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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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All Stories

News >  Spokane

GU, Whitworth make magazine’s arguable top 10

Gonzaga University and Whitworth College both ranked in the top 10 for their category in the new U.S. News & World Report listings of the nation's top schools – an annual report that stirs at least as much heartburn as pride in academia. Public universities in the Inland Northwest all ranked lower in their categories.
News >  Spokane

Call it WSU Tech: School at forefront of e-education

PULLMAN – The technology wing of Jeff Records' life is significant. He has computers, both desktop and laptop. He's got a digital camera and cell phone, a PDA and a digital video recorder. Almost all of it, he says, could be used in one way or another as part of his classwork at Washington State University.
News >  Spokane

College freshmen start to snap apron strings

PULLMAN – Gregory Jean got up early Tuesday, loaded the car and left Tacoma on a five-hour drive to a completely different world. Like thousands of other young people all over the Palouse, Jean gave up home for a dorm room this week. The 18-year-old – helped by his mother and older brother – was hauling boxes and hanging clothes at Washington State University's Stephenson dorm complex. Among his possessions, he brought a box fan, a basketball – and a guitar he plays a bit. "I'm planning on getting better while I'm here," he said.

News >  Spokane

Morals can be dilemma for athletes

College football players are enduring twice-daily workouts in the August heat, practicing blocking and tackling, running wind sprints and learning the playbook. Sharon Stoll would like to see them add one more exercise – in ethics.
News >  Spokane

For USO singer, a grand stage

For Ruth Dixon, World War II ended in the middle of a song. A USO singer on a six-month tour of the South Pacific, Dixon and her troupe were interrupted while performing at the estate of the Philippines' president on Aug. 14, 1945.
News >  Spokane

Controversial group settles in Spokane

Members of a tightknit Christian group that has been trailed by controversy around the West have purchased six homes bordering Whitworth College, raising concerns on campus and in the surrounding north Spokane neighborhood. Bill Freeman, who leads the group with his wife, Patsy, said he and the members of his church just want to live quietly, worship as they see fit and keep to themselves. For decades, the Freemans have led a group of fundamentalist Christians who live closely intertwined lives of intense religious devotion, according to several former members and published reports.
News >  Spokane

County health chief to head state board

Gov. Christine Gregoire has appointed Dr. Kim Thorburn, Spokane County's chief health official, to head up the state Board of Health. The part-time appointment means Thorburn will lead the 10-member state board for three years, while still serving as director of the Spokane Regional Health District. The state panel makes recommendations to lawmakers, regulates some health issues, gathers data and offers public forums on health.
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.