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Voters could decide how much baristas must wear

The brewing debate about how much clothes must be worn by baristas could be decided by voters.

Spokane resident Beth Solscheid this month filed an initiative proposing to create a law making it a misdemeanor crime to expose at least half of a female breast, or any part of female areolas or nipples or any part of male or female genitals or anus at any place the general public has a right to be or see.

The initiative has an unlikely ally in Sarah Birnel, the owner of Devil’s Brew, the local espresso stand chain that sparked calls last summer for rules forcing baristas to cover up as a result of the “topless Tuesday” promotion. That’s when baristas wore only G-strings and pasties. Birnel recently changed the name of the stands to Devil’s Brew from XXXtreme Espresso.

Birnel said she likes the idea of letting voters decide nudity standards. She also has a Devil’s Brew location in Spokane Valley, where that city’s City Council recently approved nudity restrictions that are the model for the initiative.

“I’m not too keen on seven people saying yea or nah,” Birnel said..

Saturday’s highlights

East Valley School District Superintendent John Glenewinkel, right, helps Summer Romney and Liam Nowles unload 400 pounds of flour at the district’s warehouse on Tuesday. Wheat from the East Valley Community Garden was ground into flour for use in school lunches. SR photo/Colin Mulvany

Happy Monday! I hope everyone had a nice, restful holiday weekend. We're back at it again to day, so let's go over some highlights from Saturday's Valley Voice. The city of Spokane Valley approved new rules regulating the attire of baristas. The rules are aimed at a coffee shop near City Hall that advertised topless Tuesdays and Thursdays, when baristas wore no more than G-strings and pasties. The crowd attending last week's council meeting was largely pleased by the decision, though a couple of people did testify against the new rules.

Reporter Lisa Leinberger has a story following up on the wheat harvest from the East Valley Farm and Community Garden earlier this year. The farm, which supplies fresh produce to East Valley School District kitchens, had a good year for wheat. The district recently took delivery of 400 pounds of low-gluten flour. Also in East Valley, three new school board members were sworn in during the most recent school board meeting. A crowd turned out for the event. New board member Mike Novakovich was elected board president.

Lisa also has a story on Central Valley High School teacher Carolyn Schafer, who headed up an effort to ship 140 quilts to send t0 a co-worker's Army unit stationed in Afghanistan. Members of the community rallied to make enough quilts, which were shipped last week.

Bikini baristas on the agenda

The Spokane Valley City Council is going to address the topic of scantily clad baristas at tonight's meeting. At issue has been topless Tuesdays at a local coffee shop, when baristas wear only g-strings and pasties. A proposed ordinance has been prepared that would ban women from exposing more than half their breast in public. There are two things you need to know if you plan to attend tonight's meeting at 6 p.m. at City Hall, 11707 E. Sprague. First of all, the meeting is a study session and no public comment will be taken. Secondly, the issue is pretty far down the agenda and won't be discussed first thing.

The council will not take a vote tonight. They need to agree to advance the ordinance to a first reading, at which point public comment would be taken, or ask staff to make changes to the proposed ordinance.

Starbucks Tells Baristas To Slow Down

Starbucks Corp. is telling its harried baristas to slow down — which may result in longer lines, The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday. Amid customer complaints that the Seattle-based coffee chain has reduced the fine art of coffee making to a mechanized process with all the romance of an assembly line, Starbucks baristas are being told to stop making multiple drinks at the same time and focus instead on no more than two drinks at a time — starting a second one while finishing the first, according to company documents reviewed by the Journal/Wall Street Journal. More here.

Question: Would you rather have Starbucks baristas work slower and be more personable than get your drink quicker?