Local News

Decade of walks: Wife wears cape inspired by husband who had younger-onset Alzheimer's

<p><p>Claudia Bjorklund will keep her stride Saturday – walking again as she has done for a decade to support a Spokane Alzheimer’s Association fundraiser. She’ll also wear a cape that tells a story, in step with the memory of her husband, who had what is now called younger-onset Alzheimer’s disease.</p></p><p><p>Diagnosed at age 55 in 2009,… ... Continue Reading

Liberty Lake-based Vega Cloud raises $9 million in funding for product development, business growth

<p><p>Vega Cloud, a Liberty Lake-based company that assists businesses with managing cloud infrastructure, has raised $9 million to develop new products and support growth.</p></p><p><p>The debt and equity funding round was led by Lehi, Utah-based Album VC and Sun Mountain Capital of Santa Fe, New Mexico.</p></p><p><p>Debt financing refers to borrowing funds, while equity financing is when… ... Continue Reading

Mothers gather in Olympia to receive first birth certificates for stillborn babies

<p><p>OLYMPIA – Twenty-one years ago, Candy Wright received a death certificate for her daughter, Sarah Elizabeth, but she never received a birth certificate.</p></p><p><p>Wright, from Vancouver, Washington, had been pregnant with Sarah Elizabeth for a full term, but when she went into labor, there was no heartbeat. The umbilical cord had wrapped around her daughter twice,… ... Continue Reading

Spokane nurse hoping to enlist in Navy praises new bill in Congress that would open military to amputees for medical roles

<p><p>A Spokane nurse who has been trying to enlist in the Navy for years is hopeful Congress takes action on legislation introduced last week that would finally allow her to serve.</p></p><p><p><a href="https://www.spokesman.com/stories/2021/nov/28/a-local-nurses-dream-is-to-join-the-navy-and-she-c" target="_blank">Hannah Cvancara</a>, who grew up in a military family, has long wanted to serve in the military, particularly in the Navy’s Nurse Corps.… ... Continue Reading

New school safety cameras target speeding drivers on the South Hill

<p><p>New traffic enforcement cameras in three South Hill school zones will send automatic warning tickets to speeding drivers through the month of October.</p></p><p><p>But after Oct. 31, those tickets won’t be warnings. They’ll be fines between $217 and $450 dollars.</p></p><p><p>The new cameras went online Monday near Ferris High School and Adams Elementary School on Regal and… ... Continue Reading

Supreme Court kicks off new term with North Idaho couple's case that could limit reach of Clean Water Act

<p><p>WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Supreme Court on Monday kicked off what promises to be another contentious and high-stakes term with oral arguments in a North Idaho couple’s case that could see the court’s conservative supermajority roll back federal protections for the nation’s wetlands.</p></p><p><p>At issue is what exactly counts as “waters of the United States,” which are protected from pollution by the Clean Water Act of 1972. In previous cases, the high court has agreed the law applies to wetlands – which play important roles, including flood control and filtering pollutants – in addition to “navigable” bodies of water. But in a muddled 2006 decision, the court’s nine justices split three ways, leaving conflicting “tests” for lower courts to apply in deciding if a wetland is protected.</p></p><p><p>Now, the court will try to resolve that ambiguity through a long-running case that centers on less than an acre of land in North Idaho.</p></p><p><p>The 15-year legal saga began after Chantell and Mike Sackett bought an undeveloped lot about 300 feet from the shore of Priest Lake in 2004. When they started filling it with sand and gravel to prepare for construction in 2007, the Environmental Protection Agency said that because the property sat on federally protected wetland, the couple needed to obtain a costly federal permit or face heavy fines.</p></p><p><p>Instead, the Sacketts sued the EPA in 2008 and their case has since wended its way up and down the federal court system, first reaching the Supreme Court in 2012, when the justices ruled unanimously that the couple could immediately challenge the EPA’s order in federal court. When a district court judge in Idaho ruled in favor of the EPA and the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld that decision, the Sacketts petitioned the Supreme Court to take another look at their case.</p></p><p><p>The Supreme Court agrees to hear only about 1% of the cases brought before it. Jerry Long, a law professor at the University of Idaho, said the justices likely chose to consider the Sacketts’ argument for one of two reasons: They wanted either to constrain the federal government’s regulatory authority or simply to clarify a confusing ruling in the 2006 case, Rapanos v. United States.</p></p><p><p>In that case, the late Justice Antonin Scalia, joined by three of his fellow conservatives, wrote that wetlands should be protected by the Clean Water Act so long as they had “a continuous surface connection” with a navigable body of water, such as Priest Lake. Under Scalia’s definition, the Sacketts argued in their brief, their plot of land should not be federally protected.</p></p><p><p>In <a href="https://www.supremecourt.gov/DocketPDF/21/21-454/228256/20220617104921002_21-454" target="_blank">an amicus brief</a>, associations representing water regulators and managers said applying Scalia’s test would exclude at least 51% of the nation’s wetlands from the protection of the Clean Water Act.</p></p><p><p>But since Scalia’s opinion failed to gain the support of a majority of the court, lower courts have often followed a separate definition offered by former Justice Anthony Kennedy, who wrote that the statute encompassed any wetland that shared a “significant nexus” with navigable body of water, such that polluting it would affect the “physical, chemical, or biological health” of the clearly protected water.</p></p><p><p>The Obama administration tried to clear up the ambiguity by making a federal rule based on Kennedy’s test, promptly drawing legal challenges. The Trump administration subsequently created a rule based on Scalia’s test, which is still being challenged in court.</p></p><p><p>“It’s the biggest mess of overlapping litigation you’ve ever seen,” said Todd Wildermuth, policy director at the University of Washington’s regulatory environmental law and policy clinic.</p></p><p><p>The Biden administration is in the process of crafting a new rule that aims to combine Scalia’s and Kennedy’s tests, but the Supreme Court’s decision could upend that process, too.</p></p><p><p>Wildermuth emphasized that Congress could resolve the dispute at any time by passing new, clearer legislation, but that appears unlikely.</p></p><p><p>The Sacketts asked the Supreme Court to apply Scalia’s test, but in Monday’s oral argument, justices on both sides of the court’s ideological divide expressed concern that such a narrow reading may conflict with the intent of the 1972 law.</p></p><p><p>Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson, in her first words from the bench since being confirmed to the high court by the Senate in April, got to the crux of the issue.</p></p><p><p>“You say the question is which wetlands are covered, which I agree with,” Jackson said to Damien Schiff of the Pacific Legal Foundation, the attorney representing the Sacketts. She then asked Schiff why Congress would draw the line “between abutting wetlands and neighboring wetlands when the objective of the statute is to ensure the chemical, physical and biological integrity of the nation’s water?”</p></p><p><p>At the same time, the court’s six Republican-appointed justices seemed worried that the government’s definition of protected waters is unreasonably vague and risks unfairly penalizing landowners. Justice Neil Gorsuch asked the Justice Department attorney representing the EPA, Brian Fletcher, to define exactly how close a wetland must be from a navigable body of water to be considered “adjacent.”</p></p><p><p>When Fletcher declined to specify a distance, Gorsuch asked, “So, if the federal government doesn’t know, how is a person subject to criminal time in federal prison supposed to know?”</p></p><p><p>Stakeholders weighed in on both sides of the argument in dozens of <a href="https://www.supremecourt.gov/docket/docketfiles/html/public/21-454.html" target="_blank">amicus briefs</a>, including the Idaho Conservation League, which argued the Sacketts’ property must be considered “adjacent” to the lake because groundwater flows from their land into the lake.</p></p><p><p>The Congressional Western Caucus, a group of House Republicans led by Washington Rep. Dan Newhouse of Sunnyside, argued that the Clean Water Act gave the federal government far narrower authority than the EPA has interpreted and said, “local communities are capable of making land use and water decisions far better than a bureaucrat thousands of miles away.”</p></p><p><p>A group of 18 Native American tribes, including the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes and the Swinomish Indian Tribal Community, said they depend on the Clean Water Act to protect both waters on their reservation and those off their reservations to which they have treaty rights.</p></p><p><p>“Tribes have always known what science fully demonstrates: Waters of the United States, including wetlands, are connected, and the Clean Water Act must comprehensively cover waters to protect and restore the chemical, physical, and biological integrity of the nation’s waters, consistent with Congress’s purpose and direction,” the tribes wrote.</p></p><p><p>The court is likely to issue its decision in the Sackett v. EPA case next summer.</p></p> ... Continue Reading

Police arrest 18-year-old after reported rape near downtown Spokane

<p><p>Spokane Police arrested an 18-year-old on suspicion of rape on Saturday after a woman reported she was attacked just east of downtown , Spokane police said in a news release.</p></p><p><p>Ethan Jake was booked into the Spokane County Jail on a charge of second-degree rape, where he remains on a $100,000 bond.</p></p><p><p>The woman told police she… ... Continue Reading

'We've got weapons': Gonzaga's Nolan Hickman works through offseason, ready to take next step with loaded backcourt

<p><p>Nolan Hickman knows it’s too early to rush to conclusions, but the sophomore guard has also seen enough to know the hype and excitement surrounding Gonzaga’s backcourt in 2022-23 isn’t misplaced.</p></p><p><p>“Backcourt is going to be scary. We’ve got weapons,” Hickman said on Sunday after putting a group of young hoopers through ball-handling drills at the… ... Continue Reading

FDNY 9/11-related illness deaths to soon surpass number of members that died in terror attack that day

<p><p>NEW YORK — It’s a milestone no one wants to mark: Within the next year, the number of FDNY members who have died from a 9/11-related illnesses is expected to surpass the number of firefighters and Emergency Medical Technicians who died in the terror attack, FDNY and union officials said.</p></p><p><p>As of Friday, 306 active and… ... Continue Reading

Two killed in motorcycle crash in Bonner County on Sunday

<p><p> A man and a woman in their 60s were killed while riding on a motorcycle on Sunday afternoon in Bonner County, according to Idaho State Police.</p></p><p><p>The motorcycle was southbound on state Highway 41 near Blanchard when the rider crossed left of the center lane, ran off the highway and into a tree line at… ... Continue Reading

Meta probe into 533 million-user data leak draws to a close

<p><p>Meta Platforms could face a hefty fine as a probe by a key European Union privacy watchdog into the leak of the personal data of more than half a billion users last year draws to a close.</p></p><p><p>The Irish Data Protection Commission submitted its draft decision in the investigation for approval to its E.U. counterparts, it… ... Continue Reading

Hollywood-backed startup wants you to try its low-carb bagel

<p><p>California has long sought to replicate New York’s world-famous bagels. From the low-calcium Manhattan tap water to the specialized boiling techniques, countless West Coast shops have struggled to re-create the signature crust and texture of the fabled deli staple. Now, a new celebrity-backed bagel venture has stopped trying.</p></p><p><p>Instead, it’s making a bagel that’s quintessentially Los Angeles: a round piece of bread with a hole in the middle, and 90% fewer carbs.</p></p><p><p>The unusually healthy bagel is the creation of BetterBrand, a startup that has raised more than $5 million. Its investors include Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian’s firm, a founder of driverless car business Cruise and streaming platform Twitch, the “Shameless” actress Emmy Rossum and Patrick Schwarzenegger, son of Arnold. The company is currently in the late stages of raising another, several-times-larger funding round, its chief executive said, declining to give the new total or the valuation.</p></p><p><p>Aimee Yang founded BetterBrand after experiencing the guilt that’s attendant with eating normal food. “I’d literally dream of this world where we could eat what we wanted and never have to worry about weight gain,” said Yang, BetterBrand’s chief executive officer. “It really consumed so much of my mind space and was such a point of anxiety. Enabling us to eat what we want is so incredibly freeing and empowering.”</p></p><p><p>Now, Yang wants her company to be the “Beyond Meat of carbs.” BetterBrand follows a long line of venture capital-backed companies seeking to reinvent the food we eat, from Soylent’s meal replacement beverages to Upside Foods, which has raised more than $600 million in its quest to develop lab-grown meat. Athletic Greens, which makes a green powdered vitamin blend, vaulted to unicorn status earlier this year. And vegan burger startup Impossible Foods was valued by investors at $7 billion.</p></p><p><p>Low-carb bagels aren’t exactly new – similar products exist on shelves at Walmart and Kroger. But Yang has a grander vision. Whole Foods started carrying the bagels last month, about a year after BetterBrand began selling them online, and the company plans to soon offer its products in stores across Europe and Latin America. Eventually, the company hopes to not only remake bagels, but a variety of bread products, like pretzels.</p></p><p><p>While the company makes most of its money from direct sales at the moment, Yang expects its wholesales business to grow. In addition to expanding to other grocers in new markets, Yang said she is in discussions with airlines to place the bagels in airport lounges.</p></p><p><p>BetterBrand has a natural home in Los Angeles, the city that’s both health-obsessed and gourmet, and which also brought us companies like Moon Juice – the venture-backed wellness brand that sells supplements like Magnesi-Om and Sex Dust. BetterBrand says each of its bagels contains the same sugar content as a stalk of celery and the protein content of four eggs. The bagels come in familiar flavors: classic, everything, cinnamon, chocolate chip and, for the fall, pumpkin spice.</p></p><p><p>Of course, some bagel purists resist the new creation. “I would not call it a better bagel,” said Emily Winston, the owner of Berkeley, California-based Boichik Bagels, who recently sampled a BetterBrand’s classic flavor that she ordered on Instacart. Winston spent years trying to re-create the New York-style bagels of her childhood, the result of which is her bakery. Winston described the Better Bagel as “foamy,” “spongy” and “almost like cotton.” “It’s like a mirage of a bagel. I’d eat them before I starved to death,” she said. But, “I don’t think everyone’s going to start eating these and stop eating regular bagels.”</p></p><p><p>In a taste test, Bloomberg staffers found that the classic bagel was, by a wide margin, not better than a regular bagel and, remarkably, had almost no flavor at all, except for an aftertaste of margarine. The hallmark of a bagel, a dense and chewy interior, was instead lightweight and turned gummy upon chewing, making it difficult to swallow. Topped with cream cheese, though, the experience hardly improved. The chocolate chip version was not significantly redeemed by the cocoa bits.</p></p><p><p>One of the selling points for the Better Bagel is that it’s both lower in carbohydrates and higher in protein and fiber than its traditional doughy counterpart. One testimonial on the company’s website notes, “I never would’ve imagined not feeling guilty after eating two bagels.” But dietitian Alissa Rumsey warned that prebiotic inulin fiber, a key ingredient in the bagels, doesn’t get absorbed by the body. Too much could lead to trouble. “I could see this causing constipation for someone,” said Rumsey, author of a book called “Unapologetic Eating” who resists labeling food as inherently good or bad.</p></p><p><p>Yang said her goal isn’t to make bagel-eaters feel guilty. “Us transforming the bagel is definitely a celebration of the product itself,” she said. “It’s about addressing a feeling I think a lot of people relate to, and turning that feeling that already exists of guilt or anxiety into a sense of freedom, or empowerment or joy.”</p></p> ... Continue Reading