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A collaboration among local writers that aims to shine a little progressive light on Spokane








  • Blind Date

                                                               The phone was for me.  My sister held out the receiver and whispered, “It’s a boy!” …

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  • Soccer Camp Salutations

    Here I would normally announce the proud completion of the 14th annual Community Building Soccer Camp, but there is a cause for pause. Just this weekend while putting away our gear, the soccer camp team unearthed ancient artifacts deep within the basement of the Community …

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  • 14th Annual Soccer Camp

    Get your shin guards ready for the Community Building’s 14th annual Soccer Camp! This free, week-long camp is for kids ages 5-10 and hosted at Grant Park from 8:30 am to 11:30 am each day. All are welcome and no prior experience needed. Additional information …

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  • No Time Like Now for Democracy School

    Democracy School in Spokane, WA May 5, 2017 — May 6, 2017 What’s Happening? Spokane, WA, residents are threatened with oil and coal trains. As part of their organizing to protect themselves and their fight for a right to a healthy climate, they are holding …

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  • Unknown 1

    Civic Dinners: A Remedy for Political Divides

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  • Where the Magic Happens

      Featuring a fresh coat of paint and new furnishings, the Magic Lantern Theatre is enjoying a happy renaissance since its grand reopening in December. The theater is dishing up bottomless popcorn and a terrific lineup that includes such favorites as The Eagle Huntress, Moonlight, Seed: The Untold …

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  • Magical Re-Opening

      In case you missed it – the Magic Lantern has re-opened! Very exciting for all of us. Please check out and LIKE the Magic Lantern’s new Facebook page and showtimes so that we can be first on the search; https://www.facebook.com/MagicLanternOnMain/ Liking the Magic Lantern …

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  • Soccer Camp Recap

    The annual Soccer Camp is a favorite project amongst many, and we just wrapped up another great season–the Community Building’s thirteenth. Seventy campers from all across the Spokane area came out for a free week of soccer fun, July 11-15 at Grant Park in the Perry District. …

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  • Main Happenings

    See Spokane’s Boat Car waiting to turn left on to Division? Things are a little wild on our little block of Main. Things are definitely happening. But never fear – it’s going to be GREAT, once we get through the construction, …

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    Local Soccer Superstars

    Many piggyback rides and scored goals later, the campers at the Community Building Soccer Camp are preparing for the final day. Although Friday marks the end of this soccer season, it is the favorite day for coaches and campers alike because brings the World Cup—a series of games …

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  • West Main Story

    The west end of Main is famous for diverse, one-of-a-kind enterprises that line its corridor. From greenhouses on rooftops at to vintage furniture and Fair Trade, this community has many different flavors. Right now however, occupants and visitors of this Easternmost block of West Main …

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  • How To Measure Your Highest Aspirations

    As an educator, I have sometimes thought of assessment as a department’s tool for measuring students against rigid standards that ultimately serve to organize them into two groups—those who are performing in a satisfying manner and those who are not. In his book The Social Profit …

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  • Good Morning, Beautiful Business

    That Urban Outfitters was founded in Philadelphia is local trivia that nearly everyone who grew up in the 5th largest US city knows. But that one of its founders, Judy Wicks, would help launch localism as a national and international campaign is less known and …

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  • A Community’s Breakfast

    Main Market Co-op, Mediterrano, Saranac Public House, Roast House, and 2nd Harvest teamed up with The Community Building Foundation to host Community Breakfast on Saturday, February 20th. About 130 guests gathered to enjoy a delicious hot breakfast of fresh scrambled eggs, sausages, rolls, fresh fruit, oatmeal, cold …

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  • Share Your Thoughts on STA’s Central City Line

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  • Trailblazer University

    Gonzaga University is well known for its basketball teams, but another college here in Spokane fosters equally outstanding contributions every season of the year. Catering to Spokane’s deepest roots, the Spokane Tribal College broadens its outreach to all of the Inland Northwest. Located in a …

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    Fully Human

    This month marked the 355th shooting of the year. That’s almost one mass shooting per day, and the year isn’t over yet. Often it seems that perpetrators claim religion for a reason to take away our right as humans to be human. Understanding all of …

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    Circle of Security on TEDXSpokane

    Most of us are familiar with TED Talks, those free 18-minute podcasts devoted to spreading Ideas Worth Sharing, and we all have our favorites. But I’ll bet you didn’t know that know Spokane hosted its own independently organized TED event in late October called TEDX2015, …

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    The Scoop on Prop 1

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  • Active Shooter Trainings and English 101

    RIP Lawrence Levine, Writing Instructor at Umpqua Community College (family photo) The invite to the Active Shooter Training at Eastern Washington University landed in my faculty inbox among a flurry of other “Welcome Back to School” memos: the carpet cleaning in the …

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  • Woof’s Up Doc?

    Old Dog Demands New Tricks… During the summer, food waste vies for one of my top 5 weekly challenges. What I’ve grown, what I’ve purchased, what I’ve received in my weekly vegetable share all amount to a bank of treasures. I make every effort to …

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    Weed Foraging Gone Wrong

    A tall, leafy plant waved at me from the garden mound my son built last spring. Hmm, I thought, that looks a lot like arugula. Could it be? He planted all sorts of things out there from seed packets, long tossed. I plucked a leaf …

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    Go Wild

    Making the most of it I can get caught up in the seasons. I welcome them, honor them, breathe them in, and harness the gifts they offer… winter, spring, summer, fall. When I think of them, I like to start with winter, because it’s crisp …

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    Arrival of Soccer Camp 2015

    With the temperature steadily climbing and kids growing more restless, you know it’s time for the annual Community Building Soccer Camp! After what seems like an endless period of making phone calls and inflating balls as the Community Building’s summer intern, I am so excited …

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    Worth Your Weight in Water

    As temps rise, and water levels fall in many parts of the country, people are being asked and sometimes forced to respond to water shortages. Essential to our survival, and often taken for granted, water now occupies much of the public environmental stage, as well …

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    Saranac Commons Grand Opening

    Ready, set, GO! At long last, all five of West Main’s newest kids on the block are open for business, and will be joining together to celebrate the Saranac Commons Grand Opening festivities this weekend. The whole community is invited to come in and check …

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  • Away

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  • Community Building Soccer Camp 2015


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  • Kizuri1

    Third graders = Fair Traders!

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    Teaching Healthy Eating

    Fighting Hunger. Feeding Hope. Since 1971. The 2nd Harvest Food Bank Mission is alive and well. They are currently building a new space called ‘The Kitchen.’ It is a teaching kitchen to give the people they serve even more resources to feed themselves well. The …

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    Promise: an indication of future success or improvement

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    All in My Head

    Last month, as I toweled sweat from my eyes and the back of my neck, I crossed into the free weights area at the Central YMCA. For most of my adult life, my territory at the gym has included treadmills, Stairmasters, and the stretching room. …

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  • Staff Circle

    Mediterrano Opens at The Commons

        Hello Y’all, Just a quick FYI. Mediterrano is now open! It offers Mediterranean meals which are made from scratch with lots of love 🙂 Their hours are 11-2 for lunch and 4-9 for dinner Monday through Saturday. Also, check out this great article published …

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  • Spring Cleaning

    It’s early to think this in the Inland Northwest, but it is time to clean up the yard. Yards are thawing and already growing to unthinkably mow-able proportions. Shrubs and trees have shaken their frost and already become thirsty to feed their new buds. Birds …

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  • A Community Response to Hate

    Join us on Friday, March 6th, for the Arms of Compassion Around the NAACP.

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    Downtown Bicycle Network Needs Your Input

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    A Crumby Valentine’s

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    Dog Years

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    Spokane Celebrates MLK Day

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    Adding Value by the Forkful

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    What I Got My Boyfriend (and All My Climbing Partners) for Christmas

    “I don’t know what to get [fill in the blank] for Christmas” is a common lament during the holiday season. I get it. It seems the people I know best are also the most difficult to shop for, even if they, like me, have a …

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    Pets in Support of Farmers

    Scrappy Makes Happy! There’s a new dog treat company on the scene that cares about sustainable family farmers and humane animal treatment as much as they do Fido. With Americans spending upwards of $350 Million, yes that’s million, on Halloween costumes for their pets this …

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  • City Streets

    Policing Spokane’s Dark Alleys

    On a bitter cold night a few weeks ago,  my husband and I were arguing on the way to pick up our car from the tire place downtown. I hate feeling trapped during an argument, so I got out of the car to walk. Walk …

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    We Gather Together

    I sit and take in the bonds that are evident in this place. In Salem Lutheran’s back pew, Arlo echoes the new words he hears his mom say. I’ve witnessed three weddings here, one during a morning service. I see siblings, partners, children and parents …

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    The Show Must Go…

    … (Dinner’s) On! Spokane Winter When winter storms leave people stranded at home, and home-delivery ceases to be an option, are people prepared to feed themselves? If major roads close and any travel is ill-advised, grocery store and restaurant visits aren’t options. The …

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    Sheehan and Alberts in “The Exonerated”

    Community Building founder Jim Sheehan and his partner Mary Alberts  are well-known for their activism on behalf of justice. This week they are using their acting chops to further the cause, appearing in the compelling death-penalty drama “The Exonerated” on Friday and Saturday nights at …

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    Retreat Opportunity for Female Law Students

    Law school draws the most intelligent, capable and dedicated women in our community; women who are leaders and who have the capacity to create tremendous positive change.  Unfortunately, the pressure and atmosphereof law school can result in women forgetting or devaluing their authentic talents, passions …

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  • Exercise Your Privilege

    Ok, peeps, this is it! Yes, the ballot is long and it will squeeze your brain to puzzle out the state ballot initiatives, but HEY! There are some very important races in Spokane, and crucial tax, parks, schools and gun measures that need your attention. …

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  • Photo Pigear


    A walk in the woods this time of year can be an amazing experience. As most of the natural landscape is winding down, draining its color, losing its foliage and working into a long resting period, the carpet of autumn rises in a kaleidoscope of …

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    Hug Your Local Farmer – October 16th

    Celebrate area farmers and World Food Day at a great dinner in Spokane on October 16th. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations has recognized this day annually since 1945. This year’s theme – Family Farming: Feeding the world, caring for the earth – asks us …

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    It’s Personal

    Usually, the voice of veteran NPR correspondent Nina Totenberg is measured and plodding as she carefully explains the intricate workings and rulings of the nation’s highest court. When I snapped on the radio yesterday morning, she was excited and a bit flummoxed as she struggled …

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  • Photo Figtom

    A Tomato a Day…

    …keeps many ills at bay, I recently discovered. Evidently tomatoes, the delicious low-cal, zero-fat icons of garden-fresh flavor, are packed with loads of nutrients that help us fight the good fight to stay healthy. Two significant medical areas where tomatoes are our allies are the …

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  • Watch Out for Walkers

    Community Building pals Patty Shastany and Sharo Nikfar touch base at Saranac Mac & Cheese get-together where Patty recalled her encounter with an SUV in a crosswalk. I almost hit a guy today with my car. This, only one day after …

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    The Fun Never Ends

    Enjoy Annual Washington Organic Week, WOW! – September 7-13, 2014 On Labor Day Monday, my neighbor generously offered his apples for picking. At the tail-end of a four day marathon of harvesting, drying, canning, freezing, baking, cooking and eating the avalanche of local food bounty, …

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    Summer Love

    When I want to let my friends and family know how much they mean to me, I cook for them. This summer I’ve been fortunate to have a number of dear people I adore come through town. This town. Spokane. Not usually a destination location, so …

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  • Tune in This Morning if You Dare

      Have you always wondered what exactly is going on down in that cool block of West Main? This morning’s public affairs program on Spokane heritage station KJRB will focus on none other than the Community Building! We know it’s short notice, but our own …

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  • Give Real Change

    I visited New York City for the first time over Christmas break while roadtripping with college friends from North Carolina in 2002. We ate pizza, strolled through the Smithsonian American Art Museum, and took photos in Times Square. What I remember most about the trip …

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    Soccer Camp 2014

    The goals are folded up, the clipboards are put away, and the grass stains have finally washed off my knees: the Community Building Soccer Camp is over for another year. Last week, 51 young campers, a dozen coaches, and many other volunteers converged at Grant …

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    The Saranac Commons

    Hello there, neighbors! Are you curious about what’s going on at the new, soon-to-be-open Saranac Commons at 19 West Main? Come by for a behind-the-scenes building tour on Thursday, July 17th at 4:00pm. We will meet just inside the Main Street entrance. If you have …

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  • Watermelon

    Remembering our Roots

    Independence Day celebrates the approval of the final wording of the Declaration of Independence, when the United States originated. A day when “13 small, independent farming economies joined together in 1776 to form the United States of America.” Small independent farming economies. Good words. Even better …

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    People not Coal

    Over the river on the rails. This summer you have a unique opportunity to take what may be the ride of your life. For the first time in decades, Amtrak has adjusted the schedule of the eastbound Empire Builder, one of …

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    A Word From Soccer Camp’s Head Coach

    Grant Park in the Perry Street District of the lower South Hill will be brought to life from July 14th-18th as 60 lively, energetic kids ages 5-10 lace up their cleats for the annual Community Building Soccer Camp. From 8:30-11:30 each day, campers will rotate …

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    Revisiting Chicken

    I remember the day I swore off chicken. Vividly. Working in a commercial kitchen, I swung into the back production area at 8am and was greeted by two 6′ x 3′ stainless steel work tables LOADED with large sheet pans of piece after piece of …

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  • Diversity and Unity

      Devin Devine delivers her monologue “Never Nested” to a packed house at Gonzaga this spring. More than 350 enthusiastic listeners packed into Gonzaga’s Jepson/Wolffe Auditorium to hear brave and creative students share their stories, from letters to mothers to say …

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  • Refugee High School Student Receives Gates Millennium Scholarship

    Her Goal: To Open Eye Care Centers for the Poor Tika Khadka was one of 52,000 applicants for a Gates Millennium Scholarship. She will graduate from Lewis and Clark High School on June 9, 2014 and attend Whitworth University this fall.  Her scholarship will cover …

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  • The Chef & the Colonel

    The Whole Plate Goes Whole Hog May 18th!  Good ideas travel with good people to support good causes. The good idea? The Whole Hog Auction & Dinner on Sunday, May 18th at The Lantern Tap House at 1004 S Perry is the spot to be …

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  • The Great Spokane Art Party

    Don’t be fooled by the poster below – The Great Spokane Art Party is in fact on Saturday April 26th 2014 from 7 til 10 pm at the Community Building! This is one of the most fabulously FUN things you can do in Spokane on …

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  • Earth Day 2014

    Earth Day falls on April 22, 2014 and events are held worldwide by the nonprofit Earth Day Network. The first Earth Day was celebrated in 1970 by Denis Hayes and it is now considered to be the largest secular holiday in the world. Spokane’s Earth …

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    Up the River

    “What Kind of a Species Does This?”  Wild salmon bump up against walls of concrete, stuck in the exercise yard, imprisoned, as they view freedom and the right to return home and create the next generation, just inches from their gills. With all the clear …

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    Refugee Connections Spokane

    Refugee Connections Spokane (RCS) is a new arrival to the Community Building and pleased to join its neighboring justice and community-minded organizations. RCS, as its name implies, serves Spokanites who have arrived here as refugees. These are the 25-30,000 or more courageous and persevering survivors …

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  • SpringStarts

    Eat Better. Spend Less.

    Any top chef will tell you that good food starts with the best ingredients. With California’s continuing drought, prices of quality produce are likely to increase again this year. How can you guarantee a healthy, quality supply of fruits and vegetables without spiking your grocery …

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  • UrbanFarming

    Pro Grow? Please Show!

    Urban Agriculture set to grow with your help on March 24th! Your input can help Spokane continue on a progressive path toward a more sustainable community. The City Council will hear testimony and possibly vote on two important ordinances that empower City residents to grow …

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    Lynne Sanders Remembered

    Happy faces of young children are a tonic. You can’t help but smile when you see them. And, when you hear about Lynne Sanders, you’ll most likely think of happy young children, and you’ll smile some more. We are thinking a lot about Lynne these …

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    Mac n’ Cheese–A Venue for Our Stories

    Mac n’ Cheese Mondays is a monthly lunch series for the non-profit organizations located in the Community and Saranac buildings. Over salad, a creative spin on the classic dish, and a dessert, these organizations present about their contributions to the Spokane region. Each presentation is …

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    Urban Ag – Try it On!

    A local farm, just minutes from downtown Spokane, provides a chance to “step gently into farming and maybe try it out.” Heron Pond Farms, getting well known for their delicious goat cheese found at a number of local groceries and restaurants, has a house for …

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  • Tim Blueprints

    19 West Main Gets Blasted

    Things are happening at 19 West Main, former home of John Waite’s Merlyn’s and now part of the contiguous trifecta of buildings restored and re-purposed by Jim Sheehan. Big trucks are often parked outside with mysterious looking contraptions and hoses snaking across the sidewalk and …

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    Two Tales of Service

    One cold  afternoon last week I waited an hour and fifty-two minutes on hold for service from a huge company that never showed up, and got phenomenal service from a little store-front tailor shop whose owner opened his door to me after hours. I was …

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    Put Those Suits in Boots!

    Slow Money. Sounds like an investor’s nightmare. Not if you’re a farmer, who regularly deals with Nature’s slower pace and purpose, and needs resources from people who understand that real food doesn’t grow on an iFarm. It takes time and money, the old-fashioned ingredients. Recently, …

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  • The Best

    March On

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  • Storytelling for Change

    February 4th and 5th at the Community Building in Spokane

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  • Family

    The Magnificence of Hein-site

    Conservation requires patience

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  • Csasmall

    Give the Gift of Local Food

    Give the gift of Green. Not cold hard cash, but delicious and healthy local produce. Give a CSA share! Looking for a great gift idea that helps Spokane’s local farmers thrive? Think about getting your family and friends a box of local produce every week during …

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    New Tenant at 19 West

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    New Brewery on the Block

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    Finding non-GMO Foods Post I-522

    Choosing non-GMO Foods without Mandatory Labeling Initiative 522 failed to earn the votes this November to mandate GMO labeling of foods sold in Washington state. Though the State’s residents lost their opportunity to more easily identify and purchase foods that do not originate from or …

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  • Kim

    Festival of Fair Trade and the Power of 5

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    Longest-lived Organisms on Earth


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    19 West Main

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    New on the Block

    As Jim Sheehan’s new executive assistant, I have been assigned the task of introducing myself.

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    Save Our Wild Salmon

    Founded in 1991, Save Our Wild Salmon (SOS) is a nationwide coalition of conservation organizations, commercial and sportsfishing associations, businesses, river groups, and taxpayer advocates working collectively to restore self-sustaining, abundant, and harvestable populations of wild salmon and steelhead to rivers, streams and oceans of …

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    Spokane Riverkeeper

    Spokane Riverkeeper is a for-impact program of the Center For Justice dedicated to protecting and restoring the health of the Spokane River Watershed. We accomplish this by collaborating, educating, and, when necessary, litigating to preserve the Spokane River’s health now and in the future. “The …

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    Conservation Northwest

    “Keeping the Northwest wild” since 1989, Conservation Northwest protects and connects old-growth forests and other wild areas from the Washington Coast to the BC Rockies: vital to a healthy future for us, our children, and wildlife.

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    Saranac Arts Project

    Saranac Art Projects is a non-profit artist cooperative designed to support and educate artists and their communities while inspiring a vibrant contemporary art culture. Located in Spokane, WA, We bring together artists and curators that represent the diversity of thought in the Inland Northwest.

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    Peace and Justice Action League

    The Peace and Justice Action League of Spokane engages individuals and local communities in building a just and nonviolent world. We believe in a community and a world free from violence. We believe the costs of violence and war are unacceptable. We believe the public …

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  • SDRanch

    Let’s Get a Moo-ve On Congress!

    We can’t help the weather, but we should darn well be able to help the ranchers who suffered heart- & wallet-breaking devastation last week in South Dakota when when an estimated 100,000 beef cattle died in a freak snowstorm. We can’t. Seriously Congress, get on …

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    The Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians

    ATNI is organized and chartered as a non-profit 501(c)3 corporation under the laws of the State of Oregon. The organization sets out its membership and operating policies within its Constitution and Bylaws and ATNI Policies & Procedures Manual. Authority for management of the affairs of …

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    Yes or No on GMO… How to Vote on I-522?

    Genetically Modified Organisms = GMOs What does this term mean? How does it affect our food? Why should I care? All of these are great questions. 1. Genetically modified organisms are those that are produced through an intentional manipulation of genetic material, using an engineered …

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    Lands Council Win

    Ski Expansion at Standstill

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  • The Bluff

    Friends of the Bluff Seeks Friends

    100-Condo Development Proposed for Bluff                                                                Immediate Attention Needed – September 24 deadline Friends of the Bluff is …

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    Power Past Coal in Spokane

    On Monday, September 9th, the Spokane Riverkeeper, the Lands Council, and the Power Past Coal Coalition hosted a workshop in the Community Building Lobby to raise awareness about and to prepare the community for an important public hearing concerning the proposed coal export facility at Longview, WA. This export …

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