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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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Benjamin Shors

This individual is no longer an employee with The Spokesman-Review.

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News >  Spokane

Nowhere to turn

In a dingy studio apartment in the city's downtown, Robert Kenneth Leavitt began with a confession. "I am a level 3 sex offender," he said, holding hands with his fiancee, leaning a tattooed forearm on his knee. "I'm not going to try to deceive you. I'm being straight-up honest. I look back at the man I was, and I see a darkness that I would not want in the man living next to me. I know you don't find too many people who will give you a second chance."
News >  Spokane

Homeless end weeklong camp-in

A homeless camp disbanded Tuesday, ending a weeklong protest in the grassy median on Riverside Avenue. About 20 people – with help from city crews – packed up their belongings and moved into temporary housing after activists reached an agreement with the city and Catholic Charities early Tuesday.

News >  Spokane

Glitches stall housing lottery

A lottery designed to help low-income people get housing vouchers suffered several setbacks during its debut Wednesday, as its phone system failed and a press release sent applicants to a non-working computer address. Staff members at Northeast Washington Housing Solutions closed their offices at 55 W. Mission but said they would reopen today.
News >  Spokane

Costs leap up, wages creep up

In the Northwest, a familiar trend has emerged in the last five years: Wages have failed to keep pace with increases in cost-of-living expenses. With health care costs rapidly rising, low-wage workers continue to lose ground even though wages grew 7 percent from 2002 to 2006, according to a new report from the Northwest Federation of Community Organizations, a nonprofit based in Seattle.
News >  Spokane

Slowdown hits home

From the living room, the lights of the city sparkle below, and Mount Spokane looms in the distance. New granite lines the kitchen countertops, and a gas fireplace warms the master bedroom. But when Bruce and Debbie Curran decided to sell their three-bedroom home this fall, they did something that would have been unheard of 12 months ago: They listed it below its appraised value.
News >  Spokane

Housing lottery will add families to waiting list

A federal housing program will hold a 10-day "lottery" to add 2,500 low-income Spokane families to its waiting list for rental vouchers. The lottery will only allow applicants access to the waiting list – not a guarantee of immediate help, according the Spokane Housing Authority, which does business as Northeast Washington Housing Solutions.
News >  Spokane

Groups fighting child abuse to merge

Leaders of the Our Kids: Our Business campaign said they will merge with SPO-CAN, a child welfare council that is already registered as a nonprofit organization. The merger will give the fledgling community group the ability to create a governing structure and apply for grants, said Mary Ann Murphy, incoming chairwoman of SPO-CAN and a leader in the Our Kids: Our Business campaign.
News >  Spokane

Apple puts spotlight on child welfare

Amid the blue herringbone chairs in the waiting room of the county's juvenile court, it's not uncommon to hear scathing critiques of the Washington's child welfare system from disgruntled parents and their families. But this week, the criticism came from an unusual quarter: Spokane City Councilman Bob Apple.
News >  Idaho

Siblings separated by system reunite

HARRISON, IDAHO – For nearly a decade, the brothers struggled through separate lives. One became a cowboy, dexterous with a lariat, with dreams of becoming a professional bull rider. The other favored AC/DC and the Ramones, and he dressed in black skater shoes and low-slung jeans.
News >  Idaho

Remembering a life

MOSCOW – With his dying words on the night of May 19, Moscow police Officer Lee Newbill urged his partner to take cover, even as gunfire hailed down on them. "Get down!" he said, according to Moscow's chief of police. By the time rescuers reached Newbill on the sidewalk near the Latah County Sheriff's Office last Saturday, they found no sign of consciousness.
News >  Spokane

Group studying mental health, justice

A yearlong planning process was launched Wednesday to try to improve the criminal justice system's interactions with people with mental illness. The planning group, which includes representatives from Spokane-area law enforcement agencies, the court system and mental health experts, will examine how people with mental illness are treated on the streets, in the courts and in the jails.
News >  Idaho

Deadly details emerge

MOSCOW, Idaho – After drinks at a Moscow bar, janitor Jason Hamilton went home Saturday night and shot his wife, Crystal, in the head before returning to town with two high-powered rifles where he continued his deadly rampage. Three of the nearly 200 bullets fired that night struck and killed Moscow Police Officer Lee Newbill, according to the Latah County Coroner's Office.
News >  Spokane

Gift suitcases carry pride

For Linda Norris, the image was heartbreaking: Some children in Stevens County were leaving their troubled homes with their belongings stuffed into plastic garbage bags. But now, like clockwork, 50 children's suitcases filled with blankets, pillows, and small gifts are donated to foster children every six months.
News >  Spokane

One more ordeal

The chief witness in the case of Spokane County v. Perry J. Bache fidgeted in her jean jacket. "Do you remember he showed you a bunch of pictures of people?" prosecutor Ed Hay asked.
News >  Spokane

Investment that pays

YAKIMA – Like a tiny tornado, Andrew Taylor rumbled through the playground and into the parking lot of a small apartment complex here. The 15-month-old ducked under a parked truck and grabbed an empty cola cup. "Doesn't that kind of worry you?" Crystal Towne, a public health nurse, asked Taylor's 19-year-old mother, Ramona, as they sat at a picnic table nearby. "I wish they had a gate around the playground. It worries me that he can get out into the parking lot or the street that easily."
News >  Spokane

One survivor’s story

Dear Tom, the letter begins. ¶ You beat me. Gave me a black eye at four. Threw cold water on me and had me stand outside. You never called me by name. From birth on, my name was little faggot or bastard. You groomed me for sexual abuse and led me to think it was my fault. I still remember the long days sitting in school, wondering what was going to happen to me when I got home. ¶ Would you break a coat hanger over my face? ¶ Would you pull my pants down and have me stand in the corner? ¶ Or would you push me down the stairs and jump on me in a violent frenzy?
News >  Spokane

Refuge from the chaos

Spokane nonprofits and businesses launched two programs on Friday designed to engage the public in preventing child abuse and neglect. The programs establish safe places for endangered children to find temporary shelter and to educate adults on how to prevent and respond to child sexual abuse. Both programs rely on volunteer work from the public and evolved from the communitywide "Our Kids: Our Business" campaign.
News >  Spokane

Child welfare manager files tort claim

A program manager in Washington state's child welfare system who publicly criticized his own agency has filed a $1.5 million tort claim, alleging state officials retaliated against him for speaking to legislators. Bob Partlow, a 59-year-old program manager in the Children's Administration, said state officials changed his job duties after he told a legislative task force in 2005 that Washington's oversight of child welfare was "dysfunctional" and "disheartening."
News >  Spokane

Before it’s too late

When state officials sought to identify the most vulnerable children in Washington, they began in Hillyard, on a dozen rough-and-tumble blocks in northeast Spokane. Social workers respond to more child abuse and neglect referrals here than in any other area in Spokane County. U.S. Census Bureau data shows the neighborhood is among the poorest in the state. Children here are more likely to witness domestic violence, and violent crime has been a plague for the past decade.
News >  Spokane

Breaking the cycle

On a snowy day last January, as Malcom and Rebecca Engle celebrated the birth of their first son, the state's child welfare system moved quickly into action. That afternoon, a Spokane court commissioner signed an order preventing the young couple from taking their son home from Sacred Heart Medical Center.
News >  Spokane

Federal law may endanger school at Crosswalk

A federal law will force changes at an alternative school program for teenagers dealing with homelessness, family conflict, and mental health issues. The education program at Crosswalk, a downtown emergency shelter, works with about 70 students. About 20 to 30 of the students in the program are homeless, said Marilee Roloff, founding director of Crosswalk and CEO of the local Volunteers of America, the nonprofit that oversees the shelter. Crosswalk's education program has been operating for more than two decades.
News >  Spokane

Coalition urges greater investment in kids

Last Sunday, in the aftermath of the death of a 4-year-old girl, a dozen police officers met with psychologists, a chaplain and other law enforcement officers. "There were tears," said Spokane Police Chief Anne Kirkpatrick, who attended the session. "And if you really want to look at the impact of child abuse, you have to look at the impact to everyone. It is real."