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March 2017 News Reports

Fig Tree Benefit events are time to celebrate, learn

“Beyond the News: Creating Community” is the theme for The Fig Tree’s 2017 Benefit Lunch starting at 11:30 a.m., Friday, March 10, and Benefit Breakfast starting at 7:15 a.m. Wednesday, March 15, in Cataldo Hall at Gonzaga University.

The Fig Tree marks 34 years of publishing this year, sharing news of people who are making a difference because of their faith and values, and connecting people in the caring community through the annual Resource Directory.

Lunch speakers are Dia Maurer, who has been associated with The Fig Tree over the years in her roles with Partnering 4 Progress, Transitions and Habitat for Humanity; Scott Cooper, director of Parish Social Ministries with Catholic Charities of Spokane; Anne Salisbury, a long-time Fig Tree volunteer in Coeur d’Alene, and Pat Millen OSF, former director of St. Joseph Family Center and a Fig Tree Board member.

Breakfast speakers are Mable Dunbar, director of the Women’s Healing and Empowerment Network; Rusty Nelson, retired director of the Peace and Justice Action League of Spokane; Dean Lynch, the president of the new Spokane County Human Rights Task Force, and Freda Gandy, executive director of the Martin Luther King Jr. Family Outreach Center.

The speakers will share their insights on the value of The Fig Tree in their roles and experiences in the community.

The planning committee has only four breakfast tables left for hosts to sponsor.  Hosts donate $100 to cover the cost of the meals for their seven guests, who are invited to come and hear The Fig Tree story and donate to help cover the costs of publishing the newspaper and directory.

“Last year we raised $30,400 through these benefits.  This year we seek to reach a goal of $50,000 to help us build our capacity and involve additional writers, editors and online communicators,” said editor Mary Stamp.

This year, Austriauna Brooks, an intern from Whitworth University, is  helping prepare the promotional video, writing articles and assisting with online and social media.

“We continue to train writers and editors as a way to involve new people,” said Mary.

The Fig Tree began publication in 1984 to cover religion in the region.  Its mission includes connecting diverse people, sharing stories to build understanding and see how lives intersect with justice and ethics issues, she added. 

Being published monthly gives writers and editors time to offer reflection and encourage dialogue, she said.  The goal is also to help individuals and groups network, pool ideas and resources, and join in common action locally and globally.

The Resource Directory connects people and builds awareness of the many ways the faith, nonprofit and civic communities serve.

For information, call 535-1813 or email

Resource Directory seeks 2017-18 partners

Advertising commitments for the 2017-18 Resource Directory are coming in and directory editor Malcolm Haworth is seeking new partners to help sponsor the publication, which is the most comprehensive directory of resources in the Inland Northwest.

This will be the 44th year of production of the directory, which started as a directory of congregations and ecumenical ministries.

It now also includes human services, multi-service agencies, medical and health care, children and family resources, senior and retirement resources, justice and action resources, environment and sustainability resources, arts and culture, civic services and emergency contacts.

“We continually receive calls from people seeking services and we refer them to appropriate agencies for assistance,” said Malcolm, who has been editing it since 2007, beginning by working two years through AmeriCorps.

“Advertisers have been responding quickly this year to reserve their spaces.  They are the primary underwriters for the directory,” he said.

This year Spokane County Head Start/ECEAP/Early Head Start has withdrawn its partnership because of funding shifts at Community Colleges of Spokane.

“We have appreciated our long-term partnership and look for others to step up,” said Malcolm.

For information, call 535-1813.

Christ Clinic closes, Christ Kitchen continues

Roger Chase, interim executive director for Christ Clinic and Christ Kitchen, said the board closed the clinic as of Feb. 28 but will keep Christ Kitchen open.

They transferred patients to other providers and seek to rent to another health care provider.

“We faced a combination of challenges, including reimbursement levels and demands for a small clinic to compete for providers in a tight market,” he said.

The clinic was founded in 1991 with four volunteer doctors to care for uninsured people. 

“It’s hard to recruit medical providers, because fewer doctors and nurses volunteer,” he said, “but the clinic had grown to have eight paid staff and volunteers.

  “In addition, there have been fewer patients, because patients gained more choices,” Roger said.

“Changes in insurance and Medicaid affected reimbursement,” he said. “Patients who could pay paid on a sliding scale, and the clinic covered care for those who could not pay.”

Many clinics are consolidating, and we needed to upgrade electronic medical records, said Roger, who was on the board four years and became interim in August. 

The board will continue Christ Kitchen, which remodeled and moved into a Taco Time at 2410 N. Monroe in 2006.  After a capital campaign in 2008, the clinic built on that site.  Both started in space provided by Westminster Presbyterian at 2705 W. Boone.

The kitchen is an outreach for women coming out of drug addiction, abuse or prison.  About 20 women join in a Bible study and develop job skills as they cater and package products.

For information, call 209-7540 or email

International Women’s Day event is March 4

Spokane’s International Women’s Day features Favianna Rodriguez, an interdisciplinary artist, cultural organizer and activist from Oakland, as speaker for the event from 12:30 to 5 p.m., Saturday, March 4, at the Spokane Women’s Club, 1428 W. 9th Ave.

Favianna uses art as a tool for social activism.  Involved with and executive director of Culture Strike, she was recently featured in a documentary series, “Migration Is Beautiful.” It addressed how artists respond to failed U.S. immigrant policies.

The event includes displays of resources from community agencies and three workshops: “Applying Mindfulness” with Dori Langevin, “Bollywood Dance” with Naghmana Sherazi, and “Activism 101” with Liz Moore.

Favianna will also present “Reproduce and Revolt,” a social justice poster workshop on how art spurs the imagination. Social justice posters, she said, “are powerful living reminders of struggles for peace and justice through art prints, street art, clothing and interactive experiences that replace images of fear with visions of shared humanity.”

International Women’s Day has promoted progress among women for more than 100 years, said Lisa Logan, manager of Eastern Washington University’s Women’s Studies Center, one of the organizers, with other universities, businesses and agencies.

For information, call 359-2898, email or see          

Coeur d’Alene to receive Watershed Hero Award

Winter Waters 2017 on the theme “Restoring Lake Coeur d’Alene,” will honor the Coeur d’Alene Tribe as the 2017 Watershed Heroes for their leadership in cleaning up the Coeur d’Alene Basin from mining and smelting waste.

The event that benefits the Sierra Club’s Upper Columbia River Group and the Center for Environmental Law and Policy will be held from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m., Friday, March 10, at Patsy Clark Mansion, 2208 W. Second Ave.

With the Environmental Protection Agency in the “crosshairs” of the current President, John Osborn, conservation chair of the Upper Columbia River Group of the Sierra Club, said that it will be a greater struggle to find funding to protect the health of the lake.

In the Coeur d’Alene tribe’s homeland, nearly a century of hard-rock mining in the Coeur d’Alene Mining District led to extensive release of mining and smelting wastes into streams and rivers, said John. 

There is some hope for cleanup because of the Tribe’s work to protect and restore their homeland.  A video is at

For information, call 939-1290 or email