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In brief: Charter schools on November ballot

OLYMPIA – Voters will get another chance to decide whether they want to approve charter schools for Washington. Initiative 1240 has enough valid signatures to qualify for the Nov. 6 ballot, the secretary of state’s office said Wednesday.

Over 21 days, supporters spent about $2.1 million to collect about 357,000 signatures, far more than the 241,000 required to put an initiative on the ballot. The state Elections Division said a random sampling of the petitions showed a rejection rate of about 16 percent, which is below average.

I-1240 became the sixth ballot measure for the November election.

Under the initiative, charter schools would operate under special contracts that outline powers, responsibilities and performance expectations. As many as 40 such schools could be set up in the state over the next five years by public school districts or nonprofit organizations.

Worker fired amid embezzlement case

The city of Coeur d’Alene has fired a finance department employee suspected of embezzling city money.

The employee’s termination was effective 5 p.m. Tuesday after she failed to show up for a personnel meeting with department heads Monday afternoon to address the allegations, City Attorney Mike Gridley told the Coeur d’Alene Press.

The city is not releasing the worker’s name.

Gridley said last week the city had confirmed at least five fraudulent transactions that total thousands of dollars.

Delay to suit sought in missing boy case

PORTLAND – The stepmother of an Oregon boy who vanished two years ago has asked a judge to hold off hearing a suit that says she knows where the boy is.

The lawsuit filed by Kyron Horman’s biological mother, Desiree Young, asks a judge to order Terri Horman to return Kyron or, if he’s dead, say where his remains are. It also seeks $10 million.

Terri Horman said in a brief filed late Tuesday that a criminal investigation is under way and that the civil suit should be stayed two years while it plays out.

Investigators have long focused on Terri Horman, although they have not named her as a suspect.

The suit accuses her of kidnapping Kyron.

Mining company, tribe reach coal deal

BILLINGS – A Wyoming mining company has reached a tentative deal to mine an estimated 1.4 billion tons of coal on southeastern Montana’s Crow Indian Reservation.

Cloud Peak Energy says it would pay the tribe up to $10 million if the deal is approved by the tribal legislature and the Department of Interior.

Agreements between the parties cover three coal deposits near Cloud Peak’s existing Spring Creek mine. Tribal leaders have said the coal could be exported to Asian markets.

The announcement follows a stalled partnership between the tribe and an Australian company to build a $7 billion coal-to-liquids plant on the rural and impoverished reservation along the Wyoming border.


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