City Settlement Could Send Terminated Officer Back To Work

A police sergeant could be returning to his job with Spokane Police after his termination in December of 2009. Brad Thoma was arrested for a DUI and failure to leave information at the scene of a collision. Spokane Mayor David Condon released a statement on Wednesday saying a proposed settlement would bring him back in the job with back pay.Condon says the city's settlement is a legal solution to a problem of financial risk for the City adding: "We are proposing this settlement to protect taxpayer dollars. Within the state legal constraints we operate under, this is a good legal and financial decision for the City."

A Windy Wednesday Across the Spokane Area

Strong winds with gusts up to 53 mph blew through Spokane Wednesday, toppling numerous large trees and knocking down powerlines.  Wind damage was reported from the South Hill through Hillyard to Mead.A "Wind Advisory" was in effect for most of the day, but the strongest winds happened between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m.  The low pressure system responsible for Wednesday's high winds is now long gone.  Expect calmer and cooler conditions for Thursday with mostly sunny skies.The National Weather Service also released a list of local wind damage.

SustainableWorks Moves To New Hillyard Location

SustainableWorks, a non-profit focused on creating quality jobs and improving the environment, has moved to a brand new location in Hillyard. Their new office is located at 5315 North Market Street. They'll be holding an open house on Thursday, March 1st from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m.SustainableWorks collaborates with residential and small commercial energy retrofit projects through community engagement and participation.Over the next two years, SustainableWorks will use a $4 million Community Energy Efficiency Program Grant to retrofit up to 2,000 homes and small businesses in moderate-income neighborhoods in Spokane, Pierce, King, and Snohomish counties.

High Drive Bluff Discussion Planned For Next Week

Maybe you've walked along the High Drive Bluff and marveled at the Spokane sunsets or stumbled upon a moose on the trails. There's a local group of neighbors that meet occasionally to talk about taking care of the bluff for future use. They're called Friends of the High Drive Bluff.

Traffic Light Planned For 37th & Grand Intersection

We spoke with Comstock Neighborhood Council chair, Sally Fullmer, today and she says a traffic stop light is in the works for the intersection of 37th and Grand. With an increase of use and businesses at the intersection, at times it has been troublesome especially with the stop signs on east and west streets.

Hearing Examiner Approves Jefferson Elementary Move

Months of debate and conflict have led to a hearing examiner's decision for Jefferson Elementary School's fate. The school will be moved to the proposed location at the northeast corner of 37th Avenue and Manito Boulevard.Spokane hearing examiner Greg Smith approved Spokane Public Schools' application on Tuesday for the conditional use permit to allow construction of a replacement school. In order to do so, District 81 agreed to go through a longer permitting process requiring a public hearing with the hearing examiner where the public can attend and testify.Those against the decision to move the school still plan on doing what they can to stop the relocation. Sally Fullmer, Comstock Neighborhood Council chair, says they have 21 days to appeal the decision and they plan on looking into it.

Referendum Battle Heats Up Statewide

Local supporters of the Marriage Equality Bill are hitting the road to celebrate the legislation signed into law by Governor Chris Gregoire earlier this month.Occupy Spokane is spearheading a gathering planned with the LGBT Center at the rest area on along eastbound I-90 near Sprague starting Thursday morning at 4 a.m.The groups will be there until Midnight encouraging travelers to not sign R-74, the referendum filed by the bill's opposition to reverse the Governor's decision.

Fatburger Expands In Inland Northwest

You soon won't have to drive all the way to Airway Heights to sink your teeth into a fat burger anymore.Fatburger North America Incorporated has made the Kalispel Tribal Economic Authority the franchisee for new restaurants in the Spokane/Coeur d'Alene area.Fatburger restaurant in Northern Quest Resort and Casino is so popular it consistently ranks in the top ten among Fatburger franchises. Now its success has Fatburger North America Inc. depending on the Tribe to find locations for new restaurants in major Washington and Idaho areas.

Time To Dust Off Your Big Green Cart

The City of Spokane will resume curbside yard and food waste pickup next Monday, Feb. 27th.Food waste, you ask?  Why, yes.  The city actually started accepting food leftovers and food-soiled paper last summer, but in case you forgot the details, here's the lowdown: Along with grass clippings, pine needles, branches, and other yard goodies, you can also toss the following kitchen scraps into your big green cart:

Hobo Dinner Serving Up Mulligan Stew

We're suckers for event notices with handwritten notes in lovely cursive. Plus, how could we resist mulligan stew? That's the main entree planned for the annual Hobo Dinner on Saturday February 25th in Hillyard.Curious minds want to know what exactly is in mulligan stew. A quick web search brings us to an article that apparently ran in a 1900 issue of the Sunday Oregonian.

Big Suspense comes to The Bing!

The non-profit group, Advocates for the Bing Crosby Theater, presents its spring film series "Best of the Suspense Classics" at the Bing Crosby Theater in downtown Spokane. This year they'll feature mystery and suspense classics from Billy Wilder, Alfred Hitchcock and more.The festival begins with the Tuesday, March 6th showing of the 1958 film, Alfred Hitchcock's "Vertigo." A retired policeman with acrophobia is hired to follow a mysterious woman. The film stars James Stewart and Kim Novak, and is considered one of the most distinguished works in Hitchcock's career.

Serving Up Alligator in Spokane

(Updated 2:29 p.m.) - In some parts of the country, serving alligator meat in a thing. From personal experience, I can recall a BBQ off the side of some random highway in Florida that serves it up fried.The chicken-like meat is available in Spokane at Huckleberry's . Why does that not surprise us? They even have elk, buffalo, quail and duck, in their freezers there.

Opening Soon, but WHEN?

The sign continues to say soon and the many companies working on Didiers continue to come and go.Back in late November, a young lady under the influence of alcohol drove through the south wall and totalled a family owned business. The pieces are coming together with new equipment throughout, a fresh interior with updated colors will greet the customers when they finally open.The target date is March 1st and that looks pretty solid. Employees are ready to see the doors open, as are the Etten's, the owners.

Excuse Us As We Beam With Pride

Not every visitor to Spokane has a horrid time. In fact, sometimes the city impresses even those from Portland, Oregon. One man visited our fair city from the mysterious land of Portlandia and you know what? He didn't think Spokane was all that bad.He saying he can't wait to come back in the summer time. Aren't you feeling all kinds of loved now?

Flying Irish Running Club Moves to "O'Ripples"

Those Flying Irish, running wild and free in downtown Spokane, are finding a new home base this season. The running club has out grown O'Doherty's and is moving to "O'Ripples Riverside Grill" at the red Lion River Inn.So maybe the restaurant is not actually called "O'Ripples", but in this context, it's okay, right? The Flying Irish are just keeping their tradition alive.This is the 7th season for the group. Their first run this season in on Thursday, March 1st at 6 p.m. For those training for Bloomsday, this could be a great way to get some early practice in before the big day in May.

Summer Parkway Dates Set For 2012

We received an email from Cathy Gunderson, co-chair of the Chief Garry Park neighborhood council. She says this year's Summer Parkways will take place in the Chief Garry and Logan neighborhood on June 3rd from Noon to 3 p.m. Event planning is getting a head start. The route for the parkway is already mapped out. 

Get Your Cycle On

Looking for a new ride while you coast the Centennial Trail? Check out the 1st Annual Spokane Bike Swap. You can sell your bike, upgrade it, or buy a new one. The event is a collaboration between the Spokane Bike Swap team and the Friends of the Centennial Trail. It's part of an effort to enhance the biking community in Spokane. The event is March 24th and 25th at the Spokane County Fair & Expo Center. It's $5 per person. Kids 12 and under get in free.

Photo Gallery: Congressman Ron Paul Visits Spokane

(Updated 11:10 a.m.) - Republican presidential candidate, Ron Paul, addressed a crowd of 2,577 in downtown Spokane on Friday night, hoping to earn their vote for the upcoming Washington State Republican caucus on March 3rd. The first to arrive lined up outside the convention center doors at 2:30 p.m. waiting for five hours until the doors finally opened. Crowds lined Spokane Falls Blvd. waving signs until for support of the candidate until the last minute. 

Keeping Tabs On Your Street With Block Watch

Neighbors of Chief Garry Park are some of the latest concerned citizens taking action to protect their homes. After a concentration of burglaries started popping up on police reports, neighbors are hoping to take care of the problem by forming a block watch to keep tabs on what's happening around them.Spokane C.O.P.S. is the non-profit group that organizes block watches in the city. Christy Hamilton, C.O.P.S. director, says block watches teach neighbors to start identifying who and what doesn't belong in their neighborhood."We train the neighbors to start being observant and getting them in that mindset," Hamilton said.

Con Artist Knocking On Doors Looking For Cash

C.O.P.S. Southeast is reporting a prolific con artist is at it again on Spokane's South Hill. He knocks on your door looking for money saying he's a neighbor and he needs cash immediately. Though he says he'll pay you back within a hour with interest, well... I bet you know what happens next.

Sign Your Kiddos Up For Kindergarten

Get those kids in school! Kindergarten registration for Spokane schools starts next month. If your child will be five-years-old on or before August 31st, you'll need to register them for classes. Don't worry, it's not like sending them away to college.To register, starting March 5th, head to your neighborhood elementary school between 8:15 a.m. and 3:45 p.m. Spokane Public Schools has that will help in case you're not sure what school is closest to you.

Free Parking on Presidents' Day!

Mark next Monday on your calendar as Free Parking Day -- we mean Presidents' Day. Parking meters in downtown Spokane do not need to be plugged. Other city services continue as usual. Garbage pickup, recycling are on their normal schedule.City council meets as usual. City facilities are open as usual. Libraries are open. It's business as usual except for the County Courthouse Building which will be closed except for employees. Municipal court employees can be reached by phone.

Arrests Made For November Residential Burglary

A residential burglary is now being solved thanks to the diligence of the victim. Just before a November 1st, 2011 theft, a resident in the 2700 block of North Cedar recorded the serial numbers of various items stolen from her home. She was able to hand that over to Spokane Police after the theft happened.According to Spokane Police, the victim visited local pawn shops and was able to track down some of the stolen items. She informed police who were able to confirm that the pawned items belonged to the victim.Suspect information was turned over to property crimes detectives who for two months gathered enough evidence to finally charge Casey G. Griner, 21, and William C. Calamanco, 25, with Residential Burglary, Second Degree Theft and First Degree Trafficking in Stolen Property.

Washington State Leads For U.S. Exported Goods

The state of Washington continues to be the largest U.S. exporter of goods on a per capita basis. Export increased to a record $64.6 billion in 2011, 21% more than last year.The biggest market for Washington-made goods continues to be China with exports rising to $11.2 billion, 9% more than 2010. Exports to Europe also lead with $6.4 billion produced.The leading exported industries are aircraft and parts, as well as soy and grain which ranked second among Washington goods shipped to China. According to a news release from Gov. Chris Gregoire, those numbers do include some crops originating outside of the state.