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This is what community looks like:

Sometimes you just get hit with an “Aha!” moment and all the talk and striving and scheduling pays off. THIS is community in action, you say to yourself. Right here, this is what it is all about!

Most recently I felt it at Jon Snyder’s campaign party, and then at the Terrain artist reception and Sustainable Uprising before that. It is usually when something special and unexpected is happening that brings a variety of people into a context where they have something meaningful to share.

By Joe Preston of Hairline Media

We’ve attended dozens of events where speakers, bands, comedians, journalists, politicians, authors and several other semi-famous figurehead types tour through our city, and they always seem especially pleased to have discovered a new audience in Spokane. Some open with jokes about misconceptions they’ve heard about the area, others admit that they had no idea what they were in for. At the end they comment how “It’s nice to see people actually dancing,” or “Those were some really excellent questions that I’m not usually asked.” Are these platitudes repeated by all traveling spokespeople, or does Spokane truly defy expectations?

The same wow factor seems to run through the audience as well. Spokanites often appear a little shocked and excited to realize they aren’t the only ones around who are interested in the topic at hand. It’s like the gold fish and the proverbial castle, it’s a surprise every time! I hope this freshness factor never wears off. I hope event-goers never get to a point of jadedness where their expectations outstrip any possible measure of human performance.

Spokanites know how to genuinely *appreciate* special gatherings – we are raised to elevate them to almost a cultish cultural practice, i.e. fighting over lawn chair real estate at the Torchlight Parade. We seem somehow immune to the “too cool for school” attitude that plagues more urban environments. It this a saving grace? Is it in my head? Who knows, you tell me.

Meanwhile, you can savor some more community eye candy from the Sarah Kramer dinner at One World.

A Local Calling

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By Crystal Clark

This old phone box was standing on the corner of First and Jefferson, crying out for a bit of attention. A quick whip of string and tin can later we have a play on outmoded technology and the connections we make in our modern lives.

My son is a natural in front of the camera, that stance is all his own. The way his left knee bends and head tilts recall his no fuss attitude.

As of today, the tin can is no longer hanging there. Given the area the phone box is in, I’m guessing the can was clipped from it’s string for recycling money.

Can’t Count on the County

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The Spokane County Commissioners are at it again. To raise awareness about the Earth Day celebration on Saturday, the planning committee wrote a proclamation for the county. Most proclamations are a feel-good affair but this year organizers decided to write a call to action for climate change. Here is the original document:

Spokane County recognizes the natural environment as the foundation of a healthy community, society and sustainable economy.

Under growth management, this county works with environmentalists, community groups, businesses and individuals to protect the land, air, water, and wildlife and maintain sustainable development in this region in order to safeguard the environment while enriching quality of life for all county residents and future generations.

Global warming is a reality and we must act to reduce our dependency on fossil fuels and develop a robust clean energy economy based on alternative energy and fuel.

In its role as a government entity, Spokane County will demonstrate corporate citizenship and public leadership in ways that are supportive of global warming adaptation and mitigation by employing critical policies on land use, public transit provision, environmental management and economic development directed towards stimulating fuel and technology markets with low carbon impact in mind. Spokane County provides tools, resources and incentives designed to inspire residents to reduce their carbon footprints, live green and make every day Earth Day.

As individual residents we can take action in our daily lives to combat global warming by making energy-conscious choices such as using renewable sources of energy, making our homes more energy efficient, avoiding pesticides and herbicides, choosing to use alternative sources of fuel and transportation and educating future generations about these practices.

The county’s participation in this fortieth Earth Day provides all Spokane County residents the opportunity to learn how to take these actions and much more.

Now, therefore, we the Board of County Commissioners of Spokane County, Washington do hereby proclaim Saturday, April 23, 2011 EARTH DAY in this vibrant county.  We encourage all residents to join us in celebrating the earth, learning how we can take action to prevent the adverse effects of global warming, protect our healthy natural environment and continue to build a thriving community of residents empowered for environmental protection.

But when County Commissioners read the proclamation, any mention of global warming was gone and the document was significantly softer:

Yeah, yeah, yeah: The Spokane County Commissioners have an anti-science agenda. The public largely understands that climate change is a problem; they largely accept the science.  On climate change, the Spokane County Commissioners have traditionally been a mess – a familiar mess, stuck between their increasingly loopy base and less than 50 percent of the American mainstream. But here, in Spokane County, their base is full of flat-earthers that don’t believe the scientific consensus.

Don’t tell that to Earth Day Spokane. Just like the successful “Taking It To The Streets” block party last year on Main Ave between Division and Browne Streets, one hundred organizations  are participating, representing that environmental change begins with personal responsibility, leading by example, and becoming involved in the decision making process. There will be live music from 11 a.m.-midnight, street performers, good local food, children’s activities, organization tabling, spoken word, information gathering, eye-opening experiences, speeches and the 2 p.m. Procession of Species parade.

RSVP on Facebook to Earth Day Spokane

Awesome. Authentic. Apple.

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Last Thursday, SSYP did a “Beer With Jennifer Hall” event at the new Main Market Co-op downtown. It was the first opportunity we had to get up on the roof during construction.

The plans for the store will simply blow you away. Their/our website (I say “our” as a reminder that membership means partial ownership) is chalk full of interesting information and other opportunities for learning. Check it out and support with an early membership to hasten the grand opening of the store!

Top Choices for Spokane Roofing Materials

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When you are choosing roofing materials for your home in Spokane, the most important factor is going to be longevity. While everyone wants their roof to look great and blend well with others in the neighborhood, the top concern is ensuring that the roof lasts for many years. In Spokane where Mother Nature can bring more than three feet of snow as well as plenty of rain each year, materials must be chosen wisely.

Many people choose roofing materials based on how they will look once they’re on the home, and while that is of course an important factor, you also need to consider the cost, ease of installation and how long the materials will last once installed. A new roof is one of the most expensive investments a person will make on their home, so choosing the right materials from the start will help ensure your investment is lucrative.

The National Roofing Contractors Association (NRCA) offers excellent information on technical information for roofing contractors as well as a wealth of information for consumers who are interested in updating or installing a new roof.

Things to Look For

Spokane residents and business owners who are having a new roof put on should take time to ask themselves a few things before rushing to buy anything.

  1. Are the roofing materials available in the style and color you want?
  2. Will the roofing material require special framing or tools?
  3. How durable is the material for cold and rainy weather?
  4. Is the material up to building and fire codes for Spokane?
  5. What is the overall longevity for the roofing material you are interested in?
  6. What is the cost of the material?
  7. Is the material covered by a lengthy warranty?
  8. Does the material need to be installed in a unique way?
  9. Is the material easy to install as a DIY project or will it require a professional?
  10. Does the outside temperature need to be at a certain level for installation?

Once you ask those questions, it is also important to check with expert roofing companies like sheltonroofing.com to find out the pros and cons of roofing materials that you are interested in using for your new roof. Here are some of the top materials used for roofing in Spokane, and the pros and cons of each.

Asphalt (Composite) Shingles

Asphalt shingles are one of the more popular roofing materials as they often cost less than other materials and are easy to install. They do have some pros and cons that are worth checking out.

Pros

  • Fire resistant
  • Withstand extreme weather
  • Last anywhere from 15 to 50 years
  • Simple installation
  • Cost-effective type of roofing

Cons

  • Not an eco-friendly material
  • Labor for replacement can be high since shingles can be layered a couple times before a complete replacement.
  • Quality can vary from one manufacturer to the next.
  • Extreme temperature changes can cause cracking.

Wood Shingles

Wood shingles offer a unique look to a home or office and they can last for up to 50 years if properly maintained. They offer a natural look for a home and can help improve the insulation to keep extreme temperatures outside where they belong.

Pros

  • Energy Efficient
  • Long Lasting (Up to 50 years)
  • Eco-Friendly
  • Resistant to Severe Weather

Cons

  • Low Fire Resistance
  • More maintenance than asphalt shingles
  • Should be used only on homes with direct sunlight

Metal Roofing

With modern home designs and a desire to avoid excessive labor costs while also keeping up the value of the home, many homeowners today prefer metal roofing over asphalt, wood and others. Some say that there is no better lullaby than the rain falling on a metal roof, and in Spokane, you will have plenty of rainy days to attest to that. Metal roofs are also one of the top eco-friendly choices you can make for roofing material the metal is often made from recycled beverage cans.

Pros

  • Longevity (With proper installation, chances are you won’t need a replacement anytime soon)
  • Fire Resistance
  • Rain and snow won’t settle on the slick metal as easily as other surfaces
  • Quick installation
  • Energy Efficient

Cons

  • Metal can dent with hail or debris
  • May need to be painted more often than other surfaces
  • Slick surfaces make repair work difficult
  • Not always easy to match metal when repair work needs to be done
  • Metal makes it difficult for fire fighters to enter the home if there is a fire

Every home and business out there is as unique and individual as the person who owns it, so when it is time to have a new roof installed, take the time to make sure your new roof reflects your personal taste as well as budget, but make sure it is going to have a long lifespan and will keep your home protected as a roof should.

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