With the goal of being the source for “where you go for what you do” Inland 360’s 52 issues a year are full of surprises. Here’s a look back at just a few highlights from 2015.Notable visitors
Angela Y. Davis, a controversial 1970s activist who spent time on the FBI’s Most Wanted List, spoke at Washington State University in January for the Martin Luther King Jr. Community Celebration. President Richard Nixon called Davis a “dangerous terrorist” for her connection to the Soledad Brothers killings. An international Free Angela Davis campaign led to her release and acquittal. Today she is recognized as a leading scholar on mass incarceration.
Science writer David Quammen, of note for helping document the spread of Ebola and other zoonotic diseases, spoke at Lewis-Clark State College in March about the mysteries of emerging diseases.
Civil rights pioneer James Meredith spoke in Moscow and Lewiston in October. Amidst death threats and violence, Meredith was the first black man admitted to the University of Mississippi. He was later shot marching across the South in an effort to encourage blacks to register to vote.
Author Anthony Doerr visited for area libraries’ Everybody Reads program in November featuring his Pulitzer Prize-winning book “All the Light We Cannot See.”
What we do
Photographing the Palouse has become a major tourist draw.
“About a third of our tourists come here to take pictures,” said Carol Cooper, tourism director for the Pullman Chamber of Commerce.
In August the English newspaper the Guardian, which boasts an online readership of 45 million, ran a brief story describing the Palouse as “the Tuscany of America,” which ran with a photo taken from Steptoe Butte. The chamber publishes a guide to photographing the Palouse along with a road map of photography hot spots showing locations of barns, trees, farm equipment and grain silos. One downfall has been visitors who do not respect private property rights causing headaches for local landowners.
The Moscow-Pullman-based Whitman Hitmen became the region’s first co-ed roller derby team. The team played its first bout, Rack the Pack, in October.
Colfax raised more than $6,500 in October by offering tours of its so-called “haunted hospital.”
Over a 15-day span, more than 800 visitors came from as far as Louisiana and Florida to tour the dilapidated building that still contained hospital gowns, wheelchairs and other artifacts from its past. Some of the tours were geared toward paranormal investigators, with equipment like EMF meters, full spectrum cameras and spirit boxes. The 1893 building is being converted to apartments by a private developer.
Steampunk returned to Lewiston for the second year. Festivities included tea dueling. At the count of five, duelers dunk their chosen biscuit into a cup of tea and then attempt to cleanly eat it. To secure a clean “nom,” as it goes in the world of tea dueling, a dueler must consume the biscuit in its entirety with no fallen crumbs or chunks.
“Tea dueling is kind of a new phenomenon. But when it starts, people get really into it. You’d be surprised,” said Kelsey Grafton, exhibit and programming coordinator at the Lewis-Clark State College Center for Arts & History, which sponsored the October event.
The Shook Twins – Lewiston’s Dogwood Concert, April
Rock the Valley with Quiet Riot, Jack Russell’s Great White, L.A. Guns’ Tracii Guns and Enuff Z’Nuff – Lewiston Roundup Grounds, June
Collective Soul – Rockin’ on the River, Clarkston, July
Samantha Fish – one headliner at Rendezvous in the Park in Moscow, July
Colbie Caillat – Lewiston’s Hot August Nights, August
Josh Ritter – surprise concert at One World Cafe, Moscow, December
Locals in the spotlight
Moscow native turned New York City playwright Sam Hunter returned to Moscow in May to give the commencement address at the University of Idaho graduation ceremony.
Hunter’s latest play, “Clarkston,” now on stage in Dallas, is the story of a fledgling writer and the descendant of William Clark whose lives intersect as Costco stockers. Loosely connected to “Clarkston,” Hunter’s play “Lewiston,” will have its world premiere in April in Connecticut. It’s a story of land development pitted against the backdrop of family history.
Pullman native Alec Hammond is working as a production designer on the “Divergent” series, setting the scene in the look and architecture of the films. The next film, “Allegiant: Part 1” is scheduled for release in March.
A Clarkston couple’s Hells Canyon cabin was a reality check for a family looking to live off the grid in the FYI channel reality TV series “Unplugged Nation.” Dale and Betsy McGreer’s cabin is accessible only by boat and has propane for cooking, wood for heat, a generator and fruit trees. A visiting family from Atlanta was only allowed to use an outhouse during filming in 100-plus-degree summer heat. The children were scared by coyotes howling at night and the wife cried for hours after she had to kill a chicken for their dinner.
“When the family finally showed up, it was just hilarious,” Betsy McGreer said.
Food and Drink
Wine Press Northwest named Clearwater Canyon Cellars Idaho Winery of the Year for 2015.
Owned by Karl and Coco Umiker of Lewiston, Clearwater Canyon Cellars’ wine features grapes grown in the Lewiston-Clarkston Valley. In 2014 they grew 80 percent of their grapes in the valley. The couple owns a vineyard in the Lewiston Orchards and sells their wine at a winery in the Port of Lewiston.
Colter’s Creek Vineyard in Juliaetta released the region’s first ice wine in October. A rare combination of factors and weather in the fall of 2014 allowed the winemakers to adhere to Canadian standards for ice wine making. The grapes must freeze on the vine in temperatures below 18 degrees Fahrenheit and be harvested and pressed in those temperatures.
“It’s our first and I would almost guess we won’t get lucky enough to do it again for another 10 years,” said winemaker Mike Pearson.
A Pullman cocktail lounge attracted attention for acquiring five ages of rare Van Winkle bourbon. In December, a pour at Etsi Bravo ranged in price from $50 for the 10-year-old bourbon to $250 for the 23-year-old.
“Half the people who come in to order it whisper about it,” said bartender Blake Loos.
Regional Theatre of the Palouse kicked off an “After Dark Series” in September that features award-winning, contemporary productions with more adult themes than RTOP’s usual family friendly fare. Plays are being staged along with regular season shows.
The Idaho Repertory Theatre received notice this spring that the University of Idaho will no longer cover the theater’s operating costs. The university provides facilities, equipment and part of the staffing for the IRT season. Moving forward the theater will need to cover expenses for costumes, scenery, guest housing, salaries and royalties.