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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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70 felons to lose voting privileges

Compiled from staff and wire reports The Spokesman-Review

At least 70 Spokane County felons will lose their voting privileges.

Just five of 75 people Thursday appealed at a Spokane County Elections Office administrative hearing on challenges to their eligibility to vote.

One person mailed in the required “certificate of discharge” which restores a felon’s civil rights, such as voting, said Spokane County Auditor Vicky Dalton.

Dalton said this is the first time since she took office that such a hearing has been held. It was called in response to issues raised during the drawn-out legal battle this year between Gov. Christine Gregoire and her opponent Dino Rossi.

The four who attended the hearing to appeal the termination of their voting rights were tentatively denied, but they can submit their certificates later, Dalton said.

Another 18 people voluntarily canceled their voter registrations via mail. The remaining felons will have their voter registrations involuntarily canceled, she added.

“They will be removed from the rolls,” Dalton said.

In order to vote, felons must obtain a certificate of discharge for each felony conviction. If a felon was convicted out of state or by the federal government, he or she must appeal to the Washington Governor’s Clemency and Pardon Board.

Dalton said many of the felons in question told her that prison and other criminal justice officials mistakenly told them they could vote once released.

“The vast majority of these felons were voting in good faith based on information given to them by someone in authority,” she said.

Washington Trust robbed at gunpoint

A Washington Trust Bank branch at 3810 N. Maple was robbed by a man with a gun Thursday afternoon, Spokane Police spokesman Dick Cottam said.

The gunman entered the bank at 2:17 p.m., displayed a handgun and took an undisclosed amount of cash, Cottam said. He put the money in a bag, and the bag in a black backpack.

The man was described as a white male, 5-foot-9 and 160 pounds, in his early 40s. He was wearing a black shirt, Cottam said.

No one was hurt, and staff at the bank refused to comment on the incident.

Rape defendant in prison for assault

A Spokane man who assaulted and allegedly raped his pregnant girlfriend on April 9 has been sent to prison for a year.

Beau Shields Woods, 26, had been charged with first-degree rape, but he recently pleaded guilty to second-degree assault. Superior Court Judge Kathleen O’Connor gave him a minimum-standard sentence, but the maximum standard would have been just two months longer.

According to court documents, Shields forced his girlfriend – who was seven months pregnant with his child – to smoke drugs so she couldn’t file a complaint without risk of having the baby taken from her by Child Protective Services when it was born. Then, she told police, he carried her to another room and threw her against a wall, claiming he tripped.

The victim said her head hit the wall and her stomach began hurting after she was thrown.

She said she refused at first when Woods demanded sex, but relented when he aimed a hammer at her head.

Spokane man pleads guilty to arson count

A Spokane man who was suspected in several arsons, including a fire in his own home, has pleaded guilty to a single count of second-degree arson.

Greg J. Brimer, 35, had been charged with first-degree arson in connection with a fire April 8 at 5314 N. Driscoll Blvd., and with attempted first-degree arson in a fire the next day in boxes outside his 5817 N. Greenwood Blvd.

Brimer faced a standard range of 22 to 29 months in prison, and Superior Court Judge Tari Eitzen recently gave him two years with credit for 123 days he had already served.

The fire-damaged house on Driscoll Boulevard had just been renovated. Court documents indicate Brimer was suspected in another fire that damaged a home being remodeled at 4327 W. Everett Ave. In both cases, the fires were started in garages.

Brimer was caught when a police dog tracked him from the fire outside his own house, and a neighbor identified him as the man he saw running from the fire. The neighbor extinguished that fire with a garden hose.

Court documents say Brimer was drunk when he was caught, and he said he had been quarreling with his girlfriend. Investigators said she reported she had objected to him driving their children while he was drunk.

Gonzaga to close streets for students

Those computers and beanbag chairs can be difficult to move into dorm rooms.

Gonzaga University is preparing to welcome 900 incoming freshmen and will restrict access to several streets on campus to make their move easier.

Starting at 6 a.m. today and continuing until 5 p.m., through traffic will be banned from the 1000 block of North Dakota Street, the 700 block of East DeSmet Avenue, the 1100 and 1200 blocks of the alley between North Cincinnati and North Dakota streets and the 1200 block of the alley between North Standard and North Dakota streets.

Nearby streets, like Standard, could also be a bear as parents and students line up to get their chance to unload at the dorms.

Mobile home fire blamed on candle

A candle left burning in a bathroom Thursday is being blamed for a fire that damaged a Mead-area mobile home.

Bob Waldron, deputy chief for Spokane County Fire Protection Dist. 9, said firefighters found members of the family trying to battle the blaze themselves with a garden hose. Fire crews took over and managed to contain the flames to the bathroom area, though much of the home sustained heavy smoke damage.

“We always worry when civilians start attacking a fire because they don’t have the equipment and training, and they could get injured,” Waldron said. “But they probably bought us some time on this one.”

The fire was reported about 1:40 p.m. at a single-wide home in the Mead Royale mobile home park, 11705 N. Wilson St. No injuries were reported. Waldron said a candle had been left burning in the bathroom where the fire started.

Car dealership worker foils purse snatching

An employee at a car dealership foiled a robbery Wednesday when he knocked a suspect off a bicycle after the man had just stolen a purse and injured a woman walking near Monroe Street and Second Avenue, police said.

The woman was walking north on Monroe just after noon when two men on bicycles approached her and pulled her purse away, police spokesman Dick Cottam said in a news release.

An employee from the nearby Saturn car dealership heard the woman scream and saw the crime, Cottam said. The employee, whom police did not identify, ran out and pulled one of the suspects off his bike. The employee also retrieved the purse and gave it back to the victim, Cottam said.

Police arrested 43-year-old Matthew Bryan Barshaw, a transient, and booked him into jail on the charge of first-degree robbery, Cottam said.

The second suspect pedaled away and is being sought by police. The victim was taken to an area hospital for treatment for minor injuries, Cottam said.

Police arrest woman after car chase, crash

Spokane Valley police arrested a Trentwood woman Wednesday night after she allegedly crashed her car following a mile-long pursuit and then threw beer bottles at an officer.

Police had received a call that the woman was passed out on the curb with her truck parked half on the sidewalk, Spokane Valley police spokesman Cpl. Dave Reagan said. She apparently awoke to the sound of sirens, jumped in her car and sped off.

The incident began about 8:24 p.m. when the woman was spotted at 12900 E. Sprague Ave., Reagan said. Firefighters, who were responding along with police, said they saw the woman get in the car and drive south on Progress.

An officer pursued as the woman drove at speeds of up to 60 mph in a 35-mph zone, while weaving between the east and west bound lanes, Reagan said. She ran red lights at Evergreen and McDonald roads and then crashed into median, Reagan said.

As the officer approached, the woman began screaming and throwing things at him, including beer bottles and her purse.

Connie K. Dawson, 31, was arrested on suspicion of driving while under the influence of alcohol, attempting to elude police and third-degree assault on a police officer, Reagan said.

Man asking for God’s number arrested

God’s phone number apparently isn’t in the book.

And when a disheveled man asked a Spokane Valley homeowner for the unlisted number, the police were called.

Curtis N. Beito, 3108 S. Mt. Vernon, 42, was arrested on suspicion of possessing methamphetamine, Spokane Valley police Cpl. Dave Reagan said.

About 10:45 p.m. Wednesday, police went to the area of Fifth and Havana to find the man inquiring about how to get in touch with God.

Beito was found nearby sweating and breathing hard, his clothes wet and dirty, Reagan said. Beito was scraped and cut from climbing over fences after leaving a friend’s home, and he told police he’d been looking for a ride.

Reagan said Beito gave officers permission to search him, and they found methamphetamine wrapped in plastic in his pocket.

Car wash aids kids with addicted parents

A group that works with the children of addicted parents will hold a car wash and festival to raise funds and celebrate its 10th anniversary.

The car wash will be Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. at 520 S. Walnut St. and will benefit HOPE for COAP.

The group has helped more than 3,000 youth and their families with prevention education, chemical dependency education and other care. Nobody is turned away for help and 98 percent of the services are given for free.

Truck drops wind turbine, blocks traffic

Portland A 157,000-pound wind turbine fell off a flatbed truck, slowing traffic for more than 24 hours in the tunnel that connects the southbound lanes of Interstate 205 with eastbound Interstate 84.

Dave Thompson, spokesman for the Oregon Department of Transportation, said crews are attempting to place the turbine on a wagon-like device. Crews will then pull the turbine out of the tunnel and onto the side of the road.

Workers said the effort is taking more time than expected because the turbine is falling apart.

“It’s laying on its side, so it’s structurally not supported the way it should be,” said Roy Emmert, the supervisor. “We’re adding some bracing and some jacks so we can try to get some equipment underneath it, so we can get it upright to move it out.”

The turbine fell off the truck at about 3 p.m. Wednesday. It was traveling from the Port of Vancouver to a wind farm in Dayton, Wash.

Traffic was reduced to the shoulder of the roadway, but was getting through. Thompson said vehicles were backed up for a mile during the Thursday afternoon commute, the worst it’s been all day.

Thompson said the tunnel might be cleared by 11 p.m., but “it’s simply a guess at this point.”

Grizzly wounds man, daughter in Glacier

West Glacier, Mont. A man and and his daughter hiking in Glacier National Park suffered bite wounds and other injuries Thursday when they surprised a female grizzly and her cubs on a popular hiking trail, park officials said.

Names of the out-of-state hikers were not released.

They did not appear to have life-threatening injuries, said park spokeswoman Amy Vanderbilt. But both had to be airlifted from a steep hillside, which they had rolled down in an effort to escape the bear, Vanderbilt said.

They were reported in critical condition Thursday night at Kalispell Regional Medical Center.

“What we know at this point is that these hikers had a close-range encounter with a mother grizzly and her two cubs,” she said. “The hikers reportedly sustained bites from the female grizzly and they may have other injuries. … They rolled about 30 feet down the embankment.”

Vanderbilt said the incident occurred at about 10 a.m. on the Grinnell Glacier Trail, about two miles above Josephine Lake. The trail is very popular with day hikers. Another hiker apparently found the victims, ran down the trail and reported it to a ranger who was leading a guided hike. Park officials temporarily closed the trail and surrounding areas to visitors.

Vanderbilt said park rangers were investigating, but typically no action is taken against the bears if it’s determined the incident occurred because of a surprise encounter.

This was the first instance of a bear-related injury this year in the park, officials said.

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