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Sunday, March 29, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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In brief: Officers in shooting cleared for duty

Two Spokane police officers have been cleared to return to work after a confrontation last week in which the officers shot and killed a Deer Park man.

Police policy requires that officers involved in a shooting take a three-day break and meet with the department’s psychologist for a clearance to return to duty. Senior Patrol Officer Dan Lesser and Sgt. Brent Austin were evaluated Tuesday and were to return at their next scheduled shifts, said Officer Jennifer DeRuwe, police spokeswoman.

Lesser and Austin confronted a fleeing car-theft suspect in a North Side alley after a traffic stop March 17 near North Division Street and Longfellow Avenue. Police said the suspect, Johnnie L. Longest III, opened fire on a police dog with a .22-caliber pistol, grazing the dog’s head and hitting its paw. The officers returned fire, killing the man.

Longest had been driving a car stolen from a north Spokane residence when officers tried to pull him over, police said. He had a lengthy criminal history, according to police, and the man’s family members say he struggled with drug addiction.

Spokane County sheriff’s detectives are continuing an investigation of the shooting, shadowed by city police detectives.

SNAP still offering energy assistance

Spokane Neighborhood Action Programs wants to get the word out that its agency still has money to distribute for heating and energy assistance for Spokane County’s low-income residents.

“Traditionally, the phone lines are less busy as the weather improves and many households have been served,” said Margaret Belote, director of SNAP’s energy assistance program. “We expect to continue to make energy assistance appointments through the month of May.”

SNAP phone lines for energy assistance appointments are open Tuesdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Thursdays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. The phone number is (509) 242-2376.

Senior complex admitting residents

Cooper George Senior Living, a residential complex at 707 W. Fifth Ave. in Spokane, is admitting residents again, after the state Department of Social and Health Services issued a “stop placement” order on the facility last month over medication distribution irregularities and other concerns.

“Cooper George Senior Living is back at full operation mode, meeting the state’s standards and admitting new residents. The new management team put in place only a few months ago is committed to maintaining the highest level of service and pleased to be moving forward,” Cooper George owner Ageia Health Services, of Bend, Ore., said in a news release.

DSHS confirmed that the stop placement order had been lifted. The 13-story complex has 150 units. Some seniors live there independently. Others require help with daily living skills.

Coeur d’Alene

State, tribe reach lake pollution plan

The Coeur d’Alene Tribe and the state of Idaho have signed off on a long-awaited plan to manage mining pollution at the bottom of Lake Coeur d’Alene.

The plan was more than six years in the making. It was developed as an alternative to a federal Superfund remedy.

“Our ancestors who fought to protect the lake are looking down on us right now, pleased (with) the effort we are making to preserve and enhance the lake for generations to come,” Coeur d’Alene tribal Chairman Chief Allan said in a statement.

Gov. Butch Otter called the plan “a good result.”

The heavy metals in Lake Coeur d’Alene were deposited over the past century by upstream mining activity. The plan relies on keeping the lake’s water oxygenated to prevent the metals from become suspended.

Spokane Valley

School locked during altercation

A Spokane Valley middle school was locked down briefly as police arrested a man with the help of employees at a nearby car lot.

Christopher E. Williams, 32, was fighting with his girlfriend near Alki and Greenacres roads when he robbed her of her cell phone about 12:45 p.m., witnesses told Spokane Valley police.

Williams ran southbound to a car lot, but employees “herded” him into the direction of police officers about 1 p.m., Sgt. Dave Reagan said in a news release. As a precaution, nearby Greenacres Middle School was temporarily locked down.

Williams faces charges of attempting to elude a police vehicle, as well as a charge for a felony warrant, police said.

“Williams claimed to have ingested some controlled substances prior to being captured, so he was transported to a local hospital to be medically cleared before being booked on the felony warrant,” according to the news release.

Washington state

Stimulus boosts food benefits

Food stamp benefits are rising in Washington state.

Most households receiving the maximum monthly benefit will receive 13.6 percent more. For a four-person household, the changes mean food stamp benefits would rise from $588 a month to $668.

Also, the three-month time limit for food help for childless, unemployed adults has been suspended through September 2010.

The changes begin April 1 for the program, called Basic Food, according to the Department of Social and Health Services.

The additional money come from the federal stimulus bill recently signed into law.

From staff reports

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