December 12, 2011 in City

In brief: Patio cover claim brings fraud charge


A Spokane businessman has been charged with insurance fraud and attempted theft after officials say a snow-damaged patio cover worth about $4,000 turned into a nearly $200,000 claim.

Keith R. Scribner, 47, pleaded not guilty last week in Spokane County Superior Court on one count of insurance fraud and one count of attempted theft. Scribner’s mother, Marilyn Warsinske, filed a claim to replace the patio cover with Liberty Mutual insurance in July 2009, according to the Office of the Washington State Insurance Commissioner. Scribner sent the insurance company three bids between $195,586 to $213,815 to replace the cover and said no photos existed of the home prior to the damage, and that the home was never appraised, officials say.

But a claims handler discovered an aerial photo of the home on a real estate website that showed a much smaller patio cover than Scribner claimed. Investigators discovered Scribner had discussed plans to replace the deck in 2008 with bids at $3,913 and $4,782, leading to the felony charges.

Tell us about your holiday light displays

Residents of the Inland Northwest have been busily decking their halls, and we want to know all about it.

If you or your neighbors have a noteworthy holiday display this year, feel free to share the details with Spokesman-Review readers. Go to www.spokesman .com/holidaylights and click on the “Tell us about it” link. There, you’ll be asked to provide as specific an address as possible of the festive home, as well as a brief description of the display. We’ll need your contact information, too, but don’t worry – we’ll keep that information to ourselves.

The list will be posted at, where you can see all of the addresses, sort them by neighborhood, or even create maps for your own personal tour. We’ll publish a roundup of the decorated homes on Friday in the Today section.

WSU alumna named area deputy forester

A Washington State University alum has been named deputy regional forester for the Forest Service’s Pacific Northwest region.

Maureen Hyzer graduated from WSU in 1983 with a degree in forest and recreation management. She spent five years on the Okanogan National Forest before leaving for Forest Service jobs in the Southern and Eastern U.S.

She will begin her new duties in Portland in February, where she will be one of two deputy regional foresters working under Regional Forester Kent Connaughton.

Hyzer is currently forest supervisor of the George Washington and Jefferson National Forests in Virginia and West Virginia.

Sen. Baucus’ mother, Jean, dies at 94

HELENA – Jean Baucus, a rancher, patron of the arts and mother to U.S. Sen. Max Baucus, has died at the age of 94.

Baucus died at her home in Helena on Saturday. Baucus was raised both in Helena and on the family’s Sieben Ranch, about 20 miles north of the Montana capital. She earned a degree in economics from Stanford University in 1939 before returning home to Helena.

Baucus has written four books about Helena and was known as a patron of the arts.

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