New community radio station’s inaugural broadcast July 4

Light pours in from outside as Noel Henry works on the new broadcast studio for Ellensburg Community Radio inside the historic 420 Building along Pearl Street in downtown Ellensburg on Thursday. (Brian Myrick / Daily Record)

Ellensburg Community Radio will air its first online broadcast July 4, and organizers hope unveiling the project, which has been in the works for more than a year, during the First Friday Art Walk and the city’s festivities for Independence Day will help introduce and excite the community over the station’s potential.

Ben Kaspar said the idea started more than a year ago, when he and Mollie Edson started thinking of ways to utilize the lower floor of the 420 Building, which Edson owns.

She suggested a radio station, which Kaspar said was the most promising and exciting idea.

“At first, it was just hearing ideas — what do we want the station to look like, why is it important?” he said.

Since then, the organizers have raised about $10,000 in start-up costs, including broadcasting equipment to start streaming content online.

There are about seven people on the ECR’s board, but many others have helped contribute time, expertise and resources, Kaspar said.

They’ve been building a small booth space in a corner of the 420 Building’s first floor, which they hope to have ready by the Fourth of July.

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Bad investments, growth for its own sake are the doom of American cities

Charles Marohn, with the non-profit smart development advocacy group Small Towns, speaks about potential problems with rapid growth during a presentation at City Hall in Ellensburg hosted by the Ellensburg Downtown Association on Tuesday. (Brian Myrick / Daily Record)

Charles Marohn, a city planner and engineer, went to Wyoming once and saw how a city, through a state program, had built roads and utilities to nowhere for future development.

“When they explained this to me, they said, ‘Well, when Google shows up or when Amazon shows up, we’ve gotta have shovel-ready sites for them,’” he said.

If you built it, they will come is a good plot for a movie, he said, but bad economic development planning, he said, and cities and towns “are now the dumb money at the card table.”

Google or Amazon will not save your city, he said. Cities’ willingness to play that game is built on an illusory and unsustainable desire for constant growth, where the long-term benefits are so mismatched to the size of investments mounting debt and infrastructure costs will crush many American cities and towns under their own weight.

After decades of growth, unprecedented in human history, Marohn said he’s seeing the fruits of that growth sour, creating deep financial and structural issues across the country, and leaving residents asking why.

“We’ve had decades of growth, decades of robust growth in our cities, and we’ve all been following the formula, the cookbook, the model, that tells us what to do, yet we’re all at this same destination now, at the same time, where we’re all going broke,” he said.

“It’s because the underlying business model of it doesn’t work. It creates and illusion of wealth for us today in exchange for these overwhelming long-term obligations.”

Marohn started a blog in 2008 documenting what he saw in his work. It gained a following, and he started traveling around the country talking about city growth with Strong Towns.

Stong Towns, a nonpartisan, nonprofit company, promotes growth strategies it says will help towns achieve financial health and resiliency.

Marohn was in town Tuesday for a Strong Towns Curbside Chat presentation hosted by the Ellensburg Downtown Association.

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CWU grad gave college a second try

Adam Brand, at left, tutors Josh Rinehold with his calculus work at Central Washington University’s Brooks Library, Friday, June 6, 2014. (Brian Myrick / Daily Record)

Today, Adam Brand will be the first in his family to graduate from college. Again.

When Brand was young, he had his mind set on being a high-powered corporate lawyer.

“I never actually looked into what you had to do to be a corporate lawyer and what their actual daily job is. I thought it was like ‘The Firm’ with Tom Cruise.”

Beyond that, he said, he didn’t have much direction. Brand earned a business degree in 2004, but couldn’t land anything outside of a sales job.

“My parents never went to college, so they didn’t really know what was out there,” he said.

By the time he realized he didn’t want a law job, he was working through business school. He returned to school at Central Washington University three years ago as a math and actuarial science major.

Since no one in his family had much experience with college, he said he was under the impression math degrees led only to teaching.

“Which, you know, obviously isn’t true,” he said.

Brand, 32, said he could have dropped out of school and come back for a math degree. He would have saved tuition and time struggling in sales jobs he hated, but he has a good attitude about it now.

“When I was younger, you go to school just because that’s just what you’re supposed to do, right?” he said. “Like I said, I didn’t really have much of a direction, and therefore was not interested in anything.

“This time around though, it’s a lot more fun.”

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Hard work pays off for student who is going deaf

CWU graduate Rebekah Edelman poses in front of her Ellensburg home, Tuesday, June 10, 2014. (Brian Myrick / Daily Record)

She has three jobs right now — four if she chooses to take another — and at her peak, Rebekah Edelman worked five jobs while attending Central Washington University for a degree in public health.

How’d she manage? She held up a large coffee drink in an interview last week.

“I honestly think that’s it,” she said. “And I’ve been doing it for years, so my body is trained to do this.”

Edelman, who graduates today, has faced another hurdle during her time at CWU. She’s gradually been going deaf.

Hard work

Edelman has been in large part supporting herself since she was 15 and living in a small town in Montana.

She essentially lived on her own for a time after her parents first separated, and worked to support herself and a brother for the last two to three years of high school.

Between multiple jobs, school and sports, her days often wouldn’t end until 9 or 10 o’clock at night.

At one point she tried, unsuccessfully, to be emancipated from her parents.

“I grew up in a really small town. People judge me based on my name. My family was the bad family in town,” she said. “I struggled to prove that I wasn’t like my family.”When she graduated from high school, she remembers one of the speakers calling out names of classmates in a speech. The speaker mentioned Edelman, saying how proud she was to be friends with such a hard worker.

The crowd gave her mention a standing ovation.

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Central adjusts to reality of budget constraints

Central Washington University will be able to bridge its $6 million budget gap through next year but still has to face down a $9.5 million deficit through 2015-16. The university, assuming no help from the Legislature, likely will have to make cuts and has already instated a new management style to encourage programs to generate more revenue, an effort some faculty members are worried puts money over academics.

The system, called responsibility-centered management, or RCM, gives colleges at the university control over their revenues and responsibility over their budgets. In turn, according to the university’s administration, it will help spread the cuts’ blow and encourage more revenue growth.

 

Without further state funding, and in light of a tuition freeze imposed by the Legislature, the university faces a $6.1 million shortfall in 2014-15, growing to $9.5 million in 2015-16.

The concern among some faculty members has been whether the new model, which uses credit hours and the number of majors per college and department as its main metric, will hurt professors and academics.

In an extensive letter to CWU President Jim Gaudino, the heads of the faculty senate and union shared faculty concerns, most of which focused on issues of dilution of quality in education, labor concerns and the university’s system of shared governance.

“I think our primary concern is the shared governance aspect of it,” CWU Faculty Senate chair-elect Katharine Whitcomb said. “The whole way that it’s meant to work is that the faculty are much more involved with the money decisions than we were previously.”

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Highs and lows for local card player at poker World Series

Ellensburg’s Diane Roznik made it into the third day of play at the Millionaire Maker World Series of Poker in Las Vegas. (Christian Zetzsche / WSOP.com)

At her highest, Ellensburg’s Diane Roznik was 25th in the chip count among the nearly 8,000 players at the Millionaire Maker World Series of Poker in Las Vegas over the weekend.

She had $329,000 in chips going into Monday, the third day of play, after starting Sunday with $98,000.

When antes and big and small blinds — when even getting in a hand — can add up to more than $10,000 dollars, climbing that far is no small feat.

“That was probably my biggest accomplishment of the tournament,” said Roznik, who owns a web design company.

For a time, she shared a table with Phil Ivey, winner of nine World Series of Poker bracelets and one of the top competitive poker players in the world.

“I got to play against him and take him out of the pot, which is not something I thought I’d ever get to do, either,” she said.

Many of the players at her tables were professionals, who had won millions playing cards for a living. She heard them make side bets in the thousands of dollars for fun.

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Thorp’s junior firefighters help out district, learn job skills

Becca Ridlon, above, and Melea Berline set up a hose line during a brush fire threatening a structure along Thorp Highway while volunteering for Kittitas County Fire District 1 in Thorp. (Brian Myrick / Daily Record)

The call came out as a structure fire at a home on Thorp Highway.

It was Becca Ridlon’s first fire call. She’d been training with Kittitas County Fire District 1 since August.

“At first I would say I was more nervous, until I got on my first call, and since then it’s kind of clicked,” Becca said.

The fire, on May 15, was a brush fire that scorched the side of a home’s shed.

Becca, 14, is in the eighth grade, and is one of the district’s four junior firefighters. The Thorp students train with the district and provide support on real calls.

They train each Friday with Fire Chief DJ Evans, and with the regular volunteers every other Tuesday.

Junior firefighters can be 14 1/2 through 18 years old, and because of their age, Evans said, they never enter the “hot zone” of a fire. Safety and avoiding injury is their first job.

“I almost beat it into them,” he said.

Instead, they help ready fire hydrants, set up hoses, draft water, staff the fire engines’ pump systems, assist with filling and replacing air tanks, and do traffic control on calls.

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