by Pia K. Hansen and Cara Gardner

Market Upswing -- SPOKANE -- The Spokane MarketPlace has been in a persistent search for a permanent, year-round location for quite some time. After a stint on the corner of Ruby and Desmet, the Market has moved to what might be its best location yet, off North Washington, inside the northeast corner of Riverfront Park.

And there's more. Jackie Rappe, the long-time leader and coordinator of the Spokane Marketplace, has resigned.

"That is correct. Jackie Rappe is no longer part of the MarketPlace," says Pam Welch, president of the eight-member volunteer board. "We are going through a complete restructuring here at the market, both when it comes to leadership, fees and how we run things. We have a complete open-door policy now; everyone is welcome."

The Spokane Farmers Market on Second and Division was originally a spin-off from the MarketPlace consisting mostly of farmers who didn't feel they belonged anymore.

"We still sell produce, we have about four produce vendors on every market day," says Welch. "The board's whole point is that the farmers are welcome."

The MarketPlace is now located in what used to be a Parks Department maintenance building, and it has worked a pretty sweet long-term rent deal with the city: $500 a month.

"At this location, the future looks very good," says Welch. "The Spokane MarketPlace has been written into the north bank project. There is parking next door -- at this point there is free parking for all of the customers, and we are hoping to stay open all year."

The Spokane MarketPlace is open on Wednesday and Saturdays from 9 am-4 pm at 809 N. Washington. Call: 456-0100

Revote Required -- SPOKANE -- The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) officially ruled that management at Deaconess Medical Center interfered with its nurses' April 24 vote to unionize, which resulted in an outcome against the union by 14 ballots. Nurses will take part in a new election because of this ruling. The judge agreed with nurses' claims that hospital management improperly informed nurses that if they formed a union, they might never regain the 9 percent wage cut that the hospital issued on April 4.

Nurses and techs at the Valley Hospital and techs at Deaconess Medical Center voted to unionize on that same day, after two years of union campaigning.

Deaconess Medical Center and Valley Hospital are part of Empire Health Services (EHS), the second largest employer in Spokane County. EHS ended its 2002 fiscal year in the red, but has made financial gains since then. Part of its financial recovery is attributed to the 9 percent company-wide wage cut, and contracting its service employees through ARAMARK, a large east-coast corporation.

About 200 dietary and housekeeping workers, contracted through ARAMARK voted to unionize by a wide margin last week.

New Nook for Books? -- SPOKANE -- Residents of Moran Prairie and Glenrose will likely vote in this November's election on whether to approve funding for a new library in their neighborhood. An 8,000-square-foot building on the 6000 block of S. Regal would be the library's new home, replacing its current location in the strip mall Cedar Canyon Village Shopping Center.

Two ballot propositions would need to pass, one being the formation of a Moran Prairie Library Capital Facility Area, the other being the sale of up to $2.5 million of general obligation bonds.

For these propositions to be put on the ballot, Spokane County Commissioners must first approve them, placing responsibility for project administration and management with the library district.

"We're just a conduit," Commissioner John Roskelley says, regarding his role in the new library. "If the question is simply, 'Would we get it on the ballot?' Well, that's a no-brainer. We would."

The existing Moran Prairie library serves about 4,000 people per month; in 2002, customers borrowed more than 96,000 books there.

Michael Wirt, district director for the Spokane County Library District, said in a written statement that the new building would more than triple the space for the library.

"The new facility will... add more computer workstations and provide small study rooms as well as a 100-seat meeting room for library programs and community use," said Wirt.

Publication date: 08/07/03

Festival of Fair Trade @ Community Building

Sun., Nov. 27, 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m.
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