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ISP uncovers large pot-growing operation

The Idaho State Police worked Friday to dismantle what they called a large and sophisticated indoor marijuana growing operation in the Post Falls and Rathdrum area.

More than 700 marijuana plants in various stages of maturity were seized after the ISP served search warrants at three homes and one business.

Arrested Friday afternoon were: Ryan Jackson, 33, of Hayden; Charlie Hatridge, 47, of Post Falls; and Kelly Polatis, 38, of Las Vegas. The three were charged with trafficking in marijuana and booked into the Kootenai County Jail.

The ISP got help from local law enforcement and the Internal Revenue Service in the investigation.


Retired firefighter accused of felony

A retired Spokane firefighter with a history of fatal and drunken driving was jailed Friday on charges of felony drunken driving and possession of a controlled substance.

Bond for David W. Batty, 52, was set at $100,000, according to Spokane County Jail records. A Spokane County sheriff’s deputy arrested Batty on Friday, according to the jail.

Batty joined the Spokane Fire Department in 1983 and was rehired in 1995 following a two-year prison term for vehicular homicide. He was on medical leave when he clipped the back of a van on U.S. Highway 2 in January 2007, triggering a three-car collision that killed three people. Batty wasn’t charged in the crash and retired from the department in January, officials said.

Senior meal program funding restored

Funding has been restored to the program providing noon meals to seniors throughout Spokane.

The Spokane Regional Health District announced Friday afternoon that the services – reduced in October because of federal cuts – received money gifts from Mid-City Concerns & Meals on Wheels, and anonymous donors.

The funding cuts reduced the meal programs to two or three days a week. The restored funding means all noon meals will be restored at 11 senior centers. Home-delivered meal programs also will resume in full.

Driscoll leads Ahern by slim majority

Democratic challenger John Driscoll maintained a slim lead over incumbent Rep. John Ahern as Spokane neared the end of its ballot count Friday. A mandatory recount seems likely.

Driscoll leads Ahern by 63 votes for the 6th Legislative District position, county elections officials said. That’s a margin of about one-tenth of 1 percent, and state law requires a recount in any race separated by less than one-half of 1 percent.

Pia Hallenberg Christensen Meghann M. Cuniff John Stucke Jim Camden