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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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In brief: Spokane a finalist for ice-skating event

2010 Senior ladies competitor Sasha Cohen practices on the Spokane Arena ice in preparation for the U.S. Figure Skating Championships. (File)
2010 Senior ladies competitor Sasha Cohen practices on the Spokane Arena ice in preparation for the U.S. Figure Skating Championships. (File)

Spokane has been selected as a finalist to host a new ice skating championship event.

Star USA, which organizes sporting events, was informed Friday by U.S. Figure Skating that Spokane is in the running to host the first Team Challenge Cup from April 22-24 in 2016.

In the Team Challenge, skaters will compete for one of three teams: Team North America, Team Europe or Team Asia.

Each team will have three women, three men, two pair teams and two ice dancer teams, according to a letter from U.S. Figure Skating.

Participants will be selected after the 2016 World Figure Skating Championships.

“Literally every time somebody steps on the ice, they’re going to be one of the best skaters on Earth,” said Barb Beddor, vice president of Star USA.

Spokane hosted the 2007 and 2010 U.S. Figure Skating Championships. They rank as the top two best-attended U.S. skating championships in the event’s history.

U.S. Figure Skating will announce the winning city in September.

This article was corrected on July 18, 2015 to correct the dates of the event. They initially were incorrect due to an editor’s error.

Bicyclist who died on Mission identified

The man hit and killed by a pickup while riding his bicycle on Mission Avenue on Wednesday has been identified as Baltazar Gonzalez-Hernandez, 45.

Gonzalez-Hernandez died of blunt head injuries, according to the Spokane County Medical Examiner’s Office.

He was riding his bike on the south sidewalk of Mission near Rebecca Street when a westbound truck crossed the median and two eastbound lanes before striking Gonzalez-Herdandez and a brick wall. The driver of the truck, Robert G. Hargrave, was evaluated by a drug recognition expert who said he believed Hargrave was under the influence of a drug.

Hargrave was released from the hospital Friday and booked into the Spokane County Jail on a charge of vehicular homicide.

Man pleads guilty to stealing benefits

A Tekoa, Washington, man pleaded guilty Friday to stealing more than $439,000 in federal benefits since 1988 from his dead mother.

Robert E. Lee Jr. likely will avoid jail time in the case, according to a plea agreement he signed in U.S. District Court in Spokane. Social Security investigators discovered Lee’s theft while conducting a routine check on his mother, who would have turned 100 in 2013. Neighbors in Tekoa say they never saw the woman, but Lee continued collecting Social Security and Veterans Affairs checks in his mother’s name.

In a note he left for a girlfriend after fleeing from federal authorities in March, Lee claimed his mother died several decades before and he buried her in California. He continues to look for her remains, according to court records.

Lee has been diagnosed with terminal cancer, according to court documents, and will be ordered to pay restitution as well as serve five years of probation if the plea deal is accepted by the court. He’s scheduled to appear again in court in October.

Spokane Valley motorcyclist injured

KITTITAS, Wash. - Speed was a factor in a crash Friday on Interstate 90 that injured a Spokane Valley motorcyclist, the Washington State Patrol said.

Jason McCorkle, 34, was taken to KVH Hospital in Ellensburg, where he was listed in stable condition.

McCorkle was eastbound on a 2010 Harley-Davidson on I-90 about 12 miles east of Kittitas about 3:05 p.m. when a Toyota Rav4 slowed for debris in the road, a WSP news release said.

The motorcycle hit the the SUV and went into the median, the release said.

Neither the driver of the SUV, Mark Middleton, 28, of Bremerton, nor his passengers were injured, the WSP said.

Troopers said McCorkle is expected to be cited for speeding.

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