December 3, 2010 in City

In brief: SWAT team says man wielded knife


A man involved in a stolen property investigation threatened a SWAT team with a large knife on Wednesday, the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office said.

Franklin Dean Fitzgerald, 49, appeared in Superior Court Thursday on a second-degree assault charge after he answered his front door in a “fighting stance” with a military-style knife raised over his head, blade pointed at SWAT team members, according to a news release by Sgt. Dave Reagan.

Fitzgerald slammed the door and SWAT members rammed it open, then arrested him without incident.

Spokane Valley detectives searched Fitzgerald’s home in the 1900 block of West 25th Avenue after learning he had stolen firearms there, Reagan said.

But investigators found no firearms in the home, he said. They did find stolen car speakers and a bicycle with a serial number removed, as well as medication not prescribed to Fitzgerald.

Ethics complaint against Hart filed

BOISE – A special House Ethics Committee will convene on Dec. 13 in response to an ethics complaint filed against Rep. Phil Hart, R-Athol, by Rep. Eric Anderson, R-Priest Lake. Anderson’s complaint charges that Hart’s 1996 theft of state school endowment-owned timber that he used to build his home; his fights against back state and federal income taxes; and his repeated invoking of legislative privilege to win delays in his personal tax fights show he’s violated his oath of office.

Committee chairman Rep. Tom Loertscher, R-Iona, said the latter two charges cover some of the same ground as an earlier complaint the committee dismissed. The timber issue hasn’t been previously considered by the ethics committee.

Hammond named committee chief

As Idaho lawmakers shuffled committee assignments and chairmanships at their organizational session on Thursday, Sen. Jim Hammond, R-Coeur d’Alene, was named the new chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee.

Hammond said he’ll be the first transportation chairman from North Idaho in some time. “It’s exciting to have that position and be able to advocate for our roads issues up there,” Hammond said.

The North Idaho lawmakers who head the Senate and House education committees, Sen. John Goedde and Rep. Bob Nonini, both Coeur d’Alene Republicans, retained their posts, as did House Agriculture Committee Chairman Tom Trail, R-Moscow.

But the chairmanship of the House judiciary committee, formerly held by now-retired Rep. Jim Clark, R-Hayden Lake, went to a southern Idaho lawmaker, Rep. Rich Wills, R-Glenns Ferry, a retired state trooper.

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