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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Skylstad in Rome for papal event

Compiled from staff reports The Spokesman-Review

Among the religious leaders who participated in today’s installation Mass for Pope Benedict XVI was Spokane’s Bishop William Skylstad.

The head of the Diocese of Spokane left for Rome Friday to take part in the event that happened earlier this morning at St. Peter Basilica in Vatican City.

“As president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, it is an honor to accept this invitation,” Skylstad said in a press release before leaving Spokane. “I also take with me the prayers and good wishes of the people of Eastern Washington. We join with the global community of believers in this historic moment.”

Skylstad, who was elected USCCB president last fall, was in Rome earlier this month when Pope John Paul II died. He had been scheduled to meet with cardinals and other congregation leaders, but those meetings were canceled after the pope died.

The Spokane bishop attended the late pope’s funeral Mass, where he was seated in a place of prominence among about 300 other bishops and archbishops from throughout the world.

After the election of Pope Benedict XVI earlier this week, Skylstad was once again in the spotlight as news organizations sought his opinion on the new pontiff.

“As a theologian, a bishop, and as the head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the new pope has the kind of experience in church leadership which commended him to his fellow cardinals as a worthy successor to St. Peter and as Christ’s Vicar here on Earth,” Skylstad said.

“We congratulate him and pray for him as he takes on this new responsibility of being the Holy Father, not only for the church, but for the world.”

Couple arrested in grocery store holdup

Spokane police arrested a couple Saturday in connection with Monday’s holdup at a North Side grocery store in which one of the robbers held a butcher knife to a clerk’s throat.

One of the suspects had been in the store just hours earlier applying for a job, police said.

Taken into custody Saturday on charges of first-degree robbery and kidnapping were Larry D. Cash, 23, and Cassie A. Whitehead Cash, 22, said Spokane police spokesman Dick Cottam. The husband and wife lived less than a block from the store.

About 9:15 p.m. Monday, a man and a woman ran into Empire Foods, 5434 N. Nevada, Cottam said. The woman tried unsuccessfully to open the cash register while the man held a knife to the female clerk’s throat.

The man forced the clerk, who was alone in the store, to open the register. The couple took the money and ran north out of sight.

The grocery store owner told investigators he thought the woman had been in the store earlier that day, Cottam said. Investigators viewed surveillance tapes and discovered the woman had been in the store; in fact, she filled out an employment application, which included her address.

Detectives executed a search warrant at the Cashes’ North Avenue home on Saturday and arrested the couple without any problems, Cottam said.

Reward offered in home burglary

Secret Witness is offering a $1,000 reward for information on two men who burglarized a South Hill home last Tuesday.

The incident happened at a house near Hart Field at about 5 a.m. Awakened by a noise, one of the residents got out of bed and went to the house’s dark entrance way. There, he encountered two men who demanded money.

The intruders forced him back into the bedroom, where he and his wife were ordered to cover their faces with pillows.

The men took two small jewelry boxes and a worn, brown leather billfold that contained ID cards and a few dollars.

The burglars were described as black, probably in their late teens or early 20s. Both men stood about 5 feet 10 inches tall, weighing 190 pounds. One was wearing khaki trousers and a white T-shirt.

They had kicked in the front door to gain entry and left the same way. They also drove a car to and from the location. None of the neighbors reported seeing the burglars.

Anyone with information on the two men is asked to call Secret Witness at 327-5111. Callers can use a code name and number and do not have to give their own name to be eligible for the cash reward.

Inspection of rental spurs marijuana find

Spokane police found an indoor marijuana growing operation Friday after a residential management employee went to inspect the renter’s home.

Police are still looking for the renter, who wasn’t home at the time, said Spokane police spokesman Dick Cottam. The apartment is rented in the name of Jeffery S. Melton, 41.

Police found 221 marijuana plants in four locations within the home, Cottam said. Cash, evidence of bank accounts and the plants were seized.

The residential management company went to the apartment on Friday for a routine maintenance inspection, which they do every six months after notifying residents.

The employee told police when she entered the apartment at 603 E. 40th she noticed several operating fans, a musty smell and thought it seemed very humid, Cottam said. Police were contacted after the employee’s supervisor arrived.

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