Local news

NIC receives share of biomedical grant

North Idaho College students pursuing careers in biomedical research will benefit from the community college’s share of a $16.5 million National Institutes of Health grant announced Tuesday.

The grant is the third major award for the Idaho Idea Network of Biomedical Research Excellence, founded in 2001. It brings the federal investment in the program to $40 million, NIC said in a news release.

Colleges, universities and research institutions statewide will benefit from the grant. The University of Idaho will receive $5.2 million over the next five years.

NIC’s share – $80,000 annually for five years – will pay for an internship program, the release said. As part of the program, laboratories throughout North Idaho receive stipends for mentoring interns. The grant money also is used to pay for student salaries, the release said.

The program increases the lab experience students gain from about 45 hours to about 400 hours, said Rhena Cooper, an NIC microbiology instructor and outreach coordinator for the Idaho Idea Network. “That experience is invaluable,” she said.

NIC’s first intern in the program, Ingrid Fruth, is slated to receive her doctorate in microbiology, molecular biology and biochemistry May 16 from the University of Idaho, the release said.

Alison Boggs


Former Hecla CEO Griffith dies at 87

Bill Griffith, a former CEO and chairman of Hecla Mining Co., died April 30 at his Hayden home. He was 87.

Griffith was a World War II veteran who earned a master’s degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He worked for Phelps Dodge in Arizona before being hired by Hecla in 1968.

Griffith was appointed Hecla’s president and CEO in 1979, overseeing the company during a period of expansion. He retired as CEO in 1987 but continued to serve on the company’s board of directors until 1994.

Griffith also served on the boards of several other companies and charitable organizations, including the Kootenai Medical Center Foundation. He is survived by his wife, Gratia, and three children. A memorial service was held Monday.

From staff reports


Vintage bomber offering public flights

A World War II-era bomber flew over Spokane on Monday and will be on display at Felts Field through the weekend.

The Liberty Belle, a B-17G built in 1944, did not fly combat missions in the war and passed through a series of owners after being sold for scrap in 1947. It was restored over a 14-year period and now belongs to the Liberty Foundation, which is dedicated to preserving WWII aviation history.

The plane arrived from a tour in Seattle and will be parked at Felts through the weekend. It will have public flights Saturday and Sunday for between $395 and $430, which helps cover the vintage bomber’s $1 million annual upkeep. Flight reservations can be made by calling (918) 340-0243.

Jim Camden

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