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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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SATURDAY, SEPT. 13, 2014

Hikers walk at the Great Sand Dunes National Park  in Colorado. The sands started to accumulate around 12,000 years ago.  
 (Associated Press / The Spokesman-Review)

Mental health crisis

We walk the streets of our communities and at any time we see them: persons who have mental illness. When one of these persons commits a crime – or is it a crime if they have limited awareness? – they are arrested and put in…

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THURSDAY, SEPT. 11, 2014

A woman places a hand on the names engraved along the South reflecting pool at the Ground Zero memorial site during the dedication ceremony of the National September 11 Memorial Museum in New York on Thursday, May 15, 2014. (Spencer Platt / Pool Getty Images)

September 11: we remember

We remember where we were, the images on television, the accounting for friends and family who live in New York City. My sisters and I frantically called each other to learn about my brother-in-law. He was in Lower Manhattan on business. After sixty minutes, he…

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Clean the obvious: If you are short on time, gather clutter in a laundry basket and hide the basket in a closet or closed room before your guests arrive.

Cleaning up and letting go

My husband and I cleaned out the storage area above the garage – without marital discord. He likes to toss, while I like to “consider” how an item may be useful, still. Add in the his/hers factor: as comedian George Carlin said, “Please move your…

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MONDAY, SEPT. 8, 2014

Kevin Dundon sometimes adds nuts or seeds for a healthy, crunchy finish to this traditional Irish soda bread.

Retirement home cuisine? Five-star delight

The baby-boom generation is moving into their elder years and bringing their great expectations – like fabulous food. And many senior living facilities are seeking to meet that expectation. In the Chicago area, the Mather, a senior living community, the chef creates duck breasts and…

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FRIDAY, SEPT. 5, 2014

In the movie “50/50,” the character played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt undergoes chemotherapy, sees a therapist and ultimately survives. (Associated Press)

Cancer drug success

The FDA has approved a new class of drugs to fight cancer. The first drug – Keytruda - was approved for patients with advanced melanoma, patients for whom other treatments have failed. Other drugs in trials have been successful against kidney and lung cancers. The…

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Melissa and Joan Rivers (Evan Agostini / Invision)

Joan Rivers

America’s funniest funny woman has died. Joan Rivers, 81, died one week after she suffered cardiac arrest during a medical procedure. She leaves a daughter, Melissa, and a grandson, Cooper, and a nation who couldn’t help but laugh at her quick wit, her outrageous comments.…

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Russell Wilson hoisted the Lombardi after the Super Bowl and a magical trophy tour began. (Associated Press)

Kick-off to fall

Fall is really here now. School busses lumber through our neighborhoods, the cool morning air heralds change. And tonight the Seahawks kick off the professional football season against the Green Bay Packers. Enjoy the melancholy of autumn, when crisp leaves skitter across cement, marching bands…

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TUESDAY, SEPT. 2, 2014

Pork chops paired with apples three ways – apples, apple cider and applejack – make a quick, comfort-food dinner.

Off the menu

Tracking and living by the “experts’ findings” on food choices can make one’s head – and perhaps stomach – hurt. Low carb? Low fat? Vegan? A new major study claims that people who avoid carbohydrates and eat fat – even the saturated kinds of fat…

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SUNDAY, AUG. 31, 2014

A Boeing Co. 787 airplane is towed to the tarmac after coming in for a landing at Boeing Field in Seattle. (Associated Press)

Retired and restless?

With 10,000 baby boomers retiring each day, the question emerges: “What are all those people doing now?” Many boomers are selling their homes, shedding possessions and hitting the road – or check-in gate. Last year 360,000 Americans received their Social Security benefits at foreign addresses.…

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SATURDAY, AUG. 30, 2014

Westview Elementary first-grader Preston Duncan, center, snuggles his new stuffed Labrador puppy during a gathering of classmates being introduced to the Learning with Lucky reading program Oct. 10. (Dan Pelle)

School blues?

When the first day of school started each September my mom put out the American flag. She was delighted, okay, ecstatic, watching her four daughters return to class; she welcomed routine. But no one ever wondered about the family dog’s response. Seems our canine creatures…

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THURSDAY, AUG. 28, 2014

Diane Sawyer
 (Associated Press / The Spokesman-Review)

Diane Sawyer 

Last night Diane Sawyer, anchor for ABC World News, ended her five-year stint. She says she looks forward to the future of possibilities. Sawyer, 68, is not retiring; instead she is moving her office down the hall and upstairs where she will work on investigative…

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MONDAY, AUG. 25, 2014

When cops shoot

With a police shooting in Ferguson, Missouri, the last few weeks have brought great conversation, protests and violence. The attention on police shootings has been from the perspective of citizens, not police officials. Writer Sean Robinson of the Tacoma News Tribune examines the history of…

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SATURDAY, AUG. 23, 2014

Recipe for a respite: Continued hot weather draws swimmers to Lake Coeur d’Alene at City Beach in Coeur d’Alene on Friday. (Kathy Plonka)

Cancer - again 

The doctor winced as she looked at me and said, “You don’t have many wrinkles.” “And that is bad?” I asked. “Well, not bad, but wrinkles make it easier to hide the incision.” It started as a little red dot on my face that would…

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WEDNESDAY, AUG. 20, 2014

Attorney General Eric Holder shakes hands with Bri Ehsan, 25, right, following his meeting with students at St. Louis Community College Florissant Valley in Ferguson, Mo., Wednesday, Aug. 20, 2014. Holder arrived in Missouri on Wednesday, a small group of protesters gathered outside the building where a grand jury could begin hearing evidence to determine whether a Ferguson police officer who shot 18-year-old Michael Brown should be charged in his death. (Pablo Monsivais / Ap Pool)

August: A time of thin lines

The last few weeks have plagued us with thin lines: the line for Robin Williams between hope and despair. He fell across that line into despair and left us. We don’t know yet what lines were crossed in Ferguson, Missouri, where a police officer shot…

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MONDAY, AUG. 18, 2014

The seaside road leading to the international airport is empty as Hurricane Sandy approaches Kingston, Jamaica, Wednesday, Oct. 24, 2012. Hurricane Sandy pounded Jamaica with heavy rain as it headed for landfall near the country's most populous city on a track that would carry it across the Caribbean island to Cuba, and a possible threat to Florida. (Collin Reid / Associated Press)

Boomer graduation? never too late

When Sandra Lantz was four months away from her 1963 high school graduation, she was also six-months pregnant. The Bothell High School principal and vice principal quietly took her aside and told her she must leave school – and not graduate. That day she left…

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SATURDAY, AUG. 16, 2014

Anne Lamott: “All day every day there are blessings.”

Anne Lamott speaks

Anne Lamott writes about faith, recovery from addiction, and the profound presence of God in the ordinariness of life. She is not pious or pretentious – she has lived through too much pain and suffering for that nonsense. Robin Williams was her neighbor when she…

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THURSDAY, AUG. 14, 2014

In this Sept. 28, 2013 photo, sunlight filteres through the clouds, illuminating the Apurimac river in Pichari, Peru. The river cuts through a long valley that the United Nations says yields 56 percent of Peru's coca leaves. The government says it will soon begin destroying coca crops in the region, known as the VRAE - the Valley of the Apurimac and Ene rivers. (Rodrigo Abd / Associated Press)

Beds for mental health patients 

With Robin Williams’ death this week, Americans – for the moment anyway – seek a greater understanding of mental health and the need for appropriate care for that patient population. On August 27 Washington state hospitals will no longer serve as boarding facilities for people…

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WEDNESDAY, AUG. 13, 2014

In this Oct. 5, 1960 AP file photo, Jacqueline Kennedy poses at her typewriter where she writes her weekly "Candidate's Wife" column in her Georgetown home in Washington. (Associated Press)

Just hit "Return" 

My son was reading a book a few years ago and paused to ask me, “Mom, what does a typewriter look like?” I went to the storage area above the garage and hauled out my extremely heavy electric typewriter. I could never let it go.…

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MONDAY, AUG. 11, 2014

Robin Williams ~ RIP

He was outrageously hilarious – and quietly kind. Robin Williams, 63, was found dead on Monday around noon at his Marin County home, north of San Francisco. The cause of death is apparently suicide. He won an Oscar for “Good Will Hunting;” he played a…

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SUNDAY, AUG. 10, 2014

The July 12, 2014, full moon over Spokane was a "super moon." (Craig Goodwin)

Super Moon #2

The second night of magnificent moonshine appeared last night. In case you missed the sky – take a look! (S-R photo: The July 12, 2014, full moon over Spokane was a "super moon.")

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FRIDAY, AUG. 8, 2014

This Oct. 7, 2013, photo provided by Jeremy Writebol shows his mother, Nancy Writebol, with children in Liberia. Writebol is one of two Americans working for a missionary group in Liberia who have been diagnosed with Ebola. (Associated Press)

From Africa to America: Ebola

When a disaster or disease outbreak occurs on the other side of the world, we often give the event a passing nod and perhaps a sigh of sadness. But when the event influences our own lives – we take notice. America is finally taking notice…

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In this photo released by the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia, a hearing is held at a U.N.-backed war crimes tribunal in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Wednesday, July 30, 2014. The U.N.-backed tribunal on Wednesday began a hearing to prepare for the genocide trial of the two senior surviving leaders of Cambodia's Khmer Rouge, under whose rule an estimated 1.7 million people died in the late 1970s from starvation, exhaustion, disease and execution. (Nhet Heng / Extraordinary Chambers In The Courts Of Cambodia)

Cambodian justice ~ at long last

The film “The Killing Fields” tells the story of the Khmer Rouge and the murdering of Cambodian citizens. More than 1.7 million people died between 1975 and 1979. After decades of delayed justice, a verdict of guilty has been rendered against two of the most…

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TUESDAY, AUG. 5, 2014

FILE-   This July 26, 2010 file photo shows a rescued rabbit as it feeds at The Bunny Bunch, a rabbit shelter in Montclair, Calif. There's more to the Chinese Zodiac than a quick hippety hop into 2011 for people born in the Year of the Rabbit. (Damian Dovarganes / Associated Press)

Called by name 

“What's in a name? that which we call a rose By any other name would smell as sweet;” So says Shakespeare. But what significance is in our name and how does our name influence how we are perceived? Last week we were traveling and I…

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SUNDAY, AUG. 3, 2014

A chocolate and raspberry heart cake from chef Wendy Kromer-Schell.

Love is like…

I met with my favorite 20-something young woman the other day. I was eager to hear details – two months ago I received a text from her reading, “I met someone.” Every woman knows exactly what those words mean – a someone worth considering, a…

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SATURDAY, AUG. 2, 2014

This December 1963 file photo shows Peace Corps Director Sargent Shriver in his Washington office. His daughter, Maria Shriver, is launching a new U.S. volunteer initiative called the Shriver Corps. (Associated Press)

Peace Corps volunteers speak

The spirit – and commitment - of volunteering continues to increase among our nation’s young adults. What happens when a young person commits to years of service in a foreign culture? In their own words… How has your life benefited from volunteer service - anywhere?…

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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.