Nader in Spokane

SPOKANE -- Last election's wild card presidential candidate and longtime consumer advocate Ralph Nader will be in the Inland Northwest toward the end of next week.

Nader is one of the participants in Gonzaga University's second annual Executive Ethics Forum. There he's going to debate the 1987 Nobel Peace Laureate Oscar Arias, the former president of Costa Rica and author of the Central American Peace Plan. Nader and Arias are going to debate the benefits of the North American Free Trade Agreement and the World Trade Organization.

While this seminar is aimed at executives and leaders who paid almost $1,000 to participate, Nader will reach out to the entire community in two free talks. He'll talk about consumer rights as human rights and take questions from the audience.

Finally, Nader will participate in a fundraiser for the local Green Party, held at Lewis and Clark High School on Saturday night. Nader will be speaking about the 10 key values of the Green Party, including ecological wisdom, non-violence and personal and global responsibility. Folk singer Jim Boyd and jazz master Arni Carruthers will entertain after the Saturday presentation.

Nader speaks Thursday, Sept. 27, at 7:30 pm at SFCC, in the Performing Arts Auditorium, and on Friday, Sept. 28, at 9 am at SCC in the Lair Student Center. The Green Party fundraiser is on Saturday, Sept. 29, at 7 pm at Lewis and Clark High School's newly renovated auditorium. Tickets for this event are $25. Call: 747-4400.

Meth meetings

SPOKANE -- Two community meetings about how to gain control over the meth epidemic in Spokane are scheduled for this week. Lieutenant Chan Bailey, coordinator for the county's meth task force, will be speaking at Evergreen Junior High on Tuesday, Sept. 25. He'll talk about meth and other drugs circulating in the area before taking questions. The other meeting, at West Central Community Center, is the second in a series focused on finding solutions to meth-related problems.

"We have to have a neighborhood-based solution," says Don Higgins, executive director of the West Central Community Center. "People have to be responsible for their neighborhood."

Neighborhood volunteers are vital to the success of the project, and recruiting volunteers will be one focal point for the upcoming meetings, says Higgins.

Another objective is to ease tension between tenants and landlords. Some tenants want landlords to be held more accountable for recognizing and reporting suspected meth labs. On the other hand, landlords are frustrated by watching their property values drop.

"The impact on our neighborhoods is tremendous, and the need for solutions is urgent," says Higgins. "With the input of residents, we intend to battle the epidemic in West Central and other neighborhoods."

-- Jessica Milstead

The first meeting is tonight at 6:30 pm at the West Central Community Center, 1603 N. Belt Drive. Call: 326-9540. The Valley meeting is on Tuesday, Sept. 25, at 7 pm at Evergreen Junior High School, 3915 S. Pines Road. Call: 327-6689.

Northwest Winterfest @ Spokane County Fair & Expo Center

Fridays, 5-8 p.m., Saturdays, 4-8 p.m. and Sundays, 3-6 p.m. Continues through Jan. 1
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