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EWU grants available for students affected by Wenatchee wildfire

Eastern Washington University is sending financial aid counselors and outreach teams to Wenatchee to help students affected by the Sleepy Hollow fire.

Those affected by the wildfire, which destroyed more than two dozen homes and forced numerous evacuations, could be eligible for the university’s hardship grants. About 140 EWU students are from the Wenatchee area, including 18 incoming freshman and 22 transfer students, according to the university.

“Our intent is to minimize the devastating effects that our students are facing so that their success in college continues with as little interruption as possible,” EWU President Mary Cullinan said.

The EWU Student Hardship Fund was created last year following the devastating Carleton Complex Fires and is designed to help students and their families cope with unexpected setbacks in an effort to help keep college careers on track. The grant amounts can vary depending on circumstances and are funded by contributions to the EWU Foundation.

Hardship grants also are available throughout the year to EWU students dealing with other setbacks as well. Information is available through the university's financial aid office at (509) 359-2314 or by email: finaid@ewu.edu.

Donations to the hardship fund can be made through the EWU Foundation at ewu.edu/hardshipfund.

 

Spokane choristers performing at international music festival in Ireland

 

The grand finale in Limerick. Posted on Monday, June 29, 2015

 

Two Inland Northwest choirs are wrapping up a weeklong tour of Ireland, which included performances at the international choral festival known as Limerick Sings.

The Eastern Washington University Symphonic Choir and one of the choral groups from Spokane Area Youth Choirs, which serves elementary, middle and high schoolers, performed separately and as a combined group at the festival. Both are directed by Kristina Ploeger, an EWU music professor.

Limerick, located along the River Shannon in midwestern Ireland, is one of Spokane's sister cities.

The video above is from one of the combined EWU and SAYC performances.

EWU fraternity loses most its members after allegations arise

A statement released by the national Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity Saturday states that 44 of the 58 members of fraternity’s chapter at Eastern Washington University have resigned their memberships.

A member of the national organization arrived in Cheney last month to investigate allegations of hazing, degradation of women and alcohol abuse. The majority of the members resigned from the fraternity after that visit.

“At this time, the fraternity does not believe that any of the remaining members are associated with the allegations,” the statement said.

Any fraternity members found to have violated fraternity or university policies can be expelled from the fraternity.

“We expect all of our students to behave according to both their university’s policies and ours, and we work with our university partners to remove students or chapters that pose a risk to student safety,” said fraternity CEO Brian Warren in the statement.

Police are investigating if people who have been rumored to have raised concerns about the fraternity are being harassed.

EWU students report threats

Two Eastern Washington University students have reported receiving threats from people who accuse them of giving an anonymous tip about misbehavior by members of the Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity.

EWU police learned on April 27 that the fraternity was under investigation by its national headquarters after an anonymous tip was received alleging hazing, degradation of women and alcohol abuse, according to court documents. Police said they received information that people “associated” with the fraternity may be seeking retribution against members of a sorority on campus in the belief that the sorority members had made the tip.

One woman reported being harassed by people posting messages on a private Sigma Phi Epsilon Facebook page. Her photograph was superimposed on a porn site, according to court documents. Another woman reported receiving a Facebook message that said “I know what you did.” The same woman was identified as the source of the anonymous tip in a message on the Yik Yak app, which allows anonymous posts. The message said “I would (symbol of pistol) her,” according to court documents.

 Police have requested information about who made the post from Yik Yak because it is “imperative” to identify the person who did it “in order to determine the validity of the threats and the risk to the campus of Eastern Washington University,” according to court documents.

Student volunteers help hundreds get over $1 million in tax refunds

Spokane-area accounting students helped generate more than $1 million in tax refunds for Spokane-area residents this year.

They were part of a United Way volunteer effort that also included IRS officials, according to Gonzaga University. Nearly 60 Gonzaga students participated, along with students from Eastern Washington and Whitworth universities.

The volunteers helped file 813 tax returns that generated about $1.08 million in refunds, the university said.

Students attended two days of training and had to pass a certification exam before being able to participate in the United Way’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program.

WaLeg Day 82: House Capital budget has $95 million for Spokane projects

OLYMPIA – State agencies would spend a total of $95 million on construction projects in Spokane County ranging from improvements at Mount Spokane to updates at Eastern Washington University, under a plan approved this week by the House of Representatives.

The proposed Capital Budget, which would spend a total of $3.5 billion around the state on projects other transportation, is often known as the state’s bricks and mortar budget that covers projects from many state agencies. It’s not as controversial as the operating budget, and passed the House on a 96-2 vote Thursday.

Mount Spokane State Park would get $6 million for Nordic ski area improvements and to develop a horse camp, $2.5 million to relocate a maintenance facility and another $2.4 million for improvements on roads that are facing failure.

Included in the spending plan is nearly $24 million for a list of infrastructure renewal, facility preservation and building maintenance projects at Eastern Washington University, and $3.3 million for improvements at Eastern State Hospital. The state Veterans Cemetery would get about $2.7 million for an upgrade and the Marshall Landfill would get $5 million from the Department of Ecology cleanup fund.

A late addition to the list of Spokane County projects was $1.5 million for the Fairchild Air Force Base Protection and Community Empowerment Project, which would be used to buy two mobile home parks within a protected area near the base, so the land could be rezoned for light industrial use. Local government and business leaders consider the mobile home parks property an encroachment that could put the base at a disadvantage in a future round of base closures.

Rep. Kevin Parker, R-Spokane, said the money would help protect the mission of the base and position it for the future, and made adding the money for the empowerment zone one of his top priorities.

In 2013, Spokane County commissioners had a more extensive plan and asked voters to approve a property tax increase to raise $18 million to buy seven mobile home parks in and around the zone and relocate the residents. More than half the voters said yes, but it didn’t get the super-majority needed for a property tax increase.

The Senate hasn't voted on a Capital Budget yet. To see the full proposal, as well as lists or maps of the projects for any county or legislative district, click here.

EWU volleyball coach Benson takes leave of absence

After spending much of the spring battling throat cancer, Eastern Washington women's volleyball head coach Wade Benson will take an indefinite leave of absence beginning Friday, the school announced Thursday.

Associate head coach Michael King will lead the program in Benson's absence.

"Eastern Washington Volleyball is in great hands," Benson said. "The players are ready for a great season. I want to thank EWU for its outstanding support of myself and my family."

Innovate WA on the chopping block

OLYMPIA – A state agency with roots in Spokane’s 1980s push to attract more high-tech jobs to the region would be eliminated under legislation approved this week by the House.

Innovate Washington would cease to exist and its Riverpoint building, leases on other office space in the area, reports and even furniture would be turned over to Washington State University under a bill that passed Thursday evening on an 88-9 vote… .

To read the rest of this item, or to comment, continue inside the blog.

 

EWU bass fishing team holds on to finish fourth in college nationals

TOURNAMENT FISHING — The Eastern Washington University bass fishing team placed fourth in today's finals of the 2013 Carhartt College Series National Championship, missing first place by more than 8 pounds of fish, but earning a berth to another select national fishing tournament.

Nick Barr and Jarred Walker of EWUcaught five fish totaling 9 pounds 4 ounces today at Lake Chatuge near Young Harris, Ga., to end the event with a three-day total of 14 fish weighing 34 pounds 8 ounces.

Jacob Nummy and Tom Frink of Auburn University-Montgomery won the championship with a total of 15 fish weighing 43 pounds 3 ounces.

The team from EWU was the farthest from home at Chatuge, adding to the amazement locals with their first-day performance to take the lead among 64 teams with 19 pounds, 4 ounces of fish  — almost 6 pounds ahead of the field. 

On Day 2, Barr and Walker had a drought, catching only four fish totaling 6 pounds.  Competing with the five finalist teams on Day 3, EWU did only slightly better, but held on to fourth place overall.

The top four teams qualify for the Carhartt Bassmaster College Bracket Championship, the winner of which will earn a spot in the 2014 Bassmaster Classic set for February on Alabama’s Lake Guntersville.

EWU bass team fishing for top spot in national championship

TOURNAMENT FISHING — Nick Barr and Jarred Walker of Eastern Washington University are in third place among 64 teams after the second day of fishing in the 2013 Carhartt College Series National Championship at Chatuge Reservoir near Young Harris, Ga.

Barr and Walker had jumped to a commanding lead on Day 1, tanking five fish for 19 pounds 4 ounces — almost six pounds ahead of the field.  

Today the EWU anglers had a drought, catching only four fish totaling 6 pounds.

But they're solidly in third place, 6 pounds behind the leaders and local favorites from Auburn University-Montgomery, and they've made the cut for the top five teams heading into the final day of fishing to determine the championship on Saturday.

Read on for a BASS report from the tournament quoting Barr and Walker after EWU's first-day performance, which left locals stunned.

America’s least exciting college town?

See Saturday's Slice column.

www.epodunk.com

Actually, in the time-honored spirit of promo-writing, that's a bit misleading. There won't be a rip-roaring discussion of whether or not the answer is "Yes."

It's just a question. But you can answer it, and then we can have a rip-roaring discussion in a subsequent column. 

EWU student wins Othello Sandhill Crane Festival art contest

WILDLIFE WATCHING — A graphic design student at Eastern Washington University has captured the grace of the Othello Sandhill Crane Festival's featured attraction in artwork that has won the $500 top prize in the festival's annual art contest.

Xengyeng Xiong's computer-generated design, inspired by traditional origami cranes, will be featured on brochures and posters for the April 5-7 festival based out of Othello.

“I knew that one of (the committee’s) main goals was to attract a wide range of audience, so I wanted to make the poster modern…that’s how I ended up with a very geometric and clean layout design for the poster,” she said.

Biologists, geologists, birders, local farmers, authors, and historians will be leading tours and lectures at the annual event, which highlights the annual migration of the large cranes through the area.

The theme for this year’s festival will be “Migration” in honor of the dozens of bird species that travel through central Washington every spring and fall.

The Othello Sandhill Crane Festival is a nonprofit event chaired by an all-volunteer committee, and proceeds generated by the event go toward providing the following year’s festival activities.

Today’s highlights

Austin Long and his mother, Ann Long, are both graduating from Eastern Washington University this Saturday. SR photo/Dan Pelle

Once again we have a lot of good stuff for you in today's Valley Voice. Reporter Pia Hallenberg has a story on mothers graduating from Eastern Washington University at the same time as their children, including former Central Valley School District board member Ann Long. She and her son Austin will graduate this weekend.

The Spokane Valley City Council has decided to move forward with a zone change request without requiring an agreement that would mitigate the impacts of an apartment complex surrounded by single family homes. The zone change on Conklin is strongly opposed by neighbors and the city's planning commission has recommended the negotiation of a development agreement to increase buffering and limit density.

Reporter Lisa Leinberger has several stories today, beginning with fifth grade students at Opportunity Elementary School who recently participated in their annual congressional hearings. Students learn about the Constitution and their roles in society.

Lisa has details on schedule changes coming up this fall in the East Valley School District. Elementary school will start later and CCS students will now be bused directly to their school. She also put together a list of where children can get free meals during the summer.  

Survival classes offered at EWU

OUTDOOR LEARNING – A pair of two-day survival courses, involving a classroom session and a field day, are being offered in July at Eastern Washington University.

The courses, Primitive Survival and Outdoor Survival Skills, each pack a weekend with instruction and practice at building survival shelters, lighting a fire in various conditions, purifying water and traveling using basic navigation techniques.

The courses, which are offered with or without college credic, will be taught by Paul Green, a former Air Force survival instructor and professor of outdoor recreation at EWU.

Registration is due by Friday.

Info: 359-7097

EWU outdoor gear auction starts Friday

OUTDOOR SPORTS — Eastern Washington Univeristy outdoors enthusiasts are pooling outdoor gear for sale and bidding this week.   Check it out.

FUN IN THE SUN SALE

APRIL 13TH, APRIL 14TH 2012

120 G ST. CHENEY, WA. 99004

FRIDAY APRIL 13TH, 2012, 8AM-4:30PM

SATURDAY APRIL 14TH, 8AM-4:30PM

Bids taken & some pre-priced items

SOLD at this time

BID PICKUP & Sale of Pre-Priced Items

THURSDAY, APRIL 19TH, 2012

8AM-4:00PM

ITEMS OF INTEREST

KAYAKSSNOW SHOESCROSS COUNTRY SKIS,

XC SKI BOOTSWHITEWATER RAFTS AND MORE.

FOR PHOTOS:

http://sites.ewu.edu/surplus/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/ewusurplus/

EMAIL: SURPLUS@ EWU.EDU

 (509) 359-7377 (FLOYD CLOKE) 

Suspected peeper arrested in Cheney

A man with unzipped pants was arrested on suspicion of voyeurism following witness reports that he was spying on young women in Cheney late Friday.

Police responded to the 500 block of Clay Street about 10:45 p.m. Friday, where an Eastern Washington University student said she arrived home to find a man looking into her apartment window.

The woman told officers she'd seen the same man looking into her neighbor's window last week. Police didn't find anyone, but they were called back to the apartment about 11:30 p.m. on reports the same man had returned. A witness told police the man said he was getting fresh air and walked away.

Police didn't locate anyone, but officers responded to the apartments again about 12:52 a.m. after hearing reports the man's vehicle was seen driving by. They stopped the dark Hyundai SUV and identified the driver as Richard Michael Wallingford, Jr., 37, who matched the description of the peeper provided by the victims.

Wallingford's pants were unzipped when he exited the SUV, police said. Two women identified Wallingford as the man who was looking in windows.

Wallingford left jail on $7,500 bond over the week. He appeared in Superior Court today on three counts of voyeurism, where he was given an arraignment date of Feb. 22.
  

Area women’s basketball teams look to rebound after tough week

June Daugherty summed it up quite simply.

“We have to be able to rebound,” the Washington State women’s basketball coach said in a press conference Tuesday afternoon.

Daughtery was speaking literally, of course, about rebounding in order to get more looks at second and third shots in an effort to jumpstart the Cougars’offense – which has been out of sync and is still adjusting after losing guard Ireti Amojo, a key component to WSU’s offense.  

It’s not just the Cougars that need to rebound, however. After last week, all area Division I women’s basketball teams are looking to bounce back from losses – some more surprising than others. Read on for the rest of my unedited area college women's basketball notebook, which will run in tomorrow's paper.

Holiday kiosk in River Park Square features EWU items and keepsakes

Starting this week and running through Jan. 1, Eastern Washington University Foundation is running a kiosk in River Park Square to sell Eagles items.

The third floor kiosk features  sweatshirts, sweatpants, youth T-shirts, infant items, license plate frames, and other items.
 
"Our alumni and fans have asked us for more accessibility to EWU gear," said Mike Westfall, executive director of the EWU Foundation.
 
The kiosk will operate Monday through Saturday.

Cowles Co., which operates The Spokesman-Review, also owns and manages River Park Square.

Wild Moose Chase Trail Run debuts at Mount Spokane

OUTDOOR FITNESS — A new event, the Wild Moose Chase Trail Run, debuts Sept. 24 at Mount Spokane State Park, with 5k, 10k and 25k courses start from Selkirk Lodge.
 
The event is organized by Eastern Washington University physical therapy students.
 
"We think this race will be a spectacular opportunity for folks to enjoy being outdoors with their families in one of the greatest places Spokane has to offer — the beautiful Mount Spokane State Park in the fall," said
Meghan Faulkenberry, race director.
 
The 25k event starts at 9 a.m. followed by the other events, the last of which is the family-friendly 5K starting at 10:15. The runs head out on loops over the cross-country ski trails.
 
Register through Active.com before Wednesday (Sept. 14) to avoid a late fee or visit the race website, http://www.wildmoosechasetrailrun.com for a mail-in registration.
 
Day of race registration is also available, with a $5 late fee and no guarantee of a shirt.
 
Group awards and overall awards for participants are planned, as well as sponsor giveaways.

WA Lege Day 40: EWU Eagles honored

OLYMPIA— With a resolution that read like a sports page account of their come-from-behind Division I football championship win, the Senate honored the Eastern Washington University Eagles during this morning's session.

Members of the team held the NCAA trophy high and stood with EWU President Rodolfo Arevalo in the Senate and later the House galleries as both chambers applauded.

The Eagles' Jan. 7 victory even gave state Sen. Mark Schoesler, R-Ritzville, whose district includes the Cheney campus, a chance for a political dig. Arevalo was so calm during the game compared to the most noticeable fan for the University of Delaware, Vice President Joe Biden, who was cheering wildly for the Fightin' Blue Hens, Schoesler said.

At the end of the game, Arevalo was able to do "what everly conservative political pundit would like to do, quiet the vice president," Schoesler said.

With the Blue Hens up 19-0 late in the third quarter, many Eagle fans probably turned their televisions off. The number who will admit that in the future will probably be small, he added.

Over in the House, players and university officials shared the gallery with members of the highly decorated 442nd Regimental Combat Team, a World War II unit made up of Japanese Americans, and survivors of the Japanese internments who were honored on "Remembrance Day."

To read the resolution, click here.

Blanchette: Eagles Never Blinked

EWU wide receiver Brandon Kaufman stretches out in a full dive to get across the goal line and score on a two yard pass from quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell. The play earned EWU their first touchdown enroute to a 20-19 win in the National Championship game against Delaware in Frisco, Texas on Friday. (SR photo: Christopher Anderson)

“This game wouldn’t be right if this didn’t happen,” said quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell, “if we didn’t go down 19-0 and have to make a comeback.” Not just 19-0, but 19-0 with less than 19 minutes to play and no indication that the Eagles would ever get anything going. At that point – with three minutes left in the third quarter – they still had fewer than 100 yards of offense. Delaware had gashed EWU’s defense at will. There was no spark, no tempo, no pulse. So rosy were things for the Blue Hens that spectator Joe Biden, undistinguished as a Delaware undergrad but now our vice president, could probably even envision re-election in two years/John Blanchette, SR. More here. And: Eagles are national champs/Steve Bergum. And: 39 photos of the game/SR photos.

Question: Did you really think the Eagles were going to come back from their 19-0 deficit with 19 minutes to go?

Suspect arrested in EWU recruit’s murder

KENT, Wash. (AP) — Police say a suspect in a fatal Halloween shooting in Kent has an extensive criminal history.

The 20-year-old Auburn man was caught Tuesday night after detectives got a tip, followed a car and chased down a passenger who tried to run away. A police dog tracked him to a convenience store where he was arrested.

The man is jailed for investigation of murder in the killing 18-year-old Devin Topps on Oct. 31 outside a house party.

Topps graduated from Kentridge High School and had signed a letter of intent to play football for Eastern Washington University
  

Past coverage:

Nov. 2: EWU football recruit shot to death

EWU vs. Seattle University

Get Adobe Flash player
Slideshow: EWU wins 95-91 over Seattle University in Cheney Dec. 15, 2010

Fire starter for the future?

OUTDOOR NEWS — Linsey, a student from Eastern Washington University, has been job-shadowing me today, and she’s been asking a lot of good questions about the Outdoors beat and about newspapers in general.

“Will there be newspapers around in 10 years?” she asked as we were wrapping up her day in the day in the life of an outdoor writer.

“I don’t know the answer,” I told her honestly.  “But it seems as though there will always be a need for fire starter, fish wrap and bird cage liner.”

“There’s probably an ap for that,” she said. 

ISAGA bringing gamers, academics and industry folks to EWU

Are you ready for the gamepocalypse? Or is this much ado about nothing?

A number of lifestyle experts say we’re moving in the direction of the transformation of much of our everyday activity into some form of online game environment. Some don’t like it, and call that gamepocalpyse. Others say it’s a welcome change and will make education and business activity more productive.

Advocates say (on CNN for instance) that the more we connect with others, even in mundane ways, the more gamelike and the more collaborative our activity becomes.

Does that theory provide the perfect backdrop for understanding the popularity of geolocation application Foursquare, for instance.

Next month you can sink your teeth into this topic and many others.   Eastern Washington University’s Riverpoint Campus will provide the location for the 41st International Simulation and Gaming Conference July 5-9, presented by ISAGA.

ISAGA (International Simulation and Gaming Association) is the group that brings together industry, academics and gamers under one tent, to look at how gaming (not gambling) can be used as more than simple recreation.

ISAGA holds a conference yearly. This is the first time it’s been anywhere near Eastern Washington. For more information, go to its site.

Graphic of the Day

Switch out the plastic for something less drastic.

The below image comes from Erika Vela, a student at Eastern Washington University. Erika contacted us saying that she and some fellow classmates were working on a project on Plastic Bag awareness. The project, for her ITGS 400 Journeys in Leadership capstone course, was described to us as, “informing society about the negative impacts of using plastic bags by providing facts and statistics for how much plastic bags are used, the impact on the environment, and ways we can minimize the consumption of plastic bags using taxing on the bags, encouraging people to use canvas bags, and recycling.”

Seeing how DTE are not only proud alums of EWU, but also proud alums of this particular leadership course, we’re pleased to help Erika and her class spread the word!


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Eastern Washington University budget cuts….

On the heels of a very similar post I wrote yesterday re: Washington State University’s budget cuts, here’s a closer look at the legislature’s proposals for Eastern Washington University.

The short form: It’s not as bad as it sounds.

“We are looking at an 18.5 to 22 percent reduction in funding,” EWU President Rodolfo Arévalo told the Spokesman-Review’s Kevin Graman yesterday.

Arevalo’s right, in terms of the state’s proposed contribution to the university’s budget. But fortunately for Eastern staffers and students, that’s not the whole picture.

Eastern’s current two-year budget is about $239 million. The state estimates that keeping the same programs, payroll, services etc. for the next two years would cost about $249 million. Salaries tend to rise, as do health care costs. Stuff costs more.

Eastern gets about half its money from the state treasury. And it’s true that lawmakers want to dramatically shrink their contribution to colleges during the current budget crisis. If this was a normal year, the state would pay $124 million to maintain current programs at Eastern. Instead, the Senate is proposing shaving $28 million from that.

Yikes.

And lawmakers are also assuming some pretty dramatic savings at Eastern: an 11 percent cut in administration, a 12 percent cut in non-instructional costs like libraries, groundskeeping, etc. (Those two cuts total about $10 million.)

But here’s some better news, at least for staffers: state budget writers say that a 7 percent tuition increase over the next two years would add nearly $9 million more to the college’s budget. For students, this works out to $306 a year more.

A little more good news: the federal government is expected to send Eastern another nearly $6 million in stimulus dollars.

Net result: Even after the Senate’s 18.5 percent cut in state support, Eastern’s total budget would be $235 million, instead of the $249 million maintenance-level budget.

To look at it another way, the budget for the next two years would be $4 million — or 1.6 percent — less than the last budget was.

As for students: yeah, 7 percent to 10 percent is a pretty big tuition hike. Some college officials argue that the boost would be offset by increases — particularly at the federal level — in financial aid, as well as federal tax breaks. Here’s a chart compiled by the University of Washington’s budget folks which maintains that for students from families with an income of $160,000 or less wouldn’t pay anything more even under a 14 percent tuition hike at UW (which means $875 more a year).

If you want to run the Eastern budget numbers yourself, here’s the Senate plan (see page 179). And here’s the House version (see page 186), which takes a deeper bite but would boost tuition 10 percent to offset it, with a virtually identical net result.

 

Eastern Washington University’s turn: what deep budget cuts would mean…

From tomorrow’s print paper:

OLYMPIA _ When he took over as acting president of Eastern Washington University, John Mason was given a sign for his office.

“Thou shalt not whine,” it reads.

On Wednesday, Mason mostly stuck to that commandment, even as he described how proposed state budget cuts would affect the school and its students.

“I’ve been telling everyone at Eastern Washington University that there is no part of the university that will not be impacted,” he said.

Under the budget proposed by Gov. Chris Gregoire in December, Eastern estimates that its state funding would drop about $17 million, which is about 14 percent.

Since state revenues have continued to fall below expectations, the Senate has also asked the school to show what it would do in the face of a $25 million – or 20 percent – budget cut.

Trying to write a budget that copes with a budget shortfall of at least $6 billion, lawmakers this week held hearings to find out how officials at each state college would handle deep cuts. No final budget decisions are likely, however, until at least April.

“None of us love the cards we’ve been dealt,” said Sen. Derek Kilmer, D-Gig Harbor. “We have control over how we play them.”

Under either budget scenario, Mason said, “we will see a reduction in jobs. There is no way that will not happen.”

How many? A minimum of 150 to 225, he said. And those figures assume a 7 percent tuition hike this year and next.

Mason said Eastern would try to protect teaching and learning, but that fallout is inevitable. The

Eastern Washington University: how would it handle deep budget cuts?

A day after Washington State University started to reveal its plans for handling proposed deep budget cuts, it’s time for another local school to do the same.

Late this afternoon in the Senate’s higher education committee, Eastern Washington University will detail how it would be affected.

In December, Gov. Chris Gregoire called for deep cuts to higher education spending as part of a broad plan to deal with a budget shortfall then estimated at $5.7 billion over the next two years. The Senate, worried about continuing erosion in state revenues, has asked the universities to model what it would look like to take cuts that are 50 percent larger than what Gregoire called for.

Yesterday, officials from both WSU and UW laid out their general plans under such cuts. Both are clearly expecting to raise tuition at least 7 percent over each of the next two years. Both predicted a drop in the number of expected student enrollments. And both said that while they would try to shield instructional programs from the brunt of the cuts, support services and administration would be cut deeply, and instructional fallout would be inevitable. UW President Mark Emmert suggested that it might take students 1-2 more quarters to get the courses they need to graduate.

Another Green Monday

We’re excited. There’s a bit more daylight each day. There’s news of the work being done to remake our nation. There’s hope but not without a realization of sacrifice. Perhaps Obama best described it best last Tuesday when he said we cannot “consume the world’s resources without regard to effect.” Here are some noteworthy stories, local and national, you may have missed:

March Madness starting early on the campus of Eastern Washington University. Though Eastern’s basketball team is pretty good this year and has a shot at making the Big Dance (gloats two proud EWU alumnus) the sort of madness we are talking about here is RecycleMania, a 10-week competition that pits colleges and universities in a nationwide contest to see who can reduce, reuse and recycle the most campus waste.  Last years winner, Kalamazoo College in Michigan, recycled 59 percent of its trash - based on a per capita scale - and will defend its title against over 200 colleges and universities across the country.  Read more about RecycleMania in EWU’s student newspaper, The Easterner, HERE.  

Who’s protecting the Spokane River?  Defending and supporting the Spokane River often feels like trying to explain to people why you drive a dilapidated vehicle - though it likely has deeper meanings to you, they don’t get it and to them it’s a piece of junk.  And only when someone who can relate to your story hears it do you feel validated.  The Spokane River is a dirty river.  The Spokane River has been a dirty river for a long time.  And if it weren’t for people like Rick Eichstaedt with the Center for Justice, the Spokane River would likely be doomed for a disastrous future.  In light of recent wastewater treatment issues surrounding the Spokane River, Spokane journalist extraordinaire and Center for Justice’s Communications Director Tim Connor interviewed Rick about how we got here and where we are going.  It’s a fascinating interview and if you’re the driver of a dilapidated vehicle, a must read.  Check it out HERE.  And then read through some other Spokane River news in the Center for Justice’s “Justice Calling Newsletter.”

Change has come to the Sierra Club as well.  Carl Pope, the Executive Director of the Sierra Club since 1992, is stepping down from that title to take on a new role as a chairman for a Sierra Club organization with a focus on climate change.  A predecessor has not been found and Pope will stay on as Executive Director until so.  Under Pope, the Sierra Club enjoyed a nearly quarter-million increase in membership while increasing its visibility and role in protecting millions of acres of wilderness.  DTE became members under Pope and will always remember the increasing pressure applied on former President Bush’s careless actions towards wilderness and the environment - all the way up to the day he left office.  Read more from The New York Times HERE. 


Cannon Hill park photo courtesy of Historic Spokane.

Big stormwater proposal eases Spokane River pollution. A story in the Spokesman-Review should definitely garner much attention today for South Hill residents. It’s about a stormwater runoff resolution that will change the landscape, diverting three blocks of excess into a subterranean trench on the west side of Cannon Hill Park near Lincoln Street, keeping pollution out of the river. The collection area model has worked well in other cities but hasn’t been tried in Spokane. Neighborhood council Chairman Dennis Anderson said the idea has won support because “it’s a win-win situation from an ecological point of view.” A resolution endorsing the proposal goes before the City Council during its 6 p.m. meeting tonight. More