by Cara Gardner and Joel Smith

U-District Celebration -- SPOKANE -- If you're like most people in the Spokane area, you may be wondering what the deal is with the University District. What exactly is it all about? Where's it gonna be? And how does it help the community? If you're curious, show up on Tuesday, Nov. 30, at the Rendezvous Event Facility, 1003 E. Trent Ave., to witness the official release of the University District Strategic Master Plan at 6 pm, followed by the University District CD release party at 7 pm.

"What we've done is put together all the information gathered from the three community workshops and the technical workgroups," says Robin Toth, economic development project manager for the city of Spokane. The city has worked with community volunteers since last May, gathering detailed information about the University District site, which would expand the current sites of WSU-Spokane and SIRTI to include other research buildings, housing, businesses and additional school branches. "It's been synthesized into a draft master plan document that talks about how to make [the District] a destination point for not just the students but others as well," Toth says.

City leaders and economic development specialists have been enthusiastic about the idea that a thriving University District near downtown Spokane will give the city's urban core a much-needed boost in business and culture.

The presentation, which will last about an hour, will indulge guests in the fantasy of how a U-District could transform the city.

"There will be graphics, Power Point and a video ILF Media helped write and produce," Toth says. After the presentation is over, guests can stick around to receive a CD made up of music from local bands the Side Project, Chinese Sky Candy, 10 Minutes Down, Jupiter Effect, Locke, Mang, Sittser, Burns Like Hellfire, Lucia's Grey Dot and Mulligan. The Shop and Black Coffee Recording worked with the bands to produce and distribute the CD, which was created specifically for the University District Strategic Master Plan. If you miss the party, swing by the Shop, 924 S. Perry, to purchase one while supplies last. Funds for the Strategic Master Plan's compilation and presentation came from a $350,000 grant awarded by the Department of Commerce's Economic Development Administration. A final draft of the University District Strategic Master Plan will be unveiled early next year. -- Cara Gardner

Aphids and Shutterbugs -- SPOKANE -- Maybe you're the Jacob Riis of Kootenai County, doing with migrant workers and apple orchards what the famous muckraker did with squatters and turn-of-the-century New York tenements. Or perhaps you're a budding Ansel Adams, tired of kicking cowpies in the Palouse and looking for your ticket out.

Either way, you're in luck. Because aside from the usual decadence of the Spokane Ag Expo -- the largest farm machinery show in the Inland Northwest -- this year's Expo will feature a chi-chi photography contest for snappers of all ages.

"The Inland Northwest has a great diversity of agriculture and scenery," says David Bauermeister, the show's director. "This contest allows for the celebration of this diversity while recognizing area residents with an eye for creativity."

The contest will be split into two age groups: adults and 18 and younger. Prizes for the winning photo include cash and photo equipment and services. The top three winners in the adult group rake in $150, $100 or $50 worth of cash and merchandise, respectively. Youth only get $75, $50 or $25 -- but hey, $75 is enough for a train ticket to Seattle or Portland, where the big time awaits.

There's no time to lose. The deadline for the Jan. 11 show is Dec. 10. Photographers can send in up to four color or black-and-white prints, mounted on cardboard or matting (no frames), to be judged by area photographers based on theme, composition and creativity. Prints should range from a minimum of 8-by-10 inches to a maximum of 11-by-14 inches.

So while all your peers are ambling about the Veterans Memorial Arena in January, ogling displays on crop production and bio-energy or boning up on current cattle issues, you can strut around the photo area in your black turtleneck and tweed jacket, tuning your mind to the higher things in life. Like long-exposure techniques for dynamically portraying the milking process. -- Joel Smith

For rules and entry forms, visit or call (509) 459-4108.

Publication date: 11/25/04

Nancy Drew Virtual Escape Room

Wed., April 21, 7-8 p.m. and Sat., April 24, 1-2 & 3-4 p.m.
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