by Cara Gardner

Tales of Thunder Dragon -- SPOKANE - Only about 5,000 visitors a year are allowed into the remote Asian nation of Bhutan. Former county commissioner and Spokane outdoors advocate John Roskelley is one of them. Tonight, Thursday, Oct. 7, Roskelley will present "Bhutan: Land of the Thunder Dragon," at Mountain Gear as a benefit for the Lands Council, a local environmental organization.

"It's a presentation of Bhutan," Roskelley says. "I've been there three times, so I'm covering the culture and the cities as well as the trek."

Roskelley works as a trek leader for Geographic Expeditions, an adventure company based in San Francisco. His presentation includes commentary and photographs from the grueling 24-day Lunana Trek.

"It's very isolated. The Lunana Trek is one of the most remote areas to visit in the world -- possibly the most difficult trek to do in the world, over five [mountain] passes over 16,000 feet. It [scales] the southern Himalayas of Bhutan," Roskelley explains.

The presentation costs $5 and tickets can be purchased at the door, or at Mountain Gear during business hours. All the proceeds will go directly to the Lands Council, an organization that protects wildlife and habitat in the Inland Northwest.

"Bhutan is just a fascinating country. It's a place a lot of people would like to go if they had more information," Roskelley says, adding that visiting is difficult due to how selective and expensive it is. "You can fly into Bhutan, but the king restricts how many people can come in a year."

Meet and Greet -- SPOKANE - You can't get away from the TV spots, the billboards and the yard signs. Election season is in full spin, and strategists say many citizens will vote just based on name recognition. If you'd rather be educated about which candidate best supports your views and agenda, plan on attending the following scheduled debates.

The Spokane Regional Chamber of Commerce has begun hosting political gatherings that are free and open to the public; each Friday in October, a different set of candidates will appear to speak to the public in a forum setting from 7:30-9 pm. Tomorrow, Oct. 8, 6th District senatorial candidates Laurie Dolan (D) and Brad Benson (R) will attend the Chamber's Friday Focus on Politics.

Friday, Oct. 15, during the same time period, candidates for the Spokane County Board of Commissioners will be at the Chamber. For District One, that's Linda Wolverton (D) and Todd Mielke (R); for District Two, it's Bill Burke (D) and Mark Richard (R).

And on Friday, Oct. 22, 3rd District senatorial candidates Lisa Brown (D) and Mike Casey (R), and 9th District senatorial candidates Gail Rowland (D) and Mark Schoesler (R) will attend the Chamber's political forums.

On Wednesday, Oct. 20, the Spokane City Forum will present a 5th District Congressional debate between candidates Don Barbieri (D) and Cathy McMorris (R). The debate will be held from 11:45 am-1 pm at Spokane's First Presbyterian Church, 318 S. Cedar St. Reservations are required by Monday, Oct. 18, and the cost is $8.50, which includes lunch. Call 777-1555 or e-mail

You've Been Served -- SPOKANE - They probably don't know or care, but President George W. Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and Attorney General John Ashcroft are being subpoenaed to appear for impeachment hearings in Spokane this weekend. On Saturday, Oct. 9, the Peace and Justice Action League of Spokane (PJALS), the National Lawyers Guild, the Center for Justice, the Social Justice committee of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Spokane, along with other individuals and organizations, are gathering at the Moot Courtroom at Gonzaga University Law School to charge the heads of the Bush Administration with war crimes, violations of international law and subversion of the Bill of Rights.

"It's more an effort to educate the public," concedes Rusty Nelson, PJALS director. "It's based on international law, U.S. law and the Constitution. We've had an awful lot of legal research going on and a very capable team of lawyers.

"Some people [may see this as] disrespectful to the presidency," Neslon continues, "but we feel it adds a great deal of respect to the office, to hold someone accountable to the standards under the Constitution."

The event will be held on Saturday, Oct. 9, at the Moot Courtroom at Gonzaga Law School, 721 N. Cincinnati, from 6:30-9 pm. It is free and open to the public.

Publication date: 10/07/04

Spring Market at the Pavilion @ Riverfront Park

Wednesdays, 3-7 p.m. Continues through May 12
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