Latest from The Spokesman-Review
GEOCACHING — Cache Advance, Inc., is opening the second geocaching retail store in the United States right here in Spokane.
The Cache Cave grand opening at 2324 E. Euclid Ave., Suite 204, is set for Saturday, Nov. 9, noon-5 p.m., with a ribbon cutting and geocaching flash mob at 1 p.m.
- If you're a geocacher, perhaps you'd prefer the coordinates: N 47° 41.140 W 117° 22.526
Owner Lisa Breitenfeldt started the business in 2005 largely for online sales to fill a niche for supplying the needs of geocaching enthusiasts triggered by the public availability of Global Positioning System navigation technology.
Geocaching is a high tech treasure hunt. Played throughout the world by adventure seekers equipped with GPS devices or GPS enabled Smartphones, geocachers hide and/or locate hidden containers, called geocaches, outdoors and then share their experiences online.
NAVIGATION — Long before GPS, Google Earth, and global transit, humans traveled vast distances using only environmental clues and simple instruments.
John Huth, Harvard physics professor and author of The Lost Art of Finding Our Way, says we can still do it.
Anyone who ventures outdoors should at least check out this book and ponder the consequences of allowing modern technology to substitute for our innate capacity to find our way.
- The Vikings navigated using the sunstone to detect polarization of sunlight.
- Arab traders learned to read the wind for direction.
- Pacific Islanders used underwater lightning and “read” waves to guide their explorations.
Even today, careful observation of the sun and moon, tides and ocean currents, moss on trees, weather and atmospheric effects can be all we need to find our way.
OUTLOCATE – Geocacher’s have a new reason to find their way to Washington State Parks. To celebrate the state parks centennial, 100 geocaches have been hidden in 100 state parks.
Geocaches are containers stashed around the world with their GPS (Global Positioning System) coordinates registered on a public website.
Each cache in the Washington State Parks Centennial GeoTour was placed by an active member of the local geocaching community and approved by a ranger at each park.
Centennial GeoTour players can download the GeoTour passport, map and guidelines.
Vehicles entering state parks must display a Washington Discover Pass.
A serial burglar is to spend 10 years in prison and pay more than $14,000 in restitution after pleading guilty to 17 felonies.
Robert J. Frates, 27, burglarized tanning salons, tattoo shops and other small businesses in a burglary spree that ended in late March when police followed him using a GPS tracker affixed to Frates' Bronco and watched him burglarize a business.
He also burglarized sports card shops last winter and stole the firearm used in the shooting death of John S. Williams on Jan. 17, 2010.
Frates' 120-month prison sentence and $14,650 restitution order came after he pleaded guilty last week to possession of a stolen firearm, second-degree attempted burglary. three counts of second-degree burglary, two counts of first-degree possession of stolen property and four counts of second-degree burglary.
A felon accused of stealing the gun used in a gang-related murder last year has been charged with five burglaries.
Robert J. Frates, 27, pleaded not guilty Tuesday to four counts of felony second-degree burglary and one count of attempted second-degree burglary.
He's accused of breaking into Sunny Buns Tanning, 2821 E. 27th Av., on March 15, Smart Smoke, 12924 W. Sunset Highway, Metro Sign and Banner, 1403 N. Greene, and another building in Airway Heights on March 25.
He's also charged with attempted-second-degree burglary for a break-in March 26 at Super Sonic Blind Cleaners, 3612 E. Broadway Ave.
Police arrested Frates that day after an officer followed him using a GPS tracker affixed to Frates' Bronco.
Last June, Frates told police he'd to traded four stolen firearms to a man for $600. One of the guns was the Ruger mini 30, which was used to kill John S. Williams. Edward L. “TD” Thomas is scheduled to stand trial June 20 for Williams' murder.
A suspected serial burglar tracked by police using a GPS device is believed to have stolen the gun that was later used in a gang-related murder.
Robert J. Frates’ arrest on Tuesday is his third since December, when police picked him up on suspicion of breaking into several sports card stores in Spokane Valley.
No charges have been filed in that case, but Frates, 27, has a trial scheduled in June for charges related to the sale of stolen property, including several firearms.
One of those firearms, a Ruger Mini rifle, was used in the shooting death of John S. Williams on Jan. 17, 2010, police said.
SANDPOINT, Idaho (AP) — Recovering a stolen cell phone? There's an app for that.
The Bonner County Daily Bee reports 22-year-old Sean B. Mahoney of Sandpoint pleaded guilty to misdemeanor theft and possession of drug paraphernalia on Wednesday in a case that was cracked by the owner of a stolen cell phone. Mahoney was sentenced to 30 days in jail.
A Sandpoint resident reported a cell phone, snowboard and goggles were taken from his sport utility vehicle on Dec. 18.
The GPS-enabled phone contained a software application that can be activated when the device is stolen. The owner used the app and a laptop to track the handset to a house where the items were recovered, along with two other stolen snowboards, several holiday checks apparently taken from neighborhood mailboxes, drug pipes and marijuana seeds and stems.
ADVENTURING — The SPOT messenger that gives adventure travelers the security of being able to send distress messages that pinpoint their locations anywhere in the world now can be activated through smartphones.
Get the scoop on a product that's just now being shipped to dealers in Stephen Regenold's Gear Junkie report.
A longtime Spokane felon who didn’t show up for his trial on theft and stolen property charges is wanted by police.
Crime Stoppers is offering a reward for tips that help arrest repeat offender Kevin Leon Schimpf, 52, who has a 26-year criminal history in Spokane County.
A warrant was issued after Schimpf didn’t show up for his trial in September on charges of second-degree theft and first-degree trafficking in stolen property.
Police say he stole car keys from a finance counselor at Holy Family Hospital, then stole fishing equipment and a GPS device from his car and pawned them.
That was in July 2008. The two-years-in-the-making trial still hasn’t happened.
Schimpf, 5-foot-9 and 160 pounds, last gave 3803 W. Greenwood Ave. in Spokane as his home address. His criminal history includes convictions for possession, delivery and manufacture of controlled substances; third-degree theft, DUI, driving while license suspended and probation violations.
Anyone with information on his current location is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS or submit tips online.
A man charged in a home invasion robbery last fall walked out of court a free man today after pleading guilty to riot.
Maurice D. Lofton, 29, pleaded guilty to the felony in a plea agreement reached after Deputy Prosecutor Larry Haskell said the victims failed to identify Lofton in a police lineup.
Lofton was sentenced to 14 days in jail and credited for 14 already served.
The deal dismissed two burglary charges, three counts of kidnapping, one count of conspiracy to commit kidnapping, and four counts of first-degree robbery related to an Oct. 8 invasion at a home in the 500 block of East Garland Avenue.
Haskell said several people were in the home when a man came to the door asking to use the phone, then was followed inside by several gunmen who stole marijuana and other valuables. Police used a GPS in a stolen cell phone to track down Lofton about 30 minutes later, who they say tried to dispose of the pot and stolen cell phones.
“I was just at the wrong place at the wrong time,” Lofton told Superior Court Judge Maryann Moreno. “I was messing around with the wrong friends.”
Lofton said he had moved to Spokane from Detroit “to change my life.”
“Yet here you are,” Moreno said. “I think you got pretty lucky this time. And next time, you are looking at a lot of prison time.”
To say that I am geographically challenged and directionally impaired might be an understatement. I’ve been lost in every city, town, state and country I’ve ever lived in or visited. Yes, you can get lost in Ritzville. It’s difficult but not impossible. Don’t get me wrong … I can read a map. I can plot routes, identify highways, parks and mountain ranges. The difficulty comes when I try to integrate map knowledge with driving skills. From my front yard I can point out north (Mount Spokane), south (St. John’s Cathedral), east (Coeur d’Alene) and west (Seattle). However, once I’m in the car, things get a little fuzzy. After all, it wasn’t until I was in middle school that I could do the hokey pokey with any kind of accuracy. The whole right, left thing puzzled me. Your right or my right? Huh?/Cindy Hval, Washington Voices. More here.
Question: Do you get lost often, when you’re behind the wheel? Or do you have a homing device that usually gets you to the right place?
A convicted sex offender considered likely to reoffend has disabled his GPS tracking device and was last seen in downtown Spokane last night.
James Broady Artis III, 43, is wanted on a warrant for escape from community custody, according to the Spokane Police Department.
Artis, a level 3 sex offender, is a drug user who may be armed, police said. He was last seen in the 300 block of West Sprague last night. Artis was released from prison in August 2005 after serving three years for burglary.
He also has been convicted of second-degree assault with a deadly weapon and taking indecent liberties with a woman, whom he threatened to kill with a knife during the sexual assault, according to previously published reports.
Anyone with information on his whereabouts is asked to call 911.
A stolen cell phone with a GPS tracker installed led to the arrest of two teenagers this morning.
The phone was stolen from an unlocked car this morning in near 6th Avenue and Pines Road in Spokane Valley, then recovered when police used the GPS to track it to a home at 1310 S. Raymond hours later.
Arrested were Scott H. Gregor, 19, and a 14-year-old boy, according to the Spokane Valley Police Department.
Police think Gregor and the boy stole the phone along with Christmas presents and a purse with credit cards from the car.
Officer recovered the Christmas presents and cell phone but not the purse.
Anyone whose car may have been prowled in the area of 6th Avenue between Pines and Bowdish is asked to call (509) 456-2233.