Picketing a Ticket -- SPOKANE -- Not everyone can march up to the mayor's office after they've been issued a ticket and demand justice. But that's what Mike Rowles did after receiving a $200 ticket for soliciting sales of The Rising Times, a newspaper focused on issues of social justice.
"He just came up to the mayor's office," says Cody George, senior advisor to Mayor Jim West. "I listened to his story. That [same] day I talked to the chief [of police]."
The Rising Times was founded three years ago by two Gonzaga students who wanted to give homeless people a voice in the community.
"We encourage homeless people to write articles for the paper," says Editor Tyler Martin. "We distribute the paper to all the shelters in the area and encourage them to sell the papers and keep the profits."
Now an Americorps-run project, The Rising Times has distribution of about 1,500. In order for anyone to solicit sales, they first need to secure a license.
"Two years ago, we worked with the Treasurer's Office to use our business license to sell downtown," Martin explains. He says there are about 42 vendors, all of whom have the legal right to sell the $1 paper in the downtown area.
"I don't think the police officer understood that he had an official permit," says George, from the Mayor's Office. "It was a miscommunication.
"We called a meeting together with all the interested parties and took care of it," George says.
Dirty River -- SPOKANE -- It's no secret that the Spokane River is polluted. But a report released earlier this week by the state Department of Ecology says that even though better wastewater treatment practices have decreased some pollutant levels, regulations for discharges into the river are being violated. The DOE says that for fish in the Spokane River and Lake Spokane to survive, stricter regulations are needed.
"This is great that the DOE is finally stepping up and doing their job," says Chase Davis of the Inland Northwest Field Office for the Sierra Club. "We've been waiting for years to get this report out, and it confirms what we've known all along."
Though environmentalists are happy that the DOE is taking steps to tighten regulations of discharges into the river, groups like the Sierra Club don't want to see dischargers stall the DOE any longer.
"The dischargers and polluters are attempting to hold up this process, but the message from the public is a good one and it's that we need to move forward with a cleanup plan," Davis says. "We've been waiting since 1996 for a cleanup plan, since we've known the impacts and since we've been on the impaired waters list."
There is a public meeting about the DOE report today, Feb. 26, from 6:30-8:30 pm at the Spokane County Courthouse, 1101 W. College Ave.
"It's an opportunity to learn about this process, comment and ask questions," says Davis. "We want to see where the cleanup plan is."
A Piece of Polish Peace -- MOSCOW, Idaho -- Peace may not seem obtainable in this day and age, but we only need to dig back a few years to find historic leaders who have won freedom through peaceful means. As a case in point, consider Lech Walesa, the former Polish president and Solidarity leader who successfully challenged the former USSR in the '80s using nonviolent means. Walesa is coming to the University of Idaho on Wednesday to speak as a part of the University's annual Borah Symposium.
"The Borah Symposium has been going since 1948, and it has to do with the outlawry of war and issues of war," says John Hasko, co-chair for the symposium and associate professor of law. "[Walesa] is an individual who's had a positive effect on world events by using nonviolence."
Walesa was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1983 for leading the labor strike in Gdansk, Poland. He now heads the Lech Walesa Institute to advance democracy and free market reform.
The Borah Symposium will span three days, starting Monday, March 1, and ending with Walesa's lecture on Wednesday. Events include films and a presentation from the International Center on Non-Violent Conflict
"It's designed to give people an understanding of what strategic nonviolence is all about," says Hasko.
Lech Walesa will speak on Wednesday, March 3, at 7 pm in the SUB at the U of I in Moscow, Idaho. Visit www.martin.uidaho.edu/borah for information on other events during the Borah Symposium.