by Inlander Staff

Gray Steps Down -- SPOKANE -- William Gray is stepping down from his post as the founding campus executive officer and dean of Washington State University in Spokane, at the end of the month.

In a statement released late Tuesday, Gray said his plans are to take a sabbatical then return to WSU to join Provost Robert Bates' staff.

"There aren't many people who have had the opportunity to build an institution from the ground up as I have," said Gray in the statement. He gave no specific reason for stepping down right now.

Gray joined WSU in 1972 and became acting director in Spokane in 1987, when WSU was a storefront in the Freeway Plaza Building.

Today, WSU owns and manages the constantly growing Riverfront Higher Education Park, housing a student body that has grown from 59 to almost 900.

Gray has served on countless community boards from the Boy Scouts to the Economic Development Council and the Chamber of Commerce. Gray's interim replacement will be named soon, followed by a nationwide search for a permanent replacement.

Family Care Now Law -- SPOKANE -- Workers across the state now have the right to use sick leave and other paid time off to care for their ill children or for seriously ill family members. The Family Care act was signed into law last year, and it took effect on Jan. 1.

"One major improvement is that the Family Care Act expands who you can use the leave for, like for adult children who are disabled, or a spouse, or in-laws. The old law was only for children under age 18," says Sylvia Watson, spokesperson for the Economic Opportunity Institute, which supported the Family Care Act. "Before, the law didn't necessarily allow people to use their paid sick leave. Today they can use sick leave or other paid time off."

The Family Care Act applies to all employers in the state, no matter how many employees they have. The Federal Family Leave Act only applies to employers with 50 or more employees.

"The employee still has to follow the employer's policies," says Watson. "Not everyone gets paid time off. If a business doesn't provide paid leave, then this doesn't apply. Nobody is getting more time off than they have already."

At a time where the minimum wage just went up from $6.90 to $7.01 and the economy in the state is struggling, many business owners worry that this will be another burden. But Watson says the Family Care Act won't add to their expenses.

"We think it's a benefit for the employers that the people who work for them can balance family and work better," she says. "And the time can only be used for seriously ill family members, like someone who is undergoing chemotherapy or is recovering from major surgery."

Tough Love Lesson -- CHENEY, Wash. -- The press gave him the nickname 'Crazy Joe' Clark. He was controversial, all right, using bullhorns and baseball bats as he worked diligently to straighten out Patterson, New Jersey's Eastside High School where Clark was the new principal in 1983. On his first day of class, a student was stabbed; Clark promptly expelled 300 students. On Monday, Clark is speaking at Eastern Washington University.

The former Army drill instructor is a firm believer in discipline, and his unusual approach to public education has garnered him lots of attention and many fans over the years. He believes in having high expectations for his students and to challenge them to develop habits for success.

Discipline never hurts the learning process -- students should be confronted when they fail, he says. It was those ideas that transferred Eastside High from pure mayhem to a model school in just about a year. In 1986, Clark was named one of the nation's 10 Principals of Leadership.

Today, Clark is the director of Essex County Detention, a juvenile detention center in Newark, N. J., but most people probably know Clark's story from the 1989 movie, Lean on Me. In this movie, Morgan Freeman portrays the controversial principal who forces students to learn the school song or face detention.

Toughness aside, the movie also shows how Clark's non-traditional methods turned many students' lives around for the better.

"If there is no discipline, there is anarchy," says Clark. "Good citizenship demands attention to responsibilities as well as rights."

Clark will speak on Monday, Jan. 13, at 7:30 pm in EWU's Showalter Auditorium. Free. Call: 359-2292.

Resale Trail @ Spokane

Through Dec. 3
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