Latest from The Spokesman-Review
Spokane County Commissioner Todd Mielke used county email to improperly gather information ahead of a candidate debate during his re-election bid in 2012, the Washington Public Disclosure Commission ruled Thursday.
The Commission fined Mielke $100 and suspended an additional $400 fine for four years if he avoids campaign infractions. The case stems from a complaint made by Mielke's Democratic opponent, John Roskelley, following a debate in front of the Newman Lake Homeowner's Association in June 2012.
The homeowner's association president, Staci Lehman, sent Mielke and Roskelley a list of questions ahead of the debate that centered around the area's complex property tax assessments to establish flood control for the area. Mielke asked his office assistant, Nancy Voermans, to get information from County Engineering employee Jane Clark. Voermans used her official county email to make the request, what Commission staffed called a violation of state law prohibiting candidates from authorizing public employees to participate in campaign activities.
Voermans did not testify at the hearing because she was ill. Mielke said after the hearing that her testimony may have changed the outcome.
"Nancy's affidavit specifically says, 'I never got any direction on this,'" Mielke said.
Clark later sent Roskelley the same information she provided Mielke on the Newman Lake levies.
The decision lays to rest a bitter campaign that saw Mielke sue Roskelley alleging the Democrat was violating state law by running for election in a county district where he didn't live. Roskelley called the lawsuit "dirty politics" at the time, saying he was building a new home in the district when he announced his intention to run.
That challenge was dismissed just a week before the Newman Lake debate.
Mielke said he'll pay the fine imposed by the commission Thursday.
"It's time to move on, and put this behind us," Mielke said.
WATERSPORTS — John Roskelley, best know for his mountaineering achievements, is giving a free program on his new guidebook to Paddling the Columbia River at 7 p.m. on Sept.30 at the Spokane REI store.
- Seating is limited. Reserve a spot in advance.
- See my July story Roskelley's efforts in researching the guidebook.
Here's more info:
The Columbia River is a water trail to adventure. Thousands of miles of rugged shoreline, countless sandy bays, and long stretches of remote wilderness make this great river an explorer's dream, whether just for an afternoon on a reservoir behind one of its 13 main stem dams or being swept along by over 100,000 cfs of swift current on one of the Columbia's free-flowing sections. Paddling the Columbia from source to mouth is the extreme edge, a challenge not unlike climbing Everest or hiking the Pacific Crest Trail. Fortunately, the river is a resource that can be enjoyed in short sections on a weekend or holiday for a few hours to a long day throughout its 1200 mile length. The new "Paddling the Columbia: A Guide to all 1200 Miles of our Scenic & Historical River" by Spokane's John Roskelley provides the paddler with knowledge - the fundamental element needed to take action and enjoy an adventure.
CLIMBING — Bill Fix and Joe Collins — two legendary Spokane Mountaineers — celebrated Joe's 89th birthday Sunday. They are especially known for taking a couple of young upstart climbers under their wings 50 years ago and launching them toward the top of the world.
Fix and Collins were among the Spokane club's teams that made pioneering climbs throughout the region and especially in the Canadian mountains anywhere within striking distances of the epic three-day trips they'd make with barely enough time to return home to go to work again on Monday.
Nearly 50 years ago, a recent graduate of the venerable Spokane Mountaineers Mountain School, John Roskelley, was assigned during the Mountaineers Summer Outing to the Grand Tetons to rope up with Fix for the technical rock-climbing portion of their ascent of Mount Moran. Fix filed the trip report (see photos above) in the club's journal, the Autumn 1965 Kinnikinnick: "A special commendation is due John Roskelley for his help in route finding and leading to the summit from Drizzlepuss. At 16, he has to be dubbed 'most promising new climber.'"
- Roskelley later rose to the top of the heap of the world's mountaineers, a career honored this spring in Italy as he became the first American and sixth recipient of the Golden Ice Axe award (Les Piolets D'or). Although Fix had an eye for Roskelley's climbing prowess, perhaps nobody could have foreseen that he would one day be on the same mountaineering lifetime achievement list as Walter Bonatti, Reinhold Messner, Doug Scott, Robert Paragot and Kurt Diemberger.
Joe Collins recalled in the 1960s chauffeuring Roskelley and another teen Mountain School graduate, Chris Kopczynski, for a club climb of 9,131-foot Mount Shuksan in the North Cascades near Mount Baker.
"Chris ate all three-days worth of food the first day," Collins recalled. "He came to me and said, 'Joe! Joe! My food's all gone,' as I had all of my food neatly organized in front of me."
Kopczynski, a standout wrestler in high school and later at the NCAA level, reportedly said, 'What should I do, Joe?' as he looked longingly at Collins's food, each meal for each day wrapped and labeled.
"I put each package in my stuff sack, pulled the drawstring tight and put it in my pack and said, 'Next time you will remember. Let's go climbing.'"
- Kopcyznski learned his lessons well. His long list of climbing accomplishments include joining Roskelley in 1974 to become the first American team to climb the North Face of the Eiger; becoming the ninth American to climb Mount Everest, and completing the Seven Summits by 1994.
CORRECTION: In 1962, John Harlin was the first American to climb the North Face of the Eiger, along with a German climber. in 1974, Roskelley and Kopczynski were the first U.S. team to make the ascent. That point was wrong in my initial post.
CLIMBING — John Roskelley has climbed to very elite international status today as he accepted the Golden Ice Axe Award in presentations at Chamonix, France, and Courmayeur, Italy. The mountain towns are connected by a tunnel through the base of Mont Blanc.
Roskelley, 65, is the first American and sixth recipient of the Golden Ice Axe. He built his climbing reputation with first ascents in the Canadian Rockies before heading farther afield to achieve first ascents and notable ascents of 7,000 and 8,000 meter peaks in Nepal, India and Pakistan.
Attending the events, Chris Kopczynski of Spokane said Roskelley received a standing ovation and lots of press. Kop and Roskelley launched celebrated climbing careers onto the international stage in their mid-20s when they became the first all American team to climb the North Face of the Eiger.
CLIMBING — Spokane alpinist John Roskelley, 65 — one of the world's premier mountaineers in the 60s, 70s and 80s — will receive the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Piolet d’Or in Chamonix, France, in late March 2014. The honor is given to those “whose spirit inspired subsequent generations.”
Roskelley is the first American and sixth recipient of the Golden Ice Axe. He built his climbing reputation with first ascents in the Canadian Rockies before heading farther afield to achieve first ascents and notable ascents of 7,000 and 8,000 meter peaks in Nepal, India and Pakistan.
Roskelley is best known for climbs such as Dhaulagiri, Nanda Devi, Trango Tower, Gaurishankar, K2, Uli Biaho, Cholatse and Tawache, all without supplemental oxygen.
His character is depicted in the movie Storm and Sorrow in the High Pamirs, a tragic 1974 international climb in which he narrowly escaped death in an avalanche that killed companions.
Also in 1974, on an impulse, he joined Spokane climber Chris Kopczynski to become the first Americans to climb the Eiger.
In 2003 and the twilight of his major climbing accomplishments, Roskelley scaled Mount Everest with his son, Jess, 20, who was the youngest American to summit the world's highest peak at the time.
Perhaps his most remarkable climb was in 1980, when Roskelley joined three other Spokane climbers — Kopczynski, Jim States and Kim Momb for a four-man alpine ascent of Makalu, the world's third highest peak. Roskelley was the only member of the group to summit as he became the first American to reach the goal.
The technical difficulties of the route "were of a level never before attained in Himalayan climbing," Roskelley wrote in the American Alpine Journal.
Roskelley told Rock and Ice magazine that the lifetime achievement award is “a surprise to me, given the hundreds of exceptional climbers throughout the world. I will be accepting it on behalf of all of my teammates through the years who made this possible. After all, I couldn’t have reached the summits of so many classics without them.”
The mountaineering awards have been given by the French magazine Montagnes and The Groupe de Haute Montagne since 1991.
In 2009, the first Lifetime Achievement Award was given to famed Italian climber Walter Bonatti. The award went to Reinhold Messner in 2010, Doug Scott in 2011, Robert Paragot in 2012 and Kurt Diemberger in 2013.
Incumbent County Commissioner Todd Mielke has a comfortable lead over former Commissioner John Roskelley in the race for Commissioner District 1. Roskelley had strong support in some parts of the City of Spokane, but Mielke is running ahead in most other precincts.
For a closer look at the results, click on the PDF document below.
ROCK CLIMBING — Climbers were humbled earlier this month to find a massive rock fall had wiped out a generation of climbing routes on the east face of Chimney Rock, a landmark on the skyline east of Priest Lake.
And the danger lingers.
The collapse of rock from the near-vertical face erased rock flakes used in many pioneering climbs on the iconic granite pillar in the Selkirk Mountains.
Classic lines now gone include Magnum Force, a route first free-climbed in 1967 by Spokane Mountaineers John Roskelley and Chris Kopczynski.
“Many tons of Inland Northwest climbing history are now part of the boulder field at the base,” said Dane Burns, one of the rock’s pioneering climbers.
"From the splitter crack line of Yahoody left all the routes are now gone. That includes but not limited to the Beckey/Cooper South Nose route, later freed by Roskelley and Kopczynski and renamed Magnum Force, Kimmie, named after our friend Kim Momb and UNI the first trad 5.12 crack done in the inland NW.”
Zach Turner, who reported the rockfall on July 5, noted the east face has a swath of new routes to be pioneered, but warned climbers more unstable rock appears to be hanging on the wall.
See Turner's post with before and after photos of the Chimney Rock east face and a list of the climbing routes affected.
MOUNTAINEERING — Spokane's John Roskelley, perhaps America's premier mountaineer in the 1980s, will present a slide show and share climbing insights in a presentation Thursday (June 21), 7 p.m., at the Mountain Gear retail store, 2002 N. Division.
The photos and stories will relate to Roskelley's latest book, "The Roskelley Collection: Nanda Devi, Last Days and Stories off the Wall."
The book compiles his previous works.
A visiting county auditor dismissed the challenge to John Roskelley's voter registration, and the Democratic challenger will appear on the ballot for the Spokane County commissioner in District 1.
That will likely bring to an end the separate challenge in Spokane County Superior Court, which tried to block Roskelley from the ballot on a different tack.
The challenge to his voter registration was filed first, by Spokane County Republican Chairman Matthew Pederson, who argued that Roskelley wasn't properly registered because he used an address where he doesn't currently have a house, or any other building.
Roskelley had moved out of his long-time home in the district witih plans to build a new home on East Heron View Lane, and used that location on his voter registration. But he was living with his son, whose house is outside the district, while completing a building permit for the property.
A commissioner candidate must live and run in that particular district in the primary. Pederson argued that Roskelley didn't; Roskelley said he was acting on information from Spokane County Auditor Vicky Dalton about where a legal residence is for registering to vote, and said Pederson's complaint was just politics.
In previous court cases, the intention to move to a particular location has been ruled enough to allow a candidate to claim that as a residence for voter registration.
Dalton recused herself from the complaint and asked Chelan County Auditor Skip Moore to hear the case. This afternoon Moore said Roskelley presented enough evidence to prove that his residence is the one on his voter registration.
Roskelley faces Republican County Commissioner Todd Mielke in the primary. Because they are the only two candidates for that office, they'll run countywide in the November general election.
Dalton said she'd begin printing primary ballots, which must be mailed to overseas and military voters by June 22.
The Spokane County Republican Party plans to go to court this week in an effort to block the county commissioner campaign of Democrat John Roskelley.
The county GOP filed a challenge to Roskelley's current voter registration on Friday, and asked Auditor Vicky Dalton to remove his name from the ballot for the District 1 commissioner race, where he is challenging incumbent Republican Commissioner Todd Mielke. But an auditor has no authority to strike a name from the ballot, Dalton said, and the party will have to convince a Superior Court judge to take him off the ballot.
"This is a very clear-cut case," Matthew Pederson, county GOP chairman said, contending Roskelley is trying to "deceive voters" with the address.
"It's just politics," said Roskelley.
Among the elected leaders and politicians running for office, it should be no surprise that John Roskelley won the race.
Roskelley, a candidate for Spokane County Commission, had the best Bloomsday time among all elected Spokane and Spokane Valley city leaders; state House and state Senate candidates for districts within Spokane County; Spokane County commissioner candidates; and gubernatorial candidates.
Roskelley is, afterall, a world-renowned mountain climber.
Here is the list of local politicians (plus a governor hopeful) who completed Bloomsday:
- John Roskelley, D, candidate for Spokane County Commission, 0:59:00
- Rob McKenna, R, candidate for governor, 1:00:21
- Amber Waldref, Spokane city councilwoman, 1:07:52
- Marcus Riccelli, D, candidate for state House, 1:08:27
- Steve Salvatori, Spokane city councilman, 1:17:00
- Amy Biviano, D, candidate for state House, 1:17:16
- Dennis Dellwo, D, candidate for state House, 1:20:08
- Tom Towey, Spokane Valley mayor, 1:28:14
- Brenda Grassel, Spokane Valley city councilwoman, 2:13:47
- David Condon, Spokane mayor, 2:41:52
- Michael Baumgartner, R, state Senator and candidate for U.S. Senate, 2:47:31
From grizzly bears to fly fishing, several interesting outdoors related programs are scheduled tonight in Spokane, plus one biggie for anglers in Sandpoint.
It's too bad people have to choose just one to attend. Here's a sampling of the lineup:
Tonight's program on trekking in an exotic land is aimed at funding a local issue at Mount Spokane.
Spokane mountaineer John Roskelley will present a program on trekking in Bhutan tonight, 6 p.m., at the Community Building, 35 W. Main.
Donations benefit Save Mt. Spokane Coalition. RSVP: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Spokane Mountaineers has voted to join The Lands Council in opposing a plan to expand the alpine ski area at Mount Spokane.
Roskelley, a mountaineer and former Spokane County commissioner, has been an outspoken opponent to adding a chairlift and opening ski runs on what's now considered the "backside" of the Mt. Spokane Ski and Snowboard Park.
ADVENTURE —Spokane movie buffs lived on the edge for the past three days. The World Tour from the Banff Mountain Film Festival featuring sometimes death-defying feats from underground to the highest mountains ended its three-day run at The Bing Crosby Theater Sunday night.
The Spokane audience is no stranger to adventure. Locals Chris Kopcynski and Jane Shelly, for example, had some insights into what was on the screen.