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Omak arena gets boost from lawmakers

Mon., April 23, 2007

In a major win for northern Washington lawmakers, the Legislature agreed Sunday to spend $4 million to replace the aging Omak Stampede arena.

But don’t look for those words in the budget. Instead, the money is allocated for an “Okanogan Equestrian and Heritage Center.”

“We damn sure couldn’t call it the Suicide Race stadium,” said Rep. Joel Kretz, R-Wauconda, referring to the controversial horse race that’s part of the annual stampede.

Kretz, Rep. Bob Sump and Sen. Bob Morton, R-Orient, worked hard to convince Puget Sound lawmakers to fund the project. House Speaker Frank Chopp, D-Seattle, personally inspected the rickety bleachers on a trip last year, Kretz said.

“We had to overcome the resistance they had to, quote, animal cruelty,” said Sump, R-Republic. The race, in which horses are sometimes fatally injured, is a longtime tradition for the Colville tribes that will continue regardless of a new arena, he said.

The stadium is critical for local horse shows, 4-H livestock shows and other local events.

– Richard Roesler


Police name officer injured in crash

The Spokane police officer who suffered minor injuries in a Saturday auto crash was Robert J. Mosman, authorities said Sunday.

Mosman and another officer, whose name still hasn’t been released, were in separate police cars responding about 5:40 p.m. Saturday to a robbery alarm on North Market, just outside the city limits, said Cpl. Michael Carr.

The officers’ cars had their emergency lights and sirens activated as they went through a red light at the intersection. The first officer’s car cleared the intersection, but Mosman’s vehicle, eastbound on Lincoln Road, was struck by a northbound minivan driven by a 72-year-old woman. Mosman’s car spun into a third vehicle whose occupants weren’t injured.

The woman driving the minivan, whose name also wasn’t provided by police, was released after medical treatment for a sore chest and swollen hand apparently suffered when the airbag in her vehicle deployed, Carr said.

Mosman was treated for a bruised wrist and ribs, then released.

The damage estimate to his police car wasn’t provided.

– Bill Morlin

IMAX closed while new seats installed

The Riverfront Park IMAX Theatre will be closed today through Sunday as new seats are installed.

The project is expected to cost about $52,000. About half the money will be paid by the Spokane Parks Foundation. The rest will be covered with money left from a 1999 parks bond issue that raised about $15 million for park improvements, said parks spokeswoman Nancy Goodspeed.

Capacity of the theater will be between 385 and 342 once the padded seats with cup holders are installed. The old seats are original to the building, which was constructed for Expo ‘74.

– Jonathan Brunt

Fire damages unoccupied duplex

A fire extensively damaged an unoccupied duplex Sunday afternoon in south Spokane.

Spokane Fire Department crews responded to the blaze, 704 S. Arthur, at 5:12 p.m., Battalion Chief Craig Cornelius said in a news release, and found heavy smoke coming from the front of the two-story wood-frame structure.

Many of the interior walls and the ceiling on the second floor had to be opened to reach the fire, Cornelius said. Much of the building’s roof also had to be removed.

No one was injured.

About 26 firefighters battled the blaze, bringing it under control in about 25 minutes, but little of the structure is likely salvageable, Cornelius said. Investigators had yet to determine the cause late Sunday.

– Richard Miller


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