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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Alison Boggs

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News >  Washington Voices

East Valley Searching For Minority Applicants To Broaden Diversity The District Has Six Native American, Three Asian And Three Hispanic Teachers, But No African-American Teachers.

East Valley School District has been successful in hiring female administrators in recent years, but employing minorities is still a struggle. "I would beg, borrow and steal if I could get people of ethnicity to come and talk to me," said Darryl Isotalo, EV's affirmative action officer.

News >  Spokane

Boys Expelled For Holding, Waving Toy Gun

Two Spokane Valley eighthgraders were expelled Tuesday after one brought a cap gun to school and the other waved the toy around. One boy had the black and brown revolver-style cap gun in his backpack, said North Pines Junior High School principal Dave Bouge. The other waved it in the air near students loading onto buses. "You could buy this at Pay Less (Drug Store) for $3," Bouge said, holding up the toy gun. But waving it in the air near other students and teachers, he said, "sends a terrorizing image."
News >  Washington Voices

EV Maintenance Considering Move

East Valley School District's maintenance department might soon have a new home. The school board recently approved a two-year lease that will enable the department to move from its present home at 22300 E. Wellesley to spacious new quarters at 18202 E. Euclid.
News >  Washington Voices

U-Hi Principal To Be Reassigned To CV District Adminstrative Post

University High School Principal Dennis Hill, who announced in a faculty meeting last year that he'd been asked to resign, will be reassigned at the end of the year to a position in Central Valley district administration. "It might be time for someone new to come in," said Hill, who has been at U-Hi since 1987. Hill was not clear about what his new position would be. "We have agreed to a reassignment," said CV Superintendent Richard Sovde. A nationwide search will be conducted to find a new principal, Sovde said. The district expects to find a replacement by late May.
News >  Washington Voices

Arsonist Will Be Free Before End Of The Year

The arsonist who torched a 12-business complex in the Spokane Valley last year got a sentence equal to a slap on the wrist, Valley Fire inspectors said. "We were all disappointed," Inspector Kevin Miller said. "Chances are, he'll be back on the street before the building's rebuilt." Ben N. Williams, 20, set fire to the Argonne Commercial Center, 9514 E. Montgomery on April 12. Twelve businesses were damaged or destroyed in the multimillion-dollar fire.
News >  Spokane

Loss Of Family Marked With Tears, Prayers

Anatoliy Solodyankin tearfully remembered his son, Vyacheslav, during a memorial service in Spokane on Saturday night. Vyacheslav was not afraid to give his own life trying to save his family, Solodyankin told the more than 200 people who gathered to remember six Russian refugees who died in a Bellingham fire Friday.
News >  Spokane

Accused Wife-Killer Posts Bond

A Spokane Valley man accused of killing his wife posted bond and was released from jail Friday evening after the conditions of his release were changed in court action Thursday. Thomas "Rick" Birnel, 39, is accused in the March 30 killing of his wife, Mary "Cookie" Birnel, 36. She was found dead on the floor of their East Farms home with 33 stab wounds from a 12-inch butcher knife. When authorities arrived, Birnel was at the 4708 N. Haye home with blood on his hands and clothes. Birnel said, "I did it," according to court documents.
News >  Washington Voices

Students Show Fruits Of Art Encounter

Children wearing bright orange, pink and yellow hats shaped like fish heads gyrated to Caribbean music in front of their classmates at Pasadena Park Elementary on Friday. The students from Jan Meyer's third-grade class were showing off the costumes they made and a dance routine they learned as part of the school's month-long art program. Artists from around Spokane, including a cartoonist, a sculptor and a quilt maker, took turns with each class, teaching them their trades.
News >  Spokane

Neighbors Worry After Man’s Second Trailer Fire Blaze Blamed On Flammable Liquid; Victim Says Masked Men Did It

David Janson's neighbors are starting to wonder what's going on. Early Tuesday, the Spokane Valley man's trailer home went up in flames, just weeks after another trailer he lived in was gutted by fire. "None of it makes sense. It's just beyond me," said Rennie Doremire, a neighbor of Janson's at University Mobile Home Park, 9518 E. Fourth. "It scares the hell out of me," said Ruth Ferguson, another neighbor, as she tiptoed barefoot through puddles of water left by the firefighters. The first fire burned out the inside of Janson's blue and white trailer at space No. 10 in the park. The cause was never determined, said Valley Fire Inspector Eric Olson. The second fire destroyed a light-colored trailer at space No. 38 1/2 just after 4 a.m. Tuesday. Olson said the fire was caused by a flammable liquid spread around the trailer and ignited. No one was injured. Janson and his daughters were taken to a motel by the Red Cross. Janson told firefighters that masked men burst into his house Tuesday morning, sprayed gasoline everywhere and lit it. Investigators, who interviewed Janson on Tuesday afternoon, have not confirmed that account. All that remained of the trailer was aluminum siding, hanging in pieces from the building's scorched frame. A creamcolored wooden fence surrounding the trailer was largely unmarked by the fire. On the pavement in front of the home were the melted remains of two white plastic chairs. "I woke up to a pop sound," said Marlana Miller, who lives behind Janson. The sides of her trailer were scorched and several of her windows were cracked by the fire. When she woke up, the burning trailer next door "looked like a sunrise," she said. Abbey, a black Labrador retriever trained to sniff out flammable liquids, was brought to the scene from the Post Falls Fire District to check Janson and his daughters for traces of combustibles, Inspector Olson said. Nothing was detected on any member of the family, except Janson's dog, found locked in a small gray Mercury Lynx across the street from the trailer. Olson said a flammable liquid had been spilled on the dog. A Spokane County Animal Control officer picked up the dog after neighbors forced the car door open and freed the animal. Neighbors who had watched the fire earlier in the morning started to gather again when firefighters returned about 10 a.m. to extinguish new flames sparked by the wind. "Last night we were lucky we didn't have wind," said neighbor Elsie Long. "Now, we've got wind."
News >  Spokane

Man Arrested After Pointing Gun At Police

A Coeur d'Alene man was arrested early Saturday after authorities said he pointed a loaded rifle at officers. "He came very close to being shot I think," said Spokane police spokesman Dick Cottam. "(The officers) exercised a lot of restraint."
News >  Spokane

Residents Try Balancing Budget

Using pocket calculators and felttipped pens, 40 Spokane residents tried to balance the state budget in two hours Saturday afternoon. What happened in a meeting room at the Spokane Public Library was remarkably similar to the legislative process, said Rep. Lisa Brown, D-Spokane, who set up the educational exercise.