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Thursday, September 19, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Spokane

In brief: Gas tax hike part of transportation plan

OLYMPIA – A major transportation plan to be unveiled today will propose a 2-cent-per-year increase in the state’s gasoline tax. The budget plan, from House Transportation Committee Chairman Judy Clibborn, D-Mercer Island, will divide the money between new projects and maintenance and eventually raise the state’s gas tax by a total of 10 cents.

Gov. Jay Inslee, who has said he wants a transportation package that would build new projects and fix some of its crumbling infrastructure, declined to endorse it Tuesday, saying only it is “a good start on that discussion.”

House Speaker Frank Chopp, D-Seattle, called the plan a major jobs package and said the plan would set aside significant amounts for maintenance. Previous gasoline tax packages have been criticized as emphasizing new projects and not leaving enough for ongoing road repairs.

Hauser ice fishing event called off

Thin ice on Hauser Lake prompted the Idaho Department of Fish and Game to cancel an ice fishing event scheduled for Saturday.

Only two anglers were on the lake Tuesday on the north side of the lake.

“While two individual anglers may be able to get on and off the ice successfully, IDFG cannot sponsor an ice fishing event that could attract several hundred people when the ice is thin,” department spokesman Phil Cooper said.

Stolen car pursuit includes helicopter

Deputies used a helicopter to track a stolen car Saturday night that raced through Spokane before crashing and flipping on its roof.

The driver, Vladimir A. Stepanov, 20, was jailed by the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office on suspicion of auto theft, eluding police and other charges.

The helicopter allowed deputies to pursue the stolen 2003 gold Honda Accord around 11 p.m. without having to engage in a high-speed car chase. The Accord raced above 100 mph at times, according to a Sheriff’s Office news release.

The car was stolen in the 4700 block of North Upriver Drive and later spotted by a witness in the 9800 block of North Alberta Street.

A chase went along Five Mile Road, north on Waikiki, and then north along Mill Road.

The helicopter, which is flown by volunteers, was already in the air for a scheduled flight and picked up the pursuit.

The Honda turned from Mill Road onto Little Spokane Drive and crashed near the intersection with Midway.

When Stepanov was booked into jail, deputies said they found two credit cards belonging to someone else in his wallet. Deputies checked the name on the cards and found a vehicle prowling report in which that person’s credit cards were stolen.

East Sprague barista robbed by gunman

A Spokane Valley barista said a man pulled a gun on her through the drive-thru window and demanded cash Monday.

Police said the barista of Dunk’s Espresso, 16919 E. Sprague Ave., appeared visibly shaken as she described the man who pulled up in a white truck and demanded cash when she opened the window to take his order. He placed a black handgun on his lap before she gave him cash from the register, and he sped away eastbound on Sprague.

The suspect was described as a male in his 30s, with short black hair and short stubble on his face.

The vehicle was described as an older, white, single-cab truck in poor condition, possibly a Nissan.

Anyone with information about this incident is asked to call Crime Check at (509) 456-2233.

McKenna opts to join law firm in Seattle

SEATTLE – Former Washington Attorney General Rob McKenna has joined the Seattle office of an international law firm specializing in technology and consumer product issues.

McKenna was announced Tuesday as a partner in Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe and co-chair of Orrick’s public policy group.

After losing the race for governor to Democrat Jay Inslee and leaving office in January, McKenna said he wanted to take a break from public service.

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