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In brief: Religious debate ends in stabbing

A religious discussion turned bloody Tuesday after Spokane police say an 18-year-old man brandished a knife.

Shawn R. Smith is accused of stabbing Adam L. Frantz, 24, in the torso and hands about 4:15 a.m., leaving several non-life-threatening injuries, police said.

Frantz told police he was drinking with Smith and discussing religion in the 3600 block of West Longfellow Avenue when the two began arguing and a fight ensued.

Smith was arrested at a home in the 6100 block of North A Street, where police say he told them “I didn’t stab him; I barely poked him with that,” after officers found a folding knife in his pants pocket.

Smith told police he and Frantz “had gotten into a heated discussion over conflicting theological issues,” according to court documents. He said he brandished the knife in self-defense as Frantz punched him.

Smith was in Spokane County Jail on $7,500 bail late Tuesday after appearing in Superior Court on one count of first-degree assault.

Severed gas line quickly repaired

A backhoe operator severed a one-inch natural gas line Tuesday morning next to the BNSF Railway operations center, but the line was repaired without evacuation of workers in nearby buildings, fire officials said.

The incident occurred at 10:44 a.m. at 4510 E. Wisconsin St. The backhoe operator was working on buried telephone lines.

Firefighters monitored adjacent buildings for gas levels until repairs were made, officials said in a media release.

Alcohol poisoning blamed for death

MOSCOW, Idaho – Moscow police said a University of Idaho senior died of respiratory arrest, apparently due to alcohol poisoning, after a night of drinking to celebrate his 21st birthday.

Emergency personnel responded to a report of an unconscious man at Sigma Nu fraternity at 2:42 a.m. Tuesday. They located Benjamin Harris, of Burley, on the third floor and began CPR. He was pronounced dead on arrival at Gritman Medical Center.

Assistant police Chief David Duke said Harris may have had as many as 15 shots in 2  1/2 hours as he celebrated his birthday Monday night.

A preliminary investigation indicated Harris died of respiratory arrest caused by alcohol poisoning. The cause of death will be determined by the medical examiner after review of the toxicology reports.

Grants allocated for creek cleanup

Farmers and ranchers in the Hangman Creek watershed can apply for federal grants to clean up the creek.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has allocated $221,000 to the Washington Department of Ecology and the Spokane County Conservation District to promote farming practices that will reduce erosion and keep pollution out of Hangman Creek.

Reducing runoff, including phosphorus from fertilizers and cow manure, will help Hangman Creek and the Spokane River meet water quality standards.

To apply, contact the Spokane County Conservation District at (509) 535-7274 or the Natural Resources Conservation Service at (509) 924-7350.

Motor home fire damages church

Fire crews are investigating the cause of a motor home blaze in northeast Spokane that also damaged an adjacent church early Tuesday, fire officials said.

The motor home was engulfed in flames when firefighters arrived to Refreshing Spring Church of God in Christ at 1206 E. Broad Ave. for the 2:14 a.m. alarm, Battalion Chief Bruce Moline said in a media release.

Flames severed a power line that dropped to the ground and spread against the church’s vinyl siding.

The fire was under control in about 10 minutes, Moline said.

No injuries were reported.

The motor home was destroyed, and the church exterior was damaged. The combined loss was estimated at $40,000, according to the news release.

Person of interest part of girl search

McCLEARY, Wash. – Grays Harbor County sheriff’s detectives and FBI agents with search warrants have combed through a home and a storage facility in McCleary, Wash., in their continuing investigation into the June 2009 disappearance of Lindsey Baum.

KING-TV reports investigators took some items Tuesday to see if they contain evidence.

Undersheriff Rick Scott said a man investigators consider a “person of interest” is connected to the two properties. No arrests have been made and authorities have never identified a suspect in the disappearance of the girl, who was 10 when she vanished while walking home from a friend’s house.

Scott said some of the information investigators received from the man is inconsistent with what they’ve developed.