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In brief: House of Charity cutting back services

The House of Charity will begin shutting down its daytime services two days a week beginning this Sunday. That includes its meal program and day room.

The closures will be Sunday and Monday.

In the past, it was only closed one day a week. However, a cut in public funds is forcing the added closures, said Robb McCann, executive director of Catholic Charities Spokane. The sleeping quarters, which include beds for 108 men, will continue to operate seven days a week.

“The reality is, it was a very painful decision, but we ultimately had to decide to cut back to the basic survival needs at the House of Charity,” he said. “It really is a sign of the difficult economic times.”

Inmate walks off from community job

BOISE – A prison inmate with convictions in Bonner and Nez Perce counties for forgery escaped Thursday, walking off from a community job to which he was assigned as resident of a lower-security community work center in Nampa.

Richard H. Michalies was reported missing from his job in Nampa at 3:22 p.m. He is white, 43 years old, 5 feet 10 inches tall and 185 pounds, with a fair complexion, brown hair and brown eyes. He was serving six to 12 years and was scheduled to be released in 2015.

Anyone who spots Michalies should contact their local law enforcement agency.

Spa owner arraigned, released

The owner of two Spokane businesses suspected of being prostitution fronts was released from jail Thursday after being arrested Wednesday.

William R. Westover, 41, faces money laundering and promoting prostitution charges after a 14-month investigation culminated in raids at eight suspected brothels. He was released on his own recognizance after appearing in Superior Court on Thursday.

Westover owns the Far East Oriental Spa, 213 E. Sprague Ave., and the Asian Spa, 3130 N. Division St. Investigators with the Airway Heights Police Department developed confidential informants after a prostitution sting at Northern Quest Casino.

One of those informants applied for jobs with Westover and told detectives he had her display her naked breasts, according to court documents. Another informant said she gave Westover a massage and had sex with him, then declined his job offer.

Police reviewed Westover’s bank records and found he’d made 41 large deposits between January 2010 and April 2012 totaling $165,000.

Six people connected to five other suspected brothels were released from jail Wednesday.

High court speeds up appeal of tax law

OLYMPIA – The state Supreme Court agreed to fast-track an appeal of a case involving the two-thirds majority for tax increases that voters have imposed through initiatives.

The high court said Thursday it will hear the appeal of a challenge to the law by the League of Education Voters, the Washington Education Association and several legislators who filed suit after a bill to end a tax break for large banks received a simple majority but not the required supermajority.

It will take up the case on “an expedited basis,” suggesting it could be heard and decided by the time the next regular session of the Legislature convenes in January. But it might not be decided before November, when a new initiative on the ballot will ask voters to extend the supermajority for another two years.