Local news

Ex-teacher released on bail in sex case

A 78-year-old Spokane man, whom a court commissioner called a threat to “the community and the community’s children,” is out of jail.

Retired elementary school teacher Gordon L. Erickson posted a $10,000 bond Wednesday night after being arrested Tuesday on two counts of attempted first-degree child rape.

During Erickson’s first appearance in court, he asked Spokane County Court Commissioner Virginia Rockwood to release him on his own recognizance. Rockwood said it was her decision to hold him on $100,000 bail because she considered him dangerous.

About a week ago Spokane police detectives began investigating Erickson after receiving a tip that he was searching for children to have sex with.

“He agreed to bring candy and popcorn for the children, as well as the $100 per child for sexual purposes,” for two fictitious girls, ages 4 years and 11 months, said Spokane police spokeswoman Officer Jennifer DeRuwe. Erickson was arrested when he arrived at the arranged location with the promised items.

In court, Erickson said the allegations were untrue.

– Jody Lawrence-Turner

Springdale, Wash.

Water-boiling advised after E. coli found

About 260 Springdale residents should boil water from their faucets before consuming it after state officials detected contamination Thursday in the town’s public water system.

Tests found evidence of E. coli bacteria in samples collected during routine testing and follow-up targeted testing, said Scott Torpie, regional manager for the state Office of Drinking Water.

The samples collected don’t indicate whether the bacterium is the E. coli 0157:H7 strain that can cause severe illness or death, Torpie said.

Inspectors will be on site today to find the cause of the problem.

No illnesses connected to the contaminated water had been reported to the Northeast Tri-County Health District by late Thursday.

Residents of the community 40 miles from Spokane should use boiled or bottled water for drinking, cooking, making ice and brushing their teeth, state health officials said. Water should be boiled for three to five minutes and then cooled before using.

– JoNel Aleccia

Coeur d’Alene

NIC to offer 8-week certificates in fall

North Idaho College will begin offering basic certificates in four high-demand professions to give students shorter programs that lead to full-time employment.

Beginning this fall, students can earn eight-week certificates in diesel or automotive technology, or a 20-credit certificate in manufacturing, which is part of the machine technology program. A nine-month technical certificate in the resort/recreation management program will be offered starting in January, in addition to the two-year degree.

Students can pursue an advanced certificate or associate’s degree or get a job with just a certificate. “Students should have options on whether they want short-term training to enter the workforce quickly or if they want to earn an advanced degree,” said Barbara Hanson, NIC’s executive director for strategic program development, in a news release.

Meghann M. Cuniff



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