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In brief: Spokane City Council OKs land deal with airport

Spokane County’s loss of more than $1 million in a land deal with the Spokane International Airport is complete.

The Spokane City Council, which along with the Spokane County Commission must approve major airport financial decisions, unanimously approved the deal on Monday. County commissioners approved the $1.75 million sale last month.

In 2008, the county paid $3.2 million for nearly 400 acres between the airport and Fairchild Air Force Base to relocate a rail line that crossed the base and protect the base from encroaching development.

Part of the county’s 2008 land purchase became controversial because it included 150 acres of rock mining land sold by John Condon Jr., an older brother of Spokane Mayor David Condon, for $600,000. John Condon’s company, Northwest Industrial Services, bought the land in 2001 for $65,000. Supporters said the value had increased because Condon had acquired mining rights.

Man gets plea agreement for gang-related shooting

A man who was charged with attempted first-degree murder in connection to a gang-related shooting earlier this year pleaded guilty Wednesday to lesser charges.

Phillip C. Ruiz, 23, pleaded as part of a plea agreement to two counts of first-degree robbery. Two attempted murder charges were amended to first-degree burglary and second-degree assault charges.

Ruiz faces 77 to 102 months when Superior Court Judge Sam Cozza sentences him May 8.

Ruiz was charged in connection with the Jan. 12 shooting that seriously injured 27-year-old Apolonio J.J. Saldana and 35-year-old Tony I. Figueroa. Saldana was found inside a home at 311 E. Liberty Ave. and Figueroa on the front porch of 328 E. Bridgeport Ave.

Neither victim cooperated with police, but investigators learned that the shooting came in retaliation for the victims’ beating of two other men earlier that night, according to court records.

Gang member sentenced in drive-by shooting case

A judge on Wednesday sentenced a gang member to three years in prison stemming from a drive-by shooting last fall outside the Swaxx nightclub in north Spokane.

Taurean D. Jones, 25, previously pleaded guilty to drive-by shooting in a deal that dismissed a second charge of felon in possession of a firearm.

Superior Court Judge Sam Cozza sentenced Jones to 36 months in connection with the 1:40 a.m. shooting on Nov. 25 outside Swaxx, at 25 E. Lincoln Road.

Jones previously served six months in jail for a felony riot conviction stemming from a gang-related shooting in 2006. Jones also was arrested following an April 22, 2010, incident where he was accused of shooting at a motorist. He later pleaded guilty to second-degree assault in that case.


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Then and Now: Comstock Park

James M. Comstock, born in 1838 in Wisconsin, arrived in Spokane in time to witness the great fire of 1889 and start Spokane Dry Goods with Robert Paterson. It became the Crescent, Spokane’s premier department store for a century. He also worked in real estate and owned other businesses. He served a term as Spokane mayor, starting in 1899. James Comstock died in 1918.