Spokane Police
Paige Browning / Spokane Public Radio

Spokane’s Use of Force Commission has concluded its two-year review of the Spokane Police Department with a letter to the mayor. The commission acknowledged improvements in its 26 recommendations from 2013, but notes two areas left undone.

Brooke Martin

A young Spokane inventor and entrepreneur has developed a unique way for you to keep in touch with your dog when you’re nowhere near home. 15-year-old Brooke Martin’s invention was borne out of the fact her Golden Retriever, Kayla, had separation anxiety. So, she developed a device she calls iCPooch, so she could call Kayla at home during the day when she was gone.

Free Trees For Inland NW Residents

Mar 19, 2015
City of Spokane

The number of trees in Spokane and Coeur d'Alene will mushroom this spring with give-aways by both cities. As part of its Spokane Forest Initiative, the City of Spokane will hand out 2,000 free trees - one batch on April 17th and 18th at three area nurseries - and the next batch in October.

Hillyard Opening Doors to Change With Police Precinct

Mar 17, 2015

Tuesday the Spokane Police Department opened its second official police precinct, right in the heart of the Hillyard neighborhood. It comes at the beginning of a wave of change for the old industrial area.

Business owners and residents stepped in from the rain for tours of the new precinct. 15 officers and staff, including a captain and three lieutenants, will eventually call the Hillyard station home-base. Police Chief Frank Straub says Hillyard has seen a recent drop in its crime percentage, but says actions will speak louder than statistics.

Spokane's $73M Summer Construction Underway

Mar 16, 2015
Paige Browning / Spokane Public Radio

Construction season has begun in eastern Washington. City of Spokane leaders stood along the Northwest Boulevard bluff Monday and announced more than 40 planned summer projects, including one along the bluff.

Mayor David Condon says the season’s projects will cost $73 million. The biggest of which is construction of a new CSO tank on Northwest Boulevard, and adjacent street-scaping. The will be the city’s 11th of 20 planned combined-sewer-overflow tanks.

An official from the U-S Department of Agriculture paid a visit to the Spokane area Thursday, and she brought hopeful news about increased exports from our region. Agriculture Deputy Undersecretary for Farm and Foreign agricultural services, Alexis Taylor, toured the Spokane Seed company.

Terrain Enters 'Uncharted Territory' With Symphony

Mar 9, 2015

(part of a special music segment)

The people who put on Terrain each year, the one night art and music event, have a new act up their sleeves. The event ‘Uncharted Territory’ is collaboration with the Spokane Symphony, and local bands. SPR's Paige Browning spoke with Terrain organizer Luke Baumgarten and Spokane Symphony conductor Eckart Preu about the new event.

NAACP Campaign Unites People Against Racism

Mar 9, 2015
Race Unity
Spokane NAACP / https://www.facebook.com/spokane.naacp

More than 100 Spokane residents rallied outside Monday's city council meeting, in unity against racism. The city’s Human Rights Commission has linked up with the Spokane NAACP on a campaign to combat racism. They will ask businesses to display signs in their window saying they welcome everyone.

Spokane Wants Seat At Tesoro Terminal Discussion

Mar 2, 2015

Tesoro Savage wants to ship crude oil from the Port of Vancouver, Washington, which the city has come out against. Now, the city of Spokane wants in on the conversation. Last Friday Spokane Mayor David Condon filed an intervention petition with site evaluators in the state. The Energy Facility Sight Evaluation Council (EFSEC) coordinates the licensing for facilities like power plants and shipping terminals.

The trial began Wednesday in federal court in Spokane for a group of people accused of growing marijuana near Kettle Falls in northeast Washington. The case is seen as a test of federal drug laws, in a state that has legalized recreational and medical marijuana.

In the case known as the Kettle Falls Five, there are now only three defendants. Charges were dropped (earlier this month) against 71 year old Larry Harvey, who has been diagnosed with stage five pancreatic cancer. Miller's family members are accused of growing marijuana, which they say was for medicinal purposes.

Early Spring Means Early Spring Cleanup for Spokane

Feb 16, 2015
City street work
Paige Browning / Spokane Public Radio

While skiers and geologists note the negative impacts of a warm winter, street crews have taken advantage of the weather in Spokane. Monday, the mayor filled potholes with the city’s street crew, who said they’re ahead of schedule this year.

That’s the sound of workers filling a pothole in West Central, roughly number 820 for the year so far. By this time in 2014, crews had filled only 440 throughout the city. Streets Department Director Mark Serbousek says they’re doing work normally left for spring.

Spokane consumers were in a buying mood last summer. They made taxable retail sales jump by more than 9 percent over the year before. The Washington Department of Revenue tallied up two-point-one six billion dollars in retail sales in Spokane County in the third quarter last year for a rate of increase which exceeded even King County, the state's most populous.

The City of Spokane recorded about half that total, a jump of more than 7 percent over the same time in 2013.

City Sets 9-Month Plan To House All Homeless Vets

Feb 10, 2015
Goodwill Industries of the Inland Northwest

Monday, Spokane’s mayor announced an ambitious initiative to end veteran homelessness in the city. Mayor David Condon says the city will spend the next nine months pushing to find housing for all veterans who need it. One local vet shared his own experience with SPR.

Condon, an Army vet himself, says the city is joining a new national initiative to help homeless veterans.

Library To Curate Spokane Hall of Fame

Jan 26, 2015

Monday, leaders of the Spokane library announced plans for a hall-of-fame to honor Spokane residents of past and present.

Spokane Public Library Foundation director of development Sarah Bain says they are accepting nominations now for the inaugural Citizen’s Hall of Fame.

Bain: “This isn’t just the who’s who of Spokane, but as an example in the science and medicine sector, who is that scientist, who is that person working in the basement of a hospital, coming up with some really innovative ideas.”

From Spokane Public Radio's archives, this program was produced in 1984 by Mary Mitiguy Miller to celebrate The Age of Elegance in Browne's Addition, Spokane.

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac Beat Spokane Tax Rap

Dec 30, 2014

The City of Spokane has lost a costly tax battle with two federal home mortgage entities commonly known as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The city - and many other municipalities across the country - have been trying for years to impose excise taxes on the transfer of real property held or controlled by the two federal agencies.

Spokane Birders Aid in Annual Avian Census

Dec 29, 2014
US Fish and Wildlife Service / Flickr- https://flic.kr/p/e4XL7F

Dozens of hardy Spokane area residents strapped on  boots, parkas and binoculars Sunday before dawn and fanned out across miles of new snow to perform an annual ritual - the Christmas bird count. The Spokane Audubon Society event was part of the 115th annual nationwide count - the longest-running wildlife census in the world.

School Cameras Will Catch Speeders

Dec 18, 2014

Drivers in two school zones in Spokane will soon want to pay better attention to the speed limit. Monday, the Spokane City Council approved a test period for speed detecting cameras to track drivers near Finch and Longfellow elementary schools.

Jon Snyder sponsored the measure and says it’s about pedestrian safety near schools.

Snyder: “Some of them have flashing lights, for 20 mph, and some of them don’t. These cameras only work in conjunction with 20 mph flashers, so when they’re on and its clearly pick up or drop off time, that’s when the cameras would be in effect.”

Failing Old Bridges to be Torn Out and Replaced

Dec 15, 2014

A couple of shaky old deteriorating bridges in Spokane County will be torn out and replaced. Good news for drivers, but it means the dilapidated old spans are among the worst in the state. Under a state-managed part of a federal highway bridge program, the Ritchey Road bridge over Deep Creek and the Monroe Road bridge over Dragoon Creek will both be replaced.

Replacement of the Ritchey Road bridge should cost about $1.5 million; the Monroe Road structure about $1.2 million.

Verne Windham speaks with Jeffrey Dodd and Thom Caraway, editors of the new anthology of Spokane poetry, Railtown Almanac. Many of the poets are Spokane residents, others are former Spokane residents. For more information, visit www.sagehillpoetry.com.  

Although Spokane is not known for having a large African American population, the community has historically been home to some civil rights struggles. A new book takes a look at the heritage of blacks in Spokane.

Spokane Start-Up Turns On Sales For Movie Projector

Dec 1, 2014
Project Wedge / http://www.projectwedge.com/

A Spokane start-up company has developed a movie projector that will be on the market in 2015. Push aside memories of the slide projector in science class, or costly projectors at the electronics store. This one is geared toward the average consumer.

Recent Spokane House Fire Highlights Heater Safety

Nov 26, 2014

A recent house fire in Spokane has brought to light the dangers of electric baseboard and space heaters. The Spokane Fire Department says a 97-year-old woman died in a fire in October, caused by a suitcase lighting on fire from the baseboard heater.

A rally in Spokane to show support for the family of Michael Brown drew about 200 people to the streets Tuesday night. Brown was the Ferguson, Missouri teenager shot and killed by police officer Darren Wilson.

Justin Pimsanguan of the group Don't Shoot Incorporated says the protest served to send a message that police need to be held accountable for their actions.

Another business has chosen to relocate to the facilities at Spokane International Airport. Aero Flite Inc is a company that operates and maintains air tankers used to battle forest fires. The company will be moving its operations to the industrial park adjacent to the airport, and occupy a 30 thousand square foot hanger and 25 thousand square foot business office.

It’s the latest addition to the airports 7000 acres. SIA spokesman Todd Woodard explains the reason behind the company relocating here.

Paige Browning / Spokane Public Radio

The city council voted unanimously Monday night to name the plaza outside city hall the Spokane Tribal Gathering Place. Its subtitle, ‘the Place Where Salmon is Prepared’, is what Spokane tribal members historically called the spot. 

Transit Expert Gets Spokane Leaders Moving

Nov 11, 2014

Transportation officials in Spokane want other community leaders on board with expanding public transit. So, on Monday the Spokane Transit Authority held a leadership summit on their 10 year plan “STA Moving Forward”.

STA brought in Jarrett Walker of Jarrett Walker and Associates, who was a consultant for Spokane transportation plans in the 1990’s. Walker says the future of transit in Spokane hinges on the balance of funding for urban and non-urban routes.

Paige Browning photo of Ormsby; Washington Secretary of State photo of Delaney

An established democratic state representative and a libertarian with experience outside Washington give voters two very difference options this election. Representative Timm Ormsby squares off against Paul Delaney for the second state rep seat in district three, Spokane’s core.

Ideas Sought for State-Owned Railroad

Oct 27, 2014

The State of Washington is asking eastern Washingtonians to do some brainstorming about how to run its railroad. The state Department of Transportation is not just about roads and bridges and traffic cameras.

Since 2007, the state has owned nearly 300 miles of track in eastern Washington, most of it sloughed off by big railroads as they consolidated and got rid of unprofitable branches. But the lines were important to grain growers - thousands of them - to get their crops to market.

Parks and Streets in Hands of Spokane Voters

Oct 27, 2014
Riverfront Park Master plan concept: http://riverfrontparkmasterplan.org/design-concepts/
Olson Kundig Architects

Spokane County voters are being asked to approve two funding plans on the November ballot, one for county parks and one for street projects. They will not result in a tax increase, a fact widely advertised, but will extend the lifespan of existing taxes.