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In Brief 

by Cara Gardner, Paul Burgarino and Pia K. Hansen

Very Perry -- SPOKANE -- After months of bearing the noise of construction and the inconvenience of detours, the South Perry district's makeover is finally completed.

"They started [construction] the first part of July, and we'd only been open for two weeks," says Michelle Ryen, co-owner of the Perry St. Soup Pot, one of the local businesses located along Perry Street on the South Hill.

To celebrate, the South Perry Business Association is hosting a ribbon-cutting ceremony this Saturday at 10 am and is inviting the entire neighborhood to come down and celebrate.

The mayor's office and the economic development office at City Hall are sponsoring the event. Both Tom Reese, the city's economic development advisor, and Mayor John Powers are scheduled to be there.

The neighborhood now features an improved street, old-fashioned lampposts and benches, trees and planters, and new sidewalks.

The South Perry District is a pilot project for development according to the Comprehensive Plan, and it's one of the first areas in the city to have a completed project to show.

"It's turning out to be a good thing," Ryen says. "It's brought businesses into the neighborhood and raises people's expectations and we've seen a better clientele."

TINCAN Teens -- SPOKANE -- The U.S Department of Commerce Technology Opportunities has awarded The Inland Northwest Community Access Network (TINCAN) almost half a million dollars in grant money to help keep local teenagers in line and online.

The three-year grant will pay for programs in the afternoons, evenings, weekends and summers, using virtual technology to develop skills in drama, art, music and entrepreneurship.

Overall, TINCAN was awarded $499,070 to create a Virtual Online Teen Center. This award was one of only 28 given nationally, chosen from among 569 applicants.

The initial step for the project is essentially to recruit teens for the programs, finding available space to house the project and establishing the electronic resources.

"It may seem like a lot of money," says Lori Kinnear, programming coordinator. "But it is spread out over three years, and all the money will be used."

TINCAN Director Karen Michaelson says that the online teen center, a first nationwide, will be furnished with software, Web tools and Web pages instead of old couches and paint. The project will link with alternative venues such as all-ages clubs, coffeehouses and teen-oriented radio stations to provide for a variety of outlets for interaction.

Kinnear hopes that ultimately, teens will be able to turn their creativity outward to the community.

"What a lot of city officials and adults don't realize is that we have a lot of kids who leave after high school," Kinnear says. "Hopefully this program helps them feel like they are a part of the community and want to stay."

Still Hungry -- SPOKANE -- The Second Harvest Food Bank of the Inland Northwest is releasing its 17th annual client survey this week.

"We interviewed 734 clients, and together they represent 2,364 households' members. That shows you that there really aren't a lot of individuals showing up here," says Ann M. Price, director of development and communication for Second Harvest. "I think what has continued to surprise us is how little income some families are living on, trying to provide housing and clothing and food." The families Price refers to live on less than $12,000 a year, and they account for 97 percent of the families served by Second Harvest.

"We're finding with many families that some adult family member is working either part time or full time," says Price. "And a fair number of families have an adult disabled person in the household who can't work at all."

The 21 emergency food outlets supplied by Second Harvest reported a 7 percent increase in clients this year, serving 16,000 clients a month, 42 percent of whom are children under 18.

"Giving has been slow over the summer and early fall; we are looking at a challenging fall and holiday season," says Price. "People are not comfortable with the news of a bad economy and Iraq -- the American public is jittery. We are not sure how that's going to affect us and giving."

Publication date: 10/16/03
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