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In brief: Manuscript, gems stolen from van

An aspiring Spokane author lost almost three years of writing and thousands of dollars in gemstones after someone broke into his van at Finch Arboretum.

Eric Lafko was putting the finishing touches on his book, “Shanghai of the Purple Jade Buddha,” Sunday morning, he said. He was only there for an hour, but when he returned to his van, he found it broken into. Lafko, a gem collector, reported gems and hundreds of pages of the handwritten manuscript gone.

The manuscript is the biggest loss, he said.

“I don’t give a farthing about any of the money,” Lafko said. “I was devastated. Totally devastated. I sat there and I cried.”

Lafko’s in the process of moving right now, he said, and had many of his belongings in the back of his van. He’s spent the past two years and eight months working on the book and only had one copy. He was planning to type up the manuscript and send it to Amazon to be published later this week.

Lafko said he doesn’t want to pursue criminal action against the thieves, he just wants the manuscript back. He and a friend posted a Craigslist ad in the lost+found section requesting information.

Rockfish protection sought in the Sound

SEATTLE – The National Marine Fisheries Service proposes to designate almost 1,200 square miles of Puget Sound as critical habitat for three species of endangered rockfish.

The habitat protection follows the 2010 decision to list yelloweye, canary and bocaccio rockfish under the Endangered Species Act.

The Fisheries Service says the rockfish are vulnerable to overfishing because they have long lives and mature slowly with sporadic reproduction.

Tuesday’s designation will require federal agencies to make sure their actions don’t harm rockfish habitat.