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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.

911 service restored to Washington state

911 service restored to Washington state

911 services have been restored to Washington state after they went down Thursday morning.

CenturyLink spokeswoman, Kerry Zimmer, said the problem began about 1:30 a.m. Thursday at Sheridan, Ore., and Oregon was affected for a time. The problem then spread to Washington.

CenturyLink says the outage affected dispatch centers statewide because they are all connected.



Second pitbull killed by officers following attack

For the second time in a week, law enforcement officers were forced to shoot and kill an aggressive dog Wednesday night.

SCRAPS, Spokane Police and the Spokane County Sheriff's Office responded to an apartment complex in the 6700 block of North Atlantic for reports of a dog that was acting aggressively.

SCRAPS spokeswoman Nancy Hill says the dog bit its owner and four other people and was continuing to act aggressively. A SCRAPS protection officer attempted to corral the animal, but was unable to.

Officers only decided to use deadly force as a last result to prevent further injuries.

The dog's remains were taken away to be tested for rabies.

Sharp Shooting hosts self defense class for business owners, employees

After nearly a dozen robberies in Spokane County, Sharp Shooting and the Spokane County Sheriff's Department teamed up to host a safe business practice workshop.

Around 15 businesses were represented at the workshop, that was lead by four experts in safe business practice and the use of lethal force.

Darin Teichmer and his wife are new owners of Tony G's Espresso in Medical Lake as of January.

"With this rash of coffee shop robberies, we just thought it would be a good idea to learn about the safety and keeping ourselves safe there, and our employees safe," said Teichmer.

Sharp Shooting owner, Robin Ball, said the goal of the class is to keep employees safe and make businesses a hard target. According to Ball, there are many different ways to do that including, "Better lighting, better locks, securing windows, do the employees have a location where they can go? Where they can retrieve and be safe," said Ball.
Now that some businesses and choosing to arm themselves, including Jitterz Java who was robbed three times, the workshop will go over Washington law and the use of lethal force.

Gerlach claims shooting was self-defense

Gerlach claims shooting was self-defense

Very soon a Spokane jury will be deciding whether Gail Gerlach's shooting of a car thief last year was self-defense or manslaughter.

When they begin their deliberations, they will consider the words from Gerlach himself, who took the witness stand Wednesday and told the jury he fired the fatal round that struck and killed Brendon Kaluza-Graham, and that he fired it in self-defense.

Gerlach claimed he only drew the gun holstered on his hip after he saw Kaluza-Graham stealing his SUV turn in his seat and point what Gerlach thought was a gun. However it was clear prosecutors think Gerlach has embellished his testimony Wednesday to benefit his own defense.

As the defense's last and most important witness, Gerlach told the panel about the morning he walked outside and saw a stranger sitting in his idling Chevy Suburban.

"He sat pretty tall in the seat, he saw me come out and he looked right at me, not very long and then he diverted his eyes," Gerlach said.

Gerlach said he chased the Suburban as it backed of his driveway and then as the SUV moved forward away from his home, the rising sun back-lit the driver as he raised his arm.

Police see rise in phone scams

Police see rise in phone scams

From the Spokane Police Department:


Over the past weeks, Spokane Police have received several reports of scams involving power companies. Victims have reported receiving a call about an overdue payment from the caller stating they are an employee of the power company, demanding immediate payment. Victims have sent money orders in as payments before realizing the calls was fraudulent.

 

Sharon Gerlach takes stand in husband's defense

Sharon Gerlach takes stand in husband's defense

Sharon Gerlach was calm and articulate and withstood some pointed cross-examination as she bolstered her husband Gail's claim he fired in self defense when he shot at Brendon Kaluza-Graham after he stole Gerlach's SUV in March 2013.

The question is will the jury consider her testimony credible or coached?

Gerlach took the witness stand to defend her husband Gail at his manslaughter trial Tuesday, saying Gail routinely warmed up their Suburban on chilly Spokane mornings. The couple was just walking out their front door when Gail Gerlach saw Kaluza-Graham backing the SUV out of their driveway.

"He's holding the door for me and he suddenly just let the door go and he took off jogging down the driveway waving his arms over his head saying 'Hey, stop, stop," she said.

Gerlach told the jury though the stolen SUV was now out in the street she could still see the thief through the Suburban's tinted windows.

"With tinted windows it washes out the color but because he was backlit by the sun, yes I could see through the windows," Sharon Gerlach said.

That's when Sharon Gerlach said she thought he husband Gail was about to get shot.