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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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In brief: South Hill victim identifies different man as shooter

New information has raised doubt about who pulled the trigger in a shooting last month on Spokane’s South Hill.

Court documents show that the victim of the April 21 shooting identified 18-year-old Keantray D. Bryant-Muellner as the person who shot him.

Police previously said that they believed that Diandre R. Johnson, 18, had pulled the trigger. Both teens are being held in the Spokane County Jail on $1 million bond on charges of attempted murder and armed robbery.

Bryant-Muellner told police and family members that Johnson shot the victim, Julien T. Sather, and that he had no idea Johnson planned to rob and shoot Sather. He told police that Johnson said he shot Sather because he thought Sather was reaching for something.

A check of Sather’s cellphone showed that he and Bryant-Muellner called and texted each other several times to arrange a meeting to buy marijuana from Sather, court documents say.

Sather admitted being in the parking lot at 13th Avenue and Cowley Street to sell marijuana. A large amount of the drug was found in his truck. Sather identified Bryant-Muellner as the one who tried to rob him and then shot him as he attempted to drive away.

Haskell forwards ethics request

A request to investigate the process leading to Spokane County Commissioner Todd Mielke becoming the frontrunner to become the county’s next CEO has been forwarded to Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson.

County Prosecutor Larry Haskell on Tuesday forwarded the request made by former commissioner Bonnie Mager for an ethics investigation, according to a statement from Haskell’s office.

Haskell’s letter to Ferguson contained no recommendation, just a copy of Mager’s complaint along with a request for Ferguson’s office to take whatever action it deems appropriate, said Spokane County spokeswoman Martha Lou Wheatley-Billeter.

Haskell also sent a reply to Mager, who had asked that Haskell forward her request to the state to avoid potential conflicts of interest.

There was no word about how, or if, the request will affect the hiring process to replace Marshall Farnell as CEO of Spokane County. Public interviews are scheduled for this morning with commissioners Al French and Shelly O’Quinn, and the two finalists, Mielke and Richard L. Davis.

Noder adds name to mayoral race

Spokane’s race for mayor has grown to three candidates.

Michael J. Noder, who also ran for Spokane mayor in 2007 and 2011, added his name to the ballot Tuesday.

This is the week when candidates in Washington officially file to run for office.

Noder co-owns a Spokane Valley-based demolition company. In the 2007 and 2011 mayoral primaries, Noder received between 3 and 4 percent of the vote.

Noder joins incumbent David Condon and Shar Lichty, who publicly announced their plans to run earlier. Condon filed on Monday; Lichty, an organizer with the Peace and Justice Action League of Spokane, on Tuesday.

Apartment complex hearing delayed

Spokane County commissioners on Tuesday put a hold on discussions about a controversial apartment complex near Wandermere Golf Course, saying they need more time to look at traffic studies and a development agreement before moving forward.

After apologizing for the delay, commissioners voted unanimously to move the hearing to June 16.

Trees are being cleared on portions of the 18-acre site just east of the Gleneden Heights neighborhood, where developers hope to construct a 354-unit complex. Neighbors testified at a lengthy hearing in February against the project, saying it would add too much traffic to area roads and too many students to the Mead School District, and many turned up Tuesday night in vain to testify again.

Developers want a 4-acre sliver of the parcel to be rezoned for high-residential development, which would allow construction of the complex by matching the zoning of the surrounding acreage. The neighbors have lodged a formal appeal to undo the zoning change for the rest of the parcel, saying the county did not complete a rigorous environmental review of the project before approving denser development in 2007.

Women’s jobs earn Idaho failing grade

Idaho ranked 50th and earned an F grade for women’s employment and earnings in a new report on the status of women in the states, while Washington ranked 17th and earned a B-minus.

The report, from the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, compares data on issues such as poverty and opportunity, violence and safety, health and well-being, and reproductive rights. Only West Virginia scored worse than Idaho in the employment and earnings section of the study, which has been compiled since 1996 and includes all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

Partly funded by the Ford Foundation, the report found that in almost every state, women are more likely to experience poor mental health than when the last study was conducted in 2004, but less likely to die from heart disease and breast cancer.

The report also found that women have higher rates of poverty and lower rates of business ownership in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, despite increasing numbers of women earning college degrees.

Lawsuit settlement tightens dairy rules

YAKIMA – Three dairies in Yakima Valley are operating under stricter sanitation standards following Monday’s resolution of a yearslong lawsuit.

The Yakima Herald-Republic reported the Community Association for the Restoration of the Environment was behind the lawsuit filed in February 2013 that claimed the dairies were contaminating groundwater with improper manure management.

While the dairies admitted no wrongdoing in the settlement, they agreed to double-line lagoons used to store manure, and widened their scope of residents they deliver drinking water or filters to.

The case originally involved five dairies, but one closed and two consolidated for court proceedings. The three remaining agreed to the new standards, and to pay $300,000 in attorney’s fees.

Yakima attorney Brendan Monahan represented the dairies and said he expects the regulations to become standard industrywide.

Seattle’s elephants back on road

SEATTLE – Seattle’s elephants are back on the road to Oklahoma City.

KIRO-TV reported Chai and Bamboo left San Diego on Monday night and are expected to take 25 to 30 hours to complete their journey to their new home at the Oklahoma City Zoo.

The elephants left Seattle’s Woodland Park Zoo last month, but a snowstorm in the Rockies forced their caravan to change plans and head for a stop in San Diego.

The move has been controversial and debated from the City Council to the courts. Opponents of the move wanted the elephants to be sent to a sanctuary, not another zoo.

Once they get to Oklahoma City, the pair of Asian elephants will be quarantined for 30 days as is standard procedure.

Then they will join five other elephants already at that zoo.

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