Monday, January 31, 2011

New Hardware Store Coming to Cheney

Do-it-Best, a national hardware chain, is setting up shop in the Cheney Plaza by Pizza Hut. Rudy Torres, Building Permit Technician with the city was able to confirm today that a building permit is in process.

The closest Do-it-Best stores are on the South Hill at south Regal and another one on 29th.

We'll update this post with more information as it becomes available.

Cheney High School Solo and Ensemble Winners Heading to State.

Among the winners this weekend are the Cheney High School Percussion Ensemble, going to state for their fourth year in a row; Chris Knox, trumpet; Lauren McKinley, mallets; David Denenny, oboe; Lucas Barry, alto sax; and Jessica Ho, clarinet.

WA@2.4K' would also like to congratulate the first alternates to state: Danielle Gilmour, alto sax; Wesley Nanny, trumpet; and Caitlin Foster, bass.

The state competition will be in Ellensburg on April 29 and 30.

The Solo and Ensemble competition was Saturday at East Valley High School.

"Twisted Proverbs" by Lynn Glassock, performed by the Cheney High School Percussion 1 and was judged by Ron Crenshaw.


Friday, January 28, 2011

Interview with Kenny Kemper from "Welcome to Cheney."

Eastern Washington University’s recent triumph over the Blue Hens has been a great thing for Cheney resident Kenny Kemper. He starred in a Campus Crusade for Christ (“Cru”) video featuring “Welcome to Cheney,” a two-year-old song by his previous band named Jehovah’s Whiteness in parody.

The five-year resident played the song for friends until Cru music leader Joe Vidot heard it. He needed a project for his sound production class and produced Kemper’s music on campus.

This year Cru selected Spokane for the location of its winter conference and Jason Randles, Cru staff member at EWU, as the master of ceremonies. Randles decided to use Kemper’s song in a video to introduce himself and where he was from.

Kemper says his music is influenced by secular rock, The Strokes and Brand New. Currently he’s into Ace Troubleshooter, Jars of Clay, DCtalk and old Audio Adrenaline.

If you’d like to hear more of Kemper’s music, go to Multiplexer’s Facebook page, Jehovah’s Whiteness’s Myspace page, and Vessel on Myspace Music.

If you missed "Welcome to Cheney," scroll down to the bottom of this post.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Don’t Feed the Animals!

WA@2.4K’ welcomes journalism major and guest blogger Desiree Clark!

Don't Feed the Animals!

By Desiree Clark

Raccoon sightings are common in my Cheney, Wash. neighborhood. I have seen a raccoon at least a half a dozen times and others have seen paw prints and small raccoons. My neighbors nearby seem to shrug off any warning I give that they have moved in.

My neighbor, who lives below me, and I have started to refer to our friendly neighborhood raccoon as “Al.” According to Pelotes Island Nature Preserve, the name “raccoon” may have come from the Algonquin Indian word “arukun” meaning “he who scratches with his hands.” We figured Al was easier to pronounce. I am a night owl and apparently Al is the same.

My apartment has a laundry area in the basement of the house. Unfortunately, I am the attic apartment and have to go outside around the back of the house and down a cement stairwell to access it. While coming up from the laundry around 8 p.m. a few nights ago, I rounded the corner of the house and came face-to-face with Al.

Apparently I startled him, as he sure as heck startled me. He reared up on his hind legs and stood as tall as my chest. This is not saying much as I am only five feet tall. However, for someone my size to be reared on by a wild animal that is about the same size, I was freaked out with no escape nonetheless.

Turning around meant getting trapped in the cement stairwell and he was blocking my path around the house. Doing the only thing I could, I ran for the stairwell and pounded on my neighbors’ window. Al followed of course, and doing this catlike stalking move, he crept towards to stairs. I pounded harder.

By this point I was shaking uncontrollably and my neighbor was not answering. Al slowly moved forward and the front door of my neighbor’s house finally opened up. Man to the rescue. When the door opened up and my neighbor who is twice my size came out, Al ran over our fence and off to torment someone else.

I shook for about 30 minutes before shooting off an email to my landlord about Al. Knowing I needed more information about the animal, I looked further. I found out some interesting information about the wild animal population around Cheney.

A few days after the “incident” with Al, I approached the Eastern Washington University campus police for information. Officer Tom Barber, a 6-year veteran of the EWU police said there are many different wild animals around town including “owls, raccoons, cats (larger than a house pet), coyotes, deer and fox.”

Up until this point I was unaware how humorous my terrifying experience was for those that heard the story. Kudos to Barber for his almost poker face. All I was looking for was a way to get Al to move on. “We invaded their territory,” Barber said and he added that the best way to keep them away is to clean up your yard and keep garbage cans secure.

Still not folding to everyone’s chuckles, I googled it. You would be amazed (or maybe not) at the amount of information that came up. The best site was They have a cartoon video to basically tell “us dummies” how to get rid of raccoons.

There are many ways to keep animals out of your neighborhood. The obvious one has been mentioned, cleaning up your yard of garbage and keeping it secure. Taking in pet food at night and cleaning up debris will also help. Purchasing metal garbage cans with secure lids, placing weights on your garbage can lid, and washing your garbage can out are also ways of keeping the animals away.

My landlord was great about looking into the situation as well. She also said many people laughed while giving her information but was told to call Fish and Wildlife if the “problem” continued.

Since this terrifying experience, Al has thankfully disappeared. I have not placed rocks on my garbage or double bagged, but I carry a Maglite to do the laundry now. One of those big four- or five- battery Maglites. I really hope that Al lives a long life in someone else’s garage or wood pile or whatever. But I promise this, he will not be missed.

Have pictures of wildlife in your yard? Send them to, and we'll post them!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

EWU Not Free From Bullying

When EWU junior "Tara Jones" rejoined the marching band last fall, she couldn’t have foreseen the discord waiting for her.

In a rehearsal on a piece that called for crowd noise, Tara’s section leader directed his screaming point-blank at her ear, causing terrible pain. She went home to bed immediately after school and woke up hurting the next day. When the ear pain was still present a week later, she finally went to her doctor, who said that some of the muscles in the ear had been shocked into protection mode and, as a result, pressure had built up behind the drum.

When Tara confronted the offending student, he laughed, saying he didn’t know such a thing was possible. Surely, he didn’t mean to hurt her, did he? Tara assumed he didn’t. But soon after this incident, a poor interaction between the pair ended with him calling her a rather colorful gender-based epithet.

After another incident involving property, Tara confided in an instructor, who pointed out where she went wrong and spoke with the section leader. For Tara, this criticism hit a sour note. “I felt invalidated when (the instructor) corrected me.”

Since then, the student has retaliated with more harassment, this time with more personal discriminating statements based on Tara’s overheard conversation with a friend. When the instructor asked for specifics, Tara was too embarrassed to share. Bullying has left Tara feeling powerless and angry.

According to the EWU policy on bullying (901-04,) bullying is “intentional, targeted at an individual or group, repeated, hostile or offensive, and creates an intimidating and/or threatening environment which produces a risk of psychological and/or physical harm.” The policy includes a spectrum of behaviors that are physical, verbal or written. To sum it up, the civility learned before life at EWU should be retained and practiced.

Behaviors that are harmful to an individual or property are referred to the campus police. Detective Quincy Burns says the university takes this issue very seriously, but that harassment issues don’t make it to them unless it becomes criminal or the victim has been threatened with violence.

Criminal repercussions are straightforward, but the disciplinary actions as outlined in the bullying policy are ambiguous. The policy says, “The supervisor or other appropriate official will take action to prevent future violations and to administer appropriate sanctions.” Karen Wanjico, Violence Prevention Victim Advocate (VPVA) says that discipline is handled on a case-by-case basis. After a hearing, the sanctions could be a dismissal from the university, in extreme cases, or student education, like an interview with police or a personal reflection paper based on research.

Catching the bully before the behavior becomes criminal is doing the student a favor, says Detective Burns. Certainly, education is a priority at the university; in real-world scenarios, students could face natural consequences ranging anywhere from a human-resource referral to job loss to a civil harassment suit or worse.

Bullies can get away with their behavior if their victims are undereducated about their rights. At EWU, the weakest point of the bullying policy is student training. According to the policy, the Vice President for Student Affairs is responsible for annual training on standards and procedures pertaining to bullying. During New Student and Orientation Week, students had the option to attend a 40-minute session on discrimination, sexual harassment and reporting criteria. Other than that, where do victims learn that the behaviors they’ve been tolerating are actually red flags? Sexual harassment and assault help referrals are highly visible on campus, but for students like Tara, comparing your own experiences with that extreme is enough to dismiss the inappropriate behavior and pretend it’s no big deal.

Gary Gasseling, “the head cheese of the big red barn,” stated that students often downplay red flags, but campus police want students to come in. “When you don’t report, you are a part of the problem.” Toughing it out doesn’t make the victim stronger, it enables the bully.

So what should bullied students do? When recipients of unwanted behavior are dissatisfied with or unable to approach their instructor for help, they can visit with first responders, who are staff and faculty trained to assist in these situations. They can help students through the complaint processes. Another resource is Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) in Martin Hall.
The direct, more formal approach would be to visit the Office of the Dean of Students and file a complaint. According to Michelle Helmerick, Assistant to the Dean of Students, after a complaint, the Dean will listen and sort through the matter confidentially. She also said that students who are employees should report to their immediate supervisors, Human Resources or another official.

The Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities houses more student resources, including conflict resolution services. VPVA Wanjico’s job as advocate is to help students afraid for their safety. She helps with practical needs such as switching classes or dorm rooms to navigating the legal system with the appropriate court order.

While Tara’s case hasn’t become violent yet, she has visited Heather Robinson, a communications professor and first responder. “She listened, validated my feelings, gave me advice and a phone number.” Tara went on to say that Robinson was there to point her to resources, but wouldn’t hear about the situation again unless Tara came to her personally with the details. Confidentiality is a priority at the university.

Since then, Tara has been talking to other students and says that people are watching out for her. “The music building is a tight community.”

Thursday, January 20, 2011

We need you!

We're putting together a Valentine's Day montage (that's pictures put to music) for your enjoyment here at WA@2.4k'.

Send us a picture of you with your honey with your names and how long you've been together to .

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Wednesday Sunshine

Raccoon Tracks
Raccoon Tracks

Raccoon prints
Raccoon Prints

Raccoon print detail
Raccoon Print Detail

Sunlight in the Tree
Sunlight in the Tree

Trees capture the sunrise
Trees Capture the Sunrise

Happy January morning
Happy January Morning

Light through the snow
Light through the Snow

Soaking in Sunshine
Soaking in Sunshine

Tree Shadows on Hargreaves
Tree Shadows on Hargreaves

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Battle of the Broadcasters--Just in Time for the Superbowl

Updated 2/2/11 at 5:24 P.M., PST
KAYU and DIRECTV have come to some sort of agreement in time for the Superbowl this Sunday.
You can view DIRECTV's Facebook press release here or KAYU's letter to DIRECTV here.
By no means is the saga over. This is a temporary retransmission agreement between the two parties. It's scheduled to last four weeks, while the two continue to haggle over the fee for retransmission.
KAYU stated in their letter that they're asking DIRECTV for less than three cents per subscriber.
“DIRECTV has been unable to renew our agreement with this broadcast station, and the station has forced us to take it down,” the message said on the big screen. My husband pressed the keys 2-8 on the remote. “Isn’t this a local channel? Why aren’t we getting anything?”
Why not, indeed. When we signed up with DIRECTV in August of 2009, we understood that we would receive local channels and have more variety of subscription channels. DIRECTV made good on their end, if by “variety” you mean “shopping.”
But what’s all the hullaballoo? And why can’t we watch the Seahawks from the comfort of our living room?
What I understand is this: DIRECTV needs retransmission consent from KAYU. Northwest Broadcasting (NWB), the company transmitting, claims that DIRECTV charges around $5 per bill for local channels and that they are asking for a fraction of that amount.
The press release issued by NWB has jargon that I don’t understand. It sounds as though NWB wants to be paid as much as everyone else. They claim DIRECTV has told them that no one gets paid more than their offer, and now NWB wants an audit.
“I am confident that the viewers with whom I have spoken have done their homework and understand what is going on. When they realize that we have conditionally agreed to DIRECTV's numbers subject to independent verification and when DIRECTV does not accept that offer, they will know who the bad actor is in all of this” said Brian Brady, CEO in a NWB press release.
Of course, DIRECTV has taken the opposite stance, villanizing NWB. They claim that they were able to renegotiate six retransmission deals with other broadcasters and that NWB is attempting to “extort” them.
Mike White, CEO said in a DIRECTV press release that NWB wants a 600 percent price increase. He wanted the broadcasting company to continue service to his customers. “For local broadcast station owners to brazenly hold viewers hostage in an attempt to extort fees that are astronomically higher than what we pay other local broadcasters is flat out wrong. We hope that Northwest will ultimately come to the table in good faith to discuss reasonable terms and fees and they will quickly restore programming to our customers.”
Then to wrap up the press release, DIRECTV says they will inform the FCC later in the year of Northwest’s behavior.
You know what this sounds like to me, a journalism student (and parent of four)?
They sound like a couple preteen girls on the playground who can’t seem to agree on what to play. So they’re tattling to their friends or to the teacher when it doesn’t go their way.
Neither side has given us actual numbers. Had NWB agreed to receive $1 for every 1000 viewers and now they’re asking for $6? Was it $1,000 for every 1000 and now NWB is asking for $6,000? No one is saying. How do we know what’s fair? How do we judge the market?
Here’s the deal—do the viewers care who is wrong and who is right? No, we don’t even know the details. We’re like mushrooms out here—kept in the dark and fed a bunch of poop.
I have a solution: a digital antenna. DIRECTV agreed that I would have my local channels. So if they sent me a digital antenna, I would have my local channels.
I don’t want them to install it though. The last time they installed anything, they mangled the box on the side of the house. I thought it was Davis Communications and made a very angry phone call to them.
Now that I see examples of customer service on DIRECTV’s Facebook page, there’s no doubt that it was the installer. It makes my neighbor’s double dishes on her roof seem like par for the course: a definite lack of customer care.
So if I don’t get KAYU in time for the Superbowl, the solution is easy. I have lots of friends and invitations to the game. However, when my contract is up in August, I may find myself crawling back to Davis Communications, begging for forgiveness.
Please, take me back. It wasn’t you—it was me!
Mad as heck? Comment below and complain to DIRECTV or Northwest Broadcasting Inc.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Waiting at the Bookstore

(Clicking on any of these pictures take you to a larger version.)
11:05 I'm at the PUB and getting in line. The line to get in has curled around the piano foyer. I'm standing at the bottom of the stairs.
11:10 The line seems to be mostly students with alumni interspersed. The bookstore windows are blocked off with large sheets of butcher paper, but I can see red and white Mylar balloons inside.
I text my friend, "Line goes up to landing!" I don't expect a response. She's been inside all morning, preparing for the big day with the other staff.

Fifty minutes to go. I count 58 people between the elevator and the stairs.
11:20 The line is almost to the second floor. A KHQ news camera shows up from the front of the line, filming us.
All these people have one thing in common. They are willing to wait for an extended period of time to buy a t-shirt.
I text my mom. I'm bored. I can't help it.

11:25 The line extends past the second stair to the top floor. Troy Kirby comes down the line, passing out his card to folks that he believes aren't students. Now is the time to get the deal on season tickets for next year. Thankfully, he passes me over--probably assuming that I'm a student-- even though I am a student and a parent.

Behind me in line, John Bigley, parent of senior Jessica Bigley, waits in line with his eagles cap. Apparently, I've missed the announcement that EWU will give customers 20 percent off for wearing their eagle gear today. We get to talking about the game and the publicity. "National champions and no one in the state recognizes them," he says. He emailed Joe Biden's office after the game. "'Thanks for the chicken dinner!' I never did hear back from them, of course," he says.
11:35 Mike Lemelin walks past. He says the line might go around the corner upstairs, but it's not outside.
11:40 People crowd into the foyer. The spirit picks up. We've almost gone the distance.

11:50 A band shows up and starts setting up. I recognize Garrett Stannard from church. "What are you guys doing?"

"We're going to play something boring," he says.

I know, ask a stupid question, get a stupid answer.

11:53 The butcher paper is down.

11:55 "We Are the Champions" wafts through the crowd, played on an electric guitar. A woman walks through the crowd, handing out the words, but no one is singing. We're hooting and hollering and excited, but this isn't karaoke.

The game is replaying on a TV inside the bookstore. Bigley tells me that it's playing on the Baldy's TVs upstairs too.

12:00 Swoop comes out and mingles. The school spirit in the room is unmistakable. Students are calling to each other across the room, everyone but me is wearing red.

John Bigley, Swoop, Jessica Bigley

The doors are open, we head for the merchandise.
"This is like Black Friday all over again," a girl has appeared from nowhere and is now front of me. She's right. I think we're safe as long as it doesn't turn into something like a bridal sale.
When I get inside, I can't tell where anything is. Everyone has made a dash to my right, so I ask an employee. She says the shirts are everywhere.

They weren't. I grab a couple sweatshirts in the right size and push into the crowd. The mass of humanity next to the shirts is several people deep and they're grabbing stacks of shirts. I cling to my sweatshirts and make a complete circle around the cash registers.

Will I ever get to the t-shirts? What if I don't like the styles?
Some girls near me hold up their black shirts.

The sweatshirts in my arms are looking better in every moment.
There's no way I'll win against this crowd.

In line, a checker waves me over. "Considering it's you," says my friend behind the counter, "I'm going to slow down and rest a minute." If she was resting, I'd hate to see her at full speed.
I bump into alumni Michelle Best. This is her second trip to the bookstore today. She first came to the store at 7:30, unaware that there was a delayed opening. We walk out of the mayhem and into the warm January air. Prizes in hand, we talk of kids and plans for the weekend.
We don't compare purchases, but when I get my prize home, I know I've made the right choice.

Chicken Bacon Mac N' Cheese by Amy Meyer

Prep time: 30 minutes.
Bake time: 30 minutes @ 350*-375*

What you’ll need: Chicken, bacon, macaroni, Velveeta, butter and (optional) breadcrumbs.

Start by prepping your chicken. The chicken should be pan fried, boiled, broiled or heated to 170 degrees. Pick the method that works best for you. For the sake of my demonstration, I’ll broil the chicken.

While the chicken is cooking away, dice bacon into large bits and fry.

Cube Velveeta while you’re waiting for the chicken and bacon to cook. I like a third of a two-pound loaf, but you can always taste it and decide if it needs more. If you don’t like cheese and want to use less, consider making something other than macaroni and cheese, like Top Ramen®.

(That's a pretty awful thumbnail, if ever I've seen one.)

When the bacon is done, drain the fat and put the bits into a bowl.

When the chicken is at temperature, transfer it to a cutting board and chop into bite-sized pieces at the largest. Mix this into the bowl of bacon.

Boil water for the noodles. If you’re cooking for a big family, make 4 cups of macaroni. If not, half it.

While your water is heating, melt some butter in a separate pan and preheat the oven to 375 degrees. If you have more noodles (4 cups), you’ll want more butter or margarine—like half a cube. This is a horseshoes/hand grenades measurement. For those of you who prefer absolute measurements, keep in mind that the more you practice this recipe, the more you’ll understand the right measurements for the way you like your macaroni.

After your butter has melted, add enough flour to soak in all the butter. This means adding a little flour at a time. Make sure the heat is on medium. When the butter has absorbed all the flour add a little milk at a time and stir constantly, breaking up as much flour as possible. Keep adding milk a little at a time until your saucepan is halfway full or better.

Your macaroni should cook for about 7 minutes with the lid off. Drain the noodles and set aside when they’re cooked “to the tooth.” You should like the doneness when you bite into one.

Add the Velveeta a little at a time, stirring on low heat. When there are no more clumps, you’re done. Remove from heat.

Pick a casserole dish that is deep but slender. If it’s too wide, the dish seems to dry out. Yuck.

Place the noodles on the bottom of the dish and stir the chicken-bacon mixture into it. Lastly, pour the cheese sauce over the top of the noodles, stir it in a little and place the casserole into the oven for 30 minutes

Variations: fry onions in the butter used for the sauce
Top with tomato slices
Top with bread crumbs for a nice crust

(The video says we took two hours to film, but this recipe doesn't take that long to make unless you have to play with a camera while you make it.)

Think you can do better? Show me! I welcome your comments and demonstrations. Share your knowledge with this audience.

Or comment below

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Snow forecasted, followed by rain-Wednesday

Cheney resident stays warm during Wednesday morning snowfall.

Drivers navigate icy and snow on North Sixth.

View of North Sixth

A side street in Cheney shows garbage truck traffic but no plow.

A Cheney chicken coop shelters its occupants with a heat lamp.

Evidence of warmer weather

Intersection of North Sixth and Elm

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The Cows are Watching: Building The Pygmy Kayak - Part 1

Cheney resident, Dave M., loves the outdoors. Why should apartment living stop him from building a kayak?

The Cows are Watching: Building The Pygmy Kayak - Part 1: "10x20 Storage Unit Last winter, out of a need to keep myself occupied, I decided to build a Kayak. I had built a boat before, a 16 f..."

Monday, January 10, 2011

Cheney High School VP Jim Missel, Athletic Director of the Year

Congratulations to Jim Missel, Vice Principal at Cheney High School, who has been awared the Great Northern League (GNL) Athletic Director of the Year.

The GNL sought a nomination, West Valley High School's Wayne McKnight threw Missel's name in. It was seconded and then voted on by the GNL athletic directors.

In Missel's 14-year history as an athletic director, this is the second time he's been nominated. His previous nomination came during his three-year position at Lakeside High School.

Missel's resume will be sent to Mike Davis of Washington Interscholastic Activities Association (WIAA) District #7 to compete on a district level before going on to state.

Missel's nomination is not a surprise. During his tenure as CHS athletic director, he has supported activities and sports by getting the funding and guidance they need. He also works with parents and sends information to the press so the kids receive recognition.

"I'm still learning and I will continue to learn," Missel said of his job description.

His devotion to the students is outstanding as he has worked with students on limited budgets. He helps them by reducing fees and reducing program costs so barriers to after-school activies are minimalized.

"I want every kid involved in activites and athletics," he said.

Welcome to WA@2.4K'

What's going on in your community on a day-by-day basis?
Wish you had somewhere to share your photos with your neighborhood? To share information anonymously?
WA@2.4K' is a blog with exactly that in mind.

True democracy is allowing the people to decide, to vote, to voice, to squabble back and forth with ideas until the best solutions float to the top.

This is a place for you, the citizens of the West Plains in Washington, those folks who live around 2400 feet, to find all your news, tweets and area blogs in one spot. This is also where you can report, comment and react to your world.

Let me know how I'm doing at any time by dropping me a line:

Amy Meyer,
Journalist-in-training at Eastern Washington University