Region in brief: Woman, children die in Mattawa fire
A house fire in Mattawa, Wash., killed a woman and two children late Wednesday.
The fire in the 200 block of East Fourth Street, was under investigation, according to the Grant County Department of Emergency Management.
Firefighters found the bodies of the three victims in the home.
Authorities believe the woman was the children’s mother.
The family lived in a single-wide manufactured home that had been converted into a duplex at a mobile home park, said Kyle Foreman, communications manager for the county’s emergency services department.
The coroner’s office will identify the victims and schedule autopsies.
Neighbors called 911 at 11:37 p.m., and a crew from Grant County Fire District 8 arrived at 11:54 to find the structure and two vehicles ablaze, Foreman said in a press release.
State trims funding to fight milfoil
SANDPOINT – Bonner County officials say the state has scaled back grant funding for the control of the spread of Eurasian milfoil in local waters.
Public works director Leslie Marshall said the county wanted to treat nearly 687 acres with herbicides at Lake Pend Oreille and the Pend Oreille River, but the Idaho State Department of Agriculture is only willing to pay for treatment of about 334 acres. Officials believe Eurasian milfoil, if left unchecked, can displace native plants and alter the lake and river habitats.
Marshall said the agency reduced grant money for the program after determining proposed treatment sites were too small or in rarely used river stretches.
Former apartment manager sought
A couple hired to manage two Spokane apartment complexes face 20 theft charges after police say they bilked a rental owner out of more than $15,000.
A trial for Theresa M. Walters, 33, is scheduled to begin Aug. 21, but police can’t find her husband, Wesley O. Walters, 38. Crime Stoppers is offering a reward for information that leads to his capture.
The Walters managed the King’s Village Apartment Complex in the 12000 block of East Cataldo Avenue and King’s View Apartment Complex at 2309 E. Euclid Ave. from August 2007 until May 2008.
The owners, Leila and Marcus King, discovered that tenants had paid rent but the money was never turned in to them, according to a probable cause affidavit.
Anyone with information about Wesley Walters’ whereabouts can call Crime Stoppers at (800) 222-TIPS or submit the tip online at www.crimestoppersinlandnorthwest.org.
Boat spills diesel into Pend Oreille
HOPE, Idaho – A 32-foot tugboat dropped from a crane spilled about 80 gallons of diesel fuel into Lake Pend Oreille.
Some of the fuel reached the shore near Kramer’s Marina in Hope, Idaho, where the mishap occurred about 19 miles east of Sandpoint.
State Department of Environmental Quality, federal Environmental Protection Agency, and hazardous materials officials were at the scene Thursday.
Crews were working to surround the spill with containment booms, as gusty winds made cleanup more difficult.
Sgt. Ron Raiha, of the Bonner County Sheriff’s Office, said nobody was hurt in the accident.
“A crane was lifting up the tugboat,” Raiha said. “The crane was coming off balance and was in danger of tipping over.”
To prevent that, the crane let the tugboat fall on the barge, causing a 5-inch gash in the side of the tugboat’s 400-gallon fuel tank.
Group Health to offer new benefits
Group Health Cooperative will offer a new set of medical benefits to employees next year that includes a questionnaire designed to assess individual health risks and create plans for workers.
By participating in the profile questionnaire, employees can shave $400 from the cost of their insurance next year.
The benefits were negotiated with the six unions representing Group Health workers.
Group Health, based in Seattle, has four medical centers in Spokane and one in Coeur d’Alene. Together they employ about 600 people.
The agreement also includes a different co-pay model that aims to discourage patients from overusing expensive and often unnecessary tests such as high-end imaging. At the same time, co-pays for services considered preventative health will be lower or even free. Group Health also will offer discounts to employees who enroll in weight management and anti-smoking programs.