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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Staff > News > Sue Lani Madsen > Stories
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Most Recent Stories

June 4, 2020, 4 a.m.
When the touchiest issue in American politics burst into literal flames after the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Kitara Johnson could not stand by either. She is the mother of five, a U.S. Army veteran – and the catalyst for a Declare Yourself night on Tuesday, giving young people a microphone and an opportunity for their voices to be heard.

May 28, 2020, 4 a.m.
It’s hard to justify why restaurants can safely open at 50% capacity and a church cannot. Hand sanitizer at the entry, tape on the floor and blocked off seating for social distancing are equally possible in both locations. And a spirit of self-discipline is essential to staying healthy, virus or no virus.

May 21, 2020, 4:30 a.m.
Gov. Jay Inslee, the presidential candidate, talked of nothing but climate change. Inslee, the candidate for a third term as Washington’s governor, has of necessity been talking nothing but COVID-19 for the past two months. He tied the two together while a panelist at a virtual town hall live-streamed at berniesanders.com on May 13. The event was titled “Saving Our Planet from the Existential Threat of Climate Change,” and fellow panelist Varshini Prakash, executive director of the Sunrise Movement, had just discussed the Green New Deal. Inslee was up next.

May 14, 2020, 5 a.m.
“Make new friends, but keep the old One is silver and the other gold.”

May 7, 2020, midnight
While the retail price of beef has gone up, the price of cattle has dropped faster than a 401(k) during a pandemic. Price gouging or price fixing, either way it’s the consumer who picks up the check.

April 30, 2020, 4 a.m.
We flattened the curve and didn’t overwhelm our health care system. Yay for us! Now what?

April 23, 2020, 4 a.m.
The governor’s Tuesday speech was not the speech the governor needed to give to maintain the good will of the people. Saying Washingtonian eight times in 10 minutes is not enough to coach Washingtonians into playing as a team.

April 18, 2020, 4 a.m.
Restlessness may turn to revolt without a plan for reopening Washington for business. For Washington families who were living paycheck to paycheck, the economic pandemic is as real a threat as COVID-19.

April 11, 2020, midnight
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued guidelines. The Washington Department of Labor and Industries has put out posters, checklists and record-keeping forms. Construction workers are accustomed to complying with safety rules governing nearly every action on site, even if they sometimes roll their eyes. They’re ready. And under Gov. Inslee’s order, construction is shut down unless the project serves some activity on the list of essential services. That’s where the debate starts.

April 4, 2020, 4 a.m.
Forecast a blizzard, and lines predictably appear at the local grocery store. This time the blizzard will last until at least May 4, and it’s hitting the entire country.

News >  Spokane
March 28, 2020, 5 a.m.
Now you know how you rate – essential or non-essential. Doctors and nurses, cops and firefighters, grocery store stock clerks and electrical linemen, farmers and truck drivers are all essential. And to the surprise and mockery of many, cannabis retailers.

March 21, 2020, 4 a.m.
Parents who played Oregon Trail in the 1990s might want to download the online version for their new adventure in home-schooling. Challenge your kids with properly provisioning a wagon train to make the trek across the unknown. It’s good practice for travel in the age of coronavirus.

March 14, 2020, 4 a.m.
This year marks the birth of Gen V, for viral. Until a month ago, going viral meant it was cool. Or so says our almost 10-year-old granddaughter, nicknamed V for Genevieve. Now she says a virus is weird.

March 7, 2020, 5 a.m.
“Mature Subject Matter – Viewer Discretion Advised” was the warning label on a live broadcast from the Washington House floor this week. The subject was state-mandated comprehensive sex education.

Feb. 29, 2020, 4 a.m.
Before the 24-hour news cycle, before the daily newspaper, every community had a weekly – and no breaking news. The news was broken the week before press time and wouldn’t arrive in the mailbox until two or three days after printing. High school sports often lead, no bleeding required.

Feb. 22, 2020, 4:30 a.m.
When a tree falls in a wild forest, philosophers argue whether it makes a sound. When a building collapses in a small town, does anyone hear it?

News >  Spokane
Feb. 15, 2020, 5 a.m.
Washington voters are no longer afterthoughts in the presidential primary season. Along with the other Little Tuesday states of Idaho, North Dakota, Michigan, Missouri and Mississippi that also will vote on March 10, Washington may be pivotal in the 2020 campaign season. And for the first time since the initial presidential preference primary was held in 1992, Democratic votes will count. Washington state Republicans have always used the primary results in awarding at least half of their delegates. In 2016, all delegates were awarded to Donald J. Trump based on the May 24 primary results. It wasn’t much of a contest. Marco Rubio and Ben Carson suspended their campaigns in March, John Kasich and Ted Cruz in early May. Trump was the last candidate standing.

Feb. 8, 2020, 4 a.m.
Trade wars are not new, and farmers who spoke off the record said standing up to China has been a long time coming. They’ll wait it out like an untimely summer thunderstorm at harvest. Explaining farming to a software engineer in San Francisco or an investment trust out of New York is a new kind of risk in a country increasingly divided between urban and rural culture.

News >  Spokane
Feb. 1, 2020, 5 a.m.
Progressives are the special interest controlling the Washington Legislature, and the populist movement is resurging as Restore Washington (www.restorewashington.org). What was started by one frustrated small business owner as a support group for initiative I-1648 in 2019 has continued to grow.

Jan. 25, 2020, 4 a.m.
Mail-in ballots were supposed to increase voter turnout. They have not. Free postage and more drop boxes were supposed to increase voter turnout. They did not. Making it easier wasn’t the solution. Now House Bill 2529 proposes the latest idea to nudge apathetic voters to get involved. HB 2529 proposes to increase voter turnout by eliminating most elections in odd-numbered years and cramming all statewide, legislative, county, municipal and district elections onto a single ballot in even-numbered years. It would apply not only to mayors, city councils, fire district commissioners, school board members and other local offices, but also to the advisory votes, initiatives and referendums intended to provide a check on the Legislature.

Jan. 18, 2020, 4 a.m.
It’s ironic that a bill whose supporters say it’s necessary to teach affirmative consent doesn’t appear to have widespread support.

Jan. 11, 2020, 4 a.m.
As of Jan. 1, teenagers who have to be reminded to feed the dog and take out the trash are in charge of their own health care when it comes to sensitive matters. But parents are still responsible for the bills. That’s a result of Senate Bill 5889, which adds more legislative bricks to the increasingly bureaucratic walls dividing parents and children in Washington.

Jan. 4, 2020, 4 a.m.
Investing in soil health is an investment in future generations continuing to eat, according to David Montgomery, a University of Washington geologist. His first book, “Dirt: The Erosion of Civilizations,” looked at the consequences of ignoring soil health. He recently published “Growing a Revolution: Bringing Our Soil Back to Life.”

Dec. 28, 2019, midnight
Twenty-six students and their bus driver, plus 39 tourists and their tour guide, “were transported to Quincy Valley Medical Center for evaluation” and “temporarily sheltered in the hospital’s convalescent wing,” according to previous reporting. It sounds so simple. This is the rest of the story.

Dec. 21, 2019, 4 a.m.
Inslee’s proposed $273 million in spending on programs to potentially impact climate change this century. His supplemental budget request for protecting children and teachers in seismically unsafe schools is $10 million. And that’s only 40% of what Chris Reykdahl, state superintendent of public instruction, requested in his letter to the governor.