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For most of their lives, John Mellinger and Dan Newburn didn’t know they were brothers. Now they talk almost every day via an Internet video phone. Their wives have become friends. They tease and josh each other and trade tips for programs and shortcuts on their Macs. In the space of about six months, their relationship has flourished, the long-lost brothers say.
A last-ditch effort is under way to save a historic downtown warehouse from a date with a wrecking ball. A downtown developer who has restored other buildings in Spokane is asking the city and Washington State University-Spokane to hold off on the removal of the former Pacific Fruit warehouse at Riverside Avenue and Division Street.
Everywhere she goes, Heather Tipke looks for him. The man with glasses and short, “military-style hair,” as the few people who saw her brother’s killer have described him. It’s been nearly five months since William O. “Billy” Floyd, 22, was stabbed to death in a central Spokane parking lot. His assailant hasn’t been found, but his family remains hopeful.
Merle Coldwell wanted to show his sweetheart the wonders of America last summer before she went blind – a grand gesture for a man of limited financial means and a weak heart. Coldwell didn’t let those obstacles get in the way: He bought an old, yellow school bus, named it Gracie, and went to work in two metered parking spots outside the Dresden Apartments along North Monroe Street in Spokane. He painted it white and red, like a Valentine. Coldwell raised the roof and covered the sides with cedar shingles.
Cocoa Butter, a tiny Shih Tzu, has not been the same since a stranger snatched her from a parked car last June, swung her by her leash and slammed her into a wall outside Spokane City Hall. The 5-pound dog suffered extensive injuries during the attack. She’s healing, but she has brain damage and nerve damage in her neck. Cocoa Butter’s bark has diminished to a peep because her vocal cords were nicked during treatment for her injuries. The 5-year-old has given up chasing cats. And the days of showing up her brother have passed.
For Vicky and Gene Littell, the year never got easier. Ten months since their daughter was found dead in a Spokane street, dragged more than 13 blocks by a driver who has never been found, and the questions remain: How? Why? And, above all, who?
The cancerous tumor in Chuck Young’s left lung had started to grow again. When readers of The Spokesman-Review last heard about Chuck and Shirley Young, of Coeur d’Alene, they were waiting to learn whether radiation and chemotherapy had killed the tumor, freeing them to focus on raising their four Canadian great-grandchildren.
It was not a great year to be selling an electric car that costs $121,000. Ask Rick Woodbury, the founder of Commuter Cars, the Spokane company that makes and sells the Tango, which costs that much – or more if you want longer-lasting electric batteries. Even so, 2009 was the year Woodbury, 60, opened the doors to possibly winning a $2.5 million prize in a prestigious competition.
Sean Halsted, of Rathdrum, will compete on an international stage this winter as a member of the U.S. Ski Team. Halsted, an adaptive cross-country skier, is training for the 2010 Paralympic Winter Games in Vancouver, B.C. The 39-year-old father of three has come a long way since the accident 11 years ago that paralyzed him from the waist down. During a U.S. Air Force training exercise in 1998, he fell 40 feet from a hovering helicopter and shattered his L1 vertebra.
Emily Boone’s basketball career has taken another turn. A heart defect ended her playing days after she helped Garfield-Palouse High School win a state championship her sophomore year. Next, she turned to coaching, sitting alongside head coach Steve Swinney and her father, Tim Boone, as the Vikings reached the State 2B tournament at the Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena last March.