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Today’s highlights

Joe Wardell holds his son, Clive, who holds the book Wardell wrote for him to explain to his son what he did in Afghanistan during his deployment. SR photo/Jesse Tinsley

Happy Thursday, everyone. For me it's Friday, since I won't be around the blog tomorrow. But until then I've got some Valley Voice highlights for you. Correspondent Cindy Hval has a great story on Army Sgt. Joe Wardell, who wrote a children's book called “Doodey the Combat Camel” for his son while he was stationed in Afghanistan. Wardell took pictures of the camel in various places while he was in the war zone and used them for the book.

The Spokane Valley City Council discussed lodging tax awards this week after the Lodging Tax Advisory Committee made its funding recommendations. The recommendations to not include Valleyfest or the Spokane Valley Heritage Museum, which have both traditionally been funded. The final vote on allocations is expected in December.

Reporter Lisa Leinberger has a story on Orchard Center Elementary School, which recently received a $1,000 donation from the new Spokane Valley Wal-Mart.

Saturday’s highlights

Central Valley High senior Alex Moore poses for a photo on Tuesday in Spokane Valley. Moore will receive the YWCA Young Woman of Achievement Award later this month. She excels in math and science and competes for her school’s cross country team. SR photo/Tyler Tjomsland

Sorry this edition of Saturday's Valley Voice highlights is late. My computer didn't want to speak to the network for most of the morning. But now I'm up and running again, so here we go. A new Wal-Mart store is opening on the west end of Spokane Valley on Wednesday. While the ribbon cutting ceremony at 7:30 a.m. may be a bit early for some, the grand opening promotions and samples will continue all weekend.

Reporter Lisa Leinberger has the third entry in her East Farms Diary. She has been spending time at the East Farms STEAM Magnet School that focuses on science, technology, engineering, arts and math. This week's story checks in with volunteers at the school and what they contribute.

Lisa also has a story on Central Valley High School senior Alex Moore, who will recieve the Young Woman of Achievement Award from the YWCA next week. Her list of achievements in school and in the community is quite lengthy.

Correspondent Valerie Putnam reports that the City of Millwood is facing a deficit in 2013. More meetings and public hearings are planned to discuss the issue. Their neighbor, the City of Spokane Valley, voted last week to not take the allowed 1 percent property tax increase.

WalMart shoplifter headbutts cashier

Police are trying to identify a man who headbutted a WalMart cashier while shoplifting last week.

An image from a surveillance video shows the man at the store on East Broadway Avenue in Spokane Valley.

A cashier told police he approached the man when he saw him walking toward the west exit with a large bulge in his sweatshirt about 12:45 a.m. July 24.

The man tried to exit, but the doors were locked, so he headbutted the cashier and escaped through a fire exit, according to the Spokane County Sheriff's Office. The thief dropped stolen items in the process.

The Sheriff''s Office released the surveillance photo today in hopes someone will recognize the man.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Detective Jack Rosenthal at (509) 220-6424 or at (509) 477-3186.
  

Couple carjacked in Spokane Valley

In case you missed it, we have information in today's paper on the carjacking of an occupied car from the Spokane Valley Wal-Mart store at about 2 p.m. Monday. Store security tried to catch a man as he was attempting to leave with a Blue Ray player he hadn't paid for when he allegedly pulled a knife and swung it at the guard, according to a police press release.

The man then got into an occupied white 2011 Dodge Intrepid and drove away. The husband and wife in the car were allowed to get out near Barker and Indiana. The license plate number is Washington 172XTI. Click here for more details. Anyone with information on the incident is asked to call Crime Check at 456-2233.

Idaho burglary suspect arrested in Valley

A suspect in a string of burglaries in North Idaho was arrested Friday after a shoplifting incident turned violent at the Spokane Valley Wal-Mart.

 Susan Burke, 50, was out of custody on $5,000 bond awaiting trial in Kootenai County when a store security officer spotted her leaving the store with concealed merchandise Friday about 1:40 p.m.

Employees tried to stop Burke, but she struggled with them and threw her purse toward the door. Employees grabbed it e and found Burke's driver's license inside. They checked Burke's name in store records and discovered she'd been banned in 2010 from all stores for life after getting caught shoplifting twice.

Burke, who is scheduled for trial in Kootenai County in May for property crimes, was booked into jail on theft, burglary and robbery charges after police contacted her at her home at 303 E. Indiana Ave.

Police also contacted a 17-year-old boy who lives with Burke at the home and is identified as her boyfriend.

The boy is charged in juvenile court for an incident last July in which he allegedly failed to call for help after his friend fell in the Spokane River and drowned.

Stolen car recovered 20 minutes later

Spokane police are reminding motorists not to leave their running cars unattended after a vehicle was stolen this morning.

The victim said the car was left warming up in front of their home in the 1500 block of West Carlisle Avenue when it was stolen about 6:30 a.m.

An officer spotted the vehicle in the Shadle Park Walmart parking lot about 20 minutes later and arrested Dustin Richard Burrows, 31, (pictured) on a charge of possession of a stolen motor vehicle.

Police say it's OK to warm up a vehicle on private property, but running vehicles left unattended on the street can garner a fine of $124. They also are frequently stolen.

“Car thieves are most active in the early mornings, especially when cars are warming up,” according to a news release by Officer Ryan Snider. “Police ask that you sit in the vehicle while it is warming up to prevent it from being stolen.”

Burrows was sentenced in Spokane County Superior Court just three weeks ago to drug treatment for a felony controlled substance charge, according to court records.

Fire at Wal-Mart leads to arson arrest

A man was arrested on a felony arson charge recently for allegedly lighting a fire at the Airway Heights Wal-Mart using sanitation wipes.

Stephen D. Rye, 55, was captured on surveillance video lighting the fire about 4:45 a.m. on Friday and watching it burn until Wal-Mart employees arrived to put it out, according to court documents prepared by Spokane County sheriff's detectives.

Rye was also seen taking the sanitation wipes, which are 65 percent alcohol, from a dispenser at Wal-Mart, lighting them on fire and kicking it down an aisle, igniting Wal-Mart fliers that were on the floor, police allege.

A motive for the alleged crime is unclear. Rye spent the weekend in jail and appeared in Superior Court Monday on a first-degree arson charge.

Who are the deal-friendliest web sites among online retailers?

Yes, we've become fixated on simple-to-read blog lists.

Today's list, via Dealnews.com, is a rundown of what they call the 10 deal-friendliest retail sites. TWo of the sites are from Seattle:  Amazon and Costco.

They are: 

1.       Amazon 

2.       Walmart

3.       Sears

4.       Best Buy

5.       Kohl's

6.       Target

7.       Home Depot

8.       Macy's

9.      Lowe's

10.   Costco


For the full story, go to the page at DealNews.

Robbery suspects were wannabe roomies

Three teenagers accused of robbing women in north Spokane parking lots say they planned to use the money to get an apartment together, according to court documents.

Now Donovan T. Johnson, 18; Keona A. Crossley, 19; and Logan R. Sims, 18, are sharing space at Spokane County's crossbar motel.

The suspects were arrested Saturday after a standoff at Crossley's home at 1903 E. Decatur. Police found suspect Logan R. Sims, 18, in a nearby yard.

Johnson told detectives that two days befor the hesits, he and the other suspects discussed getting an apartment.

“Keona Crossley said they needed to do some licks to get money,” according to a probable cause affidavit. “Crossley talked about finding women and taking their purses from them. Sims said he could get a gun to help them do the robberies.”

Johnson said Crossley got a shutgun from a friend, but Sims used a black handgun to commit the first robbery at the North Colton Street Wal-Mart. The victim said Sims punched her in the face after she told him she didn't have any money, according to the affidavit.

Johnson said he didn't see Sims point the gun at the second victim outside Northtown Mall, but that he did have the gun on him during the robbery, police said.

A witness then reported occupants of a tan vehicle were dropping credit cards and receipts into the roadway near North Napa Street and East Central Avenue.

The cards belonged to the Northtown robbery victim, police said.

Police arrived at Crossley's home after locating a Cadillac matching the description of the car used in the robberies

All remain in jail on $75,000 bond after Judge Michael Price deemed them significant risks to the community.

Sims and Johnson are scheduled to graduate from high school next week.

Mud thwarts father-son theft suspects

A father and son became stuck in the mud Tuesday while leading police on an interstate chase after attempting to steal merchandise from the Wal-Mart just east of the Idaho-Washington border.

Michael R. Dyczok, 64, (left) and Michael Dyczok, Jr., 35, (right) were arrested near East Wellesley Avenue and North Harvard Road just before 11 p.m. after leading Post Falls police on a high-speed chase in a blue Volkswagen Jetta.

Post Falls police began watching Wal-Mart after an employee said the men had filled storage containers with merchandise earlier that day and placed them near the fire exit. Police saw the men grab the storage containers and flee through the fire exit, then speed away in the Jetta.  

But the father and son duo drove down a dead end road just across the Washington border and got stuck in mud, police say. Liberty Lake police assisted with the arrests.

Police say the Dyczoks threw a stolen X-Box from their car during the chase. It was recovered, along with other stolen merchandise located in the Jetta.

The men were booked into jail on charges of eluding police and tampering with evidence. The younger Dyczok also faces a charge of driving on a suspended California license.

86’d from Walmart, return leads to arrest

A Spokane woman banned from all Walmarts was arrested for felony burglary Sunday after returning to the Spokane Valley store.

Billee Jo Koller, 36, tried to steal more than $80 in men's clothing from the store at 15727 E. Broadway Ave., according to the Spokane Valley Police Department.
 
Koller was prohibited from going to the Walmart after she was caught shoplifting last October, police said.
 
That condition upgraded her shoplifting allegation to a second-degree burglary charge. She also was booked for third-degree theft and warrants for theft and drug possession.

2nd deputy hurt in shooting goes home

PORT ORCHARD, Wash. (AP) — The Kitsap County sheriff's office says the second of two deputies wounded during a deadly shootout in the parking lot of the Port Orchard, Wash., Walmart has been released from the hospital.

The agency says 48-year-old Andrew Ejde (Eh-dah) was discharged Wednesday afternoon from Tacoma General Hospital. He was shot in the left shoulder and right arm.

Deputy John Stacy was wounded in the right shoulder and went home from the hospital Monday.

Killed in the Sunday gunfight was 31-year-old Anthony A. Martinez of Salt Lake City. The parents of a missing Utah teen say they believe their daughter is the 13-year-old girl who was also shot and killed. She has not yet been positively identified.

A third deputy, who shot and killed Martinez, was identified as 38-year-old Krista McDonald.

Read more by clicking the link below.

Man ID’d in shootout that hurt deputies

SEATTLE (AP) — Investigators face a difficult puzzle to piece together as they work to determine why a Utah man bolted and began shooting at sheriff's deputies in a Walmart parking lot, leading to a gunfight that left him and a young woman dead and two deputies wounded.

A day after the shootout in Port Orchard, Wash., a small city about 15 miles west and across Puget Sound from Seattle, officials said Monday they still couldn't say why Anthony A. Martinez, 31, of Salt Lake City, suddenly ran and opened fire during what began as a routine contact by deputies.

“That's going to be the million-dollar question,” said Kitsap County sheriff's spokesman Deputy Scott Wilson. “We certainly can't talk to him anymore or to the young woman who is believed to be with him.”

Despite a number of attempts using photos and other methods, the young woman's name and age could not immediately be determined, said Trooper Krista Hedstrom of the Washington State Patrol, which is leading the investigation.

“So far, we've come up with nothing,” she said.

She said an autopsy Monday might provide more clues, but doubted that a positive identification and notification of next of kin could occur by the end of the day.

The Deseret News in Salt Lake City reported last week that police had issued an endangered persons advisory for a 13-year-old runaway believed to be traveling with Martinez. The girl, who fled from a South Salt Lake foster home on Tuesday, also had run away last fall and was found in Sacramento with him, the newspaper said.

Hedstrom said investigators learned of the advisory Monday morning.

“I don't want to speculate whether it's the runaway girl because we don't know that,” she said.

Read the rest of the Associated Press story by clicking the link below.

(Sgt. Russ Clithero and Deputy Chris Andrews of the Kitsap County Sheriff's Department are pictured above exiting Tacoma General Hospital after visiting their wounded colleague.)

2 deputies hurt in fatal Walmart shooting

PORT ORCHARD, Wash. (AP) — Detectives are investigating why a man ran from deputies and then opened fire in a Walmart parking lot in Western Washington, sparking a shootout that killed him and a young woman who ran to him after he was shot. Two sheriff's deputies were shot but are expected to survive.

The officers were responding to a call Sunday about a suspicious person at the store in Port Orchard, about 15 miles west of Seattle across Puget Sound. Two deputies found the man and tried to talk to him but he began running, and they gave chase.  “For reasons not yet known, the suspect turned and fired multiple shots,” Kitsap County sheriff's spokesman Scott Wilson said.

Both officers were hit and unable to return fire, but a female officer arriving on the scene shot and killed the gunman, Wilson said. It's not yet clear who shot the woman, believed to be in her late teens, who died later at a Tacoma hospital. Ballistics tests on the bullets could show whether it was the deputy or the suspect, the state patrol said.

“We believe that she and the deceased gunman knew each other, that they were together,” Wilson told The Associated Press. He said investigators don't know yet the relationship between the two.

Destany Droge, 22, of Bremerton, said the two people killed appeared to be a couple.

“As soon as she saw him get shot, she ran for him,” she told The News Tribune of Tacoma. “She put herself in the line of fire.”

Tacoma police said the deputies were both shot in the torso and were in satisfactory condition.

“I've seen just the one deputy, he's in one of the rooms talking with family and co-workers,” said Mark Fulghum of the Tacoma police. “Both of the deputies are going to be fine. They're going to be kept overnight for observation.”

Autopsies were scheduled Monday for the two people killed. Their names — as well as the names of the three deputies — haven't been released. Investigators said the Kitsap County coroner was still trying to confirm the dead man's identity Monday morning.

A blue minivan that apparently belonged to the suspect has been impounded and will be searched for possible evidence, said Washington State Patrol Trooper Krista Hedstrom. The van has out-of-state plates, but Hedstrom didn't know what state.

The female deputy involved in the shooting has been placed on administrative assignment until the investigation is completed, which is standard practice.

Shoppers raced to take cover as the incident unfolded.

The officers were about 30 to 40 feet behind the suspect when he started firing, Ray Bourge told KOMO-TV. “Five or six shots were fired. … I just went and took cover,” he said.

Victor Meyers told the station that he heard the first shot, then six more in rapid succession.

“I heard one shot, which I thought was a car backfiring, and then several more reported back, which I knew to be gunfire,” Meyers said.

He said he saw a female deputy running toward a victim on the ground before he and other witnesses were hustled from the scene.

The store was immediately locked down. Customers in the store were allowed to leave after investigators questioned them. The store reopened Sunday night, Hedstrom said, and the shooting scene was cleared.

Port Orchard is the county seat and has about 8,250 residents. The last time a Kitsap County sheriff's deputy was shot in the line of duty was in April 1978, according to The Tacoma News Tribune. Deputy Dennis Allred stopped to help what he believed to be a stranded driver towing another vehicle. The vehicle turned out to be stolen, and Allred was shot and killed by the suspects.

Stolen truck pursuit ends at Wal-Mart

Three people were arrested after a police chase, which included a near head-on crash, led officers to the Airway Heights Wal-Mart.

The incident began about 11:45 a.m. Thursday when a resident in the 500 block of North Martin in Medical Lake said his 2002 Ford Ranger had been stolen. A wallet with credit cards was stolen from a car in the 900 block of North Minnie, about a block away, about that same time, the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office said today.

Airway Heights police found the stolen Ranger in the Northern Quest Casino parking lot about 12:15 p.m. and saw a man try to drive it away.

Two deputies tried to block the Ranger, “but the driver accelerated directly at them,” according to a news release. The deputies braked, and the Ranger sped away southbound on Hayford Road.

Three people jumped from the truck, which crashed into a snow berm near Hayford and Highway 2. The driver, Phillip J. Young, 22, of Mead, was arrested at gunpoint after deputies saw him digging into his pocket as he ran. They recovered a black pellet gun from his pocket.

Arrested at the nearby Wal-Mart were Stephanie Louise Kupien, 30, of Newman Lake, and Charles W. Kerney, 42, of Spokane. Police found receipts for purchases made with the stolen credit cards and connected them to Young and Kupien, according to a news release.

No one was injured during the pursuit and arrests. 

“Young told deputies that he had avoided capture by police in numerous pursuits by driving a high speeds through densely populated neighborhoods,” according to a news release.  “The police call off the pursuit all the time,” he said.

Young was sentenced in October to 90 days in jail with credit given for 55 days served, after pleading guilty to three counts of second-degree possession of stolen property.

Now he’s in jail on new charges of second-degree theft, second-degree assault, possession of a stolen motor vehicle and attempting to elude police.  Kupien was booked for second-degree theft and Kerney was arrested on an outstanding misdemeanor arrest warrant.

Task force links Idaho duo to 13 crimes

A North Idaho law enforcement task force has connected 13 crimes to two people in what authorities describe as a large stolen property investigation. 

Justin Lee Christian, 39, of Kellogg, and Amanda Dawn Erickson, 24, of Coeur d’Alene, are in the Kootenai County Jail on more than 25 felony charges.

The North Idaho Violent Crimes Task Force served several search warrants earlier this month that recovered stolen TVs, video games consoles, power tools, clothes, check books, credit cards and other stolen property.

The two are charged with thefts at a Phones Plus store and at the Wal-Marts in Post Falls and Hayden. 

Christian faces seven counts of burglary, six counts of fraudulent use of a financial transaction card and single counts of felon in possession of a firearm, possession of meth and possession of stolen property.

Erickson is charged with possession of stolen property, four counts of burglary and four counts of fraudulent use of financial transaction card.

Tips sought on Wal-Mart wallet snatchers









Police are looking for tips on two women caught on tape using a food stamp card from a wallet lost in the Wal-Mart parking lot earlier this month.

The victim dropped the wallet about 2 a.m. June 6 in the lot at 9212 North Colton Ave., then reported it to Wal-Mart employees.

The next day, the victim’s food stamp card was used at the nearby Winco.

Surveillance video captured images of two women using the card at Winco, 9257 N. Nevada St.

Anyone with information on their identities is asked to call Crime Check at (509) 456-2233.

A bogus announcement at Wal-Mart…

Good morning, Netizens…


You are vapidly cruising down the aisles of Wal-Mart doing a little shopping when an authoritative voice echoes over the public address system that states, “Attention Wal-Mart customers: All black people leave the store now.”


An unknown man used the public-address system at the Route 42 store in Washington Township New Jersey Sunday night to make that announcement, and nobody in store management seems to have an inkling how the event took place.


Washington Township police and the Gloucester County Prosecutor’s Office are investigating the incident as a possible bias crime. A bias crime? That sounds to me more like a hate crime, but I could be wrong.


To be more equitable about it, rather than issue the various apologies and disclaimers that everyone at the Wal-Mart store have issued since this ugly event took place, I believe the store should issue a statement over the same public address system that says, “Attention Wal-Mart customers: All white people leave the store now.”


At least Wal-Mart’s apparent bigotry would be more on an equal plane. I’ll admit it wouldn’t solve the problem, but it would be an interesting first step.


Dave