North Notes
Spokane-North Rotary Club Bulletin
November 7, 2022
            Nov. 14: Noon lunch at the Bark. Speaker: Tom Jarrad, USERRA claims.  Tentatively: tags for Holmes Christmas families.
Happy Bucks:
            Ron Noble was happy for one good doctor’s report and hopes good result for two other outcomes.
            Keeping the club’s theme of honoring veterans this month, John Mailliard offered $20 worth of a variety of happy thoughts, including an elaborate veterans' flag cemetery in California, and recognized areas for KIA victims and Native Americans.  He also shared a special challenge coin.
            Bill Simer honored an uncle in Great Britain who will celebrate his 101st birthday on Nov. 10. Bill said his relative actually was born on Nov. 11, but British at the time, thinking about Armistice Day, said no one should be honored on that anniversary day.
            Dave Hayward offered $5 -- $2.50 for WSU’s stomping win over Stanford, and $2,50 for the Seahawks clobbering Arizona.
            Sgt.-at-arms leader Colin Prestesater added $1 for forgetting his own Rotary pin.
            Dinner dates: Club President Michelle Fossum said 16 of 25 tickets for members and spouses have signed up for the Coeur d’Alene Lake cruise at 6 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 20.  Members have dinner reservations at Tito’s Italian Restaurant after the cruise.
            Michelle said the holiday dinner for the club is scheduled Friday, Dec. 16 at Sandy Fink’s house will include heavy hors ‘devours and refreshments.
            Holiday Tags:  The tentative date to distribute holiday tags – our club’s “40 for $60” program – is scheduled at the Nov. 14 luncheon.
Special Court offers a path for troubled vets
            Ever since cave men and cave women started fighting with their other tribes, war has taken a personal toll.
            Over the centuries, many veterans of war and military service who have endured physical and mental scars largely have had to just tough it out.
            And while battlefield and post-care medicine has brought many thousands of injured Vets home, for many it was not all the peace they hoped for.
            Some of trying to cope has accompanied mental, drug and other challenges that bring them into the police and legal arenas.
            A relative new development to help veterans is the Spokane County Veterans Court.
            Tom Squires, a District Court probation officer, works with vets as they work through the justice system.
            Squires described the court and his job at the club luncheon Nov. 7, part of a month-long series of talks about veterans' issues.
            Tom served in the Marines six years and has worked 23 years in probation work, including seven years in Mason County and 16 years in Spokane.
            Squires said the Spokane Veterans Court was the idea of Judge Vance Peterson, a vet himself who learned about the first such court established in Buffalo.  Similar courts have been designated nationally.
            Squires said the court, which was started seven years ago, has 250 referrals now and to date 405 vets have graduated from the program.
            Under the critical criteria the Vets Court accepts individuals with a Department of Veterans Affairs diagnosis of PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), TBI (traumatic brain injury) or MST (military sexual trauma) as a result of their military service.
            The court’s criminal case criteria accept individuals with misdemeanor or gross misdemeanors, pending a Veterans Team Court review, which includes the judge, prosecutor, public defender, probation officer, the vets court coordinator and Veterans Administration staff.
            Of his participation, “I was volun-told,” Squires said with a smile.
            “Everyone is assigned to a mentor and each vet referred must be in contact at least once a week,” he said.
            Those vets who succeed in the program can reduce the 24-month probation period by six months’ probation.  Some with felony charges can have their charges reduced to misdemeanors. Program fees of $960 also can be halved with successful completion.
             Excluded from the program are those convicted for sexual or serious violent offenses.
            Vets must write a letter about their situations and Squires said 52 of the participants said they would have contemplated suicide.  He mentioned one vet who was saved “because his shotgun didn’t go off.”
            He said there are some female vets in the program, “though not as many” as male vets.
            Among the common issues vets combat are DUI and drug use.  Use of marijuana is often typical behavior, often starting in their youth, he said.
            Squires said he always carries a few “challenge coins,” adding, if a fellow vet does not have a coin, “he buys the drinks, but if the fellow vet has his own coin, he buys the drinks.”
            He said the idea is a way to connect and to communicate, and to know that other vets may be fighting the same battles.
             Bulletin editors: Chuck Rehberg and Sandy Fink and Lenore Romney, photo.