Local news


Avista reports several small power outages

SUNDAY, JUNE 22, 2008

About 2,800 Avista customers lost power Saturday in north Spokane.

Homes and businesses served by a substation near Magnesium Road and Market Street lost power about 6:30 p.m. A customer reported seeing sparks at the substation around the same time. Avista employees checked the lines, couldn’t find a problem and restored power about an hour later, said Avista spokesman Dan Kolbet.

Electricity was lost to 400 Avista customers in Colville in the afternoon and evening because of lightning strikes. All but 37 had been restored by 9:30 p.m., Kolbet said.

A utility pole fire caused an outage at about 7 p.m. to 105 Avista customers in Coeur d’Alene, Kolbet said. Power was expected to be restored by 9 p.m.

Jonathan Brunt

Spokane

Council to consider ambulance contract

Ambulance service likely will continue to be provided to Spokane residents by American Medical Response Services. The Spokane City Council is scheduled to consider a five-year contract extension for the company Monday.

The firm has faced criticism in recent years after it was revealed that it overcharged patients. In 2006, then-Mayor Dennis Hession fined the company about $80,000 for the overbilling patients and insurance companies $321,000 over two years.

The extended contract allows the city to terminate the contract with 180 days notice without cause.

The document also spells out fines if AMR doesn’t meet response time requirements. Under the contract, ambulance fees would increase by the rate of inflation on Nov. 1.

Jonathan Brunt

Coeur d’Alene

Meeting will address lake management plan

A draft plan for managing Lake Coeur d’Alene so that heavy metals deposited in the lake’s sediments aren’t released back into the environment will be discussed Tuesday.

The meeting takes place from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at the Coeur d’Alene Public Library, 702 E. Front Ave.

The plan is the product of a yearlong effort by the Coeur d’Alene Tribe and Idaho’s Department of Environmental Quality, which worked with a professional mediator.

In 2003, the Environmental Protection Agency issued a record of decision for cleanup of metals in the basin from a century of mining. While the lake is part of the Superfund site, the EPA didn’t include the lake in its cleanup plan. The EPA said updating the lake management plan might be the best way to address contaminants.

Becky Kramer

Pullman

WSU joins research into honeybee disorder

Washington State University is joining several other universities nationwide to find potential remedies for dwindling commercial and wild honeybee populations.

The university’s long-term goal in researching honeybee shortages, a phenomenon researchers have labeled “colony collapse disorder,” is to develop a genetic strain of bees that are more resistant to many of the factors hurting honeybee populations.

A team at the university has been working with honeybee genetics since the introduction of the school’s honeybee breeding program in 2001.

WSU researchers believe the most likely culprits of honeybee shortages today are pesticides, viruses, bacteria, internal and external parasites, changes in environment, urbanization and agriculture.

Associated Press


 

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