City Council passes temporary law governing marijuana
The Spokane City Council voted unanimously Monday in favor of a temporary city law governing all things marijuana, from collective medical gardens to zoning for retail pot shops.
The ordinance, which the council adopted ahead of the release of state laws governing marijuana, directs the city’s Plan Commission to conduct a public hearing on the new laws within 60 days. The council will then have approximately 30 days to hear more testimony and adopt the law.
Councilman Jon Snyder, who sponsored the legislation with Mike Fagan, said the purpose of the ordinance was threefold: to implement last year’s Initiative 502, to give “predictability and logic” to potential marijuana business owners and to protect public health.
Whiting announces retirement
Dr. Craig Whiting, the Rockwood Clinic executive who helped engineer the sale of the region’s largest multispecialty clinic to Community Health Systems Inc., announced he will retire next summer.
A urologist when practicing medicine, Whiting assumed the role of chief executive of Rockwood and played a key role in aligning the clinic with Deaconess and Valley hospitals to form an integrated healthcare provider 3 ½ years ago.
The move ignited changes and competition within Spokane’s medical industry as the majority of doctors sold or merged their practices into either of the region’s large hospitals systems that also includes Providence Health Care.
A national search will be conducted for Whiting’s replacement, according to the retirement announcement.
Idaho awards first contract
BOISE – Idaho’s new state-based health insurance exchange has awarded its first contract, a $200,000 deal with a communications team led by Gallatin Public Affairs.
Partnering with Boise-based GS Strategy Group and the global public relations firm Burson-Marsteller, the group will be responsible for launching an initial exchange website, conducting statewide market research, creating educational materials and developing the “branding” for the new exchange, which must be ready to serve Idaho customers purchasing health insurance by Oct. 1.
The initial six-week contract runs only through Aug. 15 with options for renewal. The Gallatin team beat out three other bidders.
A second, larger contractor selection for professional services including information technology is in the works. The winning bid for that could be announced within a week.
Betsy Z. Russell
Kettle Falls man dies in crash
A 68-year-old man died Monday afternoon when the Toyota pickup he was driving left U.S. Highway 395 north of Kettle Falls and struck a tree.
The Washington State Patrol identified the driver as Joseph B. Tomlinson, of Kettle Falls. He was reportedly not wearing a seat belt when the accident happened in Ferry County about 15 miles north of the small town.