Local news

County cuts drug, alcohol assessments

Spokane County’s program that assesses drug and alcohol addiction and provides referrals to treatment programs will be eliminated as part of a budget-cutting move.

As many as 13 employees will be laid off as the Spokane Regional Health District ends its Alcohol and Drug Assessment and Outreach Program. The assessments were for people in Eastern State Hospital, Spokane County jail and Sacred Heart Medical Center’s psychiatric program as well as those in contact with Child Protective Services. Workers last year completed 1,742 assessments.

“The programs and services impacted by cuts are a terrible loss that will be felt throughout the community,” said Torney Smith, the health district’s administrator.

Public health districts across the state have made deep cuts in services and staffing as funding falls short and demands rise.

S-R senior editor resigns amid layoffs

Carla Savalli, The Spokesman-Review’s assistant managing editor for local news, submitted her resignation Thursday.

The move comes a day after the news company announced significant newsroom layoffs and its editor, Steven A. Smith, announced his resignation.

“It seems like the right time in this volatile industry for me to make a personal change, although it will be very hard to leave,” Savalli said. “As a Spokane native, I grew up with The Spokesman-Review and never wanted to be anything other than a journalist. I’m proud of the work we’ve done here, and I know that those who remain will continue to work on behalf of readers because there’s nothing more important.”

Savalli was instrumental in the newspaper’s Our Kids: Our Business project to illuminate issues of child abuse and neglect in the community, and she wrote a report on the future of the news business that was widely read in the industry.

“She knows Spokane and she loves Spokane,” said Jim Camden, a longtime Spokesman-Review reporter, “and those two things always came through in the stories she assigned, the projects she took on and the reporters she nurtured and supported.”

Kootenai County

Police determine death threat wasn’t serious

Authorities put Kootenai County politicians on alert Thursday after a man cleared his bank account and told a teller he planned to buy a gun and “take care of a politician.”

The man told an employee at Bank of America on Appleway Avenue in Coeur d’Alene he was angry about the proposed $700 billion federal bailout of Wall Street when he withdrew approximately $1,800 about 11:15 a.m., said Lt. Kim Edmondson, of the Kootenai County Sheriff’s Department.

The teller called police, and deputies contacted him at his southern Kootenai County home a few hours later.

They determined he hadn’t meant the comment to be taken seriously.

In the meantime, county political offices were put on notice and took extra precautions, such as locking doors.

No charges will be filed, Edmondson said.

“With the economy the way it is, people are pretty inflamed,” she said. But “even if you’re blowing off steam, it’s probably not a good comment to make in public.”

John Stucke From staff reports Meghann M. Cuniff

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