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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Washington Voices

West Plains notebook: Earth Day cleanup seeks volunteers

Ryan Lancaster

Earth Day is on its way next Wednesday and Cheney’s Pathways to Progress invites the West Plains community to celebrate with service.

Pathways has teamed up with Eastern Washington University’s TRiO scholarship program for a roadside cleanup in downtown Cheney. Program director Bonnie Berscheid said those interested in helping out should meet in Room 103 of Monroe Hall on the EWU campus at 2 p.m. From there, volunteers will pick up trash along First Street as well as A through F streets downtown.

Berscheid expects 100 to 150 people to turn out for the tidy-up, including most of the EWU track team and many campus sororities and fraternities. While she encourages everyone in the community to participate, she’s especially keen on getting students to volunteer. “I know a lot of college students may not even have been downtown before except to go to the bars, so this is a great opportunity for them to see what’s down here,” said Berscheid.

For more information on this event, call Pathways to Progress at (509) 559-5818.

Area lakes opening for anglers

While a smattering of Eastern Washington lakes have already opened for fishing season, the big day for most is April 25. Several hundred lowland lakes across the state will be packed with eager anglers.

One of the many area lakes with an upcoming opener is Clear Lake, near the city of Medical Lake. J.R. Buller, who operates Dan’s Landing, said the resort is usually a “mad house” on opening day and that anglers have been known to pull in their limit after just a few hours. “It’s anybody’s guess how fishing will be this year, but it’s always been very good in the past,” Buller said.

A valid 2009-’10 fishing license is required for anyone over age 15 wishing to drop a line. Licenses can be purchased by visiting, by calling (866) 246-9453, or from license vendors throughout the state.

Spring basketball shootout

One of the area’s largest indoor three-on-three basketball tournaments, the EWU Spring Shootout, will take place from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday at the Eastern Washington University Sports and Recreation Center.

Anywhere from 140 to 200 teams are expected to participate this year, the shootout’s eighth. The tourney will be in straight double-elimination format with officials on all courts and admission is free for spectators. For more information, go to or call (509) 359-4836.

Turnbull wildflower class

If you can’t tell a buttercup from a ballhead waterleaf, now’s your chance to learn the difference. The Washington Native Plant Society and Friends of Turnbull are offering a course in wildflower and plant identification Sunday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Turnbull National Wildlife Refuge on South Smith Road near Cheney.

Beginners and botanophiles alike will be taught to identify many Eastern Washington plants by trained botanists like Ken Swedberg, once the chair of biology at EWU. Swedberg said attendees will brush up on nomenclature in a classroom setting and then take their skills into the field to scout out plants around the refuge. Another course on May 17 will highlight later-blooming plants and is not limited to those who choose to attend the April session.

“We go out to catch the early flora in April, then again in May when the buttercups have gone away and there are new things to see,” Swedberg said.

The cost is $10 for one session or $15 for both sessions; enrollment is limited.

Call Swedberg at (509) 235-4979 for registration and information.

Compost trailer now open in Medical Lake

Medical Lake’s community compost trailer is now open for the season 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The trailer at 851 South Lefevre is available to anyone who lives in the Medical Lake city limits, and is staffed each day from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

City maintenance supervisor Dan Dorshorst said material collected at the trailer is sent to the Spokane Waste-to-Energy facility. He asks community members to limit deposits to organic yard waste like grass clippings, leaves and smaller branches and limbs.

If you have questions regarding the compost trailer, please call (509) 299-7715.

Reach correspondent Ryan Lancaster by e-mail at
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