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Region in brief: Spokane man dies of swine flu

Swine flu has been linked to the death Monday of a Spokane man in his 70s, health officials reported.

The man died at a local hospital and had unspecified underlying medical conditions.

The Spokane Regional Health District continues to urge vaccination against the disease. However, people older than 65 have been excluded from the swine flu, or H1N1 influenza, vaccine priority groups. Researchers believe most older Americans were exposed to a similar H1N1 viral infection in 1947 and have some immunity to the current strain.

The man’s death was the seventh confirmed swine flu death of a Spokane County resident.

Police seeking tips on assault

Spokane police are still looking for information about an assault outside of a downtown Spokane nightclub that left two men seriously injured.

Two victims were assaulted and beaten with a blunt object as they passed on the sidewalk in the area of Jimmy Z’s and Club Uno in the 500 block of East Sprague Avenue in the late-night and early-morning hours of Oct. 31 and Nov. 1. Both were sent to the hospital with serious injuries, police said.

Detectives have yet to identify any suspects and hope a witness will come forward with information about the assault. Anyone with information can call (509) 222-TIPS.

Inmate convicted of prison rape

BOISE – Idaho’s state Department of Correction says the case of Cody Vealton Thompson, 31, who was convicted by an Ada County jury Nov. 17 of raping his cellmate and attempting to intimidate a witness, is the first conviction of an inmate for raping another inmate in an Idaho prison in the 120-year history of the state’s prison system.

“This case shows Idaho is serious about eliminating prison rape,” said Idaho Department of Correction Director Brent Reinke.

He said Idaho has been a national leader in implementing the Prison Rape Elimination Act, a federal law passed in 2003.

Thompson, who will be sentenced Dec. 22, faces life in prison; he had been scheduled to be eligible for parole in 2017.

Escaped python slides into kitchen

LAKEBAY, Wash. – Betty Corey first thought the hissing from her Lakebay, Wash., kitchen might be one of her dogs. Wrong.

It was a 4-foot-long ball python.

Corey called 911 and a Pierce County Animal Control officer removed the snake Tuesday morning. Officer Brian Boman said the agency will house the snake at its shelter, keeping it warm and close at hand if its owner is looking for it.

Boman says it’s likely a pet that escaped from a nearby house. He notes it needs a temperature between 80 and 85 degrees and couldn’t survive long in the wild this time of year.

Corey says the snake likely slithered into her home through the doggie door.


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