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Firefighter sues WSP over arrest

Lawyers for Spokane firefighter Lt. Todd Chism and his family filed a lawsuit Thursday against the Washington State Patrol.

Detectives arrested Chism a year ago and accused him of possessing child pornography. He was cleared of the charges four months later.

The lawsuit claims that the WSP violated the family’s Fourth Amendment right against unlawful search and seizure and that Chism’s arrest and incarceration were illegal and harmful.

Chism’s attorney, Robert Dunn, filed a $20 million claim against the WSP on Oct. 22; the agency had 60 days to reply. Because it did not, Dunn, by law, could file the suit.

The original claim asked for at least $12 million for Chism; at least $6 million for his wife, Nicole; and at least $1 million for each of his two children.

Countdown clock starts for skating events

The countdown began Thursday to the 2010 AT&T U.S. Figure Skating Championships in Spokane next Jan. 14-24 with the unveiling of a countdown clock at River Park Square.

Organizers Barb Beddor and Toby Steward were joined by Mayor Mary Verner for a noon rally, during which they unveiled a digital clock and the official event poster. “We know how quickly this countdown is going to fly,” Verner said. “The spirit of Spokane is behind this event.”

Steward said ticket sales are running about 25 percent ahead of sales for the successful State Farm 2007 U.S. Figure Skating Championships, also organized by Beddor and Steward under their Star USA sports promotion company.

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Coeur d’Alene

Police say woman was pregnant robber

Nearly three years after surveillance photos showed a pregnant woman robbing a downtown Coeur d’Alene bank, police have arrested a suspect.

Coeur d’Alene police officers and FBI agents arrested Christie Lynn Brisboy, 26, about 3:30 p.m. Thursday on a robbery charge in connection with the March 20, 2006, robbery at Bank of America, 401 Front Ave.

The robber told a teller she had a gun and “four kids to take care of and a fifth on the way,” according to police.

Anonymous tips led to Brisboy’s arrest, Coeur d’Alene police Sgt. Christie Wood said.

Brisboy has had at least three brushes with police since the robbery, including arrests in 2006, 2007 and 2008 on drug, theft and battery charges, Wood said.

Funeral will take place today for Piazza

Funeral services for Mary Lou Piazza, the wife of Kootenai County Commissioner Rich Piazza, will begin at 1 p.m. today at St. Pius X Catholic Church in Coeur d’Alene, 625 E. Haycraft Ave.

Piazza died Monday at 59 after a long battle with cancer. She was a founding member of the Coeur d’Alene affiliate of the Susan G. Komen for the Cure organization.

The Kootenai County Board of Commissioners office will close today from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. for the funeral.

Jody Lawrence-Turner Mike Prager Meghann M. Cuniff Alison Boggs