NEWSPAPER COLUMN

 

USA TODAY – National News, March 31, 2012. 

Steven County Pastor Convicted of Killing Wife

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP)  — A Stevens County retired pastor has been convicted of killing his wife by shooting her ten times in 2009 after she told him she was leaving him.

The Spokesman Review reports (http://bit.ly/H67c7p) that a jury convicted 70-year-old Craig R. Cosby of first-degree murder on Friday for killing 53-year-old Susan M. Cosby.

Sentencing has been set for April 17. With the conviction, Cosby faces a minimum of 25 years and up to life in prison.

Cosby was arrested in the front yard of his home in Marcus, a small town along the Columbia River in northern Stevens County. Investigators say Cosby shot his wife with 10 bullets from a .40-caliber handgun.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.
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Jury Finds Cosby Guilty of Killing Wife

STATESMAN-EXAMINER

BY JAMIE HENNEMAN, S-E STAFF REPORTER

April 3, 2012

Last week a Stevens County Jury found Marcus resident Craig Cosby guilty of premeditated murder for the shooting death of his wife, Susan, in 2009.  The jury deliberated for two hours before handing over the guilty verdict to Judge Alan Nielsen.

Cosby, 70, was tried for first-degree murder after shooting Susan Cosby, 53, at their home in Marcus on October 3.  Cosby, who was seeking an acquittal for the crime, said he acted in self-defense and only shot Susan Cosby when he thought he saw her reaching for a gun.

Cosby also claimed he “lost all orientation” when he shot and killed Susan ten times with a .40 caliber handgun.  Evidence presented at trial showed that Susan Cosby was planning on leave her husband and was days away from closing on a new home.

The State, represented by Stevens County Prosecutor Tim Rasmussen and Senior Deputy Prosecutor Shadan Kapri, showed over 130 exhibits during the trial, including new luggage Susan Cosby had bought and the pending real estate agreement.

Cosby faces a minimum of 20 to 27 years in prison for the first degree murder conviction, as well as additional time because the crime qualifies as domestic violence committed with a handgun.  Cosby is planning to appeal the ruling.

Senior Deputy Prosecutor Shadan Kapri said she hopes the jury’s decision can bring peace to Susan’s family.  “It was an emotional trial on all levels,” said Kapri.  “Susan’s family was there every day.  Now that the jury has made it’s decision we hope the family can have some closure and start the long process of healing.  Susan will always be remembered.  She was a loving, mother, daughter, friend, sister, and wife.  She was one of a kind.”

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STATESMAN-EXAMINER, March 20, 2012.

The Hidden Value of Adversity

BY SHADAN KAPRI – Contributing Columnist

We’ve all been through it.  Hardship, challenges, failures, and disappointments, yet no matter what label ‘adversity’ is given the outcome is the same – pain.  When chaos hits, people are often left wondering “why?”  “Why me, why now, why this?”

If you are alive, then you have personally experienced the storms of adversity.  There is no single person on this planet who has not lived through some sort of loss.  For some it’s early in their childhood and for others it can happen later in life.

After the storm settles, people begin to search for meaning.  A sense of understanding for the adversity or challenge that hit their lives so intensely and left so many lingering questions.

In our community, we have seen adversity in various forms from random murders to innocent newborns being shaken to death to young lives lost in accidents.  Lives are altered in an instant.  Those moments of impact can have rippling effects for decades to come.  Yet, after the storm passes people begin to wonder “is it all by chance”?  Is there a purpose to this adversity or just a byproduct of living and making mistakes?

Many years ago, I met a wise older woman who had endured unimaginable pain and loss during her lifetime.  After hearing her story, I gazed in wonder.   Instead of showing signs of resentment or bitterness, she displayed a sense of strength, resilience, and acceptance for the past.  After a long conversation, I asked her bluntly, “how did you not become bitter after all of this?”

She looked at me and firmly stated “I realized early on that I had a choice. I couldn’t change what had happened to me but I could change how it impacted the rest of my life.   I could become a bitter or better person because of it.  That was my defining moment in life.”

To this day, I can still hear her words in my mind.  She went on to explain that the “hidden value of adversity is that it makes us into diamonds.  Only with great pressure does a piece of coal become transformed into a rare and precious stone.”

She believed that adversity had forced her to change and become more compassionate, wise, and understanding, she shared.  She also explained that it was “one of the great catalysts” of her life.

“Without adversity, I would have never truly learned my strength or my resilience.  I would have never truly learned how to navigate through life,” she explained.

That day she taught me that some of our greatest life lessons can be cleverly disguised in our adversities.  Adversity can be the greatest teacher of all.  One that can only be fully understood after surviving the storm.

 [This article was printed in the Statesman-Examiner on March 20, 2012 as part of my ongoing newspaper column.]
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STATESMAN-EXAMINER, February 21, 2012.

It Happens Everywhere

BY SHADAN KAPRI – Contributing Columnist

When college students, Isabel Thompson and Amanda Johnson, began learning about human trafficking, they never believed that the truth would be stranger than fiction.  As students in Mr. Scott Price’s Environmental Science class at the local college, they were bewildered to learn that modern day slavery not only exists but is flourishing in most parts of the world today.

“We had no idea this issue even existed,” Johnson declared.  After countless hours of research and an in-depth presentation to their peers, Professor Price encouraged the pair “to take the issue to a wider audience.” With the support of their mentor and professor, Thompson and Johnson gave an eye-opening presentation on the issue of modern-day slavery to the public on February 8th at the local community college. Members of the public who attended were shocked as well.

“Many people don’t realize that the average age of a modern-day slave is twelve years old,” Amanda Johnson explained. “These are little girls forced into a world of prostitution and violence that is difficult to comprehend,” she shared.

“Eighty-eight percent of Americans are unaware of the actual amount of human trafficking that happens in the U.S. and around the world,” declared Johnson. Her co-presenter, Isabel Thompson, revealed that trafficking of humans “happens everywhere” from smaller towns such as Colville to larger cities like Seattle and Miami. Thompson explained that Seattle is one of the “major cities” in the global sex trade.

“Impoverished and uneducated women and children in developing countries are usually the victims of this crime. They remain voiceless and unprotected in a world that preys upon them in the most cruel ways,” Thompson shared.

The presenters also revealed that sporting events such as the Super Bowl “produce one of the biggest human trafficking events in the U.S.” In 2010, “over ten-thousand sex-workers were brought in to Miami for the Super Bowl alone,” Johnson stated. Many of these women were under-aged and forced into prostitution.

In addition to sporting events, the internet has also become the “biggest source of income for sex traffickers,” shared Thompson. She further detailed how victims are often tricked into the sex trade based upon false promises of a better life. The presenters described how some victims are abducted.

“Young victims are often kidnapped by people they personally know and sold into slavery,” Thompson described. By the time the truth is fully revealed, the victims have “virtually disappeared” into the underground world of trafficking. The presenters also explained how human trafficking is rapidly overtaking drug trafficking as the fasting growing criminal activity.

Johnson noted that the income of human trafficking is greater than that of Google, Nike, and Starbucks combined. “This problem shows the necessity of educating girls and empowering women around the world to prevent a new generation of victims,” Thompson declared.

The presenters emphasized that until people understand the scope and severity of the problem, this will never end. As Johnson explained, “we can make a difference by educating ourselves on this issue. We owe it to these women and children to make fighting trafficking a priority. This issue has been hidden far too long.”

If you would like to learn more about human trafficking or how you can help, visit the International Justice Mission (www.ijm.org) or Not for Sale (www.notforsalecampaign.org). To learn about victims who have been rescued visit www.love146.org

[This article was printed in the Statesman-Examiner on February 21, 2012 as part of my ongoing newspaper column.]

All Rights Reserved.

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STATESMAN-EXAMINER, February 7, 2012.

The Power to Change Lives Through Storytelling

BY SHADAN KAPRI – Contributing Columnist

When Kettle Falls resident, Kathy Hansen, began writing her first book she never realized that an economic recession would make her innovative approach to finding a job a lifeline for people seeking employment.  Her honest and creative advice has led to eight books and hundreds of articles that are viewed by people around the world.

Hansen has cultivated an internet following as the Creative Director and Associate Publisher of Quintessential Careers.  All of this from her home in Kettle Falls. Hansen believes that her success as an author, educator, and career specialist stems from her desire to empower people and give them “a new skill set.”

“Sometimes people give their power away without realizing it,” she said. “To be viable in today’s competitive job-market, a different mind-set is required than in the past.“

In her book, “Tell Me About Yourself:  Storytelling to Get a Job and Propel Your Career,” she explains how storytelling has become vital in job search activities such as writing resumes, cover letters, networking, and above all, interviews.

Her best piece of advice for job seekers is to “have a clear understanding of what you want to do next, and convey that sharp focus in your communications with employers.”  She believes that employers don’t find it helpful when people project an attitude of “I’ll do anything” because they want to know how you will fit into their organization.  “If you are really not sure what you want to do, then your lack of focus will come through in communications such as your resume, which will then be ineffective,” she related.

Hansen believes that effective and honest storytelling can help people get a job by conveying their skills, accomplishments, and highlighting their personality in a concise way.  When employers are looking through resumes or interviewing people, potential employees have literally “minutes” to make a good impression.

“When people change their story, they change their life,” Hansen said. “People who know how to tell effective stories about their background and accomplishments can communicate their value to an organization.  This is vital in today’s tough, competitive job market.”

If people don’t tell their “professional story in a way that is memorable,” then the next person will, Hansen emphasized.  “Helping someone understand and convey their value to a potential employer has the power to transform a person’s life,” she said. “Today, the quest for meaningful employment is the biggest issue facing our society.” People need a new skill set and tools to compete.

People have the power within them, the key is to “harness” it for change, she added.  Applied storytelling is a topic Hansen became fascinated with while completing her PhD in Organizational Behavior.  “I wrote my dissertation about using storytelling in the job search which is also the topic of my seventh book,” she shares.  Storytelling and career is also a major topic of her blog, “A Storied Career” but she’s “fascinated by many other applied uses or forms of storytelling.”

Her ultimate goal is to help people change their lives “one story at a time.”  Hansen is currently developing workshops to help people accomplish that in the local community.  For more information visit www.quintcareers.com or her blog www.astoriedcareer.com

[This article was printed in the Statesman-Examiner on February 7, 2012 as part of my ongoing newspaper column.]

All Rights Reserved.

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STATESMAN-EXAMINER, January 31, 2012.

Making A Difference A World Away

BY SHADAN KAPRI – Contributing Columnist

As Lacey Shoemaker awakens every morning, she is amazed at how her life has changed over the last year.  The 2004 Colville High School graduate never imagined that she would be living in Thailand. The Peace Corps Volunteer is part of a group of Americans who are stationed around the world to promote cultural exchange and understanding between countries.

As part of the program, Lacey volunteers for the Thai government on special community based projects as an Organization Developer. She also teaches English to young Thai children in her free time.  Her journey across the world has been life changing.

“If there is anything that I’ve learned since my time here is that language and distance mean little when it comes to compassion for humanity,” she explains.

She was drawn to the idea of applying for the Peace Corps to help promote its mission for peace and tolerance. She also saw it as a chance to improve lives in her host country. Her most recent projects in Thailand focus on behavior modification for people at-risk for diabetes and a youth camp for drug abuse prevention and awareness.

Yet, through the experience she’s learned one vital lesson. No matter what a person’s age, cultural background, or experience “we are always teaching and learning from one another.”  In some ways, “people add to their own discrimination,” she states. Some think that traveling or international adventures are only for the college years.

Yet, the older Peace Corps Volunteers have added an extra level of knowledge and support that is vital in these cultural exchange programs. The older volunteers in their 60s are “charismatic, knowledgeable, and supportive and above all show us youngsters how it’s done,” she writes. She hopes that more generations will share that spirit of giving.

Her journey has also taught her that Peace Corps Volunteers benefit, as much, if not more from the experience than the host country. Living in another country, volunteers are immersed into a new lifestyle, language, and culture that can alter their life perspective.

“There is a certain level of curiosity that can only be appeased by throwing yourself into a new situation and hoping for the best. Whatever the outcome, there is always a lesson to be learned.”

One of the many lessons Lacey has learned is to appreciate the little things that are often taken for granted in America and to challenge her view of the world. In Thailand, people’s happiness is derived from how they treat one another and their sense of community. It is not uncommon for people to greet one another by asking, “Have you eaten yet?” The Thai greeting is a motherly instinct that shows their affection and desire to take care of one another even if the person is an acquaintance.

Another lesson from Thailand that she has adopted is the phrase “jai yen yen” which is translated into “cool heart.”  It is a way to remind oneself to keep a cool heart in tense situations or remain calm when patience is wearing thin.

“It is often difficult to step back and see life experiences for what they really are,” she writes. Thai people believe that when you have a ‘cool heart’ you are more open to learn the lessons and wisdom that life has to offer even in the midst of the most difficult situation. “This is one lesson I hope to remember when I return home to America.”

To read more about her adventures and life lessons, visit her blog at www.laceyshoemaker.blogspot.com. If you would like to donate a new or gently used children’s book to help Lacey teach Thai children how to read English, then bring them to Reflections, 250 S. Main Street in Colville, Washington.  As Lacey shares, “it is reassuring to know that even half way around the world, I can reach out and suddenly feel connected to those back home.”

[This article was printed in the Statesman-Examiner on January 31, 2012 as part of my ongoing newspaper column.]

All Rights Reserved.

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