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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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In brief: Masked gunman robs loan centers

A masked gunman robbed two Spokane payday loan centers Thursday, and police suspect the same man who targeted one of the stores Jan. 20.

A man with a handgun and wearing a black ski mask and dark clothing robbed Check into Cash at 555 E. Francis Ave. about 5:30 p.m. Thursday, four hours after he robbed Check into Cash at 923 N. Division St., according to police. The Francis Avenue store was also robbed by a gunman in a black ski last week.

The man in the three robberies was described as in his 20s, white, 5-foot-5 to 5-foot-7 and 175 pounds.

Anyone with information is asked to call (509) 242-TIPS.

Youths invited to try out for ad

Young people who want a chance to be featured in one of Washington state’s “No Stank You” antismoking ads can take part in a photo shoot Saturday in Spokane.

Representatives of the state Department of Health’s “No Stank You” campaign will hold photo sessions for kids ages 12 to 17 from 1 to 5:30 p.m. at the Village Centre Cinemas, 12120 N. Division St. Teens interested in taking part must download a parental release form at and bring the completed form to the session. Pictures taken Saturday might be featured in an upcoming television ad.

The event also will feature free merchandise and the chance to talk with local antismoking advocates.


Woman freezes to death in cabin

Authorities are investigating the circumstances that led to a woman from Oklahoma freezing to death in a remote cabin in the Garnet Mountains after she and her common-law husband were apparently caught off guard by an early-winter snow storm.

Mickey Charlene Davis, 67, had probably been dead for about two weeks when authorities reached the cabin between Interstate 90 and Helmville in Western Montana just before midnight on Jan. 13, Powell County Sheriff Scott Howard said.

The sheriff said he and a deputy found 44-year-old Jack McWhorter of Oklahoma starving and hypothermic, leaning against his wife’s body with an array of weapons spread in a half circle in front of him.

“I don’t know if he was worried about us. … I don’t know what was going through his head,” Howard said.

Two small dogs and a cat were found dead inside the shack when officers arrived. The only survivor other than McWhorter was a large dog, which Howard estimated was three-quarters wolf.

McWhorter, was evacuated by snowmobile more than 20 miles to waiting deputies, who rushed him to a nearby hospital. He was released after several days and is recuperating in a Deer Lodge apartment.

Howard said McWhorter and Davis apparently had their eye on the inexpensive 20-acre lot when they arrived in their van to the rugged Garnets sometime early last year. No one had seen the couple for months, until neighbors who lived three miles away asked two snowmobilers to check on them. Howard said the men had a brief exchange with McWhorter, who told them to call authorities because his wife was dead in the cabin.

Dalton Gardens

Soil, water board candidates listed

The Kootenai-Shoshone Soil and Water Conservation District will elect three new supervisors to their board Tuesday. Four candidates are seeking a four-year seat.

The conservation district works with resource agencies to implement conservation practices, mostly on private land, the district said in a news release. That work includes stabilizing erosion on farmland and stream banks, and working with the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality to rank stabilization efforts on the lower Coeur d’Alene River.

The four candidates are:

John Wallis, of Hauser Lake, a contractor with the U.S. Geological Survey and president of the Hauser Lake Watershed Coalition;

Gordon Sanders, of Cataldo, who retired from the Idaho Department of Agriculture and farms in the Medimont area;

Fran Hughes, of Coeur d’Alene, a farmer on the Rathdrum Prairie;

Jody Bieze, of Harrison, a marketing consultant and member of the Kootenai County Planning Commission.

Ballots can be cast in Kootenai County at Dalton Gardens City Hall, 6360 N. Fourth St., or in Shoshone County at the Elections Office, 700 Bank St., Wallace. Polling places will be open 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

For more information, call (208) 762-4939, Ext. 101, or e-mail


Avista customers helped pay bills

Avista customers donated $246,800 last year to help needy families pay their heating bills.

The Project Share money was donated by customers in three states: Washington, Idaho and Oregon. Spokane Neighborhood Action Programs and other nonprofit organizations in the three states administer the money from the Project Share program.

Avista started Project Share in 1982. Households can qualify for help, even if they aren’t Avista customers.

Avista Corp. also donated $280,000 to Project Share in December, and $220,000 this month.

The company funds its contribution from shareholder earnings, so the donations don’t affect customer rates, said Scott Morris, Avista’s chairman and CEO.


Officials prepare for execution

The Washington state Department of Corrections is preparing for a March 13 execution at the state Penitentiary at Walla Walla.

The department says a federal appeals court has lifted a stay on the planned execution of Cal Coburn Brown.

Brown was convicted in 1993 of aggravated first-degree murder for the stabbing and strangulation of Holly Washa.

Brown carjacked the 22-year-old Burien woman at knifepoint near Seattle-Tacoma International Airport in 1991 and held her captive for 34 hours at a motel. She was raped, robbed, tortured and slashed to death, and her body was left in the trunk of her car.

From staff and wire reports
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