seahawks' leading rusher, they're going to have a tough time advancing in the playoffs — if they even get there. If the season ended right now, they'd be the NFC's sixth seed, with no possibility of a home playoff game. A loss to the Falcons would knock the Hawks down to a tie for seventh in the conference; a win would tie them with the Rams, who lost 24-7 at Minnesota on Sunday, for the NFC West lead.

But an even bigger factor in making (or not making) the postseason has been a constant all season — the team most likely to beat the Seahawks is the Seahawks. It's not just the sheer volume of penalties — 94 for 780 yards, both league highs — it's their timing and the detrimental effect they've had on this team's momentum on offense, and lack of ability to blunt opponents' momentum on defense.

C.J. Prosise's sprained ankle vs. Arizona doesn't help matters, though Prosise, a second-year player from Notre Dame, has played in only five games, getting just 11 carries for a paltry 2.1 yards per. He's averaging a career-high 14.5 receiving yards, but on just six catches. Next man up is Mike Davis, a third-year pro signed off the practice squad who represents a far more conventional running back skill set than the speedy but fragile Prosise. Seattle lists left tackle Duane Brown (ankle) and defensive tackle Jarran Reed (hamstring) as questionable. Also out are outside linebacker Michael Wilhoite (calf) and Luke Joeckel (knee), who has started every game at left guard and will be replaced by rookie Ethan Pocic.

The Seahawks, the most successful team in the history of Monday Night Football (23 victories in 34 games, 67.7 winning percentage) have won 11 consecutive Monday night games dating back to 2005, second only to the Raiders' 14 straight wins from 1975 to 1981.
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Claudia Castro Luna named Washington's fifth state poet laureate

She'll succeed Spokane's Tod Marshall

Posted By on Mon, Nov 20, 2017 at 1:34 PM

Claudia Castro Luna will be the next Washington State Poet Laureate. - TIMOTHY AGUERO/COURTESY HUMANITIES WASHINGTON
  • Timothy Aguero/courtesy Humanities Washington
  • Claudia Castro Luna will be the next Washington State Poet Laureate.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee tabbed Seattle's Claudia Castro Luna as the fifth state poet laureate. She'll start her two-year term on Feb. 1, 2018, taking the reins from current poet laureate and Spokane resident and Gonzaga professor Tod Marshall.

Castro Luna becomes the first immigrant and woman of color to fill the role; her family fled war-torn El Salvador for America when she was a teenager, back in 1981. Despite their hardship, her parents always pushed the importance of education, and she later earned an MFA in poetry and MA in urban planning. After working as a K-12 teacher, Castro Luna became Seattle's first Civic Poet.

"Claudia grew up knowing firsthand the importance of literature, particularly its power in trying times," said Karen Haren, executive director of the Washington State Arts Commission, in a statement accompanying the announcement of Castro Luna's selection. "This has given her the ability to connect with a range of people, and her experience as an immigrant will enable the program to reach new communities. She's also wonderfully inventive — it's clear she'll take this role to new and exciting places."

Like those who served in the role before her, Castro Luna is expected to travel far and wide in the state to advocate poetry's importance and power. Current Washington State Poet Laureate Tod Marshall has crisscrossed the state numerous times, and created WA129, a collection of poetry by writers in the state, dedicated to voices of both established poets and novices.

On Wed., Nov. 29, Marshall and some of the poets from WA129 will read at Wolff Auditorium on the Gonzaga campus at 7:30 pm.

Castro Luna will take over the position at a "Passing of the Laurels" ceremony at the Seattle Public Library main branch on Jan. 31.
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Please don't feed the Zags; plus, new faces finding the Kennel a friendly home

Posted By on Mon, Nov 20, 2017 at 12:27 PM

All hail Josh Perkins, Prince of Park Hill! - LIBBY KAMROWSKI
  • Libby Kamrowski
  • All hail Josh Perkins, Prince of Park Hill!

While a 3-0 record was expected for a team fresh off of a Final Four run, there were still plenty of questions regarding how this Gonzaga team was going to get it done. Here are some early storylines from the Zags' three-game homestand as they tooled up for their big non-conference slate.

The right wing and the wings
In this early season, Josh Perkins has shown an assertiveness that we hadn't seen from him in his first two full seasons. His three-point shot attempts have nearly doubled from last year (going from 4.2 to 8.0 per game) while improving to a 45.8 shooting percentage. Credit goes to him for hunting his shot, but also knowing where his bread gets buttered.

Perhaps two-thirds of Perkins' makes from beyond the arc come from the right wing, the spot he often finds the ball during some of the Zags' elite ball movement. It's been agreed upon that for the remainder of his time as Gonzaga's chief ballhandler, that the right wing be referred to as Park Hill, the domain of Josh Perkins, Prince of Park Hill.

Speaking of wings: boy, does Gonzaga all of a sudden have a lot of them. Since the "Decade of Excellence" has grown to become a double decade of excellence, the increase in caliber of recruits and player development has not gone unnoticed. While a fun bar-rail debate can be found in whether Gonzaga is a guard or big-man mill, it was safe to say that the wing position was never the program's forte.

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MONDAY MORNING PLACEKICKER: 7 wins not enough for EWU, no bowl for Idaho

Posted By on Mon, Nov 20, 2017 at 10:57 AM

It was a limited football schedule over the weekend; Washington State enjoyed a bye week before next Saturday's Apple Cup in Seattle, with the Pac-12 North Division title at stake for the Cougars. Whitworth's season ended last week, and the Seahawks don't play until tonight. Eastern Washington won big on Saturday, then lost big Sunday morning, and Idaho started its gift-giving early, handing a 1-9 team its second win. Your Monday Morning Placekicker:

Nic Sblendorio ended his Eastern Washington career with a bang, catching nine of Gage Gubrud's passes for 273 yards, including touchdwns of 60 and 74 yards, Saturday in Cheney as the Eagles soared past Portland State 59-33. - EWU ATHLETICS
  • EWU Athletics
  • Nic Sblendorio ended his Eastern Washington career with a bang, catching nine of Gage Gubrud's passes for 273 yards, including touchdwns of 60 and 74 yards, Saturday in Cheney as the Eagles soared past Portland State 59-33.


Eastern Washington fans head to be feeling good Saturday night: the Eagles had pounded Portland State 59-33 at Roos Field, ending a regular season that fell short of lofty expectations on a high note and leaving the door open to a trip to the 24-team Football Championship Subdivision playoffs and the chance to pursue the school's second FCS title.

A few hours later, reality hit home as the FCS snubbed Eastern, which had hoped to receive one of 14 at-large berths. Only three teams from the Big Sky Conference, perceived to have had a down year, made the field — champion Southern Utah (9-2, 6-1), which beat Eastern 46-28 a month ago; runner-up Weber State (9-2, 7-1), a 28-20 winner last week in Cheney; and Northern Arizona, like the Eagles 7-4 overall and 6-2 in Big Sky play; the Lumberjacks did not play Eastern this season. It was only the second time in the past six years that EWU, which advanced to the semifinals last year, failed to qualify for the FCS playoffs.

There was nothing wrong with the Eagles' performance against the Vikings — Gage Gubrud rebounded strongly from a one-game suspension, completing 17 of 32 passes for 445 yards and four touchdowns and running for 67 more yards. Senior wide receiver Nic Sblendorio caught nine of Gubrud's passes for a career-high 273 yards — 2 shy of the Eastern record of 275 set by Cooper Kupp, now with the NFL's Los Angeles Rams, at Northern Colorado in 2015 — including touchdowns of 60 and 74 yards. Running back Antoine Custer ended his sophomore year in style with a career-high 177 yards and touchdowns of 6, 27 and 28 yards.

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Charles Manson dead at 83, ongoing problems at Hanford, morning headlines

Posted By on Mon, Nov 20, 2017 at 9:51 AM


'Lemon Pepper Chicken'
We asked Mark Anderson, Spokane's new poet laureate, four questions.

Space Needle discovery
After decades, a long-forgotten time capsule has been discovered near the Space Needle's main elevators. (via New York Times)


Nuclear option at Hanford
The board charged with oversight of the Hanford radioactive waste cleanup is sounding the alarm on "design problems that risk explosive and radioactive releases," a new report shows. Some wonder if the board's report will have any impact, and whether the board itself will still exist under President Trump. (Seattle Times)

Charles Manson dies in prison
The serial murderer and leader of a cult "family," Charles Manson, is dead at 83: Remember his victims. (Los Angeles Times)

Walking while black in Florida
Five years of data for tickets issued to pedestrians in Florida reveal disproportionate impact on black people, especially those living in poor neighborhoods. (ProPublica, Florida Times-Union)
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Sunday, November 19, 2017

THIS WEEK: TSO, The Pack A.D., Silver Treason and FriendsGiving celebration

Posted By on Sun, Nov 19, 2017 at 1:01 PM

Spokane roots crew Silver Treason plays at nYne on Friday with Whiskey Dick Mountain.
  • Spokane roots crew Silver Treason plays at nYne on Friday with Whiskey Dick Mountain.

Hopefully you all have a short week so you can enjoy some family and friends time at Thanksgiving, and beyond. Here are some options to keep everyone entertained, as draw from our event listings and Staff Picks.

Monday, Nov. 20

FILM | Head to the Magic Lantern for the latest in their Monday Night Movies series, Private Violence. The movie delves into domestic violence through the eyes of two survivors.

Tuesday, Nov. 21

COMEDY | Join a slew of Spokane's funniest folks at the Bartlett for the Spokane Comedy Mixtape Vol. 2 live recording from the club's stage.

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Friday, November 17, 2017

Trump's selective outrage, Navy pilot draws a phallus in the sky, morning headlines

Posted By on Fri, Nov 17, 2017 at 9:21 AM


NEWS: A member of the Kettle Falls Five wants Congress to keep states' protection for medical marijuana.

NEWS: Days before regulators will decide whether to grant the final permit needed to begin construction on the controversial Keystone XL pipeline, a pipeline constructed by the same company spilled 210,000 gallons in South Dakota yesterday. (via New York Times)


Look up! No, don't...
A Navy pilot thought it would be funny to trace a penis in the sky with an aircraft's contrails above Okanogan County. The Naval Air Station in Whidbey Island is taking the matter very seriously, telling KREM that "we find this absolutely unacceptable, of zero training value and we are holding the crew accountable."

Choose your own outrage
Donald Trump, the president who has been accused by more than a dozen women of sexual harassment or misconduct and has bragged about sexually assaulting women, criticized Sen. Al Franken yesterday after allegations surfaced that the Minnesota Democrat forcibly kissed and groped a woman on a USO tour in 2006, two years before he was elected to the Senate.

Trump remains silent, however, on the allegations that Alabama Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore sexually assaulted several underage girls decades ago. (Associated Press)

Lake City HS student arrested
Following a string of threats at the school, a Lake City High School student was arrested yesterday for referencing a gun while verbally threatening another student. (CdA Press)

Tax reform
Republican members of the House passed a sweeping $1.5 trillion tax cut yesterday, despite objections from Democrats that it only benefits corporations and the rich at the expense of the middle class. The Senate is coming up with its own bill. (New York Times)
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Thursday, November 16, 2017

One of the Kettle Falls Five encourages Congress to keep states' protection for medical marijuana

Posted By on Thu, Nov 16, 2017 at 3:12 PM

Two members of the so-called Kettle Falls Five: Larry Harvey — who died in 2015 — and his wife, Rhonda Firestack-Harvey, on land where they once grew medical marijuana near Colville. - YOUNG KWAK PHOTO
  • Young Kwak photo
  • Two members of the so-called Kettle Falls Five: Larry Harvey — who died in 2015 — and his wife, Rhonda Firestack-Harvey, on land where they once grew medical marijuana near Colville.

This week Rhonda Firestack-Harvey is back in Washington, D.C., speaking to members of Congress about the budget bill that saved her family.

Firestack-Harvey is one member of a family which has become known as the Kettle Falls Five. They gained national attention in 2012 when federal agents raided their medical marijuana farm north of Colville. Despite the fact that the grow was in compliance with state medical marijuana law, three of the five were convicted in 2015.

One defendant, a family friend, took a plea deal before trial. Firestack-Harvey's husband, Larry, was dismissed from the case after he was diagnosed with cancer. Larry Harvey died in 2015, six months after the charges were dropped.

The three appealed their convictions, and have waited years while the case has lingered in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Late last month, U.S. Attorneys announced in a brief that "the Department of Justice has decided not to prosecute this case further."

The reason the feds were not allowed to spend money prosecuting the medical grow? A budget appropriations bill known as the Rohrabacher-Farr Amendment, which passed in 2014 after Harvey lobbied Congress.

The bill prohibits the federal government from spending money to block states from implementing legal medical marijuana laws, including criminal prosecutions. It has been renewed each year since 2014, but expires next month. It is unclear whether that section of the budget bill will be renewed for 2018.

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who has been vocal about his disdain for marijuana, earlier this year asked Congress to eliminate the bill.

"It's not over yet," Firestack-Harvey says in a phone interview from D.C. "This is about protecting everybody in the cannabis world."

From Wednesday through Friday, she says she'll be speaking with representatives to tell her story.
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Robert's Rules: Auntie's hosts Inlander columnist's book release

Posted By on Thu, Nov 16, 2017 at 1:30 PM

Spokane has undergone a great deal of change over the past quarter-century. Robert Herold has weighed in on most of it, registering his take on history and helping to make it happen.

A member of the Inlander family since 1994, Herold has 
been an editorial pillar of the newspaper, a voice of conscience — and prescience — for a then-fledgling weekly finding its wings. His mission mirrors that of the Inlander: to help make Spokane a better place to live. And if there's anything that comes through in his writing, it's how passionate he is about Spokane, how much he cares about this city and region.

The Inlander has published a compilation of some of Herold’s most memorable columns — words that resonate and stand the test of time, that speak to our future, not just our present and past — as the newspaper approaches its own quarter-century of reflecting life in Spokane and the Inland Northwest.

Robert’s Rules: Selected Columns: 1994-2007 is an reintroduction to Spokane’s not-so-distant past, to the rise of the strong-mayor system and the fall of Jim West, the rebuilt Riverfront Park and the [thankfully] never-built Lincoln Street Bridge.

Herold, a Gonzaga political science professor for the past 17 years following 31 years as a professor and administrator at Eastern Washington University, reads from Robert's Rules Wednesday, Nov. 29, at Auntie's.

The book’s 87 entries are divided roughly into thirds, with 9/11 as the first line of demarcation and the Great Recession as the second; the book’s latter two-thirds moves beyond Spokane and the Inland Northwest to address national and international politics.

“I hope a kind of panoramic view of recent Spokane political history emerges from a reading of these columns,” Herold says. “Spokane, to some extent in the last 20 years, has benefited from a string of positive unintended consequences.”

Robert Herold reads from Robert’s Rules • Wed, Nov. 29 at 7 pm • Free • Auntie’s Books • 402 W. Main • • 838-0206
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New blood-pressure guidelines; human stem cells heal rats' spinal injuries

Posted By on Thu, Nov 16, 2017 at 12:53 PM

Get (that blood pressure) down!
Stark new recommendations about optimal blood pressure may have many reaching for a home monitor to see if they're at risk for complications like heart attack and stroke, in a story also reported on, via the New York Times.

Previously, blood pressure was considered high if it 
topped out over 140/90 mm  Hg, but that's no longer the case. Now people with blood-pressure readings of 130-139/80-89 mm Hg will be considered to have high blood pressure. The American Heart Association announced the new guidelines in a statement this week, noting the dangers of blood pressure higher than 130/80.

“We want to be straight with people — if you already have a doubling of risk, you need to know about it. It doesn’t mean you need medication, but it’s a yellow light that you need to be lowering your blood pressure, mainly with non-drug approaches," said the guideline's lead author.

Here are the new categories:
Normal: Less than 120 mm Hg for systolic and 80 mm Hg for diastolic.
Elevated: Between 120-129 for systolic, and less than 80 for diastolic.
Stage 1 hypertension: Between 130-139 for systolic or between 80-89 for diastolic.
Stage 2 hypertension: At least 140 for systolic or at least 90 mm Hg for diastolic.

Learn about how, and why, to lower your blood pressure from our InHealth archives:

Healing spinal-cord injury
Paraplegic rats regained the ability to walk and sensation was restored in their hindquarters after Israeli scientists implanted human stem cells along their severed spinal cords, according to research published this week. The stem cells were obtained from the mouths of human donors:

"Three weeks after introduction of the stem cells, 42 percent of the implanted paraplegic rats showed a markedly improved ability to support weight on their hind limbs and walk. 75 percent of the treated rats also responded to gross stimuli to the hind limbs and tail. In contrast, control paraplegic rats that did not receive stem cells showed no improved mobility or sensory responses," says the study's lead researcher.

Research is ongoing to determine why some rats didn't respond: "Although there is still some way to go before it can be applied in humans, this research gives hope."
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Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition

Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition @ Northwest Museum of Arts & Culture

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