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Recreation, not incarceration

The mayor of Portland once said, “If you plan to cut recreation programs, you might as well plan on doubling the number of police and expanding prisons.” The average per diem costs of locking up one juvenile is $240.99 per day – around $88,000 a year, according to the American Correctional Association. Instead of getting into trouble with too much free time, what if the same child was enrolled in recreation programs all year long? If so, the child could:

Attend an after-school recreation program, take karate twice a week, ski all season, play league basketball three times per week, learn art on eight Saturdays, enroll in two weeks of tennis, do school holiday day camps, register for golf lessons, swim all summer, attend all the Northeast Youth Center kids camps, take canoe trips on the Little Spokane River and play baseball three times a week.

Instead of spending nearly $88,000 on incarceration, after paying for all of the above activities, we could return to you over $87,000, and one very happy kid. It costs a typical city about $37 per year per child in taxes to keep recreation programs alive. Don’t cut the recreation budget. Choose to value our children.

Barbara J. Brock


Coal trains worth it

I live in Spokane Valley and walk almost daily. A couple of days ago, I was walking north on Sullivan Road to Trent Avenue. I saw a coal train going west, so I stood on the overpass there while the entire train passed under me. I never smelled diesel or coal, and saw no exhaust or coal dust although the train was traveling at a good speed.

I do, however, see many diesel pickups and trucks that put out lots of exhaust. The worst was a garbage pickup truck going through a neighborhood belching black smoke so bad the truck itself was very dirty.

I see no problem at all increasing the number of coal trains going through Spokane. If it creates jobs on the west side of the state, that benefits us to some degree.

Chan D. Bailey


Fire training stokes complaint

Now is not the time to write a complaint letter about firefighters because of the brave firefighters in Colorado. But Spokane Fire District No. 9 has motivated me to complain.

In the district, a sign, “Spokane Valley Fire Training Exercise,” was erected at 5421 and 5339 N. Lehman Road in the Spokane Valley, near the Hutton Settlement. At days’ end, on June 27 and 28, the firemen left the training area with smoke smoldering all evening and into the night. The air in all the housing developments north of Millwood was polluted with thick smoke through the evenings and into the night.

One would think that fire districts, organizations that focus on public safety and welfare, would show more sensitivity to people’s health issues, and an active concern about public air quality. It was very disappointing for my family, neighbors and community to have experienced and witnessed this.

Forrest Diehl



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Editorial: Washington state lawmakers scramble to keep public in the dark

State lawmakers want to create a legislative loophole in Washington’s Public Records Act. While it’s nice to see Democrats and Republicans working together for once, it’s just too bad that their agreement is that the public is the enemy. As The Spokesman-Review’s Olympia reporter Jim Camden explained Feb. 22, lawmakers could vote on a bill today responding to a court order that the people of Washington are entitled to review legislative records.