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Thursday, May 28, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Spokane

In brief: Suspect sought in jewelry burglary

Police are asking for the public’s help in locating burglary suspect Mickey W. Brown, 32.

Brown is wanted on at least one count each of second-degree theft, trafficking stolen property and possession of stolen property.

Brown is suspected of committing a burglary in which jewelry was taken Thursday in the area of 3000 West Cleveland, said Spokane police Officer Jennifer DeRuwe. Some of that jewelry was recovered.

Brown may be driving a blue 2003 Ford Focus, Washington license 562YCK, DeRuwe said.

Burglary reports in Spokane where jewelry and cash are taken continue to rise, police said Monday. Authorities report they now have 50 cases. At least 12 can be linked to the same person, officials said. The burglaries have been primarily on the South Hill and in northwest Spokane.

“It is too early for detectives to rule out Brown as a suspect in this particular string of burglaries,” DeRuwe said.

BNSF cleanup plan opened to comment

The Washington Department of Ecology is seeking public comments on BNSF Railway Co.’s proposed cleanup of contaminated soil and groundwater at the Parkwater rail yard site in Spokane.

For nearly a century, the railroad used the site at 5302 E. Trent Ave. for fueling and switching rail cars. In 1990, a fuel spill was discovered during the removal of underground storage tanks. A landfill on site also contains metals and petroleum products.

The rail yard, formerly known as Yardley, lies half a mile south of the Spokane River and over the Spokane Valley/Rathdrum Prairie Aquifer. The pollutants reached the groundwater, though there are no drinking water wells in the immediate area.

BNSF has investigated and cleaned up some of the soil contamination.

The Department of Ecology will take comments on the plan through Feb. 10. It can viewed at www.ecy.wa.gov/ programs/tcp/sites/parkwater/ railyard_hp.htm; at the Argonne or Spokane Valley libraries; or at the Ecology department, 4601 N. Monroe, Spokane.

Public discussion on education tonight

The Seattle-based League of Education Voters, a nonprofit group that advocates increasing state funding of education, is hosting a discussion on the topic tonight.

Recently, the League released its “Citizens’ Report Card,” grading everything from Washington’s investment in early learning to the state’s efforts to prepare students for college or the work force. While the grades had improved from the previous report card, in 2007 they were still Cs and Ds in all categories.

“Our state is making steady progress but budget cuts could jeopardize gains in education,” the report states.

Lawmakers have generally agreed that the state is not living up to its obligation to fully fund basic education, and a task force formed by the Legislature to study the issue is recommending billions in spending increases phased in over six years.

However, with state government facing a shortfall now expected to top $7 billion over two years, the governor and key lawmakers have warned that school districts will face cuts.

Tonight’s discussion is scheduled from 6:30 to 8 at Sacajawea Middle School, 401 E. 33rd. Speakers include Kelly Munn, the League’s state field director.

Boise

Bill could expand Idaho land deals

Legislation that would allow the state of Idaho to acquire and sell more land for development in the Silver Valley was introduced in a House committee Tuesday.

Idaho already has taken ownership of 1,600 acres from the Environmental Protection Agency in the 21-square-mile Bunker Hill Superfund cleanup site where historic mining contamination is being cleared. The new bill lets the state accept land from a larger area of the Coeur d’Alene Basin.

When the state receives cleaned-up land from the EPA, it can sell, lease or manage it.

Rob Hanson, mine waste program manager for the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality, said the expansion would allow the state to take ownership of the 20-acre Burns-Yak site in Osburn and various other parcels. The House Environment, Energy and Technology Committee agreed unanimously to introduce the bill and will schedule a hearing in the coming weeks.

Senators skeptical of tax rule plan

State senators raised questions Tuesday about proposed new rules that allow the Idaho state Tax Commission to continue cutting secret tax deals with large out-of-state corporations.

After a whistle-blower’s report revealed the deals, two state investigations concluded no laws were being broken, but recommended new procedures at the Tax Commission. Gov. Butch Otter ordered the commission to immediately write up rules for the controversial “compromise and close” settlements.

Those rules went before a Senate committee for review Tuesday, and senators from both parties said they don’t outline any new measures aimed at transparency or accountability. Sen. Eliot Werk, D-Boise, said he thought the new rules “could lead to the same set of misunderstandings or perceptions that we have been dealing with.”

Tax officials said they’re also working on new internal procedures.

Coeur d’Alene

Students make up snow day Feb. 13

Students in the Coeur d’Alene School District will attend school Feb. 13 to make up instructional time lost to one of two snow days that occurred in January, according to a news release.

The school board hasn’t decided yet when the second snow day will be made up.

The district canceled school on Dec. 18 and Dec. 19 and Jan. 6 and Jan. 7 because of the weather. Idaho law allows for two emergency closure days per school year before make-up time is required.

From staff reports

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