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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Support recipients urged to update

Compiled from staff and wire reports The Spokesman-Review

Child support payments should go to children, but poor information routed $157,000 in child support last year to the State Tax Commission’s unclaimed property division.

The state Department of Health and Welfare has issued a notice for families with child support orders to update their addresses, phone numbers, any name changes and bank account numbers to ensure they receive their payments.

“Every month we average 45 to 50 returns of child support payments just from direct deposits because of inaccurate bank information,” said Kandace Yearlsey, Health and Welfare’s child support program manager.

The Child Support Program collects and distributes money from parents ordered by the courts to pay child support. Last year, it distributed more than $152 million.

To update information, families should call (800) 356-9869. Yearsley also suggested parents periodically check their Quest Card balances by phone or online at www.idahoquestcard.com.

NIC to offer free health care workshops

North Idaho College’s Center for New Directions and Student Health Services will offer two free workshops Thursday on how to access free and low-cost health care for children.

Pat Schwartz, who works with the Kootenai Medical Center Community Outreach Center, will explain the various options available for uninsured children and help parents apply for health care coverage. The workshops will be at noon and 2:30 p.m. in the Echo Bay room in NIC’s Edminster Student Union Building.

For more information, call (208) 769-3445.

Casino manager facing theft charges

The manager of a Spokane casino faces theft charges after his arrest last week and the discovery of nearly $20,000 in proceeds from the World Series of Poker tournaments, a Washington State Gambling Commission agent said.

Commission agents arrested Robert Ramelow, manager of the Classic Rock Casino at Lilac Lanes, 1112 E. Magnesium Road, on April 14 after the casino reported that an envelope containing $960 from the tournament was missing from the cashier’s cage.

The cashier told agents she had given the envelope to Ramelow, said Gary Drumheller, agent in charge of the gambling commission’s eastern region. He said surveillance tapes confirmed that Ramelow left the casino without securing the cash. Later that day, Ramelow returned from playing golf and was questioned by agents who arrested him on suspicion of second-degree theft.

Agents and Spokane County sheriff’s deputies with a warrant searched Ramelow’s vehicle where they recovered $19,706 in cash and a bank deposit bag with “Lilac Lanes” printed on it, as well as several envelopes from different poker tournaments, Drumheller said.

“Management believed the money was being secured either by the armored car company or its own facility,” Drumheller said. “One way or the other, they would have discovered the money was gone.”

Drumheller said the commission will charge Ramelow with first-degree theft, a class B felony.

Boise police contract negotiations stall

Boise Negotiations over what Boise police officers should be paid have stalled and the city and police department have agreed to enter nonbinding arbitration.

The police union is requesting a 4 percent pay increase; the city is offering 3 percent.

Union President Kip Wills warned that the quality of law enforcement the department provides could dwindle if salaries do not keep pace with other law enforcement agencies.

City officials have declined comment on the negotiations.

The average salary for beginning officers is $31,752. Sergeants make $58,824 on average, which includes specialty pay for overtime, holidays and attending court hearings.

The last contract expired March 31, 2004, and its terms continue until a new contract is agreed upon.

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