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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

Migrant to mainstream

PULLMAN – Jose Gonzalez dropped out of school in 11th grade so he could work. As he moved from washing cars in a lot to picking cherries to driving a tractor, he heard a repeated refrain from co-workers: Go back to school.
News >  Spokane

Rape report uncovers perception gap

PULLMAN – Ashley Miller used her cell phone's calculator to do the math. She was trying to turn percentages into people as part of a discussion at Washington State University about a survey in which 11 percent of WSU women said they'd been raped. She was wondering how many women that would be – more than 900.
News >  Spokane

Gulf Coast trip an eye-opener

The destruction still hung from the trees – clothing, plastic sheets, Mardi Gras beads twisted through the limbs. It filled the gutters and spread across the landscape. When 18 Whitworth College students went south to help the victims of Hurricane Katrina, they were shocked at how far from recovery many of the impoverished victims were months after the storm.

News >  Spokane

Money & mortarboards

A new study suggests that the performance of colleges and universities doesn't have that much to do with how much money they get. And it uses Washington's system of community colleges to make its point.
News >  Spokane

Big Easy, hard choices

When colleges and universities in the hurricane-blasted New Orleans area opened their doors again this week, about 40 students who'd come to the Inland Northwest after the storms faced another big decision. Arthur Rowe went back to Tulane.
News >  Idaho

State extends UI repayment deadline

The University of Idaho will have to wait five years for the repayment of $7 million lost in a questionable series of transactions that financed the school's expansion into Boise. The state's Board of Education voted to extend the deadline for the repayment of the money from the UI's fund-raising foundation until 2010. It also agreed that UI would be repaid only after the foundation finished repaying the millions it borrowed from trust funds.
News >  Spokane

‘Others’ a category alone on college applications

When Rae-Lynn Conger, a junior at Eastern Washington University, is asked to identify her race on forms or applications, she checks an increasingly popular box: Other. It's not that Conger doesn't know which box is correct. She just objects to the premise that her race – she's white – is considered at all.
News >  Spokane

Mice and man

Somewhere right now, a mouse is being born with the express purpose of getting cancer, so someday, maybe, a human won't have to. Somewhere else, a mouse is running in a wheel or splashing through a water maze. A mouse is being made anxious or sleepless or ill. A mouse is being born whose genes have been manipulated to give it diabetes or eliminate its immune system, to make it super-strong or addicted to nicotine.
News >  Spokane

Researcher studies running, evolution link

Some mouse research produces results far past the lives of the individual mice. Patrick Carter, a biologist who studies evolution at Washington State University, has been using generations and generations of data from previous studies to analyze the way the mice evolve.
News >  Spokane

EWU gets new leader

Rodolfo Arevalo first came to this part of the country as a child when his parents worked in the fields. On Monday, he came to accept the position of president of Eastern Washington University – the first Latino to hold such a post at any public four-year school in the state. At the announcement, after a standing ovation, he choked up briefly before speaking.
News >  Spokane

STA fixes Social Security slip

The Spokane Transit Authority has paid $1.07 million and will update tax records going back for more than 20 years as part of a settlement with the IRS over unpaid Social Security taxes. The settlement covers 114 employees who were mistakenly not included in the Social Security program for years. The employees were absorbed into the STA from the previous transit agency in Spokane, and officials thought that the workers could be omitted from Social Security and covered by state and local government pensions.
News >  Spokane

Faith brings collegians together

Steve Yen isn't interested in the stereotypical fraternity experience. The recent Washington State University graduate is the live-in adviser at the Pi Kappa Phi house in Pullman, holding Bible workshops and swimming against the stream of parties and other distractions that might sway him from his Christian faith.
News >  Spokane

One raptor’s rapture

For a bird with a broken wing that fell out of a tree, Conant is one lucky owl. First, the great horned owl had the good fortune to be found and directed to Bret and Tracy Conant, a Medical Lake couple who run a bird rescue operation. Then Conant was taken to Washington State University's veterinary college, where he was fed and nursed back to health over two months.
News >  Spokane

Local politician McCormick dies at 81

Geraldine McCormick, a longtime Spokane legislator noted for her independence and opposition to tax increases, died Monday. She was 81. McCormick served in the state House of Representatives from 1968 to 1982, following on the heels of her late husband, William, who held the same seat before dying of a heart attack at age 42.
News >  Spokane

Next: No Collegian Left Behind?

If the debate over standardized testing in public schools is beginning to die down, a new one may soon flare up. A new federal commission studying the future of higher education in America is likely to try to nudge the system toward some form of standardized testing, said its chairman, Charles Miller. He said colleges and universities are letting students down – requiring less stringent work, less classroom time and lower standards – and Americans need to ensure they're getting the best system of education possible in a competitive world.
News >  Spokane

Exchange student delves into biotechnology

Fernando Freitas has had a lot of new experiences as an exchange student in Medical Lake. The 17-year-old Brazilian ran cross-country. He went to an NBA basketball game. He saw snow for the first time and tried snowboarding.
News >  Spokane

Math helps grizzlies to multiply

PULLMAN – Wildlife biologists have employed a lot of tools to influence wildlife populations over the years, from radio tracking to selected hunts to habitat protection. Robert Wielgus uses math.
News >  Spokane

EWU pursues leaving downtown

Eastern Washington University is moving forward with plans to try to sell its downtown building and move to the Riverpoint campus. The long-anticipated move would almost double the number of students on that campus, fueling efforts to develop a university district in the midst of Spokane, officials with EWU and Washington State University said.
News >  Spokane

College instructors fight for jobless pay

Charles Mitchell teaches several English classes a year at Spokane Falls Community College. And each summer for the past several years, when the school could not hire him, he applied for unemployment benefits through the state.
News >  Spokane

EWU courts Chinese students

Eastern Washington University has reached an agreement to allow a student exchange with three Chinese universities, and is negotiating similar deals with several other schools in that nation. It's part of an effort across the country to increase the enrollment of international students, after a fall-off of foreign students in recent years.
News >  Idaho

UI to see new leadership for new year

The University of Idaho is heading toward a new year with a lot of change. The school has hired several top administrators recently and plans to name new deans in five of nine positions. It's examining proposals for five special programs that President Tim White said he hopes will become "part of the fabric of the university." And it's re-establishing the College of Art and Architecture, following a ruling that it was illegally disbanded in 2002.
News >  Idaho

Strong reaction to UI stance

The University of Idaho has received several hundred responses to President Tim White's statement this fall that the school would teach only evolution in its science classes, and the reaction hasn't died down. "I get a letter or two a day about this," White said Thursday. "It was a strong response."
News >  Spokane

WSU, UI honor midyear graduates

Graduation on the Palouse typically brings images of springtime to mind. But the past several years, both Washington State University and the University of Idaho have held December commencement ceremonies. On Saturday, more than 600 students will graduate in Pullman, and about 860 will graduate in Moscow.