Spokane County commissioners will choose from a list of three Republicans to take the state legislative seat of retiring Rep. Larry Crouse, R-Spokane Valley.
The list – submitted by GOP precinct committee officers – includes Robert McCaslin, Leonard Christian and Diana Wilhite.
McCaslin is the son of the late Sen. Bob McCaslin.
Christian works in real estate and ran unsuccessfully as a Republican in 2010 against county Auditor Vicky Dalton.
Wilhite is a former Spokane Valley mayor who has long been involved in GOP politics.
All three nominees have filed paperwork with the Washington state Public Disclosure Commission for next year’s legislative election. Wilhite reported contributions of $4,500 through early November.
Also filing paperwork was Tom Towey, mayor of Spokane Valley, who is leaving the post at the end of the year.
Crouse was first elected in 1994 and became the most senior Republican in the House. He cited health issues in his retirement.
Pioneering WWII black aviator dies
SEATTLE – One of the first black military aviators known as the Tuskegee Airmen, William L. Booker, has died at age 90.
Booker’s family said he died Nov. 30 at a Kirkland nursing home after a long battle with Parkinson’s disease.
Booker served as a navigator and flight engineer on B-25 bombers with the 477th Bombardment Group based at Godman Field, Ky. He flew with all-black crews with pilots trained in Alabama at Tuskegee Institute.
After World War II he worked for Boeing for 34 years. He served 10 years as president of the local Tuskegee Airmen’s chapter.
Booker is survived by his wife of 45 years, Dolores, two sons, two daughters and grandchildren.
Pot rule change on liquor board agenda
OLYMPIA – Opponents turned out in force Wednesday morning in Olympia to express displeasure with a proposed rule change by the state Liquor Control Board that will prohibit marijuana consumption in liquor-licensed establishments statewide.
Under I-502 passed by voters last year, adults 21 and older in Washington can now legally possess up to an ounce of marijuana.
The Liquor Control Board’s proposed rule change would prohibit marijuana usage at any liquor-licensed establishment. The three-person board will vote on the change during its meeting Wednesday.
Board members said during the hearing that the rule change will address the public safety concerns raised by individuals who drink alcohol, smoke marijuana and then drive.
Board member Chris Marr said the proposed rule change also will comply with I-502, which prohibits consumption of marijuana in public view.
Search suspended for Japanese hiker
LONGVIEW, Wash. – Sheriff’s officers in two southwest Washington counties have suspended search efforts for a 26-year-old Japanese hiker last seen near Mount St. Helens.
Cowlitz County Undersheriff Marc Gilchrist said Wednesday that aerial and ground searches and investigations by Cowlitz and Skamania county officers have found no trace of Yosuke Onishi. Hikers in the area have not reported seeing him.
Onishi is from Saga prefecture on the island of Kyushu.
Gilchrist said deputies would still like to locate a couple who gave Onishi a ride to where he was dropped off near the mountain. The owners of a Cougar deli say the couple drove a gray or light brown passenger car on the morning of Nov. 27. Onishi has not been seen since then.
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