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Recount looks certain





SPOKANE -- One could call Dennis Hession's seven-vote margin over Dean Lynch razor-thin, but that description doesn't really cut it. It's much thinner. Hession and Lynch are the two candidates for whom voters cast ballots on Nov. 6 in the race for Spokane's District Two city council seat. As of Nov. 9, Lynch had 7,709 votes to Hession's 7,716, a slight reversal since election night, according to the Spokane County Auditor Vicky M. Dalton.


The winner probably won't be known until late November, following a final tally, then an almost certain recount. State law orders recounts for elections that are closer than one half of 1 percent. That's about 10 times as many votes as separate Lynch and Hession now. "I can't conceive that a recount won't happen," says Dalton.


Elections officials have about 1,200 votes to count in coming weeks in the race, but many of those are likely defective ballots, such as absentee ballots postmarked too late. Those officials will certify results on Nov. 21, then complete their recount within five business days. District Two mostly covers the city's South Hill.


Lynch, a sitting council member, said voter turnout was the pivotal reason for the close election. Hession won precincts mostly in the upper South Hill, he says, and turnout there averaged 45 percent. Lynch won lower South Hill precincts, but turnout there was only about 35 percent, he says.


Lynch also says Hession's campaign "branded me" as failing to quell some of the council's infamous infighting. Hession says he isn't mentioning individual council members responsible for what he sees as a rancorous atmosphere. "My message is, I will fix it," says Hession.





Aliens set to invade





SPOKANE -- The aliens are coming to Spokane, and they mean to stay. Seattle's Pacific Science Center is sending its interactive alien exhibit to Spokane next spring, and its mission is more than educating school children about the possibility of life on other planets.


If the aliens exhibit draws crowds, "then you've got some momentum in what is already rolling downhill: Developing the north bank for a science and technology center," says Bob Sestero, president of Greater Spokane, a nonprofit civic group whose main goal this year is to lay the foundations for a Spokane science center on the city's north bank property, opposite Riverfront Park.


The Pacific Science Center's aliens exhibit is a 10,000-square-foot travelling collection of demonstrations teaching visitors about different planets' environments and the search for extraterrestrial life.


The exhibit lands at the former J.C. Penney building at 811 West Main on March 16, according to the Pacific Science Center.


The aliens exhibit has toured nationally, so when Greater Spokane learned in May that it had an opening, Sestero says volunteers worked with the Pacific Science Center to bring the aliens to Spokane.


Spokane considered building a branch of the Pacific Science Center in Riverfront Park. In September 1995, voters rejected that proposal by less than 1 percent. Greater Spokane members hope the aliens exhibit colonizes the city and spurs sentiment for a science center.
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