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Spokane City Council may get 4 percent pay raise

Spokane's Salary Review Commission is taking public testimony Thursday afternoon at City Hall on a proposal to give city council members a 4 percent pay raise.

Under the proposal, member salaries would rise to $31,200 a year and the salary for the council present would rise to $57,200. All are eligible for city health care benefits, a $1,800 per year auto allowance and a $540 per year cellphone allowance.

The Spokesman-Review reports any raises approved by the commission would take effect in January.

Spokane City Council members are the third-highest paid in the state, according to an Association of Washington Cities survey.

The highest paid are Seattle City Council members at $120,000 a year. Tacoma is second at about $41,000 a year. Spokane's current council pay is $30,000.

Waldref talks Logan neighborhood on Council Connections

Waldref talks Logan neighborhood on Council Connections

From the City of Spokane:

The next edition of Council Connection, the cable television program featuring Spokane City Council members as hosts, will be shown live, Thursday, April 3rd, at 6 pm on CityCable 5. Council Member Amber Waldref, District 1, will host the program titled Increasing Logan Neighborhood Vitality.


Snyder to host mobile office event Friday

Snyder to host mobile office event Friday

City Councilman Jon Snyder will host his first mobile office event of the year on Friday.

Snyder started holding mobile office events last Spring. The casual meetings give residents a chance to ask questions and voice concerns in an informal and more personal arena.

Local Ukrainians hope for peaceful outcome overseas

Local Ukrainians hope for peaceful outcome overseas

At Pilgrim Slavic Baptist Church it was a day of prayer as tension grows in Eastern Europe.

"As a church we are praying and praying for families," Pastor Alexander Kaprian said. "We are not divided in the community."

Most of the parishioners came to the United States two decades ago from the former Soviet Union. They still have family and friends in Ukraine and Russia, where talks of war between the two countries are starting to become real. On Sunday, Ukrainian Interim Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk said the country was on the brink of disaster.

"This is a red alert. This is not a threat. This is actually a declaration of war to my country," Yatsenyuk said in a televised address.

Russian President Vladimir Putin gave the green light for troops to mobilize into the southern part of Ukraine following a unanimous vote from Parliament. The move is causing locals with family and friends in the Eastern European countries to worry. Maryna Wolff has family in that area and said her sister is already seeing a military presence.

"She said that there are armored vehicles moving into the area," Wolff said with translation from her husband.

Prosecutor candidate cites Shorty Belton's death as part of platform

Prosecutor candidate cites Shorty Belton's death as part of platform

This November, Spokane County voters will elect a new prosecutor and, as of Friday night, the campaign has its first controversy, involving one of the candidates using the death of WWII veteran Shorty Belton as part of his platform.

Spokane attorney Breean Beggs is one of two men running for county prosecutor and, in a letter to his supporters, Beggs brings up the murder of Delbert "Shorty" Belton, saying our criminal justice system failed to protect Belton from a pair of teenagers who had already been in trouble with the law.

The two teenagers suspected of killing Belton -- Kenan Adams-Kinard and Demetrius Glenn -- had both been arrested and punished at the juvenile detention center prior to Belton's murder.

Beggs thinks, in hindsight, not enough was done to keep those young offenders on the straight and narrow. In his letter to supporters Beggs writes the attack on Belton "was predictable based on prior violence."

Victims' families angry with Inslee death penalty decision

Victims' families angry with Inslee death penalty decision

Washington Govenor Jay Inslee's decision to suspend executions of death row inmates has prompted a new senate bill, introduced by State Senator Steve O'Ban of Tacoma that has gained the support of the families of murder victims whose killers are on death row.

Three of the nine men on death row are from Spokane: Byron Scherf, who killed prison guard Jayme Biendl, Spokane serial killer Robert Yates, who killed 13 people, and Dwayne Woods, who beat two Spokane women to death.

Families of their victims are joining O'Ban to show Inslee his decision is not in favor of the victims. The bill will require Inslee to gather input from the state clemency and pardons board before signing a reprieve that would halt executions.

"Everyone here sees a name, but they don't get faces. This is Telisha," Sherry Shaver said.

Shaver is Telisha Shaver's mother; Telisha was one of two women beaten to death in 1997 by Dwayne Woods. She addressed the Senate Law and Justice Committee pleading on behalf of her daughter.

Spokane's LGBT business leaders react to Arizona bill veto

Local LGBT business leaders are applauding Arizona Governor Jan Brewer's decision to veto the bill that would have allowed businesses to turn away people based on their religious beliefs.

"It's a great day in the nation to know that this type of legislation was vetoed and this type of discrimination was not approved in Arizona," Marvo Reguindin said.

Reguindin is the General Manager for the region's LGBT chamber of commerce affiliate, Inland Northwest Business Alliance. He said although it was a state issue, it would have impacted people living in the Inland Northwest.

"If that bill would have passed, many residents, many LGBT and ally residents in Spokane would make decisions of boycotting Arizona," he said.

SB1062 would have provided businesses and individuals a cushion for discrimination lawsuits if they could prove that their acts were based on religious beliefs. In short, gays and other minorities could be turned away from places like restaurants. It's a move that local LGBT professionals call a "financial disaster."