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In brief: Murder suspect makes first court appearance

A man accused of killing his girlfriend last month appeared in court Friday after authorities returned him to Spokane from California.

A Spokane County Superior Court judge set bond at $750,000 for Tony T. Callihan, 38. Callihan is charged with second-degree murder, accused of strangling 48-year-old Michelle Koenen on Dec. 7 in the 2300 block of West Broadway Avenue and fleeing in her vehicle.

California authorities arrested Callihan on Dec. 14 in Clearlake, about 100 miles northwest of Sacramento, after he was found sleeping in the victim’s car. They transported Callihan to a Seattle-area detention center, and Spokane police brought Callihan to the Spokane County Jail on Thursday night.

Help sought locating attempted rape suspect

Coeur d’Alene police are looking for a man who reportedly tried to rape a woman near North Idaho College last weekend.

The 21-year-old victim told Coeur d’Alene police she was walking in the area of West Hubbard Avenue and North College Drive on Jan. 11 at about 10:45 p.m. when she was attacked.

The victim, who lives in the area, said the man approached her from a construction area to the east, according to police spokeswoman Sgt. Christie Wood. He said something to her and followed her down the sidewalk. When she slowed to look at him, he grabbed her from behind, dragging her to the ground.

The victim said he tried to sexually assault her, but she fought him off, according to Wood. The man jumped up and ran away after seeing the headlights of a nearby vehicle.

The victim described the attacker as a white male, about 35 to 40 years old, 5-foot-9 with an average build. He was wearing a brown jacket, a grey beanie hat and boots.

Anyone with information on the attack should call the Coeur d’Alene Police Department at (208) 769-2320.

Thieves steal copper from Avista substation

The Spokane County Sheriff’s Office is investigating yet another case of copper wire theft.

Sheriff’s deputies responded to a transformer fire at an Avista substation near Barker Road and Euclid Avenue about 3:45 a.m. Friday after Spokane Valley fire crews saw the fence surrounding the station had been cut open.

Deputies were able to see footprints leading into the substation from the large opening in the fence, said sheriff’s Deputy Craig Chamberlin.

An Avista employee told deputies a ground wire had been cut and removed from the transformer, charging the transformer with more than 7,500 volts of electricity, which caused it to ignite. The suspects were likely burned, the employee told authorities.

Several other ground lines were removed inside the station. The damage caused 2,165 customers in the area to lose power for a short period, Chamberlin said.

Anyone with information regarding this incident is asked to call Crime Check at (509) 456-2233.

Budget committee ending public hearings

BOISE – The Idaho Legislature’s joint budget committee announced Friday that it is canceling its popular public hearings on the state budget, which over the past two years have drawn nearly 2,000 people from all parts of the state

Committee Co-Chair Dean Cameron, R-Rupert, announced Friday that legislative leaders had “instructed” the joint committee not to hold the hearings this year, which had been scheduled for Feb. 1 and Feb. 8, for fear they’d get ahead of the House and Senate education committees’ deliberations over how to respond to voters’ rejection of the Students Come First school reform laws in November.

House Speaker Scott Bedke, R-Oakley, said, “It’s got to be the policy committees that make the changes.” He added, “I would urge the co-chairs of education to conduct listening sessions based on the policy.”

The past two years’ unprecedented public hearings on the budget have drawn huge crowds, who in addition to education, talked about Health and Welfare programs, the state’s then-closed suicide hotline, and myriad other parts of the state budget, prompting lawmakers to back some changes.

Homicide suspect may be armed, dangerous

Police in Connell, Wash., are looking for a homicide suspect considered armed and dangerous.

Connell police responded to a shooting at 401 E. Elm St. about 8 p.m. Thursday and found a 30-year-old Hispanic male dead from several gunshot wounds.

Police are looking for a suspect in the shooting, 40-year-old Julio Cesar Hernandez, who was last seen driving a black 1988 Ford Mustang with Washington plates 011-UZQ.

Police tracked Hernandez’s cellphone to Electric City, Wash., his last known location.

Anyone with information on his location should immediately call 911 or the Connell Police Department at (509) 234-4141. Connell is about 100 miles southwest of Spokane.

Police are withholding the victim’s identity pending notification of his family.

King holiday will affect offices, services

The following offices and services will be affected by the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday on Monday:

Most garbage service will maintain normal schedules, but check your specific service provider. Waste Management, the city of Spokane, and all Kootenai County city and rural garbage pickup are not affected by the holiday.

However, city, county, state and federal offices will be closed.

Post offices will be closed.

State liquor stores will be open in Idaho.

Most banks will be closed.

Duplex damaged in electrical fire

An electrical fire damaged the kitchen and attic of a north Spokane duplex Friday.

Fire crews arrived at 11:41 a.m. to find a single-story duplex on the 600 block of East Gordon Avenue with smoke and fire showing in the front unit. Capt. Ken Miller contacted the families who live in the duplex and discovered everyone was out of the house and accounted for, a news release from the Spokane Fire Department said.

The fire was brought under control within 15 minutes and there were no injuries, the release said. Damage was largely confined to the kitchen and the attic area over the kitchen.

The Red Cross was assisting the displaced occupants.


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