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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

WSU shifts administrators’ roles

Washington State University President V. Lane Rawlins is shifting some responsibilities for running the Pullman campus to other administrators to focus more on statewide issues such as fund-raising, lobbying and long-range planning. In an executive reorganization announced Monday, Rawlins said WSU Provost Robert Bates will become executive vice president for the Pullman campus, giving him the primary role in the day-to-day affairs there.
News >  Spokane

Bobcat recovering from burns

PULLMAN – A bobcat kitten burned in a slash fire near Omak is resting comfortably – chewing her litter box and batting her large paws – after a pair of life-saving surgeries at Washington State University's Veterinary Teaching Hospital. In some ways, the story of Amber, a 12-week-old kitten who looks like a powerful house cat, resembles the famous tale of a bear cub who became the face of the government's campaign against forest fires.

News >  Spokane

Truck crash closes I-90

A semi hauling cattle flipped and caught fire Sunday afternoon just east of Coeur d'Alene, temporarily stranding hundreds of motorists on Interstate 90 for miles in both directions. The accident occurred about 2:30, in the westbound lane of I-90 at milepost 17, near the exit to Mullan Trail Road.
News >  Idaho

Tell me about the time you …

MOSCOW, Idaho – A project to record interviews with Americans across the nation is looking for Palouse stories. Organizers don't want history in a traditional, names-and-dates sense. They're looking for introspection and emotion, personal experience and insight – "the rich lives of reflective people," said Mary Reed, director of the Latah County Historical Society.
News >  Spokane

A matter of degrees

A lot of Washington residents have bachelor's degrees, compared to the rest of the country. It's just that a lot of us didn't get them in Washington universities.
News >  Spokane

Keeping the camp in campus

MOSCOW, Idaho – Sally Eames-Harlan faces the theater students and gives them their text: "Mary Had a Little Lamb." She has them whisper it while they walk. The students tiptoe and slink.
News >  Spokane

Insects welcome in one wild patch

PULLMAN – Across the Palouse, wheat and pea fields drape the landscape, a quilt of broad, uniform patches. But hundreds of years ago, before the plow and the combine, the prairie was dense with plant varieties – native roses and geraniums, grasses and wildflowers, mint and juniper.
News >  Spokane

WSU chief stands by protesters at biting play

Washington State University President V. Lane Rawlins refused Wednesday to renounce the school's position on an "intentionally offensive" student play that deteriorated into a shouting match in April. A national advocacy group, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, asked Rawlins to do so, arguing that his apparent support for about 40 protesters who disrupted a performance of "Passion of the Musical" amounts to supporting the censorship of the "heckler's veto."
News >  Spokane

WSU told to fix racial harassment policies

Washington State University should improve its handling of racial harassment complaints, a new state report says, but the outcry over such allegations on campus last spring "distracted and diverted resources" from that goal. The 102-page report by a task force of the Washington Human Rights Commission recommends a wide range of improvements to WSU's procedures for handling harassment complaints, including establishing alternatives for resolving disputes, clarifying procedures, investigating all complaints and improving coordination among parties at the school.
News >  Spokane

Adult students read between the lines

A new program at Spokane's Institute for Extended Learning is helping people read by teaching them to worry less about the words. "People are told, 'You've gotta figure out the words,' " said Doug Fadness, who works for the company that sells the Read Right program. "No, no, you don't. You've got to figure out the message."
News >  Spokane

College-funding battle lines drawn

Spokane's newest university isn't much like the others. The average age of students is 34. Its library exists only online – no bricks and mortar, no shushing librarian. And it's got a bottom line.
News >  Spokane

Construction costs rise sharply

When bids went out in February for work on a new science building at Spokane Community College, officials were nervous. The price of concrete, steel, rebar and other construction materials had soared. Colleges and universities around the country were seeing multimillion-dollar increases on their projects – in the midst of a multibillion-dollar building boom.
News >  Spokane

RV gathering offers classes, fun

MOSCOW – When Babe Flaa talks about her first day behind the wheel of their new 35-foot RV, she sounds slightly amazed. "I went through town," she says. "I went right through the middle of town. I did OK."
News >  Spokane

2,000-mile trek raises funds for fallen soldier’s family

A long road ended for Michael Sippola, and a new one is about to begin for Karen Hattamer. Sippola concluded a cross-country hike Wednesday at the grave of Hattamer's husband, Stephen, a Spokane native killed in Iraq on Christmas Day 2003. Sippola's long walk and fund-raising efforts are helping make Stephen Hattamer's goal of a permanent home for his family come true.
News >  Spokane

Research finds effects of toxins can be inherited

PULLMAN – Blame Grandma's genes. New research at Washington State University suggests that environmental toxins can permanently alter the genes of entire generations of animals, causing infertility and disease at levels that don't decline from one generation to the next.
News >  Idaho

Schools may face new fund-raising rules

The Idaho Board of Education is proposing changes to the way universities and their fund-raising foundations operate in the wake of the multimillion-dollar collapse of the University of Idaho's attempted expansion into Boise. The rules would prohibit or limit many activities that were a part of the University Place deal, which cost the UI and its foundation more than $25 million and put the university into a deep financial hole, as well as prompting federal and state criminal investigations.
News >  Spokane

Leaving a new EWU

When Stephen Jordan pulls out of Cheney this month, he'll leave behind a very different Eastern Washington University than he found when he pulled in. Record enrollments have replaced a steady decline. The number of students who live on campus has more than doubled. A withering commuter school with "an institutional inferiority complex," as one retired professor put it, has been replaced with a growing residential university.
News >  Idaho

UI lawsuits target insurer, Boise lawyers

The University of Idaho has sued its insurer and joined a lawsuit against two Boise law firms that provided advice on the failed University Place expansion in Boise. The suit filed in Ada County District Court against Cincinnati-based Great American Insurance Co. seeks the payment of up to $10 million on a policy that insured the state against losses caused by any dishonest acts or omissions by employees.
News >  Spokane

For real CSIs, drama is scarce

In the real world, crime scene investigation is anything but glamorous, two experts said Tuesday. Sometimes, it's as grubby as picking through the contents of a vacuum cleaner bag, bit by filthy bit. But when that pays off – as it did in a 1999 rape in Canada – it breaks cases that would have remained unsolved 20 years ago.
News >  Spokane

Life skills resource has budget woes

When Kendra Phoenix went back to school, she needed more than books. Struggling with despair after her daughter's suicide and a divorce, she needed counseling. She needed job skills. She needed a math refresher and computer training. A lot of the time, she felt she desperately needed someone to talk to.