by Inlander Staff

Oops - We Missed One -- For the first time since astronomers found Pluto 72 years ago, a new planet has been discovered in our solar system. Two astronomers at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena found the planet Quaoar further out than Pluto -- it takes the new guy on the block 288 years to make its way around the sun. Chad Trujillo and Mike Brown saw the planet for the first time in early June. Since then, other astronomers have checked it out and verified their finding. The planet -- which consists mainly of rocks and ice -- is named after the spirit who, according to American Indian mythology, created the Tongva tribe, which was the first to settle in the area where Los Angeles is now located.

$25.4 million -- That's how many ad dollars' worth of exposure Spokane is expecting to get later this month when Skate America descends on the Lilac City. Skate America officials arrive at that number because 8 million people around the world are expected to watch the event on TV; and every one of them will see the giant "Spokane, Wash." logo at center ice, along with the usual city scene shots used to transition between commercial messages. Skate America, which features Sarah Hughes, Michael Weiss and more than 60 other competitors from around the world at the Arena from Oct. 23-27, will be on ABC and ESPN for eight hours. You like cool events like this to come to town? It doesn't happen if you don't support it. So vote with your feet, and pick up tickets for one or all of the events.

More Fit For Office? -- In the latest Public Disclosure Commission reports, County Commissioner Phil Harris looks to be sitting on a $90,000 war chest; his opponent, Louise Chadez, hasn't even raised $9,000 yet. Undaunted, Chadez is taking it to the streets -- or the Centennial Trail, at least. On Sunday, she'll ride the trail, making stops to greet potential voters. She'll start at Nine Mile Falls at 11 am and wind up at Pavillion Park in Liberty Lake by the end of the day. Smart voters will want to intersect with her at 3 pm -- that's when she's scheduled to take a break at Krispy Kreme doughnuts.

Meanwhile, Bart Haggin, the Democratic challenger to George Nethercutt, means to make up his financial deficit by distributing seven-minute videotapes to potential voters, outlining his pitch for tossing Nethercutt out of office this fall. But his boldest initiative yet is his challenge to the sitting Congressman. No, he's not asking him to debate; Haggin, an avid jogger, wants to settle things the way we did back in grade school -- with a running race.

Northwest Winterfest @ Spokane County Fair & Expo Center

Fridays, 5-8 p.m., Saturdays, 4-8 p.m. and Sundays, 3-6 p.m. Continues through Jan. 1
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