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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

Shawn Vestal

Current Position: columnist

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

All Stories

News >  Idaho

UI grad leading Alaska governor race

If Sandpoint native Sarah Heath Palin becomes Alaska's next governor, she'll have earned several distinctions. She'd be the first woman to serve in that office. And she would have gotten there after blowing the whistle on her own party's top officials for ethics violations – an act that left her on the outs with party operatives but gave her a strong image as a populist reformer.
News >  Spokane

New voting machines a hit

For years, Jan Richards has needed help to vote. A 51-year-old Spokane woman who has multiple sclerosis, Richards has typically had her husband or poll workers help her read and fill out ballots. Unlike most voters, her ballot was never fully secret.
News >  Spokane

In this case, a picture’s worth 12.8 billion years

PULLMAN – The tiny, pixilated red smudges on John Blakeslee's computer screen may not look like much. But they're the clearest pictures yet of the early universe, almost 13 billion years ago. The smudges are some of the oldest galaxies scientists have ever spotted, which are alight with the first stars in the universe.

News >  Idaho

Old-school

MOSCOW – The newest college on the Palouse is trying to return to some old ideas. Students at New Saint Andrews College learn ancient languages and read heavily from the Western canon, in a curriculum based on Calvinist theology. There's no such thing as a major. Most exams are oral. School officials say it's an effort to return to a classical model of higher education. A modern university education, said college President Roy Atwood, with its emphasis on elective majors and job preparation, is "only going to train people to be widgets, and plug into low-paying jobs. It's not going to train people to be leaders and visionaries."
News >  Spokane

Low-fat ice cream can taste whey better

PULLMAN – Researchers are asking a lot of questions at Washington State University. Does environmental pollution cause disease for generations? What do the earliest galaxies in the universe look like?
News >  Idaho

Former U.S. senators talk modern military at UI

MOSCOW, Idaho – The war on terrorism can't be won using traditional military operations, two former senators agreed Thursday. That was just one subject on which Gary Hart, a Colorado Democrat, and Alan Simpson, a Wyoming Republican, managed to find agreement during their 90-minute dialogue about national security and the Constitution at the University of Idaho. The former senators addressed a crowd at the UI's annual Bellwood Lecture, and spoke to students and the press earlier in the day.
News >  Spokane

Spokane author named a finalist in national awards

Spokane author Jess Walter was named a finalist Wednesday for the National Book Award for his new novel, "The Zero," putting him in the running for one of the country's most prestigious literary honors. Walter was in San Francisco on a book tour in support of the new novel, and he attended Wednesday's announcement at the famous City Lights Bookstore. He had been notified Tuesday but sworn to secrecy.
News >  Spokane

GU wins battle, but war overshadows competition

J.D. Potter, covered head to toe in camouflage, sprinted to a sandbag barrier and dived to the ground. After a couple of seconds, he stood and hurled a grenade into the woods, where a percussive boom signaled he'd hit his target.
News >  Spokane

Sister City founder Ed Tsutakawa dies

Ed Tsutakawa, a tireless advocate of international understanding who built a cultural bridge between the city he loved in Eastern Washington and the city he loved in Japan, died Friday evening at 85. The seeds Tsutakawa planted in 1961 with the Sister City relationship of Spokane and Nishinomiya have come full bloom, from the authentic Japanese garden that borders a South Hill neighborhood to the local outpost for a Japanese women's college built on the grounds of an old U.S. Army post.
News >  Spokane

Tuition plan a class act

The number of people enrolling in Washington's booming prepaid tuition plan keeps rising – new accounts are up 12 percent so far this year, and it's the nation's fastest-growing plan. For Spokane families like the Harrises and the Dickmans, the reasons are obvious. By opening an account with the state, families can freeze the cost of tuition, paying today's rates for tomorrow's classes.
News >  Spokane

Whitworth invests in urban students

When L. Denice Randle was looking to go from Pierce Community College to a four-year school, she was sure of one thing. "I knew I wanted to be immersed in black culture," she said. So the story of how she wound up attending mostly white Whitworth College in mostly white Spokane involves a few twists and turns. But Randle is one of 41 top inner-city students who have come to Whitworth from Tacoma in the past four years as part of a program that is becoming a model in helping low-income urban students succeed. The program, Act Six, is expected to graduate its first 12 students this spring. Forty-one students have entered the program since it began, and just one has dropped out. The group carries an average GPA of 3.42, and it includes several student leaders – including the student body president, Fa'ana Fanene.
News >  Spokane

University leaders’ pay soars

Virtually nothing is known yet about the next president of Washington State University. The effort to find a replacement for the retiring V. Lane Rawlins is just beginning. Advisory committees are being formed, and a search firm hired. Officials hope to make a decision by spring, with a new boss in place for the next academic year.
News >  Spokane

GU neighbors feeling crowded

It's probably never been easy to live next door to a bunch of college students. Drinking and loud parties. Overcrowded apartments and parking lots. Litter and vandalism.
News >  Idaho

Researcher stands behind his practices

One of the chief researchers at the University of Idaho whose ties to two private companies were criticized by auditors says he and others were subjected to a "public tar-and-feathering" that will discourage economic development arising from university research. Until last summer, Jody Gambles was a researcher at the Center for Advanced Microelectronics and Biomolecular Research in Post Falls. He was also one of the owners, along with center director Gary Maki, of a private company that marketed CAMBR research and shared profits with employees at the center.
News >  Spokane

WSU dorm patrols to resume

Washington State University will resume police patrols of the dormitory hallways after the Board of Regents voted Monday to adopt a temporary emergency rule reinstating the practice. The patrols were halted after a Whitman County judge ruled in the spring that a WSU police officer had unconstitutionally invaded students' privacy by randomly walking the hallways, listening and sniffing at doorways. The judge ruled that hallways – which were limited under WSU policy to residents and guests – were areas where students had a right to privacy, and he threw out two criminal cases resulting from the patrols.
News >  Spokane

Ex-UI researcher defends practices

One of the chief researchers at the University of Idaho whose ties to two private companies were criticized by auditors says he and others were subjected to a "public tar-and-feathering" that will discourage economic development arising from university research. Until last summer, Jody Gambles was a researcher at the Center for Advanced Microelectronics and Biomolecular Research in Post Falls. He was also one of the owners, along with center director Gary Maki, of a private company that marketed CAMBR research and shared profits with employees at the center.
News >  Spokane

Accused GU prof returns to work

A Jesuit professor at Gonzaga University accused of making sexual advances and assaulting a seminarian in a civil lawsuit that was settled by the university has returned as a professor at the school. The return of political science professor Michael Treleaven came during the same recent period when the university announced that its former president, John Leary, had abused young boys. It has caused some to question whether GU is taking aggressive action against current misconduct, even as it acknowledges crimes from the past.
News >  Spokane

Toxins may affect genes

New research by Washington State University scientists suggests that a single exposure to environmental toxins during pregnancy can cause cancer, kidney disease and other illnesses for future generations. The research, led by WSU professor Michael Skinner, suggests that environmental pollution could permanently reprogram genetic traits in a family line, creating a legacy of sickness. It follows previous studies in Skinner's lab that showed similar long-term effects from toxins on the reproductive systems of successive generations.
News >  Spokane

Enrollment up – off campus

For the first time in several years, overall enrollments at the Palouse campuses of the University of Idaho and Washington State University have dropped. But rising enrollments on branch campuses have offset that trend at least a bit, with increases in students attending Spokane's WSU programs, Coeur d'Alene's UI campus and others.
News >  Spokane

Giddyap, grandeur, good cause

Of all the people riding horses Sunday at the Spokane Polo Club, Dylan Corbin was the one least prepared for it. Corbin, an 11-year-old from Valleyford who has leukemia, showed up at the fundraiser for the Ronald McDonald House and Make-A-Wish Foundation unaware that he was going to have his own wish granted – the gift of a quarterhorse named Sly.
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."