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In brief: Mother convicted of custody crime

A jury has convicted a woman of custodial interference for taking her children from Spokane 12 years ago.

Jill D. Haugen, 48, was found guilty after a short trial before Judge Neal Rielly this week.

She has not yet been sentenced. Custodial interference carries a sentence of up to a year in jail; Haugen has been in custody since December and has no previous criminal record.

Haugen took her two sons from Spokane 12 years ago, despite a court order granting her estranged husband, Bill Connington, custody. Connington didn’t hear from them again until police in Milton, Pa., located them in December in an arrest that attracted national attention.

The boys are to move to Spokane this year to live with Connington.

A reader who wishes to remain anonymous set up a donation account for Connington. To donate, visit any U.S. Bank.

Investigators seek fire’s cause

Fire investigators Thursday examined the scene of a north Spokane apartment fire that injured a resident and drove two others out of their homes late Wednesday night.

The injured resident at 428 E. Indiana Ave. suffered a minor burn, smoke inhalation and a cut.

She was taken to Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center for treatment following the 11:34 p.m. call, Spokane fire officials said.

The American Red Cross was helping the displaced residents with temporary housing, food and clothing.

A spokeswoman for the Red Cross said it was the third fire in 36 hours in which displaced residents were being helped by the agency in the Spokane area.

Firefighters reported that the one-and-a-half story building was filled with heavy smoke when they arrived, but they extinguished the blaze in about 10 minutes.

The fire was stopped in the upper unit and portions of the roof, but it significantly damaged the unit’s interior.

Fire investigators are seeking the cause.

Twenty-two firefighters in seven fire rigs went to the fire.

Dog parade set for Saturday

The Spokane Humane Society will hold its annual “Parade of Paws” fundraising walk on Saturday.

More than 1,000 people and their dogs are expected to take part, according to a news release.

The nonprofit organization hopes to raise $45,000 through the event.

The money will be used to provide food, shelter, training and veterinary care to unwanted animals.

The walk begins at 10 a.m. at the organization’s offices, 6607 N. Havana St. For information or to donate, visit www.spokane or call (509) 467-5235.

Man gets prison for meth crime

A Shoshone County man involved in a methamphetamine ring that obtained the drug in Spokane will spend more than 15 years in prison.

Michael R. Opland, 52, was sentenced Tuesday to 188 months in prison for conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine and for failing to show up for a court hearing.

Opland’s co-defendant, Paul D. Hartman, received the same sentence in January.

Investigators say Opland and Hartman sold between 500 grams and 5 kilograms of meth in Idaho and Montana. One witness told investigators Opland had sold more than 3,000 grams.

Opland was convicted of vehicular homicide in 1996, according to court documents.

Spokesman wins reporting awards

The Spokesman- Review brought home four awards from this year’s Utah-Idaho- Spokane Associated Press Association awards banquet in Park City, Utah, on Thursday.

Reporter Jody Lawrence-Turner took first place in general reporting for “Debt to Society,” a story looking at the issue of unpaid court fees.

Reporter Alison Boggs claimed second place in general reporting for “Coming to Grips,” about an Iraq War veteran coping with post-traumatic stress. The paper’s coverage of the escape of Phillip Paul at the Spokane County Interstate Fair, written by Kevin Graman, Sara Leaming and Lawrence-Turner, took third in spot news coverage.

The paper’s staff claimed second place for general excellence.

The Spokesman- Review competes with papers of 50,000 circulation or higher, including the Idaho Statesman in Boise and the Salt Lake Tribune.

Road partly open in Glacier park

Nearly 30 miles of the Going to the Sun Road have been cleared for vehicle traffic in Glacier National Park, but plows are still working on a huge drift at Logan Pass.

Hiking, biking and other activities are under way in the park, and most concessions and roads are open.

But June 18 is the earliest the road could open to through traffic, officials said Thursday.


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