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Recorded man pleads guilty to drug charges

The man captured on camera at a downtown skate park handing out what later tested as methamphetamine has pleaded guilty to charges and given credit for time served in jail.

Tyas Kelly, 21, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to deliver a controlled substance and possession of a controlled substance last week, according to court records. He received a 14-day jail sentence with credit for time served.

Police watched Kelly hand out the drugs at the Under the Freeway Skate Park late last month using a camera installed by the city. Officials said the camera is not monitored by a uniformed officer, but feeds into a room where police take their breaks and fill out reports. The camera is also not covered by a recent surveillance ordinance passed by City Council that requires Spokane police to report any new cameras or other equipment to the city because it is installed on Parks Department property.

Spokane Valley app gets trade show rollout

Spokane Valley's clever smartphone app is getting a trade show rollout.

The app, which relies on GPS coordinates and Google Places to steer users to the services or activities they're looking for, will be among the featured tech innovations at the city's booth in Thursday's Spokane Valley Chamber Business Show, set for 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Mirabeau Park Hotel and Convention Center, 1100 N. Sullivan Road.

Developed in-house, the app was launched last summer but city officials are still trying to get the word out that it's available for free download from both the iPhone App Store and Android Play Store. It's considered an economic development tool because it seeks to help tourists and residents alike realize the Valley generally has the services, activities and recreational opportunities they want.

Users are provided with easy-to-follow maps to whatever they're looking for in a format that has drawn widespread accolades from tourism and city officials across the Northwest.

But while the app puts an impressive, almost encyclopedic array of local information at your fingertips, there's one Spokane Valley question even 21st century technology can't answer: where's downtown?

“Big Brother” arrives downtown, wants your quarters

Over the last month or so, high tech “smart” parking meters have appeared in downtown Spokane, equipped with coin slots and credit card readers.

But yesterday, workers began installing sensors that will detect when a car comes and goes, zeroing out the meter when it leaves and beginning a countdown when it parks. Though the technology will also allow people to add a few extra minutes from afar via a smartphone app, the sensors have caused a stir among parkers.

In an earlier story, two members of the City Council referred to the sensor technology as “Big Brother,” but both said they supported the new meters.

The sensors don't look like much. They're just simple grey boxes strapped to the meter's post. But parkers beware: They're watching you. 

Post Falls Still Looking For Downtown

Next up on Post Falls' quest to create a downtown: Spokane Street. The north-south corridor from Interstate 90 south to the Spokane River bridge will receive a makeover featuring raised landscaped medians, a pedestrian/bike trail on the west side, gateway monuments at both ends, decorative lighting and on-street parallel parking. The improvements will start late this summer with traffic signals at Fourth and Spokane next to City Hall. The rest of the $2.2 million project funded by the Post Falls Urban Renewal Agency will be done starting next spring. “We want minimal impact to traffic and don't want to tear up Spokane Street in two different construction years,” said Matt Gillis, project engineer for Welch Comer Engineers. “It's like ripping off a Band-Aid quickly instead of slowly.” The project is the latest aimed at creating a vibrant, pedestrian-friendly city center, Gillis said/Brian Walker, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.

Question: Where would you say downtown Post Falls is?

Shopping: It’s beginning to look…

Over the weekend, there was a big change in display windows in Spokane's downtown Carnegie Square and West End Shopping District. Several stores, including Two Women Vintage Goods and the just-opened Amby Designs, decorated their big front windows in traditional and vintage holiday style.

From all accounts, the first annual Shop Hop was a success, and individual stores are planning open houses and holiday hours. So, enjoy a big plate of turkey and fixings on Thursday because it's already beginning to look a lot like Christmas around town.

One thing about a windy day downtown

It makes it harder to pinpoint the source of the marijuana aroma blowing in your face.

Country Mouse or City Mouse

I spent a few days in downtown Seattle recently. I love big city life. I enjoy the hustle and the bustle and the anonymity of blending in with the crowds. I love being able to walk everywhere, and the quiet oasises you find in the midst of urban sprawl. Alas, the condos across from my hotel were going for $600,000 to $6 million. A bit steep for my pocketbook. So, instead of downtown Seattle, I’m going to be renting an office in downtown Spokane for the summer. It will have to do.

I have a feeling I’m in the minority among Hucksters. Which lifestyle do you prefer, country life or city life?

City will try again on parking signs

The City of Spokane will replace the signs it attached last month to meters in the new downtown Entertainment Parking District in an attempt clear up confusion over who can park there, and for how long.