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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

Dec. 14, 2019, 4 a.m.
Mental illness to homeless to hepatitis A. Just another statistic but now his struggle is over. Today we pick up his ashes. And it shouldn’t have to be this way.

Dec. 7, 2019, 4 a.m.
It’s much easier for history to bury the personal impacts of turning-point moments than to bury the radioactive waste of a decade of nuclear testing. The Marshallese atomic refugees in Spokane can’t cut their migration short and fly home.

News >  Spokane
Nov. 30, 2019, 4:30 a.m.
Did you celebrate Black Friday or Buy Nothing Day this year? Both holidays are informally scheduled on the Friday after Thanksgiving on the expanding seasonal calendar of named days. According to Sarah Pruitt’s reporting on the History Channel website, two myths about Black Friday deserve to be busted. One is a twisted internet-driven rumor connecting the term to discount slave auctions. Squash that one.

Nov. 23, 2019, 4 a.m.
Now that the election is over, a Tenants Bill of Rights ordinance is moving forward. Rapidly. What is on the table works against keeping housing affordable or increasing the supply.

Nov. 16, 2019, 4 a.m.
Portability of care is critical for students, independent contract workers and migrating retirees. Instead of being trapped in a job, people are trapped in a zip code.

Nov. 2, 2019, 5 a.m.
Poor people with family ties and support systems, even addicts who manage to maintain relationships, do not become homeless.

Oct. 26, 2019, 5 a.m.
The sheriff is livid. The fire chief feels misunderstood. The deputy director of emergency management is exasperated. What we have here is a failure to communicate, ignored until an election season made emergency management into yet another political football.

Oct. 19, 2019, 5 a.m.
What is sometimes a useful tool for jumpstarting change can quickly begin to undermine the very people it presumes to help.

News >  Spokane
Oct. 12, 2019, 5 a.m.
It’s always a judgment call between responders taking a risk and reducing risk for the public.

Oct. 5, 2019, 5 a.m.
The city of Spokane, like many municipalities, has a Code Enforcement office to respond to complaints about problem properties. The process is straightforward, the implementation is complex. One person’s peeling paint may be another’s shabby chic.

Sept. 28, 2019, 5 a.m.
When so many voices are pulling us apart, the center cannot hold. Language is the last refuge of common culture, and we’ve abused and overused it. When everyone is Hitler, no one is Hitler. Or a racist, misogynist, homophobe, Islamophobe, Nazi, fascist, socialist or bigot.

Sept. 21, 2019, 5 a.m.
OSPI is pushing a curriculum standard focused on avoiding consequences rather than reducing risk, according to LeAnna Benn, director of Teen Aid. “Research for over 25 years has demonstrated the importance of family involvement in this area of education,” said Benn.

Sept. 14, 2019, 5 a.m.
Spokane Interstate fairgoers visiting the Liberty state booth would be surprised to hear themselves described as paranoid extremists seeking a fantasyland. Top topics include tax increases, income tax proposals, property rights and gun control. Pretty mainstream concerns in Eastern Washington.

Sept. 7, 2019, 5 a.m.
Initiative 1639 raised the age for buying a rifle to 21 and requires an “enhanced background check.” The results are, by turns, stigmatizing for those with mental health issues, burdensome for law enforcement and mind-bogglingly convoluted for some gun owners.

Aug. 31, 2019, 5 a.m.
Someone has been shooting cows from the road in Stevens County, according to the Stevens County Cattlemen’s Association. But the cattlemen’s shooting charge is hard to prove, and there’s no conclusive evidence it has happened. Hoping to find something more concrete, they’re offering a $15,000 reward for information leading to a conviction.

Aug. 24, 2019, 5 a.m.
Most parents want their kids to find meaningful work and a living wage by their early 20s. But gettng those things doesn’t always require a college degree.

Aug. 17, 2019, 5 a.m.
Conflict or the potential for conflict attracts more media attention than harmony. That explains why some events on Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers’ calendar this week received news coverage, and others slipped silently by like a sockeye traveling up the Columbia River. Or the parts of the river that still have salmon. There was potential for conflict in the Spokane Republican’s two-hour meeting with the Spokane Tribal Council. The reservation is the only consistently blue precinct in Stevens County, with less than 21% of voters supporting McMorris Rodgers in 2018, compared to 75% countywide. But it was a collaborative session, not the kind of political theater generated inside and outside too many town hall meetings.

Aug. 10, 2019, midnight
With record low unemployment, there’s a place for any qualified worker. The key word is qualified. The challenge is effective – and legal – screening.

July 27, 2019, midnight
Candidates are deluged with a multitude of questionnaires, even if they aren’t seeking an endorsement.

July 20, 2019, midnight
People in rebellion don’t see value in respecting the system but feel entitled to what they want right now. Therapeutic communities like Teen Challenge transform the heart in addition to providing skills and tools to empower a transformed life.

July 12, 2019, 3:55 p.m.
Comprehensive immigration reform needs to remove the barriers to the legal route. They are an incentive to play games with the refugee and asylum process.

News >  Spokane
July 4, 2019, 5 a.m.
Celebrating diversity is one of the six values adopted by the Spokane Public Library Board. If diversity is your highest value, all people and all viewpoints should be welcome.

News >  Spokane
June 22, 2019, 5 a.m.
Pairing low-income and rural is classic fearmongering, a tactic used by both sides on hot political topics. It creates a mental picture of redneck poverty and remoteness intended to garner sympathy. And it’s almost always misleading.

June 15, 2019, 5:03 a.m.
I-1648 has no paid signature gatherers. No paid staff. No millions in out-of-state money buying an astroturf campaign. But a Facebook page about the initiative has exploded with support, and one former lawmaker thinks lack of transparency during the latest budget process in Olympia has something do with the initiative’s popularity.

June 8, 2019, 5 a.m.
Libraries promote reading, but Spokane Public Library’s story-hour theme based on drag queens takes a particular stand on gender fluidity.