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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Activist calls for adding two seats to county commission

Once again, Spokane County commissioners will hear a proposal to increase their ranks by two. Community activist Karen Kearney announced her intention to bring the idea to the all-Republican commission last week. Kearney said she has no intention of running for one of the seats if the proposal comes to fruition, and that her request is not politically motivated.

Spokane County to pay EPA $100,000 for soil tests at vermiculite site

Spokane County will pay more than $100,000 to the Environmental Protection Agency for soil testing costs at a former asbestos processing site in the West Central neighborhood. The agreement between the county and the federal government, submitted in federal court last week, requires all future construction or sales of lots at 1318 N. Maple St. to undergo environmental scrutiny.

Spokane County affirms marijuana zoning laws

The laws governing where recreational marijuana businesses can locate in Spokane County were made permanent Tuesday with a unanimous vote by the Board of County Commissioners.

Spokane County says drug task force is still in its budget

County officials are pushing back after Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich predicted last week the end of large-scale drug trafficking investigations due to budget woes. Knezovich said Monday he’d met with county commissioners, who told him there was no additional money in the general fund available for the Spokane Regional Drug Task Force.

Spokane County CEO selection committee includes donors to likely candidate

Two members of the seven-member committee who will help choose the next CEO of Spokane County are campaign contributors to one of the likely candidates for the job, County Commissioner Todd Mielke. The two commissioners who aren’t interested in the job, which pays about $160,000 a year, say they’ve created a fair selection process and chosen strong leaders to help them name a new CEO.

Spokane County COO Dickson makes gains in government efficiencies

John Dickson loves a visual aid. His hands sweep around as he ticks off, rapid-fire, the changes he’s seen in his almost two years as chief operating officer for Spokane County. He uses a wooden model of a Boeing jet sitting on his desk at the county courthouse. And his go-to metaphor of kinked pipes illustrates his approach to what he calls “lean government.” Dickson is rarely without a means of illustrating his point.

Spokane County prosecutor ends bad-check partnership

Spokane County’s new prosecutor will briefly end a long-standing and controversial deal with a Missouri company that uses the office’s letterhead to target bad-check writers. But Prosecutor-elect Larry Haskell said he believes there’s value in the program and he wants to continue the partnership once he has staff in place to address ethical concerns. The county’s contract with the company, BounceBack Inc., will expire next month.

Low snowfall boosts budget, time for county road repair

The lack of snow that has hurt the area’s recreation industry has been a boon for county road crews seeking relief from an unexpected $2 million cost following damaging flooding caused by late snowfall last winter. “If we don’t have snow, we can get the gravel roads back into shape,” said Bob Keneally, operations and maintenance superintendent for Spokane County.

Planning Commission vote shows uneasiness with pot

Growing opposition to the legal marijuana industry in Spokane County put a routine vote on zoning codes in jeopardy Thursday and left the door open for a moratorium on new pot businesses. A volunteer board of citizens voted 4-2 Thursday to pass along a proposed set of zoning codes that essentially maintains the status quo of the marijuana industry in the county. The laws would allow pot growing to continue in many rural-zoned areas of the county, require 300 feet between the crop and an adjacent owner’s home, and limit processing to industrial areas.

23,500 Spokane County residents face 10 percent garbage rate hike

Private contractor Waste Management is asking thousands of Spokane County residents to pay about 10 percent more for trash collection beginning next year, a move that has some city and county officials crying foul. In a letter sent last month to residents of Millwood and unincorporated areas of northeastern Spokane County, Waste Management of Spokane said the rate hike for about 23,500 county customers was needed due to “rising costs for disposal, fuel maintenance and other operating and office expenses.”

City woos county building director

Spokane County’s building director won’t be helping Spokane City Hall. Randy Vissia told county commissioners Tuesday he was approached last month by officials at the city’s Business and Development Services Division to serve as a consultant on an “as-needed” basis over the next two years. The overture came after the contentious departure of city Planning Director Scott Chesney, whose ouster drew the ire of many of Spokane’s most prominent developers.