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

Tom Sowa

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News >  Spokane

Library Will Put Limits On Internet Access Some Sexually Explicit Files Blocked; Users Will Have To Take Training Course

Spokane's Public Library is going ahead with access to the Internet, but will require cyberspace travelers to take a course and remind them to avoid offensive material. The library also will install software that blocks some computer files containing sexually explicit photos, videos or discussions. Those steps are among several the library board will adopt later this month. The library is adding Internet access at a time of growing national concern over the material available on-line. The U.S. Senate last week voted to outlaw posting obscene material on on-line services or sending such material to minors across electronic networks, including the worldwide network called the Internet. Library officials plan to install 10 computers with Internet access next month at the downtown branch. Several more are planned in other branches. Users who violate the Internet rules could lose their library cards. Library Executive Director Dan Walters said the vast majority of on-line information is useful - from federal and state government documents to archives of research universities and art galleries on every continent. Internet interest has been high in Spokane since the library introduced a telephone service giving computer users access to its collection. But library patrons will face several restrictions. Users must take a training session. Children also must have parents sign a statement authorizing Internet use. Users won't be able to download files and no one will be able to print documents unless approved by library staff. Library users also won't be able to send electronic mail, though Walters said that option may be available later. City Councilman Joel Crosby, the City Council's library liaison, said he supports the policies, which must be formally adopted at the next library board meeting. "I applaud the board and Dan Walters for moving aggressively to give library users access to the Internet," Crosby said. Walters said the program that screens out offensive material cannot guarantee library users won't find X-rated pictures or messages. The program must be told which sources of information to screen out. "Considering the scope of the problem and how often such sources change, I have to admit that such safeguards cannot be entirely successful," he said. About $40,000 is being spent on the computers. The machines will rely on the library's computer network, financed with $1.5 million from a bond measure approved by voters. No extra staff will be added. "Really for us, the big issue is how to bring this up without adding much stress and additional work for our staff," Walters said. Even with the new policies, the library has no plans to monitor how the Internet is used. "None of our staff will walk around and view what's on people's computer screens," he said. "That's a contradiction of what a library is all about."
News >  Spokane

Businesses Slow To Catch Hoopfest Bug Like It Or Not, Stores, Restaurants Try To Get Along With Basketball Jamboree

Spokane businesses had no problem falling in love with Bloomsday, that annual Sunday morning party interrupted by a couple of hours of walking or running. Downtown merchants and business managers are taking longer to embrace Hoopfest, the sweaty, two-day jamboree featuring thousands of people playing in three-on-three basketball games. "We love Bloomsday," said Auntie's Bookstore co-owner Chris O'Harra. "It's over by the time we open our doors for business.

News >  Spokane

Computerized Information Service Planned

A Spokane non-profit group intends to launch a computer service that would give users a one-stop source of information on government legislation. If its organizers can raise enough money, the Citizen Connection will start this fall, said the group's president, Robert Hager.
News >  Spokane

Body Found In Shallow Grave Spokane Man Questioned In ‘Probable Murder’

Police arrested a 28-year-old Spokane man Friday afternoon and are questioning him about a body that was found in a shallow grave near Eloika Lake. Alan G. Rochek was arrested while driving a car in downtown Spokane, Police Chief Terry Mangan said. He is being questioned in what Mangan and Spokane County Sheriff John Goldman said is a probable murder, although no charges have been filed. The identity of the white male whose body was found Friday morning has not been released. Mangan said the victim has been tentatively identified, but that an autopsy is needed.
News >  Nation/World

With Bloomsday, Registration Is The Easy Part Organization Means Runners Find Short Lines To Pick Up Packets

If only everything in life was this organized. Bloomsday runners picking up their packets Friday in downtown Spokane found short lines, tons of exhibits and four pins fastened together in every race bag. "It's so organized that it's almost too easy," said Coeur d'Alene resident Ellen Frantz, filling out a late registration form at the Ag Trade Center.
News >  Spokane

State Offers More Signs On I-90 During Project Officials, Businesses Discuss Concerns About Losing Exits

State transportation officials assured a group of concerned Sunset Hill business owners that more signs will be posted near an Interstate 90 repaving project to guide drivers through detours in that area. The transportation officials made that offer during a meeting Wednesday at the Holiday Inn West, one of the businesses affected by the road repaving, which began last week. Business owners along the freeway say the closing of the Geiger Boulevard and Geiger exits will cause them to lose thousands of dollars by the time the project ends in late August.