`A year ago we asked movers and shakers in the Inland Northwest to name one thing they’d like to see happen in 2016.
Some came true. In October, Washington State University announced its medical school in Spokane received preliminary accreditation, a goal of the school’s president, Lisa Brown, and Scott Morris, chief executive of Avista. Voters also approved a sales tax increase to fund additional Spokane Transit Authority services, fulfilling the wishes of state Rep. Marcus Riccelli and former Spokane City Councilman Jon Snyder.
Other goals went unfulfilled. The Inland Northwest didn’t receive new Chick-fil-A or In-N-Out Burger franchises, to the chagrin of our bellies – and Eastern Washington men’s basketball coach Jim Hayford and Whitworth football coach Rod Sandberg. Gonzaga’s basketball team earned a Sweet 16 appearance but lost in a 63-60 nailbiter to Syracuse that dashed their Final Four hopes and the wishes of several respondents to our inquiries in December.
We reached out again to folks in our community as the calendar neared 2017 and asked them to name one thing they’d like to see happen in the new year. Some answers were specific, while others broadly described ways to improve where we live. Here are the New Year’s resolutions for our community, from those who live in it.
Holiday spirit all year ’round
Kate Hansen, 34, co-owner of Sante Restaurant and Charcuterie, Common Crumb Artisan Bakery, Hogwash Whiskey Den and Inland Pacific Kitchen: “My wish for our community next year is the idea of grace. I define grace to be a combination of humility, patience and compassion for self and others … taking time to learn someone’s story or context before writing them off. The same can be applied to our fair city as it encounters stretches of slow growth, then growing pains, and then the naturally following, albeit unfamiliar, change.”
Jim Hayford, 49, Eastern Washington men’s basketball coach: “My hope for the new year is kindness in our community, wins on the court and lots of laughs with all my friends.”
Lacie Hull, 17, Central Valley girls basketball player (Lexie’s twin sister): “I think it’d be great to see our communities help the families in need. It seems sad that the only time of year we support families is Thanksgiving and Christmas. What if our community helped out on kids’ birthdays? It’s truly the one time of year that people are celebrated as an individual. It would be awesome if we could have giving trees at local stores like Walmart or Fred Meyer for kids under 18.”
Rabbi Tamar Malino, 45, of Temple Beth Shalom: “In the new year, I would like to see an absence of hateful graffiti in Spokane, and further development of our community and interfaith collaborations.”
Regina Malveaux, YWCA chief executive officer: “I do believe that we are experiencing a unique moment in history when those who believe in respect, safety and dignity for all have the opportunity to be a voice for those feeling attacked or vulnerable. I was so proud to see friends and neighbors in Spokane come together to stand up against hate when it reared its ugly head in our community. In the coming year I look forward to seeing our community continue to be a one which comes together in support of all of our citizens.”
Scott Oakshott, 59, director of Spokane Valley Tech: “What I would like to see is all people taking responsibility for their portion of our society. A very small step but what if we all did that! Wow!”
Freddie Rehkow, 47, Central Valley High School basketball coach: “My answer would have to be something that has become very personal to me, and that would be our ‘Kick Cancer’ game that we started this year in honor of Childhood Cancer Awareness month in September. … I would like to see our entire Spokane area participate, support and recognize a Kick Cancer game in the entire city of Spokane next September.”.
Jennifer Schlenske, 40, director of Spokane Valley Partners: “I would like to see Spokane better understand the prevalence of mental illness and the possibility of recovery. People battling mental health illnesses are constantly contending for acceptance that their health disorder is every bit as serious, and treatable, as a physical ailment.”
Hershel Zellman, 68, member of the the Spokane County Human Rights Task Force and a retired family practice physician: “I would like to see the people of our community, without hesitation, reaching out to one another with a helping hand and a respectful voice.”
Tod Marshall, 49, Washington poet laureate and professor at Gonzaga University: “In Section 19 of ‘Song of Myself,’ Walt Whitman writes, ‘I will not have a single person slighted or left away.’ Practicing that openness, that hospitality, leads, I believe, to values that allow us to imagine radical acts of compassion. In 2017, I believe that this might be an important aspiration for myself, for my immediate communities, and for the larger communities of which I am a part.”
Helping out our furry friends
Mike Fagan, 56, Spokane City councilman: I want to have a community conversation about whether the City of Spokane should establish standards for service animals in public places, on top of federal and state regulations.
Nancy Hill, 62, director of Spokane County Regional Animal Protection Services (SCRAPS): “I would like to see a world in which all cats and dogs are sterilized, vaccinated, microchipped and wearing a current SCRAPS pet license!”
Lexie Hull, 17, Central Valley girls basketball player (Lacie’s twin sister): “I absolutely love animals, more specifically homeless/rescue animals. After volunteering at the Humane Society, I realized there is a significant need to find these animals a permanent home. It would be great to see our community take action to place these animals.”
Promoting the community
Lenny Bart, 55, artistic director of Spokane Civic Theatre: “I would love to see the downtown Spokane streets clear of renovations and repairs, so I can go downtown, park, see a show, meet with friends for a bite and not have to pretend I’m on a slalom course.”
David Condon, 42, Spokane mayor: “My resolutions for 2017 include driving down crime, working to end homelessness in our community, increasing household income, and a collaborative approach to sustainable community development and growth.”
Gynii Abracosa Gilliam, 57, president of Coeur d’Alene Area Economic Development Corp./Jobs Plus: “To see our community build a strong economy that includes research and development, information systems and other forward-thinking sectors. To plan proactively for a future where jobs and opportunities in health, aerospace and aviation, technology, advanced manufacturing, and all industries are plentiful.”
Myles Kennedy, 47, rock musician, lead singer of Alter Bridge, co-founder of Future Song: “I would love to see a continued transformation and revitalization of downtown Spokane. It’s come a long way in the last few years, so I’m optimistic for 2017. Breathing new life into buildings like the former Ridpath Hotel, as well as seeing more growth of the residential core, would do wonders for the downtown area.”
Cheryl Kilday, 55, president and CEO of Visit Spokane: “To continue my nudge to change the way Spokane sees itself and move the meter toward viewing Spokane as a regional destination known for being a vibrant, creative, hassle-free urban center of the Intermountain Northwest.”
Ed Pace, 69, Spokane Valley City Councilman: “We become a community where the silent majority will come out and say, ‘Hey, this is my community, too.’ Where people of all ages and genders and professions and backgrounds participate. … And that we can discuss things openly – that we have a positive, deep, robust discussion about what we want our city to be.”
Ben Stuckart, 45, Spokane City Council president: “It would be great by the end of the year to have a unified, economic development strategic plan for the city of Spokane, something the mayor and the council unanimously agree on. That will set the stage for success for years to come.”
Travis Tveit, 26, pastry chef at Wild Sage: “I would like to see our community continue to expand the specialty food scene. More charcuterie, more tapas, more pho! It’s headed in a good direction, and I hope the growth continues.”
Focus on public safety
Breean Beggs, 44, Spokane City councilman: “I want to see a significant reduction in property crime.”
Sergio De Leon, 46, owner and manager, De Leon Foods: “We have a big drug abuse problem here locally, (and) this problem leads to other crimes. I would like to see more programs that help people with this deadly disease that affects all of us.”
Lori Kinnear, 63, Spokane City councilwoman: “In my perfect world, we would need 40 more Spokane police officers. We need a police force commensurate with a city of our size.”
Craig Meidl, 45, Spokane police chief: “I would like to see a comprehensive statewide plan to address the property crime issue in Washington state.”
Putting a contentious election behind us
Shawn Keough, Idaho state senator, R-Sandpoint, 57, who represents Bonner and Boundary counties in the Idaho Legislature: “All of the towns, the two counties and the people who reside with me there: Let’s find those things we share in common and work together on them – there are more things we agree on than not. The divisions within our community are detrimental to our future success and we should look for ways to bring our divergent interests together in civil and productive discussion for the betterment of our area.”
Karen Stratton, 57, Spokane City councilwoman: “I want to see everyone get along. Whether that’s between the city and county, or the business community and government, or within City Hall. Things are way more partisan than they used to be.”
Focus on students
Jonathan Benecchi, 16, Lewis and Clark High School junior, president of Lil Guardians of the Children: “One of the big things I want to see changed is how our schools handle kids dealing with suicidal thoughts. Because right now our schools are not dealing with it that well.”
Bob Nonini, 62, Idaho state senator, R-Couer d’Alene: “The continued growth and support coming from the local schools and higher education institutions along with the community in general related to STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) and career technical education. It will be great for the students, the economy and the younger generation’s future.”
Shelley Redinger, 49, Spokane Public Schools superintendent: “My resolution for 2017 is to continue to engage students, families, staff and the community in conversations that build relationships, trust and understanding that will lead us to be better at all that we do.”
Setting specific benchmarks
Alisha Benson, 36, chief operating officer/vice president of education and workforce at Greater Spokane Inc.: “Next year GSI is officially launching a program to increase the proportion of residents in Spokane County with high-quality, high-demand degrees, or certificates, from 40 percent to 60 percent by 2025.”
Rob McCann, 47, executive director, Catholic Charities: “I’d like to see every city, county government within 25 miles of Spokane commit that it’s going to give at least 2 percent of its annual budget to human services. If we do that, we can greatly reduce poverty by 2017.”
Appreciating our beauty and talent
Peggy Doering, 60, director of Valleyfest, 60: “In the windstorm of 2015, thousands of trees were lost across the region. I would like to see an effort to replace trees, a countywide reforest plan. We are the Evergreen State, after all.”
Phil Hough, 58, Friends of Scotchman Peaks Wilderness, executive director and one of the founding board members: “My hope for the community is that we see the passage of successful legislation designating the Scotchman Peaks in Idaho as wilderness.”
Karli Ingersoll, 30, co-owner of the Bartlett: “I would love to see at least twice the amount of local album releases. And I would love to see the audience for local music continue to grow in number. There’s a lot of unique talent in Spokane, and the artists here have a lot of important things to say to the community and on behalf of it.”
Elaine Couture, 61, CEO Providence Health Care: “My wish for 2017 is that we preserve the gains we have made in Washington state to ensure everyone has access to affordable health care coverage, and we are able to eliminate disparities in health so that our hospitals are not full; our friends, families and neighbors have access to medical care; and our communities are healthier as a result.”
Luke Falk, 22, Washington State football quarterback: “Put on more weight, that’s a big one. I’d like to get to 225 pounds. I just had some food poisoning so I don’t know what I am right now, but right around the 215 area.”
Hope springs eternal
Dan Dickau, 38, former Gonzaga basketball player, broadcaster, owns The Barbers and vice president/marketing director for ScoreBookLive: “The Zags to make their first Final 4.”
Several others, including Mayor David Condon, mentioned a Final Four appearance for Gonzaga in addition to other resolutions.
Spokesman-Review reporters Rachel Alexander, Pia Hallenberg, Kip Hill, Adriana Janovich, Becky Kramer, Jim Meehan, Betsy Z. Russell, Jacob Thorpe and Nathan Weinbender contributed to this story.
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