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In brief: $7 million donated for diocese settlement

FRIDAY, SEPT. 28, 2007

Eastern Washington Catholics have donated $7 million of the $10 million parish pledge settling the Roman Catholic Diocese of Spokane bankruptcy.

The money will fund payouts to people sexually abused decades ago by priests and other diocese agents.

“The people in the pews have been incredibly generous – and they have made real financial sacrifice – often using personal savings, even portions of Social Security or retirements payments” to fulfill the parish obligation, said Robert Hailey of the Association of Parishes, a group of priests and laity representing the diocese’s 82 parishes.

The AOP is procuring a loan for the $3 million balance, due Dec. 31, according to a press release.

The parish collections are part of a $48 million settlement reached last spring. Other funds have been collected from insurance carriers, a separate campaign by Bishop William Skylstad, and the sale of diocese land, investments, and buildings including the Chancery in downtown Spokane.

Each parish had a collection target based on a pro rata share of their collective $10 million promise.

– John Stucke

Southeast Boulevard slated to reopen today

Southeast Boulevard was supposed to open Monday. It didn’t. But it will open today.

Though the road is paved and striped, Shamrock Paving crews kept it blocked while constructing traffic islands.

The project to reconstruct Southeast Boulevard from Sherman Street/Fifth Avenue to 18th Avenue is wrapping up behind schedule. Another Shamrock Paving project in Browne’s Addition is slowly progressing.

Street Department spokeswoman Ann Deasy-Nolan said Shamrock had two months to finish the work, which gives them until Oct. 14.

City officials originally said it would take two weeks to pave each of three roads in the downtown neighborhood. That was changed to three weeks per street, but work is taking much longer.

Meanwhile the city is celebrating completion of its Ash and Maple streets repaving project. Both were reconstructed between Northwest Boulevard and Wellesley Avenue.

A grand opening ceremony will be held 10:30 a.m. Oct. 2 in the Hastings parking lot, 1704 W. Wellesley Ave.

– Amy Cannata

Colville Indian Reservation

Lab receives evidence in arson wildfire

Investigators have sent material to a forensic lab in an effort to track down an arsonist they believe started the Manila Creek fire on the Colville Indian Reservation, a fire official said Thursday.

David Nee, fire planner at the Mt. Tollman Fire Center near Keller, Wash., said he could not elaborate on what investigators found at the head of the 26,800-plus acre burn site.

The blaze, which was contained a week ago, so far has cost $6.4 million to fight, Nee said.

On Thursday, three firetrucks were assigned to patrol the wildfire’s perimeter for signs of smoke within 1,000 feet of the fire line.

In 2003, firefighters battled a smaller suspicious wildfire in the same area. Investigators believe that 4,000-acre fire also was intentionally set, but the case has yet to be solved.

Nick Eaton

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