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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

Fast start for top Cougar

Two days after Elson Floyd took over as Washington State University's president, he announced a shuffling of administrators in the office of student life. In the ensuing eight weeks, he's moved with a similar speed – naming three administrators he's worked with before to posts as vice presidents; promising $1 million for improved child care on campus; pledging $400,000 to cover a funding shortfall at Spokane's People's Clinic; and moving WSU's economic development office to Seattle.
News >  Spokane

Running Start gives high-schoolers a leg up

In this graduation season, Bryson Toth had more commencements on the calendar than most. Toth earned both a high school diploma and an associate's degree this spring. He'll enroll in college with a two-year head start, paid for by the state.
News >  Spokane

Education really is a game for new-degree EWU grad

Most college students write papers or take tests for their final class projects. For one of his, Marc Emerson created a computer-animated, disembodied head of Mel Gibson, under glass, giving a thunderous speech from "Braveheart."

News >  Idaho

Authorship taints critical NASA letter

Last July, a NASA official wrote to the University of Idaho asking about allegations that a researcher had compromised the security and safety of national space research. The letter raised the possibility that the researcher had provided sensitive information to "unauthorized sources" – perhaps even "foreign agents."
News >  Idaho

Dispute surrounds UI tech center

When Gary Maki returned to the University of Idaho in 2002 after a 10-year absence, he was greeted as an economic savior for the region. Maki, a renowned scientist whose microchips have been part of many of the biggest space exploration projects of recent years, brought his research team and a history of big NASA grants, breakthrough discoveries and the promise of high-tech spinoff companies.
News >  Spokane

Text message: Cut costs

When statistics students at Spokane Community College went to get textbooks in January, they found a new alternative to new and used: rentals. Now, one term later, more students in Diana Osborne's statistics class rent textbooks than buy them.
News >  Spokane

EWU’s shuffle

Eastern Washington University is closing in on the sale of its downtown Spokane center, and its long-awaited move to the Riverpoint campus is set to happen this summer. But it'll be at least a few years until EWU has its own building on that campus. In the interim, students and professors will cobble together space from different buildings at Riverpoint and elsewhere in the city. One program – journalism – is being moved back to Cheney.
News >  Spokane

Killer told doctor he’d use guns, bombs

Three months ago, Jason Hamilton told a doctor during a mental health evaluation that he would never try to commit suicide by overdose. If he were going to kill himself, he said, he'd use guns or bombs, and take "a whole bunch of people with him," police said.
News >  Spokane

WSU president steps into new job

Washington State University's new president officially took office Monday, and he started by continuing the meet-and-greet rush that he's been involved in since his hiring was announced in December. Elson S. Floyd started his tenure as WSU's 10th president by meeting with faculty, staff and student leaders – and by wading into the task of hiring a new chief fundraiser.
News >  Spokane

GU rewards winner – 61 years late

The 1940s were a tough decade for Robert Probach. He was injured twice and captured once as a soldier in World War II. He fought in the Battle of the Bulge and spent months in a German prison camp.
News >  Spokane

WSU professor facing sexual harassment suit resigns

A professor facing a highly publicized sexual harassment trial has resigned from Washington State University, as part of an agreement in which the school will provide him legal representation and reimburse him for his lost tenure. The school will also indemnify Bernardo Gallegos, which means he wouldn't be responsible for paying any judgment in the civil case. He will be paid more than $87,000 for his tenure, though he will lose some benefits. His salary was more than $132,000 a year.
News >  Spokane

Two top executives to retire from CCS

The Community Colleges of Spokane is seeing turnover in its leadership ranks with the retirements of two top executives. Jim Perez, head of the Institute for Extended Learning, is retiring and will be replaced by Scott Morgan, the chief operating officer for the CCS system for several years. The IEL includes adult education, high school equivalency courses and other programs.
News >  Idaho

A new family tradition

MOSCOW, Idaho – When Lucia Venegas Christensen is handed her University of Idaho diploma here Saturday, her husband will be watching the clock. She wants to be the first in her family to graduate from college, and she doesn't want to fall behind her little sister, who's walking at Boise State University at roughly the same time.
News >  Idaho

Old mining town shows life

WARDNER, Idaho – Chuck Peterson can tell you the history of this town in a few fast minutes, a narrative he knows by heart. When people stop by his gift shop on Main Street – the only street, really – they're likely to get Peterson's story and a postcard of the town in its silver-mining heyday.
News >  Spokane

Small-town blues

POMEROY, Wash. – Mayor Alan Gould can sit at City Hall and point out the window to his house. And to the house he lived in before that. It's not too far from one place to another in Pomeroy, and it's not getting any farther. Like scores of small towns in the rural West, Pomeroy has seen a slow but steady drain of population, as its farming economy – like the timber and mining economies in other small towns – supports fewer and fewer people.
News >  Spokane

WSU’s Rawlins still loves graduations

PULLMAN – For most people, college graduation is a one-time event. For V. Lane Rawlins, it's been more like a regular stop. During his time as a university president, he estimates he's overseen nearly 90 commencement ceremonies.
News >  Spokane

Colleges cram on security

Campuswide siren systems. Expanded video surveillance. More guns – or fewer guns – on campus. In the days since the massacre at Virginia Tech, colleges everywhere are examining their emergency plans, communications systems and campus security, and considering changes that could alter the nature of college life.
News >  Spokane

Events in Blacksburg have resonance here

The shots fired Monday at Virginia Tech echoed on college campuses around the Inland Northwest. Police officials and emergency planners asked what lessons might emerge from the deaths of at least 33 people, including the gunman. Parents called to check on their children and ask about campus safety. And some officials made a point of reminding people that campuses are typically safe places – though also open, public places that can be secured only to a degree.
News >  Spokane

A no-risk investment

Child abuse is costing you money. It is doubtlessly crass to put it like that. After all, the human costs paid by abuse victims are heartbreaking and lifelong, not merely expensive in social and financial terms.
News >  Spokane

GU housing rises again

Gonzaga University hopes the second time's the charm for the Kennedy Apartments. The $10 million complex is finally nearing its opening, a year after a still-unsolved arson fire destroyed the first attempt at construction. Now GU is getting ready to start showing off the new apartments, with an open house for the media scheduled today and students set to begin hauling in their belongings in a month.
News >  Spokane

Women steel themselves for change

The women of Steel House are losing their home. But they're doing everything they can to preserve the spirit and habits of the house on the University of Idaho campus – the nation's oldest on-campus women's cooperative dormitory. Since the UI announced two weeks ago that it was closing the house, the residents have demonstrated on campus, met with top UI officials and come up with a possible arrangement to lease another house.
News >  Idaho

Salmon don’t swap gender

When scientists announced seven years ago that chinook salmon in the Columbia River appeared to be switching genders, it attracted a lot of attention. For one thing, there was the simple strangeness of it – researchers said more than 80 percent of female fall-run chinook that spawned at the Hanford Reach in 1999 had started their lives as males. The news had potentially dire implications for the fish run, suggesting that future generations could become ever more heavily male and smaller.
News >  Spokane

Police chief demoted at WSU

The chief of Washington State University's police department has been demoted, following a university investigation that concluded he used his work computer to view and forward inappropriate e-mails. WSU announced the demotion of Steve Hansen, along with the resignation of Assistant Chief Scott West, on Friday afternoon. According to a report prepared by the university auditor and depositions in a court case, Hansen looked at sexually explicit e-mails that were sent to him, forwarded them to West, and invited other members of the department to view them.