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ast week, we explored how the worldstopping power of COVID-19 provided clues to the looming existential crisis that is global warming. This week, staff reporter Wilson Criscione shows us how the pandemic has fired up a longsimmering debate about STANDARDIZED TESTS in higher ed and K-12 schools. Are they racist? Are they effective? Are they holding kids back or revealing undiscovered talent? Are we becoming an anything-goes, coddled society afraid of objective standards? Or is there simply a better way to measure learning and assess potential? People like Chris Reykdal, Washington’s state superintendent of public instruction, believe that there’s an opportunity in all this COVID-caused disruption. “They just kept saying to us, ‘Now is not the time for a referendum on standardized testing,’” he tells Criscione. “We said it over and over again: When is a better time? This is exactly the time to look at this entire question.” Find Criscione’s in-depth report on page 14. — JACOB H. FRIES, editor
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WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE BLOOMSDAY MEMORY?
RACHELE NICHOLS: Doing Bloomsday with Angela Scavo and then many years later with my Josie (daughter). The energy you feel from the city, people is amazing.
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ADELA SUSSMAN: Going with my cousin Diane Copley for my first Bloomsday — it was such a thrill for me! I loved seeing the priests waving to us on the steps of Our Lady of Lourdes Church and all the musical groups, the crowds cheering us on, and crossing the finish line!! I can’t remember the year, however! ALEX QUAM: Doing it for the first time last year because I’ve apparently been socially distancing my whole life and finally had the opportunity! GENI BECKHAM: Doing Bloomsday with my kids when they were younger.
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NEAL SCHINDLER: Walking the course in 2012 with my future wife (unbeknownst to me at the time!). MARGARET ANNE: Wearing the plastic, orange parking meter bags on our heads, as it made us feel festive, circa ’95 with my best friend!
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CHARLENE FOSTER: When my mom and I walked it after she turned 60. BRE HATCHER: Walking with my mom and talking the whole time. RIC MEYER: Only participated in one, in 1997. Was going to create memories by doing Bloomsday 2020 with my wife and four kids but COVID shut it down and we had to do it by ourselves.
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GAIL FIELDING: Standing at the base of the Lincoln statue watching everyone running toward me — scary, but exciting!
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Earliest Village Oval Race Track Three Very Disputed New Laws Ten Words For A Day’s Wages First School North Side of River
DAVID LEETH: Watching two runners veer off the route onto my back lawn to pee in some bushes. I had to chase them out of my yard. n
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Things have gotten completely out of control at the Idaho Capitol.
As the Boise Statehouse is deep in an anti-constitutional fever, the Mormon Church may be starting to hit the brakes BY DOUGLAS SIDDOWAY
here was a time you could tell someone you were from Idaho and the only response it would elicit would be something about potatoes or maybe the skiing in Sun Valley. I would know. I grew up in the southeastern corner of the state. My family has farmed and ranched there for six generations. Mention the Gem State these days, however, and what you’re likely to get is an earful about our lackluster pandemic response or Ammon Bundy, our iconic failed-rancher-turned-insurrectionist who continues to trespass the Statehouse, embarrassing everyone but his true believers. Someone should find Bundy a job away from the TV cameras. Driving up and down the state fomenting revolution might be fun and glamorous for him, but it’s wearing thin with the rest of us. While they’re at it, they also might try doing something about another subject of state wonderment: our current Legislature. Things have gotten completely out of control there, especially now that the mostly Republican senators and representatives in Boise have gone all-in with the Idaho Freedom Foundation (IFF, homegrown) and the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC, a gift from the Koch brothers) to take power away from the governor, the attorney general, cities and towns, local school boards and health districts — even the voters themselves. Their latest inspiration, introduced after
a self-induced, two-week COVID recess, is a bill from Rep. Sage Dixon of Ponderay that gives any Idaho legislator who doesn’t like a federal executive order or a federal court decision the ability to kick-start a local process to officially ignore it. For the historically minded, it’s no less an assault on the Constitution than the siege of Fort Sumter and the South’s secession from the Union.
ood luck if you’re looking for a consistent message in all of this. It isn’t there. IFF’s so-called political philosophy isn’t exactly the Magna Carta — more like a dog’s breakfast of cobbled ideas about natural law, personal freedom, limited government and, of course, a nostalgic past. It sounds plausible if you listen unthinkingly to the words, but it’s really a disturbing effort to restrict what we read, what we think about and what we teach in our schools — a cancel culture of ignorance and fear. ALEC’s role, no less insidious, is to give cover to our duped public servants with template bills that masquerade as local solutions to local problems, but in practice are bombshells designed to blow up democracy and clear the way
for big money and corporate irresponsibility. My guess is it’s only a matter of time before Wall Street cashes in on the brainwashing and comes after Idaho’s water. Unfortunately, IFF’s agenda doesn’t stop with ripping up the federal and state constitutions or genuflecting to outside money. It also pushes legislation on cultural topics like public art (they’re against it), public television (against that, too), the racial theory curriculum at Boise State University (very much against that) and Powerball. I didn’t even know Powerball was an issue in Idaho until the foreign policy wing of our Legislature reminded me that Australia uses a portion of its lottery revenues to fund responsible family planning in the commonwealth — something that is apparently not only antithetical to Idaho but also an urgent threat, as it is only 8,447 miles across the ocean. So we dropped out of the lottery and gave up millions of dollars of needed education money. That we’re last in the country in K-12 funding, right behind Mississippi, is shameful enough; pretty soon you’ll be hard-pressed to find any Idaho high school graduate who can find Australia on a map. Meanwhile, the state’s real needs — repairing and replacing roads and bridges, approving a state budget, resolving the aforementioned education crisis — go unattended.
here is some hope, though. The Mormon church, one of the guardrails that have restrained Idahoans from their more bizarre political impulses (the other two being a knowledge of civics and what used to pass for a Republican Party), recently weighed in on this lunacy. It came in the form of a stern civics lesson from Dallin Oaks — a former U.S. Supreme Court clerk, Utah Supreme Court justice and dean of the Brigham Young University law school, now a constitutional scholar and general authority of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. At the LDS general conference in Salt Lake City earlier this month, Oaks reminded that representative democracy is anchored by the U.S. Constitution, not by any man or any political party.
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“IFF’s so-called political philosophy [is] more like a dog’s breakfast of cobbled ideas about natural law, personal freedom, limited government and, of course, a nostalgic past.” Oaks’ message was neither remarkable nor radical to anyone who understands basic constitutional concepts like the separation of powers or the relationship of the federal and state governments. What made it remarkable and radical is that it came when it did, with the full weight of the institutional church behind it, at a time when IFF, ALEC and their Statehouse enablers are ramping up authoritarianism and threatening the Constitution’s inspired principles. Church skeptics will disagree, but I think Oaks’ exhortation could be as significant a development in Mormon country as the church’s backing away from the John Birch Society in the 1960s or its 1890s campaign to divide every ward house into equal numbers of Democrats and Republicans so Utah could achieve statehood. It should be required reading for every Idaho legislator who thinks the Mormon faithful will always have his or her back. Another good, though less political, sign is that the nights are staying cold here in the high country, which means last winter’s light snowpack will slowly melt into the ground — good for the aquifer and the dryland grain crops — and not run off to the ocean in swollen streams and rivers. It’s what I like about spring — a time to unburden yourself from the past and think clearly and cautiously, and with hope, about a better future. Even in Idaho. n Douglas Siddoway divides his time between Spokane, where he practices law, and Fremont County, Idaho, where he raises grain.
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Pet Emergency Clinic was in talks to merge with a massive veterinary company when two former vets sued, alleging unfair business practices.
Two vets allege Spokane’s only 24-hour ER for pets is creating a monopoly BY SAMANTHA WOHLFEIL
8 INLANDER APRIL 29, 2021
hen Liz Rall’s beloved 13-year-old dog, Maya, had an extremely bloated stomach and started throwing up foam in March, her veterinarian recommended taking the Labrador mix to Spokane’s Pet Emergency Clinic. Not only is PEC the only 24-hour emergency veterinarian hospital in town, it is one of the only places to get serious surgeries done. Often, they’re the only place admitting last-minute patients. Dogs can get an extremely serious and deadly condition known as bloat, where the stomach actually flips around inside the body, and with blood flow cut off, the animal can die suddenly if not treated. So when Rall took her dog to the clinic and they asked if she wanted to make Maya’s last moments comfortable or to try to save the dog’s life, Rall told them she of course wanted to try to save her family’s beloved animal. Over the next three days, Maya had a litany of tests and treatment at the clinic: an ultrasound, radiographs, urinalysis, blood tests, IV fluids and several drugs were administered. Rall says she was worried when she got a call informing her that Maya needed a catheter because she wasn’t urinating. “I said, ‘That’s weird, she knows the command to go potty,’” Rall says. “They said, ‘Well, she’s not going pee for us.’ I said, ‘I can come walk her’ and they said, ‘No, that’s not necessary, we’ll put a catheter in.’” Rall says she and her husband worried about the dog, who had been treated for breast cancer in the
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past but had never had bathroom issues during that treatment. But three days later, they were told she was ready to go home. Her stay racked up some serious costs: more than $3,100 at the Pet Emergency Clinic and another $1,000 for an outside ultrasound she had been referred for, Rall says. The final diagnosis? Maya likely ate too much food, had acid reflux and needed time to digest. By the time Rall got her back, the arthritic dog could barely move, had chewed a patch of fur off near her tail, and had ripped out one of her claws trying to get out of her kennel. The cost and treatment didn’t sit well with Rall. Though she notes that an outside vet who’s never treated Maya told her the tests seemed reasonable, Rall says several other vets she’d called were upset to learn about the experience. But PEC remains the main option for short-notice emergencies: Rall tried to transfer Maya’s care mid-stay, but no one could take her for several days. When Rall researched more online, she learned that PEC, which already felt like the only choice, had actually been accused of working to ensure it’s the only choice around. “We were shocked at what we found,” she says. Two veterinarians who worked at PEC from the early 2000s until 2017 have sued their former employer in a federal antitrust case for unfair business practices. ...continued on page 10
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The vets allege the emergency clinic has worked to create a monopoly in the area while working on a possible sale of the operation to National Veterinary Associates, a company that purchases vet clinics around the world. The merger was in the works when the vets first sued in state court in August 2018 and the deal was halted. It remains suspended, according to the current federal lawsuit filed in November 2020. While NVA and PEC say the lawsuit is baseless, the vets, in their complaint, point to troubling consolidation of veterinary care around the country that can lead to fewer options for pet owners, drive away talented vets and decrease competition by design.
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About 44 years ago, veterinarians in the Spokane area partnered to open the Pet Emergency Clinic together so that their patients — everyone’s pets — could have access to veterinary care after hours and on weekends without each clinic trying to handle emergencies on their own. About 50 Washington vets within a 50mile radius are shareholders in the clinic, which in 2016 expanded into a new facility on Mission Avenue. A December 2017 letter to shareholders from Linda Wood, then-president of the elected PEC Board of Directors (tasked with overseeing the business for shareholders) notes that the board became Liz Rall’s 13-year-old dog, Maya. concerned when the clinic spent more money than it made for 12 of 19 months from early 2016 to late 2017. The letter was posted publicly on VIN (Veterinary Information Network) News Service, a news site that reports on issues affecting veterinarians. In the letter, Wood lists concerns about the clinic, including that with fees increasing 3 percent every six months, “there are some fees that no longer seem reasonable.” One vet told VIN News in 2019 they have had to euthanize pets because their clients couldn’t afford care at PEC. The board learned that their ER doctors were paid higher than the national average. PEC worked on contracts including salary cuts for staff and started negotiating with NVA to see if NVA might want to buy the business. While emergency veterinarians Dru Choker and Matthew DeMarco were willing to take pay cuts, their attorney Mary Schultz says, they were not willing to sign the new contract in 2017 due to noncompete clauses included in the language. The contract demanded they agree not to open another emergency veterinary hospital if they ever left PEC. “What happens with these things is in order to generate more profit, these companies will sometimes get rid of the high performers,” Schultz says. “My clients understood that instinctively and knew that they could sign that agreement and get fired the next day.” So neither signed, and as a result, both were fired in November 2017. But they weren’t free yet. As they were still shareholders, PEC informed them they couldn’t open a competing clinic within 25 miles, Schultz says. What’s more, the two couldn’t even sell their shares at the time because the company temporarily closed
sales while negotiating with NVA. So Choker, who had worked at PEC since 2002, and DeMarco, who had worked there since 2005, sued PEC and NVA in Spokane’s Superior Court in August 2018 under Washington’s anti-monopoly provisions. After new information came to light during discovery for that case, it was clear there were grounds for a federal antitrust lawsuit, Schultz says. So they sued in federal court in November 2020, moving the state claims into the federal case. As is typical for these types of cases, NVA and PEC asked the court to dismiss the case, claiming that there was no basis for it to move forward. But the court denied those requests, ruling last month that the case can go ahead and if the vets are able to prove their claims, they may be entitled to damages. “The argument here is that National Veterinary Associates, in conjunction with the Pet Emergency Clinic, are working together to monopolize pet emergency care,” Schultz says. “And they were making that effort by the use of noncompete provisions.” While NVA has not bought PEC, the two plaintiff veterinarians say in their lawsuit that the preliminary work being done to make a sale is what led PEC to insist that they sign the noncompete agreement. Schultz says not only did PEC want its employees to agree not to compete, but they also planned to require that shareholders refer all patients to the clinic. Previously, that decision had been up to each vet. “That’s how you go from being the only one in town because of quality, to being the only one in town because nobody can refer anybody elsewhere,” Schultz says. “It’s gone from being the best place in town to evicting the best veterinarians.” Choker and DeMarco, who’ve since sold their shares, ended up getting licensed in Idaho and opening Emergency Veterinary Hospital in 2019 in Coeur d’Alene, where they now see pets outside the 25-mile noncompete radius they once faced. NVA has purchased or partnered with more than 1,000 veterinary practices and emergency clinics in the U.S., Canada, New Zealand, Australia and Singapore, according to the company’s website. The company takes over the paperwork and administrative side of the business, often continuing to employ the vets who sold their practice, or hiring new medical staff. In April 2020, when NVA itself was being purchased by Compassion First, which buys specialty and emergency vet clinics, the Federal Trade Commission demanded the companies sell their clinics in three markets on the East Coast, because otherwise the merger would undermine competition and violate federal antitrust laws. A spokeswoman for NVA declined to comment on the allegations in the Spokane case that their business practices could create a monopoly here, nor would she say whether it’s standard for the company to require noncompete agreements when they buy clinics or hospitals. The company’s only statement to the Inlander is, “NVA believes the lawsuit is baseless and without merit.” Similarly, attorney Geoffrey Swindler, one of several representing PEC in the suit, declined to answer specific questions, but provided a statement. “Pet Emergency Clinic has been providing local emergency veterinarian care in the Spokane area for over 40 years. PEC is owned by local Spokane veterinarians, who wanted a clinic where they could send their patients when their practices were closed,” Swindler says. “PEC believes that the lawsuit brought against it by two former employees/owners is baseless and without merit.” But Schultz says the court’s March ruling allowing the case to move forward literally proves the case is not meritless. “That has already been shown to be wrong,” Schultz says. “They already lost on that claim.” Schultz says a major concern is that in the end, there won’t be options for pet owners. “Ultimately what can happen is the quality of the services previously provided have been lessened, but there’s no place else to go,” Schultz says. “The prices go up, quality goes down, and you’re stuck with it. Those are the dangers of monopolies.” n email@example.com
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APRIL 29, 2021 INLANDER 11
NEWS | POLITICS
Not an Investigation
A state audit of Spokane’s homeless shelter contracts casts shadows, without providing much light BY DANIEL WALTERS
ayor Nadine Woodward and then-City Administrator Wes Crago didn’t technically call it an “investigation” when they announced that they’d be hiring a third-party fact-finder at a February 2020 press conference. But while discussing “potential wrongdoing” in the city’s Community Housing and Human Services department, they certainly made it sound like a big deal. The inquiry would dig into conflicts of interest, departmental procedures, financial accountability and whether “inappropriate pressure, real or perceived,” had been placed on the city staff. Reviewers would have unlimited time and would get “whatever they need to pursue to produce a report that we all can look at and say, ‘Yep, that’s what happened, this is why it happened, and this is how we fix it,’” Crago told the Inlander. With a pandemic raging, the Washington State Auditor’s Office took almost 14 months to conduct the inquiry, and the results were finally released last Monday. “The nature and appearance of these findings cause us some concern, and show us that we must do better,” Woodward said at a press conference last week. “These findings are serious.” Some problems appeared to be the kind of bureaucratic snafus you’d expect to see in underfunded, high-turnover government offices — forms that weren’t filled out, a contract that hadn’t been bid out to enough companies, procedures that hadn’t been formalized — but others suggested deeper issues. The report didn’t name any names, but with job titles listed, it was easy to fill in the blanks. It implicated not only former staff CHHS department directors like Kelly Keenan, but also Woodward’s mayoral opponent, former Spokane City Council President Ben Stuckart. The audit suggested that both had failed to disclose a potential conflict of interest. It suggested that city staff circumvented policies and procedures because they felt pressure from directors like Keenan, who in turn felt pressured by Stuckart. But what the report didn’t do, several city council members say, was to clearly explain what happened, why it happened or how to fix it. Without knowing that, they said, it was difficult to grapple with questions of conflicts of interest and “inappropriate pressure.” “Honestly, I’m more confused now than I was before I started,” Spokane City Councilwoman Lori Kinnear said
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12 INLANDER APRIL 29, 2021
at a committee meeting last week. And she wasn’t alone in her uncertainty. The Inlander asked city spokesman Brian Coddington if, after reading the report, he had an understanding of what pressure had been exerted or how. “I don’t personally, no,” Coddington acknowledges. But he says the point of the inquiry was more about tightening up city procedures moving forward. But by raising the possibility of wrongdoing without actually investigating the truth, Councilwoman Karen Stratton worries that the report was trafficking in the sort of innuendo that damages reputations. “I’ve never dealt with something so vague,” Stratton says. Stuckart, in a Facebook message, was more blunt: “This report is full of shit.”
The audit was bound to be controversial. It treads back onto the heated terrain that defined the 2019 mayoral election to the end: It was October. The coldest months of winter were bearing down on the city’s homeless population. And the city still hadn’t opened a warming center. In this environment, Stuckart says he did put pressure on Keenan. Everyone did. “Kelly would tell you he was getting pressure from activists, getting pressure from all the council members, from administration and from me to get [a warming
center] open faster,” Stuckart says. “I pressured him just as much as everybody else did.” But Stuckart denies he pressured the city to pick one shelter operator over another. The city was faced with a choice over who would run the shelter: the Salvation Army, the Guardians Foundation or a newcomer, Jewels Helping Hands. By October 2019, only two of the contenders remained. The Guardians had been knocked out of contention by a slew of serious allegations — including a claim from Jewels co-founder Julie Garcia that she saw with her “own eyes” Guardians employees having sex with homeless women behind a warming center. Garcia later told the police, “I didn’t see them have sex behind the building.” (While Garcia has denied she was being dishonest, the Guardians sued Jewels for defamation last year and, according to Guardians director Mike Shaw, walked away with about a $75,000 settlement.) On Oct. 21, 2019, the CHHS department gave the City Council a choice: Salvation Army or Jewels Helping Hands. The council chose Jewels. “In the discussions with the Salvation Army, they said it would take them six weeks to get up and running,” Stuckart told the Inlander that night.
Mayor Nadine Woodward brought in a third party — the state auditor’s office — to look into concerns that involved her former opponent, Ben Stuckart. Yet the auditors never actually talked to Stuckart during their inquiry.
YOUNG KWAK PHOTO
Jewels Helping Hands co-founder Julie Garcia has ardent supporters like progressive activist Sharon Smith, yet Garcia has quickly become one of the most controversial names in the homeless outreach community. “Jewels says, ‘Two weeks.’ To us, it was a no brainer to go with the faster.” Yet state auditors also suggested Stuckart had a “potential conflict of interest,” noting that the city had previously labeled Jewels “high risk” due to an “unclear relationship” with the organization’s fiscal sponsor, the Smith-Barbieri Progressive Fund. Stuckart had received $4,000 during his 2019 mayoral run from the fund’s co-founders, Don Barbieri and Sharon Smith, and had participated in a contract review process involving Jewels. Stuckart and Smith both scoff at the suggestion that there was anything improper. Smith was never a Jewels board member like the auditors contended. She was a donor who provided financial oversight. She didn’t profit when the organization won the city-contract. The other two shelter applicants had also been labeled “high risk,” according to public records. But that doesn’t mean Smith or Barbieri didn’t have influence. After all, Stuckart says he considers Sharon Smith one of his mentors. He runs things by her. Stuckart says he stopped by Smith’s place in late August 2019, not just to seek out a donation, but to commiserate about his poor performance in the mayoral primary. Smith says she has definitely sought to persuade city officials. “We hound them,” Smith says. “Both the city and the city councilmembers.” Smith was more than just a donor — she’s one of Jewels’ most enthusiastic champions, sometimes intervening on their behalf with the city. “We would have to pick up a phone or send an email or, in some cases, even hired an attorney to help break through the logjams,” Smith says. She also criticized its competitors. In January 2019, records show, she sent Stuckart, Kinnear and Councilman Breean Beggs an email concerned that, despite city policies, the Salvation Army would start “imposing their values” on a homeless shelter, saying “we hope they will be audited.” She put in records requests to dig into the Guardians’ finances. When Jewels
co-founders Julie Garcia and Jason Green met with Councilmembers Stuckart and Kate Burke and others in 2019 to unspool a series of allegations about the Guardians, Smith and Barbieri attended, too. Smith chuckles at the idea that she has any significant influence over city politics, saying that Spokane would look a lot different if she did. Still, she says that her and Barbieri’s wealth means people were more willing to listen to them. “Unfortunately, money is power,” Smith says. “That’s the way it is.”
YOUNG KWAK PHOTO
“I just would like somebody to say it’s fine, or they have to wait six months or they have to sign something,” Stratton says. “But there’s nothing that answers that question.” But Keenan argues in an email to the Inlander that he wasn’t actually involved in negotiation with that particular Catholic Charities contract. He wasn’t hired by the agency until months later. Keenan could have told the state auditors that, but they hadn’t interviewed him. If they had, Catholic Charities argued in a statement, the audit wouldn’t have so many inaccuracies. The auditors also hadn’t talked to Stuckart or Smith or Barbieri or anyone with Jewels Helping Hands. “One of your findings is that a former director was pressured by a former council member,” Beggs told the state auditor’s office at a committee meeting last week. “And I don’t think you interviewed either one of them.” When Woodward and Crago announced the third party audit last year, they had assured the public that only former staff members were implicated in the concerns. Yet the state auditors had only spoken to current staff members. That, Stratton argues, was unfair to those whose names had been tarnished by the report. “There are people who have left this city,” Stratton says. “It’s affecting them, their professional life.” While Coddington says the city didn’t know the audit wouldn’t interview central subjects of the report, state auditor’s spokeswoman Kathleen Cooper says they “had a clear understanding with city leadership about what our role was.” Cooper pushes back against the Inlander’s contention that getting to the truth required reaching out to the people accused of potential wrongdoing. With their focus on process and documentation, Cooper suggested that wasn’t necessary. “I would challenge you to examine your assumptions that an audit report is supposed to have the same standards as a journalistic report,” Cooper says. n firstname.lastname@example.org
“The nature and appearance of these findings cause us some concern, and show us that we must do better. These findings are serious.” That tension is exactly why Stuckart tried, unsuccessfully, to push for public financing of local election campaigns while he was in office. “If you’re going to get elected, you’ve got to raise money,” he says. But raise money, and you also raise eyebrows, as people assume that the donations are buying your vote.
AT LEAST ONE SIDE TO EVERY STORY
Yet even councilmembers like Stratton who are unsatisfied with the audit’s answers think that some of the questions it raises are worth considering. The state auditors pointed to Keenan’s current job with another major nonprofit, Catholic Charities, as another potential conflict of interest. A month after Keenan left the city, CHHS awarded a $500,000 family warming center contract to Catholic Charities. Stratton says she’s sent emails to the state auditor’s office on multiple occasions when previous high-level city directors have taken jobs with Catholic Charities: What happens when a person who helped direct large grants toward an organization, she asks, quits to work for that same organization?
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14 INLANDER APRIL 29, 2021
The pandemic forced the region’s colleges and K-12 schools to ditch standardized tests. Some hope the change is permanent BY WILSON CRISCIONE
f you wanted to understand Andre Ramsey, you wouldn’t look at a test score. A test score couldn’t tell you about the hardships he faced after both his parents went to prison when he was a toddler. It couldn’t tell you how, as a third grader, he dreamed of going to Harvard as soon as he saw a picture of the campus. It couldn’t tell you about the late nights studying, the volunteer work, the almost unfathomable number of clubs he’s joined and leadership positions he’s held. So when Ramsey, now a senior at Spokane’s Rogers High School, applied to Harvard last year, he didn’t include any SAT or ACT score. After all, Harvard suspended the requirement to do so because of the COVID-19 pandemic. In December, Ramsey found out he got in. “I screamed. I was like, ‘I actually got in! Oh my gosh, I got in!’” Ramsey says. Ramsey isn’t sure whether not taking the SAT had anything to do with it. His application — with the extracurricular activities, 3.97 GPA and strong letters of recommendation — certainly was strong with or without a high SAT score. But for Ramsey, that’s exactly the point. The test score shouldn’t matter one way or another. “We’re more than a score. We’re more than just a test,” he says. “We are what we do every day. And my take on how I planned on getting into Harvard was just being a well-rounded human, a leader, and somebody who didn’t just stand out in one way, but was well-rounded in all these different ways.” Increasingly, higher education institutions and K-12 schools are seeing it the same way. The pandemic forced colleges across the country to drop the requirement for applicants to submit standardized tests, and many are now making that change permanent. Washington State University last month went a step further: Not only is it not required, but WSU will no longer even consider SAT or ACT scores for any applicant. “This is the trend,” said WSU provost Elizabeth Chilton in a statement last month. It’s a conversation that’s been ongoing for years but that the pandemic has given sharper focus. The issue has been thrust into today’s culture wars, with some seeing the movement away from testing as an effort on the left to abandon Andre Ramsey dreamed any standards in education under of going to Harvard since what critics of the movement see the third grade. as the false pretense of racism. YOUNG KWAK PHOTO Local university and school officials, however, argue that it’s not about abandoning standards, but using this pause to reassess whether these tests are the best way to measure learning and improve diversity in higher education. And it’s not just the trend in college admissions. After the U.S. Department of Education told states a year ago they need not administer standardized tests due to the difficulties created by the pandemic, many state leaders and school officials have renewed calls to rethink the way K-12 students are tested. One of them is Chris Reykdal, Washington’s state superintendent of public instruction. This spring, the U.S. Department of Education denied his proposal to drastically reduce the number of students who take state
tests this spring. In response, Reykdal announced that Washington wouldn’t administer the tests this spring anyway, but instead in the fall. While that proposal to waive test requirements from Reykdal may have been directly related to the pandemic, he hopes for a more permanent transformation of K-12 testing. He’s worried the Department of Education’s denial of Washington’s proposal indicates they’re not on the same page, despite President Joe Biden’s previous statements opposing standardized testing. “They just kept saying to us, ‘Now is not the time for a referendum on standardized testing,’” Reykdal says. “We said it over and over again: When is a better time? This is exactly the time to look at this entire question.”
A FLAWED METRIC?
The SAT, created and administered by the College Board, has been criticized over the years for perpetuating a system of inequality in higher education. Asian and White students consistently outperform Black and Hispanic students on the SAT, according to the College Board’s data. And while some argue that’s the fault of the education system, not the test itself, critics say the SAT both mirrors and reinforces gaps that tend to favor affluent White students. “This is a racist test,” University of California regent Jonathan Sures said last year in a discussion about making the test optional, Forbes reported. That sentiment is becoming more widespread in higher education. Part of the thinking comes from the racist origins of the SAT, a test first invented in 1926 by Carl Brigham, a Princeton psychology professor and a eugenicist who believed tests would prove the racial superiority of White Americans. The tests have changed since then, but some experts like Vanessa Anthony-Stevens, an assistant professor of social and cultural studies at University of Idaho, argue that it’s not really possible for these tests to be truly objective. Often, questions reflect language, norms and everyday behaviors that some students of certain cultures may understand better than others, she says. “It kind of paints a picture of particular experiences that are culturally specific, and oftentimes fall around racial lines, in terms of the kind of place or space that you might grow up in and the kinds of ways you might use the language,” she says. Even if it is possible to craft an objective test measuring one’s abilities, admissions experts argue the way students prepare for the SAT and ACT still leads to disparate outcomes. More affluent families are more likely to hire a tutor to improve their student’s score, for example, and they encounter fewer logistical hurdles than lower income students, who are disproportionately Black and Brown students. “Someone who can afford to take the test four or five times can earn a score that’s higher than they would if they took it the first time. So a student who can spend money can improve their scores in a way that students who can’t spend money are unable to,” says Jens Larson, associate vice president for enrollment management at Eastern Washington University. And that means the tests may not be measuring a student’s ability or talent, but their access to resources and family income. Unsurprisingly, data backs up the premise
that the more money a student’s parents make, the more likely they will score high on the SAT. Then there’s another major problem with standardized tests like the SAT and ACT: On their own, local colleges say they don’t actually predict college success all that well. “Test scores haven’t been shown to provide a whole lot of additional information for colleges when they are making admissions decisions,” Larson says. A majority of the time, according to one 2011 study, test scores are consistent with a student’s academic performance in high school. But when they’re not, it’s more likely that women, Black and Latino students have a lower test score with a higher grade point average, that study says. Meanwhile, students from wealthier families were more likely to have lower GPAs and higher SAT scores. But grades, overall, are a much better indicator of college success than test results. “Which makes sense,” Larson says. “Students spend four years building a transcript of high school grades, and they spend one morning on a Saturday, or one afternoon on a weekday taking a test.” So not requiring test scores in applications, the thinking goes, removes an unnecessary barrier, allowing colleges to welcome a more diverse class of students who may do poorly on a test but are likely to succeed in college anyway. “A college degree is still one of the greatest predictors of future earnings, and everyone should have the opportunity to attend college if it’s part of their educational or professional journey,” Larson says.
Not everyone is on board with this trend. The College Board insists that the best predictor of success is GPA and the SAT combined. While acknowledging access can be a barrier for some, supporters of the tests challenge the idea that tutors play a large role in boosting test scores, saying there’s a lack of scientific evidence to support that. They also argue that if tests reflect inequalities in education, it’s true that grades do as well, and they fear grade inflation will become more of an issue. Meanwhile, a University of California report last year actually found test scores may be better predictors of success specifically for students who are underrepresented, first-generation, or whose families are low-income. Even Rogers High School Principal Lori Wyborney, a supporter of colleges going test optional, sees grading as a greater problem than standardized tests. “The biggest problem facing education right now is grading,” she says. “I will make a lot of people mad with that statement. But it’s not fair. It’s not equitable. It’s not consistent.” That’s because most of the time, grades aren’t an indicator of learning, but of compliance, she says. It measures if they’re turning assignments in and if they’re attending school, but it doesn’t always measure understanding of a subject, she argues. Spokane Public Schools is looking at making grades more fair, she says, but it’s an uphill battle because teachers still want autonomy in the classroom. ...continued on next page
APRIL 29, 2021 INLANDER 15
“BURSTING THE BUBBLES,” CONTINUED... Without tests, there would also be concerns over admissions officers giving more weight to extracurricular activities. Research has shown that income also influences participation in extracurriculars — richer families have more money and flexibility, making it easier for those students to engage in those activities. One idea would be to make SAT and ACT tests more accessible for students: It could be free and required for students during school hours, as Susan Dynarski, professor of public policy, education and economics at University of Michigan, argues in a 2018 Brookings Institute report. That could actually help close the income and racial disparity in college admissions, she writes. “The evidence indicates that if taking these tests is voluntary, many talented, disadvantaged students will go undetected,” she says. Initiatives like that, however, aren’t swaying colleges much when it comes to deciding whether to require the tests. Larson says it’s great to see any idea to expand college application rates and success, but there’s a simpler solution: Highly selective colleges could just decide to admit more low-income students. He notes that most colleges are not like Harvard — a majority already admit more than half of all applicants. “So why do we insist on designing a process for millions of high school students based on the needs of a small fraction of all college students, most of whom are the wealthiest of the wealthy?” adds Larson at EWU, which stopped requiring test scores last spring.
“So why do we insist on designing a process for millions of high school students based on the needs of a small fraction?” Even before then, hundreds of colleges had gone testing optional, but the pandemic made a trend into a necessity because of the difficulty of administering the assessment tests. Like EWU, other local universities including Gonzaga, WSU and University of Idaho made SAT and ACT scores optional in admissions last spring. Now, seeing how it would work in practice, some plan on staying that way. University of Idaho spokesperson Jodi Walker says there’s ongoing conversation about staying test optional. EWU announced in May 2020 that it would permanently become test optional, and Larson says he imagines EWU will ultimately end up test blind, meaning SAT and ACT scores won’t be considered at all. WSU, meanwhile, already went test blind. Saichi Oba, WSU’s vice provost for enrollment management, says that when the question came up last fall, representatives from all WSU campuses — enrollment management officials, academic officers, financial aid officers and others — gave “overwhelming support” to no longer using test scores in admissions. The tests simply didn’t add much value, they argued. WSU students with a high school GPA above 3.5 consistently have about an 80 percent six-year graduation rate at WSU, they found. But students with an SAT score above 1,200 had a six-
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Last month, WSU declared that it will not consider SAT or ACT scores for any applicant. WSU PHOTO
year graduation rate of less than 70 percent. Going test blind instead of optional, Oba says, eliminates any confusion over whether students should still submit them. Colleges that have gone test optional have welcomed more diverse student populations. When forced to do so during the pandemic, Harvard and other selective colleges saw a flood in applicants. It dropped the acceptance rate overall, but the percentage of Black students admitted at Harvard jumped by more than 3 percentage points, the New York Times reported, though some experts attributed at least part of the increase in diversity to the aftermath of the George Floyd protests. Local universities, too, realized that removing test requirements worked out just fine. At WSU, Oba says admissions officers felt comfortable last year with their process of reviewing applications without test scores. Instead of looking at the score, they may spend more time on other parts of the application, taking a more holistic view. Crucially, he says, that would include how many Advanced Placement or other difficult classes a student took, and in which direction grades were trending over four years. That helps eliminate issues created by grade inflation, or awarding higher grades than students deserve, he says. Larson agrees grading may need an overhaul to be more equitable, too. He just doesn’t see that as an argument to keep standardized tests. “I think it’s exactly true that systemic inequality is built into the education system,” Larson says. “But I also think that if we know something to be bad, and it is easy to fix, then we should fix it.”
CONTINUING THE TREND
So does this mean we should get rid of all standardized tests in K-12 schools? Similar to the way the pandemic forced colleges to ditch test requirements, it also forced K-12 schools to forgo spring assessments, causing school leaders to reimagine what testing in schools can look like. It would take a change to state and federal laws. And while top Washington school leaders hope for a new testing system, they worry the federal government wants to maintain testing requirements.
Last year, the federal government did not require states to administer tests for the first time since the No Child Left Behind Act became law in 2002 with bipartisan support. And amid growing support for fewer tests, Biden on the campaign trail once told a crowd of educators that he was against standardized tests in public schools. So, Washington educators were puzzled when his administration decided to resume testing requirements this spring. “That caught us off guard. We expected there would be a waiver, based on everything we’d heard,” says Larry Delaney, president of the Washington Education Association, the state’s largest teachers union. “To see that wasn’t the case, that was incredibly disappointing.” In Washington, the state Legislature in 2019 removed a passing score on the state Smarter Balanced Assessments as a graduation requirement for high school students, though they may still use the test as one of many “graduation pathways” needed for a diploma. Still, many teachers see the state test — administered to roughly 700,000 students in grades 3-8 and 10 each spring — as a burden that doesn’t actually tell them anything they don’t already know. “I think if you talk to any educator across the state, they can give you an accurate accounting of where, individually, all of their students are right now,” Delaney says. Reykdal, the state schools chief, agrees that state tests aren’t effective for “diagnostics,” meaning they are not good at telling teachers when they need to intervene with individual students. By the time the test results come back, it’s too late to do so anyway. The tests are valuable, he says, for statewide accountability purposes. You can look at how fourth graders performed in reading, for example, and see if it’s better or worse than previous years. The thing is, Reykdal doesn’t think it’s necessary to test every fourth grader in Washington to see that. A sample of 50,000 students could provide the same information to the federal government, he argues. That’s essentially what Reykdal proposed to the U.S. Department of Education this spring before the idea was rejected. ...continued on page 18
IT’S PATIO SEASON!
PATIO OPENS MAY 1
Visit our Facebook Events Page (@SpokaneTribeCasino) to see everything happening in the Backyard this summer!
HERE ARE SOME FUN EVENTS TO LOOK FORWARD TO! May 13: Party on the Patio featuring Justin James
July 8: Party on the Patio featuring Christy Lee
May 15: Cornhole Tournament (featuring local food trucks!)
August 12: Party on the Patio featuring Wiebe Jammin
June 10: Party on the Patio featuring Wiebe Jammin
September 9: Party on the Patio featuring Christy Lee
June 12: Tribal Craft & Vendor Fair (featuring local food trucks!)
APRIL 29, 2021 INLANDER 17
Rogers High School has added more AP classes as its graduation rate improved. YOUNG KWAK PHOTO
“BURSTING THE BUBBLES,” CONTINUED... Ultimately, that sort of sampling approach is what Reykdal hopes to move to in the future. Except that vision wouldn’t include the Smarter Balanced Assessment at all. Rather, he envisions a more robust version of the National Assessment of Educational Progress to fill that role. The NAEP is currently given to a sample of students in grades 4 and 8 every two years. By expanding the sample size, the NAEP could give information on how different demographics are performing. It would achieve the same goals of the Smarter Balanced Assessments, he argues, only it would save the state millions of dollars in test costs and reduce the burden on teachers and students. “I think the nation should move to this,” Reykdal says. Individual school districts, then, wouldn’t be forced to administer a state test, but could instead choose from a few federally approved tests to identify possible areas of improvement, Reykdal proposes. One possible drawback, though, is that it may be harder to compare individual school districts with one another to identify those that may need more support. Still, Spokane Public Schools may be on board with a plan that results in less testing overall, says Scott Kerwien, director of college and career readiness. But Kerwien stresses that any test should only be looked at as a small piece of the puzzle. The pandemic has forced schools to grapple with how to assess whether, in remote or inperson learning, they’re reaching students. “That’s the broader piece that we’re kind of just asking out loud, in general: When teachers teach something to students, how do we know what they’re learning? And I think that can happen without a high-stakes test,” Kerwien says. That doesn’t mean getting rid of all tests — districts still need some level of understanding of where students are at, he says. But it also means being open to other ways students can demonstrate learning, including through projects, portfolios, presentations or other forms of media like podcasts and videos. After all, as Wyborney can attest, assessments can be poor indicators of learning, especially when they don’t reflect the culture of the students they’re assessing. Wyborney says she once taught at a school with a high Latino population. One year, a test asked something like, “describe a fad that has influenced you.” But the word “fad” didn’t make sense to a lot of the Latino students in that context.
18 INLANDER APRIL 29, 2021
“There isn’t necessarily a Spanish word to go with the word ‘fad,’” Wyborney says. “And so just that one word, ‘fad,’ threw them, and made it really hard for them to even write about what they’re supposed to write about.” Anthony-Stevens, the University of Idaho assistant professor, says she favors any approach that would make school districts more critical consumers of the tests they’re administering to students, which is why Reykdal’s plan is interesting. “I think we’re still dealing with the legacy of No Child Left Behind and this concept that our funding and worth is attached to those test scores,” she says. “I think that we could use those as one of many tools to be able to see what we can know about student learning.”
default course for juniors — and eliminating easy courses. As a New York Times headline in 2017 says, it’s “a school where raising the bar lifts hope.” And by adding more difficult AP classes, it helped a college application. Ramsey took at least 10 of those AP classes, he says. Of course, each AP class ends with a standardized test, too. “Harvard does still like that because it’s a nationally normed test,” Wyborney says. “They can compare him to other students his age, and in his class, which I think Harvard likes to do a lot.” So while suspending the SAT and ACT requirement last year led to a more diverse freshman class, Harvard still could use AP tests to ABOUT THE compare applicants. Dropping one AUTHOR In a way, Andre Ramsey’s experience of test requirement removed a barrier As a staff writer covering being admitted to Harvard from Rogers for students applying to a selective education since 2016, Wilson High School reveals both the success and university, on the one hand. On Criscione’s work has unveiled how the failures of standardized tests. the other, greater access to another online schools in Washington can A kid growing up in the poorest neighstandardized test may have helped profit from student failure, how borhood of Spokane, the odds weren’t great some of those low-income students local schools disproportionately that Ramsey, or any Rogers student, would get in. discipline students of color and even graduate. As he began elementary Wyborney believes college students in special education, and school, Rogers was struggling to get more should be available for all kids. how childhood trauma can impact than 60 percent of its students graduated. Never mind universities like Harstudent development. Reach His future high school wasn’t exactly the vard. But WSU? Anyone should be him at 509-325-0634 ext. 282 or first place you’d think of as a launching able to go there if they work hard, email@example.com. point for a prestigious university. she says. She also agrees that the “There was a lot of doubt, especially sheer amount of testing for K-12 because of the reputation Rogers had,” students can be a burden. Ramsey says. But she will always defend aspects of state tests. She’s By the time he began high school, he knew he had to against them being tied to graduation, but she credits pack in as many extracurricular activities as possible. He them for exposing systemic inequality in education. If became student body president, varsity soccer captain, there’s one good thing that No Child Left Behind did, adviser on the Spokane Public Schools school board, and she says, it’s that. state officer for Distributive Education Clubs of America. “It’s the only reason schools started to do something But in the end, going to Rogers worked in his favor. different for kids of color and kids in poverty,” she says. Rogers has become a positive story in education, not “It exposed that we had to do something different in just because of star students like Ramsey. Since Wybororder to get them to the same level playing field. Did we ney took over as principal in 2010, the graduation rate exactly do it? No, we have not yet. And we still have got improved by nearly 30 percent. Today, nearly 90 percent to figure that out.” of Rogers students graduate. Excessive testing, she says, probably isn’t the answer. And it wasn’t by making school any easier. It was “We probably went a little too far with testing, which the opposite. Rogers focused on adding more difficult Adwe sometimes do in education,” she says. “We go too far vanced Placement classes — even making AP English the one way.” n
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APRIL 29, 2021 INLANDER 19
BUILD YOUR OWN
BLOOMSDAY? Some suggested routes showcasing the best of Spokane for this year’s virtual road race BY INLANDER STAFF
riday kicks off Bloomsday 2021, once again happening virtually due to COVID-19. Last year’s online version of Spokane’s favorite road race proved remarkably popular, as tens of thousands of racers participated around the globe. This year, racers will knock out the 12-kilometer (7.46-mile) route of their choosing between April 30 and May 9 and submit their times to the Bloomsday folks. They’ll even get the traditional finisher’s T-shirt, just like they do when they race on the streets of Spokane. You can register to run this year’s Bloomsday right up until May 9, online at bloomsdayrun.org. We mapped out potential routes for local runners who still haven’t decided where they want to pound the pavement. They’re for the more leisurely Bloomie,
willing to stop and smell the roses (among other things) as they run. They won’t all get you to the finish line in record time, but they’re all roughly 12 kilometers, and all showcase some of the best the city has to offer.
day, but with fewer people crowding around, you’ll easily spot him in an alcove to the right of the Lincoln Building entrance. As a bonus, there’s also a pair of nature-themed Harold Balazs enamels next to the little lion.
ART ON THE MOVE
STOP 1: NORTHWEST MUSEUM OF ARTS & CULTURE (2316 W. FIRST AVE.)
For this alt-Bloomsday route, take in Spokane’s multitude of outdoor art installations, from bronze sculptures to interactive pieces to colorful murals, and make sure to take lots of photos to share on the ’Gram.
START: BRONZO THE BRAVE (818 W. RIVERSIDE AVE.)
This fierce little bronze lion cub is located where the front pack of Bloomsday runners line up for the official course on Riverside Avenue. Bronzo can be easy to miss on race
As you wrap your first mile along Bloomsday’s official course down Riverside, make a pit stop at the MAC’s loads of public art around its campus. Heck, if you need a longer break, consider reserving tickets to catch your breath while checking out its current exhibits inside. Outside the main entrance, see if you can spot all the mischievous animals in Tom Otterness’ “Return of the Four Leggeds” installation.
The outdoor art at the MAC can be part of your Bloomsday. YOUNG KWAK PHOTO
20 INLANDER APRIL 29, 2021
STOP 2: PAPILLON BUILDING (908 N. HOWARD ST.)
After meandering down toward the river and through Kendall Yards along the Centennial Trail, you’ll soon find yourself back downtown. You’re about halfway done now, and it’s time for a pitstop at the colorful new Ben Joyce mural just north of the river. Unfortunately, the Expo ’74 butterfly sculpture isn’t back up yet after January’s windstorm, so that’ll have to wait for selfies another day.
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FINISH: RED WAGON (RIVERFRONT PARK)
Follow the Centennial Trail’s north arm to Gonzaga’s campus and around the baseball complex before heading west again along the south bank of the river toward downtown and Riverfront Park. Finish up your DIY Bloomsday art tour at one of the city’s most iconic pieces of public art: Ken Spiering’s red Radio Flyer wagon slide, officially titled “The Childhood Express,” in the heart of Riverfront. (CHEY SCOTT)
LOOP DE HOPS Beer and exercise might go more hand-in-hand than you initially think. The liquid gold made headlines in 2018 as the go-to recovery drink for German Olympians. Their version may have been non-alcoholic, but it still seems like enough of an excuse to make an ideal virtual Bloomsday course centered on a few Spokane breweries.
START: RIVER CITY BREWING (121 S. CEDAR ST.)
River City Brewing is located right off the traditional Bloomsday course. The small taproom nestled inside is the perfect place to start your beer adventure. Keep in mind: River City is only open Thursday through Saturday. If you’re looking to complete Bloomsday on a different day of the week, consider walking to Whistle Punk Brewing or any of the plethora of downtown breweries. ...continued on next page
BREAKFAST � DINNER � HAPPY HOUR � SWEET TREATS
A Dining & Happy Hour Guide for the Inland Northwest
ON STANDS NOW! APRIL 29, 2021 INLANDER 21
CULTURE | BLOOMSDAY
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DANIEL WALTERS PHOTO
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Brews, birds and Butter Brickle ice cream can all be part of Spokane’s favorite road race.
STOP 1: THE HIDDEN MOTHER BREWERY (1303 N. WASHINGTON ST.)
Before the first stop, you’re going to go a bit out of your way to get a taste of the real Bloomsday experience. Head west on Riverside through Browne’s Addition — passing the MAC and ending up at People’s Park. Cross the pedestrian bridge and make your way east on the Centennial Trail. Once you pass under the Monroe Street Bridge, find your way up north toward Hidden Mother Brewery. You’re now 3.8 miles into your “race” and ready for another pint. Get a pour of the well-acclaimed Pine Tree Saison or another one of their unique ales.
STOP 2: NO-LI BREWHOUSE (1003 E. TRENT AVE.)
The longest bit is over, and now you’re going a measly 1.5 miles to No-Li Brewhouse. The easiest way to do this is to cross Division and Ruby Streets and take a shortcut through Gonzaga University — it’s a beautiful time of year to do so. Once at No-Li, get a seat on their riverside beer garden.
FINISH: BRICK WEST BREWING CO. (1318 W. 1ST AVE.)
To close out the 7.5 mile loop, you’re going back to the starting line. Walk west through the Gonzaga campus and get on the Centennial Trail again. Follow the trail to downtown and close out the day on Brick West Brewing’s huge urban patio. We recommend grabbing one of their refreshing lagers, but maybe you’ll want to finish with something a bit heavier — you’ve earned it. (DEREK HARRISON)
WILDLIFE-SIGHTING REVERSE BLOOMSDAY
Scripture says those imbued with divine strength will “mount up with wings as eagles” and “shall run and not be weary.” If you’re running Bloomsday, good luck with the second part. But either way, you can look to the birds of the air and the beasts of the field to inspire you. This route almost follows the Bloomsday route in reverse, with a few modifications to maximize your wildlife-spotting potential.
22 INLANDER APRIL 29, 2021
START: THE NEST (1335 W SUMMIT PKWY.)
DOUBLE SCOOP ON THE GO
STOP 1: 2201 N. GOVERNMENT WAY
This classic Garland District shop not only makes its own ice cream, but features a full array of sundaes, shakes, banana splits and ice cream sodas. Get yourself a Bozo The Clown sundae and enjoy the downhill leg to your next stop.
Start in Kendall Yards, at the site of a literal nest, where you’ll probably see a majestic osprey or two watching you warily. Better yet, dip down to the overlook just below the Centennial Trail a few meters away, and you might see one of the raptors soar up directly in front of your face, an unlucky Spokane River fish clutched between its talons. Follow the Centennial Trail to Doomsday Hill, run downhill and cross the T.J. Meenach Bridge; then, instead of sticking to the Bloomsday route, head under the bridge and link up with the Centennial Trail again on the west side of the river. Climb up until you exit on the military trailhead, turn left, and continue on Government Way. Right before you get to the Spokane Falls Montessori School, at about 5.3 miles, you’ll see a big open field. Don’t step on the field itself (it’s private property), but it’s a great spot to see hordes of turkeys, groups of mule deer, and the occasional red-tailed hawk.
STOP 2: PALISADES CHRISTIAN ACADEMY (1115 GOVERNMENT WAY) During warmer months, the marsh next to Palisades Christian Academy, just two-thirds of a mile past your previous stop, will have a fleet of red-winged blackbirds flitting about. Across the street, in the Life Center parking lot, you’ll see a bunch of killdeer running about. They’re not as deadly as they sound.
FINISH: PEOPLE’S PARK (114 S A ST.)
Continue on Government Way, until you hit Riverside. Run down Riverside until you hit People’s Park. Duck under the Riverside Bridge and you’ll not only find some pretty awesome graffiti art, but dozens of prime examples of Spokane’s most beloved creature: the marmot. You’ll also see geese, ducks, and if you’re lucky, maybe even a beaver gliding through the water. (DANIEL WALTERS)
Some might argue ingesting ice cream several times during a timed race isn’t the best idea, to which I respond: Uh-huh! Especially the leisurely, sugar-y virtual Bloomsday I have in mind. Averaging a scoop every couple miles seems not only doable, but desirable if the weather is hot.
START: MARY LOU’S MILK BOTTLE (802 W. GARLAND AVE)
STOP 1: DOYLE’S ICE CREAM PARLOR (2229 W. BOONE AVE)
Another Spokane classic located 2.8 miles from Mary Lou’s, they’re planning to open for the season May 1. Its West Central location will lead you to folks doing the traditional Bloomsday route for their run. Munch down a house specialty like Butter Brickle, just one of the housemade ice creams, and hit the road.
STOP 2: THE SCOOP KENDALL YARDS (1238 W. SUMMIT PKWY)
Just a short 1.1 miles toward downtown Spokane from Doyle’s. A pretty easy leg, right? The nearby Centennial Trail is loved by runners and walkers alike. You have a long push to your finish, so you might want to carbo load with a bubble waffle covered in your favorite flavor.
FINISH: MIFLAVOUR MODERN FRENCH BAKERY (3403 E. SPRAGUE)
The final push is a 3.6-mile trip east down Sprague to miFLAVOUR to celebrate your Bloomsday finish with some of their Volonti gelato. There are sandwiches, salads and quiche available, too, but I think some Chocolate Dirt or Sicilian Pistachio is in order. After all, you just finished Bloomsday! (DAN NAILEN) n
CULTURE | DIGEST
The Dress Project SPOKANE SHINING A hearty congrats to Stage Left Theater for having its production of Lonely Planet selected as one of 12 shows in the nation showcased at Virtual AACTFest 2021, the online gathering of the American Association of Community Theatre. The festival is celebrating local theaters that got creative in delivering shows during the pandemic. Lonely Planet was actually Stage Left’s last production to enjoy a live audience before the pandemic shutdown, but AACT will be sending a four-camera crew to Spokane to film a new, audience-free version that will stream at the festival June 16. Thomas Heppler directed the Stage Left show written by Steven Dietz and starring Robert Tombari and Lukas Lantz as two gay men living through the 1990s AIDS crisis. (DAN NAILEN)
BY CHEY SCOTT
’ve loved vintage fashion since I was a teen, thanks to an early “discovery” of 1960s pop culture, plus the nostalgia of playing dress-up in pieces from my grandmother’s closet long before. A rewatch of Downton Abbey and its period-perfect 1920s costumes, however, recently spurred a renewed quest to expand my vintage collection. Instead of latenight Instagram scrolling, I’m scouring Etsy and eBay for the next perfect piece in my size and for the right price. My most exciting recent acquisition is an incredible Depression-era dress with a storied past… and present. The calf-length dress was definitely homemade, but not for everyday wear. I imagine it was its maker’s “Sunday best.” The bodice is sheer, white cotton with little cap sleeves and a long row of 28 tiny, decorative mother-of-pearl buttons down a front panel with pleated ruffles on either side. The A-line skirt is navy blue silk with flat-sewn pleats that radiate down from a high, empire waist.
THE BUZZ BIN
THIS WEEK’S PLAYLIST There’s noteworthy new music arriving in stores and online April 30. To wit: ASHLEY MONROE, Rosegold. The country artist ditches Warner Brothers to go indie as her sound veers into pop bliss. MANCHESTER ORCHESTRA, The Million Masks of God. From indie dudes to full-blown rock stars, the sound is huge on this new one. DROPKICK MURPHYS, Turn Up That Dial. If you’re in need of some catchy new drinking anthems, look no further. (DAN NAILEN)
After the dress arrived last month, I was gleeful when, miraculously, it fit! As I lifted up my arm to awkwardly close the snaps on one side (zippers weren’t widely used until the ’40s), there suddenly came the last sound any vintage lover wants to hear: Rrrrrrip. The left underarm had blown. The cotton was brittle from sweat and years of physical stress, and the seam had shredded far beyond a quick mend, although it wasn’t beyond a crafty repair. Overall, the garment had several other flaws: tiny moth chews to the silk, a few sun-faded streaks on the skirt, and age-caused yellowing of the white cotton. None, though, appeared so serious as to deter me from bringing this 90-plus-year-old garment back to a wearable state. Unfortunately, I unintentionally added another major step to its restoration when the navy silk bled blue dye all over the white cotton during an intended isolated soak of the bodice. In the end, the only way to fix this amateur blunder was to take the dress apart, and treat each fabric separately. Through all of my efforts so far, I’ve learned an incredible amount about caring for and restoring vintage textiles: identifying fabrics, what’s safe to wash or dry clean, and so much more. And each moment I’m hunched over to painstakingly pull out seams or re-sew one by hand, I always return to one thought: Whose dress was this originally, and what would she think of my care, nearly a century later, to bring this garment of hers back to life? n
SKETCHY DETAILS In this era of true crime, it’s hard to believe there’s a case out there that hasn’t been given the episodic treatment. The Doodler is a new podcast from the San Francisco Chronicle, the paper at the center of the Zodiac murders in the late ’60s, and it focuses on an unsolved mystery from the same era but considerably less famous. Journalist Kevin Fagan looks into an unidentified serial killer known as the Doodler, who targeted gay bars and cruising spots and was so named because he reportedly sketched his victims before picking them up. The series hopes to bring publicity to the case and, hopefully, some kind of closure. (NATHAN WEINBENDER)
OH HAPPY DAY! What day? The fifth of May! And why is that, you say? Because for the first time in over a year Neato Burrito/Baby Bar will be open, as long as Spokane is still in Phase 3. Go see Patty behind the bar and say, “Hey!” Neato Burrito will be open 11 am-midnight, and Baby Bar from 5 pm to midnight, both at 50 percent capacity for the time being.
TO INFINITY AND BEYOND It’s usually hard to hit me with a plot twist that I didn’t at least somewhat see coming. But when listening to the audiobook version of Infinite by Jeremy Robinson, several major WTF moments kept me guessing what was real and what wasn’t until the very last word. The book takes you on a journey into deep space with what’s likely humanity’s last chance at surviving as a species. Witness how everything goes horrifically wrong as the lines of reality and virtual reality blur together, and if you’re left hungry for more, you’re in luck because the sequel just dropped March 15. (SAMANTHA WOHLFEIL)
APRIL 29, 2021 INLANDER 23
CULTURE | BASEBALL
Play Ball! For believers in the church of baseball, the holy season is here again after a painfully long layoff BY DAN NAILEN
aseball is a game rife with rituals and superstitions. Never talk to a pitcher throwing a no-hitter. Never step on the chalk lines when you’re running on or off the diamond. Eat the same meal every game day. I’m just a baseball fan, and I start every season with a Bull Durham viewing and reading a new (to me) baseball book, just to get in the spirit of a new season. For the Spokane Indians, all the joy of life at the ballpark went on pause last year thanks to COVID-19. It doesn’t take the team’s senior vice president, Otto Klein, more than a couple seconds to recall the last time fans were allowed in Avista Stadium to take in America’s pastime: Sept. 4, 2019. Now the Indians organization is preparing to welcome fans back for a new season, and the world has changed both inside and outside the baselines for the Spokane squad and its fans. Some of the changes are obviously COVID-related, but not all of them. In fact, the biggest is purely about baseball. Last year, in the midst of the pandemic, major league baseball and its minor leagues underwent a major restructuring. In some markets, that meant the loss of their minor-league club. In Spokane, the Indians changed from being a “Short-Season A” affiliate of the Texas Rangers to
24 INLANDER APRIL 29, 2021
Spokane has many more nights at the ballpark in store in 2021 after a year away from Avista Stadium. a “High-A” affiliate of the Colorado Rockies. What does that mean? Basically, the team moved up a couple levels in competition in the minor-league hierarchy, and they’re going to play full-season baseball, meaning a first pitch for a home game on May 4 this season instead of mid June as it’s been for decades. They’ll be playing twice as many games at Avista Stadium each season than they used to. “It means that we’re going to be seeing a better brand of baseball here, with older, bigger, better, faster, stronger players,” Klein says. “We’re going to see players more developed in their skills in baseball, and they will not be first-year professionals like we’ve seen in the past. It will probably be more of the seasoned players who have a year or two under their belt in professional baseball.” The Indians have long been successful at grooming young players to eventually make the big-time of the major leagues; now players will be just a couple steps away from the majors when they arrive in Spokane. “With the Texas Rangers, we graduated, if you will, over 75 players to the major leagues, and that was from a lower level,” Klein says. “You’re going to see a lot of guys play in a Spokane uniform that are eventually going to make it to the big leagues.” The Indians’ opponents will look familiar, as several foes from the old Northwest League made the jump up alongside the Indians, including squads from the Tri-Cities, Everett and Vancouver, B.C. They’ll open the season with a six-game series against the Eugene Emeralds. Actually taking in a game in person will feel a little different for a while, thanks to COVID-19. Mostly, the changes are safety-related and temporary while the community continues trying to bat down the pandemic. The team will open to crowds at just 25 percent of capacity at Avista Stadium, which Klein says pencils out to about 1,750 fans each game. Masks will be required for all fans throughout the season, tickets will be all elec-
YOUNG KWAK PHOTO
tronic, and some concessions will be available for ordering through fans’ phones. All the on-field promotions are on pause to keep players and fans safely distanced, and while there will be fireworks on opening night, there’s likely going to be less of those themed promotional nights until at least July. In many ways, though, the experience will feel familiar, just with a bit more space between fans. You’ll be able to grab a hot dog and a beer and sit in the bleachers while the sun sets. You’ll sing “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” during the seventh-inning stretch as you root, root, root for the home team, of course. Even with the challenges of being shut down for a year and doubling the number of home games during a pandemic, Klein is confident the team will be able to create the “culture” of going to an Indians game so many locals have enjoyed in some form or another for 119 years. It’s a “huge amount of work” to get the stadium up and running and the field prepared for pro baseball, but it’s well worth it for everyone involved. “We feel like we’re opening up summer for the community. We want to be the safe entertainment choice that opens up summer every year, and especially this year, and there’s nothing like going to the ballpark,” Klein says. “We understand what that means for the community. We understand what that means for households, and in entertainment and a distraction from work, life and everything else. We’re going to do everything in our power to provide that escape. “That’s a really powerful thing, and we’re going to be ready. We can’t wait to get started, because we missed doing our jobs last year.” n The Spokane Indians open their season Tuesday, May 4 at 6:30 pm against the Eugene Emeralds at Avista Stadium. Visit spokaneindians.com for tickets and more information.
Rose Martin, a cook and one of the restaurant managers, stirs greens at the Soul Lounge. YOUNG KWAK PHOTO
GOING OLD SCHOOL
The Soul Lounge brings some traditional Southern culinary flair to East Spokane BY DAN NAILEN
ost cities, especially those on the smaller side, have some gaps in their food community. And as much as Spokane and the Inland Northwest’s scene has diversified over the years, there are still some types of cuisine underrepresented in our neck of the woods. Thankfully, there’s also some entrepreneurial spirits who see that not as a barrier, but as a challenge to introduce food lovers to their kind of cooking. Such is the case with Cassie Williams and D Johnson, partners in life and business who recently opened the Soul Lounge Bar & Grill on the corner of Sprague Avenue and Altamont Street.
“We have a few soul food locations, but it’s not something that’s offered a whole lot,” Williams says from behind the diminutive bar currently also serving as the spot to pick up to-go orders. “Both of us grew up eating that, and it’s what we eat every holiday. When we go out of town … it just seems like it’s offered way more than here. We just wanted to provide something that we love, that we know a lot of people in our community love, and do it good.” So far, so good on that front. The Soul Lounge menu isn’t huge, but Williams and Johnson plan on adding dishes as the months pass. And what is on the menu is consistently delicious.
Entrees include shrimp and grits ($17), chicken and waffles ($17), catfish ($17, or smothered with a shrimp sauce plus two sides for $25), and fried chicken dinner ($17, includes two sides). Anyone who’s into Southern cooking knows the importance of those side dishes to the meal. The Soul Lounge has some seriously great ones, from collard greens (seasoned with smoked turkey instead of pork, a sneaky-delicious switch) to candied yams to mac and cheese. And I don’t think I’d ever had fried cabbage before, and if I did, I don’t remember it. I haven’t stopped thinking about the Soul Lounge version for a good month. ...continued on next page
APRIL 29, 2021 INLANDER 25
FOOD | OPENING
The Soul Lounge’s fried chicken with greens and macaroni and cheese.
YOUNG KWAK PHOTO
“GOING OLD SCHOOL,” CONTINUED...
Now on Inlander.com: National and international stories from the New York Times to go with the fresh, local news we deliver every day 26 INLANDER APRIL 29, 2021
The kitchen’s flavors come from the experienced minds of three women who Williams says everyone knows by just their first names. Rose, who Williams has known since she was 12, seasons all the chicken. Blondie packed a slew of recipes from her Florida upbringing, and Rose brought her on board. And dessert master Kiki stopped by when she saw Williams and Johnson prepping the old Flame building for its new life as the Soul Lounge, and introduced them to a velvet cake and a strawberry cake that both appear on the menu now and then, along with peach cobbler. Just a couple months in, the crew has already tried some new things and tossed out others. They had breakfast going daily for a while, but now it’s just Saturdays and Sundays (although former breakfast specialties like the shrimp and grits are now on their all-day menu). They’ve done special barbecue days, and as Spokane moved to Phase 3 of its COVID recovery, they started hosting DJs in a part of the building where a stage and dance floor are the last remnants of what the place looked like as the Flame nightclub.
verhauling the building was a big part of getting the Soul Lounge open, Williams says. She and Johnson signed the lease in August, in the midst of the pandemic. That turned out to be a blessing considering what they had to do to turn the Flame into a more familyfriendly spot, albeit still one that can host 21+ dance parties and live music on occasion. They recently hosted a hip-hop show featuring Compton Av and Guerilla Black. “This building needed a lot of work,” Williams says. “It actually kind of worked out because we had time to get it together before opening up. We’re coming in at a time when people are wanting to get back out. It’s been a year now, and they’re looking for good food and somewhere to come hang out and have fun. I think the timing actually worked out well.” The Soul Lounge space is huge, with different rooms dedicated to an entryway, family
dining areas, that dance floor, some pool tables, and a bar. They’re thinking about creating an outdoor dining space in back as well, but want to get some momentum going first, as well as the ability to be fully open when Spokane hits Phase 4. They tore out the old carpet, put in new floors and painted most of the building inside as well. “It looks brighter and newer in here, more modern I guess. More welcoming,” Williams says. “And there’s still a lot to be done.” People have certainly responded, from the soul food lovers who came across the Soul Lounge’s active social media pages on Facebook and Instagram (@TheSoulLounge509), to the folks who live in the neighborhood excited for a new dining option. Williams figures they’ve had some regulars since the first week they opened. “The thing about the east side is that people are loyal to things in this area of town, for sure,” Williams says. “The fact that this was such a known place [as the Flame] to a lot of the neighborhood here, they’re going to come support just because they’re happy it’s open again. Before we were even open there were people stopping by constantly, wondering when we were going to open. The loyalty in this area is real, and it wasn’t something we were looking for specifically, but once we were here, then we definitely noticed and appreciated it.” And the Soul Lounge is showing that appreciation by delivering some damn fine food, joining Soul Fresh and Chicken-N-Mo in bringing some much needed flavor to Spokane. “I just love how people love the food, really enjoy it,” Williams says. “In the past, this has been a bar, and you can come here to drink or go to bars right down the road. What sets us apart is the food. I like how happy it makes Blondie and Rose when they hear people love what they’re making. This makes me real proud.” n The Soul Lounge • Open Mon-Wed noon-9 pm, Thu-Fri noon-midnight, Sat 9 am-midnight, Sun 9 am-7 pm • 2401 E. Sprague Ave. • thesoullounge509.com • 509-443-3852
FOOD | TO GO BOX
Brunch with Mom Make your Mother’s Day brunch reservations now; plus other food updates BY CHEY SCOTT
The Board’s Mother’s Day brunch box.
ast year most people celebrated Mother’s Day in quarantine, which meant many weren’t able to embrace their mothers at all. This year, the pandemic’s status has improved, and many families will be gathering in person to honor their matriarchal figures, at area restaurants and in their homes. Here’s a brief roundup of some options out there. Mother’s Day 2021 is Sunday, May 9. THE BOARD, a locally owned snack board purveyor, is offering several options for Mother’s Day preorders. In partnership with local doughnut shop Hello Sugar, the brunch box ($70) comes with cheese, fresh fruit, honey, pastries, cured meats and more, while the Mother’s Day gift box ($30) is a smaller-portioned treat for one or two. Preorder at theboardspokane.com for delivery May 8. RIND & WHEAT bakery is also offering a takehome option in the form of its Mother’s Day afternoon tea kit ($150). The English-style tea kit comes with assorted pastries — scones, French macarons, lemon tartlets and more — ingredients to make tea sandwiches and a selection of tea from local Revival Tea Co. Ala carte options are also available, including a ricotta toast kit ($52), cheese and meat boards ($32), and a roasted tomato quiche ($38). Preorder at rindandwheat.com/mothersday. In-person brunch is offered at many area restaurants. If you do plan to take mom and the fam out for a midday meal, however, do note that making reservations is a must, and you should do so as early as possible to
Davenport Hotel, Italia Trattoria and Prohibition Gastropub.
LITTLE NOODLE’S NEW SUMMER HOME
guarantee a seat at the table since restaurant capacity remains limited. Last week we shared the news that CASPER FRY restaurant in South Perry has reopened after being closed due to the pandemic for almost a year. The Southernstyle neighborhood eatery is adding brunch back into its service rotation, with upcoming seatings on Mother’s Day from 9 am to 2 pm. Call 509-315-4153 for reservations. Another option is to bring the family to one of the four TWIGS BISTRO AND MARTINI BAR locations around the region. The bistro’s annual Mother’s Day brunch offers a fixed price menu: Brunch with champagne is $44, an adult meal without is $37, kids ages 6-12 can eat for $14, and those ages 5 and under are free. Call to make a reservation between 9 am and 2 pm. There’s plenty more in store to treat mom or the inspiring female role models in your life, including the Coeur d’Alene Resort, 1898 Public House, Baba, Historic
Little Noodle, the seasonal ramen and pho spot that opened in the Garland District last fall during Honey Pig BBQ’s off-season, had to vacate the building last week. Fans of chef Kadra Evans’ delicious take on Asian cuisine will be glad to hear, however, that she and co-owner Ryan Stretch have found another temporary “summer vacation home” at the Hidden Mother Brewery in north central Spokane, at 1013 N. Washington St. Little Noodle is set to take over the brewery’s food truck, operating there four days a week for three weeks each month, and then on the move for the fourth week. Follow along on Facebook for updates on Little Noodle’s summer operations, and hopefully an announcement about a permanent location come fall 2021.
NO-LI BREWHOUSE LAUNCHES CANNED COCKTAIL
Adding to its ever-growing, award-winning lineup, No-Li this week is launching its first-ever canned cocktail, the No-Li Moscow Mule. Made with natural ginger, lime and huckleberry, the on-the-go-friendly cocktail is sold in six packs and features an eye-catching rose gold label. The beverage is the first in the brewery’s Riverside Drinkworks canned cocktail division and clocks in at 7 percent alcohol by volume, with three carbs and 140 calories. In addition, No-Li’s newest Day Fade hard seltzer flavor — Huckleberry Lemonade — is also hitting local shelves soon, just in time for summer. n
APRIL 29, 2021 INLANDER 27
Suburban Commando Bob Odenkirk becomes the world’s unlikeliest action hero in the quirky, brutal Nobody BY NATHAN WEINBENDER
was just thinking the other day about how overblown and overwritten so many blockbuster movies are these days, filled with too many stock characters and needless exposition. Then along comes the new thriller Nobody, which clocks in at about 80 minutes and is so unconcerned with backstory and context that its propulsive narrative drive is almost pathological. In fact, the movie’s murderous antihero, played by Bob Odenkirk, keeps trying to explain his origins to his enemies, but they keep dying on him before he can finish. Yes, that Bob Odenkirk, who has developed the persona of a swindling sleazeball on Breaking Bad and its spinoff Better Call Saul but is here playing against type as an unstoppable killing machine. And yet he’s somehow weirdly convincing in that mode, a so-called former “auditor” whose old job involved taking out the bad guys that other assassins wouldn’t touch. Now he has settled into a life of suburban ennui, presumably as a cover. At the start of the film, Odenkirk’s character, an exceedingly ordinary guy named Hutch, is introduced to us in a breathless montage of daily drudgery and minor humiliations. (This is a similar narrative tactic to the forgotten Liam Neeson thriller The Commuter, another film about a seemingly everyday schmo swinging into action.) He has the same breakfast. He misses the garbage truck without fail. He stares all day at Excel spreadsheets in the offices of a metal fabrication plant.
28 INLANDER APRIL 29, 2021
That tedium is broken when a couple of masked mystery to us, but his targets’ terrified reactions to his thugs break into his home in the middle of the night. Alpresence told us all we needed to know. The series has though his teenage son tackles one of the invaders, Hutch become more narratively elaborate over time, establisheventually allows them to run off, and his acquiescence ing a byzantine ecosystem of assassins and ballerinas and makes him the butt of jokes at his traditionally macho entire capitalist structures catering to globe-trotting murworkplace. derers. The very terseness of Nobody feels like a rebuke But when he realizes the bad guys might to those developments: It has no time to have stolen his younger daughter’s kitty cat stop and explain anything to us. NOBODY bracelet, Hutch’s long-buried instincts kick in. The movie isn’t quite as novel as Rated R We see what he’s capable of in a terrific burst some of its fiercest loyalists have made it Directed by Ilya Naishuller of action on a city bus, where five drunk dudes Starring Bob Odenkirk, Connie sound. Its reliance on ironic needle drops, hop aboard and start menacing the passengers, mostly songs from ’50s and ’60s crooners, Nielsen, Christopher Lloyd so Hutch takes them out single handedly (not feels dated. The finale, set inside a boobyIn theaters and on VOD without quite a few scrapes and bruises himtrapped warehouse, is too reminiscent of self). One of those guys, now laid up in the hosthe hardware store-set conclusion of the pital, turns out to be the brother of a powerful Russian Denzel Washington actioner The Equalizer, and feels a gangster, who immediately puts Hutch in his crosshairs. bit rushed, despite some particularly insane visual gags What we have here is a relatively clever switchinvolving flying steel rebar and pieces of plexiglass used eroo: We think we’re getting a riff on the old Death Wish as body shields. formula, wherein a meek suburban man becomes a But I think what its fans are responding to is its pure vigilante when confronted with violence, but what Nobody single mindedness (its director, Ilya Naishuller, also made delivers instead is a variation on the John Wick blueprint. the similarly nutso shoot-’em-up Hardcore Henry) and like Oddly enough, the screenwriter of Nobody also created the the first John Wick, it already seems to have developed character of John Wick, and this almost feels like an even a cult following. It might be fun to see it in one of those leaner draft of that original script. theaters where they bring you drinks during the movie, The gag of the first John Wick was, of course, that although it’ll probably be over before you’re able to order the titular assassin’s reputation preceded him; he was a a second round. n
FILM | SHORTS
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FRI, APR 30TH – THU, MAY 6TH
OSCAR WINNERS: NOMADLAND,
MINARI, THE FATHER
CONTINUING: WOLFWALKERS OPENING: STREET GANG; HOW
A Syrian musician finds himself stranded on a small Scottish island as he waits for his asylum request to be granted. (NW) Rated R
WE GOT TO BE SESAME STREET RENTALS STARTING AT $99! Check website magiclanternonmain.com for all showings and rental inquiries.
SCOTT PILGRIM VS. THE WORLD
Edgar Wright’s comic-book satire, about a hipster trying to defeat all his crush’s ex-boyfriends, returns to theaters for a belated 10th anniversary celebration. (NW) Rated PG-13
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After the death of her mother, a little girl at the center of a custody battle is visited by ghostly figures that only she can see. (NW) Rated R
STREET GANG: HOW WE GOT TO SESAME STREET
A charming documentary about the creation of the groundbreaking children’s TV series. At the Magic Lantern. (NW) Rated PG
NOW PLAYING CHAOS WALKING
Based on a series of YA sci-fi novels, two teenage misfits (Tom Holland and Daisy Ridley) find each other on a telepathic, mostly male planet on the brink of civil war. (NW) Rated PG-13
DEMON SLAYER THE MOVIE: MUGEN TRAIN
A feature-length follow-up to the popular anime series, which has already broken box-office records in its native Japan. (NW) Rated R
GODZILLA VS. KONG
Like Batman and Superman before them, cinema’s most famous giant ape and radioactive lizard duke it out while the world watches. Also streaming on HBO Max. (NW) Rated PG-13
IN THE EARTH
Amid a pandemic, two biologists trek into the woods hoping to find an organic cure. Instead they uncover an axe-wielding hermit and a violent spiritual entity. (NW) Rated R
JUDAS & THE BLACK MESSIAH
The true story of Black Panther visionary Fred Hampton (Daniel Kaluuya) and the FBI informant (Lakeith Stanfield) who infiltrated the organization in the late 1960s. (NW) Rated R
Writer-director Lee Isaac Chung bor-
rows from his own life in this delicate story of Korean immigrants who settle onto a rural Arkansas farm in the early ’80s. (NW) Rated PG-13
The popular video game returns to the big screen, in properly gory fashion this time, with all your favorite characters delivering one fatality after another. Also streaming on HBO Max. (NW) Rated R
A new riff on the Death Wish formula, starring Bob Odenkirk as a meek suburban father who goes into full-on revenge mode after his family is attacked. (NW) Rated R
RAYA & THE LAST DRAGON
The latest Disney animated feature, a multicultural fable that follows a teenage warrior’s hunt for the titular creature. Also streaming on Disney+. (NW) Rated PG
SAS: RED NOTICE
A group of terrorists hijack a train as it’s deep inside the Chunnel, holding everyone hostage. Little do they know there’s a special ops officer on board, and he’s probably seen Die Hard. (NW) Rated R
SIX MINUTES TO MIDNIGHT
A British spy poses as a teacher to infiltrate a Nazi-affiliated private school at
the height of World War II. Eddie Izzard and Judi Dench star. (NW) Rated PG-13
A single man with baby fever develops an unusual friendship with the young woman who agrees to be his surrogate mother. Ed Helms and Patti Harrison star. (NW) Rated R
Another entry in the Sunday school horror genre, this one about deaf girl who is imbued with healing powers by the Virgin Mary. Other, more sinister events follow. (NW) Rated PG-13
SEARCHABLE by Time, by Theater,
In this chilly sci-fi thriller, a crew of young people are sent into space looking for a habitable planet. If you’ve seen Solaris or 2001, you know what’s going to happen next. (NW) Rated PG-13
Every Theater. Every Movie. All in one place.
This Oscar-nominated animated feature is a family-friendly Irish folktale about two girls — one a hunter, the other a lycanthropic forest dweller. At the Magic Lantern. (NW) Rated PG
WONDER WOMAN 1984
This divisive sequel to the 2017 blockbuster brings Diana Prince into the era of Reaganomics and Day-Glo, where an ancient, wish-fulfilling artifact threatens humanity. (NW) Rated PG-13 n
Film listings reflect showtimes at AMC River Park Square 20 (808 W. Main), the Magic Lantern Theatre (25 W. Main), Village Centre Cinemas in Wandermere (12622 N. Division) and Hayden Cinema (300 Senta Dr). All Regal Cinema chains and the Garland Theater remain temporarily closed.
APRIL 29, 2021 INLANDER 29
Van Halen’s Fair Warning album turns 40 this week. Where does it rank among their catalog? BY DAN NAILEN
our-headed hard-rock beasts had long roamed the earth by the time the late ’70s rolled around. Led Zeppelin, the Who and Black Sabbath, among others, left gargantuan footprints in establishing the template: Take a magnetic lead singer, pair him with a wizard-like guitarist, and back them both with a heavybottomed rhythm section. But there was something different about Van Halen from the moment their 1978 self-titled debut arrived. Maybe it was their sunny SoCal roots, giving the band a breezy, party-friendly vibe while their predecessors plodded through dark themes, rock “operas” and tales inspired by The Lord of the Rings. Maybe it was boisterous, fast-talking frontman David Lee Roth, the
30 INLANDER APRIL 29, 2021
pop-tastic harmony vocals of bassist Michael Anthony or the thunderous drums of Alex Van Halen. It was all of that, but really it was guitarist Eddie Van Halen who made them one of rock’s biggest bands, inspiring (for good or ill) legions of imitators on L.A.’s Sunset Strip. Eddie Van Halen, who died last fall at 65, was a six-string savant. His impish grin belied his determined, concise dexterity in bending, tapping, stretching, plucking and brushing his strings to create some of modern rock’s most memorable anthems, from “Runnin’ with the Devil” to “Panama.” Even cover songs became redefined as Van Halen songs thanks to his style. (See Van Halen’s take on the Kinks’ “You Really Got Me.”)
Forty years ago this week, on April 29, 1981, Van Halen released their fourth album, Fair Warning, having by then established themselves as arena headliners and global rock stars. It was considered a commercial disappointment despite selling more than 2 million copies and is thought by many to be less happy-go-lucky than they expected or wanted from the band. Songs like “Mean Streets,” “Dirty Movies” and “Push Comes to Shove” help make that case, and even the album cover is kind of weird and violent. (It’s a portion of a painting called “The Maze” by Canadian artist William Kurelek.) But no matter how “dark” you consider Fair Warning, it just might be the ultimate showcase of Eddie Van Halen’s guitar talents.
To celebrate Fair Warning’s anniversary, we’re ranking the albums of the original Van Halen lineup. As fans know, Roth was replaced by Sammy Hagar in 1985, and the band had some huge hits with that lineup as well. We rank those albums in the sidebar, but the two main eras of Van Halen are like two different bands, so let’s focus on the early days, worst to first:
Explore any Van Halen fan sites and the debate continues between folks who prefer the David Lee Roth era or the massively successful years with his replacement, Sammy Hagar (playing Northern Quest Aug. 22). It was the Hagar-led incarnation that headlined the 1988 Monsters of Rock show at Joe Albi Stadium that many Inland Northwesterners recall fondly, if hazily. AC/DC was another platinum-selling band forced to replace its singer and finding even greater commercial success. AC/ DC’s shift didn’t mark a huge change in their sound, but that’s not true for Van Halen. Hagar’s arrival led to a more “mature” Van Halen, one with more ballads, more pop moves and, not surprisingly, more radio and MTV hits. While I prefer the early Van Halen albums, I certainly ran out and bought the “Van Hagar”-era releases, too, and saw them in concert. (The less said the better about Van Halen III featuring former Extreme singer Gary Cherone). Let’s rank the albums of the Sammy days, worst to best. BALANCE (1995) For completists only. You won’t find a No. 1, triple-platinum album with less life than this one. FOR UNLAWFUL CARNAL KNOWLEDGE (1991) The beginning of the end of the Hagar party, this hamfistedly titled album had some huge hits (“Right Now”), but it’s mostly forgettable. 5150 (1986) The excitement just to hear if Hagar would work in Van Halen generally paid off, and “Best of Both Worlds” is one of Van Halen’s best songs, period. OU812 (1988) Probably the weirdest musical mix of the Hagar era, touching on bubbly pop (“Feels So Good”) and twangy blues (“Finish What Ya Started”) along with straightforward rockers.
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A DIFFERENT KIND OF TRUTH (2012)
Technically, this isn’t the original lineup since Eddie’s son Wolfgang took over on bass. But it is the first time the Van Halen brothers and David Lee Roth put out a new album together in 28 years. Some riffs went back to ’70s demos (not a bad thing), and it’s far from an embarrassment.
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DIVER DOWN (1982)
This album has aged pretty well, but the fact it’s packed with covers keeps it from being among the band’s best. Still, songs like “Hang ’Em High” pack a worthy punch, and the band’s cover of Roy Orbison’s “(Oh) Pretty Woman” featured a video famously banned by MTV.
Yes, this album was massive, and included hits “Jump,” “Panama,” “I’ll Wait” and “Hot for Teacher.” But one of its nine songs was a minute-long synthesizer intro, and half of the album is filler.
WOMEN AND CHILDREN FIRST (1980)
The band’s third album was the first time they could spend some quality time in the studio after they’d become stars, and it paid off with a potent collection including now-classics like “And the Cradle Will Rock …” and “Everybody Wants Some!!” Yes, that’s TWO exclamation points!! That’s how rocking that track is!!
VAN HALEN II (1979)
The band’s sophomore album was recorded in less than a week, and they hit the studio less than a week after ending their first world tour. That they delivered this sizzling set including classic-rock staple “Dance the Night Away” is pretty remarkable, as is the fact most of the songs existed before they recorded their debut. This band was ready for the big time when they were still playing backyard keggers.
VAN HALEN (1978)
A case can be made that Van Halen never improved on their debut. Hell, the case can be made that their first album is the best rock debut ever. It introduced the hard-partying Van Halen to the world, and they promptly blew Black Sabbath and Journey off the stage as a touring opening act. From the masterful guitar solo “Eruption” through hits like “Runnin’ with the Devil,” “Ain’t Talkin’ ’Bout Love” (later covered by punk heroes the Minutemen) and “Jamie’s Cryin’” (sampled as the hook for Tone Loc’s “Wild Thing”), this album is pretty much perfect. And yet…
FAIR WARNING (1981)
From the madly flickering guitar licks opening “Mean Streets” through the synth-driven closing rapid-fire vamp “One Foot Out the Door,” Fair Warning features everyone in the band at peak form. Roth is at his lascivious best on “Sinner’s Swing,” “Hear About It Later” is a hard-hitting display of the pop prowess that would come to full fruition during their Sammy Hagar years, and “Unchained” is still guaranteed, 40 years later, to induce even grownass men into fits of air guitar. At least, it does at my house. n
Livestream Performance & Fundraiser – A Dancer’s Day Thursday April 29, 2021 • 7:00 - 8:30pm Sneak-Peek premier of a new dance! Raﬄe of some really great stuﬀ. Info and registration: vytalmovement.org/2021-fundraiser Join Vytal Movement Dance and meet several of the dancers, learn about the company, see how a dancer trains and prepares to perform, and have the opportunity to support Vytal as we make our next step into a home of our own. You will also have the chance to order some wonderful food from Shawn O’Donnell’s and great wine from Overbluﬀ Cellars to enjoy while participating in the Livestream from your location of choice.
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MUSIC GOING IT ALONE
The Spokane Symphony is off and running with its Spokane Symphony @ Home spring concert series, as Music Director James Lowe and the mighty musicians tackle five unique programs, each filmed and delivered online. The overarching series theme is “Overtones: Connecting Music, Art & Science,” and each episode narrows further. In the newest installment arriving April 30, Lowe, his guests and symphony musicians explore the idea of “individualism.” Does that mean we can expect 90 minutes of lengthy solos? This isn’t the second set of a Dead show, so probably not. What you can expect is stunning musicianship from the Spokane Symphony and some witty asides from Lowe, all professionally filmed and delivered right to your computer or phone. And all five shows stream forever, so jump into the series whenever it’s convenient. — DAN NAILEN Spokane Symphony @ Home: Individualism • Posting Fri, April 30, and online forever • $25/concert; $100/full series • Online; details at spokanesymphony.org
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32 INLANDER APRIL 29, 2021
ART ON THE GRIND
THEATER A FAMOUS FRIENDSHIP
Skateboard Printmaking • May 4-25; Tuesdays at 5:30 pm • Ages 16+ • $50-$150 • Emerge • 119 N. Second St., Coeur d’Alene • emergecda.com
Charlotte’s Web • April 30-May 9; Thu-Sat at 7 pm, Sun at 2 pm • $13-$15 • Theatre Arts Center at the Lake • 22910 E. Appleway Ave., Liberty Lake • tacatthelake.com
You might not think it, but the world of skateboarding has always had a foot firmly in the world of art, and the sport is as synonymous with visuals as it is half-pipes and ollies. The Emerge artist collective in Coeur d’Alene is offering a couple of two-week courses in May specifically designed for the enterprising skateboarder. Hosted by local artist Cait Reynolds, who specializes in printmaking, the courses will not only teach students how to create logos and designs and apply them directly to the deck of a skateboard, but also what it means to brand and sell yourself in a crowded field. Establishing a trademark and a recognizable image or logo is, of course, absolutely necessary if you want to become a household name, and these classes, held on Tuesday evenings at 5:30 pm, will be the first step. Students ages 16 and over will need to preregister online. — NATHAN WEINBENDER
After placing its last season of performances on delay for over a year, Theatre Art Center at the Lake, a Liberty Lake-based community theater, is jumping back into theatrics with an in-person performance of E.B. White’s best-selling children’s book Charlotte’s Web, directed by Jennifer Tindall. When a litter of piglets are born on the family farm, main human character Fern convinces her parents to let her raise the litter runt as her pet, whom she names Wilbur. As Wilbur grows from piglet to pig, he’s sold to Uncle Zuckerman and struggles to build connections with other barnyard animals as he attempts to make the Zuckerman farm his new home. The story highlights the beauty and resilience of the friendship between Wilbur and Charlotte, the barn spider who helps prevent Wilbur from slaughter by spinning miraculous messages in her web. Seating for this in-person show is limited, so purchase in advance. — NATALIE RIETH
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THEATER WILDE CARD
The University of Idaho Department of Theatre Arts is virtually performing Gross Indecency: The Three Trials of Oscar Wilde by Moisés Kaufman through this weekend. The script is drawn from trial documents, newspapers and writings from key players within Wilde’s life. Kaufman’s play centers on the accusations of “gross indecency” that were leveled at anyone exhibiting homosexual activity, which was illegal in the United Kingdom in the 19th century. The play details the way in which the famous Irish poet and playwright descended from the apex of British society into a life of humiliation. Utilizing more than 40 characters, the virtual performance of The Three Trials features actors from U of I’s College of Letters, Arts and Social Sciences as well as alumnus Brian Tibayan. — SPENCER BROWN Gross Indecency: The Three Trials of Oscar Wilde • Sat, May 1 at 2 pm and 6 pm; Sun, May 2 at 2 pm • $10-$20 • Online; details at uidaho.edu/class/ theatre
WORDS ODE TO IDAHO
Emily Ruskovich’s debut novel Idaho is the kind of story that sticks with you long after you’ve turned the final page. An utterly haunting and beautifully woven story of tragedy, love, the flaws of memory and the rugged landscape of the Gem State, Idaho is this year’s title for the community reading initiative North Idaho Reads. The annual program is organized by local libraries and community groups to encourage readers to participate in a shared experience as they read through programs and events, culminating with an author talk. This Friday, Ruskovich joins in virtually to discuss her work. An Idaho native, Ruskovich has been honored with many accolades for her work, and currently teaches creative writing at Boise State University. — CHEY SCOTT North Idaho Reads: Idaho by Emily Ruskovich • Fri, April 30 at 6 pm • Free • Online; details at cdalibrary.org
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APRIL 29, 2021 INLANDER 33
I SAW YOU YES, YOU DESERVE MORE To any woman reading this, please do not accept any type of violence in your relationship. Get out NOW! Get help. Take your children, take your pets and get out. Reach out to the YWCA for help. Save yourself and save your children. After 55 years, I still see the images of my father chasing my mother with a cast iron skillet. Please, there are people who will help you — please reach out. WHAT’S UP, DOC? To the tall, fit doctor outside the Rockwood building across from the Worksource building last Monday 4-19-21. I just wanted to say “Hi” I’m sorry I nearly passed out when I saw you; you are just so handsome. I was the woman with a maroon Plymouth dressed up for an interview. I hope you have a good day.
JEERS PRINCESS NOT SO BRIGHT Time and place: April 19th early afternoon STCU near 29th and Grand, ATM lane. Hey, Princess Not So Bright in the older minivan, here is some ABC type news for you. A: Even sort of intelligent people don’t tailgate in ATM lanes, especially with a blind corner at the exit. B: Honking will not make me go faster; unlike you, I have a vehicle that is worth insuring. C: I hope
you are not an actual teacher; woe to your students if so.
those cities have in common? You’ll figure it out.
A LOSS FOR OUR DEAR CHILDREN To the neighbor in the Jefferson/Manito neighborhood that reported that the crossing guard had a small child with her. This lady has been helping the kids crossing the streets, keeping them safe, and talking to both parents and kids for three years. I have seen this woman being an excellent role model for our kids. Today... a neighbor informed the school that a kid was with his grandma. We have seen this precious child with the crossing guard since he was in a stroller. No controversy... until today. Will this be her last day? I hope not. This is unconscionable. Let her remain as our crossing guard.
SHAME ON YOU! Jeers to the greenshirted man who was jogging on Summit Parkway near Kendall Yards on Monday evening. How DARE YOU say “Why are you wearing a mask, do not be
IT’S THE CRIMINALS, STUPID Gungrabbers: Criminals have never, and will never, obey the law. Period! Which is why “gun control” measures are worse than useless. They do nothing to make the public safer, while disarming law-abiding citizens makes things worse. “When seconds count, police are minutes away” is truer now than ever, if you even have a viable police force (which certain entities are trying hard to eliminate completely). The God-given right to self-defense against the evil, the career criminal, the anarchists, and an oppressive government was enshrined in our Constitution for a reason and should be protected, not constantly assaulted. And if you look at the recent record of criminal shootings, how many times was the perpetrator known to be dangerous? Almost always. The takeaway: Government cannot, or will not, protect you. Why do you think gun sales soared during the last year? Confiscation or prohibition isn’t the answer. History is replete with the murderous results of totalitarian rule over a disarmed population: Lenin, Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, Mugabe, and on and on. Witness also the relentless narcoterror present in modern-day Mexico, Venezuela and Honduras. And while a shooting involving 4, 6, 8 or more victims (and EVERY every lost life a tragedy) is a heinous act, that’s but a quiet weekend in places like Chicago, New York, Detroit, Baltimore, or Washington, D.C. What do
the side? When you brought two huge dogs weighing at least 100 pounds each. One was immediately aggressive with multiple dogs. You refused to put it in your car until you could catch the second one. When you did leave, a man had to leash your second dog and walk it out because you could not manage both
and puppies to parks where the dogs are leashed and cannot accidentally hurt them. We like kids and puppies. PLEASE remove dogs in bad moods from the park immediately and try again later. They are good dogs in bad moods. PLEASE keep them on the leash until they get inside the first gate. There is plenty of time to
After 55 years, I still see the images of my father chasing my mother with a cast iron skillet.
ashamed!” Excuse me? Why would you think I am ashamed? Second of all, you do not have the right to judge me for protecting myself and performing my civil duty to wear a mask, indoors or outdoors. You do not know my situation and why I am wearing one: SHAME on you for making a snap judgment! Do you treat your family that way? Furthermore, you do not have the constitutional right to harass me or my spouse when we were minding our own business and had a pleasant day until you ruined it. Shame on you, shame on you for however many people you jog by and tell that to. Be careful, because the wrong person will put you on the right side of the street and you’ll be wondering what happened. DOWNRIVER DISK GOLF Once again the DownRiver disc golf course looks like a dump site!!!! Once again there is a public hearing .....I work 9-5 so I cant attend. My beef is why provide upgrades when the public cant maintain what is given for free? Plus while typing this, I’m looking at an RV that has trash wrapped all around it!!! Why should taxpayers pay for this mess? ... Why upgrade? DOG PARKS ARE FOR DOGS I saw you at the dog park... When you brought a tiny baby in a pack on your chest to a dog park. HAVE YOU SEEN a herd of running dogs slam into a person from behind or
1. Visit Inlander.com/isawyou by 3 pm Monday. 2. Pick a category (I Saw You, You Saw Me, Cheers or Jeers). 3. Provide basic info: your name and email (so we know you’re real). 4. To connect via I Saw You, provide a non-identifying email to be included with your submission — like “email@example.com,” not “firstname.lastname@example.org.”
dogs. Let your dog out of the car without a leash, and it jumped on a truck. HAVE YOU SEEN scratches in car paint? Won’t admit that your nice retriever is often the one who starts fights. HAVE YOU HEARD about the one whose neck was bleeding by the time it got home? Brought three young children on razor scooters into the dog park. HAVE YOU SEEN dogs attack wheelbarrows, bikes, lawn mowers, vacuum cleaners, car tires? Let a child bring her Happy Meal into the dog park and run around holding it over her head, unintentionally teasing a bunch of big dogs taller than her. HAVE YOU SEEN half a dozen shouting adults trying to separate half a dozen big dogs to get to the fight in the middle? Brought a tiny puppy, let it wander far away from you, got mad at the big dogs whose rough curiosity terrified it, got mad at a woman who picked up your scared puppy. HAVE YOU SEEN how rough the big dogs are when they play? Let your toddler run away from you? HAVE YOU SEEN the herding dogs chasing and nipping at other dogs? SERIOUSLY, no one wants your baby or toddler or scooter-riding kid or tiny puppy to get hurt. That’s why we don’t let our dogs run in the neighborhoods. That’s why we don’t let them off their leashes at non-dog-park parks. Non-dog-park parks are for kids; dog parks are for dogs. PLEASE take babies, toddlers, strollers, scooter-riders
run inside. Off-leash parks are for dogs. They chase things. They want the food. They always want the food. Herding dogs nip. Groups of running dogs knock people over. Dogs sometimes get in fights. It sometimes takes time to separate them. They bite tires. They jump. They steal balls out of tiny hands. They bite tiny hands when playing tug of war. Some dogs have never been around children or strollers or bikes or scooters. Some dogs weigh more than 100 pounds. Dogs don’t know they were naughty if they aren’t put in timeout. Please don’t set up our dogs to get in trouble or get hurt. Thanks. n
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For a moment, drug possession was effectively legalized in the state.
Return to the Status Quo Washington lawmakers have re-criminalized drug possession BY WILL MAUPIN
ashington was one of the first two states to legalize recreational cannabis. That said, lawmakers don’t want the state to be among the first two to do so when it comes to all drugs. At the ballot box last November, voters in Oregon approved a measure that decriminalized possession of drugs. All of them. A few months later, in February, Washington found itself in an almost identical position as Oregon, except it wasn’t by the will of the people. The state Supreme Court struck down Washington’s felony drug possession law, declaring it to be unconstitutional. With that action, drug possession was effectively decriminalized. For a moment, drugs were effectively legalized in the state.
On April 24 the state Legislature passed Engrossed Senate Bill 5476, which is a direct response to the Supreme Court’s decision. It says that much in the very first line, which reads, “An act relating to responding to the State v. Blake decision.” Essentially, the bill makes simple possession of controlled substances illegal in the state once again, but as a misdemeanor rather than a felony. While the Supreme Court had effectively decriminalized drugs, this bill will once again make them illegal. It was passed 80 to 18 in the House and 26 to 23 in the Senate. Of the 15 representatives in the Inlander’s distribution area, nine voted in favor and six — Sens. Shelly Short, Mike Padden, Mark Schoesler and Judy Warnick, and Reps. Rob Chase and Bob McCaslin —
voted against. The bill spent exactly one month on the floor before being passed. As a result, the Legislature has come out in overwhelming opposition to the decriminalization of drugs, and a large majority of members agree. So now it’s on to Gov. Jay Inslee’s desk for his signature. In effect, it’s a return to the status quo for drugs in Washington. The key difference is how possession is punished. Instead of a felony, it’s now a misdemeanor, and the bill introduces a number of rehabilitation prospects rather than immediate punishments for possession. Washington was among the first states to legalize cannabis. However, it’s not ready to be on the forefront for other drugs. n
APRIL 29, 2021 INLANDER 35
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.
36 INLANDER APRIL 29, 2021
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 fiveyear sentence and fine of up to $10,000. Transporting marijuana across state lines, like from Washington into Idaho, is a felony under federal law.
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APRIL 29, 2021 INLANDER 37
Advice Goddess LIFE IN THE FASTENED LANE
I’ve been with my boyfriend for a year, and I love him, but I also love my independence. I need alone time, meaning space from him and everybody. He wants to spend every minute together and seems to need constant closeness to feel okay. Is this a bad sign — on his part or mine? Should I want to spend every second with him? —Confused
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The sort of relationship where the partners are never apart tends to be a good thing for only one of
them: the tapeworm. Chances are your boyfriend’s preference for a more, uh, conjoined style of romantic partnership is shaped by his “attachment style.” “Attachment” is British psychiatrist John Bowlby’s term for a person’s habitual way of relating in close relationships: for example, securely (feeling they can generally count on others to be there for them) or insecurely (suspecting others will bolt on them at any moment). Our expectations for how we’ll be treated by romantic partners appear to be driven by how we, as infants and tots, were treated by our closest caregivers. For example, if infant us shrieked out of fear or hunger or because of a soggy diaper, did our primary caregiver (usually Mommy, but maybe Daddy) reliably come running to soothe us and fix the problem? If so, we’d be likely to develop the psychological orientation that psychologist Mary Ainsworth, building on Bowlby’s work, called a “secure base from which to explore.” If, however, our shrieks were ignored or only sometimes met with comforting, we’d likely end up “insecurely attached,” and this would become a template for how we act in our adult relationships. (Hello, fear of abandonment and boyfriend whose romantic role model seems to be “court-ordered electronic ankle monitor”!) Decide what independence means to you in practical terms, like how much alone time you need and anything else that’s important for you, and tell him. Research suggests a person can change their attachment style — become more secure — but it takes a good bit of work on their part and their partner’s (through frequent reassuring attention and cuddly touch to challenge their expectation of abandonment). Are you and he willing to invest the effort? If not, you probably have to swap him out for a partner who’s more emotionally together: “I need you because I love you” (not “because I feel like a gaping human void without you”).
This guy texts and FaceTimes me daily, and he finally asked me out. I was expecting a date, but it was a group dinner in his friend’s backyard, and he didn’t make a move all evening. I was sure he was into me, and we’re both fully vaccinated. What’s his deal? —Confused Sexually, if your date is a total animal, you’d prefer it not be the sort that gets bungeed to the hood of a hunter’s station wagon. The underlying problem here is “information asymmetry,” which Nobel Prizewinning economist Joseph Stiglitz explains as “Different people know different things.” (Asymmetry is simply a lack of symmetry, sameness: disproportion between parts of something, including unequally available information.) Information asymmetry is an element of “signaling theory,” an area of economics that looks at the ways people behave — flowing from the decisions they make — because of the information they have (or lack). In this situation, you know you want the guy to end the evening all mwahmwah-makeout, but his mind might be filled with a bunch of bouncing question marks about whether you’re into him. It’s also possible he realized he’s just not that into you, he wants to take things slowly, or he’s generally timid about making moves on women (or especially so in hopes of avoiding #himtoo). What ends the asymmetric information stalemate? Information! Send signals revealing the information you have that he does not: “I’M INTO YOU AND WANT YOU TO MAKE A MOVE!” Flirting is the ideal way to communicate this, as it gives each of you an ego cushion — the ability to pretend it doesn’t mean what it seems to mean — that putting it out there in plain words does not. Powerful forms of flirting include: looking into his eyes while you talk, touching him, playing with your hair, and playing with your clothes or his. Err on the side of flirting heavily -- way more than seems reasonable -- because men can be a bit hint-blind. His getting this information is likely to push him into action — or tell you he’s gotta bow out. But maybe consider being a little bit patient. It was one date! My guess? Life mirrored art: those rom coms where the “nice guy” wants to kiss the girl at the door, but — whoa! There go his testicles, leaping out of his pants and going off to hide in the bushes, and he gives her a handshake goodnight. n ©2021, Amy Alkon, all rights reserved. • Got a problem? Write Amy Alkon, 171 Pier Ave, #280, Santa Monica, CA 90405 or email AdviceAmy@aol.com (www.advicegoddess.com)
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APRIL 29, 2021 INLANDER 39
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