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In brief: Council adopts sustainability plan


After a three-hour debate, the Spokane City Council early Tuesday morning adopted a plan aimed at reducing the city’s dependence on oil.

The 5-2 decision was the second time the council voted on a report by Mayor Mary Verner’s Sustainability Task Force. Council members Nancy McLaughlin and Bob Apple voted against the plan.

Last year, when the council first voted on the report, there was only enough support to “accept” the report. Since then, two City Council members were replaced.

The report recommends several steps to reduce the city’s effect on climate change. Ideas include promoting energy-efficient construction and transportation.

Twenty people testified on the issue at the meeting. Opponents said the goals could force unwise spending. Some argued that the plan is part of a United Nations conspiracy.

Supporters said the report will lead to cost efficiencies that will save not just energy usage, but tax dollars. They stressed that specific policies need separate approval by the City Council.

Gregoire plans agricultural tour

OLYMPIA – Gov. Chris Gregoire will spend most of Thursday and Friday in Eastern and Central Washington on a tour designed to highlight the state’s agricultural industry.

The “Feeding Washington” tour is an attempt to discover whether farmers, processors and distributors have what they need to remain competitive and increase exports, Gregoire’s office said. She’ll be traveling with Ecology Director Ted Sturdevant, Agriculture Director Dan Newhouse and Commerce Director Rogers Weed.

On Thursday the group will get briefings on irrigation and salmon recovery near Walla Walla, tour vineyards in Red Mountain area near Benton City, and discuss water issues in Yakima.

Sex offender jailed for violating parole

A child molester released from prison last year is back in jail.

Charles E. Smith, 39, was jailed on a probation violation June 24, two days after detectives found a cell phone with inappropriate photos of young girls.

Police learned of the phone from Smith’s landlords at 9 N. Rambo Road, who rent to registered sex offenders and have written permission from Smith to check his trailer for prohibited items.

The images are low quality, and detectives are trying to determine which ones fit the statute for child pornography, said John Grandinetti, a detective with the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office.

But Smith’s probation officer determined the case violates his probation, and he’s been in jail since. He last served prison time for failing to register as a sex offender in 2008.

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