Local News

Friedlund Arraigned In Stevens County Courthouse

John Friedlund was arraigned in the Stevens County Courthouse and was charged with four counts of theft of the 1st degree and five counts of theft of the 2nd degree. He was arrested for criminal mistreatment of 106-year-old Kettle Falls woman Francis Swan, who was in his care. Friedlund is accused of stealing $13,000 from her.

WSU Common Reading Program starts off the school year with a screening of An Inconvenient Truth

To kick-off the freshman programming for the Common Reading Program at Washington State University, a screening of the documentary film, An Inconvenient Truth will be shown in Todd Auditorium on August 23rd. The film goes along with the Program's selected reading for freshman students, "Physics for Future Presidents: The Science Behind the Headlines" by Richard A. Muller. The Program hopes to help freshmen explore science behind some of the largest issues in world today including terrorism, energy, nuclear technology, space and global warming.Muller, the author of the book, will be in Pullman in late September to visit with students and faculty and to present the annual invited lecture.

Former Spokane deputy city manager hired as interim deputy city manager for Spokane Valley

In order to ensure backup, based on city code, to the Spokane Valley city manager, the position of Deputy City Manager was filled on an interim basis by the City.Roger Crum will be serving as Deputy City Manager until further notice. When appointed, city manager, Mike Jackson indicated that he would look at permanently filling the position until 2012.Prior to Crum's hiring, finance director Ken Thompson had previously provided backup during extended absence of the city manager, but he recently retired leaving no backup.

Women fails to yield to right-of-way and hits officer's vehicle outside police station

Traffic investigators responded to a string of five major crashes in Spokane Valley last week, but this one happened right on their door step. A 18-year old woman, Chandra Lamarr of Hayden, Idaho, was leaving the vicinity of the Spokane Valley Police Department by way of a left turn onto Sprague Avenue when she collided with Sgt. Mark Nygren who was heading into the vicinity of the Department by way of a right turn.Lamarr had been waiting for some pedestrians to walk past the driveway on the sidewalk before she pulled out. When she did, the patrol vehicle struck Lamarr's driver's side door. Detective David Thornburg said impact speed ranged from low to mid-20 mph.

Pend Oreille County Fair - August 18-21, 2011

Around the country it is "fair" time and if you wanted you could probably spend the next few weekends going from one fair to another.  This weekend is no different.  If you'd like to take a beautiful scenic drive north of Spokane on Hwy 2 for about an hour and 15 minutes - you could enjoy the Pend Oreille County Fair located in Cusick, Washington. It's beautiful country and a great way to spend time with friends or family.  There's always the animals, the baking contests, blue ribbon flowers and of course those giant pumpkins.   On Saturday afternoon you can enjoy the Car Show and then hang around Saturday night or Sunday afternoon for the rodeo. 

Tuesday night will feature an "excellent visible pass" of the International Space Station

One of the best places to view an upcoming passing of the International Space Station on August 16th is just north of Chewelah starting at 9:27 p.m. A 11 minute viewing will begin in the southwest area of the sky as it travels north of the city to the northeast.Real time satellite trackings define this as an excellent visible pass. Its maximum altitude at 9:32 p.m., reaches a magnitude (measurement of brightness) of -2.5. If you're not sure how bright that is, -2.5 is also the minimum brightness of a new moon.

Washington Department of Ecology releases penalty list for the first six months of 2011

For the six months of 2011, the Washington Department of Ecology issued $519,957 in penalties says a news release by Ecology on August 15th. Only one list violation occurred in Stevens County and that was from April 1st, when Gregory K. Rainer illegally burned construction/demolition debris in an outdoor field within two blocks of Ft. Colville Elementary School along a walking route used by students. The fire was burning less than 30 minutes after school was dismissed.Jani Gilbert, Washington Department of Ecology communications, says Rainer hasn't responded to Ecology's penalty notice, so it has gone to collections. He was penalized for $3,500.A similar incident occurred in Pend Oreille County almost two weeks later when an Ione resident burned demolition debris in an outdoor fire in the town limits. The burned items included toxic materials that are illegal to burn. His penalty was only $3,000, but he placed himself on a payment plan and is current.

Upcoming public meeting to discuss proposed investigation of Van Stone Mine contamination

Lead and zinc mining stopped in 1993 at the Van Stone Mine site after almost seventy years of activity, but now public comment will be taken by the Washington Department of Ecology for an upcoming public meeting on August 17th to discuss their proposed investigation of metals contamination at the site. In the 1961, during Asarco's operation of the site 24 miles northeast of Colville, a dam holding nearly ten acres of tailings, a fine-grained material produced during ore processing and metal extraction, failed and flooded a tributary of Onion Creek and ran them as far downstream as Onion Creek School, damaging property and structures along the way. Later the tailings were moved to a nearly 40 acre location near another tributary of Onion Creek.

Ballot Return Statistics for the City of Spokane Valley

The City of Spokane Valley has one of the lowest return of ballots so far during the Primary election in Spokane County. So far, 16% of issued ballots in Spokane Valley have been returned. Spokane County Elections says that total ballots returned as of this morning [.PDF] has added up to 35,544. Ballots are due tomorrow, Tuesday, August 17th by 8 p.m. 8,162 out of 49,246 ballots have been returned. Turn your ballot in at 12004 E. Main Ave in Spokane Valley.

Seattle Times features bicycling on the Palouse in their Outdoors section

Former Seattle Times reproter, Eric Sorensen, now a resident of Pullman, wrote a special to the Times regarding bicycling along the Palouse that he describes as "amber waves of grain." He describes the various rides in the region from town to town including the upcoming Lentil Ride and what each stop along the way offers like the artisan breads of Uniontown.

Edgecliff S.C.O.PE. named in White House report as "promising practice profile"

The White House released their Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative Report last month showcasing practice profiles across the nation that illustrate how the key elements of engagement, leadership, development strategy, accountability and investment. The efforts of the S.C.O.P.E. project by the Spokane County Sheriffs' Office and Edgecliff Weed & Seed was noted in the promising practice profiles in the report for their success of volunteer work and neighborhood improvement.The Sheriff Community Oriented Policing Effort (S.C.O.P.E.) has been serving the community for 15-years. It is staffed primarily by trained citizen-volunteers provide policy services that benefit the surrounding community while increasing citizen involvement in public safety. They've established 18 stations with over 600 volunteers spread between them all. In 2010, they donated 84,000 hours of combined time.

Friends of the Pavillion Park will show Queen of the Sun at Saturday's summer festival

A screening of the documentary film, Queen of the Sun, will be presented at Pavillion Park, Saturday August 13th at dusk. The film, trailer featured above, describes itself as "a journey through the catastrophic disappearance of bees and the mysterious world of the beehive" that "weaves an unusual and dramatic story of the heartfelt struggles." Directed by Taggart Siegel, the documentary film offers an alternative look at the global bee crisis featuring interviews with beekeepers, scientists and philosophers including: Michael Pollan, Gunther Hauk, Vandana Shiva and more.The film is part of the 14th Annual Summer Festival hosted by Friends of Pavillion Park, a non-profit organization founded in 1992. They're partnering with the Liberty Lake Farmers Market to also feature other weekly events during the summer performance.

Time capsule buried under 2nd street in Asotin contains phone book and other items

You might be able to imagine the reaction of future Asotin residents when 100 years from now, they open a time capsule buried beneath Second Street. Especially when they discover that inside is a phone book. Let's hope that they look at it as an alien object that they've never seen appear from out of nowhere on their doorstep. Other than a phone book, officials on Tuesday, placed a menu from a local bakery and school items from local students.The exact details of the time capsule's contained items are being kept a secret, but Mayor Pro Tem Mervin Schneider said to the Lewiston Tribune that we'll just have to be around in 100 years to see what's in it.Second Street was originally constructed in 1919. During this road construction project, five blocks is expected to be replaced including storm drainage systems and sidewalks. Officials are asking that the public stay off the new concrete until completion on August 27th so that it cures properly.

Boundary Dam Forebay Recreation Area to reopen September 30th

The Forebay Recreation Area at Boundary Dam is scheduled to reopen September 30th after almost a year of closure to rehabilitate a 312-ton sluice maintenance gate on the Dam. During the closure, the boat launch remained open, but the recreation area and campground remained closed while storage of construction equipment and material remained on the site.A temporary building was constructed on the site for maintenance work last year to remove rust and paint from gate by high-pressure abrasive blasting. Crews will have to take down the building before the gate can be put back on the dam. The removal of material from the site will begin the week prior on September 20th to the 22nd.The gate is used to seal the dam from the outside so maintenance work can be done on any of the dam's sluice gates, which open and close to control the amount of water in the reservoir. The last time the gate was removed for repairs was 27 years ago in 1984.

Former WSU Football Player's Visit The White House

Arizona Cardinals safety Hamza Abdullah and his brother, Husain, safety for the Minnesota Vikings, have been invited to the White House for dinner with President Barack Obama. Former Washington State University football players, will attend the annual Iftar dinner tonight celebrating the Islamic Holy Month of Ramadan. Arizona's Abdullah says he was stunned and initially thought the invitation was a fake.

Former WSU Baseball Coach Hurt

Former Washington State University Baseball Coach Bobo Brayton was seriously injured in an all terrain vehicle crash yesterday afternoon near Pullman. The crash occurred on Brayton's property just west of town around one o'clock. The 85 year old was driving a side by side atv when he crashed into a tree off Brayton Road.

Man Who Knew Zehm Speaks Out

Spike Cunningham knew Otto Zehm for about 10 years and he never remembers him as a person who acted in a wrongful manner.

Movie In The Park

I love summer nights. I love that the sun stays out so long. I love the warmth even after it goes down. And I love that there's so much to do once it does, including movies in the park. Today, the City of Spokane Valley Park and Recreation Department invited families to Mirabeau Park for the showing of Sorcerer's Apprentice. 800 people showed up for the July movie and the City expects just as many this month. Why wouldn't you show up? You get to enjoy a movie on an 800 square foot screen under the stars and all for free. Sounds awesome to me.

Special filing period announced for vacant office positions

There are several office positions in Spokane County that nobody filed for during the official filing period in June. Towns across the county could be left with several open positions if nobody files during this special three-day filing period that begins on August 17th and lasts until the 19th. The vacant positions will not appear on the primary election ballot, but they will be featured on the general election ballot. Applicants will be required to pay their filing fee in full, cash or check only. Below is a list of open positions eligible for the special filing period:Apply: Visit the Spokane County Elections Office at between 8:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. on August 17th-19th. Learn more about the proccess and positions . 

Washington State University awarded with grant money for nuclear energy research and development

Washington State University is one of 31 universities in the nation selected to receive grant money to research innovative nuclear sciences and engineering projects. The U.S. Department of Energy is rewarding universities with a research grant aimed at developing cutting-edge nuclear technologies and to train and educate the next generation of leaders in the nuclear industry. The grant, run through the Nuclear Energy University Program, could award WSU's project with up to $500,000.A total of $39 million is being divided up to support 51 projects at colleges and universities across 20 states. The projects selected for negotiation of the grant award include: Fuel Cycle Research and Development; Reactor Concepts Research, Development and Demonstration; Nuclear Energy Advanced Modeling and Simulation; and Transformative Research. Washington State University's grant falls under the Transformative Research to encourage the development of game-changing nuclear energy technologies including advanced reactor and fuel cycle concepts.

SCRAPS offering adoption special on black cats and kittens until Saturday

When you're stumbling through your home at night, you only know you tripped over the cat because it makes that awful yelp. That's one of the curses of a black cat, but SCRAPS promises that the pros out weigh the cons. When it comes to adoption, they're hiding in the shadows of their cage and it may be hard to determine their personality. Lead animal protection officer, Nicole Montano says that black pets are statistically harder to adopt.To remedy this difficulty, SCRAPS is offering a special on all black cats and kittens with an adoption fee of only $20. It includes their spay/neuter surgery, current vaccinations, microchip, license and a free vet examination. The special begins today and runs through Saturday, August 13th. Jackie Bell, SCRAPS development coordinator, provided these clever ten reasons why you should adopt a black cat:

Spokane Valley Fire Department revealing community memorial plaque on 9/11 anniversary

For the upcoming anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, Spokane Valley Fire Department will be hosting a dedication ceremony of a new community memorial plaque to be placed at the Spokane Valley Fire Department Administration building. They asked the community to submit inspirational words that would be voted on by the Board of Fire Commissioners to be inscribed on the plaque. After discussing the eight submissions during the Board's August 8th regular meeting, they voted and selected the submission from Mark Hill, fire chief for Station #10 in Greenacres. Other submissions were received from Larry Rider, Clifton Mehaffey, Jennifer LaRue, Leslie Lindgren, Patricia Price, Mark D. Spear and Kris Blackman. The dedication ceremony at Spokane Valley Fire Department Administrative, , will reveal Hill's submission inscribed on the plaque on September 11th, 6:40 a.m.