Harsh Blow -- SPOKANE - Victims of domestic violence are beaten by relatives or lovers. But critics say Governor Locke dealt the latest blow to these victims in Washington state. The Governor's budget for 2003 proposes reductions of about one-third of the current funds for victims' services.
"Domestic violence calls are the most common and dangerous calls we respond to," said Assistant Chief Jim Nicks of the Spokane Police Department, at the YWCA's press conference about the budget cuts on Tuesday. "From a law enforcement perspective, it really cannot be tolerated."
Pat Gruis, the director for the safe shelter and legal advocate office with the YWCA, said that at least $70,000 is planned to be cut directly from the organization's shelters, cutting service for at least 500 women.
"It would affect every system we have here in town. We are the last form of help for the women," Gruis said. "We're not asking for more revenue... but at least don't cut what we have."
The YWCA also announced that Ann Richards, former Texas Governor, will be the speaker at November's Women of Achievement luncheon.
Car Consciousness -- SPOKANE VALLEY - Spalding Auto Parts, which owns the vast cemetery of rusting cars off I-90, is getting praise for its ecological consciousness. The Department of Ecology presented Spalding Auto Parts with an environmental excellence award during a Valley Chamber of Commerce meeting at the end of February.
Flora Goldstein, acting regional director of the Department of Ecology, praised owners Max and Russ Spalding.
"They've gone above and beyond common practices and state requirements," she said.
Spalding Auto Parts received the award because nearly everything on the lot, including hazardous wastes, is recycled or re-used.
"Our goal is to recycle any possible pollutant," Russ Spalding says.
Since 1934, Spalding Auto Parts has been collecting and selling used car parts. The company recycles oil, batteries, anti-freeze, freon and lead from each car. Russ Spalding says they heat their offices with recycled oil.
Spalding's cars take up 55 acres right next to the freeway, a fact that's considered an eyesore by many. And creating a better buffer of trees has been an idea floated more than once.
But Russ Spalding says cars just don't vanish once you get rid of them. "We process 500-600 cars a month; most of them are from Spokane. This [business] is a part of our community."
"They've been working beyond the call of duty," says Eldonna Gossett, CEO of the Valley Chamber of Commerce. "Their commitment to the environment sends an important message that we should all continue to do our part in preserving the excellent quality of life in the Valley."
The Gorge, Continued -- SPOKANE -- The nonprofit organization Friends of the Falls is having its annual meeting on Thursday, March 13, at 7 pm in the Kress Gallery at River Park Square. The group is dedicated to the preservation of the Falls and supports plans to create a park along the river.
Last year, Friends of the Falls completed a conceptual plan for the Gorge Park, soliciting input from hundreds of residents.
"This year, we plan to go after some state funding," says Rick Hastings, the group's executive director.
The annual meeting is free and open to everyone. Thursday's meeting will feature a slide presentation, the introduction of new officers and plenty of opportunities to sign up for committees.
Foley is Back -- PULLMAN, Wash. -- Tom Foley, former Speaker of the U.S. House and more recently former ambassador to Japan, is speaking at Washington State University on Tuesday, March 11, at 7 pm in the Compton Union Building.
The college has named its Institute for Public Policy and Public Service after Foley, who served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1965-94.
"Foley brings to this campus a lifetime of public service and a unique understanding of American government and international affairs," said Ed Weber, director of the Foley Institute, in a statement. "During his time in the U.S. House, he helped to write key laws promoting international trade, national security, environmental protection and agricultural operations, all issues of critical interest to the nation and this region." Weber added that Foley greatly improved trade relations between Japan and the U.S. while serving as ambassador.