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Deconning Meth -- The number of fires in the city has remained constant at about 200 for each of the past several years, but the Spokane Fire Department is handling a skyrocketing number of haz-mat decontaminations on people operating meth labs. In the late '90s, the haz-mat team handled several dozen decons each year, says Battalion Chief Bob McBride. "We're doing an average of two to three decons a week now."





4.8 -- On average, the number of daily auto thefts in Spokane, according to the SPD.





Good Money After Bad? -- Wondering what to do with that cash Enron sent you? Tough call -- just ask Idaho's U.S. senators.


Sen. Larry Craig "is going to give back the money," says press secretary Sarah Berk.


Well, some of it, anyway. Craig will write a $2,000 check to an Enron worker relief fund. That's the two grand Craig received in November -- but not the more than $5,000 he received previously.


Sen. Mike Crapo isn't returning any of the $18,000 Enron sent him, according to spokeswoman Susan Wheeler. "He feels that to do so would leave the impression that these contributions were taken somehow unethically or illegally, and they were not." Also, that's a lot of cash to cough back up.





Eugster v. S-R -- If you don't see many direct quotes from Councilman Steve Eugster in the pages of the Spokesman-Review, it's because he's declared a moratorium on interviews. The brouhaha extends back to Christmastime, when S-R columnist Doug Clark wrote a biting satire about Spokane's most polarizing figure. Eugster wanted to write a rebuttal, with equal space. When the Review offered him a letter to the editor-sized space (about one-third the size), the story goes that he declared the moratorium.


Aside from questions about whether an elected public official should cut ties to the city's only daily newspaper, the controversy begs another question, as well -- kind of a twist on that old tree-in-the-forest mindbender. If a lawsuit gets filed and nobody hears about it, did it really get filed?


Eugster has, however, invited S-R reporters to visit his Web site for help.





Security in the Garbage Bin -- With all this heightened airline security in recent months, screeners at Spokane International Airport are said to be on the lookout for deadly "weapons" like Swiss Army pocket knives and fingernail files. Even if they might have been let through before, those personal items now get confiscated, say airport officials. No boxes of knives, files and scissors are collecting dust anywhere, the officials say. There aren't any. Screeners just throw them away.
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