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In brief: Group to give free school backpacks

The excitement of fresh pencils, notebooks and a new backpack doesn’t come easily for some Spokane kids children, but the Salvation Army is trying to remedy that.

The Salvation Army’s annual backpack distribution begins today at 8 a.m. at the Community Center at 222 E. Indiana Ave. It plans to hand out 4,000 backpacks filled with school supplies on a first-come, first-served basis.

There also will be vendors offering free health screenings, dental care items, financial education tools and a free book to the first 1,000 children.

The doors will close at 7 p.m. unless the supply runs out. Parents should bring a photo ID for themselves and an ID for their child as well as proof of address.

Boy dies after being trapped in car trunk

A 4-year-old Spokane boy died Wednesday after becoming trapped in the trunk of his family’s car.

Fire crews responded to the medical call when he was found, and the district chief told KHQ-TV that the boy’s father was doing CPR on the unresponsive child when they arrived. The boy was taken to Providence Holy Family Hospital, where he was declared dead.

The death is being investigated as suspicious, as is routinely done for unattended deaths, but this case appeared accidental, KHQ reported.

Authorities declined to provide information to the newspaper.

Oregon judge picked to hear ricin trial

The Spokane man accused of sending ricin-laced letters to a federal court in May will have his case heard by a Portland judge.

Eastern Washington District Judge Lonny Suko recused himself from proceedings against Matthew Buquet, 38, who is accused of mailing poisoned letters to Suko’s colleague, Fred Van Sickle. Citing a federal statute requiring judges to surrender cases where impartiality might be in question, Suko handed the case over on July 30. District Judge Ancer L. Haggerty has been assigned in his stead.

Buquet’s trial is set to begin May 5.