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

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."

Spokane County voters may be asked to approve $45M park levy in 2015

Spokane County voters may be asked next spring to approve a $45 million dollar park levy that would pay for a new sports complex in downtown along with improvements at county parks.

It's a dirt lot now but a site along the north bank of the Spokane River could be home to a massive $20 million multi-use field house complete with an indoor track.

Over at Plante's Ferry Park, that site could see a major upgrade with additional soccer fields and parking.

These are just two of the items that could be considered on a potential park levy in April 2015 that Spokane County Parks Director Doug Chase said is a long time coming.

"We really think they are heavily used and enjoyed by the community and this is one of the opportunities where the community would see that direct return," Chase explained.

Additionally, the Southside Aquatics Center would add two watersides and develop 10 acres of park land around it, complete with baseball fields, improvements to Fish Lake Trail would be made and approximately 10 county parks could be modernized and get new playground equipment.

Defense skips opening statement in Arteaga murder trial

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.

WSP helping track down Minn. minister wanted for sex crimes

WSP helping track down Minn. minister wanted for sex crimes

The Washington State Patrol is assisting authorities in Minnesota track down the whereabouts of a minister who has been charged with 59 counts of sexual misconduct with children. He's now believed to be in the Spokane area.

According to the criminal complaint filed in Pine County, Minn., Victor Arden Barnard, 52, allegedly abused two members of "Maidens Group" within a church he led called the River Road Fellowship.

The two victims were among several girls and young women who lived apart from their families in a camp Barnard set up near the town of Finlayson, about 90 miles north of Minneapolis in east-central Minnesota.

One victim alleges Barnard sexually abused her from the ages of 13 to 22. The other alleges he abused her for several years starting when she was 12.

"We hope they can inspire other victims, because they weren't the only 2. These are 59 counts on just these two victims, so we know there was more," Chief Deputy Steve Blackwell of the Pine County Sheriff's Office said.

Area greenhouses ready for business

Area greenhouses ready for business

Spring is finally here, which means it's just about time to get out and start growing, and Green's Greenhouse is one of many 'growing' businesses in the area ready to put your green thumb to good use out in the yard.

In 2012 owners Dan Dunn and Brian Green took a big risk and built a small greenhouse on their property hoping their business idea would grow. Well, a little patience, some good soil and about three years later Green's Greenhouse has blossomed into something that even they didn't expect. Now, they are just working to keep up

"The more word that gets out there the more customers we get and it just keeps growing," Dunn said.

When you're in Dan's business 'growing' is the name of the game. He and his partner Brian invested everything they had into their property out in Paradise Prairie between Spokane and Cheney. Brian's the true expert; his love for plants was discovered as a kid helping in his grandmother's garden. He went on to work in nurseries and couldn't get enough

"I just loved it and my passion just developed from there, I put myself through college and ended up in this, and couldn't be happier. It's fantastic," Green said.

Authorities charge minister with abusing 2 girls

Authorities charge minister with abusing 2 girls

A minister has been charged with 59 counts of criminal sexual conduct involving two members of a "Maidens Group" within a Minnesota-based church he led called the River Road Fellowship.

Pine County authorities announced Tuesday an arrest warrant has been issued for 52-year-old Victor Arden Barnard. The sheriff's office says he was last known to be in the Spokane, Wash., area.

According to the criminal complaint, the two victims were among several girls and young women who lived apart from their families in a camp Barnard set up near the town of Finlayson, about 90 miles north of Minneapolis in east-central Minnesota. One victim alleges Barnard sexually abused her from the ages of 13 to 22. The other alleges he abused her for several years starting when she was 12.

Arteaga murder trial begins Wednesday

Arteaga murder trial begins Wednesday

A Spokane jury will hear opening arguments Wednesday morning in Daniel Arteaga's murder trial.

Arteaga is suspected of killing his girlfriend Kim Schmidt inside her north Spokane home on New Year's Eve 2011.

Detectives say Arteaga first drugged Schmidt and then a shot her in the head hoping investigators would think the victim committed suicide.

Spokane County Sheriff's deputies think Arteaga was jealous that Schmidt was rekindling her relationship with her ex-husband.

Arteaga admits being with Schmidt the night she was killed but says he left her very much alive inside her locked north side home.