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In brief: Jury rejects sexual harassment claims from Whitman County assessor’s office worker

A federal jury rejected claims by an employee of the Whitman County assessor’s office that she’d been subjected to a “sexually hostile” work environment due to the alleged actions of her boss.

Four women and four men last week threw out a civil lawsuit filed by Brenda Arthur against elected Whitman County Assessor Joe Reynolds, who has held the office since 1991.

Arthur alleged physical touching and inappropriate sexual statements were made by Reynolds, for whom she has worked since 2000. Attorneys for Reynolds and the county successfully argued those alleged statements were not witnessed by others and that workplace “adult talk” was brought about by a “relaxed” atmosphere resulting from several employees who have worked in the office for years.

Reynolds is running for re-election against Jim Hawkes, a current appraiser in the Whitman County assessor’s office.

Library district seeks public input

The Spokane County Library District will hold two meetings, starting today, to learn about people’s aspirations for and concerns about their community.

The library district recently received a grant funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to help learn more about the community it serves.

The first session will be from 4 to 6 p.m. today at the Spokane Valley Library, 12004 E. Main Ave., in Spokane Valley. The second is from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. July 31 at Central Valley Early Learning Center, 10212 E. Ninth Ave. in Spokane Valley.

Those who are interested in attending should RSVP by emailing or by calling (509) 893-8437.

Council approves recycled paper rule

The proposed requirement that Spokane City Hall use only recycled office paper won unanimous council approval Monday night.

The requirement, which City Council President Ben Stuckart describes as part of the city’s sustainability focus, will cost an extra $5,900 a year for the 27 tons of office paper Spokane uses annually. It also is expected to save nearly 700 trees.

Council members struck a provision that would have required that city vendors use only recycled paper as well, changing it at Councilman Mike Fagan’s request to simply encourage its use.

Obama visit could snarl Seattle traffic

SEATTLE – President Barack Obama is visiting Seattle for political fundraisers and drivers should get ready for road closures around the Puget Sound region this afternoon and evening as his motorcade travels between stops.

Seattle police advised people to plan extra time for their commutes.

State highway officials had already asked commuters to make alternative plans this week if they usually drive to Seattle on Interstate 90, as three lanes of westbound Interstate 90 are closed between Bellevue and Mercer Island for repairs.

Obama is scheduled to arrive at Boeing Field this afternoon.