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In brief: Land Board OKs education money

BOISE – Idaho schools will get the same amount – $31.29 million – from the state’s endowment next year as they got this year, the state Land Board decided Tuesday.

State Superintendent of Schools Tom Luna cast the dissenting vote in the 5-1 decision; he wanted more for schools, but the payout is based on the state’s investment formula and tied to earnings and reserve levels. That formula would actually result in a small reduction for schools and one other endowment beneficiary next year, but endowment fund investment manager Larry Johnson said there are sufficient reserves to make sticking with last year’s level “prudent.”

Luna successfully advocated an additional $22 million payment from the endowment to Idaho schools the year before last to help ease them through state budget cuts, but the board agreed to that only on a one-time basis.

Scooter rider dies after crash

A 75-year-old man died Monday after crashing his scooter into a car in Spokane Valley, police said Tuesday.

Charles Spurgeon was driving his 2004 Honda scooter and wearing a helmet when he struck the passenger door of a 2002 Mazda Tribute driven by Kristin Melton, 46, of Spokane.

Spokane County sheriff’s Cpl. Dave Thornburg said while the investigation is ongoing, it appears Melton pulled in front of Spurgeon.

Melton was stopped at a stop sign on northbound Progress Road at Broadway Avenue when she attempted to cross Broadway and the collision occurred about 3 p.m.

Spurgeon died at a hospital Monday evening from blunt force trauma to his chest, an autopsy determined.

Spokane Valley expands bridge limits

Weight restrictions that have been in place on southbound traffic on the Sullivan Road bridge over the Spokane River since June will be expanded on Saturday to include northbound traffic, the city of Spokane Valley announced this week.

There are actually two bridges over the river on Sullivan, and the one that carries southbound traffic is old and deteriorating, which necessitated the weight restrictions. A construction project at the intersection of Indiana Avenue and Sullivan just south of the bridge is pushing both northbound and southbound traffic on the deteriorating bridge, forcing the weight restrictions onto northbound traffic as well.

The change will begin on Saturday and continue through Sept. 21. After construction of the intersection is complete and traffic resumes its normal pattern, the weight restrictions will no longer apply to northbound traffic.

Driver in crash appears in court

A Spokane man accused of causing a crash that killed his passenger is a leader in the addiction recovery community and is studying to get his master’s degree at Whitworth University, his girlfriend said Tuesday.

Michael Shane Lindsly, 46, appeared in Superior Court via video from the jail, where he was booked after being treated at a hospital for injuries sustained in the Aug. 9 crash.

A vehicular homicide charge was filed against Lindsly last Thursday.

His bail was set at $100,000 Tuesday after Judge Michael Price heard from his girlfriend, Lacey Jones. Defense lawyers did not ask for a lower bond.

Lindsly is accused of crashing a 2002 Mercury Sable and killing Blair C. Riding, 31, while speeding on Broadway Avenue at Alki Way.

Witnesses said the car appeared to be going at least 70 mph. Police say they smelled alcohol in the car and on Lindsly’s breath.

Riding, who was wearing a seat belt, was pronounced dead at the scene.

Spokane man accused of harming K-9

A Spokane man was arrested on suspicion of injuring a police dog during a domestic violence arrest call last weekend.

Gerry R. Elerding, 39, is accused of violently fighting with Spokane police K-9 Leo as officers responded to a report of an assault and no-contact order violation at an apartment in the 1300 block of South Adams Street early Saturday.

An officer forced the door open at the home and found Elerding’s ex-girlfriend but could not locate the suspect, so he requested assistance from a police dog.

Leo entered the basement, and police heard him yelp “as if he had been hurt,” according to court documents.

Officers found Leo moving toward the basement stairs with his leg caught in his partially pulled off harness, documents say.

Elerding remains in jail on a state Department of Corrections probation hold, as well as $1,900 bail for charges of violating a no-contact order and harming a police dog.

Transportation worker hurt in crash

CAMANO ISLAND, Wash. – The Washington State Patrol said a state Transportation Department worker was seriously injured when he was pinned between a truck and a light pole in a three-vehicle crash on Camano Island.

The worker was airlifted Tuesday to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, where Trooper Keith Leary said he was in serious but stable condition.

Leary said a pickup truck hit the rear of a car stopped at a red light on State Highway 532. The pickup then swerved, hitting a Transportation Department signal maintenance truck and pinning the worker between his truck and the light pole.