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In brief: Spokane 2014 snowfall total inches toward normal

The two-day snowfall at Spokane International Airport was 8.3 inches Sunday and Monday, bringing the city’s officials snowfall total closer to normal for this time of year.

Spokane has now seen 31.7 inches of snow this season through Monday, compared with an average for this point in the season of 39.5 inches.

Storms since Jan. 29 have boosted water supplies from the dry conditions during the first half of the season.

In the mountains, snowpack has reached 100 percent of average in the Spokane River basin and is at or near normal across much of Washington and North Idaho.

The Yakima River basin is also at 100 percent of normal.

Northern mountains are still a little bit thin on snowpack, with 83 percent of average snow pack reported in Okanogan, Stevens and Ferry counties.

Woman on foot hit while crossing street

A pedestrian was hit by a car while crossing Fort George Wright Drive near Spokane Falls Community College on Tuesday afternoon.

The woman was taken to the hospital with serious injuries, police spokeswoman Monique Cotton said. Both westbound lanes of traffic on Fort George Wright Drive were shut down while the accident was investigated.

The driver of the vehicle that hit the woman remained at the scene, Cotton said.

Three spots filled on landmarks panel

Spokane County Commissioners on Tuesday moved to fill three vacancies on the city-county Historic Landmarks Commission after the commission’s membership fell short of the needed seven members to take official action.

The commission has 11 positions, but six positions were vacant earlier this month.

The commissioners voted in favor of having Lynn Mandyke reappointed to a historian position, Jaime Brown reappointed to the anthropologist/ archaeologist position and Carl Durkoop appointed to the real estate position.

Other positions remain vacant. Commissioners said they will continue to consider applicants.

Series of auto thefts linked to teenagers

A pair of teenagers accused of stealing multiple cars they dumped when the gas ran out are both in jail facing auto and firearm theft charges.

Eli Olson, 19, was booked into Spokane County Jail on Friday after police pulled him over driving a Dodge SUV that had been reported stolen, along with a .45-caliber handgun. Olson said he was high on methamphetamine at the time of his arrest and that he’d stolen the car along with Austyn Witcher, 19, who is “like a brother to him,” according to court documents.

Olson later told investigators he and Witcher stole five vehicles by “punching the ignition,” manipulating the starter so that it can be engaged by a screwdriver, according to court documents. The two would ditch the stolen vehicle when it stopped running and break into another nearby car, their preference being Dodge and Nissan models, Olson said.

Witcher was subsequently arrested driving a 2000 Dodge truck that had been reported stolen.

Bail was set for Olson and Witcher at $25,000 and $50,000, respectively.

Bond set at $1 million for suspect in killing

Bond for suspected killer Brandon Mellon was set at $1 million during a brief court appearance Tuesday.

Mellon, 25, is accused of shooting Arnold Lommasson in the head as Lommasson was playing computer games in an apartment at 2228 N. Astor St. on Jan. 3.

Mellon has 10 previous felony convictions and 23 misdemeanor arrests, documents say.

Fewer hate groups in region, report says

The number of active hate groups across the Northwest dropped last year compared to 2012.

That’s according to the Southern Poverty Law Center, which on Tuesday released its annual report on the number of hate groups operating in the United States.

The number of hate groups in Washington dropped from 16 in 2012 to 10 last year. In Idaho the number dropped from 17 to nine.

And in Montana the number dropped from 12 to eight.

The number of hate groups in Oregon remained the same at nine.

Nationally, the number of active hate groups dropped from 1,007 in 2012 to 939 last year.


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