In brief: Man convicted of intimidating judge
A jury convicted 50-year-old Timothy A. Hays on Monday of intimidating a judge following a confrontation with a Spokane Municipal Court judge last September.
He faces between 15 and 20 months in prison at sentencing.
Hays approached Municipal Court Judge Michelle Szambelan’s chambers on Sept. 7, knocked on the door and confronted her about a ruling she made in April 2011 during a case where she sentenced Hays to 10 days in jail for obstructing a police officer.
“I’m going to cut you down,” he told Szambelan. Officers arrested Hays, who was drunk, according to court records.
Special elections voting deadlines today
Today is the last day to vote in the February special elections in Spokane, Rockford, Spokane County Fire District 13, and East Valley and Orchard Prairie school districts.
Spokane voters are considering three propositions that would give the police ombudsman more authority; require a City Council supermajority to increase some local taxes; and boost taxes by $7 a year for a $100,000 property to prevent branch closures and expand hours for the Spokane Public Library. Voters elsewhere are considering tax measures.
For more information on the items on today’s ballot, visit The Spokesman-Review’s Election Center at www.spokesman.com/election.>
Ballots returned by mail must be postmarked by today’s date in order to be counted. Voters can avoid having to pay for a stamp by dropping ballots off at any of 13 drop boxes by 8 p.m.
Hamblen students support Guilds’ School
Hamblen Elementary School sixth-graders raised $2,262 for the Spokane Guilds’ School & Neuromuscular Center and then offered something unexpected: They wrote letters to legislators advocating for the school.
The students’ interest in the Guilds’ School grew when they learned about a former student with disabilities named Jackson and made a personal connection, said Ken Daniel, development director of the Guilds’ School.
“I just think these kids are great,” said Stacy Klim, the mother of Jackson. “(Their support) shows that you’re never too young to help.”
Students can study Chinese at Gonzaga
Spokane students will have the opportunity to study Chinese at Gonzaga University this summer.
A $95,610 grant awarded to Ben Semple, a GU professor of modern languages, will pay for up to 60 students to take the class, including books and materials, said Pete Tormey, university spokesman.
It is the fifth consecutive year the course will be offered. There will be three sessions, one each for students in kindergarten through the sixth grade, middle school and high school.
Students also will learn tai chi, calligraphy, dance and watercolor painting.
For more information, call Semple at (509) 313-6721.
City Council votes to change dumping fees
Dumping trash by the ton is getting cheaper. For light loads the cost is climbing.
The Spokane City Council voted unanimously Monday to cut dump runs to the Waste-to-Energy Plant from $107 to $98 per ton. Costs were cut at the Valley and North County transfer stations, too, from $112 to $103 per ton.
While the per-ton costs were trimmed, the council hiked the minimum fee.
The new rate effective this spring will be $15 for the first 300 pounds. It had been $7 for the first 120 pounds.
Possession of marijuana legalized in city
The Spokane City Council followed the lead of state voters and legalized the possession of marijuana. Councilman Jon Snyder said Monday’s unanimous vote was a routine matter to keep city law consistent with state law. But bigger decisions loom as officials consider whether they should regulate pot more strictly than what was approved in Initiative 502, the law that legalized marijuana.
“This is only the first step of what is going to be a very long process,” Snyder said.
The Washington State Liquor Control Board will hold a public hearing about its efforts to comply with Initiative 502 at 6 p.m. today at the Spokane Convention Center.
Hackers get emergency zombie alert on TV
GREAT FALLS – A Montana television station’s regular programming was interrupted by news of a zombie apocalypse.
The Montana Television Network said hackers broke into the Emergency Alert System of Great Falls affiliate KRTV and its CW station Monday.
KRTV said on its website the hackers broadcast that “dead bodies are rising from their graves” in several Montana counties.
The network said there is no emergency and its engineers are investigating.
A call to KRTV was referred to Jon Saunders, a Montana Television Network executive in Bozeman. He didn’t immediately return a call for comment.