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

Jonathan Brunt

Current Position: Asst. Managing Editor (Govt)

Jonathan Brunt joined The Spokesman-Review in 2004. He is the government editor. He previously was a reporter who covered Spokane City Hall, Spokane County government and public safety.

All Stories

News >  Spokane

County facing budget problems

Spokane County will be broke and $2.5 million in debt by 2009 unless leaders cut expenses or raise more money. The decline of the county's reserve fund, which will hold about $14 million at the end of the year, was one of the top concerns among county commissioners Monday as they met in a daylong session aimed at helping them identify and solve their biggest challenges.
News >  Voices

County to restart process for gravel pit

State transportation officials will seek again approval of a gravel-mining operation that they say is essential to the affordable construction of the North Spokane Corridor. But neighbors concerned that the gravel pit will be an unsightly, noisy and dusty blight to their rural neighborhood say they will continue to fight it.
News >  Spokane

Five Mile Prairie residents say area needs better roads before more homes

City and county officials got an earful Wednesday night from Five Mile Prairie residents concerned about an influx of homes without a similar influx of road improvements. About 100 people attended a forum sponsored by City Council President Joe Shogan at the Five Mile Grange, a reminder of the community's agricultural past, which is increasingly surrounded by suburban homes.

News >  Voices

Lower sewer rates will affect some mobile home parks

Sewer rates for some mobile home parks will be cut significantly under rules approved Tuesday by the Spokane County Commission. Unlike most homes and businesses, state law says, mobile home parks cannot be forced to hook up to sewers when lines are constructed nearby. Still, parks adjacent to sewers have been charged sewer fees by the county even if they remained on separate septic systems.
News >  Spokane

Sheriff now boss of rival

Cal Walker wants to remain Spokane Valley's police chief unless, of course, he becomes sheriff. "I don't have any intent of going anywhere else except for the electoral process," Walker said.
News >  Spokane

Test program lets convicts check in

With the jail constantly overcrowded, Spokane County leaders are trying different ways to set lawbreakers on better paths. The Spokane County District Court is one month into a 90-day experiment in "day reporting," an alternative to jail in which convicts must account for eight hours a day of their time with work or education. A judge determines if a person is eligible for the program.
News >  Spokane

Knezovich taking care of ‘unease’

Spokane County's new sheriff spent the day Wednesday working to heal some wounds and make the changes he promised. Ozzie Knezovich, 43, was appointed sheriff by a unanimous vote of county commissioners Tuesday to fill the spot vacated March 31 when Mark Sterk retired. The process had grown contentious in recent weeks as sheriff's employees took sides among three candidates.
News >  Spokane

Knezovich tapped as sheriff

Ozzie Knezovich, once a long-shot candidate virtually unknown outside local law enforcement, was named the 25th sheriff of Spokane County on Tuesday after a grueling and contentious six-month appointment process. In making the choice, county commissioners – all Republicans – rebuked their party and retiring Sheriff Mark Sterk, who argued that Spokane Valley Police Chief Cal Walker should have gotten the nod. Republican precinct committee officers voted in November to endorse Walker.
News >  Spokane

Sheriff hopefuls present visions

The three candidates for Spokane County sheriff presented county commissioners with different visions Monday: Stay the course or shift directions. The aspirants, all employed by the Sheriff's Office, were interviewed individually by commissioners in an open public meeting.
News >  Spokane

Settlement to raise taxes in county by $1.55 million

Spokane County taxpayers will pay more than $1.5 million extra in taxes next year as a result of a state settlement with Qwest Corp. The extra tax is the result of a suit Qwest filed in Kittitas County in 2003 that claimed the company was paying too much in property taxes because the state Department of Revenue overvalued the business.
News >  Spokane

Vacant seats worry planners

After almost a year without full membership, the chairman of the Spokane County Planning Commission is asking county commissioners to speed up appointments to the seven-member body. "They have had people who have applied, they simply haven't made the step of making an appointment," said Doug Kelley, the planning commission chairman. "It's just another voice of the public that's not being heard."
News >  Spokane

Big names on unpaid sewer bill list

The list of businesses that owe Spokane County the largest chunks of more than $1.4 million in delinquent sewer bills include some notable names. There's builder Harley Douglass, who owes more than $40,000, a fitness club owned by tennis star Jan-Michael Gambill that owes more than $60,000, and the former Hotteez nightclub in Spokane Valley with a bill of more than $12,000.
News >  Spokane

Meeting on population forecasts gets testy

Population politics were on full display Friday as county and city leaders continued jockeying over growth, and a county commissioner had harsh words for a regional planning group. "I don't work for them jerks," Commissioner Phil Harris said, adding that he works for the citizens instead. Later, Harris said he was referring to the Spokane Regional Transportation Council and regretted making the statement.
News >  Spokane

Officers fighting repair charges

Deputies involved in a fake pursuit that went awry last year are fighting demands by Sheriff Mark Sterk that they repay the cost of fixing a damaged Spokane police cruiser. Union leaders say they agree that the deputies involved in the Oct. 3 chase deserve to be punished but say they shouldn't have to pay for repairing the police car, because the driver of that car forgot to put it in park. They also say suspensions they received are too long.
News >  Spokane

Sterk says GOP pick should replace him

Sheriff Mark Sterk is no stranger to political appointments. He got his start in elected office when county commissioners appointed him to a vacated state House seat – even though the Republican Party recommended overwhelmingly to appoint someone else.
News >  Voices

Neighbors oppose DOT’s gravel mine plan nearby

A group of neighbors is fighting a Department of Transportation proposal to pull most of the gravel it needs to build the North Spokane freeway from land adjacent to the new route. Construction already has begun on the expressway, which will connect U.S. Highway 395 to U.S. Highway 2 and Interstate 90 through Hillyard.
News >  Spokane

No lock on new sheriff

It's a race. When Sheriff Mark Sterk endorsed Spokane Valley Police Chief Cal Walker last summer to replace him, the appointment seemed a foregone conclusion.
News >  Business

Geiger Spur gets boost from Legislature

Spokane County officials hope to boost development on the West Plains by building a train-loading center along the county's 3.5-mile Geiger Spur rail line. During the just-completed session, state legislators gave the county $60,000 to study where to build a transloader along the Geiger Spur. The state is expected to provide money to build the loading center next year.
News >  Spokane

Global warming hot topic for SCAPCA

Members of the Spokane County Air Pollution Control Authority board debated global warming Thursday, and one member questioned the science cited by backers of the Kyoto treaty. The debate was sparked when the interim director of the control authority asked the board if the agency should send a letter to Mayor Dennis Hession requesting that Spokane join 200 other cities that have agreed to take actions to reduce global warming.
News >  Spokane

Customers owe sewer $1.4 million

More than 10 percent of the county's sewer customers are at least three months behind in their bills and owe more than $325. With the number of delinquent accounts on the rise, Spokane County officials are considering more aggressive action to get folks to pay up.
News >  Spokane

Geiger dispute on hold

Geiger Corrections Center inmates will remain locked up while a billing dispute between Spokane city and county officials is resolved. County leaders made the decision Thursday after a meeting with city officials.
News >  Spokane

Shoreline building rules get review

Proposed changes in development rules along rivers and lakes in Spokane County received mixed reviews at a hearing Thursday. About 50 people attended the planning commission meeting about revisions to the county's shoreline management program. The county has been working since 2004 to make it compliant with new state laws.