End Domestic Violence -- SPOKANE -- Since 1981, October has been Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and this year the YWCA is putting on a series of events to raise awareness and get the community involved in domestic violence prevention.
The YWCA Alternatives to Domestic Violence program helped more than 7,000 women and children in 2001. Alternatives to Domestic Violence Director Pat Gruis says the number of victims has been very steady over the years.
"The statistics vary, but 95 percent of victims are women and children," says Gruis.
Alternatives to Domestic Violence runs a counseling office, the Monroe Court and the Safe House, all of which are free and open to women and children caught in domestic violence situations.
"The Monroe Court speaks for women in the court," says Gruis. It also helps process orders of protection.
The Safe House is confidential and allows victims to stay up to 60 days, until they get back on their feet.
This month, the YWCA Alternatives to Domestic Violence has scheduled a town hall meeting, a fundraising concert and a candlelight vigil to raise awareness about domestic violence.
The town hall meeting includes a panel of the candidates running for District Court Judge in Spokane County. It's a chance for the community to ask questions of the candidates' positions on domestic violence prevention, says Gruis. Prior to the candlelight vigil, personal stories will be shared and Mayor John Powers will speak.
Just last week, the City of Spokane received a two-year grant for $600,000 from the U.S. Department of Justice, geared towards funding prosecution of domestic violence offenders and protecting their victims.
-- Megan B. McCarthy
The Town Hall meeting is on Oct. 16, from 7-9 pm at Gonzaga's Moot Court Room, 721 N. Cincinnati. The Judy Gorman concert is on Oct. 18, at 7:30 pm at the Unitarian Universalist Church, 4340 W. Fort George Wright Dr. Cost: $8; $6, with student ID. The Candlelight vigil is on Oct. 23, at 5 pm in the Chase Gallery of City Hall. Call: 326-1190
Recycling Up and Down -- SPOKANE -- The Washington State Department of Ecology has just released the state's recycling numbers for 2001. The good news is that the statewide recycling rate rose from 35 percent to 37 percent. But the amount of recycled newspapers, metals, plastic and glass went down. Most of the increase is attributed to recycling of organic materials, such as wood.
"It's hard to be cheery about such mixed results," said Cullen Stephenson, who manages Ecology's solid-waste program in a statement.
Ecology encourages consumers to purchase products that use less packaging or packaging made out of recycled materials. Another consumer tip is to reuse packaging such as yogurt tubs or other plastic containers at least once before throwing them out.
Washington is still doing fairly well compared to the rest of the country. Cullen said the national average recycling percentage is 30. The highest this state has ever pulled off was 40 percent in 1995 -- but state law establishes a recycling goal of 50 percent, so keep filling that blue bin.
-- Pia K. Hansen
Crime Check On-Line -- SPOKANE -- Earlier this year, when the city announced its budget cuts, there was some confusion about Crime Check -- the phone service by which citizens can report crimes that are not violent and not in progress.
For awhile, it looked like the service was going to be cancelled, but now instead it's been expanded.
Beginning this week, residents of Spokane County can now file a Crime Check report via the Internet.
The Web site is only to be used for non-emergency reports, and the systems doesn't connect to law enforcement's dispatch center. Crime Check managers are hoping that more people will use the Web site, a development that would then cut down on the waiting time callers currently have to deal with.
The Web site has easy-to-follow instructions and it also includes contact information for the community policing programs COPS and SCOPE, as well as answers to many frequently asked questions about law enforcement.
Citizens coming face-to-face with a crime in progress or suffering a medical emergency should call 911.
-- Pia K. Hansen
Visit the new Web site at www.crime checkspokane.org Crime Check's phone number is still 456-2233.