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In brief: Foundation funds nonprofit projects

Thu., Oct. 13, 2011, midnight

More than $114,400 in grants was distributed to 24 nonprofits in Eastern Washington and North Idaho from two foundations established in the name of a late Spokane violinist.

Florence Wasmer died in 2001. She played in a chamber orchestra featured in a former restaurant at the Davenport Hotel, according to the Inland Northwest Community Foundation. She had a passion for educating young people about music.

The grants were awarded to nonprofits in Spokane, Kootenai, Bonner, Latah, Pend Oreille and Shoshone counties.

Grants from the Florence Wasmer Fund for Arts and Culture included $10,000 to Spokane Symphony Society to engage underserved audiences and $5,000 to Community Building Partners Inc. in Kootenai County to provide music outreach for at-risk youth.

Grants from the Florence Wasmer Fund for Children and Families include $8,238 to Catholic Charities Spokane for a job readiness training program and $5,000 to Communities in Schools of Spokane to support a school-based health clinic.

Suspect arrested in woman’s death

A man who lived with an Omak, Wash., woman found dead in Douglas County last weekend has been arrested for homicide.

Benjamin R. Bridges, 45, is in the Okanogan County Jail on a first-degree homicide charge for the death of Vickey L. Renner, 59, alias Harvey. Renner’s body was found Saturday near Bridgeport in Douglas County.

Investigators obtained search warrants for the home the two shared in Omak, as well as for Bridges’ vehicle and Renner’s vehicle.

Bridges was arrested Tuesday after a traffic stop on Main Street in Omak. Bridges told detectives he hit Renner “on the head with a rock and that she died,” according to the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office.

Bridges said Renner died on Oct. 4 between Malott and Brewster and that he disposed of her body in Douglas County, according to the Sheriff’s Office.

Burglary, assault charges in attack

A man accused of hiding out in his ex-girlfriend’s motel room and threatening her and her new boyfriend with a handgun appeared in court Wednesday on burglary and assault charges.

Matthew A. Raney, 24, was arrested Tuesday, two days after police say he attacked his ex-girlfriend, Sara Anderson, and her boyfriend, identified in court documents both as George Howard and John Howard, in a room at the Trade Winds Motel, 907 W. Third Ave.

Police swarmed the building Sunday about 9:19 p.m. amid reports of an armed suspect hiding in the motel. Officers did not find the gunman, but Anderson identified him as Raney, who she said lived with her at the motel until three or four days before.

She said she arrived home that night to find a note left by Raney, who then came out of the bathroom with a handgun and pushed her to the ground before hitting her in the head with the pistol. The two wrestled and a shot was fired, but no one was injured.

A tip to Crime Check placed Raney back at the motel about 4:15 p.m. Tuesday. Raney was arrested without incident.

Panhandle forests get new overseer

Mary Farnsworth is the new supervisor for the Idaho Panhandle National Forests in Coeur d’Alene.

Farnsworth, who started this week, replaces Ranotta McNair, who retired from the Forest Service.

Farnsworth most recently was the deputy forest supervisor on the Deschutes National Forest in Oregon. Her background includes extensive work in wildfire management on several forests and an assignment with the National Fire Plan coordinator in Washington, D.C.  

She’s a native of San Diego and earned a forestry management degree from Humboldt State University.

The Idaho Panhandle National Forest employs more than 300 permanent employees in addition to hundreds of seasonal and temporary employees.

Reservation rapist gets 11-year term

A man who raped two women on the Colville Indian Reservation in 2007 has been sentenced to about 11 years in prison.

Clarence J. Stensgar Jr., 60, will be under federal supervision for life after he serves 135 months in federal prison under a sentence imposed Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Spokane. Stensgar raped a woman in April 2007 and another woman in November 2007.

He was indicted by a grand jury in September 2010 and pleaded guilty in July. He’s in the Spokane County Jail awaiting transport to federal prison.


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