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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 >  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.
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.