Marijuana measure in works
A northern Idaho lawmaker says legislation to legalize medical marijuana will be introduced in the next Legislative session.
Rep. Tom Trail, a Republican from Moscow, said the legislation he is drafting is modeled after bills from the National Conference of State Legislatures and will be similar to statutes in Washington and Oregon.
He said he has some doctors who support allowing the use of medical marijuana.
Last June, though, delegates to a state GOP convention committee voted 21-9 for a resolution opposing relaxation of marijuana laws.
Suspect declared competent
A young man charged with a fatal shooting at Foss High School in Tacoma has been found competent to stand trial.
After the ruling Friday, Pierce County Superior Court Judge Ronald E. Culpepper set a tentative trial date of March 9 for 20-year-old Douglas S. Chanthabouly.
Chanthabouly has been shuttled between jail and Western State Hospital since Jan. 3, 2007, when 17-year-old Samnang Kok was killed at the school.
Defense lawyers agree that he’s now competent to stand trial on a first-degree murder charge, but they say he was insane at the time of the shootings. Chanthabouly has a documented history of schizophrenia.
A hearing on his sanity is set for Feb. 17. If the judge finds he was sane, his lawyers can still try to convince a jury otherwise.
Metal thieves strike cemetery
Metal thieves apparently drawn by high copper prices have struck at Willamette National Cemetery three times in the past week, ripping out gutters and roofing from shelters used for military funerals.
Family members of veterans buried there are furious.
Kailah Kingsley, whose grandmother, a World War II nurse, is buried there as is her brother, Lance Cpl. Seth Jones, who died eight years ago on a Marine Corps training mission.
Jones’ mother, Michelle Fentriss, visits nearly every week.
“Clearly they have no morals, that they would come to a place like this to steal metal for money is beyond shameful,” said Fentriss.
Damage is estimated at about $10,000.
In recent months brass grave markers and urns have been stolen from cemeteries in Portland and Vancouver, Wash.
Metal recyclers have spotted some of the stolen metal before it was sold.
Dam road closure opposed
Residents are opposing the closure of a road across a dam in southwestern Idaho that federal officials say could by used by terrorists to destroy the dam and flood out 35,000 people downstream.
Officials with the Bureau of Reclamation and Department of Homeland Security say Riverside Road across Lower Deer Flat Dam near Caldwell is susceptible to a truck bomb or just an accident involving a truck filled with volatile material.
The dam backs up more than 150,000 acre-feet in Lake Lowell. An acre-foot is enough to cover an acre with one foot of water.
At a meeting Thursday attended by about 150 people, many residents who spoke opposed closing the road.
“If they’re going to shut down a road, inconvenience residents, increase costs and harm businesses on that road, then they need to do a better job of explaining the reasons why,” said Wayne Hoffman, spokesman for U.S. Rep. Bill Sali, R-Idaho.
Federal officials have suggested making the dam higher and wider to better withstand an explosion, closing the road and building a new road downstream, or closing the road and having residents take a mile-long detour, the Idaho Statesman reported.
Rexburg police to patrol BYU
Local police will be responsible for patrolling Brigham Young University-Idaho starting Thursday because of a ruling by the state attorney general’s office.
Last month the state agency issued an opinion that the school, as a private entity, can’t have its own police force with law enforcement authority.
Campus police were being paid by BYU-Idaho, a subsidiary of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. School officials did not return a call from the Associated Press on Saturday.
The Rexburg police force has hired four patrol officers, one investigator and one additional staffer to handle the added responsibility.
TWIN FALLS, Idaho
Inmate slain, officials say
An Idaho inmate found dead this summer in his cell at a private Oklahoma prison was killed, authorities say.
Oklahoma officials confirmed Thursday that David Drashner, 51, died in June of traumatic brain injury at the Northfork Correctional Facility in Sayre, Okla.
Drashner, of Nampa, was serving time for a drunken driving conviction. He was one of dozens of Idaho inmates housed in Texas and Oklahoma.
Jessica Brown, spokeswoman for the Oklahoma Bureau of Investigation, declined to identify a suspect in the case or when charges may be filed.
Drasher is the third Idaho inmate to die in an out-of-state prison operated by a private company.
From wire reports