Lhoriatis’s Blog

By Liz Horiatis

Overseas

Over 380,000 athletes participate in college sports in The United States. The odds are less than 3 percent of making it professionally. Because the chances of playing in a professional league such as the NBA are so low, many athletes pursue careers overseas. Playing in other countries can allow more playing time, greater exposure, and sometimes more money.

José Hernandez, Director of the Rudolf Fitness Center at Gonzaga University, enjoyed his years as a professional basketball player in his home country of Venezuela. “It was pretty awesome. The fans treat you like a hero. When you are part of a professional league you are treated very nice, like a celebrity,” Hernandez said. “There is nothing better when you’re completely in-tune with what you want to do.”

Rudolf Fitness Center

Rudolf Fitness Center

Since Hernandez was 4 years old he says he knew a career in athletics was in his future. “I was born and raised very poor. Basketball was my way out. I feel like God himself told me in order to succeed I needed an education. Basketball helped me get that,” he said.

Recruited from Venezuela when he was 21 years old, Hernandez played basketball at Jacksonville College just outside of Dallas, Texas. His junior college career took him to the University of Central Missouri. “College basketball was a lot of work. What most people call fun, it’s not. There’s a lot of preparation, but I call it fun,” Hernandez said.

Hernandez played four seasons for Venezuela’s national team after his college career ended. The lifestyle of a professional athlete took a toll on Hernandez. “Everyone likes attention, but it started to get awkward,” Hernandez said. “I personally wanted to move on. I wanted to pursue a higher education. This is very important to me. People liked me just because I could make a shot.”

Hernandez earned a masters degree in Sport and Athletic Administration from Gonzaga, and Spokane became his permanent home in 1992.

Although Hernandez’s basketball career ended, his passion for sports and fitness lead him to a career at a respected university. “A healthy lifestyle is the way to go. I enjoy sports and athleticism. It is important to me to be authentic, to live the way people know me to be,” Hernandez said.

Transitioning

Former college basketball player and current Women’s Basketball Assistant Coach at Gonzaga, Lisa Fortier, also found her career in the field of athletics. Fortier says she will never trade her travel sweats for a 9 to 5 office job.

Lisa Fortier

Lisa Fortier

The schedule [of an office job] is not flexible and you can’t wear sweats,” Fortier said. “You have to get up in the morning and be in a place for eight hours. It’s a long time in a row. You have to get re-acclimated when you’re used to a college schedule. You have a class in college and then a three hour break,” Fortier said.

Eight hours in the office, followed by study sessions for the CPA exam, and feeding his 2 ½ -year-old daughter dinner, is the schedule former Whitworth University basketball player Bryan Williams is accustomed to now. Williams transitioned from receiving the Northwest Conference MVP in 2007 to becoming a full-time family man. “Having a daughter forced me to grow up in a hurry,” Williams said.

William’s father, Head Basketball Coach at Mead High School, fueled William’s passion for the game from an early age. “I started playing when I was 6 years old. I’ve always loved basketball and I still do. I pretty much grew up in a gym,” he said.

Adjusting to life after college basketball took some time. “If you want to sleep-in and not go to class that’s an option when you’re in college,” Williams said. “You can’t do that now. You have responsibilities. I wouldn’t change it for the world, but from the average college student it’s a lot different.”

The Real World

Although the move from the court to the cubicle never happened for Fortier she says she sees worth in skills learned from athletics that can easily transfer to the work place.

“I think the biggest skill is teamwork. You don’t always like the people on your team. You have to figure out what the goal is, and work with that person just long enough to meet it,” Fortier said. “Some people who aren’t in sports think that sports don’t teach you anything and I think they’re crazy. The punctuality, dedication, follow-through, commitment, and problem solving apply in all areas of life.”

Williams used his experience as a college basketball player to secure a job at Moss Adams, an accounting firm in downtown Spokane. “Basketball was a good selling point for me,” Williams said. “I know how to work as a team and in that kind of environment. I pushed the basketball experience a ton; the leadership ability, overcoming adversity; the list goes on. The abilities that you gain for the real world are invaluable.”

Bryan Williams

Bryan Williams

Making the jump from a university to an office can be difficult for any graduate, but a college athlete may have a harder time. “When you’re a college athlete you can’t study abroad or take summers off to pursue internships. It’s tough to find a career that will make you happy when all your time in college is spent in the gym,” Fortier said.

Williams tried to prepare himself for the end of his college superstar days, he said. “After you’ve been away from it [basketball] for a couple weeks you realize you will never be in that same level of competition again,” he said. “I tried to get the most out of every minute every day. I knew this would be the last of it.”

It was only a few months after graduation Williams started his job as an accountant. “It’s the natural progression. You have to find something else to do. You don’t really have a choice. You have to become an active member of society. It’s what you do,” Williams said.

Once former athletes find their new work schedules hard to handle they often resort back to what is familiar, Fortier said. “A lot of people work and then realize that work stinks and try to get back into playing,” Fortier said. “You don’t want to say ‘Quit your dreams. You need to get a real job.’ I understand what it’s like when you have that passion and you’re a little bit lost trying to figure out what you want to do.”

Williams isn’t contemplating a return to the game of basketball as a player, but as a coach. “I started this year helping my dad a little bit [with coaching],” Williams said. “I’m definitely interested in coaching. I want to stay in the game.”

“You find ways to still incorporate basketball into your life,” Williams said. “Whether it’s coaching or playing in a recreational league. You don’t just all the sudden not enjoy playing basketball. The joy will always be there.”

Organizing a Sunday competitive open gym at his alma mater like former NBA all-star John Stockton does, or lending knowledge to younger hopeful athletes as a coach, are a few ways basketball lovers fill the void that will inevitably be present when the glory days are over.

By Liz Horiatis

Music Education

Nation-wide education budget cuts pose a threat for many school’s music programs, but that isn’t the case at Evergreen Elementary in Spokane, Wash. Kathy Meredith has been the music teacher at Evergreen for the past 27 years.

“We [Meredith and the community] are very fortunate that Mead [school district] supports music education,” Meredith said.

Meredith takes an active role in promoting the importance of music education by sending out a newsletter twice a month called the “Pony Express.” Meredith quotes Plato in a newsletter she sent out in March, the school’s “Music in Our Schools Month.” “Musical training is a more potent training than any other because rhythm and harmony find their way into the inward places of the soul.”

Meredith has confidence in her school and community to continue supporting Evergreen’s music program, she said. “Some schools, if you’re not a strong music teacher or if you don’t really promote yourself, your principal may give you $300,” Meredith said. “We had a lot more money 20 years ago. As the years progress our budget has shrunk.”

Meredith received just over $1,000 this year from her school to fund her music program.

“My idea is to teach the kids who don’t have the opportunity the world of music that they would never have,” Meredith said.

Music helps children develop creativity, she said.

“The arts are essential in nurturing the heart and soul of the human being,” says professional pianist and teacher in Redmond, Wash., Mary Anne Szollar.

Mary Anne Szollar in her home piano studio

Mary Anne Szollar in her home piano studio

Mary Anne Szollar in her home teaching studio

Szollar teaches children how to play the piano and says she whole-heartedly believes in the importance of music education and the survival of the arts.

“We know culturally, academically, kids must learn math and science and reading, all those basic intellectual components of life,” Szollar said. “We also have a huge push to sports from little preschoolers, and we’re spending a lot of money on it. Why are we doing that? I assume it’s to develop some physical capabilities.”

Szollar started teaching piano at age 13. She emphasizes communicating with her student’s parents about their children’s progress and time in the classroom, she said.

Through her experience as a music educator, Szollar has seen the importance of music education dwindle in the school systems, she said.

“The arts are grossly overlooked. It’s the first area every school system cuts,” Szollar said.  “I think it’s sad to put music back into schools or to draw funding to the arts we have to intellectually justify it by saying ‘It will help your math if you make music.’”

There is an amount of personal discovery through music that is not likely to occur elsewhere Szollar said.

“That’s the whole emotional heart and soul thing. Math and reading are great, but music and art can help people get to know who they really are,” Szollar said.  “You’re going to get more personal insight exploring music than you will in math, and it seems obvious but I don’t think we think about it.”

Meredith sees some of these same experiences in her students, she said.  Meredith looks at comment cards children have filled out over the years about their time in music class.  “One child wrote, ‘With music you can be yourself. You get to express yourself in music, you can’t do that in the classroom,’” Meredith said.

Along with expression, there’s an emotional context in music that is unavoidable, Szollar said. The experience in the classroom does not match what they can gain from music, she said.

“We’re not sitting at desks here,” Meredith said.

Learning a musical instrument teaches children skills that aren’t gained in the classroom, Szollar said.

“They have to learn to practice or study independently. They have to learn to solve problems,” Szollar said. “They learn to be confident in using knowledge and applying knowledge consistently over time rather than, compared to school, ‘I learned this spelling word; I passed the test; I never have to spell it right again.’”

Meredith says kids are over-busy. They don’t finish what they’ve started. Music can help kids learn what it means to be dedicated and committed, she said.

“What I see [from what parents tell and how children act in lessons] is in the classroom is they are given answers. When they’re asked a question and they say ‘I don’t know’ which is an instant response, they get the answer,” Szollar said. “So in a one on one lesson, if they say to me ‘I don’t know’ I ask them ‘why not?’ Or I ask them to ‘repeat the question.’ And I’ll tell them ‘but we learned this last week’ and they have to think.”

Well-Rounded

A well-rounded education cannot be complete without music, said professional violist and teacher in Kirkland, Wash., Dori Sippel.

“Playing music in a group is the ultimate team sport because you’re constantly engaged in a very high level. You really have to pull your weight,” Sippel said.

The mission of a music teacher is to complete a student’s education, Sippel said. She makes it her professional goal to be a part of the process.

After playing for over 20 years professionally around the world, Sippel settled down in Washington to teach. Her most recent project involves researching the value of music and renovating traditional teaching style.

“I’ve been avidly collecting data, mostly from the New York Times, of different research that’s been done about people who play music and it’s just curious and interesting,” Sippel said.

Sippel can see a direct correlation between her students who are successful in math and her students who excel in rhythm, she says.

Taking music beyond what’s on the page is what she wants from her students, she says.

“Music is like a Xerox process you replicate what’s on the page, but the page is where you start. It’s what you put into it personally. It’s what you put into this barren thing, this page of music, because it’s soulless until you enter the scene,” Sippel said.

Diversity

More than learning patience, focus, and music notes, children are given tools to praise God and bring joy to others, said Sherri Snyder, founder of the children’s choir, “Hiz Kidz” at Cedar Park Church in Bothell, Wash.

Sherri Snyder at Cedar Park Assembly of God Church

Sherri Snyder at Cedar Park Assembly of God Church

When Snyder was pregnant with her first child she came across a verse that would forever be the pillar of Hiz Kidz, the children’s choir that has been in place for more than 10 years.

Sherri Snyder at Cedar Park Assembly of God Church

“I was reading the Bible one day and came across psalm 8:2 and it just jumped out at me,” Snyder said. “It’s the psalm that says ‘Out the mouth of children and infants God has made praise because of his enemies to silence the foe and the avenger.’ And at that point I was like, ‘wow.’”

As a music teacher, Snyder sees the immense benefits of music on children as well, she said.

“From a music education stand point, music is important for a child’s development, the whole cognitive end of things, and the way their brain works together.  The discipline of practice, the social end of how they become involved with a great group of kids, and how they’re working toward a certain destination are important. From so many different standpoints, it [music] feeds into their hearts and minds and strength,” Snyder said.

Music can heal and touch people’s hearts like nothing else can, Snyder said.

“We [the choir] would do an outreach over Veterans Day weekend and when we would sing patriotic songs, audience members who showed absolutely no expression throughout the whole thing would start to sing ‘The Star-Spangled Banner’ or ‘God Bless America’ with us or they would sing ‘Jesus Loves Me,’” Snyder said.

“That was just such an exciting thing to see. That was hidden in their hearts sometime over the course of their life and here at a time where they could hardly say their name they would start singing with us,” she said.

Snyder continues to see the positive effects music has on her children and the children in her church, she said.

Meredith couldn’t see herself any other place than the Evergreen music room. “My whole goal is to create a spark somewhere,” she said. Next school year will be Meredith’s 28th year teaching music at Evergreen. What children write to Meredith about their time in her class touches her heart, she said. “One child wrote, ‘Music makes me free from my worries.’”

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Mexico City

Dori Sippel playing her viola for students

After working as a professional violist for more than 25 years, Dori Sippel says she will never play for money again.

“I feel gleeful I’m not playing for money anymore,” Sippel said. “That is the operative word, gleeful. I have no interest in selling my soul in order to get that kind of work.”

Sippel started her career as a violist in the Mexico City orchestra under the direction of Carmen Romano de Lopez Portillo, the first lady of Mexico from 1976 to 1982.

“She was an amateur pianist. She studied at the conservatory,” Sippel said.

Dorri Sippel playing her viola for students

Dorri Sippel playing her viola for students

“The Mexican conductor there, they became lovers and she promised him that when her husband became president she would create an orchestra that was worthy of him, so she did. That was my orchestra,” she said.

Americans, Mexicans, Russians, Polish, and Bulgarians played in the orchestra, Sippel said. “This was before the Iron Curtain came down.”

Sippel says the Mexico City Orchestra accounted for the most outrageous time in her life.

“For the first six months nobody spoke the same language and then after a while we all started speaking Spanish, a strange Spanish, and then we became really tight,” Sippel said.

“We taught each other our languages’ curse words, of course, and we greeted each other every morning by cursing in the other’s language,” she said.

The orchestra traveled to Cuba, Argentina, China, Japan, South America and Europe, Sippel said.

“We would travel and people had no idea what our connection was because our instruments were under the plane,” Sippel said. “They had no idea what connected all these very diverse people. They were like, ‘What is this?’”

When the Mexico president’s term came to an end in 1982, Sippel said she knew it was time to move on.

Italy

Sippel vacationed in Florence that October and ended up auditioning for the Florence orchestra.

She played there for a year.

“I didn’t like Florence. I didn’t know what to do. I came from Mexico which is full of light. It’s crazy and chaotic,” Sippel said. “Florence in the winter time is very gray and the buildings are built like fortresses. The streets are narrow so it’s dark.”

She turned to a Tarot card reader.

“I walked into this store and said, ‘Can I have a card reading?’” Sippel said. “They brought me to this very other-worldly looking, very pasty looking man. He didn’t look like a Florentine at all. I picked seven cards and he really said ‘Water, water, I see water everywhere. I think you should go to Venice,’” she said.

Going from Florence to Venice in terms of priorities of orchestras is a step down, Sippel said. She played in the Venice orchestra for seven years.

When fascism started to rise in Italy Sippel’s loyalty to the country became an issue, she said.

“Fascists don’t like foreigners,” Sippel said. “Italy was stuffing their orchestras with Italians before they had to open them up to the rest of the community.”

In June of 1990 Sippel came to work in Venice and saw her orchestra was holding auditions for her spot, second assistant violist, she said.

In order to secure her spot in the orchestra Sippel had to forgo her American citizenship and acquire an Italian citizenship.

“The more I lived abroad the more American I felt. You can’t get away from that,” Sippel said. “I think that year in Italy I realized that Italian language does not have a word for freedom. It has a word for liberty, but it’s not the same.”

She left Venice during the Gulf War in February of 1991.

Los Angeles

Sippel returned home to New York City and stayed with her parents while she figured out her next move.

“I was turning 40. They loved that. They were thrilled,” Sippel said. “I stayed there for about eight months doing absolutely nothing. At a certain point my father said ‘Can I give you money to learn data processing or something so you can get a job?’” she said.

A distant friend talked her into moving to Los Angeles to freelance, she said.

“I did a little bit of everything,” Sippel said. “I played in orchestras. I played opera. I played casual stuff which I actually loved and kind of pop stuff which I never played before.”

“I was on Snoop Dog’s album, Death Row Records; we had to open our cases so they made sure we didn’t have any guns with us,” Sippel said.

Sippel played for Denise Richards and Charlie Sheen’s wedding and worked with world renowned tenor Placido Domingo in the LA Opera.

“The crème de la crème of that existence was I played Oprah’s 50th birthday party just before I left, the really nutty one, the $5 million one,” Sippel said.

After her 13 years as a freelance violist in LA Sippel decided she never wanted to see a celebrity again, she said.

Final Stop: Seattle

Sippel left LA in 2004 when a friend convinced her Seattle would be a good fit, Sippel said.

“A friend said, ‘You know people in Seattle would get you and down here [LA] you’re just getting smudged out. Why don’t you come to Seattle and teach?’” Sippel said.

The week after Oprah’s birthday party, Sippel moved to Kirkland, Wash., and started teaching. Sippel continued to do some freelance work when she moved to Washington.

Sippel recorded for the movie “Akeelah and the Bee” and all “The Grudge” movies.

“We[Sippel and Seattle freelance musicians] did the cowboy movie, the gay cowboy movie, ‘Brokeback Mountain.’ We won the Academy Award. We were very happy,” Sippel said.

Sippel says she’s fallen off the list when it comes to her demand as a violist.

“I realized about in the last month or two that I’d never play for money anymore and I never realized what a burden it was,” Sippel said.

She focused her attention on teaching, she said.

“I started cognizing it was far more thrilling to me personally, to see a kid have an ‘aha’ moment rather than tripping across Placido Domingo in my workplace,” Sippel said.

Sippel started her career as a music teacher in the early 1970s in Long Island, N.Y. Her mother wanted Sippel to remain a music teacher, settle down, get married and have kids.

While the latter two never happened, Sippel decided to pick up teaching again in 2004, now that her professional career had come to an end.

For the first time Sippel went to sleep knowing she did something good that day, she said.

“I have parents coming to me saying, ‘Thank you for helping my child play in this concert so successfully,’ and I think, ‘Well, you’re paying me to do this, isn’t this is what I’m suppose to do?’ I’m glad it’s working,” Sippel said.

“They’re acting like somehow I’ve given them something that hasn’t been paid for and that is amazing to me,” she said. Well aware she will have to work until the day she dies, Sippel says she embraces her teaching career.

“Until very recently I thought of it as kind of a sentence; ‘Well this is the price you pay for enjoying yourself.’ But I’m seeing that teaching is not just ‘child in, payment, child out.’  It really is not that at all,” Sippel said. “I have such freedom in what I do. It’s amazing. I feel very thrilled about it and I’m realizing it is my life’s work.”

As a teacher Sippel wants to be a part of the process of a well-rounded education, she said.

Teaching music as a creative art interests Sippel the most, she said.

“I’m trying to figure out a way to integrate teaching music the way graphic art is taught so that you actually create something;  you’re not just copying something,” Sippel said.

“That’s something that completely confounds me, interests me and I’m still pursing. On a very deep level it terrifies me. To make something out of nothing really intrigues me,” she said.

Sippel says she has no regrets when it comes to ending her career as a performer.

“Even when I was playing the best stuff musically, which was mostly in Italy, I always found it far more creative to make a loaf of bread, really because it comes from nothing. It comes from scratch,” she said.

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By Liz Horiatis

Whether she’s working on her upcoming project, “So You Want to be a Christian Lawyer?” or making her students sweat in class, Dr. Julia Stronks, a political science teacher at Whitworth University is an accomplished woman.

Stronks came to Whitworth from Washington, D.C., where she was a practicing lawyer. Fifteen years later, Stronks is still in love with teaching and says Whitworth is a perfect fit for her and her goals as a professor.

“Whitworth allows me to teach through the eyes of the Christian faith, but still have an open door,” Stronks says. She appreciates that Whitworth allows her to engage in open dialogue about religion and can converse with students and staff from different backgrounds.

Coming from the East Coast, Stronks sees Spokane as the ideal city. Along with admiring its natural beauty, Stronks views Spokane as an opportunity to follow through with her obligation as a Christian to care for the sick, poor and suffering. “There’s a place for me in this city,” Stronks said.

Stronks’ pupils know her best as a tough law professor who expects all her students to complete the eight hours of reading before class. “You have to be really serious about Julia’s classes. You can’t be slacking off. You have to treat her classes as top priority,” Michelle Green, a political science major said.

Monday nights in her International Law class, students pull their chairs into a big circle. Stronks sits among the students with the same book and paper the rest of the class had. Contrary to standing in front of the room and delivering a Power Point presentation, Stronks interacted with the class on their level.

“We are partners in this endeavor. I know a lot, but they have to do the work and I can guide them,” Stronks said. Guiding is exactly what she does: On the notorious Web page, Rate My Professor, one student referred to Stronks as “a lighthouse guiding ships through troubled waters.”

“When you come into class you have to be 100% ready with the material, otherwise she’ll, how do I put this? She’ll make a point out of it,” Green said.

Although her direct question-and-answer tactics may be terrifying at times, in the end students are grateful for the experience, hopeful lawyer Aubrie Ekman expressed.

“She puts you on the spot a lot,” Ekman said. Stronks admits she knows her students are scared of her at first, but said that is easily overcome once they gather up the courage to stop by her office and get to know her.

In reality, Stronks has high expectations of her students and insists on nothing less than their best. “If they don’t want to do the work, they shouldn’t be in my class,” Stronks said about student’s comments on the challenging workload.

“She cracks the whip,” senior Michael Schwarz said. Stronks is preparing students for what it is like in the real world of law. Nonetheless, her son’s teenage friends have already declared they are not taking any classes from her, she says.

Despite the fact many students may be trembling the first few weeks of class, the 2008 graduates of Whitworth University voted Stronks the most influential professor. When asked what this award meant to her, Stronks hesitated before answering.

“It is a lovely honor, a great honor, but I don’t really believe in those kinds of awards,” Stronks said. “There are so many wonderful, influential faculty on campus. I wish we could find a way to honor all faculty and students.”

While Stronks’ passion for law and teaching is evident, she says her role as a mother is closest to her heart. It is important for her to be open about the struggle of being a parent and a professional.

She encourages students to explore all facets of themselves before settling for one role or another. For women, there may be a struggle of whether to sacrifice a career for a husband and children. That is something Stronks battled with herself.

As a young lawyer, Stronks says she never envisioned herself getting married. She was an independent, determined female who could do it all on her own, but she couldn’t deny the strong love she felt for her future husband.

Stronks got married and had a son. Her career was a put on hold, but in no way did her ambition for law slow down.

When discussing who has made an impact in her life, she refers to the man she met as a teenager. “He believes I can do anything. And that gives me courage,” Stronks said.

To the women in college who desire to marry and are nearing the final semesters of their academic career, Stronks urges them to pick their partners carefully.

She is firm about the importance of being with someone who wants the best for you and is flexible, as it is certain your lives will change continually over the years.

For women who don’t want to choose between having a family and a career, Stronks advises to “believe yourself, and have your husband believe that parenting is the responsibility of both people.”

The key to successful work and family lives is having both partners equally involved in both areas, said Stronks who has been married for 25 years. Stronks says to those anxious 22-year-olds who are graduating in May, “You have 50 years ahead of you, so don’t worry about the time frame, you can achieve a lot of different things in 50 years.”

By Liz Horiatis

In the Neighborhood

Residing in neighborhoods, around schools, and across the street, at least 196 registered sex offenders live in Spokane, Wash., according to the most recent city data.

Thanks to President Bush who signed the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act in 2006, anyone can get on the computer and locate sex offenders living nearby.

New mom Chandra Williams, 23, takes advantage of her access to the information regarding the offenders in her neighborhood.

“I think it’s a great thing it’s public information,” Williams said.

“Everyone should know. We’ve [Williams and her husband] had a conversation about this Web site; ‘It’s violating their privacy.’ Their information needs to be broadcasted I think, for parents who want to know.”

Parents can easily find where the closest offenders live.

The Washington State Sex Offender Information Center Web site, displays the sex offenders living within, a quarter mile, a half mile, a mile and two miles of any given address.

Prairie View Elementary School, located in Williams’ neighborhood, has one sex offender living within two miles. By contrast, Holmes Elementary School, located on West Sharp Avenue, has 98 sex offenders within two miles.

The Spokane Police Department arrested Ramsay Munden, a level I sex offender, outside of Holmes Elementary School. Munden, who is under state supervision, drove up and down the street without wearing pants.

“I think that knowing our neighborhood is a decent neighborhood helps me,” Williams said.

“We know our surroundings; we know we’ve got probably four or five police officers who live in our neighborhood as well. That’s kind of a comfort thing.”

Williams says she looks forward to eventually sending her 2 ½ -year-old daughter, Micray, to Prairie View Elementary School.

While Williams feels secure in her home up on Five Mile, she understands the scope of the problem in other parts of Spokane, she said.

“You should have the right to know if a sex offender moves into your neighborhood,” Williams said. “They’re [sex offenders]aware of it. They’re aware of their crimes, it’s not like it’s a secret.”

Safety

The Spokane Police alert all Spokane schools when a sex offender moves close to the area, said Rob Alderson, lead security officer for Spokane public schools.

Alderson’s sex offender database receives weekly updates.

“We send out fliers on level II and level III sex offenders. We e-mail those to the schools and schools have books with pictures of all the sex offenders in their area,” Alderson said.

Level III, the highest ranking of sex offenders, include people who will most likely re-offend and who often have refused treatment, Alderson said.

In response to the incident with Munden, Alderson was thankful someone called the

police.

“Thank goodness a parent stepped up and reported it,” Alderson said.  “A bigger concern is the ones who don’t get reported. Pedophiles are a big concern too, but that’s a whole different subject. They are the ones that are most serious within our society.”

Schools don’t take specific precautions with regard to sex offenders, but are required to practice general safety procedures, Alderson said.

“All hazard lockdowns and evacuations are utilized for any kind of incident that occurs,” Alderson said.

Its best to keep it simple, he said.

Safety within school campuses isn’t of great concern, because where there are adults, sex offenders tend to stay away, Alderson said.

“They are pretty aggressive in keeping track of these guys,” Alderson said about the Spokane Police Department.

Gonzaga University

Gonzaga University student Megan Lombard says she doesn’t always feel comfortable outside of her campus apartment, considering that 125 sex offenders reside within two miles of the university.

Lombard, a junior, is planning to live on campus all four years of college because of how unsafe she feels in the Logan neighborhood, which consists of the houses around the university.

“I’d really like to live in a house, but the number of sex offenders, the number of meth heads, the number of just bad shady characters living in that neighborhood freaks me out,” Lombard said.

Moving to Spokane from Woodinville, Wash., Lombard says she wasn’t aware of the number of sex offenders living around campus.

“At orientation freshman year professors really stressed never to walk by yourself and to always stay in groups,” Lombard said.

Although Lombard doesn’t venture off campus too often after sundown, she feels very safe walking to and from her classes on campus, even at night, she said.

“Campus security is around 24/7 patrolling, and there’s certain spots on campus where they have a blue light set up with a phone that you can call for campus security to come pick you up and take you wherever you need to go,” Lombard said.

Gonzaga offers a variety of services to make students feel secure when spending time on campus.

“We have a thing called safe ride where you get one free ride every semester. Also, at the library there is an escort desk where a Gonzaga male student will escort you home if you’re at the library late at night,” Lombard said.

Lombard also says she receives e-mails on a regular basis from campus security about any suspicious activity around the university.

“A lot of them are about break-ins, which is a big problem. I remember freshman or sophomore year we got an e-mail about this girl who woke up in the middle of the night and there was this guy sitting on her bed looking at her. There’s been several like that that I’ve gotten,” Lombard said.

Lombard doesn’t regret going to Gonzaga. She’s just had to make some adjustments, she said.

“If I see someone on the same side of the street as me, I’ll cross the street, just try to put as much distance between myself and them as I can,” Lombard said.

“I’m very aware of my surroundings when I’m out.”

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There are some things about women’s sports that would just make it easier if we could interact like men. I don’t mean to sound sexist but, women’s teams can go completely awry because of unresolved issues. On a basketball team, if two men have a problem with each other they’ll address it either by clothes-lining their adversary on a defensive drill or simply approaching each other with a “What’s your problem man?” After a ten second exchange or when the issue has been resolved the next day at practice everything will be back to normal. How I wish this was the case with women.

 

I’ve played on sports teams, mainly basketball since I was eight-years-old. I’ve spent a lot of time, 13 years to be exact, interacting with girls in a team setting. When you get 12 girls together in a competitive sport who spend a lot of time with each other, things happen. This whole “leave your emotions at the door” idea doesn’t work so well with girls. We like to hold onto whatever we can. If I get elbowed in practice by someone I’m suspicious has bad feelings toward me anyway, chance are I’ll take it personally. I’ll go home and tell my roommate, “Sarah totally elbowed me on purpose today in practice.” In the back of my mind I know she probably didn’t. What’s girl’s basketball with out a little drama? The next day at practice I might avoid being on her team or try extra hard to score on her.

 

There are bound to be “clicks” on every team, but with girls it’s much worse. From my experience I see men who have their friends on the team but make an effort to include everybody on group outings or weekend get- togethers. Clicks on women’s team can become brutal. They decipher where you sit in the locker room, what table you sit at during team dinners, where you sit on flights, who you sit next to during the pregame speech, which van you ride in, Etc… Girls can be conniving, manipulative, and down-right mean. Of course men have their issues too, but with girls it’s more of a sneak attack. By this I mean girls are masters at smiling in your face, with a greeting of “hey girl,” only to pass by you, turn to someone else and say “she’s so annoying.” With men they usually won’t bother greeting somebody they don’t like. Girls also have a tendency to talk an enormous amount behind each other’s backs and never actually confront one another on anything, not ideal for a team setting.

 

Petty immature behavior can break a team. Holding onto grudges never did anyone any good. A functional team is one with free flowing communication. You shouldn’t say something about someone you wouldn’t say to their face.  If you have a problem with someone talk to them about it. Team chemistry is what separates good teams from great teams. Championship teams are close-knit and supportive of each other.  It is very easy for teams with great individual talent to fall apart because they couldn’t stand together.

The NBA playoffs are right around the corner. It blows my mind to even think about someone getting MVP besides Lebron James. Of course there are other great  players in the NBA, Chris Paul, Dwayne Wade, and Kobe Bryant are all worthy of recognition, but James hands down should win this year’s MVP award.

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Here are 10 reasons Lebron James is the most valuable player in the NBA:

10. James is a team player. In almost every interview he refers to his team as his main concern. James says he wants to be the best he can be for the success of his team, the Cleveland Cavaliers. Potential MVP candidate Kobe Bryant asked to be traded from his team, the Los Angeles Lakers in 2007.

9.  James averages 28.4points per game, 7.6 rebounds per game, and 7.2 assists per game. He is leading his team in all statistical categories.  Although Kobe Bryant barely beats James in ppg at 30.3 and may shoot better from longer range, James is a stronger all around player.

8. James posted seven triple-doubles thus far in the season. Before the NBA took away one rebound, Lebron scored 52 points as part of a triple double, the first player to do so since Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in 1975. He is also the 12th player in NBA history to have 3 consecutive triple doubles.

7. As former MVP Dirk Nowitski would say, James is a freak of nature. He stands 6’8” tall and weighs 250 lbs. The combination of his speed, size, and athleticism is unmatchable.

6.  James led the Cavaliers to 66 victories, a historical high for the franchise and the top record in the NBA.

5. Thanks to James, the Cavaliers hold the best NBA home record, 39-1.

4. Everyone wants Lebron on their team. In a Sports Illustrated poll of 190 NBA players 32% of the votes went to James for an opposing player they would want on their team. The next closest vote was 13%.

3. James is the youngest player in NBA history at 23 years of age to reach 10,000 points, 2,500 rebounds, 2,500 assists, 700 steals, and 300 blocks.

2. James is a good guy. He’s never had rape allegations against him, or been rumored to be soliciting the cheerleaders, (Bryant). James recieved the NBA Community Assist Award in June of 2008 for his philanthropic and charitble work in the community. His “King for Kids Bike-A-Thon,” in Akron, Ohio raised more than $150,000 for three local non-profit organizations – the LeBron James Family Foundation, the Akron Area YMCA and the Akron Urban League.

1. And the last reason Lebron should be this years MVP is illustrated in this video.

The women of Conneticut completed a perfect 39-0  season tonight after beating Louisville 76-54. This Huskies team is the first to beat all of their opponents in double digits, averaging a 30 point margin between them and their unworthy opponents. Superstars, Sue Bird, Diana Taursi, and Rebecca Lobo are all former Huskies who went on to have impressive careers in the WNBA.

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So how did they do it? Two words, one name, Tina Charles. This power house center has been dunking since high school. Standing 6’4, Charles shot 11 for 13 from the field tonight, ending with 25 points and 19 rebounds, one of the best performances in women’s NCAA history. Charles, a junior, was named outstanding player of the final four.

Along with Charles the two All Americans, Renee Montgomery, a senior point guard,  and Maya Moore, a sophomore forward, have been leading the huskies all season long. Both players put up 18 points tonight.

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From left to right, Tina Charles, Renee Montgomery, Maya Moore

The Louisville Cardinals ended their run with a 34-5 record. After beating the Number one seeds, Maryland and Oklahoma, the Cardinals were hopeful going into tonight’s championship game. Unfortunately for them, UConn had other plans, to win their sixth national championship and complete their third undefeated season. Louisville, All American, Angel McCoughtry, ended her college basketball career with 23 points and 6 rebounds. 

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