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In brief: Bill would expedite tech school project

Supporters of a planned professional-technical high school in North Idaho hope a bill slated for the 2011 Idaho Legislature will expedite the project and help the facility open in 2012 – a year earlier than if there’s no change in the law.

Voters in the Post Falls, Coeur d’Alene and Lakeland school districts in August approved financing to construct the $9.5 million Kootenai Technical Education Campus in Rathdrum. The school will offer classes in skilled trades such as health occupations, welding, construction and automotive to juniors and seniors in the three districts.

But the project can’t break ground until all the money is in the bank.

Coeur d’Alene Republican Sen. John Goedde has said he plans to sponsor legislation during the session that starts Jan. 10 to allow construction to start in 2011.

Post Falls schools Superintendent Jerry Keane told the Coeur d’Alene Press he’s optimistic lawmakers will see fit to change the law and allow the facility to open in just two years.

Three in Oregon die in holiday accidents

PORTLAND – Three people died in traffic-related incidents over the Christmas weekend, the Oregon State Police said.

Police said a 61-year-old Gresham, Ore., woman was struck and killed Friday evening as she walked into the westbound lane of Oregon Highway 224 in Barton. She was reportedly getting directions on her cell phone when she was hit.

An 84-year-old Woodburn man died in a Thursday evening collision with an SUV in the Woodburn area.

Early Sunday, a 20-year-old female passenger was killed when she was ejected during a single-car accident in Portland.

Woman’s body found in irrigation canal

KENNEWICK – Police in Kennewick are investigating the discovery of a woman’s body found in an irrigation canal.

Two men walking down the street spotted the body just before noon Monday, Sgt. Ken Lattin of the Kennewick Police Department told the Tri-City Herald. The body was found in about a foot of water and five inches of mud from recent rain and melting snow.

Lattin said the woman appears to be in her mid-40s. An autopsy is scheduled.

Restaurant patrons trip would-be robber

SEATTLE – Two customers tripped and held onto a robber until officers arrived at a Seattle restaurant Sunday, Seattle police said.

The scuffle unfolded at a Kidd Valley restaurant in the Queen Anne neighborhood.

Officers say a man walked past the front counter Sunday night, turned off the lights and stole cash from an unlocked safe in a rear office. Police say when the man returned from the back he was wearing a mask and yelled “get down!”

Most employees and customers fled when the lights were turned out, but three stayed, including a 60-year-old man and his 31-year-old son. Police say those two tripped the masked man and held him for police.

The son was treated for minor abrasions. The masked man was treated at a hospital, then arrested for investigation of robbery and for an outstanding arrest warrant.

911 call ends search for men stranded in park

WEST GLACIER, Mont. – Glacier National Park officials say three Kalispell men are safe after being stranded in the park Sunday night.

The men made it off Mount Brown on Monday morning after searchers spent the night looking for them.

Glacier officials say 18-year-old Dan House, 18-year-old James McCarthy and 20-year-old Justin Newton started out on snowshoes at 11 a.m. Sunday to try to reach the fire lookout on Mount Brown. Around 6:30 p.m., one of them used a cell phone to notify a family member that they were stranded, but could not provide an accurate location.

The family member contacted Flathead County officials.

Monday morning one of the men called 911. The call was used to determine their location.