by Inlander Readers

Expo Daydreams -- I detect vivid fantasies about a downtown Spokane that never did exist and most likely never will, after reading "Empty Spaces" (4/24/03). Daydreams about the wonderful effects of Expo '74 leave out the fact that Howard Street (named to honor General O. O. Howard, just like Howard University in Washington D.C.) is blocked at Spokane Falls Blvd., (previously and historically named Trent Avenue), thereby destroying business on Howard from Sprague Avenue to Boone Avenue, and thereby blocking access to the Flour Mill.

With the Monroe Street Bridge rebuild in process, wouldn't it be nice to have the Howard Street bridges available for driving across the Spokane river?

I suspect that "Empty Spaces et al." was written by people who have been in Spokane too short a time to actually understand the problem. This is indicated by the continuous reference to "Main Street," which is actually Main Avenue (streets run north and south, avenues run east and west, boulevards meander), or the Lamonts building, which was the site of a once successful Newberry's 5 & amp;10 cent store, or the Burlington Coat Factory building, which was one of the last J.C. Penney stores to be built in a city's downtown. It was very successful until a change in shopping habits drove it to the malls where parking is free and does not assist in bailing out a Cowles family business venture.

I suggest that it might be worthwhile to gather the thoughts about downtown Spokane from merchants that could have located anywhere. For example: Huppin's Hi-Fi, Carr Sales, Spokane Stamp Works and Joel.

Larry Dixon

Spokane, Wash.

Thanks Microsoft -- In reference to Microsoft's decision to outsource support jobs from Liberty Lake to overseas, I just wanted to say thank you to Microsoft for increasing the unemployment rate in Spokane County and helping to saturate the area with unemployed tech workers. Microsoft has just reaffirmed my decision to learn even more about Linux and to make my systems 100 percent Microsoft-free. I guess MS should change their logo from "Where do you want to go today?" to "Welcome to the Non-U.S."

As a Microsoft spokesperson told KREM-2, "The Company is not replacing U.S. jobs or laying off workers as a result of overseas expansion." But earlier it was stated, "Over the past 18 months, we've been working with support vendors to help expand capabilities to expand international customer growth."

Which line do we believe? Doesn't that mean they are laying people off because of overseas expansion? I have noticed other companies are also making the move to foreign countries. Our economy will continue to suffer until we stop allowing big-buck corporations to move their workforces outside of the U.S.

Craig Baker

Deer Park, Wash.

Girls' Day -- All of us want the best for our daughters and all girls. We want them to be well adjusted and successful. We live in Spokane because we value the quality of life, and yet we continue to receive discouraging news about our region's economic situation. The fastest-growing and most lucrative careers are in the fields of science, math and technology, yet today only 19 percent of professionals in these fields are women.

Give your daughter and other girls you care about a glimpse of her future by having her learn from local women who are experts in the fields of forensic science, veterinary medicine, computer technology and more. More than 30 presenters will reveal the secrets to success and provide fun, hands-on experience in many career fields represented at "Expanding Your Horizons," & ordm;a career conference for all girls in grades 6-12 on Saturday, May 31, 2003 at SFCC. Space for both conferences is limited, so register today: online at or at 747-8091.

Lindy Cater, executive director Girl Scouts Inland Empire Council

Art is Smart Growth -- I've lived in the Inland Northwest for 30 years (on the Idaho side). Residents of Spokane have enjoyed Idaho's lakes, scenic beauty and winter recreation, while Idahoans have been the beneficiaries of the Opera House, the Spokane Arena and the airport.

There is a dark side, however. Spokane has lost some of its luster, as contentious politics, vacant downtown buildings, an ailing economy and drugs have become the scourge of the city. But with every dark side comes hope. The Spokane arts community, especially the Odd Girls, Tim Behrens and Center Stage are the catalysts for what Spokane can become.

The Spokane art and business community has the talent, will and vision to bring a revitalized atmosphere to downtown through art. It's good for the economy, and it's good for us.

Thanks, Center Stage, and thanks Spokane. I hope our region supports you!

Michelle Britton

Coeur d'Alene, Idaho

Publication date: 05/22/03

Invention Connection @ Spark Central

Fri., Feb. 3, 3:30-5:30 p.m.
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