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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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In brief: Arrest leads police to cash, drugs, guns near school

From Staff And Wire Reports

Sheriff’s investigators arrested a suspected methamphetamine dealer last week after a monthlong investigation that yielded not only drugs but three guns.

His Spokane Valley home’s backyard is connected to the playground of Trentwood Elementary School.

Gang and drug detectives obtained search warrants for Eric D. Rangel’s home, vehicle and person after a confidential informant allegedly bought methamphetamine from Rangel several times.

Police arrested Rangel, 26, on Wednesday at East Eighth Avenue and South Carnahan Road in Spokane Valley and seized his car. He had meth and $3,400 on him, as well as two 9-mm pistols and additional meth in the car, police said.

Detectives then searched his home Thursday in the 4900 block of North Calvin Road and seized more meth, as well as heroin, hydrocodone, marijuana, a 12-gauge shotgun and 9-mm ammunition, police said.

Rangel told detectives he sells meth in the Valley, according to a news release from Deputy Craig Chamberlin, spokesman for the Sheriff’s Office.

Rangel has felony convictions that prohibit him from possessing weapons.

Organizations get Gates grants worth more than $1 million

Two Spokane organizations have been awarded grants from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to support programs combating intergenerational poverty.

Spokane County United Way received $700,000 from the Seattle-based Gates Foundation, while the Inland Northwest Community Foundation received $350,000, according to a news release.

The Gates Foundation – the world’s largest charitable foundation – chose eight “community philanthropic partners” in Washington and one in Oregon to receive more than $5 million.

“Local partners are best positioned to know the needs in their communities,” David Bley, director of the foundation’s Pacific Northwest program, said in the news release.

Father says TV show OK’d locking autistic sons in room

VANCOUVER, Wash. – A man accused of locking his two young autistic sons in a room with a cage-like door says he heard on a television show that it’s OK to do so for their own safety.

John Eckhart, 31, testified at his trial Friday that he heard on either the reality TV show “Supernanny” or “Nanny 911” that if a parent is worried a child might hurt himself, it’s OK to lock the child in a room.

That’s what led him to install wire shelving to cover the entire doorway of the bedroom that his two sons shared in the family’s Vancouver, Wash., apartment. The makeshift door had a lock.

“I would say they were content in there,” said Eckhart, the final witness called to testify in a trial that opened Monday.

Eckhart and his former live-in girlfriend Alayna Higdon, 27, are charged with unlawful imprisonment of Eckhart’s sons, then 5 and 7, between October 2010 and April 2011. If convicted, they face up to three months in jail, though they could serve a longer sentence if jurors find there were aggravating factors.

Man accused of impersonating police officer over telephone

HAMILTON, Mont. – A 24-year-old Hamilton man who authorities say pretended to be a police officer on the phone has been charged with impersonating an officer.

Joshua Adam Phillips was charged Thursday.

Police said Phillips called a business and identified himself as a police officer and asked if a certain woman was selling pills.

Police said Phillips told them he made the calls because he was upset with a woman he believed was stealing pills from her work.

Bail was set at $5,000 for Phillips.

Family of ex-UI student offers settlement for frat house fall

MOSCOW, Idaho – The family of a former University of Idaho student who was seriously injured in a 2009 fall from a fraternity house window is offering to drop their lawsuit against the Moscow school and others in exchange for a financial settlement.

The agreement proposed by the parents of Amanda Andaverde seeks $1 million in settlement money from the university, state Board of Education and the local and national chapters of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity.

As of late last week, none of the parties named in civil lawsuit filed by Andaverde and her parents, Esmeralda Banda and Raul Andaverde, had responded to the proposed settlement. The university doesn’t comment on pending litigation.

Andaverde and her parents filed the lawsuit in September claiming the university, state board and several fraternities and sororities on the Moscow campus didn’t do enough to ensure the safety of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon house where she was injured.

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