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Friday, February 20, 2015

MB: Escaped inmate captured; WWAMI audit; Bill O'Reilly's Brian Williams problem

Posted By on Fri, Feb 20, 2015 at 9:24 AM


HERE

The inmate who escaped from Shoshone County Jail was shot in the leg by a Wallace homeowner and apprehended. (KXLY)

According to the Kootenai County Sheriff's Office, the human remains recently found by a hiker near Bayview, Idaho, belong to white man who was likely 30 to 50 years old. (KHQ)

The Washington Senate Health Care Committee wants the state to conduct a full audit of the University of Washington's Spokane-based medical training program, WWAMI. (Spokesman-Review)


THERE

About 800,000 customers who enrolled in health insurance through HealthCare.gov got incorrect tax information from the federal government. (New York Times)

It's really freaking cold on the other side of the country. (Washington Post)

Looks like Bill O'Reilly may have pulled a Brian Williams. (Mother Jones)

Kim Jong Un's new haircut is, as the kids say, "on fleek." (Vox)
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Thursday, February 19, 2015

Investigation into improper hiring of temp concludes

Posted By on Thu, Feb 19, 2015 at 2:44 PM


An investigation into whether the city’s Business & Development Services Division improperly used a temporary worker has concluded with a measured report of its finding that doesn’t directly point the finger of blame at anyone.

At issue was a complaint from AFSCME Local 270, the union that represents Spokane municipal workers, that suggested that a temporary worker was doing work that should rightfully go to a permanent worker that had gone through the city’s civil service system, which is merit-based and comes with union protection.

Joe Cavanaugh, the union’s president, filed the complaint with the Civil Service Commission last month after hearing that Jacqueline Luenow had been hired by outgoing division director Jan Quintrall as a temp to supervise a union employees, which violates city policy. Last month, the Spokane Civil Service Commission voted to open an investigation into the matter. 

Quintrall has previously said she hired Luenow as a temporary worker, at a rate of $44.75 an hour, to fill in for a retired officer manager while she waited for someone to be hired through the civil service system.

The month-long investigation, led by Civil Service Chief Examiner Gita George George-Hatcher, found that Luenow was supervising union clerical employees. However, according to the investigation, Luenow’s supervision stopped in late January, about the time the commission started looking into the matter. Currently, Luenow is not supervising anyone, according to the investigation, and is working on research projects on city administration, among other tasks. Although there is no job description for Luenow duties, the investigation found that most of the work she did previously fell to a civil service employee.

The Civil Service Commission voted earlier this week to accept the investigative report, and held off on taking any further action until its next meeting next month.

“At the present time it is my understanding that Ms. Luenow’s work is coming to an end at the end of February,” said George-Hatcher at a civil service commission meeting earlier this week. 
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MB: NIC sex-for-cash arrest; Shoshone County jailbreak; Walmart gives raises

Posted By on Thu, Feb 19, 2015 at 9:26 AM


HERE

According to an internal report, Spokane police investigators found no evidence that officers mistreated a transgender assault victim at Boots Bakery on Jan. 30. (Spokesman-Review)

The director of financial aid for North Idaho College was arrested yesterday after police discovered he was using Craigslist to solicit students for sex in exchange for NIC grant money. (KXLY) 

A prisoner escaped from the Shoshone County Jail in Kellogg, Idaho Tuesday night. Police are still searching for him. (KXLY)

THERE

Meet the first gay couple to legally wed in Texas two days after a judge ruled that the state's same-sex marriage ban was unconstitutional. (TIME)

About half a million Walmart employees will receive raises to at least $9 an hour this spring. (USA Today) "

An antibiotic-resistant "superbug" has killed two patients at the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center. More than 170 other patients may have been exposed. (AP/Washington Post)


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Wednesday, February 18, 2015

WW: Marijuana in Indian Country, overhaul of WA pot laws and smoking doobies in the White House

Posted By on Wed, Feb 18, 2015 at 11:47 AM


Welcome back to Weed Wednesday, your weekly dose of pot news. Wondering what this is about? Click. Looking for our previous marijuana coverage? Click. Got a question or tip? Email me at [email protected]

As we’ve previously written, the legislature is in session and lawmakers are scrambling to pass a slew of bills that would each change what people legally can and can’t do with pot in Washington state.

The sea of pot legislation introduced this session includes a pair of bills which appear to have legs and haven’t received much attention that would pave the way for the state’s 29 federally recognized Indian tribes to begin growing and selling marijuana on their lands. The issue matters because in December, the federal government announced that Indian tribes could grow and sell marijuana on their lands as long as it was regulated.

Scott Wheat, general counsel for the Spokane Tribe of Indians, points to what’s widely known as the “Cole memo,” a U.S. Justice Department document that was circulated to federal law enforcement after Washington and Colorado legalized marijuana, for why this legislation is needed. The memo basically says that the feds will mellow on states legalizing marijuana as long as they have strong regulatory structures in place that prevent the drug from falling into the hands of organized crime or minors, among other safeguards.

“So concern is that if tribes enter the marijuana economy they do so with a strong regulatory structure,” says Wheat.

There’s a version of the bill in the House and another in the Senate. The House version has already cleared a few legislative hurdles. If it passes, it would allow the governor to hash out agreements with the state’s federally recognized Indian tribes regarding pot. These agreements would cover criminal and civil law enforcement, taxation, public health and other issues.

“Without the framework of a compacting system I think it’s problematic in a couple different ways,” said Rep. Christopher Hurst, D- Enumclaw, the sponsor of the bill in a legislative hearing.

Although the Justice Department gave the green light to tribes to grow marijuana, many have had issues with drug and alcohol use and are reluctant to embrace another substance. The Yakima Tribe, for instance, has sought to ban all pot businesses within its territory. Other tribes, like California’s Pinoleville Pomo Nation are moving forward with plans to start growing medical marijuana, and 100 other tribes have expressed interest in the pot business.

Here’s the news elsewhere:

A bill overhauling Washington state’s medical and recreational marijuana systems has passed the Senate.

Critics of the legislation are worried that it will make medical marijuana less accessible. In Uruguay, a South American country that legalized marijuana, similar concerns are being realized as medical pot has already become more expensive than recreational.

Apple changed its mind and will allow pot-related apps on iTunes.

In honor of President’s Day, The Daily Beast has an article that suggests that many U.S. presidents smoked pot.

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MB: New police precinct planned; John Lee extradition delayed; Miss P is "Best in Show"

Posted By on Wed, Feb 18, 2015 at 9:01 AM


HERE

The Spokane police are planning a second precinct downtown at the Intermodal Center on 1st Avenue. (Spokesman-Review)

The extradition of John Lee, the man accused of killing three people in a shooting spree last month, back to Moscow, Idaho, has been delayed. He's currently being held in Whitman County, where he was caught. (KXLY)

Meet Mako: "Spokane County's first and only arson dog." (KREM)

THERE

President Obama will speak at a "violent extremism" summit at the White House today, in which he'll discuss his strategy to counter groups like the ISIS. Here's his op-ed about the fight against extremism in the Los Angeles Times. (New York Times/LA Times)

Speaking of speeches, Jeb Bush, who is considering running for president, will outline his views on foreign policy at an event in Chicago today. (Washington Post)

Miss P, a 4-year-old beagle, took home the top prize at the Westminster Dog Show in New York. (AP)
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Tuesday, February 17, 2015

New York Times: Pasco shooting is a "Ferguson" moment for Latinos

Posted By on Tue, Feb 17, 2015 at 1:13 PM


Last week, seconds before 35-year-old Antonio Zambrano-Montes was shot and killed by Pasco police, he turned toward them and swung his hands up into the air. 

His death and apparent surrender were caught on a 22-second video (see below), uploaded to YouTube last Wednesday. The footage, which quickly spread over social media, shows Zambrano-Montes running from three policemen before stopping, turning around and raising his arms. Police say he had been hurling rocks at cars and officers. 

Zambrano-Montes' death — the fourth fatal police shooting in Pasco in six months — has triggered large protests, an internal investigation, a rare inquest by the country coroner, a $25 million lawsuit, and condemnation from the Mexican consul in Seattle. Local Latino leaders are asking the Department of Justice to investigate.

His death has also drawn comparisons to the police killing of Michael Brown, the black teenager who was shot in Ferguson, Mo. last summer. Here's how the New York Times has described the case in Pasco, where Latinos, like in Ferguson, face inequality and under-representation within city government and the local police force:
But here in Pasco, a city of 68,000 that is 56 percent Hispanic, the public killing has pierced the immigrant enclave, spurring protests that have attracted hundreds and highlighting a division between the city’s increasingly Latino populace and its power structure — the police, the city government — which remains largely white.

While many Hispanics have found work and stable, if not particularly affluent, lives here, the killing has drawn attention to their lack of clout. And, as with blacks in Ferguson, it has intensified feelings among Hispanics that they remain second-tier residents, despite their deep roots here, defined by the many Latino shops that now dominate the main thoroughfare, Lewis Street.

“They had him like a deer, hunting him,” said Maria Paniagua, 41, a resident with six children. “What happens when one of my kids gets in a jam and runs. Will they shoot him down?”

Though Latino workers have been here since at least the 1960s, attracted by jobs gathering fruit and asparagus in the region’s vast fields, few have moved into law enforcement or city government. Of the city’s 68 officers, 14 are Hispanic. A dozen officers speak Spanish fluently, and some residents cite language barriers that complicate interactions with the police. The City Council has one Latino member. The five-member school board, which oversees a system that is 70 percent Latino, typically has one or two Latino members, but this year has none.

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MB: Pothole season; oil train derails; judge blocks Obama's immigration order

Posted By on Tue, Feb 17, 2015 at 9:10 AM


HERE

Pothole season has officially begun. (Spokesman-Review)

U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers was in Spokane promoting the Steve Gleason Act of 2015, which would help people diagnosed with ALS. (KXLY)

Ferris High School grad Ashlee Karras was crowned Miss Spokane yesterday. (KREM)

THERE


An oil train derailed amidst a snow storm in West Virginia yesterday, forcing hundreds of families to evacuate and contaminating a nearby water supply. (Yahoo/AP)

A federal judge in Texas has temporarily blocked President Obama's policy to defer the deportation of millions of undocumented immigrants. (LA Times)

Massachusetts is basically buried in snow right now. (Newsday)

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Monday, February 16, 2015

MB: Drone rules; ISIS mass beheadings; Copenhagen gunman killed

Posted By on Mon, Feb 16, 2015 at 9:29 AM


HERE 


The trial for Eldon Gale Samuel III, the Coeur d’Alene teenager accused of killing his father and younger brother, will move forward in Kootenai County. (Spokesman-Review)

Nearly 90 percent of Spokane city employees are making more than $42,092 a year, Spokane's median household income. (Spokesman-Review)

A rare birth defect known as anencephaly is on the rise in Central Washington. (Seattle Times)

THERE

The Federal Aviation Administration proposed new drone regulations over the weekend and Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos probably isn't a fan. (ABC)

An online video posted Sunday night showed members of the Islamic State in Libya beheading more than a dozen Egyptian Christians. In retaliation, the Egyptian military has launched airstrikes in Libya. (New York Times)

A gunman attacked a free-speech event and a synagogue in Copenhagen this weekend, killing two people and wounding five others before he was shot dead by police. The 22-year-old Danish man had been recently released from prison. (Wall Street Journal)
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Court questions whether Idaho police can make arrest in Washington

Posted By on Mon, Feb 16, 2015 at 9:01 AM


A division of the Washington state Court of Appeals based in Spokane has raised questions over whether or not law enforcement in Idaho can follow someone into Washington to arrest them.

According to the opinion issued by the court on February 12, Allen Ashby, an Idaho state trooper, followed Kay Pruczinski from Idaho into Washington, stopped her and ordered her out of a car driven by Ricky Bell. Pruczinski refused, according to the opinion, and the officer broke the driver’s side window before attempting to drag her through it. Ashby is also alleged by Pruczinski to have “offensively” touched her in a “menacing and sexual manner.”

Pruczinski filed suit in Washington state against the trooper for injury to property, intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress, assault, battery, unlawful imprisonment and civil rights violations.

Ashby moved to dismiss the complaint, arguing that the court lacked jurisdiction over the case because he was an employee of the state of Idaho acting within the scope of his duties even though the events occurred in Washington. The trial court agreed and dismissed the the case.

But the appeals court voted to send the case back to the trial court for reconsideration. At stake are questions of whether the officer was qualified under agreements between Idaho and Washington to make the arrest. The court’s opinion also called attention to how Pruczinski successfully had Ashby’s police report struck from the record, so there was no factual basis to determine if Ashby’s arrest was lawful under Washington law.

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Sunday, February 15, 2015

PHOTOS: Spring during winter

Posted By on Sun, Feb 15, 2015 at 9:21 AM

Temperatures in the 50s brought residents to Riverfront Park and the Spokane Falls in lighter-than-winter clothing to jog, feed birds and take leisurely walks. Many walked the suspension bridge to watch the heavy flows of the Spokane River, flows that are more common during spring months, as opposed to the middle of winter.

Mark Solomon holds his 3-year-old son Alex on the suspension bridge to view the Spokane River. - YOUNG KWAK
  • Young Kwak
  • Mark Solomon holds his 3-year-old son Alex on the suspension bridge to view the Spokane River.

Maria Bazan, holding her Chiweenie Sally, and her husband Frank on the suspension bridge to view the Spokane River. - YOUNG KWAK
  • Young Kwak
  • Maria Bazan, holding her Chiweenie Sally, and her husband Frank on the suspension bridge to view the Spokane River.

Pedestrians cross a bridge as a bird flies by. - YOUNG KWAK
  • Young Kwak
  • Pedestrians cross a bridge as a bird flies by.


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