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Grandson pleads guilty in death of woman, 91

Fri., Oct. 10, 2008

Michael Bourassa pleaded guilty Thursday to second-degree criminal mistreatment in the death of his grandmother.

The 29-year-old was Elsie Gettman’s primary care provider when she was found lying in feces and maggots. The 91-year-old North Side woman had open sores and a bed spring embedded in her back.

For more than two years, people had reported concerns about the woman’s well-being to local and state authorities, but she was not removed from the situation, according to previous news reports. Family members said Bourassa refused to let them in to visit his grandmother.

Gettman died five days after she was rescued from the home.

Bourassa was sentenced to a year in jail with credit for time served. Because he’d been in jail since late October 2007, he was released Thursday.

Man who once set fire suspected in new ones

A 20-year-old man who once set fire to an apartment building under construction has been arrested in a series of grass fires along the Centennial Trail.

Firefighters were on the lookout Wednesday for a bicycle-riding man who’d been spotted watching some of three previous fires when a fourth small fire was reported shortly before 4 p.m. Wednesday.

The previous fires were on Sept. 27, 28 and 30.

Deputy Fire Marshal Bill Clifford said an arriving crew spotted a man matching the description and summoned two fire investigators and a Spokane Valley police officer.

The investigators questioned Jacob R. Carle, and the police officer arrested him on suspicion of first-degree reckless burning. Clifford said the fire investigators hope a deputy prosecutor will boost the charge to second-degree arson.

Public records show Carle pleaded guilty in Juvenile Court to three counts of second-degree reckless burning for setting fire to an apartment building under construction at 5015 S. Regal St. He was sentenced to 58 days of detention. Carle was convicted in 2006 of making a bomb threat.


EWU enrollment second-largest ever

Eastern Washington University confirmed Thursday that this year’s enrollment is the second largest in the school’s history.

The total of 9,897 students starting the academic year at Eastern is 108 shy of the record set in 2006. Eastern also has its second-largest crop of freshmen, with 1,505.

The university has more new graduate students than last year, a trend school officials attribute to a strong interest in health sciences, including a new program for first-year dental students at EWU Spokane.

College enrollments are up throughout Eastern Washington, with Whitworth, Gonzaga and Washington State universities reporting their largest-ever freshman classes.


Former intern repays welfare fraud

A woman from Sandpoint who used to be an intern in the Department of Health and Welfare has repaid the state more than $13,000 for welfare fraud.

Erika Malone was depositing between $1,500 and $3,000 a month into her checking account without reporting that income to her caseworkers, said Steve Berg, an investigator with the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare. As a result, she obtained more than $8,000 in child care assistance and more than $5,000 in Medicaid coverage, starting in the fall of 2005.

Malone interned for the department in fall 2007 and spring 2008. The department said the internship was unrelated to the case.

Jody Lawrence-Turner John Craig Dan Hansen Associated Press


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