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Local residents sound off on state's pot plan

Local residents sound off on state's pot plan

The initial high of a pot law may have worn off for some people, but for Spokane County, Thursday night was round two as people were able to voice their opinions of the Liquor Control Board's initial marijuana draft rules at the Spokane Convention Center.

While some people asked questions, some cities are trying to find answers.

"We're going to have to deal with this issue, I think, for the next couple years," Cheney Mayor Tom Trulove said.

Cities like Cheney have made a map using the parameters of Initiative 502 to find where these pot stores might go. They can't be within 1000 feet of schools, churches, or playgrounds. Using that formula, there is not one place zoned right now for a shop to go.

"Relieves a lot of citizens, a lot of residents who just don't want that next door," Trulove said.

Other cities are finding few locations that will work. Medical Lake has one potential site for a store. Liberty Lake has a few. Pullman could have several stores in the north and south ends of town. In Spokane, there are a number of places that would work, including areas on North Division and near Airway Heights.

Identity of Spokane Valley victim hit by passing car confirmed

Identity of Spokane Valley victim hit by passing car confirmed

The Spokane County Medical Examiner's Office has confirmed the identity of the individual who was killed by a passing car after being involved in a non-injury collision in the Spokane Valley

30-year-old Matthew Miller was driving a Toyota pickup near the Sprague on-ramp to I-90 when a small delivery truck made an illegal right turn on to 3rd Ave. and hit the pickup.

Both drivers pulled over to exchange information. As Miller was walking back to his car, he was distracted by his cell phone and was hit by another passing car.

Investigators say none of the drivers involved were impaired and speed was not a factor.

The coroner's office says Miller died of a blunt head injury.

Young woman killed in head-on collision in Spokane Valley

An erratic and possibly impaired driver is to blame for a fatal crash in Spokane Valley.

On Wednesday around 5:30 pm. Washington State Patrol said 43-year-old Brett Birge was behind the wheel of a black Volkswagen driving westbound on Trent when he crossed the center line and ran head on into another car.

WSP said the driver of the other car, 21-year-old Brittany Babinski, died a short time later at a local hospital.

"The suspect vehicle was reported as being erratic, passing on the right, lost control, went into oncoming lanes, struck victim vehicle and a third party was also struck," said Sgt. Lennie Walker with WSP.

Sgt. Lennie Walker said Birge was also involved in a hit and run in the Fred Meyer parking lot on Sullivan a few minutes before the fatal crash.

Birge was taken to the hospital with serious but non-life threatening injuries.

"He's under investigation for alcohol and or drugs at this point," said Sgt. Walker.

Birge has been charged with vehicular homicide.

Cantwell pushing for bi-partisan support for farm bill

Cantwell pushing for bi-partisan support for farm bill

Keeping money coming to Eastern Washington is one reason U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell visited the state grain inspection office in Spokane Valley Monday pushing bi-partisan support for a revised farm bill.

The current farm bill is set to expire at the end of September and, if the legislature can't agree on a new version, Cantwell says farmers here will lose out in a big way.

"We can see here today how much farmers want the certainty and predictability, so lets get in a room and resolve the differences," Cantwell said.

Cantwell is zeroing in on funding that would be lost if a resolution isn't made, namely research and foreign market development money.

"Some of these programs are improving on the research and that's what we want to see," she said.

Over the past five years, Washington State University has conducted more than $83 Million worth of USDA research to help improve local exports like wheat and potatoes.

"Some of it we know is used locally but most of it is exported," said sixth generation farmer Marci Green.

Trading card store robbed of $30,000 in merchandise

A sports card trading business in the Spokane Valley has been robbed twice in the last six months to the tune of $30,000.

The owner, Adam Bisson says that whoever broke in wasn't just familiar with his store, but everything inside. He remembers the morning of the first robbery well.

"I walk around the corner and I find my shop in total disarray," he said. "The windows are broken open and I pretty much collapsed on the floor because I couldn't believe what I walked in to."

The thief ransacked the place, but it was hardly random. They targeted valuable vintage football and baseball cards and celebrity autographed items, some of which ended up in another shop in Coeur d'Alene.

Detectives tracked down the man who sold them, but couldn?t prove he was the thief.

Bisson says he was almost ready to give up.

"I was ready to just lock the door and walk away but then the spirit takes over and realize if we do then the typical adage of 'the bad guy wins' is true and I don't want that," he said.

Shea: Opening roads to ATVs could boost state economy

State Representative Matt Shea says opening Washington roads to ATV riders will bring a needed boost to the economy.

During the second special session of the Washington state legislature this year, Shea pushed through a bill that gives local jurisdictions the authority to open roads to all-terrain vehicles.

He says many riders head to other states to ride because Washington roads were closed.

The new law took effect Sunday.

"We found that coalitions are forming between county and some local cities and towns to make ATV rider loops, for example in Okanogan, so folks can actually go on a ride into the county loop back into the town and go to a restaurant or perhaps to a gas station as well," he explained Thursday.

Shea said one study showed opening the roads could generate $50 million for the economy over the next 10 years.

Colville National Forest holding art competition for Capitol Christmas Tree

Colville National Forest holding art competition for Capitol Christmas Tree

Haul out the holly and crank up the Christmas tunes, you'll need it for inspiration. Washington will provide the U.S. Capitol Christmas this year, and a statewide art competition is being held to find artwork that best captures the theme and spirit of the tree.


Every year since 1970 a Christmas tree has been presented to the U.S. Congress from a national forest. The 2013 tree will hail from the Coville National Forest and they are working alongside Choose Outdoors and ArtsWA to hold the juried art exhibition to select the official artwork that will represent the Eastern Washington tree.


“We encourage Washington artists to submit an entry. The selected artwork will receive exposure throughout the state as well as nationally,” said Laura Jo West, Colville National Forest Supervisor. “This is a wonderful opportunity to showcase Washington's talented artists!”