Social change drives Spokane teen to activism
Wed., March 21, 2018
By Judith Spitzer
For The Spokesman-Review
Community service and teen activism are not just high school requirements for some teens. For those like 16-year-old Madelyn Dickens, community involvement is clearly based on her passion for social change, a yearning to help others and a desire to use her voice to make the world a better place.
A junior at The Community School, a project-based learning high school in the Spokane School District, Dickens used her voice to do just that in mid-January when she joined hundreds of other teens for Teen Lobby Day in Olympia. The annual event, promoted by Planned Parenthood, includes members of its Teen Council from around the state.
“It was super empowering,” said Dickens, who has been a member of the local Planned Parenthood Teen Council since last year. “It was mind-blowing to be able to talk to legislators and to feel like we were making a difference in the world.”
Spokane Teen Council members met with Rep. Timm Ormsby, the most senior Spokane-area Democrat in the Legislature, and Sen. Andy Billig, D-Spokane.
Paul Dillon, Planned Parenthood public affairs director, said Spokane teens attended training about the inner workings of government before their meetings with legislators, when they talked about specific bills including the Reproductive Parity Act, gender pay equity and voter access.
“Dickens was part of the group of very inspiring youth leaders,” Dillon said. “She exemplifies why youth advocating for policies that impact them makes the world a better place. Her involvement in Teen Council is helping to provide people with support and resources they need to carve out bright futures for themselves. Dickens is one of the leaders of her generation in the movement for equality.”
As a Teen Council member, Dickens said she provides condoms and other safe-sex materials as well as sex-education materials to students and peers. She manages a teen resource locker at her high school, because part of her role in Teen Council is to connect with other students and talk about safe sex and prevention of unplanned pregnancies.
Not only is Dickens a promising youth leader, according to her teachers and mentors, this year she is taking advanced placement college classes. Next year, when she graduates from The Community School she will have earned an associate degree from Spokane Community College along with her high school diploma. In fact, she will have “way more credits than I need to graduate,” Dickens said.
A hidden crime: Child sex trafficking is on the rise
Tue., Feb. 13, 2018, 6 a.m.
Overcoming the stigma of mental illness
Wed., Jan. 17, 2018, 6 a.m.
Spokane retiree Vicki Dahlgren grew up in a small town in Montana. She remembers being in the second or third grade when she had what she calls her “first breakdown.”
“It felt like everything blacked out, I wasn’t able to make sense of things, and I couldn’t verbalize anything,” Dahlgren said. “I can remember the doctor telling my mother that if I was an adult they would have said I had a nervous breakdown, but they didn’t think kids had those back then, so they called it complete exhaustion.”
She added: “If anyone asked me what happened, I was to say it was the flu. It was nothing to be talked about.”
And like many other families, Dahlgren’s family didn’t talk about it.
Dahlgren attempted suicide at 16, and again two more times during the next 50 years as she struggled to find the answers to depression and anxiety.
Now 65, Dahlgren is retired and considers herself stable under the care of a Spokane medical team that includes a psychiatrist, a therapist and a general practitioner.
One in five Americans – or about 44 million people – live with a mental illness during their lives, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness.
And nearly 1 in 25 American adults live with schizophrenia, bipolar mood disorder, major depression and/or anxiety disorders.
Local restaurant startup among many that take advantage of Women’s Business Center at SNAP
Imagine you have a killer business idea and the only thing you think you need are the funds to launch it. You’re on your way to being your own boss. Right?
With 2018 underway, many aspiring entrepreneurs are considering the plunge of starting a new business. But starting and running a small business doesn’t just happen overnight – it’s a process, according to Cara Weipert, manager of the Women’s Business Center at Spokane Neighborhood Action Partners (SNAP for short).
Open to both men and women, the WBC is essentially a one-stop business resource shop, according to Weipert, offering business training, individual business consulting and mentorship, credit building education and small-business financing.
In 2017, Weipert said, WBC team members met with nearly 500 aspiring entrepreneurs who needed help with business plans, accounting systems, technical help and even startup loans.
Law enforcement investigating anti-Semitic comments in advance of Holocaust survivor’s speech
UPDATED: Wed., June 7, 2017, 9:15 p.m.
Laurie Klein found fame 40 years ago when she wrote a song called “I Love You Lord” that’s been recorded more than 80 times. Now she is blogging and is releasing a book of poetry. She poses for a photo on Wednesday, Dec. 21, 2016, at her daughter’s home in Spokane, Wash. TYLER TJOMSLAND email@example.com (Tyler Tjomsland / The Spokesman-Review)
I love my job. I am grateful and always surprised by people I meet whose stories touch me. I truly believe the adage that everyone has a story to tell, a lesson to teach, and wisdom to share.
And then there are those few who seduce and inspire us by sharing astonishing new ways to view the world – without a lot of ego.
Laurie Klein is one of those women.
At 60-something, Klein is a mother, artist, songwriter, photographer, grandmother, poet, as well as a self-described child of God. She lives with Bill, her husband of 43 years, about 20 miles north of Spokane.
These days Klein has added the title blogger to the many hats she wears.
Klein was signed up for my Inspirational Blogging class at Spokane Community College, but she didn’t need me to teach her how to write. She’s been published many times over. She took the class to learn about social media. Having written a soon-to-be-published book of poetry, she was determined to conquer the Internet world. Or at least some of it.
The technical parts of blogging are typically only about half of what I cover in the class. Fear, on the other hand, is one of the abiding themes – fear of social media, anxiety at the vulnerability in sharing one’s words and photos, and fear of the unknown.
From the very first class, Klein was relentless. She picked up the fear, put it under her arm and marched forward.
As I read her writing, it was clear she had a gift, and when she added photos to the blog she shined. She takes the perfect image to illustrate a post, as well as chooses commonplace objects and scenes that anyone else would walk right past.
I watched as her self-confidence grew and the fear subsided.
One of the students’ first assignments is to create a Facebook page, and start connecting with people. Before long, Klein had an avalanche of old friends from her school days in the Midwest.
Reading the comments, I felt like I was with Garrison Keillor visiting Lake Woebegone. She actually went to high school at St. Olaf’s College in Minnesota.
After the class ended, I kept reading her new blog and realized that 40 years ago Klein had written a song called “I Love You, Lord.”
“It is so simple, just four lines,” she said. “The simplest little song. But it went global. I was flabbergasted.”
“Forty years ago, weary and bone-lonely, I wrote that little song while our baby slept. People around the world still sing, ‘Let me be a sweet, sweet sound in your ear,’ ” Klein said.
When she wrote the song in 1974, she and her husband, Bill, were living in a mobile home in Central Oregon, existing on $400 a month – she tended a new baby while he attended college.
“Back when I was a new mom savoring a few quiet moments, braided hair slung over a shoulder, arms cradling a cheap guitar … that day I had been bone-lonely. Sick of my own voice. Emptied of hope,” she recalled.
“I prayed Lord, give me a song you want to hear,” she said. “It came to me whole. Easily, the way grace does when we’re stuck: pure gift.”
Today, the song has been released on some 80-plus recordings, and has emerged in at least a half-dozen dialects around the world.
“It leaves me speechless,” she said. “I still have requests to record the song.”
Klein said her discovery of social media, and the fact that her new blog has caught fire, has opened her life up to hundreds of people, old friends and new ones.
I’m a loyal follower of her blog these days, watching as she tackles tough subjects with a charming sense of humor, self-deprecation and gratitude. She revels in topics like delight, wonder, grace and surrender.
It typically stirs me to wonder at the most mundane and ordinary of things, transformed through her eyes into a quest for truth and the divine.
What a gift, this woman.
November 30, 2016
Jake Pinger, left, and Jared Fields are partners in the new Play It Again Sports store in the Five Mile shopping center on Francis in North Spokane, shown Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2016. Jared is the managing partner in the store, which stocks new and used sports gear for fitness, many different sports and accessories. (Jesse Tinsley / The Spokesman-Review)
With three kids under the age of 10, Jared Fields and his wife, Shvonna, know only too well how expensive buying equipment can be when a child wants to play hockey, baseball or almost any other sport. Not to mention the money spent when said child decides they don’t like one sport, and want to try a different one.
Fields, 39, is the co-owner of Play It Again Sports, a national franchise, which opened in late August. Located at 1808 W. Francis Ave., Fields has five to six employees at any given time depending on the season.
The sports franchise wasn’t new to Fields. More than 10 years ago he worked at a Play It Again Sports store in Spokane, under another owner, while he attended college. Then he took a job managing a Spokane restaurant, but said he missed the retail sports scene.
Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2016
Violet Humble helps load a truck with members of VOLT and the Music and Art Movement (MAC) charities on Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2016, in Spokane, Wash. Humble, 8, coordinated with the charities, as they planned to send supplies to the Pine Ridge and standing Rock Reservations. TYLER TJOMSLAND firstname.lastname@example.org (Tyler Tjomsland / The Spokesman-Review)
Violet Humble loves just about anything with glitter, sequins or the color pink. At 8 years old, she is also a fan of mythical creatures, “The Walking Dead” and Taylor Swift, whose birthday and sparkly cat-ears headband she shares.
Your typical preteen? Well, not really.
Domestic violence deaths on the rise in Spokane County and state despite new approaches to addressing issue
Where to go for help
The YWCA Alternative to Domestic Violence program is funded by the state, city, county and private contributions. It’s Spokane’s only state-recognized domestic violence program for victims and survivors.
The YWCA crisis line answers about 3,800 calls per year, and assists more than 13,000 survivors and children each year. The YWCA offers help with shelter and housing services, legal services, counseling, and clothing.
The 24-hour helpline is (509) 326-2255.
Collaboration, costumes nab Civic Theatre’s Kearney Jordan a nomination for arts award
Collaboration, costumes nab Civic Theatre’s Kearney Jordan a nomination for arts award. Kearney Jordan stands in the costume storage area at the Spokane Civic Theatre on Monday, Oct. 24, 2016. She has been nominated for an arts award for her service to the theater, as well as to many nonprofits whom she helps find costumes for events and fundraisers. (Jesse Tinsley / The Spokesman-Review)
Free cupcakes draw attention to campaign to end domestic violence
Creating Community: Art group transforms itself
Marian Herzer, co-founder of Monarch Arts, has some of her group’s paintings stored in her Spokane Valley apartment, shown Wednesday, Oct. 5, 2016. The group promotes arts events and projects. (Jesse Tinsley / The Spokesman-Review)
Irene Dahl, 83, is a German-born psychotherapist who witnessed the death of her father in Nazi Germany when she was 7 years old.
At 69, Karen Harwood is a longtime attorney and teacher at Gonzaga University who is now retired.
Betty Bradley, 77, is a retired Franciscan Sister of Perpetual Adoration, a Roman Catholic religious congregation.
What brings these three very different Spokane women together?
The answer is simple: art.
Italian American Club to mark 50 years with new Sister City
Italian American Club recording secretary, left, Judy VanDyke, poses with, Ron Anselmo, club president, and Spokane Superior Court Judge Sam Cozza, club orator. (Judith Spitzer Special to The Spokesman-Review)
Ever heard the names Deena Caruso, Joe Albi, Father Joseph Cataldo, Pat Cozza, Victor Felice, Peter Jacoby, Victor Forni and Mike Lamanna?
They are among a long list of Italian Americans who have lived in and loved the Spokane area.
The names may ring a bell because they all helped create the city of Spokane we know today. And all were members of the Italian American Club over the past 50 years.
Sisters’ Gathering a place where women connect, listen to each other
Women have gathered in sacred circles – beside fires in prehistoric times, in 1970s rec rooms in consciousness-raising groups, and today online – to share their lives, listen to one another’s stories and spiritually connect in community.
That’s the intent of the Sisters’ Gathering in Spokane, a group that has met monthly on a Saturday evening since early 2014, said Chenoa Durheim, one of the group’s creators and facilitators.
When dinner bell rings at Rockin’ B Ranch, get ready for fiddlin’ and fun
On a late summer evening, the Rockin’ B Ranch just south of Interstate 90 on the Washington-Idaho border was living up to its raucous name. There was some yodeling, some pickin’, lots of fiddling, a cowboy shootout and a good old-fashioned meat-and-potatoes supper.
“We got taters and beans, chicken, beef and ribs, and you meat eaters … we know you have specific ways you like your meat cooked, so move on in there and tell them what you like,” said Dusty Bicuspid, the gnarly-looking toothless cowboy. “And they’ll completely ignore you.”http://www.spokesman.com/stories/2016/aug/31/when-dinner-bell-rings-at-rockin-b-ranch-get-ready/
WEDNESDAY, AUG. 17, 2016, 11:21 A.M.
This book club tastes what they read
Once a month Brian and Beverly Anderson, a Spokane couple in their early fifties, host what could be called dinner and a book.
It’s a book club with a twist, an edible twist.
At each month’s gathering the Andersons plan and serve an evening meal, the theme of which is dictated by the book the group is reading.
July’s book of the month – “The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics” by Daniel James Brown – is a nonfiction book about the University of Washington rowing crew which, against the odds, narrowly beat Italy and Germany to win the gold medal in Berlin in the 1936 Olympics.
The evening’s menu included German potato salad, grilled bratwurst with German mustard, homemade buns and German chocolate cupcakes decorated with tiny American flags, as well as a German apple strudel.
George White, 97, pays a visit to the new Honor Point Military & Aerospace Museum, July 15, 2016. White was an employee for Northwest Airlines for 23 years. A Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) display is at left. (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)
In a dimly lit basement room at the Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture there’s a treasure trove of historic military items – World War I trench art, a priest’s travel kit from World War II, gas masks used in the Gulf War, and prisoner of war jumpsuits worn in Vietnam.
Now those artifacts are one step closer to a permanent home.
After about 15 years of fits and starts, a couple of name changes and dashed hopes for ownership of a high-visibility site on the West Plains, the Honor Point Military and Aerospace Museum opened in June at Spokane’s historic Felts Field.
VoicesWEDNESDAY, JUNE 15, 2016, 3:26 P.M. – BY JUDITH SPITZER, JASPITZER31@MAC.COM
From left, Bruce Boren, Claude Ellington, Jackie Pederson and Jan Mullen make pasta split pea salad at a Second Harvest cooking class on April 27. In the class, hosted in Second Harvest’s new kitchen, chefs teach community members about cooking from scratch using ingredients that are readily available at the food bank. (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)Creating Community: Literary Freedom group part of a resurgence in book clubs
The word “bibliophile” – a noun describing a person who loves or collects books – fits Linda Bond to a T. If something “fits to a T,” then it’s perfect for its purpose. And Bond, who works at Auntie’s Bookstore, loves words that fit perfectly.
Left to right, Debbie MacDonald, Stan Wright and Tina Owen share hors d’oeuvres March 24, 2016, at the Our Thai House. The local Meetup group the Rat Pack hosts a “Dinner Around the World” event once at month at a different restaurant. (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)
The pungent scent of lemongrass, ginger and warm curries fills the air at Our Thai House on North Hamilton Street on a recent Wednesday evening – the restaurant packed to overflow by a group of fun-loving souls called the Rat Pack.
Modern Quilt Guild melds traditional, contemporary design
Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2016 in Voices
When people think of quilts, they likely imagine a classic quilt like grandma used to make … conjuring up visions of women gathered in circles, quilting by hand, using traditional print fabrics in classic colors.
Not exactly the same image was elicited by women who gathered on a recent rainy Saturday afternoon in a room at the Spice & Vine Mercantile on East Sprague Avenue.
In the midst of tables covered with small piles of soft fabric pieces of every color and shape, several sewing machines and tools of the quilting trade, 15 or so women were busy making quilts – modern ones.
Modern being the key word, the women are members of the Inland Northwest Modern Quilt Guild, a local chapter of the national Modern Quilt Guild, which organized here a little over two months ago.
211 Service got a workout during November Windstorm
Page 1a; Jan. 4, 2016
“Just listen and be there,” said Collin Keating, information resource referral specialist for Spokane’s 211 call center at Frontier Behavioral Health. (Kathy Plonka)
Woman’s Club of Spokane to be renovated, refurbished
December 31, 2015 Voices section
Members of the Silver Spurs, a folk dance troupe that rehearses at the Woman’s Club in Spokane, starts their rehearsal with a contra dance before working on their upcoming performance at First Night Spokane. The Woman’s Club received a grant that will allow them to update the building and add bathrooms and a kitchen upstairs. (Jesse Tinsley)
EWU Letter on Sexism Goes Viral
EWU engineering student Jared Mauldin wrote a recent letter to the editor of the student newspaper saying female engineering students aren’t his equal because they weren’t given the same encouragement he had growing up. (Colin Mulvany)
Jared Mauldin, a senior at Eastern Washington University in Cheney, didn’t expect the avalanche of responses he received after penning a letter to the editor of the school newspaper.
Mauldin wrote of his perceptions on sexism in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) fields. The letter was published in the Easterner on Sept. 30.
A 34-year-old mechanical engineering major at EWU, Mauldin began his letter: “While it is my intention in every other interaction I share with you to treat you as my peer, let me deviate from that to say that you and I are in fact unequal. Sure, we are in the same school program, and you are quite possibly getting the same GPA as I, but does that make us equal?”