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In brief: High winds expected today

Mon., Dec. 17, 2012

The National Weather Service has issued a wind advisory starting at 4 a.m. today predicting gusts up to 50 mph in the Spokane and Coeur d’Alene area.

A high wind warning was also issued for the Idaho and Washington Palouse area today. Winds brought in by a Pacific storm are expected to be between 35 to 45 mph, with gusts of up to 55 mph.

The warnings advise caution for vehicles that may tip in high winds. The winds should die down after sunset. The warnings expire at 6 p.m. today.

Residents, pets flee house fire

A chimney fire damaged a home at 1814 W. Mission Ave. in northwest Spokane on Sunday just after 9 a.m. Three residents made it safely out of the home, as did two cats and several birds.

Firefighters found smoke and flames on an exterior wall on the first floor when they arrived, according to a Spokane Fire Department news release. The fire was spreading to the second floor and attic. Crews had to rip open the walls and attic to put out the fire.

Investigators determined that the fire was caused by a wood stove chimney that set the wall on fire, the release said. Damage is estimated to be at least $20,000. The Red Cross is assisting the residents.

Couple to present tent city case

A Spokane couple bent on erecting a tent city downtown said they will be at today’s City Council meeting to “give them a challenge.”

Ralph “Doc” Harvey and his wife, Becky, applied last week for a permit to place a tent city under Interstate 90 large enough to fit 50 people. The space, located off South Browne Street, is already a hot spot for homeless people.

Harvey said he was expecting to hear from City Council President Ben Stuckart by the end of the day Friday, but Stuckart said in an email to The Spokesman-Review that he was unable to issue the permit.

The land the Harveys are hoping to use belongs to the state Transportation Department, so it’s not the city’s call, Stuckart said.

“Ralph should be having this conversation himself with WSDOT,” he wrote.

A city ordinance prevents the creation of long-term tent cities. Permits can only be issued for 14 days and renewed once in a calendar year.

But Harvey said if given the chance, he and his wife can prove to the city of Spokane that a tent city could benefit the city.


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