Local news

In brief: County OKs wage freeze

Spokane County is freezing wages for its non-union employees to help balance next year’s budget.

County commissioners decided Thursday that workers not represented by a labor union, mostly management employees, won’t get raises in 2010, saving about $500,000.

Citing a $10.5 million budget shortfall, the board will not give the minimum 2.5 percent raises that have traditionally been given to employees even outside a union contract, according to a news release.

The ruling affects 246 employees. Another 1,850 employees are bound by union contracts.

Commissioners are hoping to secure wage concession or other savings from unions to help avoid layoffs. Options being considered also include unpaid furloughs and reduced hours of operation.

Meghann C. Cuniff

Clothes prevent bad burns

A homeless man’s heavy clothing protected him from serious injury Friday after fire broke out in the back of a truck he was staying in outside the Coeur d’Alene Public Library.

The man, whose name was not released, was cleaning car parts with gasoline while using a propane heater to keep warm when the fire erupted about 9:15 a.m., according to the Coeur d’Alene Fire Department.

The man caught fire but rolled on the ground to extinguish it while city crews laying a water line nearby called 911 after spotting the commotion, said Deputy Fire Chief Glenn Lauper. The victim was treated and released at Kootenai Medical Center.

The fire damaged the truck’s camper shell, but the man expected to continue driving it, Lauper said. The 5-gallon propane tank in the truck did not explode.

“He’s a lucky guy,” Lauper said.

Meghann M. Cuniff

Leaf pickup begins Nov. 9

The city of Coeur d’Alene will begin its annual leaf pickup program Nov. 9, working through the city until about Nov. 25.

Residents are asked to keep leaves and pine needles on their property until Monday, then to rake them into the street about one foot from the gutter, a city news release said. The city asks that leaves not be bagged and that branches and trash not be included. Residents also are asked to move cars off the street if possible during leaf pickup. Crews will make only one pass through the city.

City crews cannot predict when they will be in each neighborhood. Pickup will start south of Sherman Avenue and move north.

For more information, call (208) 769-2233 or tune into the KVNI 1080 morning radio show for updates.

Staff reports

Man guilty of infant assault

KALISPELL – A 21-year-old Marion, Mont., man accused of physically and sexually assaulting his girlfriend’s 9-month-old son was convicted Friday on four of five felony charges.

Jurors deliberated for about seven hours before finding Shane Nickerson guilty of sexual assault, aggravated assault, criminal endangerment, and assault on a minor. Nickerson, who was acquitted of a rape charge, was caring for the boy in August 2008 so the child’s mother could sleep in.

Defense attorney Noel Larrivee, who suggested throughout the trial that the boy’s mother was responsible for the assault, said he was disappointed with the verdict and would “decide over time the nature of an appeal.”

Nickerson is set to be sentenced Jan. 14.

Associated Press


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