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Notebook: Scenes from a wintry inland

Jay Randolph gets a close look at a  U-1 hydroplane Thursday outside the Interstate Fairgrounds. The annual boat show is this weekend. 
 (CHRISTOPHER ANDERSON / The Spokesman-Review)
Jay Randolph gets a close look at a U-1 hydroplane Thursday outside the Interstate Fairgrounds. The annual boat show is this weekend. (CHRISTOPHER ANDERSON / The Spokesman-Review)

Crime seems to drop when there’s a big change in weather. This happens when temperatures first reach the 100s, the first big downpour and, of course, when it first snows or snows several inches all at once.

“I don’t have anything to prove it, but that’s my sense. And I don’t know why,” said Spokane County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Sgt. Dave Reagan.

Spokane police Officer Jennifer DeRuwe has her own take. “Bad guys are human too,” she said. “They don’t want to go out when it’s cold or wet.”

Criminals can’t make such a clean break in the snow, she said. They leave footprints, and more people are home when it’s cold out.

“A majority of crimes are crimes of opportunity,” DeRuwe said. “If the one doesn’t present itself, then there is going to be a reduction in crime.”

Tough times on the Palouse

The Palouse was especially hard-hit by the overnight storm, prompting Washington State University President Elson Floyd to close the Pullman campus Thursday and today to all but essential services, such as student meals.

It was the first time the Pullman campus had closed for snow in 22 years. The last time classes were canceled was November 1985, the Friday before the Apple Cup, said spokesman Rob Strenge.

The University of Idaho in Moscow canceled classes Thursday and today – the first time since high winds closed the campus on Jan. 8, 1990.

Whitman County warned residents not to drive. Valley Transit in Moscow suspended bus service. And Moscow Mayor Nancy Chaney shut down City Hall, with plans to reopen today.

Several Palouse roads were closed, including state Route 272 between Colfax and Palouse; Route 27 between Rockford and Latah; and Route 23 from Highway 195 to Sprague.

Spokane County reported that blowing snow in the northern Palouse hampered snow removal Thursday, and it closed some county roads.

SPS still providing meals

Spokane Public Schools will continue to provide breakfast and lunch at three neighborhood community centers today.

The district partnered with the agencies to provide free meals to students, who have been out of school all week because of the snow.

“It has a big impact, especially families that are higher need,” said Doug Wordell, director of nutrition services.

More than half of Spokane’s students qualify for the federal free- and reduced-price meal program, Wordell said.

On Thursday, 13-year-old Brenda Hiatt, who attends Glover Middle School, walked to the West Central Community Center with her brothers, Josh, 5, and C.J., 6, for breakfast.

“We don’t have that much food; this week has thrown off the groceries,” Hiatt said. The three children planned to come back for lunch.

Any child under age 18 is welcome to eat. They don’t have to be students of Spokane schools.

Meals will be served 9 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. and noon to 12:30 p.m. at West Central Community Center, 1603 N. Belt; East Central Community Center, 500 S. Stone; and Northeast Community Center, 4001 N. Cook.

Blood donations off sharply

Icy roads and bad weather are causing a drop in blood donations this week. In response, the Inland Northwest Blood Center will extend its Saturday hours.

On an average day, the blood bank must have 150 donors to meet the needs of the hospitals it serves, the organization said in a press release. This week, the daily count has averaged 65 donors.

Seven scheduled mobile blood drives have been canceled since Monday.

This Saturday, the blood center’s main office at 210 W. Cataldo Ave. in Spokane will be open 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. The North Idaho site at 1341 Northwood Center Court will be open 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. And a bloodmobile will be at Valley Hospital & Medical Center 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

For more information visit or call (800) 423-0151.

Cheney High shelter opens

The Red Cross set up a shelter at Cheney High School after hearing reports of people being stranded without power.

No one had moved into the shelter by late Thursday afternoon, but several people came for meals and other services.

Red Cross spokesman Thomas Stredwick urges anyone with neighbors who have lost power to contact them and let them know about the shelter.

Digging for snacks

Residents of Harvard Park Retirement Community will serve coffee and cookies Saturday to people who help dig out motorists, shovel or offer other assistance on the South Hill.

The snacks and a warm fire will be available at 1616 E. 30th Ave. from 9 a.m. to noon. Harvard Park’s approximately 100 residents decided it’d be the best way to help, said Christopher Galbreath, assistant manager.


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