Region in brief: All-GOP House race likely as votes mount

FRIDAY, AUG. 21, 2009

The lone Democrat in the race for the open legislative seat representing southeastern Washington is losing ground in the fight to run in the November election.

The third day of counting from Tuesday’s primary showed Glen Stockwell, of Ritzville, 280 votes and more than a full percentage point behind Pat Hailey, of Mesa, in the race for the 9th Legislative District House seat.

And Susan Fagan, a Republican of Pullman, saw her lead over Hailey grow again Thursday, to 755 votes.

In the race to face incumbent Jeff Bierman for a seat on the Spokane school board, Deana Brower made up ground on Heidi Olson. Brower was trailing Olson by only 188 votes Thursday; she was behind by more than 600 on election night.

Even so, it may not be enough to carry Brower to November. The county has only 300 votes left to count in the school board election, and there’s unlikely to be many more ballots left in the mail. Bierman easily came in first in the primary, with a 10 percentage point lead over Olson.

Jonathan Brunt

Smoke from wildfires expected to lessen

Clearer air was expected over the region today, with winds expected to disperse smoke from wildfires in British Columbia.

Temperatures, meanwhile, are expected to drop over the next several days. Today’s high was forecast near 90, with highs dipping into the 80s through next week, according to the National Weather Service.

Smoke from Canadian wildfires has hung over Spokane and Coeur d’Alene for the past couple of days, with pollution considered moderate by the Spokane Regional Clean Air Agency. The agency said that smoke was expected to be pushed from the region by southwesterly winds today.

Shawn Vestal

Groups ask judge to block wolf hunts

Conservation groups are asking a federal judge in Missoula to block fall wolf hunts in Idaho and Montana.

The request, filed Thursday by Earthjustice on behalf of 13 groups, is part of an ongoing lawsuit that seeks to restore federal Endangered Species Act protection to wolves in the northern Rocky Mountains.

The Idaho Department of Fish and Game Commission voted this week to let hunters shoot 220 wolves during a hunting season to start next month, while Montana has voted to allow 75 wolves to be killed in a hunt that would start in mid-September.

The request argues that Idaho and Montana are beginning wolf hunts too soon after federal protections were removed.

Idaho Fish and Game spokesman Ed Mitchell said that the agency had not seen the filing but that it is confident in its management plan.

Associated Press

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