Fight sexual violence -- SPOKANE -- The U.S. Justice Department estimates that a woman is raped somewhere in the United States every two minutes. Half of the victims are younger than18.

"Young people are at a very high risk for sexual violence and it's often committed by people they know," says Dayna Blaser, one of the co-founders of Stop the Clock, a new non-profit organization that works to end sexual violence. "We want to reach out to young people where they are at, in schools at the mall or through music and theater." To that effect, Stop the Clock has already hosted a series of four concerts at The Shop on South Perry, the last of which is on Friday.

The group is expanding its programs next year, when it plans to bring Eva Ensler's Vagina Monologues to The Met in February, host self-defense classes and begin a teenage program. A group of locals will also perform their own monologues in April.

"We are preparing a collection of monologues from local women and men, who are writing about their own experiences," says Blaser. "It's not just for women. Some of us are sexual violence survivors and others are just concerned folks.'

Stop the Clock's concert with Edie Carrie

and Andrew Kerr is on Dec. 14 at 7 p.m. at

the Shop, 924 S. Perry. Call: 991-6160.

Second swing at signs -- COEUR D'ALENE -- Sticks may break bones, but banning them busts the First Amendment. So says the federal court that struck down the city's picket sign ordinance this summer, an ordinance that outlawed signs with traditional stick handles.

But as free speech advocates enjoy their victory - the deadline for further appeals recently passed - lawyers for the city are redrafting the picket sign ordinance, says Susan Weeks, a partner at Lukins & amp; Annis, the law firm which handled the ordinance matter for the city of Coeur d'Alene.

"I thought it was ridiculous that I got arrested," says Gary Edwards, who fought the original ordinance. "I was just standing there, minding my own business."

Sheriff's deputies arrested Edwards in July '98 for obstructing an officer by refusing to give up a picket sign while protesting the Aryan Nations parade. Following that incident, city officials passed the stick-banning ordinance -- with $20,000 of lawyer fees paid by tourism baron Duane Hagadone -- to disarm potentially disruptive protesters of the annual Aryan Nations marches.

Backed by the American Family Association, a national constitutional rights group, Edwards then challenged the no-sticks law.

In August, Edwards won. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the city's ordinance unconstitutionally restricted free speech, saying that the ordinance was too broad and failed to allow for reasonable alternatives to the traditional picket sign.

Says Edwards, "A lot of my heroes have been arrested, like Jesus, Gandhi and Martin Luther King. Sometimes there are things worth standing up and getting arrested for."

The city council is expected to consider the redrafted ordinance at its Tuesday meeting.

Eye Contact... A Night of Art @ Washington Cracker Co. Building

Thu., Sept. 23, 5-8 p.m.
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