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Pot professionals hold seminar for anyone interested in the "Canna-Biz"

Legal weed took center stage at the Bing Crosby Theater downtown on Wednesday night. Three experts hosted by The Inlander made the trip to answer questions from the public about the opportunities and hurdles ahead.

Matt Cohen, the pioneer of medical marijuana farms called Washington 'ground zero.' Cohen was a consultant for the state with drafting regulations for Initiative 502.

?I like the law in Washington over any other law in any other state or country so far,? Cohen said.

Cohen graced headlines in 2011 when federal agents raided his Northern California medical marijuana grow operation, despite actively working with local and state law enforcement to comply with regulations. His hope is that Washington will be positive role model for other states to follow.

?I think the market is going to have an ability to thrive,? Cohen said. ?It's going to be regulated very tightly, there's going to be a lot of tax revenue. I think it's going to be a successful program.?

Defense skips opening statement in Arteaga murder trial

Was he a jealous killer or have Spokane County Sheriff's detectives arrested the wrong man? That's the question a jury will have to decide as Dan Arteaga's murder trial got underway Wednesday.

Arteaga stands accused of killing his girlfriend Kim Schmidt on New Year's Eve 2011.

The prosecutors theorize Arteaga was able to sneak up on Schmidt and shoot her at point blank range because he had taken his small caliber pistol and hid it in a woman's sock as he approached the victim.

Detectives collected that sock as evidence and now say it has Arteaga's DNA inside of it, and that was the lead off statement prosecutors told the jury as the trial got underway Wednesday morning.

"He forgot to take the sock," Deputy Prosecutor John Love said.

Tests later confirmed the gun was inside the sock as well as Arteaga's DNA.

Prosecutors say Arteaga shot and killed Schmidt because his long-time lover was rekindling her relationship with the father of her 12-year-old daughter.

"Kim Schmidt said Mr. Arteaga was her friend and he was her friend but not the way he wanted it to be. She was ready to move on. He was not," Love said.

Spokane Police continue to clean up downtown

Spokane Police continue to clean up downtown

The Spokane Police Department said its working to make sure large groups of street kids don't take up residency in downtown Spokane this summer.

The department has been using the colder months to cull the herd of young people who loiter on sidewalks and outside businesses. Capt. Judi Carl, the officer in charge of the downtown precinct, is taking a no-nonsense approach to making sure downtown is a pleasant place for everyone.

It wasn't that long ago that scenes of street kids sucker punching a man in front of the Satellite Diner or sacking a sports apparel store was a frequent sight downtown.

The incidents served as wakeup calls that downtown Spokane was starting to slip out of control.

The city council reacted by passing a new city budget that included more officers; new ordinances were passed that should clear sidewalks for pedestrians instead of squatters.

Now, as the temperatures climb, so will the number of officers you see on the streets.

Advisory group ready to present Riverfront Park renovation recommendations

Riverfront Park, Spokane's crown jewel, is now one step closer to getting a massive makeover.

After a year-long process, Riverfront Park's advisory committee is presenting their renovation recommendations to the park board this week. Ted McGregor, chair of the park's 20-person advisory committee, said the group is recommending the park board make big improvements to the Howard Street promenade.

"There is a north bank over there somewhere but we can't see it, so we want to open up some of the walkways in the park, we think that will address safety and use," McGregor said.

There could also be changed on the horizon to the pavilion, turning it into a multi-use event space. The committee wants the ice skating rink to be moved closer to the gondolas, and the Imax theater to be torn down.

"It'll open up the views, open up the plaza, a lot more," McGregor said.

There are also plans to add a playground near the Red Wagon as well as one at the north end of the park.

"I think they are pretty cool, they are good ideas," park goer Megan Radford said.

U-Help program offers another Spokane Gives opportunity

U-Help program offers another Spokane Gives opportunity

Spokane is working towards becoming a more compassionate community through Spokane Gives Week, but if you don’t have time to volunteer there are other ways you can be involved. One way is by making a donation to the City’s U Help program.

U Help provides one-time emergency assistance to low-income households to help pay their city utility bills. The Salvation Army runs the program free of charge which means every dollar of every donation goes directly to people in need.

Spokane Police add five officers to ranks

Spokane Police add five officers to ranks

Five new recruits to the Spokane Police Department graduated from the Basic Law Enforcement Academy in Burien on Tuesday.

Chris LeQuire, Jordan Brown, Corrigan Mohondro, Brandon Fabian and Brandon Lynch will return to Spokane for three weeks of SPD specific training. The new officers will start serving the community at the end of April.

Race for the Cure runs new route

Race for the Cure runs new route

Downtown Spokane will be flooded with pink next weekend for the 2014 Race for the Cure, but this year runners will be trekking along a new course.

The race traditionally starts in front of the Convention Center, but because of hotel construction the course needed to be adjusted. This year, the course will start and end on Spokane Falls Blvd. and Post right in front of City Hall and the Bloomsday Runners.