Bloomsday Security: Changes Will Be Made In Wake Of Boston Attac - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Bloomsday Security: Changes Will Be Made In Wake Of Boston Attack

Posted: Updated:

SPOKANE, Wash – Nearly 50,000 people will cross the finish line in the 37th annual Lilac Bloomsday Run on Sunday, May 5th – and this year more than ever, in the wake of the attack in Boston, security issues are taking center stage.

"We're really heartbroken to see that happen at an event that's all about health and fitness," Bloomsday Founder & Race Director Don Kardong told KHQ.  "Anytime there's an incident we like to review our procedures to make sure we're doing everything we can and if we need to we'll make changes."

Kardong has a good partner; head of race security Al Odenthal graduated from the FBI National Academy and spent 26 with Spokane Police before retiring as Assistant Chief.  He's been helping with security for Bloomsday for nearly two decades.

"We've learned a lot in our 36 years [of running Bloomsday], and it's a changing world," Odenthal told KHQ.

With questions still lingering as to why Boston was attacked, he has to think about whether Spokane could be – and how just a few years ago, it almost was.

"The FBI was a big help in the MLK Day explosive device and getting things cranked up before Bloomsday of that year," he added.

Odenthal is working with Spokane Police – and federal partners – to make sure security plans are appropriate.  The FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force is keeping watch over any threats or possible risks, Homeland Security and the TSA will be involved at the airport as thousand of people – and their luggage – fly into Spokane, and the ATF will be involved in helping protect against explosives.  He says there will be changes to the race this year, although you may never see them.

"We have incorporated the prospect of a few security changes that are pretty much going to be invisible to participants and spectators," Odenthal said.

In years past, changes have already been made to the course – including a section of the race where an ambulance couldn't make it in.  Now, every year a medical helicopter is stationed there in case people need to be flown out of the area for emergency care.

Odenthal told KHQ his two little grandkids will be at Bloomsday, and he doesn't have any reservations about their safety, which says a lot about yours.

Still, he asks that anyone near the event on May 5th keep a particularly watchful eye.

"When we put 55, 60 thousand people together in one place, that becomes a target for someone who wants to do a lot of damage," he added.  "So if it doesn't belong there, if it calls your attention, if you see something, say something."

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Throwback Thursday! Look At 'Sunshine Shelly' Through The Years!

    Throwback Thursday! Look At 'Sunshine Shelly' Through The Years!

    Thursday, March 20 2014 1:04 PM EDT2014-03-20 17:04:11 GMT
    KHQ.COM - It's throwback Thursday! Here is a slideshow we would like to share of Shelly Monahan through the years! For those of you who have been in Spokane for many years, and saw her through her "Sunshine Shelly" days, you will probably remember the Shelly from back in those days. Enjoy!>>
    KHQ.COM - It's throwback Thursday! Here is a slideshow we would like to share of Shelly Monahan through the years! For those of you who have been in Spokane for many years, and saw her through her "Sunshine Shelly" days, you will probably remember the Shelly from back in those days. Enjoy!>>
  • VIRAL VIDEO: Holy Moly! This girl is definitely NOT afraid of spiders!

    VIRAL VIDEO: Holy Moly! This girl is definitely NOT afraid of spiders!

    Monday, September 1 2014 12:00 PM EDT2014-09-01 16:00:12 GMT
    KHQ.COM - You don't even know what this girl is about to do to prove she is definitely NOT afraid of spiders! Is she crazy or just fearless? Would you do this for $500? $1,000? $20,000? >>>WATCH>>>>>
    KHQ.COM - You don't even know what this girl is about to do to prove she is definitely NOT afraid of spiders! Is she crazy or just fearless? Would you do this for $500? $1,000? $20,000? >>>WATCH>>>>>
  • Barista-stand owner faces prostitution charge

    Barista-stand owner faces prostitution charge

    Monday, September 1 2014 10:10 AM EDT2014-09-01 14:10:27 GMT
    EVERETT, Wash. (AP) - Authorities say the owner of bikini coffee stands in Washington state banked more than $2 million in just three years because her baristas were also selling sex acts. Snohomish County prosecutors charged 52-year-old former nude dancer Carmela Panico with promoting prostitution and money laundering, alleging that she was the madam of drive-thru brothels throughout the county north of Seattle.>>
    EVERETT, Wash. (AP) - Authorities say the owner of bikini coffee stands in Washington state banked more than $2 million in just three years because her baristas were also selling sex acts. Snohomish County prosecutors charged 52-year-old former nude dancer Carmela Panico with promoting prostitution and money laundering, alleging that she was the madam of drive-thru brothels throughout the county north of Seattle.
    >>
  • Top Stories from KHQTop StoriesMore>>

  • BREAKING: One person dead after hit & run in Spokane Valley

    BREAKING: One person dead after hit & run in Spokane Valley

    Tuesday, September 2 2014 6:03 AM EDT2014-09-02 10:03:43 GMT
    One person is dead after a hit and run near I-90 Park Rd. in Spokane Valley. It happened around 1:30 am.>>
    One person is dead after a hit and run near I-90 Park Rd. in Spokane Valley. It happened around 1:30 am.
    >>
  • Police search for armed robbery suspect

    Police search for armed robbery suspect

    Tuesday, September 2 2014 3:23 AM EDT2014-09-02 07:23:19 GMT
    SPOKANE, Wash. - A man walked into a Zip Trip gas station brandishing a hand gun and stole cash Monday night, according to Spokane Police.The robbery happened at about 10:30 p.m. at the Zip Trip on East Illinois Avenue, just north of where Perry Street intersects with Illinois. Spokane Police say the man walked in and showed employees the handgun. >>
    SPOKANE, Wash. - A man walked into a Zip Trip gas station brandishing a hand gun and stole cash Monday night, according to Spokane Police.The robbery happened at about 10:30 p.m. at the Zip Trip on East Illinois Avenue, just north of where Perry Street intersects with Illinois. Spokane Police say the man walked in and showed employees the handgun. >>
  • Wildfire Victim Searches For Strength To Rebuild

    Wildfire Victim Searches For Strength To Rebuild

    Tuesday, September 2 2014 12:28 AM EDT2014-09-02 04:28:11 GMT
    ALTA LAKE, Wash. - "John Neuneker Sr. built almost everything on his property with his own two hands, including the home in which he and his wife Laurie raised their four children.“It was a family thing,” Neuneker told KHQ. “Not just my wife. My kids, all of us chipped in. We built the whole thing ourselves.” Their log cabin was one of many things Neuneker lost in the Carlton Complex Fire.>>
    ALTA LAKE, Wash. - "John Neuneker Sr. built almost everything on his property with his own two hands, including the home in which he and his wife Laurie raised their four children.“It was a family thing,” Neuneker told KHQ. “Not just my wife. My kids, all of us chipped in. We built the whole thing ourselves.” Their log cabin was one of many things Neuneker lost in the Carlton Complex Fire.>>