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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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Yard-sale boat deal an expensive lesson

A $950 yard-sale deal for a nearly 50-year-old boat left a Spokane Valley man with thousands of dollars owed in fees – and anger over the role of zealous law students who helped build the case against him. Pat Lewis, a self-employed metal worker and part-time bus driver for the West Valley School District, said he initially was confused by letters he received from Gonzaga Law School students working for University Legal Assistance. In the end, he added, a judge didn’t decide the matter based on the condition of the boat – which was sold on his lawn “as is” – but rather on his failure to properly react to the blizzard of paperwork filed against him.

Idaho welfare rates remain low despite enrollment spike

BOISE – Idaho is no welfare state, legislators were assured Monday, even though 20 percent of the population now receives some form of government assistance. Idaho’s benefits remain paltry compared to most states, and even after big jumps in the state’s food stamp rolls through the recession, Idaho’s food stamp rate remains below the national average.

State, USDA sharing data to catch fraud

OLYMPIA – State and federal agencies are teaming up in an effort to fight food-stamp fraud. While the Washington Department of Social and Health Services is tracking people who misuse their benefits, the U.S. Department of Agriculture is going after stores that illegally redeem benefits in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP. A new agreement between the two agencies is expected to help them find cheaters by analyzing each other’s data.

Ruling tosses out sanction of lawyer

The likelihood of finding an attorney willing to work for free got a boost this week. Appellate judges overturned a $70,000 sanction imposed against a Spokane attorney who had volunteered his time to try to stop an Oklahoma collection agency from harassing a Stevens County couple over an $843 debt.

Port strike could be prelude for dockworker talks

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The end of one labor crisis at the nation's busiest port complex could be a prelude to another. The resolution of an eight-day walk-off by clerical workers at the Los Angeles and Long Beach harbors that stalled billions of dollars of cargo and left container ships stranded off the California coast points to the stakes for upcoming contract talks with dockworkers at western U.S. shipping terminals.

Obama and Boehner discuss fiscal cliff by phone

WASHINGTON (AP) — For the first time in days, President Barack Obama and House Speaker John Boehner spoke by phone Wednesday about the "fiscal cliff" that threatens to knock the economy into recession, raising the prospect of fresh negotiations to prevent tax increases and spending cuts set to kick in with the new year. Officials provided no details of the conversation, which came on the same day the president, hewing to a hard line, publicly warned congressional Republicans not to inject the threat of a government default into the already complex issue.

Obama warns GOP against a new debt ceiling fight

WASHINGTON (AP) — Hewing to a hard line, President Barack Obama warned congressional Republicans on Wednesday not to inject the threat of a government default into complex fiscal cliff negotiations aimed at avoiding year-end tax increases and spending cuts that could harm the economy. "It's not a game I will play," declared Obama as Republicans struggled to find their footing in talks with a recently re-elected president and unified congressional Democrats.

Obama warns against another debt ceiling fight

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama warned Republicans on Wednesday against picking another fight over the nation's debt ceiling, telling business leaders that it's "not a game that I will play." Obama said in remarks to the Business Roundtable that he was aware of reports that Republicans may be willing to agree to higher tax rates on the wealthy as a way to avert the looming "fiscal cliff" and then come back next year with more leverage to extract spending cuts from the White House in exchange for raising the government's borrowing limit.

Clinton pledges more aid to Syrian rebels

NEW YORK (AP) — Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton is pledging millions more dollars in American assistance to the Syrian opposition as the U.S. and its allies explore new ways to help those seeking to oust President Bashar Assad. Clinton announced Friday that the Obama administration would provide the political opposition with an additional $15 million on non-lethal aid as well as $30 million in humanitarian support. The US has provided more than $130 million in humanitarian aid and almost $45 million in non-lethal aid to the rebels.

Farmers markets in Spokane create incentive for people to eat locally

Local farmers markets are encouraging people who receive money from federal food assistance programs to spend their dollars on healthy, local foods. Most Spokane-area farmers markets have accepted Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits – formerly known as food stamps – for years. But through the end of this growing season, three markets are offering match dollars as an incentive for people to use their SNAP money at the markets.

US Navy medical care boosts ties, image in Asia

PEARL HARBOR, Hawaii (AP) — The U.S. Navy is spending more than $20 million each year sending ships to poorer nations in the Asian-Pacific region to provide cataract surgery, dental fillings and other medical care. The Navy and its sailors are more often recognized for sending aircraft carriers to help troops in Afghanistan, fighting pirates off the Somali coast or intercepting ballistic missiles in missile defense tests off Hawaii. But the U.S. Pacific Fleet and analysts say the humanitarian missions are key to promoting U.S. national security, with relatively low costs even during a time of shrinking budgets.

Inmate who hanged himself identified

A man accused of helping Charles Wallace, who shot two sheriff’s deputies before shooting himself to death last month, is the inmate who tried to kill himself at the Spokane County Jail on Friday. Robert Lee “Bo” Ruth, 42, who is charged with rendering criminal assistance in the Wallace shooting spree and was jailed last week after his girlfriend told police he had assaulted her, remains on life support at a local hospital.

N. Idaho farmers get fed help after hail

LEWISTON, Idaho — Officials with the Farm Service Agency in north-central Idaho say some Nez Perce County farmers are eligible for federal loans and disaster assistance after huge hailstones damaged crops.

Tree-thinning project good for inmates, forest

Toppling trees at Riverside State Park is helping create a healthier forest of native ponderosa pines. The thinning project is also providing work experience for 50 inmates from Airway Heights Corrections Center while producing winter firewood for low-income families.