The Spokesman-Review from Spokane, Washington on June 7, 1989 · 11
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The Spokesman-Review from Spokane, Washington · 11

Spokane, Washington
Issue Date:
Wednesday, June 7, 1989
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4 ALSO IN THIS SECTION- REGIONAL DIGEST, B2' OBITUARIES, B5 EDITORIALS, B6 PRIGGEES VIEW, B6 LETTERS, B7 DAM APPEAL States cannot regulate water flows from federally approved power dams, a federal appeals court ruled Tuesday. REGIONAL, B3 COMMISSION ACTION In other action Tuesday, Spokane County commissioners APPROVED a $115 million state grant to provide mental health services for 1989-1991. AUTHORIZED a $867,800 grant application to build campgrounds and restrooms, and install landscaping and roads at the off-road-vehicle park on Garfield Road APPROVED a $1,500 license agreement with the Union Pacific Railroad to install sewer pipe under the rail line as part of the North Valley Interceptor Project. SET a June 27 public hearing to consider the county's six-year transportation plan and the 1990 road construction and equipment list. Sheriff wants to resume renting cells By Julie Sullivan Staff writer Spokane County may again rent jail cells to Washington inmates but this time. Sheriff Larry Erickson said they'd be prisoners from elsewhere in the state, not the District of Columbia. Tuesday, Erickson said the state Department of Corrections wants the county to house 40 inmates for the remainder of the year. The program could earn the county up to $54,000 a month. County commissioners, however, met the proposal with stony silence. After a rent-a-cell program with the Dis- Vvell have to think about it COMMISSIONER JOHN McBRIDE trict of Columbia ended in March in a bitter wash of criticism, lawsuits and threats of riot, no one appeared eager to take on new inmates, or even discuss the matter. Well have to think about it, said Commissioner John McBride at an afternoon briefing. Erickson said commissioners have about 30 days to consider a contract with the state. Unlike the aborted D.C. contract, Erickson said the county successfully housed state inmates between November 1986 and 1988. Were not talking about hard core people here, Erickson said of the inmates. Ive talked to the (Washington State Council of City and County Employees) union and theyve dealt with them before and never had a problem. The inmates would come from facilities now being remodeled around the state. No information is available on what types of criminals would be transferred, but the inmates would have less than a year to serve in their terms. The 40 inmates would be held in the county jail until being moved to the Pine Lodge Correctional Center or the pre-release center. But the county may not be able to take on state prisoners easily, said Chief Civil Prosecutor Jim Emacio. The jail lacks the law library, exercise equipment, home industry or work release programs to which state inmates facing long sentences are entitled. Before we get started into bed on this we have to make sure were not getting into a lawsuit, Emacio said. Please see INMATES: B2 San Diego cops celebrate with party, T-shirts Hit team theme at party angers victim of shooting By Bill Morlin Staff writer Doyle Wheeler hit team T-shirts were sold at a recent police party in San Diego, convincing the retired police lieutenant that his former colleagues played a role in an attack in which he was shot last year. The T-shirts showed an ear and proclaimed the wearer to be a member of the Doyle Wheeler Hit Team, the San Diego Union reported. Wheeler was tied up, burned with a cigarette and shot in the ear by two intruders who broke into his Suncrest home northwest of Spokane on April 19, 1988. The crime, investigated by the Stevens County Sheriffs Department, remains unsolved. Wheeler, 37, contended the attack in his home was carried out by thugs who had ties to the San Diego Police Department and may have been paid with cocaine. A call was made to the department during the attack. Top officials of the San Diego Police Department have disavowed any connection with the attack on Wheeler. Meanwhile, the California State Attorney Generals office issued a statement last week, saying there was no evidence to suggest Wheelers gunshot wound was self-inflicted. The retired police officer has been the target of criticism by some of his former fellow officers since he testified against a white officer, Donovan Jacobs, who stood trial on charges of fatally shooting a black youth. For three years, Wheelers former colleagues have thrown a party to celebrate his departure. Jacobs told the San Diego newspaper that he was involved in selling 75 T-shirts at $8 apiece for the party that was advertised in leaflets distributed and posted in the San Diego police building. Capt. Dick Toneck, a police spokesman, told the San Diego Union that the party was tacky and poorly conceived. Contacted Tuesday, Wheeler said he was aware the party was going to take place. Donovan Jacobs, for all intents and purposes, is confessing and thumbing his nose at the system by saying, I did it, but you cant prove it. Why else would some rational person, who had nothing to do with this, print up T-shirts to commemorate the shooting? Wheeler asked. Wheeler said the party and the T-shirts go beyond disgusting. Meanwhile, a production crew with the TV series Unsolved Mysteries is due in Spokane before the end of this month to file a segment on Wheeler. J Staff photos by Colin Mulvany Fellow Shaw Middle School students comfort Jalene Bernard who was moved by an emotional anti-drug appeal by speaker David Toma. Straight talk about being straight inspires kids By Anne Windishar Staff writer David Toma screamed at Spokane teen-agers for nearly three hours Tuesday. He berated them, called them names and told them they were headed for a lifetime of hell. When he was done, he told the 1,500 students that he loved them and they returned the sentiment with three standing ovations. They were cheering David Toma, former New Jersey cop who says hes sick of watching American youth destroy themselves. But what the students were applauding was his hard-line message about drugs. There are a lot of problems, and I think hes the answer, said Spokane seventh-grader Jalene Bernard, sobbing after Tomas speech. He came down kind of hard, but I think thats exactly what we all needed. Someone finally told us about drugs and alcohol in our own language, said 11-year-old Tom Cramp. It made sense to me finally. Toma, who has been lecturing on drugs and alcohol since 1951 and was the inspiration for the television series Baretta, offered straight talk about being straight. He spared no feelings; at one point he bawled out teachers for excusing students to the restroom during his speech. He talked of his own addiction years ago, and offered help. I know some of you came to school high today, he said. Youre possessed by those drugs but dont even see it because youre being held hostage by the garbage youre doing, baby. Find yourself a good friend, he advised. Someone you can talk to and dont be afraid to cry. Tomas visit was a victory for Shaw Middle School. In March, Jan Folands art students saw his video. They Please see TOMA: B2 Former New Jersey police officer David Toma. Little town has big beef over response to crime By Julie Sullivan Staff writer It isnt the first time burglars have swiped cigarettes and cough syrup from Hurds 100-year-old grocery. But for the first time in-their lives, Rockford residents here are blaming drugs. Drugs? In Rockford? With a capital D, say angry residents pointing to a mini-crime wave they say has become a major problem at the northern tip of the Palouse. In the past two months, someone has burglarized the general store, pilfered appliances from three garages and ransacked the office at the United Methodist Church. Strange cars cruise neighborhoods all day, and race down Main Street all night. In this town of 400, folks have started locking their doors and jotting down license plate numbers. Theyre buying bumper stickers that say No! Down at the Harvest Moon Cafe, talk is turning tough. , , . . , If nothing else, we re making it clear there isnt going to be any stealing or dealing around here, said town Councilman Ron Fulkerson. Local leaders are holding a town meeting at 7 tonight to discuss recent crime and the drug activity they suspect is behind it. With the nearest sheriffs deputy 20 minutes away in Spokane, some residents want to form a Rockford police department. Others want to know what Spokane County sheriffs department does with the $10,000 law enforcement fee it collects each year. The fee buys 20 hours of law enforcement a month. We get patrolled at times we dont need it on Sunday afternoons, Fulkerson said. Or at the end of the month, theyll be here two or three days in a row to get their time in. But at 3 a.m. when residents have called the sheriff to report suspicious vehicles, loud parties and drunken drivers, theyve gotten little or no response, said Fulkerson, an insurance investigator and pastor of the Methodist Church. Theyre telling us were a low priority down here and Im saying huh? said Mark Lonam, a field representative with Cenex Full Circle Seed Plant. We demand the same service as the rest of the county. People are fed up, said one young mother who asked not to be identified because she has called the police about her neighbors. Were as important as anyone. Undersheriff Ron Dashiell agrees. But with too many miles and too few deputies, he says the sheriffs department has a hard time pleasing everyone. Residents in the Spokane Valley complain of the same lack of attention, he said. If they have concerns I need to know about them. Its their community but we have to be flexible and communicate, Dashiell said. Maybe we have some scheduling problems, but if an emergency happens during the 21st hour, we dont say sorry, we still respond. Sheriff Larry Erickson said the town voluntarily reduced its contract with the county three years ago because it wanted less law enforcement. Theyre getting more out of it than Please see ROCKFORD: B2 Stall photo by Shawn Jacobson Ron Fulkerson and Mark Lonam are taking a stand against the incursion of drugs and crime into their community. Quiet neighborhoods, low-rent homes make small towns vulnerable By Julie Sullivan Staff writer They come looking for the good life. The same quiet streets, affordable housing and wide open spaces that attract city dwellers to small towns also attract drug dealers. Traffickers look for an area with an limited amount of law enforcement, said Greg Williams, an agent with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. The downfall is, they draw attention to themselves. Few drug users are willing to drive to outlying communities, so dealers in small towns most likely just live there. They drive into Spokane to deal, and drive home to live the quiet life of Riley, Williams said. If drug dealers intend to manufacture or raise drugs in an area, they move so quickly most neighbors never know it, officers say. Small towns are really vulnerable, said Inspector Ken Meyer of Stevens County Sheriffs Department. He has uncovering three major speed or methamphetamine labs in his area in the past five years, and said dealers typically move into low-rent older homes, spend about three months setting up a lab or growing a crop of marijuana, then move on. DEA agents say they will pursue such activity wherever it is. But, they are usually so limited by staffing and money that they typically concentrate on dealers who are manufacturing, or who handle significant quantities of drugs. For ounce dealers Williams recommends people call local law officers. Increasing drug awareness can help a community fight back. Freeman School District, which serves Rockford area, offers drug education in grades K-1 2. Spokane County Undersheriff Ron Dashiell said a community can send a strong message to discourage dealers moving into the area. But, he said, neighbors have to be careful that they dont misread each others lifestyles and wrongly accuse an innocent party. Society is not so restrictive that youre not allowed to come and go at all times."

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