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In brief: Inland Northwest ski resorts open early

Ski areas are opening their lifts to take advantage of an early-season shot of snow in the mountains.

L ookout Pass Ski Area plans to open for the winter season today while  Schweitzer Mountain Resort and  Mt. Spokane Ski and Snowboard Park have announced they will open Saturday.

This will be the first time the Mt. Spokane resort has opened before Thanksgiving in many years, operators say.

These resorts will join  49 Degrees North, which opened for one day on Sunday and will reopen Friday.

Silver Mountain Resort is scheduled to open Nov. 29.

GU to discuss guns after discipline

After two students were placed on probation for having guns in their home, Gonzaga University is hosting a meeting next month to address gun control in university-owned buildings.

University officials will meet with students Dec. 3 to begin what President Thayne M. McCulloh called a re-examination of the university’s policies with regards to firearms. The meeting is not open to the public or the media, a Gonzaga spokesman said.

Seniors Erik Fagan and Daniel McIntosh say they were defending themselves from a potential intruder with a gun the night of Oct. 24., but university policy prohibits guns on campus and in university-owned dwellings, like their apartment in the Logan Neighborhood.

Arson suspect caught during chase

Spokane County sheriff’s deputies took a man wanted for arson into custody Wednesday morning when his car caught fire after a high-speed chase.

A caller reported Brian Olson, 29, was threatening to kill himself near the area of 20000 N. Holcomb Road, according to a news release. Olson had a warrant for his arrest in connection with an arson at 403 W. Barnes Road.

Deputies found him near the area of Bruce Street and Peone Road and tried to stop his vehicle. Olson refused to stop and fled the scene.

Olson traveled westbound and then through north Spokane County toward Pasadena Elementary School on Upriver Drive.

Deputies left off chasing him but started again when they found Olson traveling southbound in the northbound lanes on Argonne through Millwood. Deputies disabled Olson’s car near Mission Avenue. Olson attempted to flee on foot, but deputies quickly caught him.

The engine compartment on Olson’s car caught on fire and was extinguished by Spokane Valley firefighters.

Olson was booked into jail on the felony charges of second-degree assault, eluding police and arson.

Jury in mob case convicts ex-rancher

BOSTON – A man who spent more than a decade posing as a cattle rancher in Idaho was convicted Wednesday on a string of federal charges, including the attempted murder of a man who became the boss of the New England Mafia.

After a monthlong trial, Enrico Ponzo, 45, was convicted of racketeering conspiracy, murder conspiracy in aid of racketeering, and a number of other charges including money laundering and extortion. One of the acts jurors found Ponzo committed under the racketeering conspiracy charge was the attempted killing of Francis “Cadillac Frank” Salemme. Ponzo fled in 1994 and wasn’t captured until 2011 in Marsing, Idaho, where he owned a ranch as Jay Shaw.

Nelson to lead Senate Democrats

OLYMPIA – Senate Democrats in Washington state have chosen a new leader for their caucus.

The caucus on Wednesday selected Sen. Sharon Nelson, D-Maury Island, as the upper chamber’s minority party leader. She replaces Sen. Ed Murray, who was elected mayor of Seattle.

Murray had already previously resigned his role as leader of the Senate Democrats following his mayoral election earlier this month. On Tuesday, he officially resigned from the Senate, effective Dec. 31.