Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Scott Creach part two

Posted: July 29, 2013 in Uncategorized

After he prayed over his meal and I took a picture mine, Alan once again took me into the surreal and eye-opening episode that has been a part of his family’s life since 11:07 p.m. on August, 25th, 2010.
Alan started with what he felt was one of the most interesting pieces of evidence. The autopsy, he said, showed that his father’s right thumb had fine speckles of blood in a directional pattern that was a part of the spray pattern that burst out from his chest as the bullet ripped into his body.
Alan maintained this proved that his father’s right hand was in front of him, not behind his back. Forensics from the spray pattern also showed the whereabouts and angle of the officer’s weapon which was just inches away from Scott’s chest pointing down at a 56-degree angle.
Alan told me the spray pattern hit Hirzel from the waist down, revealing that Scott was on his knees not standing up as they were told from the beginning. He said they were never told anything different than the bullet came at a slightly downward angle and toward left.
Another piece of evidence came from the reenactment that the sheriff’s department conducted a year later on a night chosen to have similar weather conditions as the night of the incident. Alan was there as they parked the same car in the same spot at the same time of night and then went through the whole episode just as the officer said it happened. Sherriff’s personnel acted out both parts.
What they did not tell the family was that they also had personnel positioned at the locations of the three people who heard the shot. A neighbor who was in their house with the sheriff’s personnel during the re-enactment later told the family that they all clearly heard the orders to drop the weapon. None of the ear-witnesses heard any orders on August 25, 2010, though they were as close as 225 feet away on a calm summer night.
I finally asked Alan as he was finishing up his salad and starting in on his bbq sirloin sandwich special, what he thought had happened. He certainly did have a theory that was very different from the official story.
He felt that his father probably recognized that it was an unmarked police car as he approached. If he ever had his gun out at all, he put the gun behind him in his pants long before he got close to the cruiser so that he would not appear armed and threatening.
Alan believes his dad startled Hirzel who then jumped out of his car and struck Scott with his baton. Scott immediately dropped to his knees and put both hands out front. Exactly why Hirzel pulled the trigger, Alan is not sure. He just feels positive that it was not because his dad was pulling out his gun to shoot the officer that stood menacingly above him with the gun pointed at his bare chest.
Whether it was a moment of panic, or accidental, or temporary insanity on Hirzel’s part, Alan believes strongly that his dad’s gun had nothing to do with anything. The fear the officer said he felt for his life came from being spooked by Scott.
Alan surmises that the officer could have been unaware his father had a gun until he fell face down , revealing the gun tucked into his waistband before rolling over onto his back. He theorizes that it is possible that Hirzel was assisted by the first police officers, helping him rig the scene by rolling Scott back over, undoing his belt to pull out the gun and then place it nearby off to the right.
That would explain why Imogene was led out of view as she approached. Furthermore, Alan said the witnesses who first began coming out of their homes to see what was going on said they had seen, as Imogene had seen, the officers doing something over Scott and it was not providing medical assistance.
I had to admit that Alan’s story had gotten more interesting through the years. It took away the hard-to-fathom suggestion that Scott would refuse to drop his weapon and continue to approach an officer who was authoritatively and repeatedly commanding him to do so. Scott had not had a traffic ticket in 30 years. He had always preached that the police were “God’s hand over you.”
I could also see Scott being irritated that this officer would trespass in a dark, unmarked cruiser and then sit there like he owned the place. I can see Scott approaching and not saying a word until he was close and then maybe saying gruffly something like, “What’s going on here?” and detonating a situation that never crossed his mind would occur in the next second or two.
But I also knew that Alan’s theory was based on evidence and allegations that any opposing attorney would turn and twist to discredit the family’s version and support the police officer’s. I had heard Knezovich complain bitterly about the case not going to trial. His department and their attorneys felt the evidence supported the officer’s story and would vindicate them of any wrongdoing.
I can see that neither side could prove beyond all doubt that their version of the episode is true, but I also see that the Creach family did not have to in order to win a settlement in civil court. Laws were broken and property rights were violated by Hirzel. Had the officer not done so, Scott Creach would still be alive. I think insurance companies and jurors pay a lot of attention to things like that.
It does not matter if our law enforcement agencies have decided not to acknowledge or obey or enforce a law, it is still a law. Cruising in an unmarked car in a residential area is breaking Washington state law RCW 46.08.065. Pulling onto a person’s private property and setting up office, was a violation of Scott Creach’s property rights.
You take those actions away from the night of August 25th and you got Scott Creach waking up the next morning to live another day. It kind of seems like the Sheriff’s office just got a $2 million ticket for all those times they did not write themselves any tickets for breaking the law over and over as a matter of routine.
What Hirzel did that night happens all the time. That is why I stick with my stance in my original blog and respectfully hold Scott accountable for approaching a cop car, gun drawn or not, in the middle of the night. Either Scott did as Alan maintains and walked up to the officer peacefully or he walked up there as Hirzel maintains, defiant and deadly. Either way, Scott approached.
I would go one step further and say that even if Alan’s theory were correct, Hirzel still was not guilty of any crime when it came to shooting Scott. He mistakenly identified Scott to be the bad guy, but that can happen late at night out in the field. He made a mistake like everyone does, and while we often get away with ours, his was tragic.
As to whether or not there was any kind of a cover up, I would like to hope not. I always thought, however, that the delay in getting out Hirzel’s version looked badly at the very least. It got fishier when Alan told me that their detectives discovered that he did not leave town to go to Montana to visit family the day after the shooting as we were told. They talked to witnesses who said he was in town until he left for Vegas a few days later.
Alan’s theory is that they were buying time to see if there were any eyewitnesses. I hope that Alan’s theory is wrong and I tend to have more trust in our local law enforcement officers than to believe he is entirely right. I do, however, think Hirzel should have had his blood tested immediately just like Scott’s blood was tested and that he should have given his full story before going on vacation, just like the rest of us would have had to.
I have picked up through this episode that the sheriff’s department feels they can do what they want. If they need to prowl in an unmarked car, so be it. If they need to park and do bookwork on private property, so be it. If they want to let an officer who just shot an elderly citizen go on vacation, so be it. I agree that they have a very difficult and complicated task trying to make our community a safe place to live and they need leeway to get the job done.
But when they break laws and violate rights and a God-fearing, law-abiding citizen dies as a consequence, I believe they should own up to any missteps, correct the problems and move on. No one can learn from those highly effective educators, known as our mistakes, if we don’t first admit we made them.
It appears that is what the Sheriff’s department has failed to do. Alan said his mom would have accepted the County’s second offer of $1 million (the first was $250,000) if the county agreed to attach an apology to it. Rather than apologize, the County preferred instead to offer $2 million with a threat attached to go after the family for legal expenses if they were not awarded at least $1.7 million by a jury.
Alan said that made going to trial too big of a gamble. He said they were disappointed, not because of the amount of the settlement but because they wanted the community to hear what they had learned. He wants things to change so no one else in Spokane Valley dies like his father died.
I agreed that people should hear their side and so I had to write one more blog before putting the whole troubling affair behind me and moving on. I pray for God to give the Creach family the strength to do their best to do the same as they live out their lives, carrying Scott heavily in their hearts until that day he always preached about when they meet up before “the great judge of all the Earth” who can make the final call on this tragic affair.
Until then, I think people need learn what Scott learned too late. We cannot wait until the police do everything just right, people need to realize that all police officers need to be approached and handled with caution. They have a dangerous job and they are trained to be dangerous and the wrong move can be deadly.


To read a tribute blog I wrote a fews days after the shooting click here.
To read original blog, click here.

One money-making liddle fiddler

As we approached this little guy in the park downtown on the 4th of July, I thought how cute and unusual to see such a young sidewalk performer.
After watching him for a few minutes, I also began to think how shrewd of his parents. I have never seen such a steady stream of dollar droppers. We were trying to figure out who his parents were as we looked around the crowd that had gathered.
After a while we spotted them. When the crowd thinned, his dad gestured for him to stuff his pockets with some of the money piling up in his case.
I had been thinking the same thing as I watched person after person flipping him dollar bills. Better to look young and hungry than young and raking in the dough.

Last year I tried to get my friend, Fred Lopez, to go to the Eddie Money concert at Daley’s Cheap Shots. Since I was also friends with the show’s promoter, Joey Shaloe, and had helped him with marketing the event, he gave me tickets for Elaine and myself. I also convinced Joey to give me two tickets for Fred and his wife Melanie. Fred told Mel to go and have fun but that he was not into that kind of thing. Funny how things change.
The reason that I told Joey that he should give Fred the tickets was because Fred had just bought the old Hotties building and was busy with remodelling it into what would become the Roadhouse. Joey had worked for Scott Lane, the owner of Hotties, doing sound off and on for several years. Joey had always told me that the building at North 20 Farr ,which was once a Sea Galley restaurant, was the best venue in the Valley for concerts.
Having owned The Rock Inn, a Valley night club, for four years, I knew that concerts were a night club owner’s best friend. The biggest name that we ever got was blues artist, Curtis Salgado. The beauty of it was that all I had to do was let Dave Green, a local promoter, use my building for free. He advertised the show and sold the tickets and took the risk and I got to sell my food and drinks to his crowd.
Normally we had to fork out $400 bucks a night for local bands. I told Dave that he was welcome to use the Rock Inn any time he wanted. That is why I told Fred that he needed to attend the Eddie Money concert to see what kind of potential his new place was going to have. But Fred said he didn’t like crowds. Turns out that he missed a great concert but he figured it out anyway.
I sat just one table away from Fred and Melanie last Tuesday at the Roadhouse during the Lauren Alaina concert. The place was packed from 4 in the afternoon until after the concert which started at 7:30. Not bad for a week night. Alaina was runner-up a few years back on American Idol and she put on a great show that was free to the public and free to the Roadhouse. Not bad for any night.
I could tell Fred was having a great time like everyone else. Actually, I knew he was probably much happier than anyone else since his business was benefiting by great talent sponsored and promoted on someone else’s dime. It seemed he was glad to be there despite the fact that a year before this was not his kind of thing and despite the fact that Tuesday also happened to be his birthday, which he also claims to not be his thing.
Now on June 23nd, less than a year after Fred decided not go see Eddie Money, Eddie Money is coming to see Fred. The place will be packed again and so I know Fred will be happy to see him, though this will be a benefit concert for Eddie’s drummer Glenn Symmonds and so a portion of the Roadhouse profits will go to the cause of paying Glenn’s cancer treatment bills.
Joey, who is Eddie’s road manager, and now also a friend of Fred’s, will once again be running things. Another new friend of Fred’s, Sammy Eubanks, will be out on the patio tomorrow starting at noon. They got to know each the past few months because Sammy has been headlining the Roadhouse’s new Thursday night Blues night that came about just as Blues At The Bend closed it’s doors and left Sammy without his weekly night there.Talk about good timing.
With live music 5 nights a week and the occasional concert thrown in, Fred’s Roadhouse has become the Valley’s, if not all Spokane’s, premier purveyor of good timings to be had by hundreds if not by all. Not bad for a guy who claims to hate birthday parties and big crowds.

An Amazing Young Woman

Posted: April 18, 2013 in Uncategorized

I have written literally dozens of stories about interesting and successful Valley citizens and I would argue that the subject of this story could be the most impressive of them all. This individual has a good chance to one day be the most accomplished of not only anyone I have ever written about but also anyone I have ever known.

Before you dismiss my seemingly bombastic assertion when you just now discover that I am referring to my youngest child, Jacque Swanson, read just a few more lines and see if I don’t know what I am talking about. While I have a father’s bias, I am not so much bragging here as marvelling because everyone who knows Jacque, a senior at West Valley High School, would agree, as I think you will too.

The faculty of West Valley , for example, had to have thought as I do when they faced the task last year of electing one person from the entire student body to receive the first annual Chase award for outstanding character. A staff member told her later that once her named was brought up, the discussion was all but over.

Likewise, the student body itself must have held her in similar regard last spring since she was their choice as well when they were given the task of electing a new A.S.B. president. They chose her even though she had never run for any class office.

Her tennis teammates as well think she is a standout having chosen her team captain this year. Her coach must also concur seeing her letter all four years and assigning her the number one player even though she might be all of 5 feet tall and weighs less than 100 pounds.

Her boss, Pat Ferraro of Ferraro’s Italian restaurant, definitely agrees that she is a standout. He told my wife, Elaine, that Jacque, who has worked at his place 15 hours a week for two years, is one of the two best young employees he has ever had work for him in his forty two years as a boss. The other one is Jacque’s big sister Crystal.

     I know that Crystal has always been as impressed with her sister as anyone. After seeing the scholastic standard Jacque set her first quarter in high school, Crystal took her own scholastics efforts up a notch, raising her 3.6 grade average to a 3.89 by the time she graduated two years later. An essay she wrote her senior year for an assignment that required her to identify and describe the person who had influenced her life the most was about Jacque.

     Jacque has worked at her studies with the same intensity and purpose she has worked at everything she has set her heart, hand and head to. She has given it her all, sacrificing social fun with friends and snuggling with her father, not to mention sleeping in her bed. More than once I have groggily made my way to the bathroom in the wee wee hours and found Jacque asleep at the kitchen counter with her head resting on her laptop.

The amazing part is that the effort she has applied at becoming Valedictorian, team captain, class president, hostess extraordinaire among other things is that it is self-taught and continually self-motivated. As her parents, we can only take partial credit for the ordinary things and none for all this extraordinary behavior. She on the other hand has been an inspiration and example to us.

What teenager, for example, decides at 17 to become a vegetarian and then a year later to raise the bar to veganism? Especially considering that her folks were probably sitting at a bar thinking veganism was a form of pagan witchcraft. She prepares all her own food and goes so far as to make her own granola.

This wise young soul, who has paid for her own YMCA membership for two years, already understands the importance of taking care of the body as though it was the only one we would ever be given. I started working out and watching what I eat mostly because of her. Just being around the kid raises a person’s game.

If all this has not convinced you that Jacque is truly extraordinary and has unlimited potential, consider this one last remarkable thing about her which is the reason I wrote this story in the first place. She wants to go places and do things far beyond the confines of her raising and her hometown.

Last summer she found a program for travel abroad that is aimed at educating as well as broadening youth with guided tours where kids get a close up look at the culture and history and beauty of foreign countries and also spend time doing volunteer work.

Her trip to Thailand where she rode elephants and made clay bricks at an orphanage for children with HIV would have been the trip of a lifetime for myself . For my daughter, who contemplates joining the Peace Corps after college, the Far East was just the beginning. However, while it whetted her appetite, it also drained her resources.

I was dumbfounded when she told me a few months ago that she had decided to go to Peru this summer. I asked her how she thought she would pay the $4500 it costs to go on these trips and she said she would raise it through fundraising projects.

I tried to talk her out of it, afraid that she was setting herself up for disappointment though I failed to even slightly sway her. So here I am doing what little I can to try to help. How could I not as I watch her toil yet again, sending out letters and organizing car washes and garage sales. She does all this while writing her senior project and working at Ferraro’s and playing tennis and making granola and getting ready for her senior prom and getting perfect grades.

I think that just by stating the facts that I should have convinced most of you that I was being reasonable when I said in the first paragraph that Jacque has the potential of accomplishing amazing things in her life. I know that I have never seen anything like her.

They say with great figures throughout history that the people around them could tell they were destined to go far when they were still young and far from their ultimate greatness.   I cannot hope to be around to see her greatest days, but having seen what I have seen it is kind of easy, in a way, to see them from here.

It is obvious that Jacque is going places in this world and for right now that would be Peru and she needs some help to reach that destiny.

Jacque working at an orphane in Thailand

Jacque working at an orphane in Thailand


Jacque with a bird in the hand and a bird on the brain.

Jacque with a bird in the hand and a bird on the brain.


            Ways to help Jacque make it through to Peru

Raffle Tickets for Romantic Getaway  Winner recieves a Dinner for 2 at The Old Spaghetti Factory, 1 night stay at The Holiday Inn Express and a spa package from The Brickhouse.

Tickets are $1 apiece or 8 for $5.(she will be selling them outside the Argonne Yoke’s on May 4th.) Email her at  to pre order, or call me at 868-8972

Garage Sale   She will be holding a garage sale with her Aunt Lori on May 18th at 6925 east 7th.

   Car Wash  She will be at Gus Johnson Ford June 1st washing cars.

Jacque is also pre-selling photo packages from her trip to Peru:

Her favorite photo (4×6)  $10

Her favorite photo (5×7 framed) $25

Personalized album $50

Scenic (8×10 framed and matted) $150

Photo on canvas (5×7) $250

Photo on canvas (8×10) $400


If you would like to order one of these or make any other donation you can send her a check with your order to

Jacque Swanson

11518 East Alki

Spokane, Wa. 99206

You can also pay with credit card by going to this link.



Awsome Otis Orchards Opportunity, honest

The Otis Grill, at the corner of Wellesly and Harvard in Otis Orchards, has an incredible $4.99 week day breakfast special . I’ll let the picture do the talking and only add that those are unusually fantastic hashbrowns.

Over the last 10 years or so that the Hurd Mercantile has been in business, I had never thought to stop in during the countless times I had driven through the quiet farm town of Rockford located about 18 miles south of Spokane Valley on Highway 27. It is nothing against the Hurd, it is just that I abhor shopping in general and gift shopping in particular. Furthermore, normally I am passing through Rockford by myself on business or passing through with Elaine for a day of pleasure on the lake. When I am by myself, the idea of stopping at a gift shop never even enters my head. When I am with Elaine, I have always been able to successfully object to her motion to have our vehicle come to rest in front of the Hurd.

But last Labor Day as Elaine and our daughter, Jacque, and I took a leisurely road trip down to St. Maries to check out the Lumberjack Festival, I finally lost the battle. In years past, Jacque would have been an ally as a child not interested in mozying around a big store, but now she was a young lady who was growing in the womanly arts her mother was constantly teaching her. Like the skills required to spend hours in front of a mirror each morning, Elaine has been teaching her daughters the love of loitering in leisurely luxury at gift shops. The Hurd Mercantile was the perfect setting to further Jacque’s education. I told them to have at it, I had brought reading material and would wait in the car.

But after nearly a half hour I began to worry. I knew they were safe but I wasn’t sure about our savings and so I headed into the Hurd to herd out my lost girls. In spite of myself, I was in awe as I opened the door and began to take in this amazing store with its abundant variety and creative, lively displays spread out over 8,000 square feet and 2 stories. I knew instantly that Elaine would never leave this place empty-handed.

Upon entering the Hurd I realized my girls were lost somewhere deep inside this monstrous building.

I wandered about the myriad of tasteful displays.

I had to begrudgingly admit that this was a creative and fun place to visit.

Finally I found Elaine, happy as a mouse in a cheese factory. But Jacque was nowhere in sight.

A scan of the incredible upstairs toy section did not turn her up.

Finally I found her in one of the Hurd's many tucked away little nooks and crannies with that same "Ain't I a stinker" look on her face.

Finally after what seemed like hours, Elaine showed her daughter how big girls cap off a visit to any good gift shop by putting her purse on the counter and whipping out the plastic. I knew it wouldn't be cheap. But secretly I was glad that this was a gift shop and that she was buying Christmas presents that needed to be bought anyway. It didn't seem to matter to her that she wasn't buying for herself. I think that for women, the purchase is the climax of the stimulating experience of shopping. At any rate, Elaine has been rather passionate about it over the years.

I was just glad to get out and down the road to the Lumberjack festival. But I did drive all the way there the next month to buy the watch that Elaine fell in love with but that I talked her out of buying that day. Being an uncreative and often impassive partner, gift-givingly speaking, I was more than happy to make the trip in order to get the perfect present for Elaine's birthday. Elaine has suffered over the years because of my weak shop drive , but this year The Hurd helped me come through with flying colors.

   Charlie P’s is throwing an all day party this Saturday beginning at about one. Details are al little sketchy but at one time they thought they were going to rope off the parking lot and have a dunk tank and maybe a band. Anyway there will be good food and karaoke at night.

True Legends on Harvard out at Liberty Lake is throwing a grand opening bash tonight.