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December 30, 2009
Jesse Tinsley photo

Doug McKay turns his head as he hits the ignition switch to blast a squirrel hole in Finch Arboretum in Spokane on Monday, April 13, 2009. The Finch Arboretum is being overrun by ground squirrels, and Spokane Parks and Recreation is bringing in some special artillery. The Rodenator Pro pumps propane and oxygen into the tunnels of squirrels, then sends an electric spark that causes an explosion.

Christopher Anderson photo

The back lot of Spokane Raceway Park sits littered with vehicle hulks, tires, parts and grandstands Thursday, April 3, 2008, as it awaits auction. After Spokane County purchased the park, state environmental officials initially put its level of contamination on par with the pollution at the Kaiser Trentwood rolling mill. That site has cost tens of millions of dollars to clean up.

Dan Pelle photo

A bus stop bench on 29th Ave near Ray has a sheet attached telling users that the bench will be removed in the near future and to contact David Steele, the city of Spokane real estate manager.

Dan Pelle photo

Martin Nelson, 50, plays with his dog Sadie while shoveling out the sidewalk snow berm Jan. 15, 2009, at 13th and Monroe in Spokane. The winter of 2008-09 set a record for snowfall.

Jesse Tinsley photo

Charlie Schmidt, a friend of Spokesman-Review columnist Doug Clark’s, lounges on a bench while Clark, above left, listens to a proclamation by Spokane City Council member Nancy McLaughlin Thursday, May 7, 2009 at the unveiling of the advertising bench bearing Clark’s likeness. In a letter to the editor, S-R reader Tom Simpson cited Clark as “Spokane’s biggest drawback.”

Colin Mulvany photo

Spokane Police Chief Anne Kirkpatrick was in the news throughout 2009, including for getting a speeding ticket in July and applying for a job in San Francisco. Kirkpatrick later told a reporter that she wasn’t actively looking for a job.

Kathy Plonka photo

A swastika was found on the front door of the Human Rights Education Institute in Coeur d’Alene on Thursday, Nov. 19, 2009.

Elaine Thompson photo

Washington State coach Tony Bennett directs his team against Washington Saturday, March 7, 2009, in the second half of an NCAA basketball game in Seattle. Bennett stunned players, assistants, administrators and fans by taking the University of Virginia head coaching job at the end of March.

Betsy Russell photo

Rex Rammell, a GOP candidate for governor in Idaho, refused to apologize Tuesday, Sept. 1, 2009, for his joking remarks about buying an Obama hunting tag, instead launching his own attacks against Idaho GOP leaders who strongly condemned his remarks.

Dan Pelle photo

In this 2009 file photo, Scott Shupe is shown sitting in the Spokane marijuana dispensary that he co-owned. Shupe was convicted Thursday, March 17, 2011, on felony drug charges after a jury rejected his argument that Washington’s medical marijuana law allows dispensaries to operate.

Spokane’s infamous career criminal Eddie Ray Hall finally made the big time in 2009. Hall was indicted by a federal grand jury in August, and he could face up to 15 years in a federal prison.

Jesse Tinsley photo

2009 included some memorable moments on the Spokane City Council. In October, council President Joe Shogan accused four colleagues Thursday of lying, back-stabbing and maneuvering to weaken his authority while he was out of town. He promised to return, “bringing hell with me.”