Local news

In brief: YWCA board executive resigns


Monica Walters, executive director of the YWCA Spokane since 1996, has stepped down.

Deborah Booth, president of the YWCA board, said Walters resigned citing medical reasons, and that the board accepted her resignation. “Everybody loves Monica, but it’s time for her to get out of the hectic crossfire of all this and get some time for herself,” Booth said.

During her tenure, Walters oversaw a YWCA that aggressively championed the rights of abused women and children and served homeless families and others on society’s margins. The agency’s annual Women of Achievement event attracted nationally known speakers. Walters also was heavily involved in a joint YMCA and YWCA building project. Two new Y buildings will open this spring and summer.

Trish McFarland, who has served as development director and in other positions at the YWCA, was named interim executive director.


Panel OKs change to car seat law

Idaho’s Senate Transportation Committee has voted unanimously in favor of legislation to eliminate the state’s current exemption from child car seat requirements when a parent decides to take the baby out for feeding or to change a diaper while on the road.

That exception – which only two or three states still have – disqualifies Idaho from receiving between $100,000 and $250,000 in federal highway safety funds each year, enough to buy about 3,000 child car seats for needy Idaho families. Montana has gotten $1.7 million in funding under the program in the past 10 years, Mary Hunter of the Idaho Transportation Department told the committee. Because of its law, she said, “Idaho got zero.”

Sen. Joyce Broadsword, R-Sagle, the bill’s sponsor, has pushed similar legislation twice before, only to see it die without a hearing in the House Transportation Committee.

Broadsword said members of the House Transportation Committee have told her this year that they “really want to see this done,” and she’s hoping that panel will grant the bill a hearing if the full Senate again approves it.

House panel OKs quagga mussel bill

After a long, packed hearing, the House Environment Committee voted overwhelmingly Tuesday to approve Rep. Eric Anderson’s quagga mussel bill, which requires every boat owner in the state – motorized or not – to purchase a sticker to help fund boat-washing efforts to keep the invasive shellfish out of Idaho waterways.

There was just one “no” vote on HB 213 in the committee, from Rep. Steve Kren, R-Nampa; the measure now heads to the full House for debate. Anderson, R-Priest Lake, has spent thousands of his own money on literature and props as he tries to convince his fellow lawmakers to pass the bill.

Among those endorsing the bill Tuesday were the Idaho Conservation League and the Western Whitewater Association; among those opposing it were the Idaho Whitewater Association and Idaho Outfitters and Guides Association, which contended the cost would unfairly fall on owners of kayaks and rafts that haven’t been proven to be a means of transporting the invasive species.

“We believe that there’s a less intrusive way to get after this issue than imposing a tax on our industry, especially at this difficult time,” Grant Simonds, executive director of the Outfitters and Guides Association, told the committee.

But Rep. George Eskridge, R-Dover, said, “I think the urgency dictates that we need to do something, and we need to get started.”

From staff reports

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