by Joel Smith and Cara Gardner

Growing Pains -- SPOKANE VALLEY, Wash. -- You remember what it was like being young: the gangly limbs, the cracking voice. Catching a ride to the mall with your parents and sweating to fit in. Though it sounds banal, the same fits and hitches that plague American teens also afflict its fledgling cities.

Take the 18-month-old city of Spokane Valley: On Thursday, Oct. 28, the city is holding the last public meeting on its comprehensive plan -- its young manifesto. The hot topics on the table: identity issues, transportation and unruly growth (sometimes in new and strange places).

Sure, Spokane Valley gets along fine with its neighbors and classmates, but you can only hear, "Oh, you must be Spokane's little brother" so many times before you feel the need to make your own identity. The young city has finally pieced together its city hall, but where's its city center, the core of its being?

And it's growing. It's getting wider here, longer there. In Ponderosa and Greenacres, new developments are popping up on the fringes, threatening to pack in houses tighter than they ever were before. Will the Valley's old clothes still fit? Can it stretch its current level of fire protection, of street maintenance, of law enforcement enough to cover the bulges?

And what about wheels? The Valley can't rely on big brother for rides. Is it light rail to University City? Bus rapid transit to Liberty Lake?

City planners and social workers know there's only one way to deal with these kinds of problems: You've gotta talk them out. -- Joel Smith

Spokane Valley's final comprehensive plan public meeting will be held Thursday, Oct. 28, from 6:30-9 pm at Pratt Elementary School, 6903 E. Fourth Ave., Spokane Valley.

Salon Saviors -- POST FALLS, Idaho -- A trip to an Idaho beauty salon may help a woman reclaim her life, and we're not talking makeovers or fabulous highlights. Thanks to the state-funded program Cut Out Domestic Violence, salon professionals throughout Idaho are being trained to detect victims of domestic violence and approach these women on how to find help.

"Beauticians and their clients form a great bond," says Bridget Walsh, crime victim advocate with the Post Falls Police Department. "And that's a good place for people to reach out -- it's a safe place."

Walsh says the training, which advocacy groups are providing to salon professionals for free, is not intended to make them experts in intervention. "We're not training them to be advocates or counselors," Walsh says. "We're going over what the signs are and educating them on resources in the area, as well as what to say if someone does bring it up."

The state of Idaho implemented Cut Out Domestic Violence after Attorney General Lawrence Wasden saw how effective the program was in other states. "It appeared that it could help people in Idaho who may not have access to help with domestic violence problems," says the attorney general's media spokesman, Bob Cooper. "The total cost is in the neighborhood of $10,000."

The program's low cost is being split between the attorney general's office and the state Council of Domestic Violence Assistance. The program is supported by the Idaho Cosmetology Association, the State Board of Cosmetology and the Idaho Cosmetology Schools Association.

"[Salon Professionals] can spot changes in behavior, see bruises under their hair, see them in pain," notes Cooper. "They are good listeners and keep confidences, and it's not unusual for clients to talk about problems in their personal life. It's not uncommon that [a salon] is the only place the victim can go without the batterer going with them." -- Cara Gardner

Cut Out Domestic Violence salon training seminars will be held all over Idaho through the end of November. North Idaho seminars include the following: Monday, Oct. 25, from 10 am-noon, Moscow Alternatives to Violence of the Palouse at (208) 882-2490. For the times and locations of November programs, call the Coeur d'Alene Women's Center in CdA at (208) 382-6748; the Post Falls O.A.S.I.S. at (208) 773-1080; and, in Bonner County, the Domestic Violence Education and Prevention in Sandpoint at (208) 265-2952.

Publication date: 10/21/04

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