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In brief: Activists push cleaner energy

PORTLAND – The final public hearing on the latest Northwest regional power plan drew a much larger crowd than in the past as activists pushed for cleaner energy in the coming decades.

About 130 people came to the Northwest Power Planning and Conservation Council hearing last week in Portland, many with anti-coal signs or T-shirts.

The council’s draft plan shows fossil-fueled power not growing over the next two decades, but activist groups want the council to go even further in reducing carbon emissions and reliance on fossil fuels.

The council, whose plans bind the Bonneville Power Administration, revises its regional plan every five years.

World War II-era homes vacated

BREMERTON – The Westpark neighborhood here is silent now for the first time in nearly 70 years.

The 571 housing units built hurriedly in the 1940s are completely empty, part of a planned $300 million redevelopment of the area. The final residents moved from the neighborhood earlier this week. The housing units were built during a nine-month span in 1940 and 1941 to house workers at the area shipyards during the height of World War II.

The buildings were never meant to be used for so long but became home to many of the city’s poor.

Multi-murder trial delayed to April

PASCO – The trial of a man accused of killing five men 22 years ago in Pasco has been delayed.

The Franklin County Superior Court trial of 44-year-old Vicente Ruiz was postponed Friday until April 19 because his defense lawyer is tied up on another case. The Tri-City Herald reported that the trial had been scheduled to start Nov. 3.

Ruiz is charged with five counts of aggravated murder and one of attempted murder for the 1987 shootings at an auto body shop.

Ruiz’s first trial last year ended in a mistrial.

Chamber office will relocate

SANDPOINT – The headquarters and visitors center for the Greater Sandpoint Chamber of Commerce is moving to downtown Sandpoint next month.

The board of directors last week decided to make the move.

Amy Little, executive director for the chamber, said maintaining the headquarters at the current location on Highway 95 became too expensive.