February 3, 2009 in City

In brief: Bill declares surplus of wolves in Idaho

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Background and the latest updates

Idaho would declare a surplus of wolves and offer the extras to any state that wants them under legislation that unanimously cleared the Senate Resources Committee on Monday.

“We can ship some to California or New York or whoever wants them,” Senate Resources Chairman Gary Schroeder, R-Moscow, told the panel. Then, if there were no takers, the state would be justified in killing the extras, he said. “It’s a strategy bill.”

A hide and fur dealer, Schroeder brought a huge Canadian wolf pelt that he tacked up on the wall for the committee hearing. “They have a very serious impact on our big game herds,” he said.

The bill, SB 1015, now moves to the full Senate.

Spokane county

Budget cuts affecting health programs

Programs serving some of the community’s most vulnerable people – including public health nursing for newborn babies – are being scaled back or cut because of spending reductions.

The Spokane Regional Health District has eliminated its General Field Public Health Nursing Program, which took referrals to help with parenting problems, children in foster care, babies that were exposed to drugs before birth and other issues.

Other cuts included nursing services to people at Isabella House and women and their children at Children’s ARK.

The health district blames dwindling dollars to pay for the programs. Earlier this year the district eliminated its program that helped drug and alcohol addicts find treatment programs. The district also has eliminated management positions as part of its staff reductions.

Health districts across the state are making changes due to $32 million in budget cuts.

Washington state

Offices will lower flags for fallen serviceman

Washington state offices will fly their flags at half staff today in honor of a Colville resident killed last month in Iraq.

Gov. Chris Gregoire ordered state offices to lower their flags in honor of Chief Warrant Officer Benjamin Todd, a pilot killed Jan. 26 when two Kiowa Warrior reconnaissance helicopters crashed in northern Iraq near the city of Kirkuk.

Todd, 26, is a former Colville High School student who enlisted in the Army in 2000 and was assigned to the 10th Mountain Division based at Fort Drum, N.Y. He had been in Iraq since last October.

Three other helicopter pilots from the same squadron died in the crash.


School tours show plans for bond money

Several Spokane Public Schools buildings slated for renovations or replacement under the district’s 2009 bond proposal will be open for public tours this week.

The $288 million construction bond – which would include an additional $41 million in funds from the state through a match program – will go before voters March 10. Ballots are expected to be mailed beginning Feb. 18, school officials said.

Tours will be held 3:30 to 5:30 p.m.:

Today: Ferris High School, 3020 E. 37th Ave.

Thursday: Jefferson Elementary, 3612 S. Grand Blvd.

Feb. 10: Westview Elementary, 6104 N. Moore St.

Feb. 12: Hutton Elementary, 908 E. 24th Ave.

An open house at Finch Elementary, also included in the bond, was held Monday.

Betsy Z. Russell John Stucke Jim Camden Sara Leaming

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