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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

Standoff on Geiger costs

Spokane County officials are threatening to release more than 100 inmates at Geiger Corrections Center because the city of Spokane has refused to pay higher incarceration fees for 2006. City leaders say the threat to release inmates was an unnecessary escalation of the billing dispute.
News >  Spokane

Real estate sales provide boon for cities

Thanks to a vibrant housing market, cities in Spokane County are raking in record amounts of taxes on real estate sales. Although the money pales compared with other sources of local government revenue, the extra income is helping cities and the county pave roads, pay off debt and attract grant funding for special projects.
News >  Spokane

Police brush up on forensics

A bottle of Knob Creek bourbon sits empty next to scattered dollar bills, face-down playing cards and a strong hint that something awful has happened: blood spatter staining the kitchen table and wall. The scene was one of five created to test 22 area police investigators Friday as they completed a bloodstain pattern analysis course at the Spokane Police Regional Training Center.

News >  Spokane

Growth numbers may soar

The amount of land earmarked for urban growth across Spokane County appears likely to expand, perhaps significantly. County commissioners want to use the most aggressive population growth estimates available from the state, citing a desire to prepare for an influx of people. But some city leaders argue the higher numbers will encourage greater sprawl and drain resources.
News >  Voices

Three counties approve watershed management plan

Depending on whom you ask, a new water management proposal for the Spokane and Little Spokane rivers is a turning point for conservation efforts or a feel-good plan with little consequence. County commissioners from Spokane, Stevens and Pend Oreille counties recently approved watershed management plans that make dozens of recommendations on saving water and recognizes the need for higher flows in the Little Spokane and the Spokane River from the Idaho line to Latah Creek.
News >  Spokane

Wolverton endorses GOP aide for her job

One of just two Democrats holding county office has endorsed a Republican to replace her. Spokane County Treasurer Linda Wolverton has decided against seeking a fourth term and is pulling for her chief deputy, Bob Wrigley, to take her spot in November's election.
News >  Spokane

County loses protest over review of mental health care

State officials announced Thursday that they denied a Spokane County protest of a Department of Social and Health Services review that puts its oversight of mental health in jeopardy. County officials say they will fight to continue to manage the mental health system and will compete in a bidding process that starts next month in which companies and nonprofits could contend with county government for the state contract.
News >  Voices

Pool part of new Moran park

A new park on the Moran Prairie could make a splash as early as next year. The Spokane County Commission voted this week to spend $2.5 million for the first construction phase of the new park with a pool on 61st Avenue near Freya Street.
News >  Spokane

River pollution an obstacle to county treatment plant

Spokane county leaders are concerned a new state proposal on reducing phosphorus pollution in the Spokane River could delay or even sink plans for a new wastewater treatment plant. Failing to increase sewer capacity in the next four or five years could force a halt in new construction until a solution is found.
News >  Spokane

County may ante up again for Aces Casino

Six months after slashing taxes on gambling establishments, Spokane County commissioners might offer even more help. A $7,000 penalty accrued by Aces Casino when it failed to pay taxes on last year's third-quarter gaming receipts would be waived under a proposal that commissioners will consider at a meeting Tuesday. The casino blames its tardiness on cash flow problems it suffered while still paying the older, higher tax rate."I'd hate to see them disappear if there's something we can do to keep them," said Commissioner Mark Richard, who requested board consideration on the penalty. "I think we'd send a very clear message that it will be a one-time occurrence."
News >  Spokane

Officials call phosphorus pollution goals unrealistic

The Washington Department of Ecology released a plan this week on how to reduce phosphorus pollution in the Spokane River, but local authorities said it's unrealistic. The plan also could affect construction of a new sewage plant that Spokane County and Spokane Valley leaders are working to build before they run out of sewer capacity as early as 2011.
News >  Spokane

Officials wary of pollution standards

The state Department of Ecology released a plan this week on how to reduce phosphorus pollution in the Spokane River, but local authorities said it's unrealistic. The plan also could affect construction of a new sewage plant that Spokane County and Spokane Valley leaders are working to build before they run out of sewer capacity as early as 2011.
News >  Spokane

Republic ‘in shock’ over death

The town of Republic is mourning the loss of one of its most prominent businessmen. Louie Dragnich, 82, was killed Tuesday evening in a crash on U.S. Highway 395 near Colville. His wife, Vivian Dragnich, 79, was taken to Deaconess Medical Center where she remained in critical condition on Wednesday.
News >  Spokane

County to protest poor review from DSHS

The Spokane County commission decided Tuesday to protest a state review that puts in jeopardy its oversight of mental health services. Earlier this month county officials were informed that their public mental health system, which administers care to about 5,000 people a month, failed a state review.
News >  Spokane

Messy weather, messier cleanup

From 3 feet of snow to a foot of mud to record-high rivers and widespread blackouts, a series of recent storms brought wild weather to Inland Northwest residents. The Spokane International Airport received three-quarters of an inch of rain for the 24-hour period ending at 4 p.m. Tuesday, said Laurie Koch, National Weather Service meteorologist. Two inches have fallen since the beginning of the year, more than 11/2 inches above average.
News >  Spokane

New shelter a hopeful start for Truth Ministries

The beds of Truth Ministries are back under a hard roof and surrounded by heat. That's no small accomplishment for a financially strapped nonprofit that had to house the homeless in tents for three months while safety improvements were made to its building at 1910 E. Sprague Ave.
News >  Spokane

Class action suit alleges School fire blame

A class action lawsuit was filed Thursday alleging that a nonprofit electric cooperative and a tree-removal company should have prevented Washington's largest wildfire of 2005. The School fire started Aug. 5 south of Pomeroy, Wash., and eventually consumed 109 residences and about 50,000 acres.
News >  Spokane

First Kids’ Night Out a hit

The final hours of 2005 in Spokane were counted down by the pounding of drums by hundreds of kids. The city's newest percussionists swarmed downtown streets and sidewalks with their parents Saturday after making and decorating their instruments at Kids' Night Out.
News >  Spokane

Pair burned in natural gas explosion

The owners of a heating and air conditioning business were burned Friday morning in an explosion fueled by a natural gas leak, the Spokane Fire Department reported. The leak was in an underground Avista natural gas line, and the fuel drifted through the ground and into an office at Cougar Mechanical, 3818 E. Joseph Ave., said Spokane fire investigator Lt. Chris Phillips in a telephone recording.
News >  Spokane

Fallout of meth use goes down to the roots

Just before seven teeth were yanked from his mouth, Airway Heights Corrections Center inmate Delvin Denison explained how a fresh start in his mouth could help him with a fresh start in life. "I want false teeth because I'm done with dope," Denison, 42, said in the prison's dentist office. "It's embarrassing going to apply for a job with teeth like this."
News >  Spokane

Home for the holidays

After a year crushing rocks in Iraq to make roads, Sgt. Bradley Christenson arrived home Wednesday to the hugs of his wife and three sons. "It wouldn't be Christmas without dad," said Bradley's wife, Jeanie Christenson. "I'm just very grateful for them to be home safe and sound."
News >  Spokane

Cold reality faces smokers at 25 feet

At 8:30 p.m. Thursday, the Mayfair was empty and bartender Mark Roberton was contemplating an early close. "If I'm not paying the power bill and they're not coming, what's the point of staying open?" Roberton asked.
News >  Spokane

GOP backs Walker for sheriff

Spokane Valley Police Chief Cal Walker won a lopsided Republican Party vote this week in his bid to become the next sheriff. Spokane County Republican Party precinct committee officers voted Wednesday on their preferences for who the next sheriff should be.
News >  Spokane

Witness-tampering alleged in homicide case

Two members of a defense team representing a Spokane man accused in the 1984 killing of a store clerk in Utah were arrested Tuesday and accused of tampering with witnesses. Salt Lake City attorney Richard P. Mauro, 46, and investigator Theodore T. Cilwick, 51, are representing Wade Garrett Maughan, 50.