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From New York to Coeur d'Alene, Avenue Q opening this Friday

From New York to Coeur d'Alene, Avenue Q opening this Friday

The fur was flying Tuesday night at Coeur d'Alene's Lake City Playhouse as one of the final dress rehearsals got underway for this Friday's opening of Avenue Q.

The smash hit first debuted on Broadway in 2003, taking home Tony awards for Best Musical, Best Book and Best Original Score, and the cast of Lake City's production does their best to keep up the wild spirit of the show.

With a large cast, but only three human characters, many of the actors take a back seat to their puppet partners – providing a voice, but blending into the background.

“The biggest challenge is just finding the balance between the people and the puppets. If the actor is pushing too hard, you're focusing on them and not the puppet. So it's finding the right balance where you feel like you're watching the puppet but getting emotion from the person. It's a tricky little thing, but when it's right it's lovely,” said Director Troy Nickerson. It's an art form that took weeks to perfect.

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Spokane woman accused of defrauding $100k in disability from the state

Spokane woman accused of defrauding $100k in disability from the state

A Spokane woman is charged first-degree felony theft, accused of defrauding the state of $101,000 in disability benefits while working with her husband to operate his motel and their nightclub and apartment building.

In September 2010, 52-year-old Mistie Crosby submitted a claim to Labor and Industries (L&I) saying she hurt her back, neck and shoulder while working at Sunset Junction, a nightclub in Spokane that has since closed. Physicians confirmed she was injured and L&I opened her claim.

When Crosby submitted the claim, she did not indicate whether she was an owner, partner or corporate officers in the business where she was injured. Business owners must provide employees with workers' compensation insurance, but the coverage is optional for the owners themselves and Crosby never enrolled.

Target opens on Spokane's South Hill

Target opens on Spokane's South Hill

Developer, Dave Black, said it was in 2004 when he started the process to bring Target to the South Hill.

"It's just a great feeling, it's been a gauntlet to get this project done," said Black.

It has been a combined effort to make not only Target possible, but the entire district center. From the city, to the developers, and the Southgate Neighborhood Council.

"Nobody didn't want the Target. I don't think anybody said a bad word about it," said Ted Teske, Southgate Neighborhood Chairman.

On Tuesday, after years of negotiations and planning, Target opened it's doors to hundreds of eager shoppers.

"Everywhere I go and everyone I talk to is so excited they always ask me, when's the Target store opening," said Black.

Teske said he looks to Target as a great starting point for the district center.

"I don't think it's a place we want to stay. I think we want to move towards the pedestrian oriented style of district center," said Teske.

Other businesses opening in the area are PetSmart, Cafe Rio, Salley Beauty Supplies, Anothony's Beach Cafe, Mod Pizza, and a haircut chain.

Stolen gun recovered, returned after 32 years

Stolen gun recovered, returned after 32 years

A gun stolen 32 years ago on the other side of the state has finally been returned to it's owner after popping up on Craigslist.

On July 15, a Stevens County Reserve Deputy found the gun posted for sale in Medical Lake and was interested in buying it. However after he ran the serial number, he found the Smith & Wesson .38 caliber revolver had been stolen in Tacoma back in 1982.

Detective Dave Knechtel contacted the Tacoma Police Department and confirmed the revolver had been stolen during a burglary in 1982. He also contacted the Craigslist seller who says he purchased the revolver near Tacoma about six months ago and had no idea it was stolen.

Detective Knechtel was able to track down the original owner of the revolver who was extremely surprised it had been found and happy it was not used in a crime. The weapon has since been returned to him.

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Local Pony league baseball champs head to California

Local Pony league baseball champs head to California

A plucky group of 10-year-old boys are preparing to hop on a plane and head down to California to represent Washington as the regional Pony League Baseball champions!

All 11 kids have been involved with Spokane Indians Youth Baseball who united the Pony, Baby Ruth and Spokane Youth Sports Association leagues under one umbrella. After the regular season was over, try-outs were held for the all-star team and just a few weeks later the hard hitters swept the Mustang Northwest Regional Championship, winning all 11 games.

Since then, they've been working hard at Albertsons grocery stores around Spokane, asking for donations to help them make the trip to Anaheim.

“The money will help pay for their hotel room,” said Stephanie Erickson, the mother of one of the players. “The Pony organization books flights, which the parents pay half of, and this will help cover expenses like hotel rooms, food and other incidentals. We have a couple of families driving down with equipment to save on expenses like checking bat bags.”

Government selling home connected to Henrikson

The U.S. attorney's office plans to sell a home connected to a man who has been questioned in an alleged murder-for-hire scheme in Spokane, Washington, and is awaiting trial on weapons charges in North Dakota.

The case centers on James Henrikson, who had business dealings in North Dakota's oil patch with a man who was killed by an intruder in his Spokane home. Henrikson told police he was upset with the victim but denied any involvement in his death.

Prosecutors have brought forfeiture action on a Watford City home owned by Henrikson's wife and another man, Ryan Olness. The home will be sold for $440,000 unless the government gets a higher offer.

A lawyer for Olness says the property hasn't been widely advertised and might not bring a fair price.

Judge slashes $100k from Gerlach legal bill

Judge slashes $100k from Gerlach legal bill

Lawyers for Gail Gerlach, who killed a thief stealing his SUV and was later found not guilty in court, won't be getting paid as much as they hoped for their work on the case.

On Monday Judge Annette Plese slashed the bill for the lawyers who represented Gerlach during his first degree manslaughter trial, finding the defense team's charges excessive and unnecessary.

Taxpayers are on the hook for Gerlach's legal bills because he convinced a jury he was acting in self defense when he fired that fatal shot. However Plese found the state had been overcharged and cut Gerlach's reimbursement with a six figure knife.

Last April Gerlach's attorneys won a speedy not guilty verdict for their client, sparing him what could have been a life sentence. After submitting a bill for $332,000 Gerlach's defense team found themselves defending claims it really shouldn't have taken three lawyers to try the case.