Local news

Convictions partially reversed

An appeals court has partially reversed and partially upheld the convictions of a man sentenced last year to 13 years in prison for a 2004 attack on a Boise businessman at the Hotel Lusso.

A jury convicted Erik R. Dickson, 28, in October 2005 of first-degree robbery, first-degree kidnapping, second-degree theft and second-degree assault for an attack that left developer John W. Sieckert disfigured.

Dickson forced Sieckert to say goodbye to wallet photos of his wife and children. Sieckert suffered a fractured skull in the attack and doctors implanted a metal plate to repair his eye socket.

Thursday, in a unanimous three-judge opinion, the Washington Court of Appeals Division III vacated Dickson’s second-degree theft conviction, saying it constituted double jeopardy under a recent Washington Supreme Court ruling.

The court also ordered a new trial in Dickson’s second-degree assault conviction, saying his right to a unanimous jury verdict was violated. The court upheld his convictions for first-degree robbery and first-degree kidnapping, plus a deadly weapon enhancement imposed at sentencing.

Gregoire to attend Fox reopening

Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire will cut the ribbon at the official reopening and “lights-on” ceremony at the Fox Theater at 3:30 p.m. Saturday. Also in attendance will be Harlow Gibbon, who worked at the downtown theater in the 1930s and ‘40s, and was present for its opening in 1931.

The governor will then deliver remarks at 4 p.m. at the Davenport Hotel’s Hall of Doges.

The theater opens to the public later on Saturday with an 8 p.m. concert featuring the Spokane Symphony and Frederica von Stade.

The historic art deco theater had a “lights-out” ceremony when it closed for $31 million in renovations two years ago.

Transient woman stabbed in fight

A woman was stabbed near her eye and shoulder Thursday afternoon during a scuffle near downtown Spokane.

The victim, who is in her 40s, was taken to a hospital with serious but non-life-threatening injuries, said Spokane police spokeswoman Officer Jennifer DeRuwe.

Jolene E. Swan, 43, was charged with first-degree assault.

The women, whom police described as transients, apparently fought under Interstate 90 at Fourth Avenue and Browne, DeRuwe said.

The motive for the stabbing was unknown.

The victim was found in a parking garage at 104 W. Fifth Ave., DeRuwe said.

The suspect was found a few blocks north, on Second Avenue.

The knife used in the assault was not located, police said.

New firm running school bus service

Buses transporting students in Spokane Public Schools will have a new look starting Nov. 19.

Laidlaw Educational Transportation Services, which holds the contract with Spokane schools for bus service, was acquired by First Student, another national school bus operator.

District officials said First Student plans no changes to bus services for students, and all former drivers and staff will keep their jobs.

First Student will begin the process of re-branding Spokane buses next week, school officials said.

The company serves more than 1,500 school districts nationwide and has a fleet of 62,000.


Sali touts funds he voted against

Idaho 1st District Congressman Bill Sali is touting his success in getting $500,000 for a Highway 95 widening project included in a bill that he then voted against.

The money is part of an ongoing project to realign and replace the existing two-lane road with a four-lane divided highway between Lewiston and Moscow.

“U.S. 95 has an unmistakable and irreplaceable role to play as part of Idaho’s economy,” Sali said in a press release. “This widening is important to the economic vitality of the entire state, but it is also important as it will help prevent accidents and save lives. While this may seem like a win for a freshman congressman in the minority party, much more importantly this is a win for the people of the whole state of Idaho.”

Yet, Sali voted against the bill that contained the funding.

“The larger bill, H.R. 3074, passed 270-147,” Sali’s press release stated. “Congressman Sali voted against the overall measure because it contains a series of other unnecessary, bloated spending proposals and would hike overall spending by $7.1 billion more than current funding and $5.3 billion more than the President has requested.”

He also noted that the bill included another funding proposal he pushed, for $500,000 in improvements to a forest road from Banks to Lowman, and that Sen. Larry Craig helped win both earmarks.


Officers collecting holiday donations

Law enforcement officers and firefighters in Spokane and Kootenai counties are seeking donations for their annual “Holidays and Heroes” program, which pairs up public safety officers with needy children for Christmas gift shopping.

Volunteer officers will pick up the children in patrol cars Dec. 9 and take them to the Spokane Valley and Post Falls Wal-Marts to shop for holiday gifts for themselves and their families. The children then will be driven to Greyhound Park in Post Falls, where their gifts will be wrapped, food baskets will be waiting and the children can visit Santa.

Last year 105 children participated.

Cash and food donations can be dropped off at the Spokane County Public Safety Building, 1100 W. Mallon; the Spokane Valley Police Department, 12710 E. Sprague Ave.; Post Falls Police Department, 1717 E. Polston Ave.; Kootenai County Sheriff’s Department, 5500 N. Government Way; Coeur d’Alene Police Department, 3818 Schreiber Way; and Kootenai County Fire and Rescue, 5271 E. Seltice Way in Post Falls.


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