April 20, 2012 in City

In brief: Teen girl found near Cusick; uncle arrested

From Staff Reports

A 14-year-old Spokane girl missing since April 13 was rescued Thursday near Cusick, Wash., and her uncle was arrested.

Police had been looking for Carrie Lane and her uncle, Steven Tofte, 53, since the girl’s family reported Friday that he’d kidnapped her from Glover Middle School. The girl told a friend she was running away with her uncle to Blanchard, Idaho, according to court documents.

U.S. Marshals, Spokane police and deputies with the Pend Oreille and Stevens County sheriff’s offices located the two about 6:30 p.m. Thursday in a parking lot in the Colville National Forest, police said.

Both were standing outside the vehicle; Tofte was armed with a shotgun but was arrested without incident. Detectives are working to reunite the girl with her family.

Tofte was arrested for being a felon in possession of a firearm. He could face other charges.

Tofte has at least 15 felony convictions dating back to 1980, including a first-degree robbery conviction in 2003 for robbing a Spokane Valley porn store at gunpoint. He also robbed a north Spokane gas station at gunpoint in 1995.

Measure 1 maintains 56 percent approval

A ballot measure to expand the Spokane Convention Center and add seats to Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena has maintained its strong voter support in results from late-arriving ballots.

The measure on Thursday had 51,804 yes votes to 40,576 no votes for a 56 percent approval. That percentage was nearly identical to the results on election night Tuesday.

The Spokane County Elections Office will count the last of the mail-in ballots on Thursday with certification expected next Friday.

Measure 1 would extend a 0.10 percent sales tax and a 2 percent room tax from 2033 to 2043 to pay for the cost of building the improvements, including work along the Centennial Trail next to the Convention Center, at a cost of $65 million.

The taxes are currently being collected to repay borrowing on the 1995 Arena and the 2006 Convention Center.

Sheriff’s Office tries to reunite property, owners

The Spokane County Sheriff’s Office is trying to identify the owners of suspected stolen property seized Tuesday after a resident reported suspicious activity north of Spokane Valley.

Officials found the items, which include silverware, jewelry and medical cards, in a car that Curtis McKelvey, 28, was driving when sheriff’s Deputy James Ebel stopped him for driving with expired tabs near Liberty and Argonne roads about 11:30 a.m. Tuesday, sheriff’s spokesman Deputy Craig Chamberlin said Thursday

Ebel was looking for the vehicle after a neighbor in the area of 7900 East Gunning Drive in the Bigelow Gulch reported two suspicious men who’d walked into a backyard after backing a vehicle into a driveway.

McKelvey allowed members of the Sheriff’s Office burglary task force to search his car, where they located the suspected stolen property, along with bolt cutters, gloves and shaved car keys.

McKelvey was arrested on a felony warrant from Adams County.

Photos of the property are available on the Sheriff’s Office website, www.spokanecounty.org/sheriff, or its Facebook page.

High court asked to reject Top Two primaries

OLYMPIA – The state’s Democratic and Libertarian parties are asking the U.S. Supreme Court to do what lower courts have refused: Throw out the state’s Top Two primary system.

They asked the nation’s highest court to hear arguments on the state’s primary system, which has all candidates for all offices on a single ballot and lists candidates by the party they say they “prefer.” The parties contend voters might be confused that that indicates the candidate is a member of the party.

Secretary of State Sam Reed defended the Top Two primary as a way for state residents to vote for the person, not the party label, and said he hopes the court will decline to take the case. The state Republican Party was involved in the previous court challenges but is not part of the latest effort to get the U.S. Supreme Court to hear the case.

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