NEWS BRIEFS: West Bonner could close two schools

Plus, Spokane gets electric car sharing; and the city settles a wrongful death claim

click to enlarge NEWS BRIEFS: West Bonner could close two schools
Young Kwak photo
An electric vehicle charging station at Huckleberry's Natural Market.

After repeated levy failures left the West Bonner School District $4.68 million in the hole, the rural North Idaho district is trying to correct its financial course. In a special meeting last week, the district's Board of Trustees voted to close two elementary schools — Idaho Hill and Priest Lake leaving just one elementary, one junior high and one high school in the district. The decision isn't final yet. The board planned to meet on June 5 to discuss what it would take to adopt the change, and a public hearing on next school year's budget is scheduled for June 12. Meanwhile, the district is still searching for a permanent superintendent to replace Branden Durst, who resigned last year amid controversy over his lack of qualifications. Last week the trustees announced they'd narrowed the search to two finalists; but the day after they voted to close the two schools, candidate Robbie Swint Jr. dropped out, leaving Kim Spacek, currently the superintendent of Mountain View School District in Grangeville, Idaho, as the sole candidate for the position. (COLTON RASANEN)


The Zero Emission Vehicle Cooperative, or ZEV Co-op, a car sharing nonprofit based in Seattle, is teaming up with Gonzaga University, Avista and Urbanova to introduce a new electric vehicle sharing system for Spokane drivers. Thanks in part to a grant from the Washington State Department of Transportation's Zero Emission Access Program, licensed drivers between ages 21 and 79 will be able to use an electric vehicle from the program for an hourly fee. To participate you need to take an orientation and have a relatively clean driving record. The cars will be located behind Gonzaga's Sustainability Office on Sharp Avenue. According to ZEV's website, prices vary from $8 to $16 an hour, plus startup fees, depending on whether you're a member of the co-op. The goal is to provide community members access to carbon-free transportation when other modes of public transit aren't convenient. Member-owned ZEV Co-op operates seven electric vehicle sharing projects in the Puget Sound region, and hopes to make at least 250 electric vehicles available by 2026 to Washington residents, especially in low-income, rural or underserved communities. (ELIZA BILLINGHAM)


In January 2022, 23-year-old Peterson Kamo was shot six times and killed by Spokane police officers. Police had been called because of a domestic dispute, and they said Kamo was holding a knife to a toddler's throat. Kamo's family filed a wrongful death tort claim, alleging that officers had acted improperly and not taken enough time to de-escalate the situation before opening fire. On Monday, Spokane City Council members voted 4-3 to approve a $250,000 settlement with the family. Council members Jonathan Bingle, Lili Navarette and Michael Cathcart voted against the settlement. The city should show police that "when they do the right thing, we've got their back," Bingle said, adding that the officers should be praised for saving the toddler's life. The council members who voted for the settlement stressed that it wasn't necessarily an admission of wrongdoing — just a way for the city to avoid a costly legal battle.(NATE SANFORD) ♦

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