While employees have been working for a good part a year without a contract, the upper management at Spokane Valley Hospital and Spokane Deaconess Hospital have agreed to a bargaining date. This Friday, March 21, Nurses, cleaning staff, and other medical workers represented by SEIU local will be negotiating with Tennessee-based Community Health Systems that manages the Hospitals. One of the most important issues is what staffing levels are needed to insure patients at Valley and Deaconess Hospitals are adequately protected from falls, infections, and other problems that prevent speedy recoveries and long-term health.  The Labor Union is insisting that higher staffing levels are needed to protect patient health.

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Valley Hospital Spokane Valley

Photo credit to Harvey Brown

(By Kevin Graman) Nurses and other medical workers await a bargaining date for long-awaited contracts with the Deaconess Hospital, Spokane, Wa. and Valley Hospital, Spokane Valley, Wa. Their key demand for more staffing to improve patient health and safety goes unanswered by the hospitals’ for-profit owner Community Health Systems Inc.

Meanwhile, Service Employees International Union 1199NW, the union that represents nurses at Valley Hospital and technical and service employees at both Valley and Deaconess Hospitals, presses its efforts to convince the state Legislature to follow California’s lead and impose mandatory nurse-patient ratios in Washington hospitals. Read the rest of this entry

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The Different Drummers movie is a brisk paced family drama that is powered by the bond of friendship between two ten-year old boys who support each other no matter what. Just like Steven King’s “Stand by Me”, Different Drummers reminds you of what it was like to be ten years old and hanging out with your best friend – the best time in the world; the kind of laughs, adventures, mishaps, and “big” trouble that you just can’t match at any other time of your life. Co-writers and co-directors Don Caron and Lyle Hatcher capture that so in this story about the younger Lyle Hatchers childhood friendship.

It is also one of the best films that the Pacific Northwest has recently produced. If you doubt that Spokane writers, directors, and actors could do that, look at the seven awards they have already racked up. Different Drummers premiers this Friday at the AMC theaters in Spokane, WA. Drummers can also be found on Facebook. Read the rest of this entry

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Mike Fagan’s War Against Anal Cleft

nsl_plumbers_crack(By Greg Gower) Well it’s been another hot summer, here in Spokane, and once again our neighborhoods are being invaded by hordes of half-naked, sweaty, lawn care specialists and pool boys. Every year this happens and every year I’m shocked at their brazen display of flesh! Right out in the open, and in front of our children no less! It’s a good thing Spokane City Councilman Mike Fagan is on guard.

“Anal Cleft,” says Mike Fagan

The glistening torso of a bronzed young man is tantalizing disgusting enough, but, in the past few years, these youths have been wearing their shorts lower and lower, resulting in the exposure of anal cleft. I didn’t know the technical term before, but now we can thank Fagan, for naming anal cleft as the problem it really is. Mike Fagan is a dedicated, conservative leader, who knows this is one of those rare occasions when government should step in and regulate our lives. Read the rest of this entry

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Photo Credit: Center for Justice

(By guest contributor Tim Connor) It has now been almost five months since voters overwhelmingly approved Proposition 1 in Spokane, the city charter amendment that requires the City to have an independent police ombudsman. And, yet, we still don’t. Ombudsman Tim Burns’s continues to be shackled by the terms of a 2008 “interim” agreement negotiated behind closed doors between former Mayor Mary Verner and the Spokane Police Guild. He cannot conduct the independent investigations that are now required by the city charter, nor can he issue the independent reports that Proposition 1 requires.

And the question is: Why not? Read the rest of this entry

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