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In brief: City opens shelters for coldest nights

Spokane will open four temporary shelters for the homeless during the coldest winter nights.

The city contracted with four social services agencies to serve as warming centers, which will open from 8 p.m. through 7 a.m. intermittently through the end of February whenever the temperature drops below 15 degrees.

City spokeswoman Ann Deasy said the shelters are opened each year in connection with different service agencies. The city will issue releases when the shelters will be open.

This year’s shelters:

• Volunteers of America’s Crosswalk, 525 W. Second Ave., serving homeless youth.

• Volunteers of America’s Hope House, 111 W. Third Ave., serving homeless single women.

• First Covenant Church, 212 S. Division St., serving homeless single men. SNAP, 212 S. Wall St., will serve as a secondary site for the church.

• Salvation Army’s Safe Center, 222 E. Indiana Ave., serving homeless families with children and couples without children.

Great Clips robbery results in arrest

A woman was arrested after allegedly robbing a salon and fleeing from a traffic stop Thursday evening, police said.

Officers responded to a report of a robbery at Great Clips at 30th Avenue and Grand Boulevard around 8:15 p.m., a Spokane Police Department news release said. A woman had threatened employees with mace, the release said.

A responding officer then stopped a car resembling the description given of the robber’s car. The driver, later identified as Melissa D. Tschanz, 37, fled in the car while the officer ran a check on her driver’s license, the release said.

The officer pursued Tschanz as she proceeded toward Spokane International Airport. Fearing she might pose a safety hazard for people at the airport, he stopped her vehicle by pushing it into a guardrail, the release said. Tschanz, who was not injured, was arrested on suspicion of first-degree robbery and attempting to elude police.

The vehicle was found to be rented from a company near the airport, but the license plates did not match the car’s registration, police said.

School reform sets spending record

BOISE – Idaho’s fight over three school-reform ballot measures has set a record for campaign spending on ballot measures in the state, with $6.2 million spent by both sides combined.

That exceeds the nearly $4 million spent on both sides of Idaho’s right-to-work ballot fight in 1986. However, if inflation since 1986 is taken into account, that year’s battle still ranks as Idaho’s biggest. The $3.967 million spent that year would equal $8.376 million in 2012 dollars.

This year, backers of Propositions 1, 2 and 3 have raised $2.6 million for their campaign, while opponents have raised $3.6 million. The biggest giver to proponents is eastern Idaho multimillionaire Frank VanderSloot, who’s spent $1.4 million so far.

The biggest giver to the campaign against the measures is the National Education Association, which has spent $2.8 million so far.

PetSmart hosts adoption weekend

Spokane County Regional Animal Protection Service, Spokane Humane Society and SpokAnimal will take part in National Pet Adoption Weekend, held at PetSmart stores.

The adoption event will be at the Spokane area’s two PetSmart stores through Sunday, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. The stores are located at 9950 N. Newport Highway and 15615 E. Broadway Ave.

A grant from the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals is underwriting adoption costs, but potential owners will need to purchase a license. A dog license costs $25 and a cat license is $15. All animals are spayed or neutered, vaccinated and microchipped, the news release said.

Fake IRS site scams taxpayers

The IRS is warning taxpayers about a new scam that uses a fake tax-help website to gain personal financial information.

The Web page “looks almost identical” to the real IRS e-Services page, the tax agency said in a news release. But the e-Services page is available only to tax preparers, not the general public, the release said.

It’s one of many phony IRS website scams.

“The address of the official IRS website is Don’t be misled by sites claiming to be the IRS but ending in .com, .net, .org or other designations instead of .gov,” the news release said.

Suspects arrested in Halloween muggings

TACOMA – Police said six teens wearing blue bandannas robbed children and adults in six armed holdups on Halloween in Tacoma.

The muggers took wallets, backpacks and cellphones between 8 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. Wednesday.

Lt. Gerry Lerum told KOMO they also took a bag of candy from an 11-year-old.

A police dog tracked the suspects – ages 13 to 17 – to a car where police arrested all six.


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