30 Years of Inlander: 2019-2020

The years 2019-2020 are complicated. The 2019 Summer Guide was 166 pages long and chock-full of activities for the community to participate in. The following year, the pandemic struck and activities moved to Zoom or came to a halt, thinning out the 2020 Summer Guide to just barely over 100 pages. Though life seemed to stop, the Inlander team worked hard to make sure readers stayed well-informed about the turbulent times we were all living through.


In August 2020, Arts and Culture Editor Chey Scott wrote a cover story called "RACIST RELICS." She didn't mince words. "Col. George Wright rained genocidal terror on local Native peoples, yet the ruthless man is still the namesake of Spokane's Fort George Wright Drive some 160 years later." She went on to talk about other remnants of oppression toward members of minority groups and Indigenous people that remain in the Inland Northwest. Just two months after publication of the article, Fort George Wright Drive was renamed to Whistalks Way in honor of Whist-alks, a female warrior of the Spokane Tribe of Indians who played a large role in the resistance against the brutality of Wright and the U.S. Army.


A theme throughout the culture section in 2020 was the recurring "MY FIRST TIME..." series where writers would embark on brave journeys to explore pieces of media they had never consumed. Former Film and Music Editor Nathan Weinbender, who still occasionally freelances for us, somehow avoided the cultural phenomenon that was Hamilton, and intern Lizzie Oswalt watched Dirty Dancing for the first time. On June 15, 2020, former Editor Dan Nailen wrote the inaugural piece in the series about his first time watching a Harry Potter movie. He brings up some good points about the first movie: "As a kid who grew up with bangs, I look forward to Harry's first effort to do something different with his hair. I hope it goes better for him than it did for me."


In the Sept. 10, 2020, issue of the Inlander, goose poop was at the forefront of the news cycle as Sandpoint, Idaho, deemed the birds' presence a public nuisance. In the story titled "SANDPOINT'S WILD GOOSE CHASE" former staffer Wilson Criscone, who now works as the news and investigations editor for InvestigateWest, describes the scene: "Men in blue uniforms wandering hastily through the park, chasing gaggles of geese. Within hours on the morning of June 25, 127 Canada geese are packing into two horse trailers with license plates that say 'U.S. GOVERNMENT.' The trailers haul the birds far away, but maybe not far enough, to a place where they hopefully won't bother people with their shit." In December 2022, the Sandpoint City Council voted 4-1 to authorize a citywide goose hunt. After those efforts resulted in only one goose killed, Sandpoint called on the state's wildlife services to euthanize the 170 captured geese in June 2023. A crappy situation no matter how you look at it.


Undoubtedly, the person mentioned the most in the years 2019-2020 was BOB LUTZ, who was the health officer of the Spokane Regional Health District. Beginning in March 2020, Lutz's name appeared monthly as he offered information about how to navigate COVID. In November, Lutz was officially fired following an 8-4 vote by the health district board because of "internal issues" Amelia Clark, the administrative officer for the Spokane Regional Health District, had with Lutz. In February 2021, Lutz filed a wrongful termination lawsuit and in June 2022, Clark left her position with the district.

It Happened Here: Expo '74 Fifty Years Later @ Northwest Museum of Arts & Culture

Tuesdays-Sundays, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Continues through Jan. 26
  • or

Madison Pearson

Madison Pearson is the Inlander's Listings Editor, managing the calendar of events and covering everything from local mascots to mid-century modern home preservation for the Arts & Culture section of the paper. She joined the staff in 2022 after completing a bachelor's degree in journalism from Eastern Washington...