In brief: Passengers, freight both down at airport
Spokane International Airport reported a sharp drop in business last month over December 2007.
Slightly more than 126,000 passenger boardings were recorded in December, about 22,000 fewer than a year earlier, the airport said Wednesday. That’s a decrease of nearly 15 percent.
For the year, the airport handled 3,423,500 passenger boardings, a 1.4 percent decrease from 2007.
The volume of freight moving through the airport slowed last month as well: 4,639 tons, down 7 percent from December 2007.
More than 52,000 tons of freight moved through the airport in 2008, a decrease of about 5 percent from 2007.
At Felts Field, there were about 65,800 aviation operations in 2008, a 5.7 percent decrease from the prior year.
Thieves bind victims, steal phones, safe
Two robbers armed with pistols bound three people with plastic ties Wednesday in Greenacres after stealing a safe containing cash and jewelry, police said.
The men brandished pistols after entering a home on Conklin Road near Sprague Avenue and demanding cash and the painkiller hydrocodone, according to Spokane Valley police.
They left with the victims’ cell phones and the safe in a tan Monte Carlo with Washington plates after tying up a repairman and a couple living at the home, all in their 40s, police said.
No one was hurt. The repairman knocked on doors of several neighboring homes before finding someone willing to call police, Sgt. Dave Reagan said.
Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Check at (509) 456-2233.
Effect of dam flows on fish to be studied
The states of Idaho and Washington and the Coeur d’Alene Tribe are working together to study how flows from the Post Falls Dam affect the temperature of the Spokane River.
“It’s the tribe’s hope that this study will better define the summer flows needed to be most protective for the river’s fish,” said Phil Cernera, of the Coeur d’Alene Tribe.
Native fish in the river, including redband trout, need cold water to thrive. The aquifer helps recharge portions of the river with cold water during the summer.
Scientists want to know if releasing water from behind the dam will augment that effect, or if the water released is too warm to be beneficial.
Avista Corp., the dam’s operator, will conduct the temperature monitoring over a five-year period. Study results could lead to changes to the required minimum flows from the dam to support the Spokane River.
Four state agencies and the tribe’s lake management department signed an agreement, formalizing the study’s working relationship. The agencies are the Washington Department of Ecology and Department of Fish and Wildlife, and the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality and Idaho Fish and Game.
Scott Maben Meghann M. Cuniff Becky Kramer