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In brief: County forms justice council

Overseeing Spokane County’s criminal justice system is now a group effort.

The Criminal Justice Council was formed after a consultant’s report revealed several issues with the county system. It concluded, for instance, that one in four felons is released from jail because paperwork wasn’t filed within 72 hours, and said there’s a need for better treatment of mentally ill inmates. It also suggested consolidating some city and county operations.

The consultant, Doug Bennett, called the county’s criminal justice system “leaderless” – suggesting the formation of the council.

The group, which held its first meeting Thursday, was unofficially co-chaired by county Commissioner Mark Richard and Presiding Superior Court Judge Maryann C. Moreno, said county spokeswoman Martha Lou Wheatley-Billeter. They were joined by representatives from law enforcement and the legal community.

Six subcommittees – pre-trial services, adjudication issues, treatment and diversion, system data issues, jail and community corrections planning and consolidation of agencies – were formed.

The council plans to meet again sometime in April.

Coeur d’Alene

Tubbs Hill to close for prescribed burn

Tubbs Hill will close for a day next week while firefighters torch about 60 acres of the Coeur d’Alene park as part of a prescribed burn.

The Coeur d’Alene Fire Department is planning a controlled burn to rid the hill of dead woody materials that could serve as fuel for forest fires, the department said.

Weather will determine which day the burn will be scheduled and the department plans to provide 24 hours notice. The hill will be closed the day of the burn beginning at 7:30 a.m.

Fort Lewis, Wash.

Two soldiers with state ties killed

The Defense Department says an Everett soldier based at Fort Hood, Texas, and a Fort Lewis soldier from California have died in Iraq.

Twenty-eight-year-old Sgt. Phillip R. Anderson of Everett and two other soldiers died Monday in Balad Ruz of wounds from an explosive. All were assigned to the 2nd Squadron, 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, at Fort Hood.

The Fort Lewis soldier died Friday of wounds from a roadside bomb.

The Defense Department says 22-year-old Jose A. Paniagua-Morales of Bell Gardens, Calif., was fatally injured in Samarra.

He was a member of the 4-2 Stryker brigade – the 4th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division. After his death he was promoted from specialist to the rank of corporal.

Chehalis, Wash.

State Route 6 nearly fixed

Washington state highway crews have almost completed their fixes on State Route 6 near Pe Ell after the highway was heavily damaged during the December storms.

Transportation officials say crews should complete the repairs in time to open the road this Sunday.

Crews have been stabilizing a slope. A major landslide during the December storms had made it dangerous to allow vehicles to drive through the area.

Construction crews removed about 100,000 cubic yards of debris from the slope next to the highway and then regraded the slope.


Can’t save spots for Rose parade

For years, fans of Portland’s Rose Festival parades have been reserving their viewing spots by chalking, spray painting or, often, duct taping a piece of downtown sidewalk. Some staked a claim days or even weeks in advance.

But now, the City Council has decreed, nothing less than one’s physical presence will be required if one wishes to reserve a spot. The council voted unanimously Wednesday to fine people who mark spots $100 – for the first offense. Recidivists will face $500 penalties.

The city plans to work with the Rose Festival to add space for disabled people and senior citizens to watch, so they don’t have to worry about camping out.

From staff and wire reports


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