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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Shawn Vestal
COLUMNIST
Shawn Vestal shawnv@spokesman.com (509) 459-5431

Shawn Vestal joined The Spokesman-Review in 1999. He currently is a columnist for the City Desk.


Most Recent Stories

March 29, 2020, 4 a.m.
I finally viscerally felt that these eccentric days, which had done such violence to routine, would lurch into another gear: Not normal, but suffused at last with a sense that underneath it all, if we stay healthy, these plague days would hold fast to a resilient core of what matters most.

March 26, 2020, 8:04 p.m.
When Laura Fish-Leat saw the images of empty shelves everywhere, she thought of her neighbors. Many of the people in her Chief Garry Park neighborhood are older and have health conditions that make life difficult in the best of times.

News >  Spokane
March 24, 2020, 5:04 p.m.
It starts with people donating five or 10 bucks each from the healthy, socially distant comfort of home. It ends with scores of hot meals going to the neediest people in the city.

March 22, 2020, 4 a.m.
The waiters, bartenders, cooks and others who work in restaurants and bars are one group of workers who are taking a monstrous economic blow as a result of coronavirus and the measures taken to try to stop it. That’s more than 17,000 people in the Spokane area, and their lives are being upended by industry closures that threaten to change the nature of their industry dramatically – even after the virus passes. Many food-service workers were already in a precarious position, living on thin margins in an industry notorious for thin margins.

News >  Spokane
March 20, 2020, 5:14 p.m.
The United Way is ready to connect organizations in need of help with volunteers.

News >  Spokane
March 19, 2020, 5:10 p.m.
If there’s anything we know about Spokane in times of crisis, it’s that people step up.

March 17, 2020, 4:53 p.m.
No-Li Brewhouse turned its kitchen into a sack-lunch production line Tuesday, and volunteers at Logan Elementary handed out lunches to students and parents.

March 15, 2020, 5 a.m.
Maurice Smith stopped by the Cannon Street Warming Center the other day around lunch, just as people began lining up for a brown-bag lunch: sandwiches, chips, a Jell-O dessert cup and a drink. Smith, a documentary producer, and his videographer, D.W. Clark, were there to shoot footage for the third in a series of documentaries they are making about homelessness in Spokane.

March 13, 2020, 5 a.m.
The Innovia Foundation made an atrocious decision, one that flies in the face of its stated values of “diversity, equity and inclusion.” The donations to a white nationalist group on behalf of a donor mortgages its well-earned good name.

March 11, 2020, 4 a.m.
As the sun sets on another sex-ed freakout in Olympia, a question lingers: Just how malevolent do opponents of sex ed believe teachers are?

March 8, 2020, midnight
A bill sponsored by Rep. Heather Scott, R-Blanchard, would have eliminated the legal requirement that nonprofessionals who witness child abuse or neglect must report it to the authorities.

News >  Spokane
March 5, 2020, 5 a.m.
It’s an almost perfect metaphor for our times. While we were looking to protect ourselves from the threat from without, the threat from within was already making people sick, moving well ahead of a lethargic response on the ground at home.

March 4, 2020, 5 a.m.
Good news, everybody. The First Amendment rights of the Church of Planned Parenthood remain intact.

March 1, 2020, midnight
Around a century ago, the Uyeji family came to America from Japan, settling in a neighborhood on the outskirts of Seattle known as Pontiac. They lived there and farmed the land, in an area now known as Hawthorne Hills, along with their Japanese-American neighbors. In 1942, when the U.S. government ordered all Japanese-Americans within certain areas along the coasts, known as “exclusion zones,” to be moved to camps in the country’s interior, the Uyejis were taken to first one, then another internment camp in California, according to Discover Nikkei, a website that tracks the histories of Japanese immigrants to America.

Feb. 28, 2020, 4 a.m.
As Spokane faces a housing crisis, County Commission Chairman Al French argues that part of the problem is a disconnect among the dense-development values of the comp plan, a resistance to those principles in neighborhoods and regulations that don’t support the underlying values.

Feb. 26, 2020, 5 a.m.
People of color have complained of harassment by border agents on buses not just in Spokane, but all around the country. A Gonzaga student whose family immigrated to the U.S. when she was 8 described being interrogated in a harassing, threatening manner while waiting for a bus home to Seattle, saying she was surrounded by agents and accused of faking her green card before being released.

Feb. 23, 2020, 4 a.m.
EWU made cuts of almost $7 million across campus in the past two years; it spent about twice that in a single year to subsidize athletics. Ask yourself if you could imagine the world in which those figures were reversed. Then ask yourself what’s so crazy about this new report.

News >  Spokane
Feb. 21, 2020, 5 a.m.
One obituary is a portrait of a life. Several taken together, though, build a portrait of a community. Recent obituaries in The Spokesman-Review have told the stories of farmers, nurses, plumbers, maintenance workers and engineers.

Feb. 19, 2020, 5 a.m.
Lest you think we’re the only region with a tiny but incurable case of the crackpot secessionist bug, cast your eyes toward rural Oregon.

Feb. 16, 2020, 4 a.m.
Lauren McCluskey, her friends and her family made more than 20 attempts to reach out to university officials in the days before her murder, according to a federal lawsuit filed by Lauren’s parents, interviews and reporting on the case by journalists in Utah and elsewhere.

Feb. 16, 2020, 4 a.m.
Lauren McCluskey has been gone for 16 months now, killed by a man who stalked, harassed, threatened and extorted her for weeks before shooting her on the University of Utah campus. But her parents are doing all they can to make sure their daughter – and the litany of institutional failures that preceded her murder – is not forgotten.

Feb. 14, 2020, 4 a.m.
Spokane has gone to great lengths to get good information and develop good ideas about how to dispense justice more smartly. But all the good ideas and hopeful recommendations will crash without any buy-in from the key players.

News >  Spokane
Feb. 12, 2020, 5 a.m.
Mayor Nadine Woodward’s State of the City speech last week was, in many ways, awfully standard fare. Lots of sloganeering and few specifics, with a call to employ the most common tool of the bureaucratic optimist: advisory committees.

Feb. 6, 2020, 5 a.m.
Back and forth it went Wednesday morning in the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump, held in the eighth-grade history class at Cataldo Catholic School. As in the actual Senate, 2,500 miles away and later in the day, Cataldo “senators” acquitted Trump on two articles of impeachment, with votes breaking down 12-10 along party lines.

Feb. 5, 2020, 5 a.m.
Take a gulp of relief, white people: Though we are more likely than any other racial or ethnic group in the state to be caught with contraband when searched by the smokies, we’re searched less than most any other group.