What’s news in the Northwest today:
CORVALLIS, Ore. — Two Oregon men have been cited on theft charges after an ESPN Lee Corso Game Day mascot head was reported stolen at the annual “Civil War” game between Oregon and Oregon State last weekend. Oregon State Police said Monday that 26-year-old August Cuneo of Eugene and 25-year-old Alexander Westerberg of Harrisburg were cited Monday afternoon. Troopers said the two men reportedly had attended the University of Oregon. An Oregon State University employee found the prop Monday near his home in Harrisburg, nearly 30 miles from the Oregon State campus in Corvallis. ESPN employees clearing the Game Day set noted the prop — valued at $5,000 — was missing Saturday from a large container box. Arrangements were being made to return the property to ESPN.
Yapping dog prompts attack by 3 deer
BEND, Ore. — A Bend woman says three deer attacked her barking dog in her small fenced yard, leaving the animal with head wounds and a punctured chest. Tiffany Rounds says she’s used to seeing deer in central Oregon but had never seen them in her backyard before. Her small dog Daisy clearly thought that was inappropriate and went flying out the door, barking. As Rounds told KTVZ on Monday, the six-point buck and two does “immediately started beating her on with their hooves, and then the buck comes and tries to get her with his antlers.” Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife biologist Steven George says that whether it’s a dog or a coyote, deer are reacting to a predator that could hurt or even kill them “and so they’re going to be fairly defensive.” Rounds says her vet expects Daisy to make a full recovery from last Thursday’s encounter.
Lewiston may halt fluoride treatments
LEWISTON – Sixty-three years after first deciding to add fluoride to its drinking water, the city of Lewiston could stop. The city began adding fluoride to its water in 1947 to help prevent tooth decay in children. The city spends about $9,000 for the chemical, which isn’t mandated by state or federal agencies. David Six, head of the city’s water and sewer departments, said he has no problem with eliminating its use. The City Council agreed to ask for recommendations from the Idaho Dental Association and health department at its Jan. 10 work session before making a decision.
Child killer Downs set for Ore. parole hearing
SALEM, Ore. — A prosecutor wants the state parole board to use a new law lengthening the gap between parole hearings to keep convicted child killer Diane Downs from coming before the board again for a decade. Downs whose conviction in 1984 for shooting her three children and killing one outside Springfield inspired the Ann Rule book “Small Sacrifices,” is scheduled for a parole hearing Friday. The 55-year-old woman has been locked up more than 25 years for the shootings. State law had required release hearings every two years for more than 1,500 prison inmates eligible for parole consideration, but a new law that took effect last January lengthened that time to up to 10 years on a case-by-case basis. At her first parole hearing in December 2008, Downs provided baffling testimony, portraying herself as the victim of conspirators out to get her and her family. The board ruled that she still posed a danger to society and must remain in prison. Gardner is urging the board to refuse parole for Downs again and suspend any further parole consideration for a decade.
Trial beginning for 5 Bangor anti-nuke protesters
TACOMA — A trial is beginning today in federal court in Tacoma for five anti-nuclear weapon protesters who cut through a fence at the Navy’s Trident submarine base at Bangor. The Kitsap Sun reports the five were charged Sept. 2 with trespassing and destroying property. They have pleaded not guilty and could face more than six years in prison if convicted.
Two officers injured in Yakima Valley chase-crash
YAKIMA, Wash. — Two officers suffered minor injuries in a crash that ended a chase through the Yakima Valley. The Yakima Herald-Republic reports a state Corrections officer and Yakima County sheriff’s deputy were in a car that landed on top of a fleeing stolen pickup Monday afternoon in a pasture. Despite their injuries, the officers tackled the 33-year-old suspect, Elijio Mendoza of Yakima He was wanted on assault charges.
Lane College cancels Islam class after complaint
EUGENE, Ore. — Lane Community College has pulled the plug on a noncredit winter course called “What is Islam?” because an Islamic group accused the instructor of bias. President Mary Spilde told The Register-Guard the college decided to take extra care after an alleged bomb plot in Portland and an arson at a Corvallis mosque. No one had signed up for the course offered by Eugene resident Barry Sommer. The Council on American-Islamic Relations sent a letter to the college Friday accusing Sommer of promoting anti-Muslim bigotry. Sommer says he has nothing against Muslims but does have concerns about how Islam is defined by its leaders and how some people respond.
State, defense say execution should be delayed
HELENA, Mont. — Attorneys for the state and for death-row inmate Ronald A. Smith are asking the Montana Supreme Court to block his Jan. 31 execution while he challenges the state’s execution method.
District Judge John Larson of Missoula set the execution date for Smith last month, just two days after District Judge Jeff Sherlock of Helena issued an order staying Smith’s execution. Larson asked the Supreme Court to intervene, arguing only the sentencing court has the power to stay an execution. Smith has been sentenced to die for the 1982 murders of two Browning men.
Funeral held for trooper killed in shooting
THREE FORKS, Mont. — Funeral services will be held today for a young Montana trooper who was killed in a shootout during a traffic stop. The funeral procession for Trooper David DeLaittre will be in his hometown of Three Forks. Officials expect as many as 2,000 people to turn out for the service. Authorities say the 23-year-old DeLaittre died after he was in the head and torso by Errol Brent Bouldin last Wednesday. The 56-year-old Bouldin was wounded in the exchange. Broadwater County Sheriff Brenda Ludwig says Bouldin later shot himself in his truck.
Rodriguez gets full sentence for assault on state trooper
LEWISTON – A Cottonwood Creek man will spend six months behind bars for assaulting an Idaho State Police trooper last year. Ricardo D. Rodriguez, who prosecutors say charged the trooper during an altercation that ended with the death of another man, was given the maximum possible sentence on misdemeanor assault charges filed in U.S. District Court, Assistant U.S. Attorney Traci Whelan said Monday. Randall Vernon Ellenwood, 50, died and Rodriguez, now 39, was critically injured when Trooper Jeffory Talbott fired his weapon on May 18, 2009. The incident began when Rodriguez confronted the trooper as Talbott was attempting to place Ellenwood under arrest for drunken driving.
Boise man charged with drugging girl
BOISE — A Boise man is charged with felony injury to a child after police say he gave a 13-year-old girl a toxic dose of anti-psychotic medication. The Idaho Statesman reports Boise police were called at about 7:30 a.m. Saturday by paramedics who found the girl lethargic and unresponsive. A third party had called the paramedics. Police later determined that 18-year-old Kleigh Wilson gave the teen several pills the night before — including a toxic amount of Thorazine, a medication used to treat schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Police reports do not indicate why Wilson is accused of giving the drugs to the girl or how they knew each other.
State fines Medford agency $279,000 for chlorine
MEDFORD, Ore. — The Medford Water Commission has been fined nearly $279,000 for discharging fish-killing levels of chlorinated water into Lone Pine Creek. The Mail Tribune reported the state Department of Environmental Quality issued the fine Nov. 30 and the water commission has 20 days to appeal. The environmental agency said the amount of chlorine in the creek water measured 50 times more than allowed in fish-bearing streams. The Medford Water Commission says the problem originated in an overflow system from the reservoir that has been fixed.
Homeless man set for trial in S. Oregon fire
MEDFORD — A homeless man accused of causing a fire that destroyed 11 homes in Ashland last summer is set to go to trial. The Mail Tribune reported that 40-year-old John David Thiry is facing 10 counts of recklessly endangering and 14 counts of reckless burning for the Aug. 24 fire that caused more than $3 million in property damage. Thiry has pleaded not guilty to all charges, which are misdemeanors. He also waived his right to a jury trial and Jackson County Circuit Judge Tim Barnack was scheduled to begin hearing the case today.
Eugene coffee stand shooter welcome back at work
EUGENE, Ore. — A Eugene coffee stand employee who shot and killed a man during an attempted robbery is welcome back to work, although he violated the Dutch Bros. policy against bringing a gun to the job. A company spokeswoman, Angie Galimanis, told KVAL it’s up to the barista to decide whether to come back. The three-year employee was put on paid leave after the shooting the night before Thanksgiving. Police and the district attorney say the barista did nothing wrong in the exchange of gunfire.
A second suspect fled and remains at large.
Vancouver church holds nativity scene festival
VANCOUVER, Wash. — About 600 nativity scenes will be on display Thursday through Saturday at a Vancouver church. This is the 10th Festival of the Nativities at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. People of all denominations provide the scenes depicting Mary, Joseph, baby Jesus, wise men and shepherds. One participant, Bruce Preece, told The Columbian it’s a great way to get in the mood for the Christmas season.