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Inland Northwest News9/7 

& & Humane housing & & & &

SPOKANE -- The non-profit organization Habitat For Humanity (HFH), which assists low-income families in building their own homes, is going to hold two meetings for potential homeowners at the East Central Community Center.

"These meetings are the only place you can apply for support from Habitat for Humanity," says Michone Preston, executive director of HFH. "People sit through the presentation we give about the program and get the application. Then they have 30 days to fill it out."

Since HFH began building houses in Spokane County in 1987, the volunteer group has completed 79 homes, four of which are just now ready for the families to move into. Preston expects 50 to 100 applications to come in; HFH is committing to building 16 houses next year.

"To be eligible, the families must be living in substandard housing, and a family of four's annual income must fall between $11,025 and $22,050," says Preston. "Families put in 500 sweat equity hours toward building their own home."

Actually building the home takes about six to eight months, but Preston says families should expect a two-year process, because it takes time to find volunteers and money to build the house. A three-bedroom house comes with a price tag of $54,000.

"The benefit to the family is that it buys the house at cost, with a zero percent interest loan from HFH on a 20-year term," says Preston. "With tax and insurance, the average mortgage runs about $300 a month."

Meet at East Central Community Center, 500 S. Stone, on Thursday, Sept. 14, at 3 pm and Friday, Sept. 15, at 7 pm. Call: 534-2552.

& & Wassmuth speaks & & & &

SPOKANE -- The Washington Commission for the Humanities and the City of Spokane Employee Diversity Committee have invited Bill Wassmuth to give a talk at City Hall.

Wassmuth, a former Coeur d'Alene resident and the founding director of the Coalition Against Malicious Harassment, wrote the book Hate is My Neighbor together with Tom Alibrandi. The book chronicles how he got together with other citizens in Coeur d'Alene to stand up against the Aryan Nations.

"With the trial in Idaho, we thought it would be a good thing to discuss racism, and Wassmuth also addresses issues that are aside from what we would normally think of as being racist," says Gita Hatcher of the City of Spokane's Human Resources Department. "What some racist groups do is to try and stay part of the mainstream with music, books and videos. Racists are not necessarily someone who is covered up in a white hood. Bill is going to be talking about that."

The Aryan Nations' Butler is currently on trial, accused of overseeing a group that shot at people driving past their compound.

Wassmuth was pastor of the St. Pious X Catholic Church in Coeur d'Alene from 1979-88. During that time, he co-founded the Kootenai Task Force of Human Relations. Later, his house was the target of a bombing.

"The problem with racism is not just the Aryan Nations -- there are many other groups who support a racist ideology," said Wassmuth in an interview earlier this year. "Younger people need to know they can encounter these ideologies wherever they go."

Wassmuth talks on Thursday, Sept. 14,

at noon in Spokane's City Council Chambers. Call: 625-6233.

& & Upbeat breakfast & & & &

COEUR d'ALENE -- The Coeur d'Alene Chamber of Commerce is kicking off its fall season with another of its monthly Upbeat Breakfast meetings on Tuesday, Sept. 12.

"This one is dedicated to committee reports. Our nine different committee chairpersons are going to give a presentation about the year that has passed and about the goals for the new year," says Marilee Wallace, Coeur d'Alene Chamber of Commerce sales and marketing director. "It is a fast-paced format, you know, that's why we call it upbeat."

Besides Upbeat Breakfast meetings, held on the second Tuesday of every month, the Chamber has two new programs coming up on a regular basis.

"We have been looking at the Spokane Chamber's CEO Roundtable, and we want to do something like that here in Coeur d'Alene," says Wallace. "It's called the Executive Roundtable, but it's going to be by invitation only. We are trying to provide a forum for business leaders to get together in."

The other program is an open lunch series that will focus on local politics and on how to create a better connection between what's going on at City Hall and in the local business community.

"This is put on by the Business Development Committee, and it's both to get information out about the committee and also to show people how they can participate in the legislative process," says Wallace. "The speakers are just being lined up, but we have invited both local politicians, City Council people and state representatives. It's going to be very interesting."

The Upbeat Breakfast is on Tuesday, Sept. 12, at 7 am at the Coeur d'Alene Resort. The first Local Government Committee luncheon will be held at The Iron Horse Restaurant on Wednesday, Sept. 20, at noon. Call: (208) 664-3194.

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