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Few pay price of vanity for driver’s license

Mon., Oct. 16, 2006

So you lost a bunch of weight and can’t stand that your driver’s license still says you weigh (fill-in-the-blank) pounds.

Maybe your picture looks like something that should be hanging on a post office wall.

Whatever the reason, you can visit a Washington state Department of Licensing office and get an updated driver’s license for $10, said department spokesman Brad Benfield, who seemed a bit surprised by the question.

The department doesn’t see a lot of people requesting new driver’s licenses other than brides who want their new last name on their license, Benfield said.

“It’s fairly uncommon for people to come in and change their address before their license expires,” he said.

By the way, it is required under state law that you update your address.

If your reasons for wanting a new Washington license are more vain, make sure you request a new photo or the department will reuse the old one it has stored digitally.

In Idaho, it’s a similar story. It costs $11.50 in Kootenai County to get a duplicate license, for which you can get a new picture and update any information.

Highway 3 closed today

Idaho drivers will want to avoid state Highway 3 south of St. Maries this afternoon.

The highway will be closed from 2-6 p.m. in the Mashburn Bridge reconstruction project area, 12 miles south of St. Maries.

Crews will be paving the highway.

Machine against the rage

The Washington State Patrol will spend the next two weeks tracking down and busting aggressive drivers on Interstate 90 in the Spokane area.

Troopers in six unmarked vehicles and a patrol plane will be working the areas between the top of the Sunset Hill and Sprague Avenue and the freeway between Sullivan Road and the Idaho/Washington state line.

Convenience at a price

More people are going paperless and throwing out their checkbooks in favor of debit cards and credit cards.

Don’t be too rash. Keeping the checks around could come in handy some days.

For instance, checks are helpful if you’re trying to pay a city of Spokane parking ticket.

As one colleague recently discovered, paying such tickets by plastic costs $5.95 in online convenience fees. Since you can’t mail in cash or pay with credit at the Spokane County paying station, the only options for the checkless are to walk cash over, buy and mail in a money order or bite the bullet and pay the online fee.

That fee is charged by the company Official Payments Corp., which processes online ticket payments for Spokane County District Court.

Court Administrator Ron Miles said the fee is the result of two conflicting laws.

The first prohibits the court, like all businesses, from passing on credit card surcharges to the public. The second prohibits the court from gifting fees like those charged by credit card companies to the public.

So if the court can’t charge or forgive those fees, the only credit card option for the ticketed is the online payment company. “Official Payments Corp. is the only game in town,” said Miles.

And, he adds, “The ultimate remedy is for them to not get a ticket.”

Bridging the tracks

Bridging the Valley is a two-state project designed to eliminate about 75 at-grade railroad crossings between Spokane and Athol. Bridges or underpasses will be built at some, and others will be closed.

First up in Spokane is the BNSF crossing at Havana Street, where an overpass could be built next year. Idaho work will begin in Rathdrum, where a Main Street extension will cross under the BNSF tracks near state Highway 53.

People interested in learning more can attend two open houses this week.

The Idaho meeting is from 4:30-7:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Idaho Department of Transportation, 600 W. Prairie Ave. The Washington open house is from 4:30-7 p.m. Wednesday in the East Valley Middle School cafeteria, 4920 N. Progress Road.

More information also is available at

Slow going

North Spokane

The Freya Street Bridge will be reduced to one southbound lane Wednesday from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. for repairs.

Monroe Street is under construction from Francis to where Monroe intersects with Wall near Holy Cross Cemetery. Expect delays.

The Maple Street Bridge will have periodic single lane closures through the end of October for painting and other maintenance work.

Strong Road is closed today and Tuesday between Panorama Drive and Cedar Road so crews can install new sewer and water lines.

Rutter Parkway and state Highway 291 pavement work continues at Nine Mile Falls. There may be delays and single-lane traffic at times.

Charles Road is under construction from Inch Road to Highway 291. Expect delays.

West Plains

Hayford Road is under construction from U.S. Highway 2 to Sprague Avenue.

South Spokane

U.S. Highway 195 construction between Rosalia and Plaza is causing delays and single lane traffic at times.

The Palouse Highway is under construction near state Highway 27. Expect delays.

Bernard Street paving is scheduled to wrap up this week between 14th and 29th avenues. Traffic is detoured to Grand Boulevard and Lincoln Street.

Freya Street is closed from 11th to 18th avenues.

Spokane sweeping

Crews will sweep in the northwest from Wellesley to Francis between Assembly and Driscoll Boulevard and from Wellesley to Garland between Northwest Boulevard and “A” Street; in the northeast from Crestline to Division between Francis and Westview; and on the south side from 29th to High Drive between Bernard and High Drive and from Water Avenue to 6th Avenue between Eagle Ridge Lane to Monroe Street.

Please move cars off the streets. For more information, call (509) 456-2666.


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