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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

In brief: Sheriff’s Office to host Citizen’s Academy on officer-involved shootings

The Spokane County Sheriff’s Office will host an eight-week Citizen’s Academy on officer-involved shooting incidents beginning April 7. The academy is open to the public.

Sessions will be held from 6 to 9 p.m. every Monday through May 26 at the Sheriff’s Office Training Center, 10319 E. Appleway Blvd. People who sign up must commit to attending at least seven of the eight sessions.

People will have the opportunity to hear from investigators with the Spokane Investigative Regional Response Team, which investigates officer-involved shootings. There will be hands-on defensive tactics training and a live-fire demonstration. Deputies who have been involved in previous on-the-job shootings will also speak.

Space is limited and background checks are required. Those interested in attending must register in advance by calling Deputy Travis Pendell at (509) 477-6044 or emailing

Student’s senior project ends projects

OLYMPIA – A 17-year-old Yakima County high school student is probably not the first student to do her senior project on ending senior projects.

However, she is the first to persuade the Legislature to go along.

Tiffany Stewart, along with her stepfather, Republican Rep. David Taylor, spearheaded lobbying efforts to change state law requiring senior projects, the News Tribune of Tacoma reported.

A political ally of Taylor sponsored a bill, but the measure didn’t go anywhere. But on a recommendation from a Seattle Democrat, the bill was turned into an amendment inside another education bill.

That measure was approved and is due to be signed by Gov. Jay Inslee soon.

Stewart said senior projects are vague mandates that aren’t practical for working students or just aren’t taken seriously by others.

Appeals court upholds murder finding

BOISE – The Idaho Court of Appeals has upheld the murder conviction of a 40-year-old former Nez Perce County sheriff’s deputy.

Joseph Thomas Jr. was convicted in December 2011 for strangling his ex-wife, Beth Irby-Thomas. He was sentenced to 25 years to life in prison.

The key issue at trial was whether Thomas murdered his wife by strangulation or whether the victim accidentally strangled herself. Thomas argues Lewiston’s District Court excluded evidence that would have supported his case.

Montana group seeks land for wild horses

MISSOULA – A group in Western Montana is seeking private land to place up to 325 wild horses that can’t be sustained on federal land.

The Rural Sustainability Organization in Drummond has applied to create a so-called “ecosanctuary” on private land to provide long-term homes for the horses. Drummond is between Missoula and Helena.

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management estimates it has about 33,760 wild horses roaming on its lands in 10 Western states as of 2013. Montana has 145 wild horses on the agency’s Pryor Mountain land in the state, and Wyoming has 3,459 wild horses on 16 federal range areas.