In brief: Valley meeting seeks comment on Holcim plant cleanup pan
The state Department of Ecology is seeking comment on a cleanup plan for the old Holcim cement manufacturing plant on the shore of the Spokane River downstream of Plantes Ferry Park.
A meeting will be at 7 p.m. today at CenterPlace, 2426 N. Discovery Place, to get public input. The site is next to the Coyote Rock Development and land owned by the city of Spokane Valley. The state reports on the plan are available online at the Department of Ecology’s website and at the Argonne Library, 4322 N. Argonne Road.
The cement plant closed in 1967, but the site contains a landfill of cement kiln dust. The dust is considered caustic and contains arsenic and lead, according to the Department of Ecology.
GOP says Inslee misusing authority
OLYMPIA – Legislative Republicans have accused Gov. Jay Inslee of misusing his power by announcing a moratorium on all executions during his term.
“It’s the Legislature that decides whether (capital punishment) is an appropriate policy,” said Sen. Steve O’Ban, R-University Place, while a governor has the authority to stay the execution of a particular inmate on an individual basis. “He has usurped his role.”
The Legislature could address problems with the cost of capital punishment and the long delays from appeals without a complete suspension, O’Ban said.
It could take a valuable tool out of the hands of prosecutors, who have used the possibility of not seeking the death penalty as a way to force serial killers to reveal information about victims, O’Ban said. Attorney General Bob Ferguson said Tuesday the decision was within Inslee’s authority as governor.
Free dance centered on anti-violence
A dance break to raise awareness and fight violence against women and girls will take place Friday in the River Park Square atrium in downtown Spokane.
Dancers are encouraged to learn the dance to the song “Break the Chain” by watching an instructional video on YouTube in advance.
The Spokane Shock Dance Team will take part in the free event, which begins at 3 p.m.
For more information on the event, search for One Billion Rising Spokane on Facebook.
Pend Oreille inmate on loose after escape
An inmate escape from the Pend Oreille County Jail prompted the lockdown of Newport schools Wednesday afternoon as Pend Oreille County deputies, Bonner County deputies and a U.S. Border Patrol K-9 team searched unsuccessfully for the fugitive.
Ryan A. Apling, 29, climbed over several razor wire fences to escape, Pend Oreille County Sheriff’s Alan Botzheim said. Apling left behind his orange jail shirt and some blood in the snow, Botzheim said.
Apling was last seen wearing a black hoodie and blue jeans. He is about 5 feet 10 inches tall with blue eyes and short, blond hair. He was in jail for failure to appear in court on charges of second-degree trespassing and third-degree driving with a suspended license, both misdemeanors.
Anyone with information on Apling’s location is asked to call (509) 447-1980.
Controversial bill on pause in Idaho
BOISE – Controversial legislation to protect Idahoans who use religion as a basis to refuse service to people with different beliefs or lifestyles was delayed Wednesday, as House Speaker Scott Bedke called for a “thoughtful pause.”
The bill, HB 427, was the subject of a hearing last week that drew more than 500 people to the state Capitol; only two people spoke in favor of it. It was sent to the full House for amendments. Numerous House members submitted proposed amendments.
Bedke said the bill from Rep. Lynn Luker, R-Boise, won’t come up for amendments this week. “I think we need to collect our thoughts,” Bedke said.