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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Mayor

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Deal saves Spokane firefighting jobs

Spokane won’t lose a fire station and firefighters won’t face pink slips for 2011. The Spokane firefighters union voted last week to accept Mayor Mary Verner’s request to forgo raises next year and to pick up any increased costs of employee medical benefits above 4 percent in 2011.

Verner takes lead in longevity

In the decade since Spokane began electing strong mayors, none had served more than three years – until this week. Mayor Mary Verner didn’t even need to finish her term to become the city’s longest-serving strong mayor.

Deal with firefighters would preserve jobs

Spokane firefighters avoid layoffs under a tentative agreement accepted this week by Mayor Mary Verner. If the deal is approved by union members and City Council, Local 29 of the International Association of Fire Fighters would become the first of the city’s bargaining groups to strike a deal this year to save jobs.

Firefighters make concessions to save jobs

Spokane firefighters avoid layoffs under a tentative agreement accepted this week by Mayor Mary Verner. If the deal is approved by union members and City Council, Local 29 of the International Association of Fire Fighters would become the first of the city’s bargaining groups to strike a deal this year to save jobs.

City Council delays vote on tab tax

Motorists in Spokane soon could have to pay an extra $20 a year to license their vehicles. But a final decision on whether to impose the local tab tax was delayed Monday by the Spokane City Council to wait and see if city’s largest employee union will agree to budget-balancing concessions being sought by city leaders.

Verner urges residents to prepare for winter

Spokane Mayor Mary Verner kicked off the Inland Northwest snow season on Monday with a plea to residents to keep their sidewalks clear and cars out of the way of plow trucks. At the same time, National Weather Service forecasters said that the risk of snow and cold weather will increase as the week wears on.

City jobs on the line as mayor presents budget

Spokane Mayor Mary Verner presented her grim 2011 budget to the City Council on Monday still without having achieved union concessions. That means the loss of 120 city jobs remains possible, if not likely.

Residents rally for library branch

Several library users fought tears Wednesday as they implored Spokane library trustees to keep the city’s East Side branch open. “This place provides access,” said Spokane resident Scott Engelhard, his voice cracking. “It’s not just literally walking into the door – but access to knowledge.”

Library board considering East Side branch’s closure

Several times a week Lewis and Clark High School freshman Janelle McNeal heads to the East Side Library to finish homework, connect with friends online and read books. But that option may soon disappear.

For street and water projects, downturn has an upside

In the midst of the Great Depression, Spokane won federal money to upgrade the Upriver Dam to generate more power and construction jobs. Nearly 75 years later and in the doldrums of another economic downturn, a new construction project at the Upriver Dam also aims to stimulate the local economy – but without the help of the federal government.

Vestal: Alleged givebacks are a cop-out

Give it back. This is the terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad mantra of this recession. Give back your job. Give back some salary. Give back your raise. Give back a week of pay. Give back a bigger piece of your paycheck for health care.

Guild, city of Spokane spar over layoffs

Spokane Police Guild leaders this week sent a strong message to Mayor Mary Verner: We dare you. In a letter received by Verner on Thursday, Guild President Ernie Wuthrich warned that if any guild members are laid off, the union will challenge those job losses with the state Public Employment Relations Commission.

Police Guild threatens suit over potenial layoffs

Spokane Police Guild leaders this week sent a strong message to Mayor Mary Verner: We dare you. In a letter received by Verner on Thursday, Guild President Ernie Wuthrich warned that if any guild members are laid off, the union will challenge those job losses with the state Public Employment Relations Commission.

City layoff list puts 120 workers at risk

Spokane administrators next week will inform about 120 workers that they will lose their jobs by the end of the year. Some could be demoted but remain on the city payroll.

Council members send tab tax support to county

Creation of an annual vehicle tab tax of $20 appears to be gaining support on the Spokane City Council. A letter signed by six of the seven Spokane City Council members said the city “wishes to consider” creation of the tax this year because of “plummeting tax revenues” and the city’s “commitment to provide adequate level of maintenance.”

Republicans absent from corridor celebration

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Transportation needs get collaborative look

Local government officials in Spokane County say the region needs about $20 million a year in additional funding to keep up with road and highway needs. They are proposing the creation of a countywide transportation benefit area that could levy new taxes or fees to raise the money locally, with some of that money going to leverage larger state and federal grants.

Parking tax debate turns to growth

It could cost more to park in private lots in central Spokane if city leaders get behind ideas to tax downtown lots. The parking tax concept is in flux, with suggestions for annual fees ranging from $10 to more than $100 a year per space, said Marty Dickinson, president of the Downtown Spokane Partnership, which opposes a parking tax.

Getting There: Lincoln Street redesigned with pond in mind

A newly rebuilt section of Lincoln Street on Spokane’s South Hill contains an innovative system for gathering and reusing storm water in Cannon Hill Park. Mayor Mary Verner led a gathering of public officials and neighbors along the street last week to congratulate them on the project.