Spokane Transit Authority ridership dropped 22 percent from Dec. 17 through Dec. 31 as a result of the city’s record-setting winter storms because routes were temporarily halted and buses delayed.
However, the agency ended the month with a small increase in ridership from 762,000 boardings in December 2007 to 783,000 boardings last month.
For the year, STA had 11.1 million riders, a 17.7 percent increase over 2007. Communications manager Molly Myers said STA expects its strong ridership numbers to continue in 2009.
Snow days turn holiday into school day
Students who attend Spokane Public Schools are losing a three-day weekend, and possibly two.
The district announced Friday that it will make up one of its snow days on Jan. 30. That’s a Friday that was supposed to be a day off for students, while teachers were required to be at the schools.
The district also said in a press release that it will decide soon whether to make up a second snow day on Feb. 13, another Friday.
In all, students in the Spokane district missed five days for snow – two days leading up to winter break and three days afterward.
Four arrested; seven stolen vehicles found
A search of a Nine Mile Falls home and property this week yielded seven stolen vehicles and led to the arrest of four people, according to the Washington State Patrol.
Detectives also found methamphetamine and stolen property from burglaries at 15102 N. Tormey Road before arresting the homeowner, Joseph Ward, 60, and residents Chelce Zimmerman, 28, and Scott Johnson, 46, on Wednesday, according to the WSP. Shad Johnson, 36, of Coeur d’Alene, was arrested as he attempted to drive a stolen car off the property, WSP Sgt. Dave Bolton said in a news release.
Court turns away Obama election protest
The Washington state Supreme Court has declined to hear a lawsuit challenging the validity of Barack Obama’s election.
The suit, filed by King County resident James Broe and 12 others, asked Secretary of State Sam Reed to set aside the state’s 11 electoral votes for Obama because, the petitioners say, the president-elect is not a “native born” American as required in the U.S. Constitution.
A similar case was dismissed by King County Superior Court before the election; another, brought by a New Jersey man, was rejected by the U.S. Supreme Court in December. All of the suits claim that Obama’s Hawaii birth certificate is fake and that he was secretly born in Kenya. The secretary of state’s office has “neither the authority nor the requirement to investigate the candidates’ qualifications for president,” said spokesman Dave Ammons in a news release.
Otter signs Benewah disaster declaration
Gov. Butch Otter signed a state disaster declaration Thursday to provide assistance to Benewah County, which is at risk of flooding.
Ice buildup on the St. Joe River has created the risk of flooding in communities along the river, including St. Maries, the state Bureau of Homeland Security said in a news release. Also threatened are roads, bridges, homes, municipal water and sewer facilities and farmlands.
Benewah County officials are requesting state emergency funds to hire commercial icebreakers, and the disaster declaration will assist in securing that funding, the release said.
Company clarifies discrimination deal
Coeur d’Alene Paving Inc. said Friday that discrimination was never proved in a lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The EEOC issued a news release Thursday saying a racial discrimination lawsuit against the company had been settled.
The company said in a response Friday that some of the “charging parties” initiated some of the wrongful behavior and that the company took “quick and decisive” action once it learned of the conduct. Three former employees claimed they were subjected repeatedly to racial epithets by a foreman in 2005. The company stressed that its owners were not accused of making racially discriminatory remarks.
The company said the parties participated in mediation but ultimately settled the suit. The company will pay out $60,000 over time to the three plaintiffs.
Compiled from staff reports
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