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In Brief 

by Inlander Staff

Hayden First! 1, Wal-Mart 0 -- HAYDEN, Idaho -- Last week, the Hayden Planning and Zoning Commission voted unanimously against changing the zoning of a lot where Wal-Mart wants to build a new supercenter. The retail giant is looking at 37 acres on along Highway 95, 15 acres of which are already zoned commercial -- with the remaining 22 acres zoned for residential and multifamily development only.

CLC associates, representing the owner of the land, Alan Eborall, asked the city to change the zoning of the lot, which is located at the intersection of Honeysuckle and U.S. Highway 95.

But the zoning commission's denial doesn't mean that Hayden First! -- a newly formed grassroots group that's protesting the new Wal-Mart store -- has won a clear victory.

"Currently, we have asked the Hayden City Council to review the planning commission's decision," says Bob McAdam, vice president of corporate affairs at Wal-Mart headquarters in Bentonville, Ark. "It's my understanding that the city council will take a look at this decision in late January or early February."

Are there any other locations in Hayden that Wal-Mart is looking at?

"No, we are not considering any other sites," says McAdam. "We are planning to go forward with this one."

At hearings earlier this year, many Hayden residents spoke in opposition to the new store. Hayden First! plans to continue its fight against the retailer. The group maintains that changing the city's land-use plan to accommodate big retailers is a slippery slope, and that the neighborhood around Honeysuckle and Highway 95 is badly suited to deal with the added traffic a 24-hour store will generate.

Fox Fest -- SPOKANE -- The Fix the Fox campaign has reached a major milestone. When the Spokane Symphony first began raising funds for the old theater, an anonymous donor gave $1 million to complete the purchase of the building. At the same time, this donor promised the Symphony another $2 million if Fix the Fox was able to raise another $5 million before the end of 2002.

"At that time, in 2000, December 31, 2002 seemed like it was so far away, it seemed like no big deal," says Annie Matlow, the Symphony's spokeswoman. "But here we were, just days short, and we made it -- this is huge."

The final $5 million came in the form of 1,414 different gifts. Getting the $2 million matching gift brings the total raised to $9.1 million -- with the final cost of the project looming around $24.4 million.

"We weren't in the governor's budget, but we are still hopeful. We have gotten $2.2 million from the state, but we have asked for $6 million more," says Matlow. "The governor's budget is only a guideline. A lot can happen with the legislature that may change this. Right now, what we need is for people to call their legislators and tell them that they really want support for the Fox project."

Fewer Teens Pregnant -- SPOKANE --A study just released by the Center for Health Statistics of the Washington State Department of Health shows that the teen pregnancy rate continues to decline. In 2001, there were 59.6 pregnancies per 1,000 women between 15 to 19 years of age -- that's the lowest rate since 1980.

"The 2001 data reflects a positive and beneficial trend in teenage pregnancy rates," says Phyllis Reed of the Washington Center for Health Statistics. "However, we have to continue to be aggressive in our outreach to prevent teen pregnancy." The abortion rate in Washington is declining as well.

The drop in teen pregnancies in this state is not as steep as the drop on the national level. The National Centers for Disease Control reports that the teen birth rate has dropped 5 percent from 2000 to 2001, with the biggest drop among the youngest women -- those between 15 and 17.

Research from the Alan Guttmacher Institute (AGI) shows that even though seven out of 10 teen mothers complete high school, they are not as likely to go on to college.

According to the AGI research, about one-third of pregnant teens don't receive adequate prenatal care. Children of teen mothers tend to be hospitalized more often, have low birth-weight and have more childhood health problems than children born to older mothers. Though public health officials view the drop in teen pregnancy as good news, the United States still has very high number of teen parents.

"We have, by far, the highest rates of teen pregnancy and teen births in the Western industrialized world," says Reed.
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