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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Man Says Binge Led To Sex With Counselor

Kevin O'Neil was on a weeklong drinking binge when he called his counselor for help and she instead gave him sex, the 51-year-old Spokane man said in court Wednesday. He admitted his memory may be clouded by the whiskey, wine and seven cases of beer he put away during the breakdown. But he said he's sure about one thing: counselor Janice White had sex with him two times during that binge, when she was supposed to be helping him recover. "That's exactly what happened," O'Neil told the jury Wednesday. "I may not be sure about the dates and times.... All I was thinking about was how my life was falling apart around me."

Elder Haft Wins Hefty Award From Jury

The latest chapter in the Haft family feud has ended with a jury award of $10.4 million to Herbert Haft, the deposed head of a real estate empire. The elder Haft won the judgment against his son, Ronald, as compensation for being forced to step down as chairman of Combined Properties Inc.

Aetna Challenges Sprinkler Damage Appraisal

One of the nation's largest insurance companies is contesting an appraisal of damage caused by a sprinkler system at a Spokane building used for college classes. In a U.S. District Court complaint filed last week, Aetna Casualty & Surety Co. also says retired Washington Supreme Court Chief Justice William H. Williams was not competent to serve as umpire in the dispute.

King County Republicans Are Natural Guys

So who would have pegged the Republican-dominated King County Council as a bunch of health nuts? And alternative ones at that, touting the benefits of oil of evening primrose and so on. But it's true: The council is the first government in the country to approve spending tax dollars to pay for a public clinic offering naturopathic remedies.

Aclu Reimburses County For Fight Lost Over Monument

The American Civil Liberties Union has paid Bannock County more than $900 to cover the court costs run up in the three-year battle over the Ten Commandments monument on the county courthouse lawn. County Commission Chairman Tom Katsilometes said that while the check for $904 received last week is not a great amount, it does mark the end of the legal dispute that began in 1992 when Idaho State University student Andrew Albanese complained that the 25-year-old monument violated the constitutional prohibition against government endorsing specific religions.

Arbitrator Sides With Ex-Owners In Newspaper Payment Dispute

An arbitrator decided this week that Valley Herald publisher Clark Hager owes former owners John and Barbara Vlahovich more than $30,000. Arbitrator Greg Jalbert issued his decision Thursday. "Couldn't have happened to a meaner guy," John Vlahovich said in a telephone interview from his home in North Idaho.

Judge Oks Verdict In Bridge Case State Faces $3.5 Million Bill For Condemned Property

A Spokane County Superior Court judge Wednesday made final a $3.5 million verdict in a condemnation case that may be the most expensive ever resolved by an Eastern Washington jury. With interest and attorneys' fees, the total cost to the Washington Department of Transportation will be almost $5 million, 10 times the final offer made on property taken for construction of the U.S. Highway 395 bridge over the Little Spokane River. When completed a year ago, cost of the project was estimated at $10.7 million, but department attorney John Hurley said that assumed only $900,000 in land costs.

Citadel Selling Stock To Pay Legal Costs

The Citadel's costly fight to keep women out of its corps of cadets has forced the military school to sell off most of the stock donated to it by television mogul Ted Turner. The Citadel Board of Visitors, the state-supported school's governing body, voted to transfer enough stock to The Citadel Development Foundation to repay the private organization $1.5 million, The (Charleston) Post and Courier reported Saturday.

Widower Wins Second-Hand Smoke Claim

For 18 years, Mildred Wiley was a nurse in the psychiatric ward at a Veterans Administration hospital, caring for patients who smoked so much that she often worked in a blue haze. Last week, the U.S. Labor Department ordered the VA to pay her widower $21,500 a year until his death - half of her salary - in the first workers' compensation case in the nation linking secondhand smoke to a cancer death.

Son Sues Landlord, Cda Over Mother’s Death

The son of a woman killed in a 1993 apartment fire is suing the landlord and the city of Coeur d'Alene. Terry Lee Parfrey Jr. and his father, Terry Lee Parfrey Sr., claim Kimberly Parfrey's death could have been prevented. The mother of three died March 29, 1993, after flames scorched her friend's apartment at 621 Lakeside Ave., where she had been visiting.

Home Buyers Will Be Informed Of L-P Siding

People selling homes that are known to have Louisiana-Pacific Corp. siding should disclose that fact as a possible flaw, attorneys and real estate agents say. That requirement deals another blow to homeowners who have been complaining for years that L-P's Inner Seal siding will crack, warp, sprout mushrooms and disintegrate because moisture penetrates the siding. Disclosure prior to a sale could lower the value of a house.

Couple Sues After Crash With Patrol Car

A Post Falls couple is suing the city and a police officer because a patrol car collided with their truck. Del and Doris Gonderman filed the lawsuit in Kootenai County District Court, claiming the city failed to train its officer adequately and that the officer operated his patrol car recklessly. Post Falls Police Chief Cliff Hayes says the wreck happened because the couple pulled out in front of officer Patrick Knight. On March 28, Knight was driving east on Seltice Way, on his way to a burglary call about 10 p.m., Hayes said. The Gondermans were in a pickup truck in the parking lot at Hillstead's Furniture Store. Del Gonderman says he looked before pulling out of the parking lot onto Seltice Way. Knight's car slammed into the driver's side of the Gondermans' pickup, according to an Idaho State Police report. The Gondermans say Knight was speeding and didn't have his emergency lights and sirens going. "We believe that his lights were on based on the review by Idaho State Police and the witness statements," Chief Hayes said. No one was cited. In their tort claim, the Gondermans ask for more than $2 million in damages.

Company Liable For Cancer Damages

Jurors have found Owens-Corning Fiberglas Corp. liable for $3 million in damages for asbestos-related cancer suffered by four former shipyard workers. King County Superior Court jurors found the Toledo, Ohio-based company was negligent in distributing asbestos without adequate warnings about health risks. The cancers were attributed to work with asbestos insulation - dating back to World War II - at the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard in Bremerton.

Obese Worker For City Alleges Harassment

A 500-pound city employee, fed up with being called the "Goodyear blimp" and "Shamu" the killer whale, is suing the city, his boss and two co-workers for alleged harassment and discrimination. Brooks Motto filed his suit last week in Superior Court in Jersey City. He's asking for unspecified damages, attorneys' fees, back pay and employee benefits he claims the city has withheld from him.

Jury Denies Damages To Adoptive Parents

The state was negligent in not telling a Tacoma couple about all the disabilities suffered by their adoptive daughter, but doesn't owe the couple any damages, a Pierce County jury found. Tollison and Victoria McKinney adopted Abby after caring for her for five years as a foster child. They sued the state, arguing the state never told them about the extent of the girl's physical and mental problems stemming from fetal-alcohol syndrome.