by Inlander Staff

Face the Candidates -- SPOKANE VALLEY -- Now that the original field of Spokane Valley city council candidates has been narrowed down to a handy 14, here's your chance to meet them all.

Panels consisting of three local TV and print reporters will ask the candidates questions at a series of public forums, starting on Monday, Sept. 30, at West Valley High School, with the candidates for Position 1 (Deanna Hormann and Diana Wilhite). The West Valley forums continue on Mondays, with the candidates for Position 3 (Mike Devleming and John G. Kallas) on Oct. 7; candidates for Position 5 (Richard Munson and Doug Rider) on Oct. 14 and candidates for Position 7 (Dick Denenny and Louis E. Sims) on Oct. 21.

Another series of forums will begin Wednesday, Oct. 2, at Trent Elementary School with the candidates for Position 2 (Edward J. Mertens and Steve Taylor) facing the panel. This series continues on Wednesdays, with candidates for Position 4 (Dick Collins and Gary Schimmels) on Oct. 9 and candidates for Position 6 (Janine Eldredge-Underdahl and Mike Flanigan) being the last pair on Oct. 16.

The reporter panels will be staffed by all the major media in Spokane, with news anchors moderating the discussions, and the audience is encouraged to ask questions.

--Pia K. Hansen

The forums all begin at 7 pm. West Valley High School (Monday forums) is at 8301 E. Buckeye. Trent Elementary School (Wednesday forums) is at 3303 N. Pines. Call: 924-4994.

Walk Your Kids -- SPOKANE -- It's International Walk To School Day on Wednesday, Oct. 2, so lace up your sneakers and leave the house a little earlier than usual.

Nine elementary schools participate in the festivities this year, adding to the total of almost 3 million walkers expected to hit the pavement across the globe. More schools have signed up this year than ever before, a trend attributed all the publicity about school-age children being too heavy and not getting enough exercise.

The students who participate will keep walking diaries for the entire week, to document and promote walking as an alternative to driving.

Parents, teachers, community leaders and volunteers will accompany the children to school, under the extra watchful eye of the Spokane Police Department. --Pia K. Hansen

Audubon, Broadway, Finch, Franklin, Garfield, Lincoln Heights, Madison, Opportunity and Wilson schools are all participating. Contact schools to volunteer, or call 324-3613.

Days of Haze -- SPOKANE -- Do you ever notice the brown haze that often hovers over Spokane during the winter months? The Spokane County Air Pollution Control Authority (SCAPCA) is doing its part to alleviate that fog, using National Car Care Month as a perhaps unusual tool.

SCAPCA is co-sponsoring an auto fair on Saturday designed to promote proper maintenance on vehicles and cut down on increased pollution.

"In Spokane County, this event has been going on for about 10 years, and nationally for nearly 20 years," says SCAPCA Spokeswoman Margee Chambers.

Why the pollution fog?

"The main motivation behind this event is that Spokane has cold winters, and we experience temperature inversions," says Chambers. This happens when the air in the valley is colder than the air above, trapping all the pollution down where most people live and breathe.

Statistics show that in cold weather conditions, carbon monoxide emissions from vehicles increase by 57 percent, adding quite a dose of carcinogens to the usual amount already in the air.

The Car Care Fair itself will feature car inspections by automotive specialists, including belt and hose checks, tire pressure and wear inspections, along with emissions screenings. Sponsors for the event, the Automotive Service Association and NAPA Auto Parts, will be replacing burned-out external light bulbs for free as part of the "Lights On" program.

The Car Care Fair has been highly successful in the past and promises to continue to bring vehicle owners out in droves. "This fair is a pretty big community event. There are people who line up early for this," Chambers says. "We usually inspect 250-350 vehicles."

--Clint Burgess

The Car Care Fair is held in the parking lot at the Shadle Wal-Mart, located at 2301 W. Wellesley, on Oct. 5, from 9 am to 3 pm. Call: 477-4727.

Skate for a Cause: Habitat for Humanity @ Numerica Skate Ribbon

Wed., Nov. 30, 4-8 p.m.
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