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In Brief 

by Cara Gardner and Pia K. Hansen
One Committee -- SPOKANE -- One Spokane, which was instigated by Mayor John Powers last year in an effort to address poverty, is moving forward.In June, Ray Lancaster was hired to coordinate the efforts, and now One Spokane is looking for members for its Joint Committee.

"The Joint Committee is the policy body for One Spokane, and it's designed to collaborate across sectors at City Hall and to reach out to the public," says Lancaster. "We've got about 18 applicants, but I'd say the bigger the pool, the better. We are looking for a total of five at-large folks who live within the city of Spokane, and two positions giving preference for people of lower income."

Five liaisons from existing boards -- the plan commission, the human service advisory board, the community development block grant board, the community assembly and from the workforce development board -- are already on the committee.

Applicants will be interviewed by the One Spokane implementation team, which was established immediately after the original summit.

"They came up with this strategy, and they decided that they want to be involved and do this interview process," says Lancaster, who encourages people who are involved with housing and disability issues to apply.

The application deadline is Sept. 19, and applicants must use a form provided by the One Spokane office. If selected, new committee members will serve either one, two or three years in an effort to rotate people through the positions so not all terms end at the same time.

To have an application form mailed or e-mailed to you, call 625-6299.

Healthy Idaho -- COEUR d'ALENE -- Talking about today's complicated and imbalanced health care system is anything but good for your health. But, as old medicine mythology goes, sometimes the very thing that makes you sick can be a part of the remedy. So on Tuesday, North Idaho College, the Idaho State Planning Grant on the Uninsured and the Coeur d'Alene Chamber of Commerce will host a statewide conference on health care financing and insurance coverage.

"A part of the Chamber's health committee program is to look into the high cost of insurance for businesses and healthcare generally," says Toni Sayler, program manager for the CdA Chamber.

The conference will feature national health care speakers and will be broadcast live around the state via satellite.

Recent census data reveal that 16.5 percent of Idahoans are uninsured -- adding up to about 220,000 people. This is higher than the national average. More than half of those uninsured are working. Employers are often faced with paying increased premiums, shifting costs to employees or simply not offering healthcare plans.

"We'll try to find ways we can help businesses," says Sayler.

The health care conference is at North Idaho College's Student Union Building from 8:15 to 10:30 am. Please preregister by calling the Chamber at (208) 415-0112.

Watch Out! -- SPOKANE VALLEY -- The Spokane County Sheriff's Department is in the middle of finding new neighborhood watch captains, both in the Valley and in north Spokane County.

Sheriff Mark Sterk has a goal of establishing 2,000 Neighborhood Watch programs in the county. To help people get involved, the sheriff has already held a handful of meetings at the Valley Precinct and at the North Spokane Library on East Hawthorne.

But more people are still needed -- to get involved, all it takes is to show up at one of the five remaining organizing and training sessions.

"We have had 1,316 programs established since 1979, but the number of active programs had dwindled to 592 at the beginning of this year," says Dave Reagan, Sheriff's Department's spokesman. "Some people relocated, we had some deaths and such. It's going to be a lot of work to reach this goal, but it's doable."

The National Sheriff's Association sponsors Neighborhood Watch, which is a crime-prevention program much like what used to known as Block Watch.

"So far we have been very successful in getting people to sign up," says Reagan.

The two next meetings are both on Sept. 20 at 9 am. One is at the Valley Precinct, 12710 E. Sprague, while the other is at the North County Library, 44 E. Hawthorne. Call: 477-4717.

Publication date: 09/18/03
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