Fair Day for Fair Trade -- SPOKANE -- In the global economy, there's no denying that consumers depend on foreign trade to get everything from a morning cup of Joe to the materials that clothe our bodies. Critics, however, charge that much of that trade is conducted through laws that stifle the economies of poorer, less powerful nations and often oppress the workers in factories and on farms throughout the world.
Fair trade is a system ensuring that farmers, artisans and other producers receive fair wages and healthy environments in which to conduct business. To raise awareness about the benefits of fair trade products, activists have named the first week of May Fair Trade Week and Saturday, May 8, International Fair Trade Day. Global Folk Art, Spokane's fair trade store, will host a party from 10:30 am to 5:30 pm at the Community Building (35 W. Main) to showcase fair trade products from around the world and educate the public about fair trade.
"We're going to have vendors, children's crafts and drumming," says Kitty Klitzke, board member for Global Folk Art. Klitzke hopes families will sample the coffees, foods and other wares while learning how to support fair trade companies and products.
"As consumers, people have tremendous power to endorse the way the world is," Klitzke says.
Senior Center Progress -- BLANCHARD, Idaho -- There aren't any surpluses pouring out of the state's budget, but last week Idaho Gov. Dirk Kempthorne approved about $7.5 million to be dispersed throughout Idaho's counties for economic development and job creation projects.
"Every year the federal and state government typically appropriate a certain amount for that," says Mike Journee, Kempthorne's spokesman. The Idaho Department of Commerce normally receives about $10 million from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development; the money is used for economic development in communities and counties with populations of less than 50,000. Bonner County will receive $150,000 for a new senior center for Blanchard seniors.
"They didn't have a good meeting place; the historic place had been at the Grange Hall, which was old and required updating," says Brian Orr, the county commissioner for Bonner County who represents Blanchard. Orr says that although the Blanchard Area Seniors have worked hard since about 1999 and have raised over $25,000 to build the center, it never would have been feasible without the state's assistance.
"If any group deserves to get something they do," Orr says. "They've worked their rear ends off." Orr says the Blanchard group is still in the planning phase for the center but adds that it should be completed by next spring.
"They call themselves the little town that could," Orr says. "The senior center will revitalize the attitude in Blanchard."
Valley Talk -- SPOKANE VALLEY, Wash. -- Do you know where the Spokane Valley's city center is? Neither does the city. That's just one of the many decisions being made right now between city officials and citizens as the Spokane Valley works to create its Comprehensive Plan.
"We're beginning the initial kickoff for the public's involvement," says Greg McCormick, Spokane Valley's long-range planning manager. "We've held two meetings so far, and those [have yielded] fairly recurrent themes from the public: land use, specifically regarding the city center and major transportation issues, like the extension of the couplet, or Appleway."
Spokane Valley will hold its third Comprehensive Plan Community Workshop next Wednesday evening, May 12, at East Valley High School.
"Given that this area was planned under the county plan gives us a lot of information to fall back on," McCormick says. "The county held an in-depth participation process. We're hoping not to go back to the start on this thing."
The Spokane Valley City Council will continue to hold public meetings through the end of June, at which point it will design drafts for the Comprehensive Plan that will be reviewed by the public next fall.
As for where the Valley's city center may go, "There are a couple of places that have been identified," McCormick says. "U-City has been the traditional center for years. Mirabeau Point is another area of interest, as well as the area around Pine and Sprague or Evergreen and Sprague."
The workshop will be held Wednesday, May 12, at East Valley High School, 12325 E. Grace Ave., at 6:30 pm. For more information, call Spokane Valley City Hall at 921-1000 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org