What’s news in the Northwest today:
MOSCOW, Idaho – Moscow resident and former University of Idaho basketball player Brandon Brown remains in a coma after an alleged fight outside of a Moscow nightclub last week left him with what is likely permanent brain damage. Brown, 25, is at St. Joseph Regional Medical Center in Lewiston following the Thursday morning incident near CJ’s, where he works as a bartender. His alleged attacker has been charged with felony aggravated battery. Brown’s best friend, Willie Blackburn, said Brown’s condition is slowly improving. Blackburn said the left temporal lobe of Brown’s brain is permanently damaged, and he also suffered fractures to his nasal cavity and jaw. Brown, originally from Philadelphia, moved to Moscow in 2007 to play basketball at UI for two seasons. His friends are raising money to help pay for Brown’s medical bills because he doesn’t have health insurance.
Idaho man charged in mayor assault goes to trial
HOPE, Idaho — A North Idaho man accused of slugging the 78-year-old mayor of Hope in a dispute outside the city hall in July says he acted in self defense. Dan Shanahan, a 35-year-old former city councilman, pleaded not guilty to misdemeanor battery. His 1st District Court trial started Monday. Police say Shanahan struck Mayor Jake Both after a confrontation over the placement of a newspaper delivery box turned violent. Shanahan testified that it was Mayor Both who charged him. Shanahan’s attorney told jurors this week the dispute was born out of political vengeance, stemming from Shanahan’s defeat of a city council incumbent during the 2009 election. Shanahan served several months before resigning under threat of recall.
Idaho mill faces $14K in fines after worker death
LEWISTON — A North Idaho paper mill faces $14,000 in fines after a federal inspection into an industrial accident that killed a 35-year-old worker. John A. Bergen III died in June while working on a paperboard machine at Clearwater Paper Corp. The Lewiston Tribune reports the Occupational Safety and Health Administration issued two citations, one carrying two proposed fines of $7,000, on Tuesday. Bergen apparently fell while on the job, struck his head and landed on a conveyor belt that dropped him into a 1,500-gallon pulp vat. Bergen was pronounced dead after being transported to a local hospital by medics.
Monroe pays $157,000 to settle open records case
MONROE, Wash. — The Monroe City Council has paid more than $157,000 to settle an open records lawsuit. The Daily Herald of Everett reports the city paid the money Friday to Meredith Mechling, an activist who had asked for e-mails between city council members and the city’s lawyer. When the city failed to comply, she sued and won under the state’s public records law. Mayor Robert Zimmerman says the city has now trained two employees to deal with public information requests.
New sea otter from Alaska at Newport aquarium
NEWPORT, Ore. — A sea otter rescued from Alaska has made its debut in the outdoor exhibit at the Oregon Coast Aquarium in Newport. The Oregonian reports the staff watched closely Tuesday as 8-month old Mojo who weighs 35 pounds, met a 12-year-old sea otter named Hunter, who weighs 70 pounds. The staff says Hunter gave Mojo a gentle bite to establish dominance, then the two splashed and groomed each other before swimming their separate ways. Mojo was found on a beach in Homer, Alaska, in October with a broken jaw and some cuts, probably from a boat. He was nursed back to health at the Alaska Sea Life Center and sent to Oregon for a permanent home.
Person arrested in fatal shooting in Kent
KENT, Wash.— Police have arrested a person of interest in a fatal Halloween shooting in Kent. Police got a tip, stopped a car Tuesday night, and a man ran off. A police dog tracked him to a convenience store where he was arrested. The 20-year-old Auburn man is wanted in connection with the killing 18-year-old Devin Topps on Oct. 31 outside a house party. Topps graduated from Kentridge High School and had signed a letter of intent to play football for Eastern Washington University.
Montana DEQ scraps mine waste hauling plan
BILLINGS, Mont. — The Montana Department of Environmental Quality has scrapped plans to haul mine waste over Wyoming’s Chief Joseph Scenic Highway. The tailings would have originated at the McLaren gold mine near Cooke City, hauled across northern Wyoming along the winding mountain highway, and then to a mine in Whitehall for processing. Some in Wyoming had worried the trucks could cause safety problems and increase wear and tear on the road. The Billings Gazette reports the Montana DEQ made its decision Tuesday. The agency says the Wyoming Department of Transportation would have required loads smaller than what they planned. The smaller loads would have made the cost of the hauling prohibitive. Instead, the DEQ will expand an existing dump site near Cooke City.
Woman, dog rescued from mud at Wilsonville
WILSONVILLE, Ore. — A Tualatin Valley Fire and Rescue crew pulled a woman and her dog from the muddy bank of the Willamette River at Wilsonville. The department says Jackie Janopolo called for help Tuesday evening after she waded into the water to save her 150-pound dog after the Burmese mountain dog became stuck in the mud. Firefighters found Janopolo clinging to a tree at Memorial Park and pulled her and her dog named Bernie to safety with a rope. Neither was injured.
Hillsboro cigarette robbery brings 6-year sentence
CEDAR MILL, Ore. — A Cedar Hill man who stole 10 cartons of cigarettes from a Hillsboro convenience store in July has been sentenced to more than six years in prison. The Oregonian reports 22-year-old Pedro Antonio Cerda pleaded guilty this month in Washington County Circuit Court to robbery charges. Cerda had told detectives he was intoxicated that night and couldn’t recall what happened.
Florence man convicted for drunken driving crash
EUGENE, Ore. — A Lane County jury convicted a Florence of second-degree manslaughter for a drunken driving crash that killed two friends. The Register-Guard reports 28-year-old Tyler Clayton Davis faces a mandatory prison sentence of six years in prison. Prosecutors had sought a first-degree manslaughter conviction that would have carried a 10-year sentence, but the jury returned the verdict Tuesday on the lesser charge. The crash in September near Florence killed two Reedsport men, 26-year-old Joshua William Thornton and 24-year-old Nicholas Brodie Schneider. Davis had argued that Thornton was driving.
Woman accused of hiding stolen jewelry in burger
BUTTE, Mont. — A 47-year-old Deer Lodge woman is accused of driving drunk and hiding stolen jewelry in a hamburger when she was pulled over with her 10-year-old daughter in the car. Debra Bailey appeared in District Court on Tuesday and pleaded not guilty to DUI, burglary, theft and criminal endangerment. KXLF-TV in Butte reports that her bail was set at $25,000. The Powell County Attorney’s Office says Bailey was pulled over Dec. 1 after an officer noticed she was being followed by another vehicle. Police say she appeared to be impaired, and the people following her suspected her of burglarizing their home. Prosecutors say Bailey tried to hide the jewelry in the burger.