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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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MONDAY, OCT. 27, 2014

FILE - This June 15, 2007 file photo shows actor and comedian Robin Williams posing for a photo in Santa Monica, Calif. Williams, whose free-form comedy and adept impressions dazzled audiences for decades, died Monday, Aug. 11, 2014, in an apparent suicide. Williams was 63. (Reed Saxon / Associated Press)

Robin Williams – a Giant among us

The three children of comedian Robin Williams were on the pitcher’s mound at the World Series. Zak Williams, Robin’s son, threw out the first pitch of the game. Robin’s dear friend Billy Crystal acted as catcher. As we continue to seek answers to mental illness,…

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SATURDAY, OCT. 25, 2014

Duncan Cooper, 10, will see his drawing “A Rainbow in Ireland” published in the October issue of the children’s magazine Highlights for Children. Cooper is in fifth grade at Cataldo Catholic School and the son of Noah and Terese Cooper.

Compassionate kindness to Marysville Pilchuck 

Sometimes in the middle of horrific tragedy, like Friday’s shooting at Marysville, kindness offers hope. The Oak Harbor football team was slated to play Marysville Pilchuck Friday night in a championship game. But all school activities were cancelled. In the evening, as the Marysville football…

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FRIDAY, OCT. 24, 2014

Kansas City’s Lorenzo Cain celebrates after the Royals’ Game 2 win. (Associated Press)


With the insane heat of the summer only a memory and autumn leaves cascading down, October bliss brings lovely days and the World Series. October brings relief and the grace of baseball – no chains to measure distance, just the crack of baseball bats, balls…

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TUESDAY, OCT. 21, 2014

In this Oct. 13, 2011 file photo, Oscar de la Renta attends the Cinema Society premiere of "The Skin I Live In" in New York. The designer, De la Renta, a favorite of socialites and movie stars alike, has died. He was 82. (Peter Kramer / Associated Press)

The Oscar of oscars

Oscar de la Renta, fashion designer and celebrity among stars, died at his Kent, Conn. home. He was 82. The designer had battled cancer for nearly eight years, but continued to dress famous women: Sarah Jessica Parker, Amy Adams, are two of the glamourous women…

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SUNDAY, OCT. 19, 2014

Visitors take in the view during a media preview of "Discovering Columbus," by Japanese artist Tatzu Nishi, Wednesday, Sept. 19, 2012 in New York.  The 810-square-foot living�room offers spectacular views of mid-Manhattan. A 13-foot statue of Christopher Columbus stands amid the couches, lamps and coffee table. (Mary Altaffer / Associated Press)

Columbus Day or Indigenous People's Day? 

Lots of talk last week about what to call the October 12 holiday. How did you observe, or not observe, October 12? We like to romanticize our heroes, their personal characteristics and their accomplishments. However, when we seek historical accuracy, we often make our own…

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FRIDAY, OCT. 17, 2014

In this photo taken Thursday Oct. 2, 2014, Promise Cooper, 16,  is helped filling a bottle with  chlorine solution by  Kanyean Molton Farley, a community activist who visits Promise and her two brothers, Emmanuel Junior, 11, right,  and Benson, 15, not pictured,  on a daily basis at their St. Paul Bridge home in Monrovia, Liberia. The Cooper children are now orphans, having lost their mother, Princess, in July, and their father Emmanuel in August. Their 5-month-old baby brother Success also succumbed to the virus in August. Ruth, their 13-year-old sister is being hospitalized with Ebola. The three never fell sick to the deadly disease. (Jerome Delay / Associated Press)

Ebola and compassionate care of the dying 

Volunteers continue their poignant and compassionate care of Ebola patients in West Africa. Dr. Stephen Hatch, an American volunteer with International Medical Corps, cares for Ebola-infected patients in a Liberian hospital. He is part of a four-week rotation. Hatch and nearly two dozen others trained…

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WEDNESDAY, OCT. 15, 2014

MONDAY, OCT. 13, 2014

Pope Francis, top center, celebrates a mass in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, Sunday, Oct. 5, 2014 to open the extraordinary Synod on the family. Pope Francis on Sunday opened a two-week meeting of bishops and cardinals from around the world aimed at making the church's teaching on family life � marriage, sex, contraception, divorce and homosexuality � relevant to today's Catholic families. (Alessandra Tarantino / Associated Press)

Gay conversation 12 

The bishops have continued their conversation on family issues; they are midway in their two-week meeting. While the doors are closed, seems some minds have opened. A document summarizing their discussions has been released. “The bishops said gays had ‘gifts and qualities’ to offer and…

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SUNDAY, OCT. 12, 2014

This November 14, 2013,  photo shows tumbleweed covering the entire roadway on County Road-V near Ordway, Colo. Parts of Colorado are being overrun with tumbleweeds because of the drought affecting much of the western U.S. Crowley County, high plains country of ranching and farming east of Pueblo, has spent $108,000 since November _ more than a third of its annual budget _ clearing roads and bridges of tumbleweed to make sure residents and emergency vehicles can move. (Hoep Hoep / Crowley County)

John Denver: At home on country roads 

Singer John Denver died on this day in 1997. He was a folk singer, song writer, humanitarian and activist –advocating for the land and against war. For many boomers, he was their voice, singing a little bit country, a little bit folk music about issues…

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FRIDAY, OCT. 10, 2014

In this photo taken Sunday Sept. 28, 2014, Emmanuel Junior Cooper sits at his St. Paul Bridge home in Monrovia, Liberia. The Cooper children are now orphans, having lost their mother Princess in July, and their father Emmanuel in August. Their 5-month-old baby brother Success also succumbed to the virus in August. In Liberia�s large, deeply religious families, there is usually an aunty somewhere willing to take in a child who has lost a parent. But Ebola, and the fear of contagion and death, is now unraveling bonds that have lasted for generations. (Jerome Delay / Associated Press)

Ebola and our responsibility

When I was a student at Gonzaga, I was privileged to spend a year in Florence. We traveled to exotic places – the Holy Land, Greece, Jordan, the USSR, and to romantic destinations, like Venice. And while we rode those click-clack trains, our brains -…

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Pope Francis, the bishops and sex 

Pope Francis called a meeting in Rome this week seeking conversations among 200 prelates. The topic: how to make Church teachings on family issues relevant for today’s Catholics. For openers, the men listened to Ron and Mavis Pirola, a married couple from Australia, talk about…

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TUESDAY, OCT. 7, 2014

Children pray during a service Sunday at the Bridgeway Baptist Church in the St. Paul Bridge neighborhood of Monrovia, Liberia. (Associated Press)

Cultural price of illness 

We all have our rituals of greeting and departing – a wild embrace, hugs, sweet kisses of I missed you as well as good-bye. As Ebola spreads throughout West Africa, another casualty of the disease is affection expressed in touching, hugging, kissing each other on…

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MONDAY, OCT. 6, 2014

The hummus plate at Picabu Bistro on the South Hill is one of the healthy choices on the menu. (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)

Zorba Paster in Spokane

Zorba Paster, public radio’s baby boomer doc, will visit Spokane on Thursday. Paster’s sensible approach to living life with balance and common sense appeals to many listeners. He will talk about how to live a longer – and enjoyable – life. Paster will also answer…

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SATURDAY, OCT. 4, 2014

Wild horses roam on South Ocean Beach at Assateague Island National Seashore near Berlin, Md. on Wednesday Aug. 13, 2014. (Jacqueline Larma / Associated Press)

Blessing our animals 

October 4 is the Feast Day of St. Francis of Assisi – the namesake of our pope. St. Francis loved animals and was the first to create a nativity story – with real animals. Many parishioners are invited to bring their beloved critters to church…

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THURSDAY, OCT. 2, 2014

A rainbow from a morning thunderstorm paints the background for an American flag in Lawrence, Kan., Tuesday, Aug. 16, 2011. (Orlin Wagner / Associated Press)

Welcome home, Vietnam vets!

When many soldiers came home from Vietnam, they came home in groups of two or three. Often they were not given the respect or thanks they deserved. Next week, Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Western Washington will honor those soldiers from Vietnam. The base will host…

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TUESDAY, SEPT. 30, 2014

Flagpole painter Warren Hinrichs, 73, holds his dog Stitch and rests up at home in Spokane on Wednesday. He started climbing and painting flagpoles and water towers more than 50 years ago with his dad, Bill Hinrichs, seen in many photos in his home office. (Jesse Tinsley)

Flying Fido? Perhaps reconsider

As pets accompany their owners more places, the friendly skies are often not so friendly for our pets. In the last four years, 62 animals have been injured or died while in transit on Alaska Airlines. Only Delta – with six times Alaska’s air traffic…

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MONDAY, SEPT. 29, 2014

A scorpion uses the venomous stinger at the end of its tail primarily to subdue insect prey.

Sign of Scorpio

The FDA has approved the use of scorpion-derived venom in human trials on brain cancer patients. Really. The re-engineered protein from the scorpion is mixed with a fluorescent molecule "flashlight;" the product, called “tumor paint,” illuminates tumors or areas so small a physician may be…

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SATURDAY, SEPT. 27, 2014

An unusually low rainbow formed after Monday afternoon's rain shower in Spokane due to June's high sun angle. Rainbows appear at 40 to 42 degrees above the direction of incoming sunlight. (Mike Prager)

Ashes to ashes to jewelry

Christine Hansen did not intend to become a partner in the healing of others’ grief, but she is. Hansen is a glass artist who lives near Olympia; she takes cremains (people and pets) and incorporates the ashes into glass memorial beads. Some of the beads…

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FRIDAY, SEPT. 26, 2014

In this Monday, Sept. 8, 2014 photo, the Tribute in Light rises behind buildings adjacent to the World Trade Center in New York. The art installation consists of 88 searchlights aiming skyward in two columns, in memory of the former twin towers. Four World Trade Center is at left. Thirteen years after 9/11 forever changed the New York skyline, officials say developments at the World Trade Center are on track and on budget. (Mark Lennihan / Associated Press)

Three 9/11 heroes die on same day 

Three retired firefighters who rushed in to assist people when the World Trade Center was hit by terrorists, died on the same day – all from cancer. In the years since the attacks, many first responders have suffered from respiratory illness. Many have died from…

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Blase Cupich, the newly appointed archbishop of Chicago, greets the media Saturday in Chicago. (Associated Press)

Bishop hits the Windy City 

Spokane Bishop Blase Cupich, perhaps some of the best evidence yet of the “Francis effect,” has arrived in his new home - Chicago. Cupich, reportedly more moderate than his Chicago predecessor Archbishop George, leaves a diocese of 100,000 Catholics to take on the Chicago Archdiocese…

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MONDAY, SEPT. 22, 2014

Sister Rosalie Locati, director of mission and values for Providence Sacred Heart and Providence Holy Family hospitals, stands beside Ken Spiering’s sculpture in Riverfront Park. It commemorates the arrival of the Sisters of Providence, who built Sacred Heart on the banks of the Spokane River in 1886. Locati is the only Sister of Providence still working full time at Sacred Heart Medical Center. (Jesse Tinsley)

Providence Mission serving Washington

Providence Health & Services celebrates its humble beginnings this week, honoring the foundress of Providence, Blessed Emilie Gamelin. She died on September 23, 1851. Emilie married a man who was decades older than she was; they had three sons. The happy couple shared a vision…

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SATURDAY, SEPT. 20, 2014

The Hollywood sign is seen above palm trees on Sunset Boulevard. The  trees will be replaced with native species as they die. 
 (Associated Press / The Spokesman-Review)

Polly Bergen, 84, dies

Beloved actress and singer, Polly Bergen, died Saturday at her home in Connecticut. She was 84 years old. Bergen won an Emmy in 1957 for her portrayal of singer Helen Morgan – an alcoholic. Fifty years later she was nominated again for a role on…

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THURSDAY, SEPT. 18, 2014

Pope Francis

Yes, Pope Francis, “I do” 11 

The pope witnessed 20 couples’ wedding vows at the Vatican’s St. Peter’s Basilica last Sunday. Some couples live together; some of the betrothed had been married before. One bride is a mother - all unusual for Catholic weddings. Pope Francis advised them that marriage is…

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This photo released by Warner Bros. Pictures shows John Lloyd Young as Frankie Valli in Warner Bros. Pictures' musical "Jersey Boys," a Warner Bros. Pictures release. (Keith Bernstein / Warner Bros. Pictures)

Bob Crewe - who?

You may not know his name, but you know his lyrics. Bob Crewe wrote songs for Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, as well as other music legends. His lyrics marked our rites of passage. Boomers remember. Bob Crewe died last week at the age…

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MONDAY, SEPT. 15, 2014

Baring her sole: Miss Montana Victoria Valentine displays her shoe during the Miss America Shoe Parade at the Atlantic City boardwalk on Saturday in Atlantic City, New Jersey. The traditional “Show Us Your Shoes” parade featured 53 Miss America hopefuls riding in convertibles, each sporting creatively decorated shoes to evoke their home state. Miss Oregon Rebecca Anderson had tiny bicycles on her shoes and wore a helmet since Portland is known as a bike-friendly city. The next Miss America will be crowned during tonight’s televised competition. (Associated Press)

Miss America

The whole strutting one’s body in a swimsuit in hopes of “winning,” goes against all my sensibilities. Have to say. Still, I smile when I think of the Miss America pageant. As a little girl, I watched the annual cattle call-like festivities with my grandmother…

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Spokesman-Review features writer Rebecca Nappi, along with writer Catherine Johnston of Olympia, Wash., discuss here issues facing aging boomers, seniors and those experiencing serious illness, dying, death and other forms of loss.