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In Brief 

Economic Action

SPOKANE -- The Governor's 2002 Economic Development Conference is coming to town on Sept. 12-13, bringing in about 450 business people and economic development specialists from across the nation.

The theme of the conference is "Taking Action to Secure Washington's Economic Future."

"It's quite a coincidence, though, that the conference comes at this time when the state's economy is in such a downturn," says Sharon Wallace, communications director for the Washington State Office of Trade and Economic Development. "It's the first statewide economic development conference, and the genesis for this project came from a number of professionals who have been trying to make this happen for some time."

Governor Gary Locke is expected to announce at least one economic development initiative. "This is not a policy summit -- though I think some people initially envisioned that," says Wallace. "We are aiming to gather people who are very result-oriented and already working to better policies and implement better partnerships where they are at."

Hopefully, some of the ideas generated at the conference will rub off in a good way on the economy.

"Washington is way behind on attracting major businesses," says Michael Edwards, president of the Downtown Spokane Partnership. "And I think it's significant that the conference is located here [as opposed to on the west side]. It is a significant reflection of the different strategies for success Spokane has been implementing."

A Cottage Industry?

SPOKANE -- All the Three Little Pig jokes haven't made a dent in Rick Hosmer's excitement. He is building a straw bale house together with his wife Lisa, and the couple is inviting people to come see how it's done this weekend.

"I've heard all the jokes by now, but I think people are becoming more aware of this way of building," says Hosmer, who is the principal of Klundt Hosmer Design.

Cedar Creek Builders' Scott Weston is in charge of the construction, and he'll be forking over the know-how in workshops on Saturday and Sunday.

Hosmer says he was researching some houses built our of old tires -- yes, that's correct -- in New Mexico when he came across a straw bale house and decided that was it.

"I've visited so many owner-builds that I always thought that if my wife and I ever got to the point of doing a house like that, we would have people come see how it was done," he says.

The house is being built in southeast Spokane. Leave a message with contact information. Call: 624-3412.

9/11 Remembered

SPOKANE -- Everyone remembers where they were when they first heard about the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, and everyone remembers the uncertainty that followed in the weeks and months immediately after.

Across the Inland Northwest, churches, schools, colleges and many private organizations are holding commemorative events around Wednesday, Sept. 11. Among the many remembrances planned in the area, the one hosted by the Spokane Council of Ecumenical Ministries is probably the most elaborate -- if not, it's definitely the longest, running from Sept. 11 through Sept. 21.

Every day at noon, a different religious congregation will hold a remembrance ceremony at the Clocktower in Riverfront Park -- ending with an evening candlelight vigil on Sept. 21, the day recognized as Global Cease Fire Day by the United Nations.

"The idea for these 11 days of peace came to me from a rabbi. He suggest that communities begin on Sept. 11 to reflect on what happened," says Kateri Caron, director of the Spokane Council. "So many wars center on disagreement on religious ideas. The rabbi suggested that all different religions could hold up their teachings on peace during this time."

Buddhists, Mormons, Jews, Muslims, American Indians and representatives of many other faiths will take turn performing, singing and dancing in the park.

"The idea is to break down any suspicion," says Caron. "This is not going to be a ceremony of speeches; it's just going to be a focus of having people together, remembering and looking toward a peaceful future."

The opening ceremony will be on Sept. 11 at 6:45 am in the Lilac Bowl. Individual presentations follow at noon every day until Sept. 21, when there will be a candlelight vigil beginning at 7 pm. Call: 329-1410.

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