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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Shawn Vestal

Stories by Shawn Vestal

Current Position: columnist

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

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News >  Spokane

Security funds bolster communications, gear

In the five years since two jetliners struck the twin towers of the World Trade Center, tens of millions of dollars in Homeland Security funding have poured into the Inland Northwest. Rural counties purchased radio towers and protective gear. Spokane and Kootenai counties invested in big emergency trucks filled with high-tech communications and safety gear. Hospitals and public health agencies received decontamination equipment, and police officers were trained in rescuing people from collapsed buildings. Training exercises costing tens of thousands of dollars are held each year so "first responders" such as police officers and firefighters can practice for disaster.
News >  Spokane

Diversity slow in coming

Washington's colleges and universities have spent eight years trying to offset a drop in minority enrollments after the state's voters passed an initiative outlawing racial preferences in admissions. And yet the situation remains largely the same.
News >  Spokane

New students arriving at Gonzaga

College students came streaming back into Spokane on Friday, moving into dorms at Gonzaga University and getting ready for the big show the school puts on for newcomers. A student version of "The Dating Game" called Snag-A-Zag. A boat cruise. Improv comedy. Barbecues and rafting. The school even asked incoming students to read "Into Thin Air," an account of climbing Mount Everest, to prepare them for the theme of orientation – Base Camp 2006.

News >  Spokane

WSU may revive dorm patrols

Washington State University is revising its housing contracts and policies in an effort to allow its police officers to resume patrolling dormitories. The patrols were stopped after a Whitman County judge ruled in two cases this spring that, in essence, dormitory hallways were part of the students' private residences, and police needed warrants to search there.
News >  Spokane

WSU breaks new ground in organics

PULLMAN – You can tell when Julie Sullivan's been doing her homework. Her hands are covered in mud. "I know I'm filthy," said Sullivan, standing in the midst of Washington State University's organic teaching farm this week. "I'm always dirty."
News >  Idaho

New crop begins old college try

The students are back. Carrying boxes, jockeying with hand dollies and standing in lines, students moved into the dorms this week at the University of Idaho in Moscow and Washington State University in Pullman. Classes at both universities begin Monday.
News >  Spokane

New crop, old college try

The students are back. Carrying boxes, jockeying with hand dollies and standing in lines, students moved into the dorms this week at the University of Idaho in Moscow and Washington State University in Pullman. Classes at both universities begin Monday.
News >  Spokane

EWU plans inquiry on uranium risk

Eastern Washington University is looking to hire consultants to help deal with potential health and safety issues arising from the recent discovery of uranium ore left unprotected in a storage room, possibly for years. The school wants help in determining how much exposure about a dozen university workers underwent, as well as any cleanup and disposal procedures needed, said Peter Batsakis, EWU's manager of environmental health and safety. He said the goal is to have the matter settled by the start of classes Sept. 20.
News >  Spokane

Projects cause campus detours

PULLMAN – Bonnie Scoles and her colleagues in Washington State University's CougarCard Center are getting used to being a little less centralized. Like everyone else who typically calls the Compton Union Building home, they've been moved into temporary digs while the CUB is torn down and renovated. Scoles' office, which provides students with ID cards that authorize everything from meal plans to library checkouts, is tucked into a ground-floor office in the Washington Building on the south side of campus. Other services such as the post office, student organizations and food services are also in temporary homes until the new CUB opens in 2008.
News >  Spokane

WSU police won’t patrol dorms

Students will return to the dorms at Washington State University in a couple of weeks, but the police won't – at least not without a warrant or an invitation. Campus officers no longer will make routine patrols of dorm hallways, after two cases in the spring in which criminal charges were dismissed after a judge ruled, in essence, that dorm hallways are like the hallways in your home – police can't just walk through them looking, listening and sniffing for crimes.
News >  Spokane

Sweep of EWU campus uncovers uranium in science building

Officials at Eastern Washington University are investigating whether there's any fallout for workers who may have spent years around uranium left unprotected in a campus storage room. EWU workers found the rocks a week ago as part of a sweep of the campus by the new manager of environmental health and safety, Peter Batsakis. There were five drawers labeled as uranium, full of the small rocks in a first-floor storage area in the science building, Batsakis said.
News >  Idaho

UI chips prove to be powerful space tools

When NASA launched three 55-pound satellites this spring, it sent along three tiny but complex pieces of University of Idaho research. Three months later, the UI microchips had performed perfectly – doing the same work as an older chip using several times less power. The implications of a low-power processing chip are huge for space exploration, where efficiency is at a premium. But the development also suggests the possibility of more mundane applications like lower-power cell phones or laptops, researchers say.
News >  Spokane

WSU president to retire next year

When V. Lane Rawlins was first approached about applying to be president of Washington State University, he thought it was too late. "I really thought that my time for doing something like that was past," said Rawlins, who'd passed age 60 and was serving as president of the University of Memphis.
News >  Spokane

What a weekend

Zak Jewell is a 13-year-old Spokane boy who's been watching "American Chopper" since it started airing in 2002. So he's got a pretty good handle on the main reasons for the show's popularity.
News >  Spokane

A new chapter for WSU-Spokane

"Leaves of Grass" took a little trip Monday. So did "Recent Advances in the Study of Dental Calculus." One by one, every volume in the library at the Riverpoint campus – a shared venture of Washington State and Eastern Washington universities – is being hauled through the heat from the old library to the new one – the centerpiece of the new Academic Center.
News >  Idaho

Internship is a vocation test lab

Chris Chandler might have spent the summer installing sprinkler systems. Luke Carter could have gone to work as a landscaper. Instead, the young men are working in the lab at the University of Idaho's Research Park, and they're doing more than washing bottles. The students are performing hands-on science in the lab's efforts to find biological mechanisms that can detect harmful microbes in food – something that's useful for food safety and preventing bioterrorism.
News >  Spokane

Ex-EWU manager claims firing was retaliation

The former risk manager at Eastern Washington University has sued the school and several individuals, alleging she was fired as retaliation for speaking at a public hearing on proposed asbestos rules. Anne Bailey lost her job at Eastern after complaints were raised about her testimony at an Aug. 18 meeting of the Spokane County Air Pollution Control Authority. An EWU professor and a local environmental attorney complained to university administrators that Bailey had purported to speak on behalf of the university and that she had a conflict of interest because her husband had worked as private consultant on asbestos cleanup. Following an investigation, she was fired Jan. 2.
News >  Spokane

Applications to Washington universities on decline

A state study shows that the number of Washington residents who applied to the state's public universities is down by more than 9 percent from last year. The drop is most pronounced among older students and transfers from community colleges and other schools, prompting some to speculate that an improving economy may be partly behind the trend. However, the decline in applications was across-the-board among all Washington residents, while out-of-state applications from high-school-age students actually increased 8 percent.
News >  Spokane

WSU fraternity faces illegal camping charges

A Washington State University fraternity is facing a federal misdemeanor charge over something that's become a regional rite of summer for some Greek houses: rafting parties on the Salmon River. More than 100 people associated with Alpha Kappa Lambda camped and partied last September at Short's Bar, a beach area and boat ramp on the lower Salmon River about a mile upstream from Riggins, Idaho, according to court records and federal officials.
News >  Spokane

Colleges dealing with sex offenders

Community Colleges of Spokane is moving toward requiring sex offenders to set up "safety plans" and provide information about their cases before enrolling. The proposals would make it easier to reject applications from sex offenders or to expel them if problems arise, officials say. The proposals were developed after professors raised concerns about sex offenders on campus, sharing classes in some cases with high school students working on college credits.
News >  Spokane

Colleges note gaps in education draft report

When Janessa Todd enrolls as a freshman at Spokane Community College in the fall, she'll be paying the bills with help from a lot of sources. A scholarship, student loans, the low cost of living at home and a job at Taco Time.
News >  Spokane

Debt defying

A year ago, Cassie and Matt Breithaupt did something unusual for a growing family. They bought a smaller house.
News >  Spokane

Labor panel rules against city college system

The state has ruled that the Community Colleges of Spokane engaged in unfair labor practices by hiring private workers for some tasks and making it difficult for union members to get information needed for negotiations. In its June 30 ruling, the Public Employment Relations Commission ordered CCS to stop subcontracting out several jobs, to allow the union to bargain over any work done by private employees, and to stop "obstructing" union requests for information.
News >  Spokane

Gene find may prevent pollution

A Washington State University researcher – along with other scientists from around the globe – may have found a fix for problems associated with nitrogen fertilizers. B.W. "Joe" Poovaiah and his research team found the genetic mechanism that allows some plants to convert, or fix, nitrogen into food. Since staple crops like wheat and rice cannot fix nitrogen – as can peas and other legumes – they are fertilized heavily with nitrogen-rich materials that exact a heavy financial and environmental cost around the world.
News >  Spokane

More than just a game

Don and Ev Newland have lived in Spokane for 62 years. But it wasn't until this year that they made it to Hoopfest, drawn downtown to watch their grandson and granddaughter