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May 3, 2008, midnight
A few students from Jaclyn Jacot's adult basic education class were so inspired by the book "Bold Spirit: Helga Estby's Forgotten Walk Across Victorian America" that they decided to re-trace the beginning of Estby's long journey. The group left Spokane on Friday morning bound for Rockford, where Estby's parents originally lived, and the Mica Creek Cemetery, where she is buried.
April 28, 2008, midnight
The first time Shawna Beese-Bjurstrom's biological mother abandoned her, she was just a few months old. Her drug-addicted teenage mom forgot her baby a couple of times as she rolled through a hazy life. Soon Beese-Bjurstrom was placed in foster care and by age 3 was adopted by her foster parents.
April 25, 2008, midnight
Imagine a small child at a dinner table, together with his parents. Nobody is eating, because Mom and Dad are fighting, with words escalating to punches. The child withdraws to a corner of the house, listening, heart pounding, waiting for the battle to end. The next day at school, the child will have no visible bruises, but the damage will remain, Dr. Robert Anda told about 600 people attending the Our Kids: Our Business luncheon Thursday at the Spokane Convention Center. The communitywide campaign aims to raise awareness of child welfare issues.
April 21, 2008, midnight
Wall paintings of a toddler-size Winnie the Pooh alongside his friends Eeyore and Owl are among the official greeters at Vanessa Behan Crisis Nursery. Follow them down the cheerful hallway and you'll get to a little room filled with cubbies. That's where children leave their shoes and any toys they brought along. If there's a favorite "blankie" for sleep time, it's kept here as well. The children arrive at Vanessa Behan for many reasons: maybe a single parent needs a break; perhaps there are medical issues at home and the child can't go along to the hospital; or the family was evicted and there's nowhere for the child to stay until new housing is found.
April 19, 2008, midnight
Dr. Forrest Bird, a famous aviator and the man who's considered the inventor of the modern-day respirator, confessed to the almost 300 kids crammed into Gonzaga's Cataldo Hall on Friday: "I am mystified when I see what you are doing here." Bird was referring to the hydrogen fuel cell-powered cars constructed by students as part of the National Middle School Science Bowl.
April 17, 2008, midnight
The message was clear at Wednesday's City Forum: Crime prevention takes collaboration among the community, volunteers and the Police Department. Spokane police Chief Anne Kirkpatrick and Crime Stoppers of the Inland Northwest President Pat DeVries spoke about the importance of being proactive and aware of all available tools when it comes to fighting crime.
April 14, 2008, midnight
For more than 20 years, Gayle Kiser has been a court-appointed special advocate representing children in Spokane courts. She's listened to stories from the war zone of dysfunctional families that would keep most people awake at night. She's heard echoes of beatings in the voices of battered mothers, the shrill anger in the voices of drunken fathers, the slurred speech of strung-out women and the quiet resolve of men who want their children back. But mostly she's heard the scared voices of children who face a family war alone.
April 12, 2008, midnight
If there were a little more spring in the steps and sway in the hips of the 270 people who showed up Friday for the Chase Youth Commission's Breakfast of Champions, it wasn't because of their shoes – it was the KuUmba Drummers. The West African drumming group, made up of five young musicians from the area, woke up the crowd with its energetic rhythms and life-affirming beat.
April 10, 2008, midnight
At the Morning Star Boys' Ranch – a residential facility south of Spokane for boys with behavioral or social problems – horses play a therapeutic role. Aside from horseback riding and natural horsemanship, Morning Star is offering equine-assisted psychotherapy, or EAP, for its residents, many of whom are affected by neglect and abuse.
April 8, 2008, midnight
The pinwheels planted Monday outside the Idaho State Department of Health and Welfare's office in Coeur d'Alene added color and sparkle to a blustery, gray day. The display features 300 pinwheels – one for each child and youth in foster care in North Idaho.
April 4, 2008, midnight
Poster-sized children's drawings of houses, people, princesses and at least one tree will be hanging on the second level of River Park Square for the next three weeks. They are the creative result of a drawing contest put on by Spokane's community development department and fair housing committee.
April 3, 2008, midnight
Heather Jewell has three pet peeves: running, gum and kids who use their hands instead of cues to play pool. She's branch director at the Boys & Girls Club of Spokane County, and considering that she spends her days surrounded by 160 children, ages 6 to 18, those pet peeves are understandable.
April 3, 2008, midnight
Color sprouted in the front yard of the Vanessa Behan Crisis Nursery on Wednesday afternoon as volunteers from the all-female group The Assistants planted 3,963 pinwheels – one for each child who came through the nursery's door in 2007. "There are some repeat children in there," said executive director Amy Swanson. "But the need for the services we provide is huge."
March 24, 2008, midnight
Danielle Martinez was 28 years old. She was a live-in nanny with a friend, taking care of two small children. She had a son of her own, Armando, 10. One night in July 2005, Martinez had a grand mal seizure. She woke up, confused and disoriented, and headed for the bathroom. She lost her balance. She fell. She hit her neck and had a monumental stroke. Three days later, on July 13, seven days before her birthday, Martinez died.
March 17, 2008, midnight
People die every day; it's a natural part of living. Sometimes death comes as a surprise brought on by an accident or sudden illness. Sometimes death lingers for years like a foul odor that can't be scrubbed away, or it hangs like a gray cloud over family holidays and gets in the way of summer plans, because no one knows when it's going to strike. Beverly Seaton Ingersoll, 58, knew her husband Larry Seaton was dying. He was a decorated Vietnam veteran and a stoic, disciplined, hard-working man, she says. When he was diagnosed with rapidly progressing lung cancer that already had metastasized to his brain, doctors weren't sure he'd live through his first night in the hospital. But he hung on through four months of surgery, ups and downs, close calls and sudden changes.
March 15, 2008, midnight
The Spokane Art School is having a Looking Back/Moving Forward party tonight as it gets ready to clear out of its longtime home on North Howard. The building was put up for sale in January, when the board decided it could no longer afford to operate the 10,000-square-foot facility. Also today, the school will hold the first in a series of sales to liquidate excess inventory.
March 10, 2008, midnight
It's Monday afternoon and high school students are gathering at Tincan's office in downtown Spokane. Everyone looks after-school tired, dropping backpacks, cameras and laptops on desks and chairs. They are here to tape a news show, yet the mood is surprisingly laid back. Peering over computer screens, curled up on the floor and in chairs, the group reviews videos and scripts. Questions flutter around the room: "Do you feel like editing?" "Can you teach me how to use the camera?" "Hey – the old teleprompter software is still on one of the computers."
March 8, 2008, midnight
It's a career where carelessness can kill customers. It involves intense deadlines, sharp objects, high temperatures, long hours on weekends, holidays and evenings, and a stress level that could make the toughest cookie crumble. Cooking shows and rock-star chefs like Wolfgang Puck and Jamie Oliver have made the restaurant business hotter than ever, and today dozens of teams from Washington high schools complete their final competitions at the 2008 Boyd Coffee ProStart Invitational cooking contest at the Red Lion Inn at the Park.
March 3, 2008, midnight
There's experience in the hands that gently hold the quilt. There's recognition in the eyes that follow the stitches, and nods of approval surround the table. It's a fine quilt that's spread out among the little group of residents sitting in the activity room at Moran Vista Senior Living – one they've made stitch by stitch, patch by patch, over the last couple of months. What began as a simple activity aimed at keeping hands and minds nimble turned into a project that connected residents to each other and to the sometimes forgotten stories of their own lives and families.
Feb. 27, 2008, midnight
It's a sure indicator that spring is around the corner when Don Kardong, founder and race director of Bloomsday, gathers his troops and kicks off another Bloomsday season. "Our entry forms are out and about," Kardong said, "and our Fit For Bloomsday Program, which we are really proud of, is at over 60 schools in the area, reaching more than 5,000 kids."
Feb. 25, 2008, midnight
Tatyana Bistrevsky grew up as a Christian in a country that made an official point of denying God's existence. She'd go to school in her native USSR and present her homework assignment at the board in front of the class. All the T's would be crossed and I's dotted, she said, and the teacher would look at her and say: "Good, you did everything correctly. Now tell me what you did last night? Did you pray again last night? You prayed again last night – so you get a C. Now go sit down."
Feb. 24, 2008, 12:01 p.m.
Retired Lt. Col. Bryant Smick is often reminded of the time he spent flying B-24 bombers over Europe during World War II and of the time he spent as a prisoner of war in Germany and Poland. More than 60 years later, he still looks up whenever he hears an airplane.