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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Aerial exercise classes offer new spin on fitness

Donna DeVerniero celebrated her 62nd birthday earlier this month hanging upside down from a 20-foot silk cloth suspended from the ceiling. It’s this baby boomer’s way of running off and joining the circus – or at least pretending to while getting an intense core and upper body workout as she flips upside down like a fearless child.

Alex Rodriguez accepts season-long suspension

New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez ended his extended and acrimonious fight with Major League Baseball on Friday, withdrawing a pair of lawsuits and accepting a season-long suspension that marks the longest penalty in the sport’s history related to performance-enhancing drugs. Rodriguez, who has steadfastly denied using banned substances while with the Yankees, made the decision nearly four weeks after arbitrator Fredric Horowitz largely upheld the discipline issued last summer by baseball Commissioner Bud Selig. Rodriguez was suspended for 211 games last Aug. 5 for violations of baseball’s drug agreement and labor contract, and Horowitz cut the penalty on Jan. 11 to 162 games plus the 2014 postseason. Rodriguez sued two days later. – AP

Report: A-Rod camp leaked docs implicating Braun

NEW YORK — Members of Alex Rodriguez’s inner circle obtained and leaked documents that implicated Ryan Braun and other players in using performance-enhancing drugs, “60 Minutes” reported Friday.

Alex Rodriguez, others suspended by MLB for drugs

NEW YORK — Alex Rodriguez was suspended through 2014 and All-Stars Nelson Cruz, Jhonny Peralta and Everth Cabrera were banned 50 games apiece Monday when Major League Baseball disciplined 13 players in a drug case — the most sweeping punishment since the Black Sox scandal nearly a century ago.

U-Hi trainer takes special care with head trauma

Scott Wardian has plans for the summer. A certified athletic trainer with Performance Physical Therapy, Wardian doubles as the trainer at University High School, where he not only treats strains and sprains, he’s the resident expert on head trauma.

BMW Gran Coupe: Opulent performer

The Gran Coupe ($76,000) is that kind of car. Call it desire on wheels. BMW’s take on the “four-door coupe” concept, the large four-door evokes the spirit of a two-door coupe. It’s so lovely one might be tempted to dismiss it as a style car, noteworthy only for its shamelessly stunning sheet metal and ridiculously comfortable cabin. A single road trip demolishes that concern; underway, the Gran Sport demands to be taken seriously.

Discounts abound as stores try to salvage season

NEW YORK (AP) — When it comes to fat holiday discounts, better late than never. This holiday shopping season, many stores haven't been offering the same blockbuster deals as they did last year. Instead, they've dangled offers of free shipping and no-fee layaways to lure shoppers.

Armored backpacks and a rush on guns after Conn.

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — The reaction to the deadly Connecticut school shooting can be seen at gun stores and self-defense retailers across the nation, with anxious parents buying armored backpacks for children and firearms enthusiasts stocking up on assault weapons in anticipation of tighter gun control measures. A spike in gun sales is common after a mass shooting, but the latest rampage has generated record sales in some states, particularly of rifles similar to the AR-15 the gunman used in an attack Friday on Sandy Hook Elementary School that killed 26 people, including 20 children.

Holiday shoppers may see big discounts soon

NEW YORK (AP) — If shoppers don't show up in stores soon, more "70 percent off" sale signs will. After a promising start to the holiday shopping season over the four-day Thanksgiving weekend, sales have slowed, according to an analysis of data done for The Associated Press by sales tracker ShopperTrak. Worries about weak U.S. job growth and other concerns are likely to blame for Americans spending less.

US job gains defy Sandy and fears of fiscal cliff

WASHINGTON (AP) — It takes more than a superstorm to derail the U.S. job market. Employers added 146,000 jobs in November and the unemployment rate dipped to 7.7 percent, a four-year low, the government said Friday.

Vestal: Making government better – what a concept!

When the state auditor’s office examined cellphone use by state employees, it found $1.7 million in savings from unused phones and cheaper phone plans. Now – under a new program of the state auditor’s office – any city or county can adopt the same method of review, quickly and easily, to examine their own cellphone use. Following the state model, Pierce County found it was locked into plans for almost 10 times as many minutes as its workers actually used.

Retailers report weak sales gains for November

NEW YORK (AP) — Black Friday was no match for Sandy. Major retailers from Target to Macy's reported weak November sales as the strong start to the holiday shopping season — including a good showing on the day after Thanksgiving — wasn't enough to fully offset the damage caused by Superstorm Sandy earlier in the month.

Lines by Madonna and other celebs pop up in stores

This holiday season you're likely to spot singer Jennifer Lopez in Kohl's. You could get a peek at pop music icon Madonna in Macy's. You might even catch a glimpse of reality TV star Kim Kardashian in Sears. Well, not literally.

‘Two and a Half Men’ actor calls his show ‘filth’

NEW YORK (AP) — The teenage actor who plays the half in the hit CBS comedy "Two and a Half Men" says in a video posted online by a Christian church that the show is "filth" and that viewers shouldn't watch it. Nineteen-year-old Angus T. Jones has been on the show, which used to feature bad-boy actor Charlie Sheen and remains heavy with sexual innuendo, since he was 10 but says he doesn't want to be on it anymore.

Holiday shopping season off to record start

NEW YORK (AP) — If you make holiday shopping convenient, Americans will come in droves. It's estimated that U.S. shoppers hit stores and websites at record numbers over the Thanksgiving weekend, according to a survey released by the National Retail Federation on Sunday. They were attracted by retailers' efforts to make shopping easier, including opening stores on Thanksgiving evening, updating mobile shopping applications for smartphones and tablets, and expanding shipping and layaway options.

Hostess says talks to stave off shutdown fail

NEW YORK (AP) — Hostess Brands Inc. lived to die another day. The maker of Twinkies and Ding Dongs said late Tuesday that it failed to reach an agreement with its second-biggest union. As a result, Hostess plans to continue with a hearing on Wednesday in which a bankruptcy court judge in White Plains, N.Y., will decide if the company can shutter its operations.

J.C. Penney CEO tries to change the way we shop

NEW YORK (AP) — J.C. Penney CEO Ron Johnson seems unfazed that the department store chain's mounting losses and sales declines have led to growing criticism of his plan to change the way we shop. Perhaps that's because this isn't the first time during Johnson's 30-year career that he's attempted what seemed impossible. People predicted he'd fail at selling high-end housewares and designer dresses at discounter Target, but shoppers still flock there years later for cheap chic goods. Likewise, almost no one believed that the Apple stores he designed to sell the consumer electronics giant's gadgets would make money. Yet Apple's retail operations have become the most profitable in the industry.

Wal-Mart and Target: A tale of 2 discounters

NEW YORK (AP) — This holiday season, the biggest discount chains in the U.S. will tell the tale of two very different shoppers: those that have and those that have not. Wal-Mart Stores Inc., the world's largest retailer, on Thursday acknowledged that its low-income shoppers continue to struggle in the economy and issued an outlook for the fourth quarter — which encompasses the holiday shopping period __ that falls below Wall Street estimates. On the same day, its smaller rival Target Corp., which caters to more affluent shoppers, said it expects results during the quarter to exceed the Street's projections.