Local news

In brief: Voter turnout well short of estimates

SATURDAY, AUG. 25, 2012

Voters turned out in much lower numbers than expected for Washington’s Aug. 7 primary.

About 1.4 million ballots were tallied, representing 38.5 percent of registered voters. The election was formally certified Friday by Secretary of State Sam Reed. Reed had predicted a 46 percent turnout.

The turnout was the weakest in recent years for a primary during a presidential election year, Brian Zylstra, a spokesman for Reed’s office, said in a statement. The average turnout is about 43 percent.

Possible explanations for the low turnout include the early-August election date and the lack of a printed voters’ guide, analysts say.

A printed pamphlet was not sent to voters in this year’s primary because of state budget cuts, Zylstra said. The state constitution requires that a pamphlet be sent before the November general election.

It costs the state more than $1million to send every voter a pamphlet.

CPM Development fined by EPA

Spokane concrete and asphalt company CPM Development Corp. has been fined $25,400 for late reporting of its use and disposal of lead and nitrate compounds.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said the company failed to report on time its processing of 100 pounds of lead compounds and 25,000 pounds of nitrate compounds. The fines were levied under the EPA’s Toxics Release Inventory program.

In a statement, CPM noted that the delayed filing did not endanger public health. The company blamed the problem on a user error with the online reporting system.

“CPM Development Corporation recognized its role as a steward of the environment and takes very seriously its obligations to comply with all environmental regulations,” the company said.

Sound of gunfire leads to arrests

Spokane police arrested two men on gun and drug charges after they heard gunfire downtown late Wednesday.

Officers Michael Schneider and Cory Lyons were on patrol downtown about 11:30 p.m. when they heard a gunshot in the alley north of Riverside Avenue between Washington and Stevens streets.

Two men leaving the alley were arrested. Jason Bagge, 37, told officers he fired a shot, a news release from the police department said. Schneider found a revolver on the other man, later identified as Mathew Vigil, 31, while walking him to the patrol car, the release said.

Vigil was found to be a convicted felon. Police said they found illegal pills, cocaine and a large amount of cash on his person. They found a pair of brass knuckles on Bagge.

Bagge was arrested on suspicion of possession of a dangerous weapon. Vigil was arrested on suspicion of possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver and unlawful possession of a firearm.


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