Monday, July 30, 2007


Life without Seahawks

Back from vacation, and my first order of business was to actually get out of bed early Sunday and drive to campus to meet up with Seattle Times reporter Greg Bishop. He wanted to be in Cheney at the exact same time the Seattle Seahawks opened their NFL training camp. The catch is, unlike 20 other years over two different stretches, the Hawks weren't opening camp on the EWU campus in Cheney. The franchise is following the league trend of staying close to home for camp.
Bishop wanted to capture not only the flavor and memories from all the great summers the team spent in Cheney, but what life was like on this particular day on the Eastern campus - the beginning of a new era without the Seahawks.

EWU has been here 125 years, and will march forward for another 125. The Seahawks were a brief, but valuable part of that history.

start something big.

Here's the story.

Seattle Times

Thursday, July 19, 2007


EWU in Spokane

The long-awaited sale of Eastern's Spokane Higher Education Center is now complete. This is part of an overall plan to enhance the University's presence at Riverpoint, also known as the University District.
Here's the blurb from the Spokesman Review. As a side note to the story, the number of students who take classes downtown is more of a headcount. The numbers are not based on full-time equivalent calculations used for state funding. ALso, some students have classes downtown and out at the main Cheney campus.

start something big.

EWU's Spokane building sold
Shawn Vestal
Staff writer

Eastern Washington University has announced the sale of its downtown Spokane center to a Portland-based real estate company for $3.4 million.

The details of the sale were announced Wednesday morning, though the fact of a pending sale – and the shifting of EWU's Spokane programs to the Riverpoint campus – have been known for months.

Real Estate Advisory Services Inc. of Portland purchased the building at 705 W. First Ave., the university said. Company officials couldn't be reached Wednesday to discuss their plans for the building.

The center first opened in 1983 and has housed several programs, including social work, journalism and creative writing. Most of those programs are staying in Spokane, but some, like journalism, are being moved back to Cheney – to the chagrin of some of the longtime faculty.

The Legislature granted EWU permission to keep the proceeds from the sale of the building for design work on a new building at Riverpoint, the joint campus of WSU and EWU, among other enterprises. Until then, EWU programs and classes at Riverpoint will be housed among existing buildings and some makeshift arrangements.

"While this sale marks the end of an era for Eastern at one Spokane location, it also signals the continuation of our ongoing efforts to bolster the university's Riverpoint strategy," EWU President Dr. Rodolfo Arévalo said in a news release. "The construction of a new Riverpoint building will help establish Eastern as a solid community partner, as well as strengthen our commitment to our health science programs."

About 1,000 EWU students will move to Riverpoint when the academic year begins in the fall, joining about 1,500 EWU students who already attend classes there. WSU has roughly 1,500 students at the campus.

Envisioned as an urban university district, with shops and housing as well as college facilities, the Riverpoint campus has seen pronounced growth in recent years. WSU opened a new academic building in 2006 and has begun construction on a nursing school. And collaborative programs in medical and dental training will begin this fall.

It's not yet clear where EWU's building will be located; the school plans to finalize what programs it will offer in Spokane before deciding on the size and location of a new facility.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007


Missing Cheney

This article points out that many Seahawks fans will miss the chance to see the NFL team in camp this year because of the move to Kirkland. I've received several phone calls from people not aware the Hawks are no longer coming back to Eastern to train, and they're disappointed they won't be able to bring their families out to campus.
But, we move on.

start something big.

Seattle Times

Monday, July 16, 2007


Former EWU wrestler in World Series contention

The World Series of Poker is down to the final two tables in Las Vegas. Lee "The Flea" Watkinson, a Cheney native who was on the wrestling team at Eastern, finds himself right in the thick of things.
Read this article about the interesting cause he'd like to support if he can 'take down'his opponents.
start something big.

USA Today

Thursday, July 12, 2007


Eastern alum to help growing community

Nice story out of the Spokesman about an Eastern grad who's helping a rapidly growing community develop its parks and rec department.
sart something big.

Rathdrum Parks and Rec job 'perfect' for EWU grad

Paula Davenport
Staff writer
July 12, 2007

RATHDRUM – A Spokane native who lettered in three high school sports has been hired by the Rathdrum Parks and Recreation Department. Kevin Aronson, 24, graduated from Ferris High School and earned a bachelor's degree last year from Eastern Washington University in recreation management.

"Being around kids and being around sports are my two passions – so this is just perfect for me," said Aronson, who played high school football, basketball and soccer.

He's worked with youth sports programs for years. This will be his first full-time, permanent job in the business.

"It's really hard to find a job in recreation management," he said. "So I'm fortunate I did that pretty early on."

Aronson will oversee recreation activities and programs for the rapidly-growing department.

Lance Bridges, department director, said Aronson's energy and enthusiasm will be great assets to the community.

Aronson jumped right in to his work. He's busily organizing the city's annual 3-on-3 basketball tourney, to be held July 21, in conjunction with Rathdrum Days.

Now that's Aronson's on board, the department plans to begin offering adult programs. Softball teams and arts and cultural activities for grownups are being considered for 2008. They'll be offered in addition to youth sports, like flag football, soccer, volleyball and basketball, Aronson said.

Aronson most recently worked at Seattle's SeaTac Community Center, coordinating after-school programs for children. Before that, he spent five years with Skyhawks sports camps in Spokane. And he coached an AAU girls' basketball team.

More than 2,000 kids and adults participated in Parks and Recreation programs last year, said Bridges. Support from area schools and communities is key to the program's viability and success.

Aronson takes over for Nick Langley, who's working as a civilian on a U.S. military base in the Marshall Islands.

Having grown up in Spokane, Aronson said he's thrilled to have found work in the area. He said he wanted to come back after college to be closer to family and friends.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007


More on Meyer

Former Eastern quarterback Eric Meyer gets a nice write-up in the Seattle Times.
start something big.

Seattle Times

Monday, July 09, 2007


EWU helps man turn life around

If you missed it, here's a great article in Sunday's Spokesman about a man who turned from a life of crime on the streets to the classroom to get his degree at Eastern. Now, he's hoping to work on his masters.
When you talk about the opportunities Eastern offers, this is a great example.
start something big.

A past of crime, but a future of hope

Kevin Graman Staff writerJuly 8, 2007
Spokane landlord Teresa Simon was conducting business at the county courthouse recently when a friend who was one of her tenants brought her the legal paperwork she had forgotten at home.
After the tall, middle-age but still handsome black man handed her the papers and walked away, Simon recalled, a prosecuting attorney with whom she had been engaged in conversation asked her whether she knew who that was, suggesting the man was not worthy of her acquaintance.
"You have no idea what a badass he is," Simon recalled the attorney telling her.
"Well," she responded, "actually I do."
Simon said the Richard Gates to whom she had entrusted the keys to her home was a different man than the notorious pimp, petty thief and drug dealer the attorney had remembered prosecuting years earlier.
"He has made some huge lifestyle changes, and he is busy trying to get others to turn their lives around, too," Simon said.
It has been seven years since Gates was last in the custody of the Department of Corrections. In that time, he has made believers of those who know him best.
Last month, Gates, 62, graduated from Eastern Washington University with a bachelor's degree in journalism. He is now attending summer school and hopes to be accepted into the EWU master's degree program in social work. Along the way, he has helped others – including some he met on the streets – return to church and school.
"There came a time the prodigal son was down so far in the valley of hopelessness that he was going to engage in a swine's meal," said the Rev. Happy Watkins, pastor of New Hope Baptist Church. "That's what came to Richard. He said goodbye to the hogs, goodbye to alcohol, drugs and the fast way of life."
Gates was born in Covington, Ga., in 1945 and was raised by his grandfather in the nearby town of Conyers. In 1965, he joined the Air Force and was stationed at Fairchild Air Force Base. In Spokane – a community he described as reluctant to embrace integration – and lacking "the guiding hand of his grandfather," Gates said, he quickly came to the attention of police.
Gates became involved with a 16-year-old white girl. Ten days after his 21st birthday, Gates was charged with "carnal knowledge," a felony for which he was convicted, imprisoned and kicked out of the Air Force.
Eight months later, Gates emerged from Shelton Corrections Center an embittered young African American in a racially charged time.
"I was told if I had been white, I wouldn't have done time," Gates said.
So began Gates' three-decade-long criminal history and his numerous convictions for felonies, including pimping and dealing drugs, for which he served a total of nearly six years in prison.
But even at his worst, Gates said, he realized the harm he was doing to himself and others. The life he led wore him down physically, psychologically and morally. Once, he entered a home and saw a 12-year-old boy light up a crack pipe.
"If I wasn't one of the people keeping that going on, maybe it wouldn't have reached that child," he said. "There was a time I wished the police would arrest me so I could get off that treadmill."
His road to redemption began at Fourth and Altamont.
It was at that intersection, while he was arguing with a police officer about some perceived injustice, that Watkins appeared with his son Percy, who was then a Spokane police officer. Gates cannot remember the exact day or year, but he clearly recollects the embarrassment and remorse he felt at that moment.
"It was a light shining through me and on me at the same time," Gates said. "A voice said, 'Follow that man to church.' "
Happy Watkins also recalled that moment as a turning point in Gates' life.
"He has been faithful to this church ever since," Watkins said. "There were times he could have gone back to the fast life, but he kept focused, even when times were real difficult."
Percy Watkins said that Gates' new life of humility and poverty is exceptional for a man who once enjoyed ill-gotten gains, including "big cars, fast money, plenty of women, influence and power."
"And he's done it without surrender, without variance and without complaint. That is absolutely significant," said the police officer-turned-minister.
"True worship has to do with modeling our lives in a way that reveals the nature of God," Percy Watkins said. "It's easy to talk about, but it's another thing to live it. Richard lives it."
The Watkinses also point to Gates' desire to help others as evidence of his redemption.
Charlene Ahenakew remembered Gates from his earlier days. But about five years ago, she bumped into him and was surprised by how he had changed.
"He helps me and my son out all the time," said Ahenakew, who is struggling to put her life in order. She said Gates helps her family with transportation in his 1970s Ford pickup and also helped her find financial aid for school.
"Nobody else is there to tell me, 'You can do it, Charlene,' " she said.
Gates also helped Tiki Bacon go back to school, something she didn't think was possible.
"If it wasn't for him, I probably wouldn't be in school," said the mother of four whom Gates helped enroll in community college. "He took me down there and introduced me to counselors. He watched my kids when I took my last test."
Bacon said Gates is an inspiration to her. "All the things he's done and all he's gone through – I don't have anything bad to say about him."
EWU journalism professor Bill Stimson said Gates showed uncommon wisdom through his storytelling ability.
When the class visited the Public Safety Building, a police officer looked at Gates and said, "I think I've seen you," Stimson recalled.
"They went out in the hallway to talk," Stimson said. "He didn't make any big deal out of his 'other education.' "
"He's a classic example of 'it's never too late,' " Stimson said. "He's going to do the world good."
Gates said he is determined to do so.
"There is so much misery in this world," Gates said. "I contributed to that misery by not doing anything about it at a time when I was selfish. Now, I'm trying to do something with my life before I pass to benefit these people who are suffering. That's what keeps me going."


President visits Mexico

EWU President Dr. Rodolfo Arévalo leaves today for a education mission to Mexico. This is part of his plan to eventually bring more diversity to campus, in part by attracting more international students.
Here's the article, from the Sunday Spokesman.
start something big.

Gregoire leads Mexico mission

Richard RoeslerStaff writerJuly 8, 2007

OLYMPIA -- Seeking broader horizons for both students and research, Eastern Washington University President Rodolfo Arevalo is slated to join the governor and business leaders Monday on an educational and trade mission to Mexico.
"We're looking at Mexico as another area where we can effectively recruit students," Arevalo said.
He said the number of foreign students at Eastern now is fairly small ¡V about 3 percent ¡V and drawn largely from Japan, China and Saudi Arabia.
The five-day Mexico trip is the latest in a series of international trips led by Gov. Chris Gregoire. In less than 2ƒ1/2 years in office, she has brought groups of government, business and education officials to China, South Korea, Taiwan, Australia, New Zealand and Europe.
"There are a lot of big markets out there for our products," said Holly Armstrong, spokeswoman for the governor. "And it does open doors when a business can say, ¡¥I'm traveling with the governor. Would you be willing to meet with us?'ƒ"
The trips pay off, she said, by bolstering the state's economy, including foreign investment and tourism. After Gregoire met with 11 aircraft parts suppliers at the Paris Air Show, Armstrong said, six of those companies set up shop in Washington. The trips have also spurred sales of the state's apples, wine and other products, Armstrong said.
Business groups pay their own way; taxpayers will cover the estimated $4,000 to $5,000 per-person cost for about two dozen government and academic officials.
On the trip, Arevalo and vice provost Earl Gibbons plan to sign a new partnership agreement with Universidad Autonoma de Guadalajara. The goal, he said, is to foster student and faculty exchanges, joint research and other sharing of ideas. The university plans to sign a similar agreement with another Mexican university in September.
Arevalo's migrant-worker parents came from a city in northern Mexico, eventually settling in Texas. He speaks fluent Spanish.
Arevalo said he's also interested in the trade aspect of the trip, particularly in the kinds of professional expertise Eastern graduates could potentially provide.
"More and more of our business and industry in the Spokane area is becoming more internationally focused," he said.
Among those businesses: Pullman-based Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories, which is sending public affairs director Susan Fagan on the trip.
The electrical-component company is already doing business in Mexico, with about 150 employees in five Mexican cities. Fagan said major clients include a large power company, as well as cement, steel, oil and gas firms.
"We've had customers there for more than 15 years," she said. Mexico last year became one of Washington's top-10 trade partners. The country's purchases last year included $128 million in Washington apples.
Other companies and institutions sending people on the trip include Darigold, Weyerhaeuser, the state labor council, Skagit Valley College, Tacoma Community College and the state apple, potato and beef trade groups.
During the trip, Washington State Patrol officials will also sign an agreement with the Mexican state of Jalisco's Secretariat of Public Security, Prevention and Social Readaptation to work jointly on security training.
The trip will be Gregoire's first trade mission to Mexico, but not her first foray into international relations with that country. Last year, then-President Vicente Fox took Gregoire up on an off-the-cuff invitation, visiting Washington and touring orchards in Yakima. The trip sent Gregoire's office scrambling to arrange a jet gangway to be trucked from Seattle to the Yakima airport for Fox's presidential jet.
On this trip, Gregoire will meet with President Felipe Calderon and Foreign Affairs Secretary Patricia Espinosa Cantellano.
Richard Roesler can be reached at (360) 664-2598 or by e-mail at

Saturday, July 07, 2007


EWU's global reach

Great article in the saturday edition of the Spokesman Review on a unique summer program through Eastern's Drug and Alcohol Studies program. EWU is hosting students from South Korea who are in the Inland Northwest to learn about treatment methods for people addicted to drugs.
This is a great example of Eastern's initiative to have diverse programs as well as diverse students on campus - even if they're here for just a month. This also reflects the many quality programs at EWU that many folks just don't know about.
Here's the article, coincidentally from one of our alums.
start something big.

Pia Hansen: A new country, and new treatments

Pia Hansen The Spokesman-Review July 7, 2007
It's Friday morning, and I'm sitting in a classroom at my old school, Eastern Washington University. I'm here to interview 12 female students from South Korea, part of a delegation visiting the Alcohol and Drug Studies Program. They carry on a lively conversation about the United States, the people they've met and the places they've seen, and they laugh and gesticulate and whisper.
There's only one problem for me: The conversation is almost completely in Korean.
I ask the group if anyone has been to the United States before, and after much conversation in Korean, the group arrives at, "Yes, one person has."
And they all watch American movies.
I did that, too, I tell them, before I moved here from Denmark. As a result, I thought all Americans cursed like sailors.
Dr. Lee Young, the interpreter, stares at me disapprovingly.
"No," he says sternly. "No, no, nothing like that." Ouch, I just got my fingers slapped.
It seems no matter what I try, the conversation falls flat somewhere between the students, who really want to talk to me, and the interpreter, who occasionally interrupts, saying, "that's not correct answer."
I smile what I believe to be my most approachable smile.
"So, tell me, what surprised you here?" I ask.
"Beer is cheaper," says Mi Sun Cho, one of the students, with a big smile.
"Beer?" I ask, cocking my head.
"Yes," she says, beaming, while tilting her head back as if she's drinking, "much cheaper than Korea."
Clearly, she's my new best friend.
And the group finally laughs and begins to talk about Spokane. In Korean.
"It's a big city; the streets are very clean," says the interpreter. "And they didn't see any tall buildings, but a lot of grass. We do not have any grass in Korea."
Yet their visit is only remotely connected to cheap beer: The students are here to learn about alcohol and drug treatment and prevention, American-style.
"In Korea, they have never had substance abuse treatment programs," says Irene Bittrick, director of EWU's Alcohol and Drug Studies Program. "People with addictions were put in jail or sent to mental hospitals. To help Korea develop these programs, to have a ground-floor experience so to speak, is so exciting for faculty and for myself; and also to help the students understand how to treat people with addictions with respect – not like criminals."
The students are all enrolled at South Korea Wonkwang Digital University studying social work. They are accompanied by Dr. Kim Jin Won, a professor in the department of social welfare at Wonkwang.
Dr. Young lives on the West Side of Washington, where he works in drug treatment and counseling. Considering the animated conversation in Korean, remarkably few sentences make it back to me in English.
I decide to barrel ahead, asking if it's commonplace to talk freely about alcoholism in Korea.
Much commotion follows. In Korean.
"The tradition is that we do not discuss problem. We have a shame culture," Young summarizes. "But if one person has problem then that's how the community gets aware of problem."
And yes, there's a drug problem, too, especially with methamphetamine.
What about treatment facilities, I ask.
There's some disagreement among the students, but they all agree they don't have treatment programs in Korea like the ones we have here.
Locally, New Horizon, Partners for Families, Newta and many other agencies have welcomed the Korean students for field visits.
"They have bent over backwards," says Bittrick. "They've done everything they could to make it a good experience for the students. It's hard for them to do with dwindling resources and small staff."
From what I understand, the students are mostly surprised at how respectfully counselors talk to their clients.
"That's very different," Young translates for me. "We are learning about how the United States is doing it."
The students do 12 hours of fieldwork and eight hours of class work during the week along with a 1.5- to 2-hour debriefing every day. Of the 25 students who are here, only six are men.
I turn my attention to Kim, asking if there's anything he'd like to add to the hobbling conversation.
A stream of Korean comes my way – abruptly interrupted when the good professor forms guns with his hands, saying "bang-bang-bang" but pointing at no one in particular.
I'm wondering who he shot, and it seems like an eternity before Young begins to translate:
"I thought Americans, they shoot each other. But that's not so what I found. People here are very kind and precious. My impression of the treatment systems here is that they are broad and open and available to people with problems.
"We do have a system in Korea – but not as much as here. I'm impressed with the opportunity people have to get treatment here."
It's been almost an hour, and I can tell the class is eager to get on with the day's work.
My last question is simply, "What's the first thing you are going to tell your family about America when you return?"
It's a good livable country, says one. Americans are kind, says another.
Everyone agrees there's a vast amount of land here, that it's not crowded, and Young points out the drinking water is clean and good.
Many wish to send their children to EWU for further education.
"I feel like I can be assimilated here," says Mi Sun Cho.
Then she offers me tea from the little tea set that's been sitting in front of me.

Friday, July 06, 2007


Stuckey signed, sealed and delivered

More news on Rodney Stuckey, the first Eastern player ever chosen in the first round of the NBA draft. He's now officially a member of the Detroit Pistons after signing a contract (Please see link out of the Motor City below). This comes just days after Erik Meyer, former EWU quarterback, signed with the Seattle Seahawks of the NFL. Meyer, as we know, has a much tougher road to haul if he wants to stick with Seattle.
Still, both players are the source of much pride at Eastern - a regional comprehensive that doesn't get much hype like this.
start something big.


Monday, July 02, 2007


Meyer a Seahawk

More good news for Eastern. On the heels of Rodney Stuckey being drafted in the first round to the NBA's Detroit Pistons, former quarterback Erik Meyer has signed with the birds.
Both young men started something big while at EWU.
start something big.

Meyer signs with Seahawks
-from the Spokesman
Former Eastern Washington star quarterback Erik Meyer has replaced former rival Travis Lulay on the Seattle Seahawks roster.
Meyer is expected to battle third-year pro David Green for the third quarterback job behind starter Matt Hasselbeck and Seneca Wallace. Lulay, who played at Montana State, is no longer on the Seahawks roster.
Meyer, who set numerous records at EWU and won the Walter Payton Award his senior year, just finished a successful season in NFL Europe. He was second in the league in completion percentage (67.3) and passer rating (100.6), throwing for 1,384 yards and 12 touchdowns with six interceptions.
Meyer went undrafted after his senior season but signed with Cincinnati before getting cut midway through training camp.

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