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In brief: Holiday closes offices, schools

The following offices and services will be affected by the Memorial Day holiday today.

•City, county, state and federal offices will be closed.

•Post offices will be closed.

•State liquor stores will be closed in Idaho, but most will be open in Washington.

•Most banks will be closed.

•Area public schools will be closed.

•Garbage pickup will be one day late for the week.

Bonner county

Man missing after falling into river

A Kootenai County man is presumed dead after falling from a log into the Priest River on Friday night.

Donald Robert Maskell, 43, was camping along the river about four miles north of the confluence with the Pend Oreille River with his girlfriend and another friend, said Bonner County sheriff’s Lt. Ror Lakewold.

Maskell was walking on a log that angled into the river when he lost his footing and fell in, Lakewold said. “He was last seen trying to swim and fighting the current,” Lakewold said.

Search-and-rescue teams combed the banks of the river until about midnight Friday, Lakewold said.

A helicopter and airplane participated in search efforts Saturday, but no body was located, Lakewold said.Shoshone County

Search for rafting victim to continue

The search for a man presumed drowned in a rafting accident on the North Fork of the Coeur d’Alene River will resume today.

According to the Shoshone County Sheriff’s Office, the search will center on an area upriver from the Bumblebee Campground where a suspicious object was seen in the water.

Crews from the sheriff’s dive team will lead the search, with assistance from sheriff’s deputies, police said.

One man has been confirmed dead in the accident. On Saturday, three men were rafting down the North Fork when their boat capsized. One man made it out of the river at Kingston, Idaho, and notified authorities.

The body of one of his companions had already been found in the river, about 12 miles north of Enaville.


Police: Mother has history of violence

A mother accused in the death of her 4-year-old son, who fell 75 feet into the Willamette River early Saturday along with his older sister, has a history of domestic violence and recently filed for separation from the children’s father.

Amanda Jo Stott-Smith, 31, was taken into custody Saturday morning.

A state medical examiner determined that Stott-Smith’s son, Eldon Jay Rebhan Smith, drowned. Her daughter, who has yet to be identified, was taken to an area hospital after surviving more than a half-hour in the water.

Police said Sunday afternoon that the girl’s condition was improving and she had spoken with officers.

“How she’s not dead is a miracle,” said Sgt. Mike Marshman, a Portland Police Bureau spokesman.

Stott-Smith faces aggravated murder and attempted aggravated murder charges. She is to be arraigned Tuesday afternoon.

Coeur d’Alene

‘Hand of God’ rock fails to sell on eBay

A man who tried to auction off a hand-shaped rock formation in his backyard he calls the “Hand of God” has come up empty-handed.

Paul Grayhek, of Coeur d’Alene, said the top bid on eBay was about $16,800 for the rock that is 9 feet tall and 4 feet wide.

But he said that the bidders have all backed out and that he was not sophisticated enough for the Internet auction.

Grayhek, 52, said he discovered the rock in March after a small landslide and determined it was a message from God for Grayhek to follow his dream of becoming a counselor for troubled youth.

Grayhek said he now believes the rock showed up in his backyard because he is supposed to share it with others.

Gillette, Wyo.

Devils Tower will close to climbers

Devils Tower National Monument has imposed a voluntary climbing closure for the June.

A federal management plan for the tower adopted in 1995 established a voluntary closure for all climbing routes on the tower out of respect for American Indian cultural activities that month.

Staff and wire reports


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