Friday, September 4, 2009

Relocated to Rockford's Businesses

Yesterday, Vivian Plank, my co-volunteer in Horizons communication and education project , pointed out to me the preferable solution to a recent Horizons blog dilemma. ie: My posts to Rockford's community Horizons blog don't fit into Horizons criteria, so Patrick Malone, WSU Extension-Horizons Community Coach, requested that I be removed from posting to the blog that scrolls Horizons' news headlines on Rockford's official web site,

Vivian is sincere and a dear to work with, so I adopted her idea -- that everyone should have their own blog and link it to, and perhaps also to Rockford community's Horizons blog. That's the blog featured prominently on the town's official web site home page. (I'm told all posts to Horizons must go through Micki Harnois.)

So I diligently filled in the form provided to include my business, Montana Scribbler, on the web site Businesses page. I also e-mailed Micki that I'd love to have a link to my business blog, Mona Leeson Vanek, aka, Montana Scribber,, included on the Resources Links on Rockford community's Horizons blog.

I also asked her (if appropriate and approved) to please post an announcement that my posts will now be published on instead of at Horizons That way the following of readers I've attracted will know where my posts will be.

Thank you to all the readers of my ramblings for your kind comments. Please watch for the news of my blog's new location in Sally Holt's North Palouse Journal news column, soon.

I'll post whenever I learn of information you might be interested in, or benefit from. Or just when the need to chatter strikes me!

Meanwhile, please add your voice to mine in requesting Mayor Wagner and the town officials to have webmasters, Josh and Andy, create a town blog with a RSS feed to bring instant news updates -- provided by Rockford's elected officials.

Mona Leeson Vanek, aka, Montana Scribbler

The moment we begin to fear the opinions of others and hesitate to tell the truth that is in us, and from motives of policy are silent when we should speak, the divine floods of light and life no longer flow into our souls. ~Elizabeth Cady Stanton

Candidate forum recap

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Candidate Forum Recap
The Candidate Forum, hosted by MacIntosh Grange at the grange hall last night was a huge success, in spite the small percentage of registered voters attending. A number of Horizons' members attended.

The McIntosh Grange did a great job in organizing the event, and candidates were unanimous in thanking those who came. Moderator, Kevin Fricke was neutral and fair while seven candidates for council had a chance to give their personal statements and answer questions from the audience. Candidates are:

Council Position #1
Larry Van Every
Howard Brutschy
Stan Seehorn (did not attend Forum)

Council Position #2
Steve Meyers
Thomas Smith

Gary Wagner
Micki Harnois

Written questions from the floor were asked, with each candidate being allowed three minutes for their response. Several Horizons' members were among those submitting written questions.

A question regarding poverty in Rockford brought varied replies from those asked. Despite notable actives by citizens of Rockford and the surrounding area involved in the Horizons program for nearly a year, when asked if poverty exists in Rockford three of the candidates, Steve Myers, Larry Van Every and Thomas Smith, felt that poverty does not exist here.

Myers and Van Every claim poverty is only a "state of mind," and they voiced strong opinions that people remain in poverty by choice, rather than by working to lift themselves out of poverty.

Each pointed out that statistics generally are touted to serve a purpose, instead of being an accurate statement of affairs. Van Every said Rockford is a community of spirit and that poverty results when people "choose to be poor of spirit." Rockford provides the ability to be at peace with neighbors, he said, and "Crime will not come if there is no market." He appealed to every citizen to do his or her part to circumvent the market.

Mayor pro-tem Micki Harnois feels that elected leaders of the Town of Rockford must recognize that a sure sign of poverty is when decision makers do not acknowledge that a percentage of local citizens remain jobless, have low income, lack computer accessibility, have low self-esteem, and have no community facility or location to access resources that can help them improve their chances of joining the labor force that provides decent wages.

She also mentioned funding to continue the two debris-chipping days the town has provided since Spokane County's burn ban affected area residents.

A need for bus transportation to and from Spokane was acknowledged by most of the candidates. Partnering with the Coeur d'Alene Tribe to get Casino buses to stop, or with Idaho City Link buses, could be explored. Myers said he doesn't see any feasible outlook.

Maintaining the closeness of community residents and the spirit of cooperation among them is high priority for Thomas Smith, as it is for all of the candidates. Smith hopes to work on cleaning up neglected areas in the town. Myers told of efforts (so far unsuccessful) to accomplish that. He also praised St. John's success with senior retirement housing.

Responses to questions about Rockford's website were positive, and only one member felt business should pay to be listed. When asked if town ordinances can be on the website, replies were split. A couple members thought the ordinances are too numerous and space consuming. Van Every, who has a background in website design, said it would be a simple matter to link to them. Mayor Wagner said Town Council minutes couldn't be put on the website until after being approved. Brutschy admitted to being in violation of an ordinance.

Mayor Wagner, who said that during his terms as a public official over $5 million in grants have been utilized for improving the town's infrastructure, expressed the need to grow the population by having more houses. Candidate Howard Brutschy said the need wasn't for more housing, but certainly more job opportunities through attracting more businesses is desirable. He favors controlled growth, and is active on the Planning and Zoning board and the South East Spokane County Fair board.

In discussing crime and law enforcement and the financial constraints of county law enforcement, all believe community members will be best served by participating in S.C.O.P.E. and Neighborhood Block Watch efforts.

Council Position #1 is the only position open for voting in the primary election, as there are three candidates. The two candidates that receive the most votes will be included in the general election along with Council Position #2 and the Mayor position.

MacIntosh Grange members plan to hold another Candidate forum, October 19 th, 7 p.m. at the grange hall.

Posted by Mona Leeson Vanek at 10:07 AM 0 comments

Elected officials

Sunday, July 26, 2009

If you don’t know who the members of your congressional delegation are, you can find out by going to and entering your zip code.

Senator Patty Murray (Ph: 202-224-2621; Fax: 202 224-0238

Senator Maria Cantwell (Ph: 202 224 3441; Fax: 202 228-0514Representative, Cathy McMorris-Rodgers (Ph: 202 225-2006; Fax: 202 225-3392.

Email to elected officials must go through their websites:

Senator Patty Murray,

Senator Maria Cantwell,

Representative, Cathy McMorris-Rodgers ,,82.

Social networking safely

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Social Networking Tips
As rural communities get faster Internet services, social networking increases, bringing opportunities to increase incomes. I have a friend who earns $90 an hour for as little as two hours a day with social networking. However, the ways social networking can endanger the unwary increases, too.If you're new to social networking (or even if you're not), check out Debra Littlejohn Shinder's article, "10 Ways to Stay Out of Trouble when you Post to Social Networking Sites" on the TechRepublic site at

Debra is a Microsoft MVP specializing in enterprise security and CEO of TACteam (Trainers, Authors & Consultants). A former police officer/criminal justice instructor, she has written or contributed to over 20 books and hundreds of articles for print and online publications. Debra is highly respected for her virtual-crime fighting expertise. Her titles include MVP/Security, Editor, WXPnews (, Editor, VistaNews (, and Tech Blog:

In "Throwing Sheep in the Boardroom," authors Matthew Fraser and Soumitra Dutta wrote, "The generation entering the workforce today - and entering boardrooms everywhere - is fully engaged with social networking and its uses. Rather than feeling threatened and paranoid, today's business leaders need to understand this phenomenon, accept that it won't go away, and embrace its power in the world of business."

Give serious thought to how you use this powerful new medium. Although social networking is increasing at phenominal speed in the business world and vastly enhancing the work-a-day world, it warrants the time to learn about its many uses.

Start at to learn more. And be sure to read,

On the bookshelf, "Throwing Sheep in the Boardroom" is the first comprehensive book written for a wide audience about the Web 2.0 social networking revolution. ...

Posted by Mona Leeson Vanek at 10:08 PM 0 comments