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In brief: $500,000 bond set for man at homicide scene

A judge on Monday set a bond of $500,000 for a man arrested on a warrant at the scene of a homicide in downtown Spokane Thursday.

Jimmy Joe Blackburn, 29, faces three counts of attempted second-degree murder, second-degree unlawful possession of a firearm and malicious harassment.

Police said on Wednesday, the day before the shooting that left Paul A. Haney, 33, of Yakima, dead in the downtown Days Inn parking lot, Blackburn got into an altercation with several teenagers near 33rd Avenue and Thor Street. He used racial slurs, shot at them once, hitting a van the victims were hiding behind, and fled on a moped, which had been reported stolen that day.

The moped was confiscated at the scene of the homicide the following day, but Blackburn’s role remains unclear.

In setting the bond, Judge Annette Plese cited Blackburn’s six prior felonies, several failures to appear in court and the “severe danger to the community” he presents. His arraignment is set for Sept. 25.

Meanwhile, police are looking for Kevin Heaton, 35, who is considered a “person of interest” in the Days Inn homicide.

Chelsea Bannach

State labor department seeks no rate increase

OLYMPIA – Washington businesses and their employees should see no increase in the rates they pay for workers’ compensation next year, the Department of Labor and Industries said Monday.

The agency is proposing that workers’ comp rates stay the same for 2013, in part because of reforms adopted last year by the Legislature and signed by Gov. Chris Gregoire. Other factors in keeping rates from rising were fewer claims in high hazard industries, a drop in number of claims per worker and quicker resolution of the claims because of improvements in the department. Even without a rate increase, the department expects to place $82 million in reserve at the end of next year.

Workers pay about a fourth of the rate in Washington, which has a unique system for workers’ compensation.

The department will hold hearings around the state next month on its rate proposal, including one in Spokane Valley. That hearing is at 10 a.m. on Oct. 24 at CenterPlace Event Center, 2426 N. Discovery Place in Spokane Valley.

Jim Camden

State teacher of the year from Zillah High School

SEATTLE – A science teacher at Zillah High School in Zillah, Wash., near Yakima has been named Washington’s 2013 teacher of the year.

Jeffrey Charbonneau was selected from among nine regional teachers of the year in Washington. State schools Superintendent Randy Dorn announced the winner at a ceremony Monday in Seattle.

Charbonneau is a national board certified teacher who has been teaching science at his small, rural high school since 2001. According to the state schools office, Charbonneau’s students this year will be able to earn college credit in four of his classes. To accomplish that, he has become an adjunct faculty member at Yakima Valley Community College, Central Washington University and Eastern Washington University.

He designed a robot challenge that’s open to students from across the state and serves as adviser to a number of school clubs including drama and science. As yearbook adviser, Charbonneau helped students digitize all of Zillah’s yearbooks, from 1919 to 2002.

Associated Press


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