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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Mayor

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Pay raises lag in public sector

An analysis of recent wage increases shows that the pay of many local government workers is rising slightly slower than the rate of workers in the private sector. From 2002 to 2009, workers in the private sector in Spokane County experienced wage increases of 26.4 percent. Wages of workers in local government were up 24.7 percent.

Murray in Spokane Weds.

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City OKs incinerator deal

The fate of a $25 million contract to operate the city’s West Plains trash incinerator will rest with Spokane County commissioners. The Spokane City Council on Monday voted 6-1 to approve a three-year contract with Wheelabrator, the subsidiary of Waste Management that has operated Spokane’s Waste-to-Energy Plant since it began operations in the early 1990s.

County proposes garbage summit

Public officials are seeking a “fast-track” decision on who should control the Spokane Regional Solid Waste System. County commissioners Thursday accepted Spokane Mayor Mary Verner’s call for an agreement within 30 days.

Landscape architect named to Park Board

A landscape architect is the newest member of the Spokane Park Board. The Spokane City Council on Monday unanimously approved Mayor Mary Verner’s appointment of Ken Van Voorhis to the board until February 2012.

City, air agency could settle fine, upgrade incinerator

Spokane would have to pay a $5,000 fine and upgrade its regional trash incinerator under a proposed deal being considered by Mayor Mary Verner. The settlement, proposed by the Spokane Regional Clean Air Agency late last month, is in response to a violation related to mercury pollution in June at the Waste-to-Energy Plant.

Spokane’s sewage system undergoing quiet upgrade

When it rains in Spokane, it pours sewage into the Spokane River. Faced with a 2017 deadline to stop discharging millions of gallons of raw sewage annually into the Spokane River, the city in 2011 will build several underground tanks to help stem the flow – although the biggest and most expensive projects won’t be completed until much closer to the deadline.

Friends, family remember King Cole

Family, friends and Spokane civic leaders Thursday celebrated Expo ’74 President King Cole for giving everything he had to his family and adopted city. Cole died Sunday at age 88. His life was commemorated in a funeral service at Our Lady of Fatima with Bishop Blase Cupich officiating.

2011 Spokane budget limits layoffs

What started out as 71 city of Spokane layoffs has dwindled to only a couple. In September, Mayor Mary Verner announced that 71 employees would lose their job the day after Christmas to deal with the city’s $13.6 million budget shortfall.

Mayor to sign Spokane budget

Spokane Mayor Mary Verner said Tuesday that she will sign the 2011 budget and utility rate increases approved by the City Council this week. Verner opposed some of the changes the council made to her approved budget, including the elimination of a deputy fire chief position. The council also set water rates lower and wastewater rates higher than Verner proposed.

City flags to fly at half-staff for Cole

Spokane Mayor Mary Verner has ordered flags on city-owned buildings to be flown at half-staff on Thursday in honor of King Cole, president of Expo ’74.

Flags lowered in honor of Cole

Spokane Mayor Mary Verner has ordered flags on city-owned buildings to be flown at half-staff on Thursday in honor of King Cole, president of Expo ’74. Cole died Sunday at the age of 88.

Garbage, sewer bills to rise in ’11 in Spokane

Homeowners connected to Spokane’s sewer system will pay 17 percent more for service in 2011. The Spokane City Council voted 4-3 on Monday in favor of the new rate.

Deputy fire chief cut stirs furor

The Spokane City Council’s decision last week to cut a deputy fire chief position has angered administrators and Mayor Mary Verner. “It was not discussed with me. It was not discussed with the chief. It was completely unexpected,” Verner said. “What has been created here is an impossibility for getting the job done.”

Prosecutors consider mayor’s concessions request

Another city union is voting on a plan that would meet Mayor Mary Verner’s request for concessions. The Spokane Prosecutors Association is considering a proposal that would eliminate its scheduled 2 percent raise next year and to cover a higher amount of the cost of medical benefits, said acting Human Resources Director Erin Jacobson.

Extreme November weather has historic company

Getting There today is devoted to not getting there. The last two weeks have been among the worst that winter has thrown at the Inland Northwest in the past century, and it’s not even winter yet. That won’t come for two more weeks.

AMR agrees to settlement in overbilling case

American Medical Response, Spokane’s ambulance service provider, agreed to pay back just under $1 million, plus interest, received as a result of overbilling more than 12,000 Spokane residents over six years.

Melt, anticipated freeze give urgency to removal

Cold weather forecast for this weekend is threatening to turn Thursday’s thick, heavy mess of melting snow into rugged ridges of ice. Road crews in the Spokane and Coeur d’Alene areas were hustling to remove that traffic-stopping layer before lows drop to the teens and 20s on Saturday and Sunday.

City using contractors to help clear the streets

Spokane’s decision to call in private grader operators to help clear roads adds an extra financial burden in an already cash-strapped year. But officials say the need to maintain passable streets is one of the few good reasons to dip into reserves. The city put grader contracts out to bid this fall and is paying seven companies between $95 and $125 per hour for each of a dozen graders. That’s for use of the equipment and the staffing to operate them. The city also is using its plows and 10 of its own graders.

City, guild negotiating concessions

Spokane Mayor Mary Verner said her staff was continuing to meet late Thursday with the Spokane Police Guild on a proposed concession agreement to prevent at least some of the layoffs planned in the Spokane Police Department. Verner turned down a guild concession plan last week, but the union submitted a new one Wednesday.