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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Keller Ferry out of service for weekend repairs

The Keller Ferry will undergo permanent repairs this weekend to a hairline crack in the hull below the water line. The work will put the ferry out of service starting at 7 p.m. Friday until Monday morning if the repairs go as expected.

High-tech ferry christened on shores of Columbia River

KELLER FERRY LANDING – The MV Sanpoil on Wednesday slipped away from her south shore terminal, quietly gliding across the Columbia River on her maiden voyage. “Ah, this is nice,” said Dolly Brudevold, a teacher at Keller Elementary School and a regular commuter on the 1.5-mile crossing for State Highway 21.

Getting There: Marshall gravel mine worries neighbors

Rock mining in the Marshall area of southwest Spokane County is putting dozens of heavy loads on Cheney-Spokane Road, and residents of the area said they are concerned about public safety. Knife River Corp., which operates in 17 states, has moved production to an old gravel mining area north of the two-lane road.

Spokane Airport taxiways being rebuilt

Spokane International Airport taxiways are being rebuilt over the next two years, in part to give arriving planes quicker access to terminals. The work on the $15.7 million project starts this summer and will continue in 2014.

Statewide crackdown catches drivers on phones

Spokane drivers continue to ignore cellphone laws despite the risk of a $101 ticket. State troopers and other officers cited 1,448 drivers in Washington May 20 through June 2. That’s more than the 1,059 tickets handed out last year during the annual “Click It or Ticket” enforcement campaign.

Getting There: Fancher Beacon tower taken down

The historic Fancher Beacon tower that once held a powerful rotating light for early aviation is now gone from atop Beacon Hill in east Spokane. Named after Maj. John T. Fancher, the beacon was erected in 1928 just months after his death at an air show in Wenatchee and named in his honor.

Transportation expert urges cities to think outside the car

An expert on transportation in the U.S. says communities can save money and create greater vitality by rethinking the way they use transportation dollars. By emphasizing alternatives to the automobile, cities will become friendlier places with less congestion, author Jeffrey Tumlin said.

Getting There: Upgraded Keller Ferry expected to run in 2013

A Seattle shipyard has won a $9 million bid to build a replacement for the small ferry boat that carries traffic across the Columbia River north of Wilbur, Wash. The Martha S. has been in service since 1948, carrying up to 12 cars in a crossing.

Spin Control: It’s time to serve up that great idea of yours

OLYMPIA – Two questions for the big thinkers out there: Do you have an idea how to improve Washington state in the future? Do you think it would stack up so well to other folks’ ideas that it could make the top 100? If so, a group calling itself 100 Ideas for Washington’s Future has a deal for you.

House, Senate panels close on transportation budget

OLYMPIA – The two legislative committees trying to decide how to spend nearly $9 billion on transportation over the next two years “largely agree” on how to spend it, Sen. Mary Margaret Haugen said Tuesday. Neither would seek an increase in the gasoline tax this year, although some members of both panels say that could happen in 2012. Both would spend nearly $72 million on the next phase of Spokane’s north-south freeway.

House panel won’t put gas tax hike on ballot this year

OLYMPIA – Washington voters will not be asked to raise gas taxes or any other tax related to roads this fall. 2012, however, could be different. As they announced the House proposal for an $8.9 billion transportation budget, the chairwoman and top Republican on the House Transportation Committee agreed Monday that there’d be no ballot measure sent to voters asking for a tax increase to pay for more road projects this year.

Keller Ferry back in service at 6 a.m.

The Keller Ferry across the Columbia River will go back into service at 6 a.m. Friday after spending a month in dry dock for maintenance, repairs and inspections.