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Marijuana growers frustrated with Spokane County's interim zoning ordinances

Recreational marijuana growers and producers are hoping new interim zoning ordinances in Spokane County don't send their business up in smoke before it's even sprouted.

Triple T Farms is located at an undisclosed location in Spokane County. The farm is hoping to house its marijuana grow operations at the site once its licensed, however the company's president said new county ordinances could mean hundreds of thousands of dollars lost and a delay in the company getting a state license.

The dream was to turn an old chicken farm into a marijuana farm, but that dream cracked for Tony Reynolds when the Spokane County commissioners passed an interim zoning ordinance earlier this month.

"We had been told that our zoning was in order with the rules, the commissioners rules, so we proceeded to spend a great deal of money," said Reynolds.

The ordinance said marijuana produces and processors had to keep their operation on at least eight acres, 100 feet from the front property line and 300 from the remaining property lines. Triple T Farms falls short at just 67 feet from the front and is also too close to the property on the south side.

Local bands compete for your Bloomsday vote

Local bands compete for your Bloomsday vote

Every year local bands and radio stations line the Bloomsday course providing entertainment for all the Bloomies. Bloomsday has released the bands that will be providing entertainment and competing for your vote along the course.

FDA proposes e-cigarette regulations

FDA proposes e-cigarette regulations

Electronic cigarette shops are popping up all over the Inland Northwest and the product they're selling is largely unregulated but that may soon change as the FDA proposed new regulations on e-cigarettes Thursday morning.

The regulations would include:

  • No sales to minors.(Already banned in Spokane)

  • No more free samples in the stores.

  • There must be warning labels saying the product contains nicotine and is addictive.

  • The liquid must be tested and approved.

The owner of Lilac City Vapor E-Cigarettes, Brad Bellinger, agrees with those regulations.

"The accuracy of what's on the label can come into question. So if the FDA has oversight ... that's probably a good thing," Bellinger said.

People like Karin Lucas swear e-cigarettes are safer than ones filled with tobacco. Her entire family switched over.

"I see the difference everyday in my husband and my son. They're more active, they breath better, they sleep better," Lucas said.

Spokane County Judge named Judge of the Year

Spokane County Judge named Judge of the Year

From Spokane County:

District Court and Cheney Municipal Court Judge Greg Tripp has been named Judge of the Year by the Misdemeanant Corrections Association of Washington State.

Kettle Falls Five case could impact Wash. marijuana industry

Kettle Falls Five case could impact Wash. marijuana industry

A federal case that could seriously impact Washington's new marijuana industry will be decided in Spokane as five people face decades in prison for growing medical pot on a remote property near Colville.

The defendants claim they were abiding by state law and only growing for themselves. However, the case is in federal court and under its laws marijuana is completely illegal.

Many pot advocates worry if federal agents are going after medical marijuana patients, that the state licensed grows and pot shops could be next.

"We were growing a few pot plants up there just for our own consumption and along comes the law," defendant Larry Harvey said.

The medical marijuana grow of 74 plants was raided in August of 2012 at Harvey's home. Larry, his wife and three others face five marijuana related charges and a weapons charge. They are now called the 'Kettle Falls Five.'

If all of them were growing cannabis individually, the 74 plants would be considered legal in Washington.

Daniel Arteaga guilty of killing Kim Schmidt

Daniel Arteaga guilty of killing Kim Schmidt

It took a jury about two hours Wednesday to find Daniel Arteaga guilty of killing his girlfriend Kim Schmidt on New Year's Eve 2011.

Wednesday morning prosecutors started its closing arguments with Arteaga's 911 call after Schmidt's mother found her daughter's body in her north Spokane home. Deputy Prosecutor John Love contends the recording was the very first sign Arteaga was responsible for Schmidt's murder.

"Uh, report of a dead body." That is how Daniel Arteaga described the woman that he loved for six and a half years and he just spent a night having sex talking about their relationship," Love said.

Prosecutors said Arteaga's "relationship" with Schmidt was over and when he realized Schmidt wanted to spend the first day of 2012 with a new man and a new way of life he wasn't about to let that happen.

"Daniel Arteaga was being replaced. He was on the way out and he didn't like it," Love told the jury.

The quick verdict the jury handed down to Arteaga came as a relief to Toni Schmidt, Kim Schmidt's mom.

Spokane judge may become next Wash. Supreme Court justice

Spokane judge may become next Wash. Supreme Court justice

Spokane Judge Michael Price is on Governor Jay Inslee's short list to become the next Washington Supreme Court justice.

If tapped by Inslee, he will become the second justice on the bench from Eastern Washington.

Price, who has been a judge in Spokane Superior Court for the last decade, calls the opportunity to serve with the state's high court the greatest job in the world.

"I have a reputation for being able to get people together and to talk and work together and that's important when you have nine justices who all have strong opinions about the law," Price said.

Presiding Superior Court Judge Sam Cozza called Price adaptable and said he can handle any case. He's also flexible and very well thought of by attorneys and fellow judges.

"He's very open minded, listens to everyone's arguments and renders very thoughtful and careful decisions," Cozza said.

Price has deep roots in Eastern Washington, having been raised here, and getting his undergraduate and law degree from Gonzaga University. That's one reason his peers think he should be tapped by Inslee for the high court.