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Region in brief: FBI seeks man in robbery of bank

A man who robbed a northeast Spokane bank Tuesday tied up bank employees before escaping with an undisclosed amount of cash, the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office reported.

The man walked into the INB Bank branch at Hawthorne Road and Nevada Street at about noon, displayed a pistol and forced three bank tellers to their knees and bound them with duct tape, said Sgt. Dave Reagan, sheriff’s spokesman.

The robber forced the employees to lie down, then ran from the building. A white panel van in the parking lot during the robbery may be involved.

The man was described as a white, in his 30s, wearing a striped purple-and-gold poncho, a blond wig and brown false mustache, gold-colored glasses with square rims, and yellow construction-type boots.

Anyone with information about the robbery can call Crime Check at (509) 456-2233.

Man robs Papa John’s Pizza store

A man claiming to have a gun robbed a Spokane pizza place Monday night.

The robber handed a note demanding money and stating he had a gun to a woman working at Papa John’s Pizza, 920 W. Indiana Ave., at 10:30 p.m., according to the Spokane Police Department.

He ran southbound from the store with cash, and police dogs were unable to locate him.

The robber was described as a dark-skinned white or Native American male in his mid-20s, about 5 feet 7 inches tall, with a thin build and no facial hair.

He wore a gray sweatshirt with a dark hood and black jeans.

Anyone with information on the robbery is asked to call Crime Check at (509) 456-2233.

Authorities seeking two suspects

Crime Stoppers of the Inland Northwest is offering a reward for information that leads to the arrests of two fugitives.

Charles Ray Simpson, 32, is wanted on suspicion of second-degree assault.

He is white, 5 feet 8 inches tall and 185 pounds with brown hair and hazel eyes.

Christina L. Pearson, 21, is wanted on suspicion of car theft.

She is white, 5 feet 4 inches tall and 110 pounds with blond hair and hazel eyes.

Both suspects are transients.

Anyone with information about their whereabouts can call (509) 327-5111 or submit tips online at www.crimestoppers

Tipsters do not have to leave their own name to eligible for the reward, but they should provide a code name or number.

St. John district cuts ties with union

A second Washington school district has severed its ties with the state’s largest teachers union, the Washington Education Association.

Employees of the St. John School District, about 65 miles west of Spokane, announced the decision earlier this month.

“It is liberating to declare our independence from the big teacher unions,” said Marianne Gfeller, a St. John Elementary School instructor.

“Our politics just did not mesh with the politics of the WEA, and we couldn’t see throwing any more money to their causes.”

The Sprague School District disaffiliated itself with the two unions in 2005 for similar reasons.

Teachers in both districts now are represented by the Northwest Professional Educators.

Flags to be lowered for soldier

OLYMPIA – Gov. Chris Gregoire has ordered that flags at state agencies be flown at half-staff on Thursday in memory of a Bellevue soldier killed in Afghanistan.

Twenty-one-year-old Spc. Joseph V. White was one of three Fort Lewis soldiers killed Thursday by a roadside bomb.

He was a member of the 5th Stryker brigade that deployed in July.

Ferry fares to change Oct. 11

SEATTLE – The Washington state ferry system says riders can expect another change in fares on Oct. 11.

That’s when the peak season surcharge ends and a 2.5 percent overall increase takes effect.

The fare on a central Puget Sound ferry will be $6.90 for a passenger and $11.85 for a car and driver.