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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

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.
News >  Idaho

Search near children’s home ends

Investigators gave up the search in the woods near Wolf Lodge Bay on Friday for two children missing since three bloody homicides earlier this week. Now they're sifting through a mountain of information – tips, sightings, rumors and even psychic visions – in their efforts to find Dylan and Shasta Groene. The siblings haven't been seen in the week since their 13-year-old brother, mother and her boyfriend were found bound and beaten to death Monday in their home in the forested area near Lake Coeur d'Alene.
News >  Idaho

Learning gets a third dimension

To Brian Sumption, 3-D is only natural. "We were born with two stereoscopic eyes and plopped down in a sandbox in the first couple of years, and we played with balls in 3-D and built 3-D sandcastles," said Sumption, a University of Idaho professor. "Then they put us in school, and from that day on 99 percent of our education is taught through 2-D."
News >  Idaho

Tribe gets place on lake

WORLEY, Idaho – For more than a century, everybody but the Coeur d'Alene Tribe got their piece of Lake Coeur d'Alene's shore. Now the Coeur d'Alenes have gotten a piece back – 36 acres and 700 feet where the land meets the water.
News >  Spokane

For most, degrees come with debt

When David Ruiz enrolled at Washington State University, he had no idea how to pay for it. With so-so grades, he didn't see himself as a scholarship candidate. Family support was limited – he'd spent his teen years working the orchards with his father, traveling with the seasons.
News >  Spokane

Invincibility not required

At last, Heather Fitzgerald's mother will see her graduate. Fitzgerald missed her high school ceremony, lying broken from neck to ankle after a drunken driving accident. On Sunday – the 10-year anniversary of that wreck – Fitzgerald will finally make it to a commencement ceremony, when she collects her bachelor's degree from Gonzaga University.
News >  Spokane

West’s behavior raises ethical dilemma

Mayor Jim West has insisted that his offers of an internship to someone he met in an Internet chat room did not amount to an abuse of office. But several political scientists said Thursday that such uses of an elected office and public resources represent an ethical transgression, if not a legal one.
News >  Spokane

Writer calls for more respect, dissent

Americans need a rejuvenated democracy that includes respect for the natural world and a wide range of dissent and difference, naturalist and writer Terry Tempest Williams told a crowd at Spokane Community College on Monday night. "I do not believe we can look for leadership beyond ourselves," Williams told a crowd of more than 200 in the SCC Lair-Student Center. "We are in need of a reflective activism, born of humility and not arrogance."
News >  Spokane

Bloomsday bride, groom have 12K wedding march

The bride wore white – white shorts, white running shoes and a white veil attached to her white visor. Then, minutes after her second wedding, 75-year-old Elisabeth Johnson walked her first Bloomsday. The groom, 78-year-old Hugh Lewis, stayed by her side in a tuxedo T-shirt and top hat. A wedding party of six joined them on the 12-kilometer route.
News >  Spokane

Entertainment around each corner

It started with hula dancers and ended with rock 'n' roll. In between came a course full of snappy punk, cowboy twang, bucket drummers and belly dancers.
News >  Spokane

Fourth R: Restoration

CHENEY – The Jore Schoolhouse celebrated its 100th birthday Friday, thanks mostly to a rebirth sparked by Charles Miller. Miller, a retired history professor with a thing for schoolhouses, discovered the dilapidated building near Newport in 1999. He talked Eastern Washington University administrators into buying it, and now the school sits on campus, a smartly restored relic of another time.
News >  Idaho

UI officials propose cutting some degree programs

The University of Idaho is proposing the elimination of little-used degree programs and the combination of departments, as part of the school's long-term effort to get back in the black. The proposals, which are preliminary pending a two-week public comment period, include phasing out the doctoral program in geophysics, master's programs in English literature and educational technology, and bachelor's programs in office administration, school and community health, and entomology.
News >  Spokane

General warns of toll of inaction

MOSCOW, Idaho – Eleven years ago, nearly 1 million Rwandans died in a genocide, and the man who led the United Nations force there says the world is standing by and allowing a replay in the Sudan. "The term 'Genocide' has lost its ability to generate action," retired Lt. Gen. Romeo Dallaire of Canada told a crowd at the annual Borah Symposium here Monday night. "We could go in (to Sudan) right now."