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DUI arrest made in WSP parking lot

The Washington State Patrol made one of its easiest DUI arrests Friday after the driver pulled into the agency’s parking lot.

WSP Sgt. Mike Rupert and dispatcher Sue Bula were in the office, just off the Interstate 90 Geiger exit, about 4 a.m. Friday when they saw the car back into an unauthorized parking space, Trooper Mark Baker said.

After the driver sat in his car for about 15 minutes without turning it off, a trooper checked on him.

Thomas Wood, 36, was taken to the Spokane County Public Safety Building on suspicion of drunken driving.

“How often do the drunks come to you?” Bula asked.

– Thomas Clouse


House OKs measure on local-option taxes

A constitutional amendment to impose new limits on future local-option sales taxes in Idaho passed the House on Friday. It now heads to the Senate.

All but two North Idaho representatives backed the amendment, with only Reps. George Sayler, D-Coeur d’Alene, and Shirley Ringo, D-Moscow, dissenting.

The bill passed on a 51-19 vote, which exceeds two-thirds of the House. To amend the constitution, a measure needs two-thirds passage in each house of the Legislature, plus majority approval by voters at the next general election.

The measure, HJR 4, would require any new local-option sales taxes in Idaho to pass by a two-thirds supermajority at a November general election, and it allows such votes to be proposed only by cities or counties.

Kootenai County already has a local-option sales tax to fund jail construction and property tax relief, but that authority expires next year. Any new version would fall under the new restrictions, if the constitutional amendment passes.

– Betsy Z. Russell

Buhl, Idaho

Rural areas face decline in EMTs

The number of emergency medical technicians has declined in some rural areas of Idaho, leaving some jurisdictions struggling.

Although the number of EMTs statewide has increased to about 3,000, they include fewer volunteers in some rural areas, said Emily Simnitt, a spokeswoman with the state Department of Health and Welfare.

“It’s a phenomenon across all volunteerism organizations,” said Neeki Larsen, an assistance development manager with the Idaho Emergency Medical Services Bureau. “They just don’t have the time to volunteer as much as they used to.”

Training for an EMT can cost $400 a person, and advances in medical care have added to training requirements. Quick response units typically pay for the training, but there’s not always money available.

– Associated Press


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