Skate America Wrap-Up -- Well, folks, I think we can all agree that it was a big success. Not only did we get to see Michelle Kwan, Skate America's eleventh-hour replacement for Sarah Hughes, the world got to see a little bit of us, what with the ABC film crews and out-of-towners covering the event and filling the Davenport and several other hotels to capacity. Skate America was attended by 28,664 people, breaking the previous Skate America record of 26,588 in 1986. Among the highlights were Michelle Kwan's sweep of both the long and short programs, Canadian pair Patrice Archetto and Anabelle Langlois' Tosca routine and Frenchman Brian Joubert's capture of the gold. Even the fact that Olympic men's gold medalist Alexei Yagudin was sidelined due to hip problems, and that the new "anonymous" scoring system was enormously unpopular, could do little to dampen enthusiasm for the event, which was an undeniably good thing for Spokane. "Because we broke the attendance record, we know the economic impact was a little over the estimated low conservative figure of $2.3 million," says Nancy Goodspeed of the Spokane Visitors and Convention Bureau. "And in terms of media attention, we received the equivalent of $25 million in coverage."
We hope all those companies with nice, big jobs and cushy salaries were watching.
We Got a Little Excited -- A few weeks ago, we erroneously reported that the poet laureate of the United States, Billy Collins, was part of the Get Lit lineup next spring. Actually, Collins is coming to Whitworth College as part of their Endowed Reading Series, which has in years past brought such luminaries as Adrienne Rich, Shakespeare scholar Steven Marx and essayist Scott Russell Sanders to town. We know how the mix-up happened: we were out of our minds with excitement that the likes of Collins, David Sedaris and Lynda Barry are all going to be visiting Spokane at the same time. Kudos to Whitworth for continuing such a stellar series.
Tait Report -- Some of you might recall us mentioning local Scottish Highland dancer Tait Hunter last spring. The 9-year-old was planning on attending the World Championship of Performing Arts in Hollywood this fall along with five other students from Kelly's Dance Academy. We've just heard back that Hunter scored one gold and one silver at the event, which is attended by casting directors, producers and other show business industry insiders. In a division for younger kids, 7-year-old Maggie Douglas from Almira cleaned up with one gold and three silver medals. Way to go, girls!
Raison d'Etre -- For all of you currently looking for a reason to live, rejoice. Nov. 3 is National Sandwich Day.