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Names of newly discovered soil viruses contain veiled `Zags references

Biology students at Gonzaga University participating in a national genomic research project managed to tuck a couple Zag Nation references into the names of newly discovered soil viruses.

"GUmbie" and "Spike509" now are the scientifically recognized names for two of the six viruses, known as mycobacterial phages, that Gonzaga students discovered and conducted DNA analysis on as part of a multi-year research project involving about 70 universities. Overall, the consortium found and researched 627 phages that infect soil, according to the university.

The findings were published last month in the scientific journal eLife, with Gonzaga getting a mention in the acknowledgements section toward the end. The research effort was organized by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.


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.

Panel tackles wolf issues Thursday at Gonzaga

ENDANGERED SPECIES —Six panelists with different viewpoints will speak on the revival of wolves in the Northwest during a program tonight, 7 p.m., at Gonzaga University’s Jepson Center, Wolff Auditorium, 502 E. Boone Ave.

Moderated by Rich Landers, Outdoors editor at The Spokesman-Review, the discussion about the merits and woes of wolf reintroduction will range from the perspectives of a hunter, cattleman, wildlife biologist, philosopher, conservationist and ethicist.

The audience will be invited to submit questions.

The program is sponsored by Humanities Washington and organized by the Spokane County Library District.

Gonzaga wins injunction against Daiquiri Factory

Gonzaga University won a legal victory this week over the owner of a now-shuttered controversial downtown bar that was illegally using the school's trademarks.

U.S. District Court Judge Lonny Suko entered a permanent injunction Thursday barring Jamie Pendleton, owner of the Downtown Spokane Daiquiri Factory, from using the school's trademarks in future promotions for the bar. Suko entered the decision after the parties presented arguments at an hour-long hearing in Yakima last month.

Suko had previously ruled that Pendleton violated the Lanham Act, the federal law that enumerates trademark rights, when he appropriated Gonzaga's bulldog mascot and other university materials in promotions for the bar during the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament last March. Pendleton argued that the trademarks in question were not currently registered with the U.S. Patent Office, but Suko found that there was still evidence people might mistakenly believe Gonzaga had given Pendleton its blessing to use its trademarks.

Gonzaga sued Pendleton in April, following months of protests over one of the bar's drinks called "Date Grape Kool-Aid." The drink name was later changed, but Pendleton's landlords successfully maneuvered to evict him last summer. Pendleton is currently appeal that decision to the Washington District III Court of Appeals. A hearing date has not been set in that case, but Pendleton has been given a deadline of later this month to lay his case before the court.

The bar's Facebook page has become active once again, where many of the arguments about the drink's name took place. A grinning Pendleton can be seen in one photo sitting on the bar's chairs, with promises the business would reopen this year. Another post has a link to the bar's appeal of its eviction, a 50-page document that can be read here.

Thursday's ruling effectively closes the books on Gonzaga's case against Pendleton. The school did not seek monetary damages from Pendleton. Another trademark case, brought by an Atlanta bar that also calls itself The Daiquiri Factory, will also be heard by Suko. That case remains open in federal court with no hearing date set, but the Spokane attorney representing the Atlanta bar requested to be removed from the case Friday, calling his relationship with the plaintiff "untenable."


Few tops list of best-paid private university employees in Pacific Northwest

Gonzaga men’s basketball coach Mark Few tops the latest list of highest-paid private university employees for the Pacific Northwest region at over $1.2 million per year.

Few, who last month was named the nation's best college basketball coach for the money by Forbes magazine, earned a base salary of $950,654 in 2012, according to a Chronicle of Higher Education survey released Sunday. Other annual compensation cited in the survey included bonus pay of $186,823, deferred compensation of $21,250, non-taxable benefits of $17,574 and $73,302 in other perks.

The survey examined total compensation levels for executives and other highly paid employees at 497 private nonprofit colleges and universities nationwide during the 2012 calendar year, which was the latest year for which complete figures were available for all schools. Researchers relied primarily on publicly accessible IRS disclosures that nonprofit organizations must file to retain their tax-exempt status.

Here’s the total compensation levels cited for the Spokane-area’s two private universities:


  • Men’s basketball coach Mark Few: $1.2 million.
  • Former women’s basketball coach Kelly Graves: $438,388.
  • President Thayne McCulloh: $373,841.
  • Executive VP Earl Martin: $296,042.
  • Academic VP Patricia Killen: $280,851.
  • Athletic Director Michael Roth: $278,806.
  • Law School Dean Jane Korn: $262,417.
  • VP Finance Charles Murphy: $241,139.
  • Corp. Council Michael Casey: $239,826.
  • Senior VP Margot Stanfield: $235,511.
  • Business school Dean Clarance Barnes: $227,333.
  • Florence campus Dean John Burke: $226,812.
  • VP Joseph Poss: $212,090.

Whitworth University

  • University President Beck Taylor: $316,192.
  • VP Scott McQuilken: $234,800.
  • CFO Brian Benzel: $172,340.
  • Prof. Dennis Sterner: $146,712.
  • Library Dir. Hans Bynagle: $145,342.
  • Prof. Barbara Sanders: $143,943.
  • VP Kathlee Storm: $138,594.

University officials say some of the total annual compensation figures may have been inflated by programs that enable employee family members to attend the college without paying tuition. The value of the waived tuition, in those cases, often is added to the employee's annual compensation calculations, particularly at Whitworth.

If you want to compare how top compensation at private universities compares to public institutions, you could:

Daiquiri Factory owner: Zags appear frequently in bar ads

Editor's note: A previous version of this blog post incorrectly reported the claims Gonzaga was making against Jamie Pendleton. The post has been updated to correct those reporter errors.

The owner of the long-shuttered Downtown Daiquiri Factory is continuing his fight against Gonzaga University, arguing several area bars use the school's trademarks in their advertisements without penalty.

The attorney for Jamie Pendleton, whose controversial business closed its doors in June, responded to the school's request for an injunction this week by filing multiple examples of the school's familiar bulldog mascot and Zags logo in social media postings for bars around town, mostly in the neighborhoods surrounding the Catholic college.

Gonzaga sued for alleged trademark infringement in April, saying the bar that infamously named one of its cocktails "Date Grape Kool-Aid" created confusion by featuring the bulldog mascot and logo in several of its promotions. The bar changed the drink's name a few weeks after opening in response to public outcry.

A federal judge agreed with Gonzaga, ruling in September that confusion could occur and ordering Pendleton to cease using the mascot and logo in promotions. The point was largely moot at the time, as the business had lost a rent battle with the owner of its downtown office space earlier in the summer and ceased operations.

The fight now is over how much damage was caused by Pendleton's use of the logo and mascots in what's known as an unfair competition claim and who should pay the legal fees for the trademark proceedings. John Pierce, Pendleton's attorney, said the school is requesting unreasonable actions from his client and that finding in favor of the school would "unconstitutionally (limit) a person's right to free speech."

Legal filings show multiple bars, and potential competitors of the Daiquiri Factory's, using "Spike" the bulldog, photos of the men's basketball team and references to the "Zags" in promotions.

"Other similar cases have found the use of collegiate marks by local businesses as part of their trade names is an old and venerable tradition," Pierce wrote in his rebuttal to the university.

The next hearing in the case is scheduled in Yakima for early next month, according to court records.

Gonzaga ranked in top 10 colleges — for skiers!

WINTERSPORTS — In addition to the weekly diet of national ratings for basketball teams, Gonzaga University this week has made a list of top 10 colleges for students and their quest for "higher shreducation."

Holy sitz-mark!

The list has been posted by Freeskier Magazine in a story that evaluates colleges based on 16 factors, including distance to winter resorts, number of resorts within 100 miles, average annual snowfall of closest resort, transportation offerings, number of ski movies on campus and number of courses related to snow.

Some emphasis also is afforded to normal education advantages in the criteria, including percent of students winning grant aid, professor-student ratio and graduation rate.

Accounting for the tight ranking with Montana State University in Bozeman was the the Zags' ability to score in the relatively exclusive category titled "Is Weed Legal?"

Says the magazine:

Gonzaga University, home to the Bulldogs, is a private Roman Catholic university located in Spokane, Washington, on the southern edge of the rugged Selkirk Mountains. While Spokane only receives an average of 11 inches of annual snowfall, Mount Spokane, a mere 26 mile distance away, receives 300-plus, and resorts like Schweitzer, Lookout Pass, Silver Mountain and 49 Degrees North are all within driving distance.

The survey appears to be a snub at Eastern Washington University, where the money students save on tuition would allow them to buy season passes at all the nearby resorts, including Schweitzer.

But Western Washington University proudly represents Washington state schools on the list, boosted by the prolific snowfall at nearby Mount Baker.

The No. 1 school for skiers received this glowing review:

The University of Utah is the undisputed king of ski colleges. Located in Salt Lake City, almost every ski area in the state is located within 100-miles, each of which offer up Utah’s abundant, bone-dry snow. The closest resort—Snowbird—is a quick 16-mile drive up Little Cottonwood Canyon, so if you schedule your classes right, you can be nipple deep all morning and still make it back in time for Biology 101.

Here's the full list:

  1. University of Utah
  2. Sierra Nevada College
  3.  University of Colorado at Boulder
  4. Westminster College
  5. University of Alaska Anchorage
  6. Montana State University
  7. Gonzaga University
  8. University of Nevada Reno
  9. Western Washington University
  10. University of Denver

How hard was it to haul out the rocks where new Ruby apartments will be?

Who is the guy brave enough to take a chance on developing the rocky one acre plot just along Ruby Street, near Gonzaga University? He's David Schneider, a developer out of Southern California. He and partners (not identified) are working on a 60-unit Ruby Apartments project at 940 N. Ruby, just on the west edge of Gonzaga University's campus.

Schneider won't say how much he paid for the acre, or how much he's spent so far removing the huge piles of basalt on that site.

He said that up to now most Spokane city officials thought the site was undevelopable, due to the rock.

"We spent a lot on the (blasting and removal of) rock," Schneider said.

Plans are to have the construction start in the spring, with occupancy planned in mid 2016.

Here is today's business section story about the project.Map by SR graphic artist Molly Quinn


Shannon Stiltner responds to Zags tickets complaint

The girlfriend of convicted Ponzi scheme artist Greg Jeffreys said she's fulfilling court-ordered restitution and denied victimizing anyone in a response filed in federal court over the weekend.

The U.S. Attorney's Office for Eastern Washington filed a motion last week after it came to light Shannon Stiltner, who spent seven months in federal prison after pleading guilty to misprision of a felony for her role in Jeffreys' scams, had received a cash gift of $2,700 from her mother that she used to buy Gonzaga men's basketball tickets for the upcoming season. U.S. Assistant Attorney Sean McLaughlin called the purchase "a slap in the face" to the two named victims in court documents owed a little more than $58,000 in restitution.

In rebuttal, Stiltner's attorney John B. McEntire IV called the motion, which would require all cash gifts received by Stiltner to be given to the debtors until they've been repaid in full, "awfully aggressive."

"Before receiving the $2,700 cash gift from her mother for the Gonzaga tickets, Ms. Stiltner contacted her supervising probation officer to explain the situation and seek advice. Ms. Stiltner’s supervising probation officer "staffed" the issue with her supervisor, who ultimately concluded that so long as Ms. Stiltner contributed 10% of this one-time cash gift ($270) towards her restitution obligation, then she would be fully compliant with the Court’s restitution order. "

- John B. McEntire IV
Response to United States' motion

McEntire said that Stiltner paid $270 of her own money in order to receive the cash gift and pay for the Zags tickets.

In support of the motion, McEntire writes that Stiltner is making restitution payments to victims of Jeffreys' scams, not her own. When pleading guilty to charges, Stiltner admitted only that she knowingly kept herself from learning that Jeffreys was involved in fraud, not that she actively participated in his schemes.

"Nowhere did Ms. Stiltner ever admit knowing that Mr. Jeffreys was engaged in a scheme to defraud investors – because she did not," McEntire wrote.

Stiltner also argues that the government's request is not feasible, because it would require cash gifts of any amount to be turned over to the two named victims.

"Or let’s say, as another example, that Ms. Stiltner forgets her wallet and her friend offers to buy her lunch," McEntire wrote. "Under these circumstances, Ms. Stiltner could not accept the $8 or $11-dollar gift for lunch."

U.S. District Judge Rosanna M. Peterson will decide whether Stiltner's restitution order should be changed. No oral argument has been scheduled, and Peterson could rule as early as this week.

Films celebrate 50 years of wilderness Thursday

PUBLIC LANDS  –  A free mini-film festival celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act is traveling through the Inland Northwest this summer.

The beauty, history and adventure of wilderness areas, the highest level of protection offered for America’s public lands, is featured in 10 short films totaling just over an hour of entertainment suited to all ages.  Screenings still to come include:

  • Spokane – Mountain Gear Store, 2002 N. Division, 6:30 p.m., Thursday, June 26.
  • Metaline Falls – Cutter Theater, 7:30 p.m., June 27.
  • Colville – Rendezvous Theater, 7 p.m., Sept. 25.

Films include: American Values – American Wilderness, Last Light, Sage Steppe, North Cascades Wilderness Ranger, and a production by Gonzaga senior students highlighting the Salmo-Priest Wilderness in northeastern Washington.

The films are being presented by Colville National Forest District Ranger Gayne Sears and partners from the Lands Council or Kettle Range Conservation Group, who will answer questions and hand out door prizes.

Info: Gayne Sears, (509) 447-7300.

Film fest celebrates 50 years of wilderness

PUBLIC LANDS  –  A free mini-film festival celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act is traveling through the Inland Northwest this summer.

The beauty, history and adventure of wilderness areas, the highest level of protection offered for America’s public lands, is featured in 10 short films totaling just over an hour of entertainment suited to all ages.  Screenings include:

  • Newport – Roxy Theater, 7:30 p.m., Thursday.  June 19 
  • Spokane – Mountain Gear Store, 2002 N. Division, 6:30 p.m., June 26.
  • Metaline Falls – Cutter Theater, 7:30 p.m., June 27.
  • Colville – Rendezvous Theater, 7 p.m., Sept. 25.

Films include: American Values – American Wilderness, Last Light, Sage Steppe, North Cascades Wilderness Ranger, and a production by Gonzaga senior students highlighting the Salmo-Priest Wilderness in northeastern Washington.

The films are being presented by Colville National Forest District Ranger Gayne Sears and partners from the Lands Council or Kettle Range Conservation Group, who will answer questions and hand out door prizes.

Info: Gayne Sears, (509) 447-7300.

GU students go wild in Salmo-Priest film

WILDERNESS –An short film about the 43,348-acre Salmo-Priest Wilderness produced by the Friends of the Salmo-Priest will be shown with another film in a free event on Wednesday April 30, 7 p.m.,  at the Gonzaga University Jepson Center’s Wolff Auditorium.

The friends group, led by GU students, is observing the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act and the 30th anniversary of the Salmo-Priest Wilderness Area that straddles the Washington-Idaho border against the U.S.-Canada border.

The student film will be paired with “Wild by Law: The Rise of Environmentalism and the Creation of the Wilderness Act,” a 1991 documentary that was nominated in the Academy Awards for Best Documentary Feature.

  • Gayne Sears, Colville National Forest district ranger, will discuss wilderness in the Pacific Northwest.

Tucked among the Selkirk Mountains in the far northeastern corner of Washington, the U-shaped Salmo-Priest Wilderness extends its borders along those of Idaho and British Columbia. Its most prominent features are two very long ridges, generally running southwest to northeast, connected near their northern ends by a ridge crowned by 6,828-foot Salmo Mountain. Water from the eastern ridge flows into Idaho’s Priest River while the remaining wilderness drains generally westerly via Sullivan Creek and the Salmo River into the Pend Oreille River. 

Economist Justin Wolfers dives through the data and finds who’s really happy

Here's a condensed version of tomorrow's story, about the visit by economist Justin Wolfers to Gonzaga University's econ symposium.

Rich people are happier than poor people, not just according to popular opinion. Wolfers has spent the past several years examining studies that support that claim, plus dozens of other measures that try to explain why some groups of people are happier than others.

Wolfers, 41, is one of the web’s best-known economists. Born in Australia, he’s now a U.S. citizen and has earned respect for his ability to summarize economic issues and relate them to everyday concerns.

Some of his takes:

  • Men in recent decades in America are happier than women. “No one knows exactly why,” Wolfers said. It may be that women have internalized several measures of success, more than the basic “am I popular” focus young women faced growing up in the 1960s, he said.
  • Young people are happier than middle-aged people, at least in most countries. The reason: raising a family and going through career advancement make life harder, he said.
  • Older people are generally happier than middle-aged people. That’s the flip side of the previous question; as people reach retirement they can start relaxing after raising children or concluding career goals.
  • In general not only are the rich happier than the poor, but globally, richer nations are happier than poorer one, Wolfers noted.
  • People who are married are happier than those who aren’t. But there’s some uncertainty why, Wolfers said.

“It could be that people who are generally happy to start with are those who get married more often,” he said.



McDonald’s building new drive-through restaurant near GU

McDonald’s Corp. will open a new restaurant this summer on property it purchased near Gonzaga University in north Spokane.


The Oak Brook, Ill., company bought two lots on the southwest corner of Augusta Avenue and Hamilton Street. It’s taking the corner lot last used by an oil lube business and a next-door residence, which will be torn down.


The restaurant, due to open in July, will be roughly 3,700 square feet with a two-lane drive through.


The company paid $170,000 for the residence at 818 E. Augusta, and $475,000 for the lube business property, at 826 E. Augusta. (Photo here is of the quick lube shop, from the Spokane County Assessor's page.)


Jeff Ottmar of Cornerstone Property Advisors represented McDonald’s. Steve Peterson of Coldwell Banker represented the property owners.

Gonzaga’s new Rod & Gun Club a bright idea

HUNTING/FISHING — Today's Outdoors column highlights the debut of the Gonzaga University Rod & Gun Club, founded by the Student Bar Association.

The legal angles of the organization were researched and negotiated for nearly two years by students and Law School professors before the club was launched last month.

I think membership would soar if it were opened to non-students, too.

 I'd quickly pay my dues for the opportunity to rub elbows with law students who might help me interpret the hunting and fishing regulations.

Environmental film, Fierce Green Fire, screens Monday at Gonzaga

ENVIRONMENT — The Gonzaga University Environmental Studies program is inviting the public to a free  discussion-stimulating presentation of the environmental film, “A Fierce Green Fire: The Battle for a Living Planet.”

The film will be screened at 5:30 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 4, at Jepson Center, Wolff Auditorium.

  • In Sandpoint, the film will be shown Nov. 15 at 7 p.m. at the Sandpoint Events Center, 102 S, Euclid Ave., sponsored by the Idaho Conservation League.

Shown at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival, the film explores 50 years of environmental activism, from conservation to climate change.

Director Mark Kitchell – whose previous film, Berkeley in the 60s, was nominated for an Academy Award – will lead discussions between film segments. 

The film unfolds in five acts, each with a central story and character:

  • David Brower and the Sierra Club’s battle to halt dams in the Grand Canyon.
  • Lois Gibbs and the Love Canal residents’ struggle against 20,000 tons of toxic chemicals.
  • Paul Watson and Greenpeace’s campaigns to save whales and baby harp seals.
  • Chico Mendes and Brazilian rubbertappers’ fight to save the Amazon rainforest.
  • Bill McKibben and the 25-year effort to address the impossible issue – climate change.

TVW to show Foley service live

TVW will show today's memorial service for former Speaker Tom Foley live on its cable system and on its web site.

The memorial service, which is open to the public, is scheduled to begin at 11 a.m. at St. Aloysius Church on Gonzaga University campus. Many of the state's current and former political leaders are scheduled to attend. The school is expecting an overflow crowd, so it will also broadcast the service live on a large screen in Martin Centre.

Mayor David Condon has ordered flags on all city buildings to be flown at half-staff to day in honor of Foley, and will present his widow Heather Foley with a proclamation honoring the former congressman and ambassador.

TVW is on cable channel 25 in Spokane. It will rebroadcast the service next week, including at 7 p.m. Monday

Kaplan Test Prep survey shows students and law schools both want change

Today's story, about plans at GU Law School to create a two-year accelerated program, had plenty of connections to the bigger picture. In particular, legal education is going through a period of intense self-scrutiny, as school administrators realize students don't want to spend three long years before getting out and competing for work.

We were reminded that the Kaplan Test Prep company recently did a survey of law school admissions officers. The key findings, which in this case are pretty obvious once one looks at the real world:

  • 78 percent of law school admissions officers think that “the U.S. legal education system needs to undergo significant changes to better prepare future attorneys for the changing employment landscape and legal profession.”
  • On this point, they agree with the vast majority of pre-law students (79 percent and recent law school graduates (87 percent) who answered the same way in June and August Kaplan surveys, respectively.
  • Near-term pessimism: 67 percent don’t think the steep,  three-year decline of law school applications will reverse itself in the 2013-2014 admissions cycle.

The pub empire grows larger, as the four partners plan to open ‘new’ Geno’s

Long live Geno's. After a brief stint as an upscale eatery, a fire of mysteriou9s origins this summer closed the north Spokane eatery.

The four guys who run several other food establishments will open the new Geno's within a month, and we wish them good luck.

Today's SR story provides the context and history of the group — who can claim to be the area's Neighborhood Pub Conglomerate.

Like it or not, Tom Quinn’s GU mural deserves its own website (and has it)

Tuesday's SR story about the mural taken off the wall of the former Bulldog tavern can be founder here: http://www.spokesman.com/stories/2013/aug/06/iconic-mural-in-need-of-wall/

Maybe lost in the story was the sidebar link to a cool website focusing on the mural: Loganmural.com.

Spokane resident and webmaster Mike Thompson created that site, which provides a key to the 40-some figures painted by artist and art instructor Tom Quinn.

Thompson runs Spokane web design firm Omni9.com.

Which big development project along north Division is this one?

A major project along north Division street will start later this year.

This aerial rendering, compliments of Spokane's Bernardo Wills Architects, shows the projected end result.

IF you know your Spokane development scenarios, you know exactly who's doing this multimillion dollar project.

If you don't, check Wednesday's Spokesman.com pages and the print edition of the SR to get the details.

This project will be major.

Where will the GU tennis and golf center be built? Due east of The Academy

Earlier in May The SR published an item about Gonzaga University beginning plans to build a $6 million tennis-golf center on the east edge of the Spokane campus. The story didn't provide a good map.

This photo, from Google Maps, will help locate where the center will go. It's expected to be built by late October of this year. The listed address for the project is 1220 N. Superior. But going by a map, that address doesn't show you where it will be.

The building marked by the Red "A" flag is the privately owned Academy senior center. The open field directly to the right (east) of the Academy is the general area of the 72,000-square-feet project, according to GU officials.

That open field, trapezoidal in shape, was purchased by Gonzaga in the past few years.

Mission Park's tennis courts are visible due north of the proposed site.

Memories of GU’s COG

Gonzaga University is bidding farewell Wednesday to the COG.. The COG was the university's central dining hall for 58 years. A new university center will be built in its place.

Sunday, I walked through the COG for the final time, snapped this cellphone photo of the outside, and memories filtered back from 1973-1974, my freshman year, when I ate three meals a day there.

The linoleum in the bathroom near the entrance is exactly the same linoleum. The cafeteria smell is the same. I peeked in the windows and the way the food was arranged looked different. We didn't have salad bars, for instance. One night a week — Saturday? — was steak night. Might have been just one Saturday a month.

People complained about COG food, but I loved it! And I gained the Freshman 15. It took until my junior year in Florence to walk it all away.

An open house is scheduled for GU community folks and alumni between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Wednesday. I can't make it, so I said my own goodbyes yesterday.

Overhaul begins on trails in Dishman Hills Natural Area

CONSERVATION — About 200 volunteers chipped in today to start a major revamping of the Dishman Hills Natural Area trail system.

Groups such as the Spokane Mountaineers and Gonzaga University student programs turned out in the Spokane Valley for the annual service day organized by the Dishman Hills Conservancy.

Regular trail users will soon notice a big difference as new trails are built to connect a series of four larger loops while some other trails, including sections of a few well-used ones, will be decommissioned.

The effort seeks to reduce the criss-crossing of trails and provide more resting areas for wildlife.

More signs will be posed as the project continues.

Other groups today planted hundreds of trees to reforest an area near the Camp Caro parking lot off Appleway and Sargent Road.

Dan Dickau used to be 6- foot, 3-inches. Maybe, but he’s downsized since then

After writing today's story about Dan Dickau opening his barber shop, The Barbers, up by the North Division Y, the only reservation we had is about the former Zag hoop star's listed height.

At his NBA page, Dan is listed at 6 foot 3, 180 pounds.

When I visited Dan at this shop, I was struck by his size. He's not 6-3 and not 180 anymore. Either he's lost weight and height, or those NBA stats were a bit inaccurate.

He does have large hands. He's a good addition, by the way, to Spokane's small business team. Welcome, Dan.

Photo: NBA.com

GU president reviewing decision on Catholic club

A month after Gonzaga University officials denied an all-male, all-Catholic student club official recognition as a student organization, the college’s president has announced he’ll review the decision.

“The university is concerned that all of the factors involved in this decision have not been represented in their entirety, and thus may be misunderstood,” a GU spokesperson wrote in a statement released last weekend.

A Knights of Columbus College Council, a Catholic fraternal group, does exist on campus, but the denial means the group is not eligible for funds from the school’s student government and cannot officially use the college brand. Jody Lawrence Turner, SR

Should an all-male, all-Catholic club be allowed at a private Catholic university?

Why isn’t Hersheys really riding the Zagnut connection for March Madness?

Today's story on "merch madness," and the boost in sales for products related to Gonzaga University, noted that only one candy bar carries the "Zags" name. That's a bar made by the Spokane franchise of Rocky Mountain Chocoloate Factory.

And yes, why didn't someone really work the Zagnut angle? If ever a bar is ripe for GU merchandising, the Hersheys-owned Zagnut seems the one.

The answer we got from a Hersheys spokesman is that the company has one product and one product only that is the "official March Madness" candy bar. That's Reese's. That's the whole story, as far as we could tell.

The Zags store sells plenty of Zagnut bars, we learned. It's especially popular as a stocking-stuffer.

Women, climate change topic of Gonzaga environmental series talk

ENVIRONMENT – Sustainability expert Gloria Flora will be in Spokane this week to discuss how women worldwide are confronting the challenge of climate change.

The free public lecture titled, “If You Can’t Stand the Heat: Women and the Global Response to Climate Change” at 5:30 p.m., Friday (March 22) in the Wolff Auditorium of Gonzaga University's Jepson Center.

The lecture is part of the Gonzaga Environmental Studies Speaker Series — which recently sponsored Dr. Jane Goodall — and is sponsored by the Gonzaga environmental studies, and women’s and gender studies departments.

Read on for more details about Flora and her quest to keep flora and fauna functioning on earth.

Pizza Oven by Gonzaga shuts down, owner blames contractor for unpaid bills

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The Pizza Oven restaurant near Gonzaga University, at 829 E Boone, has shut down.

The restaurant is the second eatery in the retail strip to have closed. Last year, Noodle Works shut down after a few months operation. The property was developed by Spokane resident John Stockton.

Attempts to reach Pizza Oven owner Matt Rai were unsuccessful. He continues operating a Pizza Oven in River Park Square downtown.

Rai posted a sign on his Boone Avenue store blaming the closure on a general contractor who allegedly failed to pay the subcontractors who finished building the store.

The location used to be the home of Mark Starr's David's Pizza. Starr continues to have plans to reopen that business in downtown Spokane.

That’s the ticket

High school teacher Dave Jackson wonders if any babies have been conceived in the GU Kennel Club "Tent City" before a big game. And he further wonders what would be a creative name for such a child.