No Smoking, Please! -- SPOKANE -- It's estimated that more than 440,000 Americans die every year because they use tobacco -- that's more than the number of people who die from car crashes, suicides, homicides, illegal drugs, AIDS and alcohol combined.
On May 31, beginning at 7 pm, the Spokane Regional Health District (SRHD) is celebrating World No Tobacco Day with a skateboarding event at the skatepark under the freeway at Bernard. The professional skating team Manik will perform, followed by a free skate everyone can join in on.
Everyone who shows up to skate will be asked to sign a tobacco-free pledge. Those who sign get a free T-shirt and will hopefully stay away from tobacco products.
"Tobacco use is the leading preventable cause of death in the United States, and 90 percent of smokers start before they are 18," says Dr. Kim Marie Thorburn, health officer of the SRHD. "Every day, in the state of Washington, 55 kids start smoking -- one-third of whom will die prematurely from tobacco-related illness."
The band Locke will be playing, as will DJ Parafyn and DJ Singleton, until the event ends at 9 pm.
New Life at Old Station -- ROSALIA, Wash. -- The Jensen Texaco Gas Station has been sitting in the middle of downtown here since 1923. Vacant for decades and contaminated with oil and gasoline, it's been too expensive to remodel the property for a new use. But now the Rosalia Chamber of Commerce has swung into action, and it has gotten help from some slightly unusual sources.
The Washington State Department of Ecology has earmarked $20,000 of its "Clean Sites Initiative" funding to clean up the site, as well as an old sump in an adjacent building.
And the Environmental Protection Agency has added a grant for nearly $35,000 to clean up the site as well.
"Concerns with petroleum contamination have prevented the development or restoration of this otherwise desirable property," says Michael Boatsman, the Ecology site manager. "Now this abandoned site will become a local and regional attraction."
The gas station was recently donated to the Rosalia Chamber of Commerce. The removal of the tanks will begin in early June, and when the restoration is complete, it will serve as a visitor and interpretive center.
"Originally, the station was abandoned because of the old underground tanks -- it just cost too much to get them out," says Nan Konishi, president of the Rosalia Chamber of Commerce. "We will deed the property over to the city. When finished, we hope to have space for a small place to sell cottage industry products, perhaps an espresso stand and a little garden or park area next door -- perhaps even a smaller marketplace building."
Pride Marches On -- SPOKANE -- Today, Thursday, May 29, is the first day in the annual Spokane Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender and Questioning (GLBTQ) Pride Celebration, and this year there's quite a program lined up. It all begins with a fundraising concert featuring Mercylewis, Hijacked Royalty and Rebecca's Tragedy at Sole (175 S. Monroe) tonight at 7:30 pm.
"We want this year's Pride celebration to be all about having fun and feeling proud to be who we are," says Bridget Potter, Inland Northwest Pride's co-chairperson.
On Sunday, there will be a pride and spirit-raising at Finch Arboretum at 2 pm. Participants should bring something to sit on and food to share.
On Thursday, June 5, the Spokane AIDS Network presents two films, Bubbeh Lee and Me, and Hope Is The Thing with Feathers, at the AMC theaters downtown beginning at 6:30 pm. At 7:45 pm, in the same theater, Miss Mylar Black will be performing Genitales: Public Monologues About Our Private Lives. Both shows are free.
The Rainbow Awards, which honor gay or straight people who have done something good for the GLBTQ community, will be held at the Community Building (35 W. Main Ave.) beginning at 6 pm on Friday, June 6.
On Saturday, June 7, the Pride Cruise on Lake Coeur d'Alene leaves at 6 pm. Participants should call ahead for $15 tickets at 838-0085.
And finally, on Sunday, June 8, the Pride March lines up at the Civic Theater at 11 am. (Yes, you can still enter a float or a group by calling 624-8101.) The actual parade starts at noon, and winds its way south on Washington and west on Spokane Falls Boulevard, ending at the Gondola Meadow in Riverfront Park. There, the Pride Festival fills the afternoon with music and an information and business fair.