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NW today: For taxidermist, the stuff of dreams

What’s news in the Northwest today:

KENNEWICK – Taxidermist Leon Mathews has stuffed his fair share of birds, but he recently had a rare chance to work on a majestic bald eagle. The owner of Avian Artistry & Taxidermy of Kennewick was excited when a Native American man hired him to stuff the country’s national bird. It’s the first time he has worked on a bald eagle, which has a wing span almost 7 feet. The bald eagle is protected by a 1940 law, but it is legal for Native Americans to possess the feathers and birds as long as they don’t kill the birds. When an eagle is found dead or dies in captivity, it often is given to the National Eagle Repository, run by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service near Denver. Mathews’ client, who lives in Nevada, waited more than two years to get his bird from the repository.

Idaho soldier sees his twins born via Internet

BOISE — An Idaho Army National Guard medic has joined the increasing ranks of soldier dads who owe their first, real-time glimpse of their newborn children to the Internet. Sgt. First Class Mike Lewis is stationed in Iraq but used the online calling and messaging service Skype to join his wife for her delivery in Idaho. Heather Lewis of Nampa gave births to twins, Gabriella and Owen, last week with her husband watching and offering encouragement via the Internet. The Idaho mom told KTVB-TV it was important for her husband to be part of the birth, even if he could only be there online.

Oregon scientists help sequence strawberry genome

CORVALLIS, Ore. — Thirteen Oregon State researchers have helped sequence the genome of a woodland strawberry, which could extend the shelf life of fruit. The Gazette-Times reports the research lasted more than two years. The Oregon State researchers were part of an international team of 70 scientists. Strawberries share many of the same genes as apples, peaches and pears, making the research applicable to other fruit. By sequencing the strawberry’s genome, the researchers believe they have identified the genes responsible for flavor, nutritional value and disease resistance.

Through breeding, those characteristics could be transferred to other crops.

Father: Snow boarder’s death not from fall, crash

HOOD RIVER, Ore. — The father of a dead snow boarder says the 15 year old did not die from a fall on Mt. Hood. Sheriff’s deputies are investigating the death of Ilya Sirosh. KGW-TV reports Petr Sirosh, Ilya’s father, says a medical examiner told him Ilya’s injuries weren’t from a fall or collision. The Hood River County sheriff’s office says the ski patrol at Mount Hood Meadows Resort found Sirosh face down in the snow Wednesday night. He was not wearing a helmet, and efforts to revive him were unsuccessful. The boy had got on a ski lift about 25 minutes before his body was found. The sheriff’s office says he was visiting the resort with family members, but there were no witnesses to his death.

Times may be changing for Lewiston pawn shops

LEWISTON – Proposed changes to the city’s pawn shop ordinance are drawing mixed reviews from Lewiston’s proprietors. Lewiston Police Capt. Roger Lanier said the changes are designed to digitize pawn slips that are often outdated under the current system. The updates would also require pawn shops to submit their pawn slips electronically and keep sold items for 14 days before resale. The department gets hard copies of pawn slips under the current system, requiring officers to physically enter the slips into their database when they have time. When items are reported stolen around town, an investigating officer has to hand-search all the records. The city’s four pawn shops would be required to input details of pawned items into a database maintained by the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office.

Investigator: Drop charge in Afghan civilian death

SEATTLE — An Army investigator looking into the case of Washington state-based soldiers who are accused of killing three Afghan civilians for kicks has recommended dropping a murder charge against the alleged ringleader. Staff Sgt. Calvin Gibbs of Billings, Mont., is the highest ranking of five soldiers charged. Another defendant told investigators that Gibbs provided a grenade used in the first killing. The Seattle Times reports that an Army judge advocate has recommended that the murder charge against Gibbs in that killing be dropped. Col. Thomas Malloy says the Army could have trouble proving the charge. No witnesses have alleged that Gibbs directly took part in that killing. Malloy recommended that Gibbs face a court martial on a conspiracy charge in the first killing, as well as conspiracy and murder charges in the second and third killings. Lt. Gen. Curtis Scaparrotti is reviewing the recommendation.

Whitman County a step closer to wind farm

MOSCOW, Idaho – Area residents, local, state and federal agencies have had their chance to weigh in on the environmental significance of a wind farm in Whitman County. Whitman County Planner Alan Thomson recently closed the open call for written comments on the Environmental Impact Statement for a 30- to 50-turbine farm slated for construction on Naff Ridge near Oakesdale. The impact statement includes hundreds of pages that outline the purpose of the project and all possible impacts on the surrounding environment. Though the EIS comment process has passed, Thomson said there still will be ample opportunity for supporters or opponents of the wind farm to enter their opinions into the record.

Ocean power projects raise concern about salmon

TACOMA — The quest for green energy is increasingly focused on ocean power such as tidal and wave generators. But some scientists are raising concerns about whether those projects could interfere with salmon and other species with sensitive internal compasses. Pacific Northwest National Laboratory oceanographer Andrea Copping tells The News Tribune of Tacoma that scientists believe salmon, like sharks and sea turtles, might sense the Earth’s magnetic fields as they navigate back to their natal streams. Some scientists worry that the power-generating devices and the cables that bring their electricity to shore can create electromagnetic fields that could interfere with the salmon. Copping’s lab in Sequim on the Olympic Peninsula is studying the reactions of salmon, dungeness crab, halibut and American lobsters when copper wiring near their tanks is energized.

Police say man stole cop’s car after traffic stop

VANCOUVER, Wash. — A Clark County man avoided serious injury when he ran from a sheriff’s deputy during a traffic stop and stole the deputy’s patrol car. KGW-TV reports that the deputy fired one shot at Raymond H. Hall, which allegedly grazed his arm, early Sunday morning. Hall then allegedly ditched the patrol car one mile away and fled on foot to the home of a couple who gave him a change of clothes. A 911 caller told dispatchers that a man with one shoe had fled the neighborhood. Police couldn’t find Hall with a helicopter and K-9 search team. Deputies spotted a cab that they felt was out of place in the neighborhood. The cab was stopped and Hall was found as a passenger inside.

Clarkston considers ban on fake pot

LEWISTON – Clarkston plans to join in the nationwide crackdown on synthetic marijuana products commonly known as “Spice.” Police Chief Joel Hastings said he plans to bring an ordinance before the council that would ban the sale of Spice within the city limits. The ordinance was on the council’s agenda for tonight, but was removed until it can be further reviewed by the city attorney. But Clarkston may not need to pass an ordinance after all, with the federal Drug Enforcement Agency’s decision last month to temporarily control five of the chemicals — known as synthetic cannabinoids — used to make fake marijuana products. Spice is smoked by teenagers and young adults to mimic the effects of marijuana, although some synthetic cannabinoids can be up to five times as potent, according to the DEA.

Report coming on Hanford’s B Reactor

KENNEWICK – A revised and final report that makes recommendations on Hanford’s historic B Reactor is expected to be delivered to Congress at January’s end by the National Park Service working with the Department of Energy. By then, Rep. Doc Hastings, R-Wash., will be chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee, which will receive the park service’s recommendations on a possible Manhattan Project Historical Park and whether to include B Reactor. The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee also will receive the report.

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