A businessman who once actively sought to abolish the city of Spokane Valley now is its mayor.
Councilman Dean Grafos was selected Tuesday night by fellow council members to serve in the largely ceremonial position. He edged Councilman Chuck Hafner in a 4-3 split.
“I’m honored,” Grafos said after the vote. “We have a great City Council, city staff and city manager.”
Grafos was a vocal critic of the city, which was created in 2003, and had contributed to unsuccessful disincorporation campaigns. But he jumped into the political arena in 2009 after the final disincorporation effort collapsed, and he was among a slate of conservative candidates calling themselves “Positive Change” that took control of the city instead.
Spokane Valley has a city manager that tends to day-to-day operations, while the mayor presides over the seven-member City Council, which sets policy and priorities.
Comments sought on charter requests
Spokane Public Schools’ administration is asking for the public’s input on three applicants requesting to locate a charter school within the district.
There are three applicants:
• Pride Prep, a proposed college preparatory school for sixth through 12th grades would include several years of a foreign language, extra math and science, nine-hour school days and an extended school year.
• The Academy of Arts and Sciences is a California-based charter school that blends classroom and online learning for K-12 students.
• iLead, a K-8 program also based in California, uses children’s interests to teach lessons in a project-based format.
Links to the applications are available on Spokane Public Schools’ website. Printed copies of the applications are available at the district office, 200 N. Bernard St., 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.
The public will have an opportunity to comment Jan. 15 during a special board meeting at the district office. The school board will vote on Jan. 22.
For more information, call (509) 354-5900.
Motel standoff ends in arrests
A murder suspect from Walla Walla was arrested Tuesday night after a standoff with police at a Spokane motel.
Police received information Tuesday afternoon from the Walla Walla County Sheriff’s Office that a suspect in a Jan. 3 homicide was in a room at the Knights Inn, at 20 W. Houston Ave., a Spokane police news release said. Because the suspect was believed to be armed, a Spokane SWAT team and hostage negotiators responded.
After a few hours, at 8 p.m., two people came out and were taken into custody without incident. Another two came out a few minutes later.
The 17-year-old suspect was arrested on a warrant for first-degree murder in a case in which the body of 20-year-old Yesica Olivos was found on the side of a county road west of Walla Walla. The other three occupants of the motel room are suspected of rendering criminal assistance.
Indecent exposure charges filed
A man arrested for fishing naked on Medical Lake in 2011 is back in jail for allegedly exposing himself along the Centennial Trail last weekend.
Dean Meginnis, 56, was booked into Spokane County Jail on Sunday afternoon and faces two counts of indecent exposure. Investigators say Meginnis was touching himself inappropriately on the trail as a mother and her 13-year-old daughter jogged by. When Spokane County sheriff’s deputies approached Meginnis, they reported he was still touching himself and only stopped once they came near.
A man and his two sons reported Meginnis was fishing naked on a bank of Medical Lake in August 2011. Meginnis later pleaded guilty to a felony charge of indecent exposure in the incident and was given credit for 40 days served in jail. As part of his plea, he was ordered to seek mental health treatment.
Meginnis is being held in Spokane County Jail in lieu of $1,000 bond.
Man faces charges in reservation fire
A federal grand jury found enough evidence to indict a Nespelem, Wash., man on charges of willfully setting fire to tribal lands on the Colville Reservation last summer.
The grass and brush fire allegedly set by Mylan Williams, 34, burned about 250 acres, threatening homes just north of Elmer City, which is near Coulee Dam.
Colville Tribal Police investigated the incident. Williams, who is a member of the tribe, was arrested and booked into the tribe’s correctional facility, where he was held on tribal charges for arson. If convicted in U.S. District Court, Williams could spend up to five years in prison.
Williams is also a person of interest in a July 31 house fire in Coulee Dam, said Michael Finley, chairman of the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation.
Person of interest held in fatal shooting
A second man was detained by the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office in connection with the shooting death of a Deer Park man Saturday night, according to court documents.
Charges have not been filed against the man in the case and he has not been booked into jail.
Deputies have arrested suspect Richard Klepacki, 61. He remains jailed on a $500,000 bond on charges of first-degree murder. Deputies responding to the shooting at 204 E. D St. shortly after 9 p.m. Saturday found Klepacki hiding at a nearby middle school with a gun holster nearby.
A witness reported two men attempted to break into the apartment where he and Harry “Ed” Giesbrecht, 53, were watching television. Giesbrecht rose and opened the door, and before words were exchanged Giesbrecht had been shot once in the head.
The second person of interest can be seen on surveillance footage at a Deer Park grocery store buying alcohol with Klepacki just a few hours before the shooting occurred. When questioned by police, the second man denied leaving his home just a block away from where Giesbrecht was found dead, according to court documents.
Detectives discovered clothing at the man’s home matching the description given by the eyewitness, according to court documents.
Truck crash results in ethanol spillage
At least 1,000 gallons of ethanol spilled from a tanker trailer that flipped on its top after it crashed on state Highway 17 a few miles south of Moses Lake on Tuesday. The truck was heading north when the driver, identified as Darryl J. Roy, of Kennewick, lost control and hit the guardrail, according to the Washington State Patrol.
The tank full of ethanol rolled over the guardrail while the front of the semitruck came to rest blocking both lanes. The highway was closed for 12 hours while the Department of Ecology responded to clean up the spill.
Roy was driving too fast for conditions, the WSP said.
Drug suspect arrested on DUI
A Spokane woman implicated in a massive 2013 bust of an alleged prescription painkiller peddling ring was arrested early Tuesday on suspicions of driving under the influence, according to court documents.
Ashley Arredondo, 28, is one of 62 named defendants in a federal court case that has grown so large the judge has separated defendants into three groups. She was arrested in late February 2013 and released after posting bond a week later, according to court records. In that case, Arredondo faces a federal count of conspiracy to deliver a controlled substance.
Shortly after 3 a.m. Tuesday, Arredondo was arrested in north Spokane near the 500 block of West Sierra Way, according to court documents. Deputies found Arredondo after she allegedly crashed into a home in her 2004 Cadillac Escalade and drove off. She told police she’d been drinking at two bars.
When deputies attempted to walk Arredondo to a nearby patrol car to take her to jail, she turned and spit in the face of one of the officers “without warning,” according to court documents.
Arredondo faces charges of driving under the influence, leaving the scene of a collision and third-degree assault of an officer.