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City official will repay his Rotary dues

Wed., June 27, 2007

Spokane Chief Operating Officer John Pilcher will pay his own $300 membership fee to the Spokane Rotary Club after City Council members balked at covering the expense.

Pilcher, who is paid about $139,000 a year, had sought taxpayer reimbursement for the annual fee, but City Council members set it aside Monday while considering $4.3 million in bills for the week.

Councilman Brad Stark said he wanted to find out the city’s policy on reimbursing workers for dues in civic organizations before approving it.

City Councilwoman Mary Verner, who is running for mayor, said Tuesday she opposed the expenditure, explaining she considers it inappropriate for government to pay Rotary dues.

City spokeswoman Marlene Feist said Pilcher is one of two or three people whose Rotary membership has been paid for by the city. She said Pilcher’s was first covered when he was the Spokane’s economic development director.

“The downtown Rotary is filled with a lot of downtown business folks who work and own and manage businesses,” Feist said. “It’s a good opportunity to network with the people and find out what their needs are.”

– Jonathan Brunt

Body pulled from Spokane River

Divers pulled a body from the Spokane River late Tuesday, but it could be a while before identification is made.

“It’s a very decomposed body, been in the water a long time,” said Spokane police Sgt. Joe Peterson. The gender of the body was undetermined.

About 7:30 p.m., two people walking over the Washington Street bridge spotted what they thought looked like a body underwater.

The Spokane Fire Department sent kayakers to the scene, who confirmed the discovery. The body, lodged against a pipe in the riverbed, was recovered by divers at 10:25 p.m.

Officer Tracie Meidl said that given the location – upstream – it could not be the man who jumped into the river last week while running from Riverfront Park security.

– Nick Eaton

Bethesda, Md.

Fireworks devices being recalled

A fireworks device called “March or Die Mine” and another called “Saturn Missiles Battery” are being recalled by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, officials announced Tuesday.

Both fireworks are considered dangerous because of the potential to malfunction and cause injuries, according to a press release from the commission.

The March or Die Mine is distributed by Jakes Fireworks Inc. The tubes can come loose and make the fireworks devices unstable, which could cause them to tip over, officials said. The 300-shot Saturn Missiles Battery, distributed by Far East Imports, can shoot out in unexpected directions.

For more information about the recall, call (800) 638-2772.

Discharging fireworks is illegal in Spokane city and county and many other local jurisdictions. Fireworks labeled “Safe and Sane” are legal in much of North Idaho. Neither of the recalled fireworks is “Safe and Sane.”

– Jody Lawrence-TurnerKootenai County

Hearing to resume for gated community

The Kootenai County commission is continuing a public hearing tonight on a controversial gated housing development overlooking Hayden Lake that could include a 36-slip community dock.

The 6 p.m. hearing is a continuation of the June 14 meeting on Timber Creek – a proposal by Oregon-based McDougal Brothers Investments to build 46 lots on a basalt bluff overlooking the north side of the lake off English Point Road.

The hearing is at the Kootenai County Administration Building, 451 Government Way.

For more information, call (208) 446-1600.

– Erica Curless


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