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Perhaps it’s time to say goodbye to social media. From disinformation campaigns led by former empires with nuclear weapons to unhinged truth-challenged politicians, and from the links between social media use and depression, anxiety, loneliness and more, to billionaire bandits plundering sites to make them organs of their own desires, the joy of posting and liking and retweeting is gone.
Add another one to the list: the pound of flesh paid by local politicians who must put themselves in the spotlight in order to represent the public, a price all too happily reaped by local trolls. In this week’s cover story — PAYING THE TROLL TOLL — staffer Daniel Walters delves into this unwitting bargain and its true cost. The inflammatory, insincere, digressive, extraneous, off-topic attacks can harden people who want to run for office. Or it can lead them to carry a firearm. Worry for their family. Drop out of public service altogether.
Signing off of social media won’t solve the problem. One troll we profile has been at it since the 1990s. But it’ll help. The vitriol inspired by being an anonymous and angry keyboard warrior is harder to locate when you have to express your displeasure in person, or with your actual name. So let’s all do ourselves a favor, delete our accounts and read a book. Or, better, a newspaper.— NICHOLAS DESHAIS, editor
Ted S. McGregor Jr. (firstname.lastname@example.org) PUBLISHER
Jer McGregor (x224) GENERAL
Nicholas Deshais (x239) EDITOR
Derek Harrison (x248) CREATIVE
WHY OR WHY NOT?
I have Twitter, but I don’t tweet.
Do you have ideas to improve social media?
I feel like most people just share their best stuff on social media, and then that makes everyone feel like they’re less than. Because you might share a cool vacation, but you wouldn’t share on social media if you failed your final exam or something.
Yeah, I think it’s a good mode of communication. Because there are so many engaging conversations going on, you can connect with a lot of people you otherwise wouldn’t be able to.
Kristi Gotzian (x215) ADVERTISING
Tamara McGregor (x233) COMMUNICATION
Colleen Bell-Craig (x212), Raja
I’m a fangirl who just has random things to say, so just random tweets like that.
Is Twitter your most used social media?
For celebrities or influencers or news and stuff, you should go to Twitter.
No, I’ve never been a big Twitter user.
What social media platform do you use most? Right now I only have BeReal. I kinda got rid of all my other social media apps because I was spending way too much time on them.
No. If I did have Twitter, I doubt I would Tweet that much. I don’t even post on my Instagram or Snapchat.
What would an ideal social network look like?
I do like the idea of Yik Yak, the implementation has been varying, but I do like the idea of just being able to tell an anonymous joke to the people around you.
A Tried-and-True Solution
With support from all corners of the effort to address our homelessness challenges, our columnists will lead a study of a new organization to tackle the issueBY GAVIN COOLEY AND RICK ROMERO
In our last column on this subject (“Homelessness is Spokane’s Biggest Challenge,” July 21, 2022), we laid out some food for thought on a more collaborative and nonpolitical approach to addressing our community’s homelessness challenges. We promised a follow-up column that would delve further into that model.
The beauty of writing an opinion column is that you get to armchair quarterback without ever having to take a live snap. Or so we thought. But somehow we have managed to not only get ourselves onto the field, but with the ball in our hands and the clock ticking.
The two of us city retirees, along with our also retired colleague Theresa Sanders, have been invited to help coordinate 90 days of community outreach and planning that we hope will result in the creation of an independent regional homelessness authority by early May. This authority would be charged with integrating the region’s future strategies, funding, services and staffing to address the impacts of homelessness in our region. Not a small task, but we couldn’t be more thrilled to be a part of this.
So this second column and future ones will not come from the outside looking in, but from the inside looking out. We will try to use these columns to be as transparent and informative as possible as the 90-day due diligence period unfolds.
WHY A REGIONAL AUTHORITY?
The idea of a permanent, independent regional authority to better manage homelessness is not new, but its time seems ripe as community support grows for a body that could build on the immense amount of work already being done. Our elected leaders, service providers and the
business community are stepping up and working closely to help us explore this opportunity more closely. And in many instances, the strongest support is coming from the very people and organizations who have already been working for many years with immense dedication and professionalism to support our homeless and vulnerable populations.
Taking a regional, collaborative approach has already had resounding and long-term success in Houston and Atlanta. And many more regions are considering doing the same, including Seattle, which has also recently adopted a regional partnership to address homelessness. These cities offer tremendous opportunities to examine their successes — and problems — and learn from their experiences as we consider our own regional, collaborative approach.
But at the heart of our optimism is the great track record of our own community in bringing collaborative approaches to address past problems and opportunities. In our first column (“Time and Again, Public Partnerships Have Transformed Spokane,” June 9, 2022), we noted the impressive list of major initiatives (from Expo ’74 to Kendall Yards to the West Plains Public Development Authority) that resulted from innovative public-private collaboration in our region.
When we move past our divisions, work through our differences and knock down our silos, we do really big things in this community.
HOW WOULD IT WORK?
To a great extent, answering this question is the purpose of the 90-day due diligence period we mentioned above. This process needs to include key community leaders, legislators and providers along with the community at large.
Key principles of a regional authority would include: Aligning the region to work from one playbook; depoliticizing the strategies and funding decisions; consolidating oversight and management of all resources and activities; and bringing alignment and leveraging investments in the areas of health and services, public housing and public safety.
But once again, we don’t have to invent a model that we haven’t already tested in our community. We have a number of regional authorities that are public corporations. Some examples are our transit system (STA), our sports, recreation and conference activities and facilities (PFD), our regional airport (SIA), and our regional health department (SRHD).
In several of these examples, municipal government (city or county) started out taking the lead, but then realized that the required focus, expertise and band-width needed was going to be beyond what a city or county government could individually provide.
The core services of city and county government include building and maintaining community infrastructure like streets, utilities, parks and libraries. Those core services also include providing community public safety like police, fire and criminal justice systems.
Cities and counties have been providing these core services since their inceptions, and the majority of their organizational structures, planning and budgets are built around these critical community services. Trying to absorb a major regional socioeconomic initiative like homelessness into a single city or county government would be like trying to run regional transit or a regional airport along with all those core responsibilities. It could be overwhelming.
While a homelessness authority is more about driving regional collaboration among all the necessary public and private entities than the centralized control of these other public corporation examples, the benefits of a regional and fundamentally collaborative approach are compelling.
We fully believe we are at the point that an independent regional integrated homelessness entity is the best alternative for managing this complex issue for the long-term. And given our track record of community success stories when we acknowledge this, we have some very good collaborative regional examples to draw on.
We mentioned above that other cities are taking the regional approach. So we also will look at the Houston regional model, which involves the creation of a separate nonprofit entity, and the Seattle regional model, which was created through partnership agreements. Whatever form this may take, however, will need to be customized and unique to our regional needs and expectations.
WHAT COMES NEXT?
We are energized by the support we are hearing from so many segments of our community. Public, private and nonprofit leaders are already bringing great support and input and are leaning in to help launch this 90-day due diligence initiative in a big and positive way.
A kickoff event is planned for Feb. 10 at a location to be announced, and a game-plan for the 90-day planning, structure and goals will be outlined immediately following. n
Gavin Cooley was the city of Spokane’s chief financial officer for 17 years, serving five different mayors, starting with Jim West. He currently is working with the city on projects including investments and the Spokane River Trail System. Rick Romero is the former utilities director and director of strategic planning for the city of Spokane. He worked on a variety of projects, including the renovation of Riverfront Park, the Podium and the downtown Spokane football stadium.
BURIED IN THEIR LANDBY NATE SANFORD
Throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, museums, universities and government agencies looted thousands of Native American gravesites and places of worship. With little or no consultation from local tribes, funerary objects, cultural items and human remains were unceremoniously dug up and transferred to institutions across the country for research and display.
The archaeologists and collectors used words like “excavation” and “field project.” Today, we might use words like “grave robbing” or “looting.”
In 1990, Congress passed the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act, which requires any federal agency or institution that receives federal funding to return the Native American remains to the tribes they belong to. But more than 30 years later, progress has been haltingly slow.
Earlier this month, the nonprofit investigative newsroom ProPublica published data showing that less than half of the 210,000 Native American remains held in U.S. universities, museums and federal agencies have been returned. It’s a list that includes some of the country’s most prestigious institutions. University of California, Berkeley still has the remains of more than 9,000 Native Americans. Harvard University still has 6,165 remains.
Under federal law, institutions are required to publicly report the ancestral remains in their possession,
and which tribes have a cultural connection that makes them eligible to claim those remains. After the institution establishes that cultural connection and publishes the list, the remains are classified as “made available for return.”
From there, tribes can make a claim and physically collect the remains.
It’s a complicated, sensitive process. The publication of the ProPublica database earlier this month has left some institutions feeling defensive, and saying the data doesn’t tell the full story.
Eastern Washington University has reported 100 Native American remains to the federal government. Of those, 81 are currently classified as having been “made available for return.”
But Erin Ross, the university’s director of tribal relations, says the rest of the remains actually have been inventoried and made available for return to local tribes, but they aren’t classified as such because the university is still working on submitting the paperwork. She adds that some federal agencies are technically responsible for some of the remains being held by EWU.
“ProPublica has it pretty black and white, but there’s nuance in this,” Ross says.
The data shows that Central Washington University has made available for return 69 percent of the more than 200 remains it reported to the federal government.
Lourdes Henebry-DeLeon, a professor in CWU’s anthropology department who leads the university’s effort to return the remains and cultural items, also takes issue with the bureaucratic framing of the remains as “not made available for return.”
“They’re in the process, they are available,” says Henebry-DeLeon. “They’re not hidden, they’re not secret, and we’re not trying to hold on to them.”
CWU has been working closely with a number of local tribal groups for years, Henebry-DeLeon says. The tribal representatives are all aware of the remains, she says, and are involved in the ongoing process of documentation and correcting errors that were made when the remains were originally inventoried. There’s a delicate balance between returning the remains quickly and also making sure it’s done accurately and with appropriate consultation with local tribes, Henebry-DeLeon says.
Ross, who is a member of the coastal Cowlitz Indian Tribe, explains that repatriation is especially important because of the cultural practices many Native groups have surrounding death and burial.
“It is critical for us, spiritually and culturally, that our ancestors are in their land as quickly as possible,” Ross says. “Because in general, our belief is that one’s soul cannot rest until one’s body is buried in their land.”
Local universities work, slowly, to return the stolen remains of Native AmericansBefore the Dalles Dam inundated Celilo Falls in 1957, the area was an important site for numerous tribes and people.
You can trace the story of some of the remains held by Eastern back to 1952, when a University of Washington field party led by anthropologist Warren Caldwell traveled to a site in Klickitat County — where the Columbia River cuts through the grassy plains on the WashingtonOregon border.
Their main focus: Wakemap Mound. A massive, human-made rise of earth the size of a football field.
Lewis and Clark were the first Europeans to write about the mound when they camped near there in 1805, but there’s evidence of human activity going back at least 10,000 years. The Wakemap Mound was next to Celilo Falls and Celilo Village — an area known as the Dalles that was a hub for salmon fishing and linked an extensive trade network for Native tribes across the Northwest.
The clock was ticking when Caldwell and his team arrived. The U.S government had just started construction on the Dalles Dam, and in a few years time, the mound would be almost entirely underwater. The lake created by the dam would also displace residents of Celilo Village and submerge the Celilo waterfall — uprooting a millennia-old culture of salmon fishing that sustained the local people.
The work done by Caldwell and his team was being funded by a federal program established in the 1940s to salvage archaeological remains before they were destroyed by federal dam projects.
By 1953, Caldwell and his team had removed the remains of at least seven individuals from the mound, along with associated funerary objects. Two years later, another UW field party led by Robert Butler began work at a site adjacent to the mound. The site was a mass
grave. Over the next three years, Butler and his team removed the remains of at least 62 people.
In a letter to a colleague, Butler described an elderly Yakama woman named Martha Skanawa, who angrily confronted him about the pillaging.
“She absolutely refused further contact between us,” Butler wrote. “Martha was quite adamant in her speech and quite bitter — and who can blame her?”
While Butler and Caldwell excavated remains at the behest of the federal government, a number of amateur relic hunters dug alongside them, taking thousands of items for profit or their own personal collections. It’s unclear what happened to the remains and cultural items taken by the relic hunters. Federal law only applies to institutions that receive federal money.
In 1966, the human remains gathered by Butler and Caldwell were officially transferred to the Burke Museum in Seattle. Because the remains were commingled and scattered throughout the site, identification of individual burials was nonexistent. In 1974, the Burke Museum transferred the 62 human remains taken by Butler and the seven human remains taken by Caldwell to Seattle University, where they sat for almost two decades.
The remains were transferred to EWU in 1992.
Ross, who was hired as EWU’s director of tribal relations in summer 2021, says it’s her understanding that the transfer to EWU in 1994 happened at the request of a local tribe, who asked that they be sent to the university for inventory. But it wasn’t until 2021— more than three decades after NAGPRA passed — that the inventory work began. It’s unclear why.
“What happened between then and now — I have no idea,” Ross says.
‘YOU ARE GOING HOME’
To get to the “made available for return” part of the process, the institution must first determine which tribes have a cultural connection to the remains.
But tribal identity and affiliation can be incredibly complicated. The remains were often taken from geographic locations that a number of tribes have cultural connections to.
For instance, ethnographic documentation indicates that the Wakemap Mound was in the aboriginal territory of the Western Columbia River Sahaptin, Wasco, Wishram, Yakama, Walla Walla, Umatilla, Tenino and Skin tribes. Today, their descendents are represented by the Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakama Nation, Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Reservation, Confederated Tribes of the Warm Springs Reservation of Oregon, and the Nez Perce Tribe.
Attempts to contact the Spokane Tribe of Indians and Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation for this article were unsuccessful.
Identifying where the remains come from and who they belong to is a long, difficult process that involves significant consultation from experts and a number of tribal groups. Ross says establishing cultural connection is often difficult because many Native American cultures don’t traditionally associate names with graves where loved ones are buried.
At EWU, the ancestral remains that have yet to be repatriated are in boxes in a building on campus. They’re not on display or used for research. The lab is behind three locked doors, and Ross has the only key. She asks the building to remain unidentified. It’s a sacred place, she says.
Ross received both a bachelor’s and a master’s from EWU, but says she didn’t know about the remains until she was hired as the school’s director of tribal relations.
After learning about the remains, Ross went to the lab and placed cedar branches on the boxes. For Coast Salish tribes like her own, she says, the branches signify protection and healing. Ross also talked to the ancestors: “Hey, we’re working through the process, you are going home,” she recalls saying.
Within two weeks of her being there, the school brought in specialists to inventory the ancestral remains held by the school. EWU was initially hoping Ross could lead them through the federal repatriation process, but Ross quickly realized it would be a full-time job in itself. The school hired Kate Valdez, a fulltime NAGPRA coordinator who works directly with the tribal groups.
Over the past two years, Valdez has worked with several local tribal groups to identify the remains in their care. Some have been physically collected by tribes, while others are still waiting to be officially claimed.
While the remains taken by Butler and Caldwell from the Celilo area have been officially made available for return, it’s unclear how many have been physically collected by the tribes who represent their ancestors. It’s a sensitive and often private process for tribes, Ross says.
Ross says she’s conscious of the need to balance speed and accuracy. EWU has made progress, she says, but there’s still more work that needs to be done to make things right.
“We do absolutely intend that all ancestors return home,” Ross says. n
From themed dinners to live entertainment, February is full of events you’ll adore. Whether youʼre planning a romantic meal with your valentine or a spirited night out with friends, a memorable celebration is always in store for you at Northern Quest.
Idaho Freedom Foundation president’s heart is in Idaho — but his house is in Spokane CountyBY DANIEL WALTERS
Some of the first words out of Idaho Freedom Foundation President Wayne Hoffman’s mouth on his Aug. 24 webcast last year were false.
“Hey, welcome everybody to another Hoff Time Report,” Hoffman announced. “I’m live — in North Idaho.”
But later in the video, Hoffman spins the camera around, revealing a distinctive red barn that is not, in fact, in North Idaho. It’s in Deer Park. In Spokane County. In Washington state.
Last March, Hoffman dropped over $800,000 on a “gorgeous 4 bedroom 2 bathroom home located on 10 acres with stunning views of Mt Spokane,” according to its real estate listing.
Hoffman’s Idaho Freedom Foundation — a once-libertarian-ish think tank that’s taken a sharp turn toward culture warring — is so influential in Idaho politics, it’s hard to think of anything close to a parallel in Washington state.
Yet Hoffman doesn’t own a home in Idaho, though he insists he lives there. For the latter half of last year, he wasn’t even renting one. The Idaho Freedom Foundation was sending his mail to his Deer Park property. He didn’t vote in the 2022 general election because without permanent residency in Idaho he legally couldn’t.
Still, Hoffman insists, repeatedly, that he’s still living in Idaho. So why did Hoffman end up with a house in Washington state, but not in Idaho?
Hoffman’s story lays out the convergence of two get-away-fromit-all dreams — the agrarian and RV lifestyles. He wanted to get a farm away from the chaos of the city for his adult children to live on. And then he’d live out of an RV, traveling throughout Idaho.
“When I’m not on the road, I could always go back to the farm,” Hoffman says.
In fact, that’s a pretty elegant paraphrase of Idaho’s legal definition of “residency” for voting purposes: the place you always plan to return to.
The one problem: He couldn’t find anything reasonably priced in North Idaho, at least nothing close enough to civilization for his daughter. That led him to buy the farm in Deer Park instead.
“I love the farm,” Hoffman says. “The only thing I don’t love about it is that it’s in Eastern Washington. … The politics are terrible.”
Hoffman says that he’s spent a lot of time RV-ing and that he “misspoke,” not lied, when he claimed to have broadcast from North Idaho.
“What I have tried to say is that I’m in the North Idaho area or the Coeur d’Alene area,” Hoffman says. “I’ve had people who have doxxed me and found out where my family was and either threatened them or threatened me.”
Either way, that property is not particularly close to Idaho. It’s about an hour drive from his Deer Park property to Post Falls.
Today, he claims to have an Idaho address, that he’s “renting a room from somebody” in Meridian, Idaho. He refuses to let me talk to that somebody. He did, however, agree to show me a Paypal receipt under his name associated with a Meridian address so long as I promised not to publish the address. That apartment, however, does not allow subletting or have an RV hookup.
And when he called me back on Friday, in the middle of Idaho’s legislative session, he did so from Deer Park.
Live, from Eastern Washington. n email@example.com
Purging the Pink Tax
High schoolers urge Washington lawmakers to eliminate gender-based pricing discriminationBY SAMANTHA WOHLFEIL
Washington could stop businesses from pricing products differently simply because of the gender they’re marketed to — like those pink razors that are basically the same as their blue counterparts but cost more.
That’s what Senate Bill 5171 would do, says state Sen. Manka Dhingra, the bill’s prime sponsor. Dhingra, a Democrat representing Redmond, says that women often face unfair pricing on everything from personal care products to toys.
“If you really think through, over a lifetime, how much money women are spending on these products, it’s a lot,” Dhingra says. “It is a very important equity bill given the lifelong fiscal impact on women and women of color.”
The bill is the most recent that Dhingra has introduced after working with high school students who pitch legislation each year as part of their coursework in advanced placement government classes.
Seniors at Lake Washington High School in Kirkland brought forward the gender-based discrimination bill as part of TVW’s Capitol Classroom program. (TVW is the Washington Legislature’s version of C-SPAN.) Teachers Michael Dawson and Bethany Shoda helped their students research and pitch the idea to lawmakers from their area.
“This one really caught my attention because I think for a lot of us women, especially older women, we have seen this price discrimination for so long, and I feel like the older generation has just kind of accepted it,” Dhingra says. “I loved how passionate these kids were, and how they were unwilling to continue with this trend.”
Dawson says he and Shoda don’t dictate which bill ideas students need to work on.
“These are all completely student generated,” Dawson says. “I want the kids to be working on an issue that they feel passionate about.”
Previous student-driven legislation included the successful 2021 effort to require public secondary schools and universities to provide free menstrual products in their bathrooms.
“We’re seeing this as little laboratories of democracy,” Shoda says. “We give kids a chance to see they can make a difference.”
Mahee Nemani, a Lake Washington senior, says her group liked the structure of similar bills passed in New York and California.
“Although people may not realize they are being discriminated against, or we are privileged enough to not realize that, there are people who are really affected by this, especially single mothers [and] women of color,” Nemani says.
The students looked at a 2015 New York
study of price differences. A blue toddler helmet with a stuffed shark on top was priced at $14.99, while a pink toddler helmet with a unicorn on top was $27.99. Bladder control pads for adults were both $11.99, but the women’s package only came with 39 pads, while the men’s had 52.
Those examples stood out to Dhingra, as health and safety products are important.
After the bill was introduced, the students drove themselves to Olympia to testify before the Senate’s Law & Justice Committee on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
Lake Washington senior Benjamine Howard highlighted gender pay gaps for the committee, as they compound the issue: For every $1 a White man earns, White women earn 83 cents, Black women earn 64 cents, Native American women earn 60 cents, and Hispanic women earn 57 cents.
“I really value gender equity, and it seemed like a great way to take action,” says Howard. “It’s not fair that I have to pay more just because I’m a girl, and that’s what it really comes down to.”
The original bill included civil penalties of thousands of dollars, which garnered criticism from the Washington Food Industry Association, representing independent grocers and convenience stores.
“We wholeheartedly agree that products in our stores should not be priced differently based on gender,” Katie Beeson, the association’s government affairs director, told the committee. “Unfortunately this bill would unfairly penalize local grocers for pricing set by manufacturers.”
However, Dhingra notes that the bill exempts “gender neutral” price differences, such as consistent markups for products in a specific category.
Dhingra amended the bill to remove the fines, but the state’s attorney general will still enforce the rule. Manufacturers would need to either explain how the labor and supply cost is different for substantially similar products or change the prices to match, or face a possible injunction and pay restitution.
“It helps us find out what’s happening at which level,” Dhingra says. “Because everybody points the finger at someone else.” n firstname.lastname@example.org
Avista says it’s out of Colstrip. Plus, dirty water goes into the Spokane River; and a Coeur d’Alene tribal elder diesBY SAMANTHA WOHLFEIL
Heeding both legislation and economics, Avista will get out of the coal business by the end of 2025, announcing this month that it will sell its share of the two remaining operational units at Colstrip power plant in Montana. Coal provides about 8 to 9 percent of Avista’s power needs in the Northwest but has become less economically viable than other options such as wind and natural gas. That, coupled with a Washington law requiring utilities to get out of coal, drove the company to make a deal with NorthWestern Energy. Avista (and its customers) will remain responsible for remediation and cleanup that is likely to be a liability for decades. Avista will also retain access to the massive transmission line system that connects Colstrip to the Pacific Northwest and could help the utility tie in clean energy projects in the future. The remaining owners have 90 days from the announcement to exercise a right of refusal on the deal.
RAIN, SLEET, FLOW
Spokane’s sewer system was overwhelmed with rain and melting snow in late December, when nearly 8 million gallons of untreated water flowed into the Spokane River in a single day. The city’s network of “combined sewer overflow” tanks wasn’t able to handle the mix of sewage and stormwater in its pipes on Dec. 27. That day was unseasonably warm and rainy, following frigid and very snowy weather. Despite that overflow — and another of about 2.7 million gallons in June last year — the city’s system is working as intended, says Public Works spokesperson Kirstin Davis. In 2016, before all the tanks were online, 80 million gallons of untreated water flowed into the river, compared with the roughly 15 million gallons of overflow last year. In comparison, the tanks captured more than 100 million gallons to get treated at the wastewater treatment plant last year.
‘LEAVE NO DREAM UNFULFILLED’
David Matheson, an elder and influential leader of the Coeur d’Alene Tribe, died at age 71, and services for him were held earlier this month. Matheson, who was serving a term on the Coeur d’Alene Tribal Council, was once the youngest council chairman ever elected. He led efforts to create many significant economic projects, including the tribe’s casino and golf course, and he influenced Native American policy across the nation, serving as the head of the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs from 1990 to 1993. He leaves behind his wife, children and grandchildren, with whom he often shared his love of riding and training horses. “Dave has left us a profound legacy,” said Chief J. Allan, current chairman, in an announcement about Matheson’s passing. “He was a true visionary who had the foresight to see the great possibilities for the Tribe and Native Americans.” n
Before she was Spokane’s mayor, Nadine Woodward spent 35 years as a local TV anchor. “Women were certainly more criticized, scrutinized and judged because of their appearance than men were,” she says. “You become battle-tested.” YOUNGKWAK PHOTO
Politicians put themselves in the public eye —perfect targets for inflammatory, insincere, digressive and cruel attacks from critics and harassersBY DANIEL WALTERS
Spokane Mayor Nadine Woodward called someone a prick on Twitter, and City Council member Karen Stratton heard all about it.
That wasn’t quite accurate. After Woodward tweeted about a phone call she made to Spokane’s sister city in Ireland, a prolific local commenter reacted with his usual contempt.
“Look at TV girl’s script. For a phone call,” he replied on Twitter. “The suit cannot be any emptier. Or the mayor’s office.”
The mayor responded.
“What a misogynist little *rick,” Woodward wrote from her @MayorSpokane account, swapping out the ‘p’ for an asterisk. “#InternationalWomensDay.”
Stratton started getting emails from angry citizens, which she forwarded to the mayor with a note. “I said, ‘This is embarrassing,’” Stratton says.
They met the next day, and Woodward was incensed. One of the complaints Stratton had forwarded was from one of the mayor’s most vicious harassers. Stratton says Woodward threw down a thick pile of papers on the desk, evidence of the foul comments directed toward her.
“She goes, ‘You’re going to read every single one, because you’re in cahoots with these people,’” Stratton says.
Stratton refused. Woodward raised her voice, quoting obscene passages from the abuse she’d received.
“I heard the c-word about four times,” Stratton says, referring to perhaps one of the most offensive and sexist terms in the English language.
Stratton denied knowing the harasser. But the damage was done. Stratton won’t meet with the mayor anymore, their relationship a secondhand casualty of internet trolling.
Woodward declined to talk about her meeting with Stratton on the record. She did agree to talk about the broader issue, but only reluctantly.
“Even doing this story shines a light and gives these people a platform and the attention that they’re looking for,” Woodward says. “I’m very uncomfortable with that.”
It’s the old internet mantra: Don’t feed the trolls. But there’s a cost to ignoring it too. It means that a consequential part of politics — where leaders are subjected to a torrent of abuse — takes place unexamined in the shadows.
“In reality, this is what we sign up for when you run for public office,” Stratton says. “This is what happens.”
But that’s the problem. Trolls — those who lob incendiary comments in an attempt to spark a reaction — occupy a hazy gray area in politics between citizen critic and abuser, stalker or harasser. Handling them has turned into a crucial political skill set.
It’s why, for this story, we spoke with both local politicians and the trolls who’ve been attacking them, sometimes for decades.
At times, this nasty and obsessive commentary has caused local leaders to go to the police, arm themselves, and even drop out of politics entirely.
Because, even as Stratton knows that being attacked is part of being in public office, the capacity for the attacks to go beyond rhetoric still occupies her mind.
“There are nights that I sit here and wonder: Is there anyone here with a gun?” Stratton says of City Council meetings.
The criticism that comes from being in the public eye isn’t new for Woodward. She spent 35 years as a local TV anchor.
“Women were certainly more criticized, scrutinized and judged because of their appearance... than men were,” Woodward says. “You become battle-tested.”
She wouldn’t lash out. She’d sometimes reach out, personally trying to win those viewers back. Or she’d just ignore it. But today, as social media makes anonymous cruelty more and more common, it’s easy to get sucked into the fray.
“When it becomes personal, it’s hard not to respond,”
“PAYING THE TROLL TOLL,” CONTINUED...
Wade through the replies on her official Twitter timeline, and the nastiness comes like a drumbeat. The eyes glaze over the niceties, the attaboys, the Merry Christmases — they focus on the outrage. People call her “Mayor Photo Op,” condemn her as a “total poser,” “useless,” a “narcissist,” a “disgrace to Spokane” and a “goddamn monster.” She’s accused of “normalizing homelessness” and running her “city like a plantation.”
Even her most banal tweets, like when she cheered on Gonzaga’s basketball team, result in furious replies.
“Cheer?” replied Jim Leighty, a construction worker and former radio DJ. “Like how you cheer on local police when they kill innocent people?”
The only other reply is from Terry Parker — aka “Jewish Space Laser Technician,” the troll who spurred the tense meeting between Stratton and Woodward — who tweets a dig against Gonzaga’s for having housed sexually abusive priests on campus.
Parker’s been around awhile. A veteran of both the Navy and the old-school internet message boards. But unlike the old flame wars that Parker may have survived in the ’90s, Facebook and Twitter were tailormade to accelerate conflict. The algorithms reward engagement and nothing pulls people in like calling people out.
Write something shocking, Leighty says, and that grabs attention. Attention grabs more attention. Even someone as aggressive as Parker has mixed feelings about the way that works.
“Do you want a social media app directing your emotions, always steering you toward confrontational content and engagement?” he says. On the other hand, it levels the playing field. Leighty requests public records about business leaders lobbing insults too. Their emails, he’s found, get “instant responses, meetings set up immediately.” They don’t get derided as trolls.
He isn’t a bully, Parker argues. It’s more like he’s David, slinging tweets at Goliath.
“She’s the mayor of Spokane,” Parker says. “I’m an online commentator.”
But as a committed self-proclaimed Marxist and leftist, Parker knows power comes in many forms, like economics, race and gender.
DEMEAN GIRLS SQUAD
So it’s not hard to see why Woodward —the city’s top elected official, a woman with three decades of professional news experience — thought that a man calling her “TV girl” was sexist.
“It gets to the point where you’ve taken so much, you’ve hit your point of being able to look the other way,” Woodward says.
Parker claims he had originally intended to call Woodward “Lady Writer” — a Dire Straits reference — but felt it was too obscure. “Shocked” by the mayor’s reply, he doubled down.
In subsequent tweets, he called her “TV Girl” again and again. One contained a crack about witnessing Woodward stuffing brunch into her “well-used pie hole.” In our interview, Parker acknowledged he was “being an asshole.”
But sexist? How could he be sexist? He’s a feminist, he asserts. He’d written an essay in college calling the “lack of empowerment of women worldwide” the most pressing problem globally. Look at all the women he’d hired and promoted for his tutoring company, he says, and the gender ratio of his Twitter followers.
That time he tweeted to a Portland TV reporter “you all do kinda dress like skanks on air”? Well, he argues, that was just him critiquing the patriarchal industry that infantilizes professional women to appeal to the male gaze.
But then there are his tweets calling U.S. Sen. Patty Murray a “bitch,” and accusing South Dakota’s governor of a “middleschool girl” head tilt. And the reply to Woodward’s “*rick” tweet where he called Woodward “feckless” and the unprintable c-word, and only censored the c.
Ultimately, Parker concludes he regrets calling the mayor “TV girl.” Nothing else.
“Write the story of Parker the Sexist Troll,” he says in a phone call. “Have at it, buddy.”
Woodward says the issue isn’t just about her.
“I started thinking about my daughter, who is a young adult,” Woodward says. “You have to say something about the type of attacks that women get.”
A study, conducted by the Institute for Strategic Dialogue, examined the 2020 congressional elections and found that female Republican candidates were twice as likely as their male counterparts to have abusive online comments directed at them on Facebook. Female Democrats, on the other hand, were 10 times more likely to get abuse than male Democrats.
“It discourages women from running for office. It pushes women out of politics,” Woodward says. “It leads women to disengage from political discourse.”
Kate Burke, a former Spokane City Council member and progressive firebrand, says she has a lot of empathy for conservative female politicians who’ve been hammered by sexist attacks, like Woodward and U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers.
“When I first started running, I had just this weird respect for Cathy McMorris Rodgers,” Burke says. “While I agree with zero percent of her policies and ideology, I do have this in common with her, and I feel for her.”
AIRING OF GRIEVANCES
The email, sent in the middle of one of Burke’s first City Council meetings, was simple enough: “Is there a chance that you could shut up?”
It came from a notorious and longtime online heckler named Marshall Smith, who’s sent many emails to her and other members. Burke should “be quarantined for diarrhea of the mouth,” he wrote. He called her “incompetent” and accused her of “psychosis,” “incredible stupidity” and being “on drugs 24/7.” After Burke publicly revealed her struggles with alcohol, Smith called her “Osama Bin Drinkin.’”
He’s also sent unsolicited emails to the Inlander, referring to Burke as “pig commie bitch.”
Burke would get anonymous phone calls too, from a voice that she says sounded a lot like Smith.
“Sometimes it will just be him going —snort! snort! snort! — like a pig,” Burke says. “Sometimes it will just be like, ‘Oh it’s you, you big cry baby pig.”
On another occasion, Burke says, he left her a voicemail that was just a recording of her talking at a council meeting.
“I treated her badly, just like everybody else,” Smith told me when I sat down with him for a lengthy interview at Donut Parade earlier this month. “There was always a group that I’d picked on. I take advantage of people doing stupid things.”
Smith, a 70-year-old man with a scraggly white beard, has been at this a long time. Spokesman-Review began banning his various accounts from commenting nearly two decades ago.
At our interview, Smith handed me a manila envelope that, among other documents, included a copy of a handwritten letter he wrote in 2005 to Murray, the Democratic U.S. senator. In it, he described how the government “failed” him after he “left my job behind, my wife, my family, my life. Everything that had any meaning for me.”
His anger over this issue — Boeing, a federal contractor, failing to give him his lead engineer job back after he returned from deployment — sent Smith on a collision course with many local leaders, from Murray to U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell to McMorris Rodgers.
“You may think that what happened to me is not justification for my behavior,” Smith insists. “But it is.”
And yet, for all his outrage over his country’s military and government, when Burke didn’t stand and put her hand over her heart for the Pledge of Allegiance during her first few weeks of office, Smith was offended.
“It put her on my target list,” Smith says.
I press Smith on the offensive posts he’s made, and he says he doesn’t remember some of them. Other times he smiles — a slight ain’t-I-a-stinker smirk — acknowledging the nastier comments he sent.
“PAYING THE TROLL TOLL,” CONTINUED...
He says he occasionally uses a fake email account when what he’s doing “may be embarrassing” or is “commentary that probably isn’t good for public dissemination.”
“It gives me a voice without restriction,” he says. But even some of the messages written in his name are libelous. One falsely claimed that a city employee was fired due to “prurient interest in children.”
Others are racist and beyond cruel.
When Sandy Williams, the local Black activist and publisher of the Black Lens newspaper, died in a plane crash last year, Smith posted on NAACP chair Kiantha Duncan’s Facebook page asking if he could “wear white robes” to Williams’ funeral.
And yet many messages are indistinguishable from any other concerned citizen. He critiques the spending on bike lanes, disputes parking enforcement charges, asks for an application to apply to the parking advisory board and complains about the behavior of a city snowplow driver.
Smith says he sometimes feels like — he can’t quite recall — who’s that character who is good but has the evil person inside him?
“Jekyll and Hyde?” I offer.
That’s the one.
TO STOP A TROLL
Former Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich says he got a lot of Marshall Smith emails too.
“Marshall is somebody that a lot of people have a lot of concerns about,” Knezovich says, noting that he’s worked with some elected officials targeted by Smith, including by providing security for McMorris Rodgers.
Knezovich was never one of those people who believed in ignoring outraged critics.
“It’s odd. You sometimes develop relationships with your tormentors,” Knezovich says. “I can usually talk to Marshall and get it calmed down. … If you ignore it, it just keeps growing. If you address it, it tends to kill it.”
Other local politicians offer varying, even contradictory advice.
Spokane City Council member Jonathan Bingle, a former pastor, refers to Romans 12, the New Testament chapter all about blessing those who curse you. He talks about inviting some of his angriest critics out to coffee, seeking common ground and understanding.
But if they threaten him? That’s when Bingle’s approach is a bit more Old Testament. He says he hands them his home address.
“I went to Rogers,” Bingle says, referencing Hillyard’s high school. “You’ve got something to say? Come say it to my face.”
Something dawns on him as he’s talking. “I’m realizing now, I’ve never told my wife that I’ve done that,” he says.
Former Spokane County Commissioner Todd Mielke says he would sometimes make the drive himself. He’d look up the address of somebody who’d left a threatening voicemail and would show up at their front door.
“I’m Todd Mielke, and I’m your county commissioner,’” he recalls, introducing himself, in a cheery voice. “Totally deescalated.”
It’s not always possible. After one council meeting
in winter 2019, Burke says three or four of her most persistent trolls caught her outside City Hall and started screaming at her.
Former City Council President Ben Stuckart says he watched it happen. “It was scary as hell,” he says.
But sometimes the harassment is completely anonymous. Toward the end of 2021, Spokane Council member Betsy Wilkerson, its sole Black member, got an anonymous letter with a racial slur in the address.
Inside was a single copy of a voter information pamphlet. The sender scrawled out a misspelled phrase, “NO RASCITS,” and crossed out Wilkerson’s face. No explanation, no return address.
“It’s just hate. You’ve seen that before: People’s faces are X-ed out or defaced,” Wilkerson says. “I knew that was part of the job. I just never experienced how low they could go. A little naive in that department.”
While Spokane County Commissioner Al French is dismissive of “keyboard warriors” — the sort of troll who’s all caps and no teeth — he knows that threats aren’t always entirely empty.
Sometimes they go from generic insults, French says, to “‘don’t be surprised if I come up behind you. Don’t travel by yourself because I’m going to get you.’”
Three times in his two decades in politics, a situation got so acidic that French says he had to contact the sheriff or prosecutor. Knezovich warned him that he couldn’t protect him 24/7 and advised him to carry a firearm.
French is a big guy. He’s a former Marine. Still, for a few weeks, he says he carried a handgun in a shoulder holster until the fury died down.
Years later, French won’t say who’d threatened him or what it was about. Like other elected officials, he worried that uttering the person’s name could make it worse, and the cycle of harassment would start anew. Even for leaders willing to take that chance, the safety of their loved ones can give them pause.
“What if somebody wanted to show up to my household when I’m not there and threaten my wife?” French asks.
Increasingly, politicians are being told there are greater risks than losing reelection.
“It’s sad we have to live that
way. But look what happened to Pelosi,” Knezovich says, referring to the October incident when a stranger broke into former Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s home and beat her husband with a hammer.
UNBLOCKED AND UNREPORTED
It’s not an exaggeration to say that Donald Trump trolled his way to the presidency. He accused Mexico of sending “rapists” to the U.S., did a mocking impression of a disabled reporter, called a war hero a “loser” for being a prisoner of war — and all the media outrage just sucked away the oxygen from his primary opponents.
But in that nastiness, many of his supporters saw a fighter — someone who would stick it to the self-righteous elites with their hypocritical niceties.
And simultaneously, activists on the left felt that civility — that “don’t boo, vote” garbage — was a luxury they couldn’t afford.
“It was almost like somebody turned on the Mean Boy and Girl Switch,” says Knezovich. “And people lost all ability to be civil with each other anymore.”
Even mentioning the word “civility” seemed to make people angry, he says.
But Trump helped change the game in another way too. Some of his most vociferous opponents that he’d blocked online filed lawsuits to force him to unblock them. But that success would mean losing one of the few defenses elected officials have against trolls.
Getting unblocked has become a rallying cry for some of the most controversial local online figures. In 2017, Parker celebrated after convincing Spokane Public Schools to unblock his account. That same year, he tried to recruit those blocked from McMorris Rodgers’ Facebook page to join him in a class-action lawsuit.
By early 2019, new legal precedents were emerging from federal courts: The First Amendment meant that an elected leader generally couldn’t block anyone from even their personal account if it was regularly used for official purposes.
Smith emailed the news to the City Council and city attorneys: “Councilperson Burke should take notice.”
Burke says it was a particularly bitter pill to swallow when the city attorney confirmed she’d have to unblock everyone on her official account.
“It gives them this status: I was wrong and they were right,” Burke said. “They get that over me.”
Ten minutes after unblocking, Burke recounts, she got 30 notifications from Smith.
Still, for an elected official, there was one more option available: Delete your account.
“I was tired of the trolling, the vitriol, the lack of civility,” says Spokane City Council member Lori Kinnear. “I thought the best way for me to combat that was to get off social media.”
When 2020 kicked off, she made the move. No more Twitter. No more Facebook. Not a moment too soon.
A KIND OF SICKNESS
When COVID hit in 2020, it was like online flame wars hit an oil field. The stakes of online arguments became literally life and death. One side accused you of trying to kill their business. The other side accused you of trying to kill their grandma.
“I was tired of the trolling, the vitriol, the lack of civility. I thought the best way for me to combat that was to get off social media.”
Kate Burke no longer lives in the U.S. — one reason she felt more comfortable about talking about the harassment she received.YOUNG KWAK PHOTO
French says the sheer volume of vitriolic email increased. People were locked down, resentful and stuck at home. They had free time to write, and they were angry.
“A lot of folks took it out on their keyboards,” French says.
Across the nation, on both sides of the political aisle, the taboo against confronting politicians at their homes broke down.
Former Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan had misogynistic messages spray-painted outside her house. Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler had his apartment lobby set on fire by protesters. Anti-mask protesters gathered outside the home of Bob Lutz, the former Spokane health officer.
Later that year, as Spokane considered fluoridating the water, a debate broke out on a local anti-fluoride Facebook group about whether they should share the addresses of local officials’ homes who were trying to “poison our water.”
The thread turned to Burke’s public comments about struggling with alcoholism. “She had better be great in the sack with this much crazy,” one commenter spewed.
And then another lists Burke’s home address, complete with a Google Maps link.
“I legitimately thought these guys were going to come to my house and rape me,” Burke says.
Burke says she started posting less online. On issues like the police union contract, Burke says she found herself hesitating to stand up for her beliefs.
“I kept thinking, is it worth it?” Burke says. “Is it worth it to be the sole ‘no’ vote on this, and get this kind of criticism and reaction? At what cost am I doing this?”
So she stopped. It wasn’t the reason she gave when she announced her decision to not run for re-election in
2021, but today Burke says that about “45 percent” of the reason she didn’t was the harassment. She hates that it feels like her tormentors won, she says, but she couldn’t continue living in stress and in fear. It wasn’t healthy.
That’s the rub: When you make being able to weather waves of abuse from the community the cost of running for office, it means some people will get priced out of politics entirely.
THE MARSHALL PLAN
Washington state Rep. Marcus Riccelli, a Spokane Democrat, pulls a thick packet of papers out of an envelope and sets it on an Inlander conference room table. Po lice reports, letters, emailed printouts, background checks.
It’s just a portion of the evidence of the way that Smith has targeted him and others, vociferously, off and on for over a decade. They’re all chapters in one sad story.
Start with the copy of the yellowed police advisory from 2005 that Riccelli says once hung in Spokane’s federal courthouse. It’s a mugshot of Smith with a much younger face — rounder, mustached — describing “multiple ar rests on the west side for harassment and phone harassment.”
That same year, 2005, Spokane County Auditor Vicky Dalton says
Children birth to 18 years old have a recommended vaccine schedule by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The flu and the COVID-19 vaccines (COVID-19 booster) are available for ages 6 months and older. The vaccines are safe for everyone! Schedule your appointments today.
Smith targeted her after her office provided a statement to law enforcement about how his use of her office’s public records violated a restraining order.
“I came home and he was standing in the front of my house, on the other side of the street, making sure that I saw him when I pulled in,” Dalton says. (Smith denies her account.)
Then there’s the 2010 DC Capitol Police report, alleging Smith yelled racial slurs at Cantwell during a community meeting in Spokane, angry that the senator hadn’t done more to fix his conflict with Boeing. That leads to a screenshot of Cantwell’s Facebook account, where Smith publicly and falsely accused Riccelli, then a Cantwell aide, of being a “chimo” — a child molester.
Riccelli sued him for harassment. In exchange for Riccelli dropping the suit, Smith agreed to stop libeling him.
Smith, meanwhile, has his own manila envelope with his own documents to share. He shows me a 2009 letter banning him from having any contact with McMorris Rodgers’ office. There’s a copy of the 2011 Spokane police report he filed against Riccelli claiming that Riccelli was “yelling and harassing” him when he kicked Smith out of a campaign event.
I’ve seen that one before. He’s sent it to the Inlander multiple times over the past decade. In fact, Smith admits he went through Riccelli’s campaign finance information and sent the police report to every single one of his donors, using a fake “Friends of Marcus Riccelli” campaign address.
“What could I do?” Smith says. “He gets money from his constituents. Hitting the politician in the pocket is something you can do, legally.”
Years went by. Riccelli would get strange letters in the
mail from bizarre fake return addresses. Riccelli would hold campaign events, then Smith would report violations with the liquor control board. When Riccelli started Spokane Food Fighters to help feed people during the pandemic, he says, Smith tried to get it shut down with complaints to donors and the health department.
“Just constant,” Riccelli says. “I love doing this job, but it comes with some difficulties.”
But there’s a side to this story that isn’t contained in either envelope. The Washington State Department of Corrections, Smith tells me during a followup conversation, had prescribed him a mood-altering drug called Zyprexa after he was convincted for third-degree assault in King County in 1999. Smith had been diagnosed with bipolar depression.
The meds made him sick, Smith says, gave him diabetes. But the depression, he says, was like a fog, “like being in quicksand.” He’d sit in his car outside work, unable to move for minutes.
Others have testified that the manic phase of their bipolar disorder contributes to paranoia, delusion, stalking and online harassment. Not an excuse but, perhaps, part of the explanation when it comes to some of his harassment.
Mental health, in particular, is something Woodward sees as linked to the overall issue of online abuse.
“Coming out of the pandemic, the mental health of the community has been impacted,” Woodward says.
It’s why, in 2021, she proposed launching a mental health task force. In an email to Woodward back then, Smith offered his own suggestion: “I would start with the nut jobs on the city council and some of the really dumbasses on your staff.”
But as I review Smith’s life with him, in particular
his criminal record, Smith is less glib. He takes off his spectacles, his eyes red.
“I just wish I could turn my life back 30 years,” Smith says. “All the crap that’s happened to me. I don’t think I asked for it.”
It’s not entirely clear how much of that pain is from the things he’s done, and how much is from the things he feels were done to him — regret blurs the distinctions.
He talks about the wound left behind by his father, a veteran of World War II, who refused to attend his wedding to an Asian-American woman, his voice breaking when he repeats the slur his father used against his wife. He talks about the loss left behind by the suicide of his brother — injured in Vietnam — in 1985. Every Christmas Eve, his brother’s birthday, he puts an extra place at the table.
And yet Smith has used mental illness, suicidal tendencies and racist insults as a cudgel against others.
Send comments to email@example.com.
“I’m embarrassed about a lot of the stuff you brought up,” he says to me. “I thought I’d left them behind. They can’t seem to go away. … I may have caused people hurt. Nobody’s perfect.”
Maybe, I suggest, this could be a new start. It’s a new year. He just had a birthday.
“Contrition?” Smith offers. There’s a slight note of hope in his voice, of possibility, but it passes quickly. He seems exhausted by the prospect of such an undertaking.
“I’m 70,” Smith says. “I’m tired.” n firstname.lastname@example.org
OVER THE MOON
After massive turnout for its inaugural run, Spokane’s Lunar New Year celebration returns even bigger in 2023BY CHEY SCOTT
When organizers of Spokane’s first communitywide Lunar New Year event in almost a century opened the doors last year at Riverfront Park’s Pavilion event hall, they anticipated about 5,000 people would wander through.
By the day’s end, however, an estimated 12,000 guests had taken in the lively festivities, some waiting for hours in a queue winding through the park. With this in mind, its founders knew they’d need to think even bigger and better for 2023. As a result, the cultural festival takes place this weekend in the Spokane Convention Center.
Based on the lunar calendar, in which months are based on the moon cycle, Lunar New Year is widely celebrated by numerous East Asian cultures including the Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, Indonesian, Japanese and Taiwanese peoples, among many others. This year’s
Lunar New Year fell on Jan. 22, and according to the Chinese zodiac, 2023 is the year of the rabbit; meanwhile the Vietnamese observe it as the year of the cat.
Like last year, this year’s attendees will be able to watch live performances and cultural demonstrations, including the lively lion and dragon dances featuring brightly colored performers manipulating heavily embellished and brightly colored costumes (lion) or puppet-like props (dragon).
Guests can sample traditional Asian foods or partake in crafts and activities for all ages, like a petting zoo and a scavenger hunt. They’re also treated to a bevy of door prizes and giveaways, including the distribution of 5,000 red envelopes filled with coupons and gift certificates, plus a firework finale at 7 pm. Aside from its focus on Lunar New Year traditions, the event
also features an Asian Native Hawaiian Pacific Islander (ANHPI) local business expo.
For event chair Vina Cathcart, organizing a Lunar New Year festival in her hometown is deeply personal. Cathcart is joined in these sentiments by other leaders with Spokane United We Stand, a nonprofit founded in 2020 in response to the hate and racism that arose during the height of the COVID pandemic.
“Growing up in Spokane, the nice thing was that I was fairly sheltered from all of the more racist things that happen in bigger cities. But finally during the pandemic, I remember going into the grocery store and I’m walking down the aisle, and this lady was on the phone and she was like, ‘Oh my god an Asian just walked down the same aisle as me — I’m gonna die,’” Cathcart recalls.
...continued on page 24
“And right then and there, my heart kind of sunk. It was my first racist interaction, where it was just like, right, I’m different,” she continues. “So that spurred me to take a real hard look at Spokane, being like well, what is there for Asian Americans here, besides, you know, great schooling? Which is great, but there’s nothing that really celebrated being Asian here.”
Other leaders in the community saw an opportunity to not only celebrate elements of their unique and shared cultures, but to showcase and educate others about their heritage and diversity.
“Lunar New Year is a huge celebration in Asian countries, and there are huge celebrations across the country” in other cities, Cathcart says. “But Spokane didn’t have it, and given that we’re the second-largest city in Washington, it’s kind of amazing. We thought it was important to bring Spokane together as a uniting front to celebrate one of the biggest Asian American traditions.”
In Spokane’s early days as a city, the area’s numerous Asian residents observed the Lunar New Year. Many of them, from countries like China and Japan, sought a new life in the West, but were exploited for their labor in the unforgiving railroad and mining industries while also facing discrimination from the White population here.
As time went on, however, those celebrations faded away, and the city’s historically Asian neighborhood — “Trent Alley,” located around where Riverfront Park, the First Interstate Center for the Arts, the Davenport Grand Hotel and nearby parking lots exist today — was razed. Before last year’s Lunar New Year event, it had been almost nine decades since the community-scale celebration of the holiday had occurred.
“It’s kind of a mixed feeling for me, because I love Spokane,” Cathcart says. “There’s a reason why I never left in the first place, but at the same time, it’s also recognizing that we have this painful past like all other cities that have gone through this.”
“Asian American culture was kind of written out of Spokane’s past — it was literally paved over for Expo ’74,” she says. “My goal is always to remind the community that Asian Americans have always had a place in Spokane and that we’re still here. So being part of bringing back the Lunar New Year celebration after an 89-year hiatus was a huge undertaking. I was very nervous up until the day, and even halfway through the event” last year.
Cathcart’s Vietnamese parents both immigrated to the U.S. from Saigon after the war. They met and married in Spokane. Cathcart has fond memories of going to her grandmother’s and aunt’s homes for Lunar New
Year, eating traditional home-cooked feasts with her extended family and receiving red envelopes filled with cash from all the relatives, a traditional gift of the holiday for children and single adults.
“As a kid, Lunar New Year was always my favorite, favorite holiday, even more so than Christmas,” Cathcart says. “It’s all of the joy that surrounds it. It’s a time for reunions.”
Cathcart has begun introducing these cherished traditions to her son, Atlas, who turns 2 this year. For her family’s visit to a traditional Vietnamese Buddhist temple on the first day of the Lunar New Year, she bought her son a traditional Vietnamese tunic matching that of her husband, Spokane City Council member Michael Cathcart, and will don her own heavily embroidered gown, worn with a beaded, crown-like headpiece. The family’s coordinated outfits are part of the Vietnamese tradition to wear all new clothes for the new year, as it’s bad luck to wear something old.
“Part of creating [Spokane United We Stand] was about recruiting the next generation of Asian Americans to be confident in themselves, and not hide away in their own little corners or circles of people because it’s safer that way,” Cathcart says. “It’s great to see the buy-in from the community and how much community engagement there is, and to see that many individuals turn out for an event like that is just incredible.” n
Spokane’s Lunar New Year & ANHPI Business Expo • Sat, Jan. 28 from 1-7 pm • Free • All ages • Spokane Convention Center • 334 W. Spokane Falls Blvd. • spokaneunitedwestand.org
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STORIES NEVER END
Longtime freelancer-turned-staff writer reflects on nearly two decades discovering and sharing stories about North Idaho and Eastern WashingtonBY CARRIE SCOZZARO
Ithought I’d always remember my first, except I didn’t. Not the specific date — there’ve been so many since then — only the circumstances: a guy in a three-piece suit at the Division Street off-ramp holding a cardboard sign reading “I need a plasma screen TV.”
It was 2005, and I’d brought my portfolio of design, writing and teaching samples to the Inlander in hopes of securing a graphic designer job. (I didn’t get it.) Instead, former editor Michael Bowen assigned me to interview the guy in the suit. In 2006, former Inlander editor Ann Colford said yes to me writing about food.
Eighteen years later, here I am, a freelancer-turnedstaff writer, at least until next week. Although you’ll still see my byline, I’m stepping away from writing as a full-time staffer, which has resulted in hundreds of photos and well over a thousand Inlander articles.
Originally, I focused on North Idaho, including three years helping create the Coeur d’Alene Pages on Lake City places and events. Now you know who to blame for increased Coeur d’Alene traffic.
I’ve written about “preppers,” skateboarders, and Orange County Choppers’ Spokane visit. I rode on the mechanical bull and with drift drivers, both in Stateline, Idaho. I spent a cold day in search of North Idaho’s cranberry bog, and another with Second Harvest’s wonderful mobile market team. And I’ve contributed to nearly every seasonal gift, drink, dining and local lifestyle guide the Inlander produces, and there are lots!
Sometimes I found stories, like animal-assisted therapy organizations and Spokane’s Fire Lookout Museum. Sometimes they found me, like the Pullmanbased conservationists working with Madagascar’s voatsiperifery pepper. Some stories were entrusted, like the Coeur d’Alene Resort and Casino’s 25th anniversary, and the tribe’s qhestlife initiative.
I’ve covered farms, kindergarten-through-college food programs, and people whose passion and hard
work puts food on our tables. Memorable pieces include Village Bakery’s “uniquely abled” employees, Washington State University’s viticulture degree program, Feast World Kitchen, and cultural panoramas like European holiday traditions and the origins of curry.
I’ve followed narrative threads to the end, too, with tributes to industry icons: longtime restaurateur Connie Naccarato, and chef Rod Jessick, as well as Ruben Trejo, Harold Balazs and Mel McCuddin in the arts.
Through the arts, the Inlander has also explored climate change, contemporary folk art and artmaking through various lenses, from the Black and Native American experiences to residents of the United Arab Emirates. Memorable culture stories include art in rural areas post-COVID, the all-Spanish radio station Ke Buena, Spokane’s Scottish Highland Games, and Out of the Shadows Theater’s special needs focus.
Looking back, it seems like a lot, but it’s a fraction of our region’s stories. Even as I’ve finished one article, I lament others I’ve missed. Someone else might have chosen different stories or different words, and working in this industry means accepting its limitations.
There have been rough patches, of course, and I’ve made mistakes. I appreciate that when the Inlander corrects errors on its writers’ behalf, it does so because the publication is above all, a team effort.
A huge effort … every single week for three decades. And when the Inlander celebrates its 30th anniversary this year, I’ll be cheering from the sidelines, honored to have been a contributor.
It’s been a blast, though — a journey of discovery with the added honor of delivering stories about people, places and events that make our region so extraordinary.
Oh, and the guy in the suit? That was Gabriel Brown, an Eastern Washington University art student whose art performance we highlighted in a last-page feature, appropriately titled The Last Word. n
HITTING THE HARDWOOD
With the football season winding down, it’s time for the sports world to turn its attention once again to the world of college hoops. Though it’s fair to say that here in Spokane, that focus never wavers. That said, if you happen to be one of those fans who waits until February to start paying attention to Gonzaga basketball, you might want to check out the Inlander’s KENNEL CORNER at inlander.com/zags. We’ve been keeping up to date with the Bulldogs’ season through weekly online-only dispatches from Will Maupin, plus my occasional musings on the state of the team. While it’s been an up-and-down season for GU, we at least hope the Kennel Corner coverage delivers on a more consistent basis than the Zags’ guards. (SETH SOMMERFELD)
The only book that’s been getting any attention nowadays is Prince Harry’s memoir, SPARE The haunting cover of his icy, vacant eyes has been flashed on screens and lined up in bookstores wherever I go. If you follow the British royal family (or in this case, ex-royal family), you’ll probably enjoy this for exactly what it is: a biography of the tumultuous life of the Duke of Sussex. However, the whole book comes off so privileged and… whiny. “I always got a smaller room than William!” Yeah, in a mansion. “I dressed up in a Nazi uniform, but it was William and Kate’s idea!” Yeah, but you dressed up in a Nazi uniform. The little brother energy is too real. How can a guy who’s lived a life like his write a book that’s so boring? Not sure, but he accomplishes that through a whopping 410 pages of grown man-child musings. (MADISON PEARSON)
THIS WEEK’S PLAYLIST
Noteworthy new music arriving in stores and online on Jan. 27.
THE ARCS, ELECTROPHONIC
CHRONIC. The neo-psychedelic garage rock side project of The Black Keys’ frontman Dan Auerbach returns with its second LP, composed of tracks recorded in 2018 before the passing of drummer Richard Swift.
SAMI, HONEY. Sparse indie pop meets verbose very modern lyricism a la Phoebe Bridgers.
COMPLETE MOUNTAIN ALMANAC, COMPLETE MOUNTAIN ALMANAC. The National guitarists Aaron and Bryce Dessner team up with their songwriting sister Jessica and Nordic singer/composer Rebekka Karijord to craft 12 chamber folk suites about climate change. (SETH SOMMERFELD)
Studio A looks to transform the local TV and film industryBY SETH SOMMERFELD
Nobody is going to mistake the warehouse sprawl off the main drag in Airway Heights for Hollywood.
But within the confines of Studio A, that’s kind of the point.
The new home of Going Local Productions looks completely nondescript from the outside — just a big industrial building that could be a boring storage facility. But once one enters the space, it can be a world of wonder, packed with time machines, hospitals, radio stations and human-sized hamster wheels. To put it simply, Studio A is breathing new life into the local film and television industry.
The space was first discovered by producer Casey Cowan in spring 2021 while he was doing location scouting for writer/director Stimson Snead’s short film Tim Travers and the Time Traveler’s Paradox. There were many elements which made it ideal: The space had two large open spaces that could be separate soundstages (around 12,000 and 8,000 square feet, respectively), high ceilings, office space, a remote location that would keep noise pollution minimal, and space for crew, props, wardrobe, catering and other on-set essentials.
The production rented the space for Tim Travers and subsequent projects including the feature film Dreamin’ Wild, the radio station sitcom Live + Local and the dramatic hospice streaming series Going Home. Eventually, producers grew so enamored with the building that a consortium of North by Northwest founder Rich Cowan, Going Home creator Dan Merchant, and real estate investors with Goodale & Barbieri Company came together to buy the space from its previous owners in May 2022. They’ve since gone about upgrading the facility — adding edit
rooms, a color correction suite, server rooms and many other post-production features in order to make Studio A a one-stop shop for filmmaking — one that rivals pretty much any space outside of major metropolitan cities.
“What this will cost me in LA would be an inconceivable fortune. And I would get functionally nothing better,” says Snead during a visit to Studio A while he was shooting Lab Rats, the follow-up short to Tim Tavers. Snead also recently shot a feature-length adaptation of Tim Travers in the space.
“This place is a humongous amount of actual stage space. Dozens of side rooms. This is basically a Grade-A movie stage,” Snead continues. “The only real difference between it and the stuff back in Los Angeles is the curved ceiling, and it’s not soundproofed. But one of the joys of places like Airway Heights is [there’s not a lot of noise].”
“I’ve been to a lot of different second and tertiary film hubs. I get to see studios all over the place. This is actually the best I’ve seen outside of LA, which is impressive,” says Ben Yennie, an executive producer of the Tim Travers feature.
Spokane has been a good location for some film and TV productions over the years because of the area’s diverse architecture and scenery. It’s why a show like the Merchant-produced zombie series Z Nation worked here. Within 30 miles, filmmakers can shoot deserts, lakes, mountains, good neighborhoods and bad neighborhoods. But the region never had a studio hub like Studio A.
“Los Angeles has all the sound stages and the best ones you would ever need. So if you’re just going to shoot on a soundstage, you wouldn’t leave Los Angeles,” says Merchant. “But what you get in the Northwest is a variety of beautiful scenics. You get a variety of architecture in Spokane, where you can shoot on the street and it looks like Boston and shoot on another street and it looks like Philly or whatever. So there’s a lot of the location work that the state has been famous for through the years, but we never had the support of a studio facility.”
The amount of space allows them to build full sets for a series like Going Home and keep them intact while still shooting other projects. This proved to be a smart move, as Going Home was a top show on Sony’s Christianentertainment streaming platform (Pure Flix) and got
picked up for a second season, which will start shooting this February.
“The nice thing about it is we can build and have standing sets. In the past, on all of our movies and stuff, it was almost all location-based. We would pull the whole circus, if you will, into a neighborhood,” says Rich Cowan.
“We still need that sometimes of course, but particularly when you’re on a TV show, you have that police station or that courtroom or that apartment that you keep coming back to, so it’s way more efficient to build it in a space like this and you can always have access to it,” he continues. “You control a lot more variables when you’re inside a studio than when out in a neighborhood. It’s kind of like your base, if you will. All your stuff — your wardrobe, art department supplies and all these kinds of things — can be in a facility like this, which we haven’t had in the past. We can just be more efficient with the infrastructure.”
Beyond the obvious benefits for studios and filmmakers, Studio A is also a major boon to Spokane-based production crewmembers: the camera people, makeup artists, editors, all the behind-the-scenes folks. In order to keep and retain talent for local productions they need to stay busy.
“The union crew needs about 100 workdays a year for their medical [benefits] to kick in,” says Cowan. “So that’s always our goal.”
“We’re trying to continue to add shows and movies and things like that on a more regular basis so the talented and experienced crew we have now doesn’t have to spend half the year in Mississippi or Atlanta or Seattle or Los Angeles or wherever the rest of the work is,” adds Merchant.
Since Washington state is notoriously not great at providing incentives for film productions, anything to streamline the process makes potential projects more willing to come to Spokane to shoot. Our city isn’t going to turn into the new Hollywood anytime soon, but at least there can be an even more cohesive and thriving local film industry.
“That’s a whole idea,” says Cowan. “We want this to be a place where people can come and be part of the industry in different disciplines, and just share and be around each other and have that sort of synergy that this industry needs.” n
Chef Michael Wiley buys Scratch Spokane and Rain Lounge with plans to honor their past while planning for the futureBY CARRIE SCOZZARO
You’re as likely to get a hug as a handshake from restaurant owner-turned-chef Michael Wiley.
His restaurants include Wiley’s Downtown Bistro, Prohibition Gastropub and, as of December 2022, Scratch Spokane and its sister spot, Rain Lounge. All are longtime Spokane establishments with their own vibe, but a common thread is Wiley’s emphasis on service and community, and his unique way of balancing pragmatism and passion.
“I never planned on cooking,” says Wiley, whose 25-year career has been mostly in front-of-house operations, like at the Spokane Club where he worked his way up in the ’90s from busser to lead server to wine steward.
Yet when the first chef Wiley hired to run the kitchen at his namesake downtown bistro didn’t work out, Wiley asked himself, “How can I protect the integrity of the business?” And he stepped in to cook.
He also designed the logo for Wiley’s, partly out of financial necessity, but also because he was deeply invested in creating the restaurant’s new brand since buying it in 2017. To distinguish it from its former life as the oddly named Herbal Essence restaurant (Was it a florist? A cannabis shop? A salon?), Wiley renamed it and created a logo with a fork flanked by triangular chef’s knives, forming the letter “W” and the silhouette of a wine glass.
During the COVID pandemic, as he and much of the culinary industry struggled to stay afloat, Wiley revised the logo, enclosing it in a winged heart and adding the tagline “Hearts Wide Open.” Both the logo and phrase exemplify Wiley’s hard-won approach to life, about which he continues to be candid, including problems with alcohol he’s since conquered.
“I have to choose love over fear,” says Wiley, whose mother was immersed enough in metaphysics that as a young adult, Wiley was on a first name basis with people like Deepak Chopra, the famous alternative-medicine advocate.
“Maybe it’s all that spiritual upbringing I had,” he adds.
Wiley recently purchased Scratch and Rain guided by this balanced approach to head and heart. First he looked at the history of the venues and what needs they fill in the community, he says.
“In this case, we have seven hotels within three blocks. We have the Fox Theater across the street, we have the Bing and the Knitting Factory a block and a half away.”
It’s that population, in part, whom Wiley hopes to attract to Scratch and Rain, which for now will retain their names and interior look and feel as he makes minor adjustments, seeks customer feedback and builds the business.
“So you go, ‘OK, now how can I channel creating something that’s going to meet [customers’]
Expect artful presentation at Scratch from Wiley, like this calamari appetizer.
expectation that I also feel really proud of? And that my team feels really proud of?’” Wiley asks.
His answer: a food menu that honors the restaurant’s history, provides a little something for everyone, but doesn’t try to offer so much that it’s impractical.
“I hate big menus,” says Wiley, adding that “it’s too hard to keep your products fresh and it’s going to give people decision fatigue.”
He’s also offering the same menu at both Scratch and Rain for now, focusing on must-haves.
“I might play with some similar ingredients,” says Wiley, who notes that Scratch has always had a duck entrée on the menu so it’s possible he’ll offer a variation of the duck confit he serves at Wiley’s Downtown Bistro.
“When I first said if I ever opened a restaurant, I would like to have duck confit on the menu — because it’s always been one of my favorite things to eat — but only if it works for the clientele,” he says. “If they like it, I’d be a very, very happy person because I’ll get to provide them something I’m really into and proud of, and that’d be a good feeling much like burgers at Prohibition.”
Many items at Scratch and Rain are gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan, like the hummus platter ($17) and tomato basil soup ($8). Try the roasted beet salad ($9), chicken marsala ($28), or top sirloin ($43) with garlic mashed Yukon Gold potatoes and sauteed vegetables.
Several dishes are a nod to the restaurant’s founder, the late Connie Naccarato, who created Scratch in 2007, like the manila clams ($20) in white wine and butter and fried calamari ($19).
“There have been pappardelle noodles on the menu since [Connie] opened the restaurant,” says Wiley, whose prawn pappardelle ($30) is rich and creamy with a hint of tanginess from capers and sundried tomatoes.
Ditto for the drink menu, where bar manager Gabe Means is working on a raindrop cocktail to honor Mari Bork, who worked at the restaurant for 12 years before buying it with husband Brad in 2019, but since passed the torch to Wiley.
As both locations evolve, future menus will pay tribute to the restaurant’s past, says Wiley, but also “help bridge the gap for the people that are looking for a similar experience to what they had before.”
“And it gives me inspiration to be creative in something that I may not have come up with on my own,” he adds. “And that challenges me to become a better chef, a better owner, a better person.” n
Scratch Spokane and Rain Lounge • 1007 W. First Ave. • Scratch open Tue-Sat from 5-9 pm; Rain open Tue-Sat from 4-11 pm • facebook.com/scratchspokane • 509-456-5656
Shortlisted as Best International
Feature contender for this year’s Oscars, this tense Persian crime thriller follows a female journalist investigating a serial killer who’s targeting sex workers in the Iranian holy city of Mashhad.
Rated PG-13 At the Magic Lantern
LEFT BEHIND: RISE OF THE ANTICHRIST
The latest entry in the rebooted Christian apocalyptic thriller franchise sees those left behind after the Rapture having to wrestle with faith and untangle conspiracies as an evil force rises to prominence.
Rated PG-13 Screening Jan. 26-29
BRANDON CRONENBERG’S PARADISE LOSTBY CHASE HUTCHINSON
There is just about every bodily fluid one could imagine seeing on screen in Brandon Cronenberg’s brutal yet oddly beautiful Infinity Pool Vomit, semen and blood are all part of the grotesque debauchery he drags us into. Like he did in his prior film, 2020’s picturesque nightmare Possessor, the son of director David Cronenberg brings us right up into the squishiness of these corporeal elements and then merges them with a science fiction-infused meditation on violence, desire and depravity. While not as sharp as that prior film, there is still a joy in seeing him cutting deep into a fantastical, fleshy world — riveting to behold in its grim glory. First premiering this past weekend at the Sundance Film Festival, it is a darkly funny gem. One can only stare at it with a combination of awe and disgust.
It all begins with the struggling writer James, played by Alexander Skarsgård (The Northman), who has gone on vacation to a fictional island somewhere in Eastern Europe where he hopes to find inspiration for his next book. He is there with his wife, Em, Dopesick’s Cleopatra Coleman, who comes from money and is financing this trip (as well as their entire lives). The resort destination, while containing beautiful vistas, is starkly lit and feels more like a sort of purgatory, one that Cronenberg turns on its head to a dizzying degree. Everything is artificial with a recurring gag of an employee appropriating various rich
cultural practices that can be sold to the wealthy guests. In the middle of all this, James encounters the charismatic yet creepy Gabi, who will forever alter the course of his life.
Played to perfection by the modern horror icon Mia Goth — of both X and Pearl from last year — she invites James and his wife to accompany her and her husband on a picnic outside the resort. Though he doesn’t know the couple, James agrees. While Em is skeptical of this outing, Gabi hooks James by gushing about how much she loves his writing, which makes him overlook any of his wife’s concerns. His ego won’t be the last thing that gets stroked, as there are many unsettling sex scenes where Cronenberg shows everything via extreme close-ups. He repeatedly fixates on the body from the mouth to the eyes and, yes, the phallus. After night falls on the beach, they make their way back in a rented car. With everyone either drunk or tired, James offers to drive. He subsequently hits a local farmer, killing him, flees, and is arrested the next day. Sentenced to death, James is given the opportunity to pay for a double to take his place in an execution he must watch. While Em is horrified, James has the opposite reaction: He loves it.
them to act with impunity. It is quite blunt about this, but it serves the story well as we see just how quickly James begins to get swept up in this new lifestyle that is only just a more obvious version of the one he was already living. Gabi, as we soon learn, had hoped for this to happen, and Goth delicately teases out the madness of the situation to magnificent effect. She circles each panoply of murder and mayhem like a tiger that is waiting for the opportunity to strike. When James begins to have doubts, she turns up the intensity even further in a series of scenes late in the film that are as splendid as they are sinister.
Directed by Brandon Cronenberg
Starring Alexander Skarsgård, Mia Goth, Cleopatra Coleman
There are plenty of hallucinogenic sequences sprinkled throughout all this, which use similar techniques from Possessor, ones that turn the body into something inhuman, but the real power comes in its playful psychological terror. There are just so many wonderfully dark jokes that grow increasingly more bleak in what they reveal about James.
This is where the film shifts from being more lightly humorous into being something approaching a satire of how the wealthy treat other countries as playgrounds for
Cronenberg shows us how men like him can become cruel with such an ease — you realize all it took was an opportunity for them to do so. This culminates in a conclusion that leaves us with one final unnerving punchline, one which reveals his morality to be the greatest illusion of all. n
Decision to Leave
While it shines when drawing directly from the superior source material, Women Talking frequently misses the markBY CHASE HUTCHINSON
The work of adaptation, especially when taking a novel and molding it into a film that runs under two hours, will always be a challenging undertaking. No matter how much you may try to maintain the core of the material, much will be excised for the sake of narrative momentum. In Sarah Polley’s Women Talking, the often-engaging, yet oddly slight adaptation of the novel of the same name by Miriam Toews, this grows increasingly evident. Characters’ reflections on faith, patriarchy and the future are largely boiled down to the basics. While it lifts some passages directly from the book in a manner that can prove to be quite arresting, the layers of life underneath it still feel lost. It is not a complete misfire by any means, but still represents a missed opportunity, as the complexities and nuances of the narrative are regrettably stifled under a series of flat filmmaking choices.
(Claire Foy) and Mariche (Jessie Buckle), who come to represent the group’s most significant differences about what to do. There is also Ben Whishaw’s note-taking August, who the film positions as more of an observer than he was in the novel. It’s a change that could have opened up more chances to learn about the women and their interior lives. Alas, much of what we learned from the book about them and their history, that would then inform the future, gets lost as well.
Most disappointingly, the experience of first watching Women Talking back when it was making its festival run was primarily defined by a single thought: Oh, all of it is really going to look like that The desaturated visuals end up becoming a persistent distraction as it feels like all the colors have been drained from the world to be replaced with an ugly malaise. This is certainly a stylistic choice, clearly meant to mirror the bleak world they inhabit, but it is done far too bluntly to be effective. Where the novel had rich imagery that was woven throughout the long dialogue scenes, the film does itself and the story a disservice by not finding any sort of visual contrast.
What makes this all the more unfortunate is that there is much to the rest of the experience that is affecting. Most of the performances capture the conflicting ideas and thoughts playing out in the conversation well enough. When the characters encounter the edges of the only world they have ever known and what little they have been taught, it serves as a reminder that their repression is built upon keeping them in the dark. The way they discuss their lives and futures with one another brings light to the darkness of the story, feeling most reminiscent of the key parts of the novel.
The story is broadly the same as it takes place in an isolated religious community of Mennonites where the women discover that they and their young daughters have been being brutally attacked in the night by the men. The horrors have continued with the support of the other men of their group — or, at the very least, their ambivalence. After a group of culprits are discovered, rather than setting about bringing justice, the men expect forgiveness. That is when all of the women gather to decide between two options: stay and fight or leave.
Among them is Ona (Rooney Mara), Salome
What becomes difficult to overlook is how much has been removed from the narrative and how the script remains more shallow as a result. Further, when even the more arresting scenes are arranged in a scattered fashion, it begins to undercut their intensity and depth. It does a lot right, but most of that feels like it can be credited to the novel itself. When further considering the rather significant differences in their respective endings, the greatest takeaway from Women Talking is that one ought to go to the source material for the best version of this story. In those pages, you come to know the characters and their ideas far more completely. n
The Other Side of the Country
Finding sonic kinship via the diverse, progressive and queer world of alternative country musicBY ELISSA BALL
For a solid year, I’ve been on a country music kick. 2022 was rough, pocked with frustrating almosts and rejections Since I believe the core of country is a tragicomic mix of heartache and wordplay, it makes sense that in a particularly sad year — self-managed with my usual sad clowning and puns — I kept moseying toward tracks with weeping steel guitar and fiddle.
It’s not like the genre’s new to me. Growing up in rural Yakima County, I learned to drive a tractor and avoid rattlesnakes. I still say “reckon” and “yonder” with sincerity. My elementary school shared a property line with rodeo grounds; swirling around the drains of my high school’s drinking fountains were heaps of used chewing tobacco. At the roller rink, my pals and I skated to Alan Jackson’s “Chattahoochee” music video. I enjoyed some cowboy-hat-clad artists as a kid. But from junior high on, I mostly sought out punk and rock.
My recent country kick kicked off in December 2021 when I clicked on a BuzzFeed News article, titled “Jason Isbell Is Tired Of Country’s Love Affair With White Nostalgia,” about singer-songwriter Isbell’s criticism of racism and sexism in country and his choice to invite Black women musicians to open for him on seven of the eight nights of his sold-out residency at Nashville’s famed Ryman Auditorium.
Intrigued, I queued up songs from his current project, Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit, and sniffed around his Twitter account. I learned Alabama-born Isbell is not only vocally critical of mainstream country’s “good old days”
distortion of history (good for whom, exactly?) and denial of its bigoted present, but he’s also an ultra sharp songwriter. His Elliott Smith-level lyrics crush hearts with their precision. In 2013’s “Flying Over Water,” Isbell pumps both lyrical muscles with the no-bull line “Daddy’s little empire built by hand and built by slaves,” and a tender airplane moment where one lover says, “Take my hand, baby, we’re over land / I know flying over water makes you cry.”
Galloping through Jason Isbell’s poetic discography led me to discover other non-MAGA country artists. Finding these fresh voices reminded me that country music isn’t a monolith; the genre is more like a set of nesting dolls.
On hot country playlists, there’s no shortage of “I want everyone to know I consume alcohol and a lot of it” songs with fake twang and hokey production. It’s easy to find xenophobic, jingoistic country crooners (*coughTobyKeithcough*) and fan bases with racist bumper stickers. Anti-maskers and anti-vaxxers? Country’s got plenty!
But country is also Johnny Cash’s protest songs, Willie’s braids and bud, Garth’s anti-homophobia campaign way back in the 1990s. It’s Darius Rucker crossing over from poppier Hootie & the Blowfish years. Country is Patsy, Dolly, Tanya, Linda, Wynonna, and the Chicks. It’s Loretta Lynn singing “The Pill” — an ode to birth control — in 1975, and Mary Chapin Carpenter rallying against women’s underpaid and unpaid labor with 1992’s “He Thinks He’ll Keep Her.”
These days, country is lesbian Western rocker Brandi Carlile thanking Maren Morris for pushing back against a transphobic tweet by Jason Aldean’s wife, Brittany, whom Morris dubbed “Insurrection Barbie.” Some might write off the exchange as “drama” or “infighting,” but honestly? It made me grateful to know that, in the big cafeteria of country music, there are tables where I want to sit.
Maybe you’re already familiar with evolved country’s spotlit names such as Chris Stapleton, Kasey Musgraves or Sturgill Simpson. Now if you’re ready to dip a boot into lesser-known country waters, you’re in luck, partner. I’ve rounded up my favorite y’allternative musicians to share with you…
CHARLEY CROCKETT brought his Texan “Gulf Coast boogie woogie” band to the Knitting Factory last April and wowed the crowd with his electric stage presence, causing a few young fans to remove their cowboy hats and thrust them in his direction as a sign of appreciation. Charismatic Crockett (yes, he’s related to Davy) started out busking on streets, so he knows how to hold an audience’s attention. Joking about his constantly touring lifestyle in some on-stage banter, the prolific musician claimed that to get by in this world you can either punch a time clock “or you can join the circus. Either way, you’re workin’.” It seems “the circus” life is working for him. Since 2020, Crockett’s success has erupted in much-deserved ways. Check out “Black Sedan” and “Just Like Honey” from Crockett’s 2022 album The Man From
Waco. His 2020 LP Welcome to Hard Times has a killer title track and a gorgeous cover of Tom T. Hall’s “How I Got to Memphis.”
JAIME WYATT’s songs have bite. You can hear pain and rage in the queer outlaw country artist’s delightfully husky vocals. With ’70s-inspired stage outfits and a sly sense of humor, Wyatt balances polish and grit. Like Charley Crockett, Wyatt also spent time in jail, infusing her 2017 album Felony Blues with honest toughness. Last fall she toured with the Dropkick Murphys, with whom she also collaborated on their track “Never Git Drunk No More.” Shooter Jennings produced Wyatt’s 2020 album Neon Cross, whose anthemic, shout-along title track distills misery — “So sad, goddamn, I’m wearing some pitiful perfume” — with a wink, as country does best.
Nashville-based singer-songwriter MADELINE EDWARDS also delivers full, gravel-road vocals on her debut 2022 LP Crashlanded. The glam-country track “Mama, Dolly, Jesus” shimmers with Depeche-Mode undertones. Her kaleidoscopic music video for “Mirror” is emotionally powerful and visually captivating. In “The Wolves,” Edwards belts out, “I ain’t scared of nothin’... I’m seein’ red, I’m in control,” making it an ideal track for building up your confidence right before a bold move. Though Edwards has been compared to a “country Amy Winehouse,” her sound and style are all her own.
EMILY NENNI’S taffy-sweet voice floats like airborne cotton candy above a field of buttercups. Nenni’s vibe — soft cotton blouses, an album titled On the Ranch — is more down-home than big-city, though she is based in Nashville now. Nenni says her cheekily titled “Can Chaser” is a feminist ode to women barrel racers in the rodeo. The honky-tonk artist’s track “Long Game” — my favorite song of hers — is a lyrical balm for anyone facing setbacks to success but still determined to blossom somehow, eventually.
DOUGIE POOLE seems like the sort of kind-hearted stoner who might be working in a prep kitchen if he weren’t touring from his home base of Brooklyn(?!). Poole’s 2020 album The Freelancer’s Blues has a synth-assisted haunted highway sound. Think goth cowboy, or if Roy Orbison sang about “Vaping on the Job.”
“I know what you’re thinking when you hear the way I talk,” declares queer country folk artist S.G. GOODMAN on “The Way I Talk,” challenging stereotypes about the South and busting myths about rural political homogeneity. Raised in Kentucky — where she still resides — the farmer’s daughter doesn’t shy away from intense topics like poverty, grief and opioid overdoses. (Hey, she has love songs too!) Backed by a full band, Goodman’s feedback-heavy sound isn’t afraid to stretch out and get loud.
Check out MEG McREE if you’re a fan of bluesy Bonnie Raitt guitar. The singer-songwriter’s track “Saying Goodbye” is a sultry scorcher with guitar tones like caramelized onion. Not only has McRee been touring with Lainey Wilson, but she has also penned songs cut by Elle King, Grace Potter and Ben Chapman (who happens to be her romantic partner). McRee’s debut album Is It Just Me? comes out March 3.
OK, MIKE AND THE MOONPIES is kind of a silly name. But this Austin-based band pushes all the right stone-washed ’90s country buttons for me. Melodically, their song “Hour on the Hour” reminds me of Clint Black’s “A Better Man” and also fulfills the very meta country tradition of singing songs about songs on the radio. “Steak Night at the Prairie Rose,” the narrative title track off their 2018 album, is a heartfelt — yet not cheesy — song about post-divorce dads. But by far my favorite from these Moonpies is “You Look Good in Neon,” a celebration of last-call bar hookups reminiscent of “Neon Moon.”
VINCENT NEIL EMERSON has a mournful-yet-soothing vocal quality reminiscent of Jeff Buckley or Townes Van Zandt. When he hits the warbling line “True love is all that I long for” in his track “Son of a Bitch,” the earnestness of feeling creates goosebumps. Emerson wrote “The Ballad of the Choctaw-Apache” about his grandmother’s tribe in Northwest Louisiana to shine a light on a 1960s reservoir project that affected “180,000 acres of ancestral land” and gave those uprooted a raw deal. “Only 25 bucks an acre they were paid,” he sings. “Well you take away their home then you claim what you don’t own / Well I guess it’s still the American way.” n
musicians, songwriters and those with a creative musical bent of any music style are invited to create a new jingle for the Coeur d’Alene Casino.
FOLK ROCK THE BACON BROTHERS
MINI-FEST ESCNW ANNIVERSARY
BOLO’S BAR & GRILL, Luke Yates Trio
J BOTTLE BAY BREWING CO., Joe Vigil
CHAN’S RED DRAGON ON THIRD, Thursday Night Jam
CHECKERBOARD TAPROOM, Weathered Shepherds
THE MASON JAR, Peter Walls
J QQ SUSHI & KITCHEN, Just Plain Darin
STEAM PLANT RESTAURANT & BREW PUB, Wiebe Jammin ZOLA, Desperate8s
AK ASIAN RESTAURANT, Pamela Jean
J THE BIG DIPPER, Midnight Drive, The Cetra, False Visions, Counting The Fallen BIGFOOT PUB, The Real McCoy
BOLO’S BAR & GRILL, Dangerous Type
CHAN’S RED DRAGON ON THIRD, The Longnecks
CHINOOK STEAK, PASTA & SPIRITS, Devon Wade
CURLEY’S, Lake Town Sound
THE DRAFT ZONE, Sam Leyde Band. Zoramena, The Red Books DRY FLY DISTILLING, Son of Brad
J HISTORIC DAVENPORT HOTEL, Rachel Bade-McMurphy Quartet
LUCKY YOU LOUNGE, Wes Urbaniak and The Mountain Folk, Lucas Brookbank Brown NIGHTHAWK LOUNGE (CDA CASINO), The Happiness J J NORTHERN QUEST RESORT & CASINO, The Bacon Brothers OLD MILL BAR AND GRILL, Mel Dalton
OSPREY RESTAURANT & BAR, Land of Voices PEND D’OREILLE WINERY, Chris Lynch and Lauren Kerschner THE RIDLER PIANO BAR, Just Plain Darin ZOLA, Chasing Eos
BABY BAR, Winter Formal: Jeff Peterson , Terror Cactus, DJs Beth Wester and James Hunt BIGFOOT PUB, The Real McCoy BOLO’S BAR & GRILL, Dangerous Type
CHAN’S RED DRAGON ON THIRD, Kenny James Miller Band CHINOOK STEAK, PASTA & SPIRITS, Devon Wade CURLEY’S, Lake Town Sound THE DRAFT ZONE, DJ Byrd, Agápē, Northwest Breeze, The Red Books
J LEBANON RESTAURANT & CAFÉ, Safar J LUCKY YOU LOUNGE, The Holy Broke, Jeremy James Meyer, Matt Mitchell Music Co. NIGHTHAWK LOUNGE (CDA CASINO), The Happiness NOAH’S CANTEEN, Sam Leyde
OSPREY RESTAURANT & BAR, Son of Brad PEND D’OREILLE WINERY, Larry Mooney
J PONDEROSA BAR AND GRILL, Honey & Rose RED ROOM LOUNGE, Live DJs ZOLA, Blake Braley
CURLEY’S, Theresa Edwards Band HOGFISH, Open Mic
On screen, Kevin Bacon is more known for his dancing. But off screen? He’s really more of a singing guy. Along with his sibling Michael, the Bacon Brothers have kept musically busy over the decades, with a workmanlike approach that defies the typical “famous actor playing music” cliches. The group keeps peddling its rocking blend of folk, soul and country, putting out eight albums over a few decades. If you feel like lowering your degrees of separation from Kevin Bacon (mine’s only three!), this is the perfect musical chance.— SETH SOMMERFELD
The Bacon Brothers • Fri, Jan. 27 at 7:30 pm • $59-$79 • All ages • Northern Quest Casino & Resort • 100 N. Hayford Rd. • nothernquest.com
For five years, local artist collective Evergreen State of Consciousness has been crafting clothing, jewelry and other wares that tap into the metaphysical Northwest vibe (think crystals and consciousness wavelengths). To celebrate making it half a decade, the group is hosting a music-forward party aimed at “being present in the moment” (with that in mind, it’ll be an alcohol-free shindig). In addition to vendors and raffles, the evening features live local music ranging from EDM (Raskl, Jo Jo) to hip-hop (ExZac Change & Iyzlow Matisse, John MF Ward) to indie (Snacks at Midnight, Tyler Alai). Think of it as a musical mental cleanse.— SETH SOMMERFELD
ESCNW 5 Year Anniversary • Sat, Jan. 28 from 5 pm-1:30 am • $25-$35 • 18+ • Washington Cracker Co. • 304 W. Pacific Ave. • facebook.com/escnw
J EICHARDT’S PUB, Monday Night Blues Jam with John Firshi RED ROOM LOUNGE, Open Mic Night
Tuesday, 01/31 LITZ’S PUB & EATERY, Shuffle Dawgs
CORBY’S BAR, Sammy Eubanks THE DRAFT ZONE, The Draft Zone Open Mic J KNITTING FACTORY, The Elovaters RED ROOM LOUNGE, The Roomates ZOLA, Runaway Lemonade
Coming Up ...
J THE KENWORTHY, Green Flannel & Repo Man, Feb. 3, 7 pm.
J LUCKY YOU LOUNGE, Damien Jurado, Shoecraft, Feb. 12, 8 pm.
J J SPOKANE ARENA, Ice Cube, Bone Thugs N Harmony, Xzibit, Tha Dogg Pound, The Luniz, March 5, 7 pm.
J J KNITTING FACTORY, Alvvays, March 13, 8 pm.
J LUCKY YOU LOUNGE, The Old 97’s, Caitlin Rose Mar. 23, 8 pm.
J THE FOX THEATER, Jerry Cantrell, Thunderpussy, March 31, 8 pm.
J NORTHERN QUEST RESORT & CASINO, LeAnn Rimes, April 14, 7:30 pm.
J J SPOKANE ARENA, Shania Twain, Lindsay Ell, April 28, 7:30 pm.
MUSIC | VENUES
219 LOUNGE • 219 N. First Ave., Sandpoint • 208-263-5673
ARBOR CREST WINE CELLARS • 4705 N. Fruit Hill Rd., Spokane Valley • 509-927-9463
BABY BAR • 827 W. First Ave. • 509-847-1234
BARRISTER WINERY • 1213 W. Railroad Ave. • 509-465-3591
BEE’S KNEES WHISKY BAR • 1324 W. Lancaster Rd.., Hayden • 208-758-0558
BERSERK • 125 S. Stevens St. • 509-315-5101
THE BIG DIPPER • 171 S. Washington St. • 509-863-8098
BIGFOOT PUB • 9115 N. Division St. • 509-467-9638
BING CROSBY THEATER • 901 W. Sprague Ave. • 509-227-7638
BLACK DIAMOND • 9614 E. Sprague Ave. • 509891-8357
BOLO’S BAR & GRILL • 116 S. Best Rd., Spokane Valley • 509-891-8995
BOOMERS CLASSIC ROCK BAR • 18219 E. Appleway Ave., Spokane Valley • 509-368-9847
BUCER’S COFFEEHOUSE PUB • 201 S. Main St., Moscow • 208-596-0887
THE BULL HEAD • 10211 S. Electric St., Four Lakes • 509-838-9717
CHAN’S RED DRAGON • 1406 W. Third Ave. • 509-838-6688
COEUR D’ALENE CASINO • 37914 S. Nukwalqw St., Worley • 800-523-2464
COEUR D’ALENE CELLARS • 3890 N. Schreiber Way, Coeur d’Alene • 208-664-2336
CRUISERS BAR & GRILL • 6105 W Seltice Way, Post Falls • 208-446-7154
CURLEY’S HAUSER JUNCTION • 26433 W. Hwy. 53, Post Falls • 208-773-5816
EICHARDT’S PUB • 212 Cedar St., Sandpoint • 208-263-4005
FIRST INTERSTATE CENTER FOR THE ARTS • 334 W. Spokane Falls Blvd. • 509-279-7000
FOX THEATER • 1001 W. Sprague Ave. • 509-624-1200
IRON HORSE • 407 E. Sherman, Coeur d’Alene • 208-667-7314
IRON HORSE BAR & GRILL • 11105 E. Sprague Ave., Spokane Valley • 509-926-8411
JOHN’S ALLEY • 114 E. Sixth St., Moscow • 208-883-7662
KNITTING FACTORY • 911 W. Sprague Ave. • 509-244-3279
LEFTBANK WINE BAR • 108 N. Washington St. • 509-315-8623
LUCKY YOU LOUNGE • 1801 W. Sunset Blvd. • 509-474-0511
MARYHILL WINERY • 1303 W. Summit Pkwy. • 509-443-3832
THE MASON JAR • 101 F St., Cheney • 509-359-8052
MAX AT MIRABEAU • 1100 N. Sullivan Rd., Spokane Valley • 509-922-6252
MILLIE’S • 28441 Hwy 57, Priest Lake • 208-443-0510
MOOSE LOUNGE • 401 E. Sherman Ave., Coeur d’Alene • 208-664-7901
MOOTSY’S • 406 W. Sprague Ave. • 509-838-1570
NASHVILLE NORTH • 6361 W. Seltice Way, Post Falls • 208-457-9128
NORTHERN QUEST RESORT & CASINO • 100 N. Hayford Rd., Airway Heights • 877-871-6772
NYNE BAR & BISTRO • 232 W. Sprague Ave. • 509-474-1621
PEND D’OREILLE WINERY • 301 Cedar St., Sandpoint • 208-265-8545
THE PODIUM • 511 W. Dean Ave. • 509-279-7000
POST FALLS BREWING CO. • 112 N. Spokane St., Post Falls • 208-773-7301
RAZZLE’S BAR & GRILL • 10325 N. Government Way, Hayden • 208-635-5874
RED ROOM LOUNGE • 521 W. Sprague Ave. • 509-838-7613
THE RIDLER PIANO BAR • 718 W. Riverside Ave. • 509-822-7938
SEASONS OF COEUR
COMEDY ODE TO KOY
Growing up around Tacoma as the son of a G.I. father and a Filipina mother provided Jo Koy with life experience to draw on while crafting his own comedic point of view. His insights into his own Asian American background gave him a humorous base to build upon. While he’s been doing stand-up since the mid-’90s, Koy’s career has really blown up since the 2017 release of his first Netflix standup special, Live in Seattle He’s since released three more Netflix specials and now ranks among the top grossing stand-up comedians on the planet. It’s no surprise that First Interstate Center for the Arts had to add a second show to meet the demand of Koy’s fans.— SETH SOMMERFELD
Jo Koy • Thu, Feb. 2 and Fri, Feb. 3 at 8 pm • $42-$202 •
All ages • First Interstate Center for the Arts • 334 W. Spokane Falls Blvd. • firstinterstatecenter.org
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VISUAL ARTS BODY LANGUAGE
Most art exhibitions offer an opportunity to speak with the artist at an opening or closing reception, while the long-running Visiting Artist Lecture series, a collaboration between Eastern Washington University and Spokane Falls Community College, goes one better. Discover visiting artist Rafael Soldi’s work at the noon opening reception for his show at Eastern Washington University on Jan. 26, or during his presentation the same afternoon (2-3 pm) at the Pence Union Building’s Nysether Community Room. Both events tie into Soldi’s exhibition, which explores “how queerness and masculinity intersect with immigration, memory, and loss,” according to his statement. The show features work from three of Soldi’s interconnected series, including haunting photos fixing the artist in time even as he explores his own sense of displacement.— CARRIE SCOZZARO
Rafael Soldi: Mother Tongue • Jan. 26-March 3; Mon-Fri from 9 am-5 pm • Free • EWU Gallery of Art • 140 Art Building, Cheney campus • ewu.edu/art • 509-359-2494
THEATER MY BODY, MY VOICE
After the overturning of Roe v. Wade in June 2022, Idaho became one state with some of the country’s most restrictive abortion laws. Idaho began enforcing its trigger ban, which prohibits abortion at all stages of pregnancy with very few exceptions. In this staged production, area residents tell their personal stories of reproductive agency, bring the subject of abortion into the spotlight, and illuminate the many ways the recent Supreme Court decision has touched their own lives and that of others across the country. The production is followed by a moderated panel with regional health care professionals and advocates including Dr. Amelia Huntsberger (pictured), who’s been practicing gynecology in rural Idaho for more than 10 years. The panelists are set to discuss current abortion laws in Idaho and how this impacts the relationship between physician and patient and much more.— MADISON PEARSON
The Pro-Voice Project • Sat, Jan. 28 at 3 pm and 7 pm • $10 • Heartwood Center • 615 S. Oak St., Sandpoint • theprovoiceproject.com
FILM MOVIE STARS OF DAVID
Antisemetic rhetoric has been on the rise of late, and one way to combat that in places without large Jewish populations is creating humanizing empathy by actually interacting with Jewish culture. The annual Spokane Jewish Cultural Film Festival is a great way to do that. With in-person screenings at the Gonzaga Graduate School of Business (featuring remote filmmaker Q&As) and streamable offerings, there are multiple ways to take in the weekend fest. This year’s offerings include Charlotte (the animated memoir of Charlotte Salomon, whose artworks made while fleeing Nazis are considered the first graphic novel), Woman of Valor (a documentary about fighting for women’s rights in the ultra-Orthodox Haredi Jewish community), Tiger Within (a drama starring the late Ed Asner as a Holocaust survivor who befriends a young Holocaust denier punk girl), and seven other films spanning the Jewish experience.— SETH SOMMERFELD
Spokane Jewish Cultural Film Festival 2023 • Jan. 28-30, times vary • $55 festival pass; $10 individual screenings • All ages • Gonzaga University • 502 E. Boone Ave. • sajfs.org/our-programs/sjcff
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• Energy Assistance Grants are available for income-qualified residential customers. Contact your local community action agency to see if you qualify for bill assistance. To get information on your local agency visit: myavista.com/assistance or call us at 1-800-227-9187.
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WORDS A LIGHT ON LOCAL LIT
Don’t be caught unprepared for Eastern Washington University’s Get Lit! literary festival, which celebrates its 25th anniversary this year with several days of readings, workshops and more come mid-April. To get local readers excited and up to speed with all that’s happened in the literary scene this past year, Auntie’s is kicking off a new book club that tasks participants with reading a title each month by one of this year’s presenting authors. First up is Spokane author Chelsea Martin’s hilarious and relatable, art school-set novel Tell Me I’m An Artist, released to much acclaim last summer. Future meetings of the book club this spring are set to focus on other titles from poetry to nonfiction, and of course books featured are available to buy at Auntie’s.— CHEY SCOTT
Get Lit! Book Club • Sun, Jan. 29 from 6-7 pm • Free • All ages • Auntie’s Bookstore • 402 W. Main Ave. • auntiesbooks.com • 509-838-0206
• Payment Arrangements can be made on an individual basis for those in need.
For more ways we can help, please call 1-800-227-9187
I SAW YOU
STUNNING FLY FISHER WOMAN You walked into the fly shop holding your head high. You knew what you were looking for and picked out a couple gypsy kings. You spoke with grace and authority while I fumbled for words in your presence as I rang you up. We chatted for a spell, and I fell head over heels for you. Would love to see you again, maybe on the water
SOUTH HILL GYM CRUSH I noticed you a few weeks ago, and now I can’t seem to not notice you. You’ve got a bear tattoo and usually wear a brown beanie. I want to approach you, but sweaty with no makeup on isn’t my most ideal way to ask a guy out. Single? Curious? Email me zabajabaa@ gmail.com, and I’ll give you my name and number.
I SAW YOU
TO THE GENTLEMAN WHO YELLED AT WHEELCHAIR USER I know, putting your cart back at Safeway is a rare occurrence. I want to first start by applauding you for that. However, when you have both earbuds in and aren’t paying attention to the people perhaps coming out of said Safeway, sometimes things gently bump into each other. For instance, like your ankle and the footrest of my wheelchair. I deeply apologize that my footrest touched your ankle as you backed into me. I had my arms full of grocery bags and could not grab my wheels fast enough to fully stop. You thought my profuse apologies were
not enough, though, as you scolded me and yelled that I “should really watch where I’m going.” I hope you have the day that you deserve, sir.
BRITTANY@KITEFIT!! Looking goooood, girl! Happy Four-OHHHHH. That working out is paying off HBIC (lol)
THE SOULS THAT SAVE Cheers to the pets... esp. dogs. Their souls are pure. They don’t understand, the words. Or the effect, or your past. They know when you need them... pure love. Thank you to my Boys.
CHEERS TO ANIMAL RESCUE VOLUNTEERS
Cheers to the volunteers who transport adoptable pets between cities and states.
I will forever be grateful to the volunteer(s) who drove my beloved Max (who recently passed away from lymphoma) from Maness Veterinary Clinic in Newcastle, Oklahoma, to Spokanimal in late summer 2016 where we were so lucky to find him. Thank you.
FAT PORN MASQUERADES AS HIGH DRAMA
One of the most tiresome contrivances in the movie “The Whale” requires its relatively mobile characters—every one of them and several times each — to rush for the door of the obese protagonist’s apartment, fling it open and then — stop. They turn to deliver a few more (often, a lot more) spiteful/ tearful/gut-wrenching lines, prolonging our agony. So just leave already! The script, by a playwright born in Moscow, Idaho, has been hailed as sensitive, brilliant, insightful, etc. when it is basically pseudo-sophisticated fat porn pretending to be drama. We can gape at the obscene corpulence of the central character and be absolved of our guilty pleasure in feeling, if not thin, at least a lot thinner. This is not a lowbrow spectacle like “My 600 Pound Life” — this is art! “The Whale” delivers one plot and character cliche after another, reveling in its own cleverness. To be fair, the playwright took devastating aim at the cruelty of rapacious sects disguised as “religions” (Muscovites may recognize his real-life target), and the performances of the actors are exquisite, but at its center “The Whale” is a hollow, if harrowing, exercise. It’s particularly galling that the movie’s sweaty, gasping protagonist demands that his Zoom class students “write honestly!” while the cooly
professor who actually created this monstrosity presents us with a case study in audience manipulation, relying on all the old tropes of melodrama, revealing no real “truth.”
JUST WHEN I THOUGHT DRIVING BOTTOMED OUT Lately people have been turning right from the left lane and left from the right lane. Try going around the block. Maybe next time I WON’T slam my brakes on. It’s your fault!
MASKHOLE Jeers to the jerk who accosted my sister for wearing a mask to OUR BROTHER-IN-LAW’S large, indoor funeral service. Coming up and giving her crap and judging her political affiliation and then proceeding to continue the “conversation” after she lied to you to try and be nice and deflect. How is it hurting you if she is wearing a mask to try to stay healthy? I so wish it had been me that you attacked. I wouldn’t have been so nice.
EXTREMELY DISTRACTING BROADWAY AUDIENCE MEMBER To the gals who sat to the right of my wife and I during Aint Too Proud - The Life and Times of the Temptations, you ruined the show for everyone surrounding you. You riddled this Broadway production with the most shrill and inappropriate screaming at the end of each and every stage transition. During intermission everyone around us was talking about how distracting you two were. The second half of the production was even worse, and you were both completely unhinged to the point where we were all flinching at your decibels. Before you both go to another production of any sort, please consider that other people are paying to enjoy their experience. It’s awesome to have a good time, but please be considerate of others!
TOO LITTLE, TOO LATE Jeers to the Inlander for running the article on the Stibnite Mine proposal nine days after the comment period closed. The comments in favor were the result of a well-organized industry effort. No such effort possible against the
“crisis” has been pathetic. The do-gooders just keep coddling these people and are not going away. Having worked in Spokane for almost 10 years, it is obvious to me most of the people are not going to change. Most are young and able. But they choose not to get jobs despite “HELP WANTED” signs in nearly every business. They admit they won’t follow rules. They won’t stop drugging and drinking. And why should they? The do-gooders provide food, protect them when they trespass and create that camp, promise them shelter, give them hope that they can get a tiny home of their own. Why mess up a good thing by getting their act together? I’m sure someone will propose that the $25 million offered by the Commerce Department should just be divided among the remaining 400 people in the camp. The “compassionate” people have just made this worse. And the city and county are complicit. But the taxpayers foot the bill, the citizens get accosted, and the businesses get robbed and vandalized. You’ve created a huge group of people that are waiting for the next handout so they’ll never have to work. And it just invites more of the same. Great lesson you’re teaching those people.
COVID’S STILL HERE To the Health & Human services people & medical insurance people and medical community: COVID IS STILL HERE!!!!!!!! This means there are still people who get asymptomatic COVID & come to work, then my boss says, “Hey, go get a quick test.” Good flip-flip luck with that. EVERYWHERE I WENT, I NEEDED AN APPOINTMENT OR DR’S ORDER!!!! Some of us still give shit one about not spreading the virus around. I guess there’s not enough of us for the medical community to give a damn! MW.
CROSS IN CROSSWALK To whoever wrote about the crosswalks, you’re right drivers
SHOULD PEDESTRIANS! I hate the new law that says anyone can leap out across the street anywhere. Why do we even have crosswalks, street lights, etc. to guide people when no one uses them! Then, you
SHOULD PAY ATTENTION.
get the morons looking at their phones and just la dee da-ing across the street. It’s against the law to hold up traffic! I understand if you are elderly or have a disability — my ankles are shot. But PLEASE USE crosswalks and crossing lights where provided. Thank you.
NO BAD DOGS, ONLY BAD OWNERS In-city dog owners: Stop letting your pets out to roam without supervision! After being attacked by two different loose dogs in the last year, my new CPL [Concealed Pistol License] ensures that I will always be armed while going out walking from now on. I REALLY don’t want to have to shoot at your dog. Please do the responsible thing and either fence your yard or take your dog out on a leash.
HOUSING MARKET BLUES Jeers to all the corporate/private equity investors buying up our neighborhoods. Flippers are bad enough, but these entities are crushing the American dream of buying a home by inflating prices and creating shortages. There should be laws against this. Look at the County Scout website and all the LLC/investment properties. One or two is OK, but when half the block is rental, gone is pride in ownership and a sense of community. This is a major reason why Hillyard is still a ghetto. n
PAIRING WITH PARASPORT Meet ParaSport Spokane athletes, hear stories of the organization’s impact locally and globally, and connect with fellow ParaSport Spokane supporters. Jan. 28, 5:309:30 pm. $75. El Katif Shrine Center, 7217 W. Westbow Blvd. parasportspokane.org (509-624-2762)
WISHES & WINE: A TASTE OF SPOKANE
A fundraiser benefitting the Wishing Star Foundation. Over 30 different restaurants, wineries, breweries and distilleries hand out small sips and samples for attendees to enjoy. The event also features a live auction, paddle raise, a dessert dash and music by The Cronkites. 21+. Jan. 28, 6-10 pm. $125. Historic Flight Foundation, 5829 E. Rutter Ave. wishingstar.org
APRIL MACIE Macie was a finalist on “Last Comic Standing” in 2006 and has her own Netflix special. Jan. 27, 7:30 & 10:15 pm and Jan. 28, 7 & 9:45 pm. $20-$28. Spokane Comedy Club, 315 W. Sprague. spokanecomedyclub.com
CHOOSE TO LOSE An all-improvised game show comprised of audience members. In order to win, you must lose. Fridays at 7:30 pm through Jan. 27. $9. Blue Door Theatre, 815 W. Garland Ave. bluedoortheatre.com
SAFARI Blue Door’s version of “Whose Line,” a fast-paced improv show with a few twists and turns. Rated for mature audiences/ages 16+. Reservations recommended. Jan. 28, 7:30-9 pm. $9. Blue
Door Theatre, 815 W. Garland Ave. bluedoortheatre.com (509-747-7045)
CHE DURENA Durena is best known for his work as a host and writer for “My Amazing Top 10” and his viral TikTok comedy videos. Jan. 29, 5 & 8 pm. $25-$35. Spokane Comedy Club, 315 W. Sprague. spokanecomedyclub.com
JO KOY Jo’s relatable comedy began in a Las Vegas coffee house. This tour features all new material from the comedian. Feb. 2-3, 8 pm. $42-$82. First Interstate Center for the Arts, 334 W. Spokane Falls Blvd. firstinterstatecenter. org (509-279-7000)
EDDIE GRIFFIN Eddie is a comedianturned-actor who’s appeared opposite Lady Gaga, Dave Chappelle and Bradley Cooper. Feb. 3-4, 7:30 & 10:30 pm. $35-$50. Spokane Comedy Club, 315 W. Sprague. spokanecomedyclub.com
CRITTER CREATIONS Build, sew, glue, and otherwise assemble your own recycled critter. Jan. 27, 3:30-5:30 pm. 0. Spark Central, 1214 W. Summit Pkwy. spark-central.org (509-279-0299)
ESL CAFE: A CUP OF CONVERSATION This group meets weekly to practice English language speaking and listening skills. Jan. 27, 10-10:30 am. Free. Coeur d’Alene Public Library, 702 E. Front Ave. cdalibrary.org
ACCEPTANCE SPOKANE A peer-supported safe space for LGBTQIA+ youth (ages 16-19) in the Spokane area to meet and discuss issues and topics, and promote mental health awareness and ac-
ceptance of oneself. The last Saturday of every month from 3-4 pm. Free. Atomic Threads Boutique, 1905 N. Monroe St. fb.me/e/3cxf4vKyL
THE BRIDAL FESTIVAL A showcase of 200+ Northwest-based wedding vendors including wedding gown specialists, caterers, florists, photographers, travel agents and more. Jan. 28-29, 10 am-4 pm. $12. Spokane Convention Center, 334 W. Spokane Falls Blvd. bridalfest.com (279-7000)
EAST ASIAN TEA & WELLBEING Dr. Gloria Chien introduces the principles of the Japanese tea culture and demonstrates Taiwanese kung-fu tea, then leads a contemplation tea-drinking activity combined with resiliency skills to promote wellness. Jan. 28, 3-4 pm. Free. Shadle Library, 2111 W. Wellesley Ave. spokanelibrary.org
EVERGREEN STATE OF CONSCIOUSNESS FIVE YEAR ANNIVERSARY This celebration features vendors, vegetarian appetizers, mocktails, raffles and an all-local music lineup including Snacks at Midnight, Aspen Kye, Tyler Alai and more. Jan. 28, 5 pm-1:45 am. $25-$35. Washington Cracker Co. Building, 304 W. Pacific. escnorthwest.com
SPOKANE PUBLIC RADIO RECORD SALE DONATION DAY Clean out your music collection and donate it to Spokane Public Radio for their annual Record Sale. Jan. 28, 9 am-1 pm. Free. Spokane Public Radio, 1229 N. Monroe. spokanepublicradio.org
SPOKANE’S LUNAR NEW YEAR Along with a celebration of the Lunar New Year, the event also includes the ANHPI Busi-
ness Expo and a fireworks celebration. Jan. 28, 1-7 pm. Free. Spokane Convention Center, 334 W. Spokane Falls Blvd. spokaneunitedwestand.org
HOW TO REDUCE WASTE: GREEN LIVING Learn tips for reducing your waste and living a healthier lifestyle. Jan. 29, 2:30-3:30 pm. Free. Liberty Park Library, 402 S. Pittsburgh St. spokanelibrary.org (509-444-5300)
COFFEE WITH SPS All community members are invited to join Spokane Public Schools leadership for a conversation over coffee. Jan. 31, 8-10 am. Free. Lewis and Clark High School, 521 W. Fourth Ave. spokaneschools.org/coffeewithsps (509546-000)
OPEN STUDIO AT THE HIVE Stop by to check out Artist-In-Residence studios, tour The Hive and ask other questions. Wed from 4-7 pm through Feb. 22. Free. The Hive, 2904 E. Sprague Ave. spokanelibrary.org (509-444-5300)
SPOKANE FOLKLORE SOCIETY CONTRA DANCE Each dance features a local folk music band as well as a caller who teaches easy-to-learn folk-style dances called contras. First and third Wed of each month from 7:15-9:30 pm. $7-$10. Woman’s Club of Spokane, 1428 W. Ninth. spokanefolklore.org
PERFECT BLUE A pop singer gives up her career to become an actress, but slowly goes insane when she starts being stalked by an obsessed fan and what seems to be a ghost of her past. Rated R. Jan. 26, 7-9 pm. $7. The Kenworthy, 508
S. Main St. kenworthy.org
ALL THE BEAUTY AND THE BLOODSHED Follow the life of artist Nan Goldin and the downfall of the Sackler family, the pharmaceutical dynasty that was largely responsible for the opioid epidemic’s unfathomable death toll. Jan. 27, 7 pm, Jan. 28, 4 & 7 pm and Jan. 29, 4 pm. $7. The Kenworthy, 508 S. Main St. kenworthy.org (208-882-4127)
SPOKANE JEWISH CULTURAL FILM
FESTIVAL This 19th annual event takes place online and in person in 2023. The film lineup includes Spokane’s Voices of the Holocaust, Where Life Begins, Tiger Within and more. See full schedule and details at website. Jan. 28-Feb. 5. $7-$54. Gonzaga University, 502 E. Boone Ave. sjcff2023.eventive.org
WEEKDAY MATINEE AT THE LIBRARY: HIS GIRL FRIDAY The film’s plot centers on newspaper editor Walter Burns who is about to lose his ace reporter and exwife Hildy Johnson, newly engaged to another man. Jan. 31, 10:30 am-noon. Free. Coeur d’Alene Public Library, 702 E. Front Ave. cdalibrary.org
FOOD & DRINK
FIRESIDE DINNER & MUSIC SERIES
Enjoy selections from Arbor Crest’s seasonal menu along with wine and beer from Square Wheel. Music lineup varies, see website for more. Thu-Sat from 6-8 pm. Arbor Crest Wine Cellars, 4705 N. Fruit Hill Rd. arborcrest.com
KITCHEN COOKING CLASS: GNOCCHI Commellini Estate’s executive chef teaches how to create gnocchi. The class culminates in a family-style meal. Jan. 26, 6:30-9:30 pm. $85. Commellini Estate, 14715 N. Dartford Dr. commellini. com/jan-gnocchi (509-466-0667)
UP NORTH DISTILLERY DINNER This exclusive event features four chefcurated courses, craft cocktail pairings and conversation with distillery reps. Jan. 26, 5:30-7:30 pm. $55. Coeur d’Alene Taphouse Unchained, 210 E. Sherman Ave. bit.ly/3GXqopS
ART DINNER & WINE DISPLAY FT. CLAIRE AKEBRAND This art experience offers a glimpse into local artist Claire Akebrand’s personal collection paired with a wine-paired menu inspired by her work. Jan. 27, 6-9 pm. $175. Beverly’s, 115 S. Second St. beverlyscda.com (208-765-4000)
WINE TASTING Taste the wines of Yakima Valley’s Freehand Cellars. Includes cheese and crackers. Reservations not required. Jan. 27, 3-6:30 pm. $10. Vino! A Wine Shop, 222 S. Washington St. vinowine.com (509-838-1229)
WHAT’S COOKING WITH JUAN JUAN?: CHEESEBURGER EGGROLLS Check out how this American staple is spun with an Asian twist in this nod to the Lunar New Year. Jan. 28, 1-2 pm. Free. Shadle Library, 2111 W. Wellesley Ave. spokanelibrary.org
WINE TASTING Taste a selection of wines from France. Includes cheese and crackers. Reservations not required. Jan. 28, 2-4:30 pm. $10. Vino! A Wine Shop, 222 S. Washington St. vinowine. com (509-838-1229)
ALL YOU CAN EAT PANCAKE BREAKFAST A breakfast of pancakes, sausage and eggs, plus beverages. Jan. 29, 8-11 am. $4-$8. Green Bluff Grange, 9809 Green Bluff Rd. greenbluffgrowers.com
ANIME DINNER A five-course meal featuring dishes based on foods from popular anime series. Jan. 29, 6 pm. $100; reservations required. Hogwash Whiskey Den, 304 W. Pacific Ave. drinkhogwash.com (509-464-6541)
DRAG BRUNCH The cast of Runway performs while enjoying a full breakfast menu and mimosas. Hosted by Savannah SoReal. Sundays from 10 am-2 pm. Globe Bar & Kitchen, 204 N. Division. globespokane.com (509-443-4014)
COOKING CLASS: RAVIOLI Commellini Estate’s executive chef teaches participants how to make ravioli. Class culminates in a meal. Feb. 1-2, 6:30 pm. $85. Commellini Estate, 14715 N. Dartford Dr. commellini.com
SAGEMOOR WINE DINNER A fivecourse dinner features Sagemoor Winery’s verjus, the juice of under-ripened grapes, in every course. Feb. 3, 5-9 pm. $150. Gander & Ryegrass, 404 W. Main Ave. ganderandryegrass.com
FAMILY CONCERT: MUSIC FROM CARMEN The North Idaho Symphony and Coeur d’Alene Symphony Orchestra perform music from Bizet’s Carmen, Sabre Dance by Khachaturian and Night on Bald Mountain by Mussorgsky. Jan. 28, 7:30 pm. $10-$25. Schuler Performing Arts Center, 1000 W. Garden Ave. cdasymphony.org (208-765-3833)
WOODWIND & HORN DAY Join the Lionel Hampton School of Music stu-
dents for an afternoon of instrument classes and preparation for soloists and ensembles. Jan. 28, 1-5 pm. Free. North Idaho College, 1000 W. Garden Ave. uidaho.edu (208-885-6231)
SPOKANE YOUTH SYMPHONY: CELEBRATION The Youth Symphony performs various selections from their repetoire on the theme “celebration.” Jan. 29, 4 pm. $15-$19. The Fox Theater, 1001 W. Sprague Ave. foxtheaterspokane.org (509-624-1200)
JAPANESE TAIKO DRUMMING OPEN HOUSE Play the drums at this hands-on open house and demonstration. Spokane Taiko is a nonprofit founded that seeks to build community and create awareness through traditional music and rhythms of Japan. Feb. 2, 5:30-6:30 pm. Free. Salem Lutheran Church, 1428 W. Broadway Ave. spokanetaiko.com
SPORTS & OUTDOORS
SPOKANE BOAT SHOW At this annual showcase, find the newest makes and models of boats, discounts and vendors. Jan. 26-29; Thu-Sat from 10 am-7 pm, Sun from 10 am-4 pm. $5-$10. Spokane County Fair & Expo Center, 404 N. Havana St. spokaneboatshow.com
COWBOY BOAT SHOW This annual boat show features five showrooms filled with watercraft to browse and purchase, plus food, prizes, contests and seminars. Jan. 27-Feb. 5, 9 am-7 pm. Free. Mark’s Marine, 14355 N Government Way. cowboyboatshow.com
FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS Ski during sunset and into the night with live music and food and drink specials. Fri from 3-9 pm through Feb. 24. $36. Mt. Spokane Ski & Snowboard Park, 29500 N. Mt. Spokane Park Dr. mtspokane.com
SPOKANE CHIEFS VS. SEATTLE THUNDERBIRDS Promos include Gold Seal Plumbing Princesses and Heroes Night. Jan. 27, 7:05 pm. $12-$30. Spokane Arena, 720 W. Mallon Ave. spokanechiefs.com (279-7000)
SNOW BOWLING & BREWFEST Teams of two, one adult and one child (12 and under), can participate in human snow bowling. The child sits on a saucer and is pushed toward 10 inflatable bowling pins. Jan. 29, 1 pm. $5-$73. Lookout Pass, I-90 Exit 0. skilookout.com
WOMEN’S CLINIC A safe and supportive environment for skiers and snowboarders to develop new skills. Lift ticket/pass required. Jan. 29 and Feb. 12, 1-3 pm. $69. 49 Degrees North, 3311 Flowery Trail Rd. ski49n.com
THE 39 STEPS A mysterious organization called “The 39 Steps” is hot on a man’s trail in a nationwide manhunt. Thu-Sat at 7:30 pm, Sun at 2 pm through Feb. 12. $10-$39. Spokane Civic Theatre, 1020 N. Howard St. spokanecivictheatre.com (509-325-2507)
PHOTOGRAPH 51 A portrait of Rosalind Franklin, one of the great female scientists of the 20th century and her drive to map the DNA molecule. Thu-Sat at 7:30 pm, Sun at 2 pm through Feb. 5. $10-$25. Spokane Civic Theatre, 1020 N. Howard St. spokanecivictheatre.com
THE PRO-VOICE PROJECT A stage production of personal stories from local residents about reproductive choice.
Jan. 28, 3 & 7 pm. $10. Heartwood Center, 615 S. Oak St., Sandpoint. theprovoiceproject.com (208-263-8699)
FACING FIRE The artists featured in this exhibition explore fire as an omen and elemental force, as metaphor and personal experience. Mon-Sat from 10 am-4 pm through May 13. Free. Jundt Art Museum, 200 E. Desmet Ave. gonzaga.edu (509-313-6843)
LILA SHAW GIRVIN: GIFT OF A MOMENT Living and working in Spokane since 1958, Girvin has used vibrant color, form, and unassuming techniques with oil paint to explore new dimensions of feeling through ethereal, abstract paintings. Tue-Sun from 10 am-5 pm through March 12. $7-$12. Northwest Museum of Arts & Culture, 2316 W. First Ave. northwestmuseum.org
PERMANENT COLLECTION: BEST OF PHOTOGRAPHS This small temporary exhibition features photos of Ansel Adams, Robert Doisneau, Dorothea Lange, Paul Strand and Andy Warhol. J MonSat from 10 am-4 pm through May 13. Free. Jundt Art Museum, 200 E. Desmet Ave. gonzaga.edu (509-313-6843)
BATIK ART WORKSHOP Spokane artist and Kenya native Nicholas Sironka teaches the origins and practice of alternating application of hot wax and cold water dyes on fabric. Jan. 28, 10:30 am. $45-$50. The MAC, 2316 W. First Ave. northwestmuseum.org
INLAND NORTHWEST LANDSCAPE & LEGENDS Artist-In-Residence Megan Perkins discusses her latest project exploring the history, mythology, geology and tall tales of the Inland Northwest. Jan. 28, 1-3 pm. Free. The Hive, 2904 E. Sprague Ave. spokanelibrary.org
PINE NEEDLE BASKET MAKING This four-hour class teaches how to create a small basket made out of local Ponderosa pine needles. Jan. 28, 11 am-1 pm and Feb. 25, 11 am-3 pm. $75. Emerge, 119 N. Second St. emergecda.com
PLATEAU PICTORIAL BEADWORK: FRED L. MITCHELL COLLECTION Walla Walla resident Fred L. Mitchell has amassed the premier collection of this material. The collection includes beaded bags, cuffs, gauntlets, vests, cradleboards and horse regalia. Feb. 1-May 14, Tue-Sun from 10 am-5 pm. $10-$15. The MAC, 2316 W. First Ave. northwestmuseum.org (509-456-3931)
FRIENDS OF THE MORAN PRAIRIE LIBRARY BOOK SALE This annual sale includes gently used books for all ages in all genres as well as used DVDs. Jan. 28, 9 am-3 pm. Free. Moran Prairie Library, 6004 S. Regal St. scld.org
SPOKANE CIVICS SALON: DISCUSSIONS ON DEMOCRACY This month, discuss John Stuart Mill’s text “On Liberty” with the library’s Current Affairs Specialist Shane Gronholz, and how it relates to our democracy. Jan. 29, 2-3:30 pm. Free. Central Library, 906 W. Main Ave. spokanelibrary.org
THE ECONOMICS OF EQUITY IN K-12 EDUCATION Whitworth Professor of Education Goldy Brown III discusses recommendations gleaned from the forthcoming volume of The Economics of Equity in K-12 Education. Jan. 30, 5:30-7 pm. Free. The Hive, 2904 E. Sprague Ave. spokanelibrary.org n
One Toke Over Stateline
Washington state gears up for a national cannabis marketBY NICHOLAS DESHAIS
There’s a reason you can’t buy Oregon-grown cannabis in Spokane. It’s called federal law.
But with the growing possibility that the regulators and politicians in the nation’s capital will end the federal prohibition of cannabis, Pacific Northwest lawmakers are gearing up to allow producers to export cannabis across state lines.
Last week, Washington state lawmakers approved a bill allowing interstate cannabis commerce. The vote from the Senate Labor & Commerce Committee now moves Senate Bill 5069 to the powerful Rules Committee — the last stop before it goes to the full state Senate for a vote. A companion bill is set to be heard by the House Regulated Substances & Gaming Committee, which appears to have a good chance as it’s sponsored by the committee’s chair.
The Senate bill is sponsored by Sen. Ann Rivers, a Republican representing most of southwest Washington’s Clark County. Sen. Jeff Holy, a Republican who represents areas due north and west of Spokane, is one of the bill’s seven sponsors. If approved, it would give Gov. Jay Inslee the power to enter into agreements with other states where cannabis is legal, permitting imports and exports between state-licensed cannabis businesses.
The Senate committee chair, Sen. Karen Keiser, a Democrat from south Seattle, said “early action” on the legislation was important since it “seems to have pretty substantial
support,” according to reporting from Marijuana Moment, which covers developments and trends affecting cannabis.
Oregon Gov. Kate Brown approved similar legislation in 2019. California also has similar legislation in place.
None of this state legislation matters, however, if the federal government does not lift its prohibition, which has been in place since 1937. But President Joe Biden seems keen on changing the feds’ stance on cannabis. In October, he pardoned all prior federal offenses for simple possession of cannabis, a move impacting approximately 6,500 people, and he encouraged states to follow his lead.
Biden also initiated an administrative review of cannabis’ status as a Schedule I substance, which puts it alongside heroin and LSD. The review will determine whether or not cannabis should remain on Schedule I or be moved to a less-regulated tier.
If that occurs, and the U.S. Justice Department issues an opinion allowing interstate commerce, the nation could see wider legalization, according to Marijuana Business Daily, which covers the cannabis business. When producers have access to wider markets, one state’s oversupply would evaporate as other states with no cannabis infrastructure come online. In the end, it could greatly benefit Washington’s cannabis companies. They’d need to quickly scale up if the state becomes an export market, which appears likely with its abundant supply of sun-grown cannabis. n
F E B R U A R Y 1 3 & 1 4
WARNING: This product has intoxicating effects and may be habit forming. Cannabis can impair concentration, coordination, and judgment. Do not operate a vehicle or machinery under the influence of this drug. There may be health risks associated with consumption of this product. For use only by adults 21 and older. Keep out of the reach of children.
BE AWARE: Marijuana is legal for adults 21 and older under Washington State law (e.g., RCW 69.50, RCW 69.51A, HB0001 Initiative 502 and Senate Bill 5052). State law does not preempt federal law; possessing, using, distributing and selling marijuana remains illegal under federal law. In Washington state, consuming marijuana in public, driving while under the influence of marijuana and transporting marijuana across state lines are all illegal. Marijuana has intoxicating effects; there may be health risks associated with its consumption, and it may be habit-forming. It can also impair concentration, coordination and judgment. Do not operate a vehicle or machinery under the influence of this drug. Keep out of reach of children. For more information, consult the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board at www.liq.wa.gov.
NOTE TO READERS
Be aware of the differences in the law between Idaho and Washington. It is illegal to possess, sell or transport cannabis in the State of Idaho. Possessing up to an ounce is a misdemeanor and can get you a year in jail and up to a $1,000 fine; more than three ounces is a felony that can carry a five-year sentence and fine of up to $10,000. Transporting marijuana across state lines, like from Washington into Idaho, is a felony under federal law.
Elvis Tribute Artist Contest & Show
FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 17 TH 7 PM | $30 & UP
This Elvis inspired event will showcase several of the leading Elvis tribute artists in the nation as they compete for prizes and top honors at Coeur d’Alene Casino’s first “I Heart Elvis” tribute artist contest! Event judges will include those that knew the real Elvis. Topping off the night will be a special performance by the award-winning Elvis tribute artist Rob Ely. Must be age 18 or older to attend concerts. Purchase tickets at cdacasino.com, the Casino Box Office, or through the CDA Casino App. Call 1 800-523-2464 for more details.