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Posts tagged: Spokane

North Idaho Crime Outpaces Boise

Sheriff Ben Wolfinger patrols the streets during recent Coeur d'Alene 4th of July activities. (SR file photo)

North Idaho has the highest crime rate in the state, eclipsing the Boise area, according to the state’s latest crime statistics. It’s a trend that’s been growing in recent years. The Boise area had a much higher crime rate than the Panhandle as recently as 2008, but since then, North Idaho’s rate has surged as the state’s overall crime rates have dropped. “Our guys are working hard and they’re doing a good job, but it’s just trying to keep up is the hard part,” said Kootenai County Sheriff Ben Wolfinger. One factor: Kootenai County is becoming part of a Spokane-North Idaho metropolitan area, rather than an isolated, more rural area with a seasonal influx of visitors/Betsy Z. Russell, Eye on Boise. More here.

Question: Do you feel less safe today in Kootenai County than you did 10 years ago?

Clark: A Massacre That Didn’t Happen

February 12 in a still-snow-buried Spokane passed quieter than the Denver Broncos locker room after Super Bowl XLVIII. Did you notice? Did you care? I did. I’ll admit I even held my breath a time or two as the Big Day approached because, well … You never know. Which is the point, naturally. Nobody can know – especially the boobs who put out that titillating and trashy online tale last fall that began like this: “The next mass shooting will take place on February 12, 2014, in Spokane, Washington.” Remember? I forgive you if you don’t. Memory loss, I’m convinced, is an unavoidable side effect of our so-called Information Age. Day-by-day. Hour-by-hour. Minute-by-minute/Doug Clark, SR. More here.


Jacob M. Hess Day

Mayor Condon will declare Monday as Sergeant Jacob M. Hess Day in honor of the fallen Marine who attended North Central High School. Full proclamation:

“WHEREAS, the City of Spokane seeks to honor all veterans who serve to protect the freedoms we enjoy as citizens of the United States, especially those Spokane natives who embody the virtues that our community holds dear; and

WHEREAS, Sergeant Jacob M. Hess gave his life for our country while supporting combat operations in the Helmand Province, Afghanistan while assigned to Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 26, Marine Aircraft Group 26, 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing, II Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Lejeune, N.C.; and


Council Balks At Barista Coverup

Spokane City Council members Monday night rejected a proposal aimed at scantily clad baristas. The 4-2 vote against modifying unlawful public exposure laws brings an end to a passionate public debate that blurred political parties, gender and business. Council President Ben Stuckart joined council members Mike Allen, Steve Salvatori and Jon Snyder in voting no. Councilwoman Amber Waldref was absent. Council members Mike Fagan and Nancy McLaughlin sought to force female baristas to wear more clothing, at least as much as you would see in a newspaper advertisement for lingerie, as Fagan described the proposal. “Is decency in our community an ongoing issue that needs to be considered?” Fagan asked/Mike Prager, SR. More here. (SR file photo: Jessica Etchart, 23, right and Niquy Kunkel, 25, left, work to prepare drinks for customers during an afternoon rush on Tuesday at XXXtreme Espresso in Spokane)

Question: Did Spokane City Council make the right call?

Mag Uses Tragedy To Trash Spokane

‘There are three kinds of lies,” Mark Twain once observed. “Lies, damned lies and statistics.” Twain might not have originated the sentiment, but the logic contained is still spot on. Manipulating data to bolster a lame or false conclusion has started wars, fostered bad government and sparked a million saloon brawls. Now you can add trashing Spokane’s reputation to the list. That’s the result of an online Atlantic magazine story that purportedly uses statistical analysis to conclude that …“The next mass shooting will take place on February 12, 2014, in Spokane, Washington.” That’s actually the opening sentence to this rancid piece of speculative crap. The story is wrong on several levels, but its thoughtless timing tops the list/Doug Clark, SR. More here.

Question: Would you be angry if a national magazine speculated that your town would be the next site of a mass killing?

Spokane’s Bradley Falls Just Short

Although Cami Bradley did not win “America’s Got Talent,” she earned a world of fans. The $1 million and headline show in Las Vegas went to Kenichi Ebina, a dancer who grew up in Japan. But Bradley is flying home to Spokane with the experience of a lifetime and a promising career on the horizon. On the results show of the talent competition Wednesday night, Bradley sang “Not Over You” with Gavin DeGraw over dueling pianos. Then they stepped away from the piano to harmonize face to face. They also shared a moment on stage – a hug. “He was really impressed with me because I was really prepared when I came to the rehearsal,” Bradley said. Being on the talent show changed Bradley – giving her room to grow as an artist and build her courage/Nicole Hensley, SR. More here.

Question: Do you expect Cami Bradley to become a big-time recording artist?

Bikini Baristas Risk City Cover-Up

As we get ready to say so long to the summer of  2013, a burning question comes to mind. Whatever happened to Mike Fagan’s war on the bikini barista babe biz? To recap July’s hysteria … Complaints from constituents about some near-naked coffee sellers had the Spokane city councilman in a froth and vowing to create an ordinance designed to nip any over-fleshed enterprises in the bud. I’m such an optimist. I figured the sheer silliness of this nonissue would eventually dawn on Fagan, who is a smart guy and would wisely drop the whole matter with a red-faced “never mind.” There I go again, giving Spokane government more credit than it deserves. Fagan, as I discovered Wednesday, not only has refused to let this rubbish go, but his new “Unlawful Public Exposure” ordinance is almost ready for Prime Time/Doug Clark, SR. More here.

Question: Does Coeur d'Alene still have a bikini barista coffee hut — on Government Way, north of Appleway?

2nd Male Arrested In Vet’s Killing

Demetruis Glenn, far right, is forcibly redirected by authorities Monday after turning to try to view onlookers who were hollering words of support for him near the county’s juvenile jail. (SR photo: Jesse Tinsley)

The father of one of the teens implicated in last week’s beating death of a decorated World War II veteran thanked God for his son’s peaceful capture, saying the family had met with Spokane police and prayed for his safety. “I hope they find out what really happened,” said Steven Kinard, whose 16-year-old son Kenan Adams-Kinard was found by police hiding in a friend’s basement in the 500 block of West Montgomery Avenue early Monday and taken into custody. “Kenan’s a good kid,” the father added, calling Belton’s death a “tragedy.” The younger Kinard and Demetruis Glenn, also 16, are accused of killing 88-year-old Delbert Belton in a Wednesday robbery outside the Eagles Lodge in north Spokane/Kip Hill, SR. More here.


Sons Of Norway Liquidates Hall

Auctioneer Jeff Owens, left talked with Chris Garras of Spokane before auctioning off the contests of the Sons of Norway Lodge and Banquet Hall in Spokane on Saturday. (SR photo: Kathy Plonka)


To step into the Spokane Sons of Norway banquet hall is to step back in time. The rich, red walls and the dark beams across the ceiling are reminiscent of a Viking ship. Paintings and maps of ancient Norway dot the walls. But after this week, nothing will remain in the lodge the fraternal order has called home since 1979. The space will be gutted to make room for a pediatric clinic. The club hosted a complete liquidation auction Saturday, selling all but the most valuable furnishings in the lodge. Sons of Norway Cultural Director Anne Molstead said declining membership and increasing costs made it impossible for the club to continue at 6710 N. Country Homes Blvd. It costs about $7,000 a month just to maintain the space, she said/Kaitlin Gillespie, SR. More here.

Question: Any of you ever belong to a Sons of Norway lodge?

Spokane Airport Expands Rewards

Item: Spokane Airport offering patrons air mile rewards: Airlines, hotels also sign on to program/Mike Prager, SR.

More Info: Frequent fliers in the Inland Northwest can now bump up their airline mileage accounts by joining Spokane International Airport’s new customer rewards program. Airport officials last week announced that enrolled participants will receive air miles for money they spend on parking and retail purchases at the airport. In addition, the rewards will apply to dining and lodging at the Ramada Spokane Airport and Wingate by Wyndham hotels. Other restaurants and businesses outside the airport could be added to the program, officials said. The new rewards program follows a series of changes intended to improve what airport officials call the “customer experience.”

Question: Are you adept at using frequent flyer/rewards programs to get free stuff?

Outside Magazine names Spokane in Best Towns

Cindy Hval, photo

Population: 209,525
Median Household Income: $41,466
Median Home Price: $165,500
Unemployment: 8.8 percent
Votes: 1,668

Mochaccino-sipping Seattleites may call it Spokompton for its perceived crime, but the city is about as dangerous as Bend and safer than Colorado Springs.

Set on the eastern edge of Washington, where the desert meets the Rockies, Spokane lives up to its motto: “Near nature and near perfect.” Within minutes of downtown, you can paddle past moose on the Little Spokane River, climb 5.13 sport routes in Deep Creek Canyon, or hike the Spokane River Gorge.

“You can be in the river three minutes from your office,” says Jeanna Hofmeister, who works at the visitors bureau, “and have no idea that you’re just outside downtown.”

There are also five ski resorts within a two-hour drive. Read more. Outside Magazine

Apparently, they haven't heard Spokane is “just a drive-through to the airport! “Shhh!

J-MAC: Love Living Near Spokane

JimmyMAC (re: Outsiders & Coeur d'Alene politics): IMHO- one of THE best parts about living in CDA Area is the proximity to Spokane and if I lived in Spokane I was probably say the opposite to be just as true. My wife and I absolutely love going to Spokane on Fridays or Saturdays. Let me count the ways I love Spokane: Nordstroms, GU Basketball, Riverfront Park, Mobius, Manito Park, Spokane CC, Clover, Milford's, Spencer's, concerts at Memorial Arena, Pig Out, Hoopfest, Davenport Tower, Bistangos, Franks Diner, Dr. Robins, The Opera House, all of the business I do with Spokanites, etc etc etc. Love love love living in North Idaho but it wouldn't be nearly as great without the short trip to Spokane to the West. Sorry John, there is just no reason to bag on Spokane as it is a compliment to our area, not a threat.

Question: What do you appreciate most about Spokane?

Spokane Gets Hydroplane Invite

A pair of Diamond Cup Regatta organizers with an H1 Unlimited hydroplane in tow pulled into downtown Spokane Wednesday to extend an invite. Why? Because fans of 200 mph hydro racing set to return to Lake Coeur d'Alene Labor Day weekend should come from all walks, if not states. So what say you, Spokane? How does a short trip east sound for the long, hot holiday weekend? “Coeur d'Alene has the resource, the lake, the body of water to host it, but without the support of the city of Spokane, there wouldn't be a Diamond Cup,” Doug Miller, Diamond Cup board chairman, told Spokane Mayor David Condon shortly before giving the second-year mayor a bottle of champagne/Tom Hasslinger, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here. (Gabe Green photo: Doug Miller formally invites Spokane Mayor David Condon to the Diamond Cup hydroplane races Wednesday)

Question: The more the merrier?

Bikini Baristas Prompt Cover-up Talk

Jessica Etchart, 23, right, and Niqui Kukel, 25, prepare drinks for customers during an afternoon rush Tuesday at XXXtreme Espresso. (SR photo: Tyler Tjomsland)

On Monday, Mike Fagan passed around a list of anatomical definitions to members of the city’s Public Safety Committee, including fellow Spokane City Council members, the police chief and the police ombudsman. The words on the list – “perineum,” “areola” and “anal cleft” – were meant to help the committee understand Fagan’s latest ordinance, a push to crack down on so-called bikini baristas. The proposed ordinance, Fagan said, gives the owners of the stands a choice: “You move your business to a certain zone, or you put more clothes on.” “I’m OK with bikinis. I’m OK with lingerie,” said Fagan, a libertarian. “But when it comes to pasties and G-strings, in regards to safety, what’s going on is a little overboard”/Nicholas Deshais, SR. More here.

Question: Do you agree/disagree with attempt by Councilman Fagan to force Spokane bikini bars to cover up more?

Portlandia producer drives through

So my BFF Bill Oakely, a producer of the television show Portlandia, and former writer for the Simpsons, breezed through Spokane this weekend and tweeted me this photo to prove it.

Oakley, you may remember drew my ire when he read my article about the wonders of Spokane in an inflight magazine and tweeted that he didn't think the city was worthy of a 20-page spread.

This is all part of my plan to lure him to my fair city to shoot a pilot of Spokanlandia. Next time, I've asked him to let me know ahead of time so I can at least take him to see our garbage eating goat!.

What would a TV-show based in Coeur d'Alene be about?

Clark: ‘Red Dawn’ For Weak Minded

Whoever came up with the supermarket “impulse buy” had a sucker like me in mind. I can’t stand in a checkout line without grabbing a candy bar or a tube of lip balm or another box of mints from the goodies that have been put there to tempt the weak and simple-minded. That’s how I wound up owning a copy of “Red Dawn,” the documentary about Spokane being invaded by North Korea. It was in a box of “previously viewed” DVDs that was located suspiciously close to my checkout line. A few minutes later, I was $7.99 poorer and cursing my lack of willpower/Doug Clark, SR. More here.

Question: What unnecessary product displayed near a checkout counter are you most likely to buy?

Facebook Page Backs Spokane Killing

The debate over the fatal shooting of a car thief in East Spokane is now heating up online. On Monday, 25-year old Brendon Kaluza-Graham was shot and killed while he stole an SUV. The owner of that SUV, Gail Gerlach, told investigators he fired at Kaluza-Graham because he thought he pointed a weapon at him. On Wednesday, a Spokane woman, who has been the victim of a burglary, launched a Facebook Page to show support for Gerlach. The creator of the page has asked to remain anonymous.  But, agreed to an interview as long as KXLY didn't use her name or show her face. “I hope he understands that we are here for him, for the community,” she said/Annie Bishop, KXLY. More here.

Question: How would Gerlach's use of deadly force been received by the community, if it had happened in Kootenai County rather than Spokane County?

Spokane Hosts World Accordion Event

Naomi Harris, 12, right, plays her accordion while rehearsing with the group The Portatos Monday at Music City. Playing drums is Sam Tubbs, 12. The group will entertain at the upcoming accordion competition and Harris will compete. You can read about Naomi & her accordion here. (SR photo: Jesse Tinsley)

Patricia Bartell, a native Bolivian who grew up in Charlo, Mont., is the driving force behind the international accordion championships that will take place in Spokane this week: Forty-eight musicians – each deemed among the best in their countries – will converge on the city to compete for a world title. They’ll be judged by an international jury. That path here, Bartell said, started with her relationship with another Spokane musician, a pianist who taught her a new way to make and hear music. “It’s an interesting thread, how it came to be,” Bartell said. “People influence things and sometimes don’t even know it.” More here.

Question: Do you enjoy accordion music?

SR: Beignet’s Closure Not City Fault

The closure of Beignets restaurant on Wall Street is a tragedy for the owners and the dozens they employed. And Spokane lost a small element of the “downtown experience” that sets this community apart from any other for 250 miles around. But for the owner, and many others, the “experience” too often includes an encounter with a sidewalk skateboarder, rowdy smokers, or shirtless young men loudly spouting f-bombs. Not the preferred ambiance for dining al fresco. Welcome to urban America. Every downtown has a population that, for reasons of homelessness, abuse, addiction or unemployment, coalesces where they find like company and a few services; food, shelter, the comfort of a crowd. Seattle’s congregates in Pioneer Square. In Portland, Pioneer Courthouse Square is the main hangout. The behavior may be off-putting, but within the law, and therefore not a police matter/Spokesman-Review Editorial Board. More here. (SR file photo: owner Judie Sowards of Beignets)

Question: Izzit just me, or does Coeur d'Alene do a considerably better job controlling the downtown than Spokane?

Spokane Hunts Mystery Table Stacker

Using a bucket lift surrounded by caution tape, Miles Cooley of the Spokane Parks Dept. clears the hazard lights lined up on a giant stack of picnic tables at Manito Park Friday. Pranksters have built and left such stacks on at least two occasions this summer, requiring city employees to bring equipment used to prune trees to the site to safely unstack the tables. (Jesse Tinsley, SR)

City workers made an unexpected find while deconstructing the latest mysterious picnic-table pyramid at Manito Park on Friday afternoon. An Urban Forestry crewman discovered a handwritten note addressed to park employees at the top of the stack of 36 tables. The note was signed “SKFS.” It made references to recently constructed table pyramids at Riverfront Park and revealed that four teens are responsible for the latest stacking in Manito. “We heard that our riverfront table pyramids cost $500 each to remove,” the note reads, “yet they only took 4 teens 25 min to assemble sans equiptment! Please stop wasting taxpayer dollars.” The pyramid is the second at Manito this summer and the fourth in Spokane. City workers discovered a larger, nine-level stack of 45 tables Tuesday morning at Riverfront Park/Justin Runquist, SR. More here. (Inset: SR photo of a note found on one of the stacks of picnic tables)

Question: Should Spokane give top priority status to finding individuals responsible for stacking the picnic tables?

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D.F. Oliveria is a columnist and blogger for The Spokesman-Review. Print Huckleberries is a past winner of the Herb Caen Memorial Column contest by the National Association of Newspaper Columnists. The Readership Institute of Northwestern University cited this blog as a good example of online community journalism.

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