by Pia K. Hansen and Leah Sottile

Pin Them Down -- SPOKANE -- Ever wanted to ask your state legislator a few pointed questions? Ever wished there was a way of holding such persons responsible for the answers they gave you? Well, if you're concerned about the environment, here's the perfect opportunity to do just that.

On Wednesday, the Washington Environmental Alliance for Voter Education (WEAVE) is holding its annual forum here in town.

Legislators Alex Wood and Tim Ormsby have already confirmed, and with a little luck state Sen. Lisa Brown is going to be there as well.

"We have done this for several years, and it has been wildly successful," says Peter Schrappen, senior field organizer for WEAVE. "In east King County, we had about 51 people show up, and in Kitsap we'll get about 20. Actually, when it's not too crowded, it makes for a very good discussion."

The two-hour forum is divided into two parts. The first consists of prepared questions for the legislators.

"Environmental organizations across the state have written these questions, and they are divided into four categories: water, energy, forest and toxic pollution or public health," says Schrappen.

Expect questions about energy regulation and forest preservation, dam breaching and dioxin pollution.

The second hour is open for audience members' questions.

"The forum is open to anyone," says Schrappen. "And the audience can ask questions about anything they'd like. This is a great opportunity to get legislators on the record before they reconvene in January."

The WEAVE forum is on Dec. 17 at 6:30 pm at the Community Building, 35 W. Main Ave. Call: 838-1965

Meet the New Boss -- SPOKANE -- Our bet is that it's going to be a while before people get used to saying Mayor West instead of Senator West, but here's a good start.

On Tuesday, FOX 28 TV is holding a town hall meeting at Gonzaga Prep featuring Jim West, who gets to answer questions from a panel of local reporters as well as the audience.

"We want to give people an opportunity to press the flesh and get up close and personal with the mayor," says Bob Lenertz, news director at FOX 28. "This is pretty much free-form -- there will be plenty of time for questions from the audience, and no question within reason is off limits. We hope the mayor will respond well."

West will be officially sworn in on Dec. 23 at 4:30 pm at a ceremony at Grant Elementary, the elementary school he attended while growing up in the South Perry neighborhood.

"We're expecting questions about streets, crimes and taxes," says Lenertz. "Here's a chance for people to ask those questions directly of the mayor instead of standing around on the street corners talking about them."

The meeting is on Tuesday, Dec. 16, from 7-8 pm at Gonzaga Prep, 1224 E. Euclid Ave. Call: 448-2848

Save the Schoolhouse -- Spokane --Listed as one of the Top Ten Most Endangered Properties in the state, the Five Mile Schoolhouse still needs $50,000 to prevent the building from being placed on the public auction block -- and there are only 20 days left to get it.

Built in 1937 as the Sky Prairie Schoolhouse, the school educated local children until 1969 in its two rooms. Since then, the Mead School District has used the facility as a storage space. Located in a rapidly growing residential area, the school district finally decided that the property will go up for sale at the end of 2003.

"This has been three years now that [the Board of Directors has] extended the deadline," says Steve Enoch, superintendent of the Mead School District. "I do think it's fair to say that the majority of the board thinks that it is a reasonable deadline. We've got to move forward one way or another."

In response to the district's deadline, the Friends of Sky Prairie Schoolhouse (FSPS) was formed to save the historic schoolhouse.

In August 2001, the group surveyed more than 500 residents in the surrounding neighborhoods and found that 80 percent surveyed supported keeping the schoolhouse.

Not only did those supporters want to see the schoolhouse survive, but they wanted to make sure that the historic property was put to good use -- namely in the form of a farmer's market facility or an education center.

To contact FSPS, e-mail

Publication date: 12/11/03

Christmas Tree Elegance Holiday Luncheons @ Historic Davenport Hotel

Tue., Dec. 6, 11 a.m.-2 p.m. and Wed., Dec. 7, 11 a.m.-2 p.m.
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