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In brief: Cats inundate shelter by boxful

After a successful cat adoption event last week, Spokane County Regional Animal Protection Service is inundated with cats again.

Animal surrenders are increasing at the shelter, and staff members say it is because of the dragging economy.

Officials at SCRAPS say they have received more than 50 cats this week, including litters by the boxful. There’s a menagerie of cats of all ages housed in the feline room waiting for adoption.

“I’m afraid that it’s the economy,” said Janet Dixon, development coordinator for SCRAPS. “People feel like they can’t deal with it anymore or they’re moving from one place to the next.”

SCRAPS is hosting another cat sale today and Friday. Owners can adopt qualified, healthy pets for the price of the county’s licensing fee of $15.

Labrador, Farris debate to air live

BOISE – U.S. Rep. Raul Labrador, R-Idaho, will debate his Democratic challenger, Jimmy Farris, tonight on live statewide TV.

The one-hour debate starts at 7 p.m. on Idaho Public Television.

The event is part of the Idaho Debates, sponsored by the League of Women Voters, the Idaho Press Club and Idaho Public Television, along with an array of other sponsors.

The faceoff will take place before an audience in the state Capitol Auditorium. For more information go to the Idaho Public TV website,

Off-leash dog park meeting tonight

The Kootenai County Dog Park Association hopes to raise $70,000 to place an off-leash dog park in the revamped McEuen Park in downtown Coeur d’Alene.

The group will hold an informational meeting and fundraiser kickoff this evening at the Parkside Tower, 601 E. Front Ave., No. 201, in the third-floor community room. It’s scheduled from 5 to 8 p.m.

The city is rebuilding McEuen between downtown and Tubbs Hill. When the $14.2 million makeover is finished next year, the park will be larger and feature more amenities and better links to the lakefront.

The fenced dog park would be in the southeast part of McEuen, next to the base of Tubbs Hill.

Coeur d’Alene in recent years has opened dog parks on Atlas Road and at Cherry Hill Park. Supporters of the McEuen dog park hope to open it in November 2013.

Information:;; (208) 964-5995.

Otter to help dedicate highway bridge

Idaho’s governor will attend Friday’s dedication of the new Dover Bridge on U.S. Highway 2 west of Sandpoint.

Gov. Butch Otter and other dignitaries will be on hand for the 11 a.m. ceremony marking completion of the $22 million project, which took three years to complete.

The 72-foot-wide, 1,200-foot-long steel bridge spans the Union Pacific railroad line in Dover. It replaces a deteriorating trestle bridge, built in 1937, that had become a bottleneck on the east-west route.

The project included realigning the highway, improving access to the city of Dover and adding a bicycle/pedestrian trail. It also accommodates future expansion of Highway 2 west of the bridge.

The project used federal stimulus funds. The prime contractor was Sletten Construction Co. of Great Falls.

Harlem Ambassadors to play at NIC

The Harlem Ambassadors basketball team will take on a team of local leaders and celebrities in a fundraiser Sunday at North Idaho College.

The Harlem Ambassadors perform high-flying slam dunks, ball-handling tricks and comedy routines in community fundraising events around the country.

Sunday’s show is sponsored by the Sunrise Rotary Club of Coeur d’Alene. Proceeds will benefit club grants and projects as well as the Panhandle Autism Society.

The game will begin at 5:30 p.m. at Christiansen Gymnasium on the NIC campus.

The Rotary Rangers team will include former Gonzaga University men’s basketball guard Andrew Sorenson and center Cory Violette, NIC athletics director Al Williams and men’s basketball coach Jared Phay, local middle school principals and others.

Advance tickets are $9 for adults, $7 for children and seniors, free for kids under 4. Tickets are available at Vertical Earth, North Idaho Title, Idaho Trust Bank, Rocky Mountain Distributing, and Lakes, Canfield and Woodland middle schools.

Seattle developer, wife arrested in France

SEATTLE – A Seattle real-estate developer who vanished with his wife after a judge demanded they hand over two huge diamonds was arrested Wednesday in a lake town in the French Alps.

Police arrested Michael Mastro, 87, and his wife, Linda, at the request of American authorities, said Kayla Celaya, a supervisory deputy with the U.S. Marshals Service. The arrests came in the town of Annecy, near the Swiss border in southeastern France.

The Mastros were charged with bankruptcy fraud in a six-count FBI complaint unsealed Wednesday in federal court in Seattle. The complaint accuses them of concealing one of their bank accounts from creditors and using $285,000 from the account for personal expenses – including payments on their Bentley and Rolls Royce automobiles, credit card bills, and the purchase of $100,000 in gold.

Mastro attorney James Frush did not immediately return a call seeking comment.