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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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 >  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.
News >  Idaho

Complaints follow talk on Islam

A speaker at North Idaho College who declared that Islam is a religion of world domination committed to the death of Christians and Jews has riled up some students, who say the speech fed false stereotypes. Chuck Missler, who spoke on "The Threat of Radical Islam," said he's just trying to tell the truth about a grave threat to America.
News >  Spokane

Area universities falling short in quest for ethnic diversity

Reita Kitt was the kind of high school graduate that colleges say they're dying for. A good student. A scholarship recipient. A participant in summer programs at the University of Idaho for high school students. And, as a Coeur d'Alene tribal descendent, an "underrepresented minority."
News >  Spokane

SCC struggles to deal with sex offenders

Washington's community colleges operate on the principle that virtually anyone is welcome – even if you don't have a high school degree, they'll usually help you get one. But the idea of "open enrollment" is colliding with questions over sex offenders in the classroom at Spokane Community College, where 20 registered sex offenders are enrolled, and where faculty and staff are asking the administration to clarify their rights and responsibilities.
News >  Idaho

UI researchers develop language for robots

MOSCOW, Idaho – Dean Edwards' underwater robots speak a language, but it isn't English. The little submarines communicate through sound waves, and he's hoping to demonstrate that they can cooperate and make decisions on their own – a valuable quality for dangerous tasks like sniffing out underwater mines.
News >  Spokane

Harassment suit shakes up WSU

PULLMAN – The sexual harassment case of Bernardo Gallegos began with wine and candlelight, after hours, at his home – just a distinguished professor and a married student who says she resisted his advances. Now it's playing out loudly all over the Palouse, with a lawsuit against Gallegos and Washington State University, a series of articles in the campus newspaper, and a pledge last week from the provost that WSU would strengthen its policies on sexual harassment.
News >  Spokane

EWU names presidential finalists

Eastern Washington University has named three finalists to replace departed President Stephen Jordan, the school announced Tuesday. The finalists are provosts, or chief academic officers, at their respective schools – Western Washington University, the University of Texas-Pan American, and Bowling Green State University.
News >  Spokane

Whitworth changing name to cash in on university cachet

The board of directors at Whitworth College has voted to change the school's name, after 115 years, to Whitworth University – crossing one of the slipperiest boundaries in higher education. What's the difference between a college and a university?
News >  Spokane

New clash brews over next Gonzaga speaker

A Republican student group at Gonzaga is bringing another controversial speaker to campus next week, as the debate over their last one continues. David Horowitz, a conservative critic of higher education and racial politics in America, will speak Wednesday at GU on the topic of "Academic Freedom on America's College Campuses."
News >  Spokane

EWU turns to mediator for salary negotiations

The faculty and administration at Eastern Washington University are turning to mediation in their attempt to negotiate a new contract. The United Faculty of Eastern union announced Oct. 21 that talks had broken down with the administration and that it would be seeking mediation to resolve differences over proposed salaries.