by Pia K. Hansen

Why drive?

SPOKANE -- When Bloomsday begins Sunday morning, with more than 45,000 hyped runners getting ready to race, the fight over downtown parking spaces is going to be pretty intense.

So instead of driving, how about riding your bike to the starting line? The Spokane Bicycle Club is offering a free, attended bicycle parking area in Riverfront Park (south of the YMCA and west of the IMAX). You can leave your bike, helmet and warm-up clothes there between 7:30 am and 1 pm. It's free, but bring a lock for ultimate bike security.

Or consider riding the STA Bloomsday Express bus downtown instead of driving.

STA offers this special service Bloomsday morning between 6:30 and 7:45 am from assigned parking lots all over the area. When you pick up your race package, buy a $1 round-trip bus pass sticker at the same time. Stick it on your race number, and you're all set -- monthly passes and transfers will not be accepted on the special Bloomsday buses. And without a sticker, the fare is $1 each way.

The STA Bloomsday Expresses leave from the Spokane Valley Mall (on Indiana, near the Red Robin), NorthTown Mall (on the east side of the parking garage, on Lidgerwood), Ferris High School's parking lot, and from the Red Barn parking lot at EWU in Cheney.

Immediately after the race (from 10:30 am-1 pm), return buses leave from the Browne and Main Street area. You can catch a return bus from the STA Plaza as late as 7:20 pm.

Women help women

SPOKANE -- The Women Helping Women Fund (WHWF) is having its ninth annual luncheon on Monday, featuring internationally known human rights activist Kerry Kennedy Cuomo.

Kennedy Cuomo has recently published a book, Speak Truth to Power: Human Rights Defenders Who Are Changing Our World, about human rights activists all over the world. A traveling photo exhibit by Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer Eddie Adams, based on Kennedy Cuomo's book interviews, can currently be seen at the downtown library.

"We try to bring people in who speak to the issue of our mission statement, which is to empower women and children," says Christie Hinnen, president-elect of the WHWF. "Last year, we had 2,300 people at the luncheon, that's the most we've ever had. Our hope is to have at least 2,000 this year." So far, the fund has sold more than 1,800 tickets. Over the past eight years, WHWF has raised a total of $1.6 million for local programs.

The lunch is underwritten by individual and corporate sponsors, so every dollar donated goes to the programs WHWF supports.

"We have a very involved program choosing the recipients. They go through a grant process, where all of our board members read the applications, and we do a site visit," says Hinnen. "This year, we determined that childcare is a key issue to empowering women and children." The luncheon proceeds will go to a variety of programs that focus on childcare, education and women's safety.

The lunch is on Monday, May 7, from noon-1:30 pm at the Spokane Convention Center. Cost: $100 minimum donation. Call: 328-8285.

Pop-Up Clothing Swap @ Carl Maxey Center

Sat., Dec. 10, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
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