NW today: Radioactive rabbit trapped at Hanford

FRIDAY, NOV. 5, 2010, 8:58 A.M.

What’s news in the Northwest today:

TRI-CITIES, Wash. — A radioactive rabbit was trapped on the Hanford nuclear reservation, but there is no sign any people were exposed to the animal. Washington state Health Department workers with the Office of Radiation Protection have been searching for contaminated rabbit droppings. None have been found in areas accessible to the public, regional director Earl Fordham said Thursday. Officials suspect the rabbit sipped some water left from the recent demolition of a Cold War-era building used in the production of nuclear weapons, the Tri-City Herald reported. Contaminated animals occasionally are found at the nuclear reservation, but more often they are in the center of Hanford, far from town.

Condoms for teenage trick-or-treaters in Silverton

SILVERTON, Ore. — Some teenage trick-or-treaters received condoms in their bags on Halloween in Silverton. Daniel and Kathleen Harris told The Statesman Journal the free condoms were part of their effort to promote health. They also handed out toothbrushes as well as candy bars. The father of one 14-year-old girl who received the condoms, Daniel Cote, was offended and said it was inappropriate to give them to children without the parents’ consent. Kathleen Harris says giving the condoms to the 14-year-old was a mistake. She says their usual practice is to ask teens if they’re 16 or older and to give them a speech on safe sex.

4-foot pot plant in Idaho front yard brings arrest

BURLEY, Idaho — A southern Idaho woman growing a 4-foot tall pot plant in her front yard has been arrested and faces several felony drug charges. A preliminary hearing in the case against 48-year-old Laurie M. Donald is scheduled next Thursday in Cassia County. Police say an anonymous tip led them to the Donald’s home on Oct. 21, when they found the marijuana plant growing in the corner of her front yard. Donald has been charged with felony drug trafficking, manufacturing a controlled substance, possession of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Washington moves to tighten driver’s license requirements

OLYMPIA — Washington is tightening its requirements for issuing driver’s licenses in an effort to reduce the number of people who get them fraudulently. Beginning Monday, the state Department of Licensing will require proof of a valid Washington residence address if an applicant doesn’t provide a verified Social Security number. The proof documents, such as rental agreements, will be copied and verified by the agency before a permanent license is issued. Washington, New Mexico and Utah have been states where illegal immigrants could get licenses. An Associated Press analysis earlier this year found that those states have seen a surge in immigrants seeking IDs in recent months, a trend experts attribute to crackdowns on illegal immigration in Arizona and elsewhere.

BPA set on power line route through SW Washington

VANCOUVER, Wash. — The head of the Bonneville Power Administration says it’s sticking with a plan to route a new high-voltage transmission line through southwest Washington instead of Oregon. Administrator Steve Wright told a crowd of about 400 people in Vancouver on Thursday night that an Oregon route faces too many technical obstacles. He says the line is needed to improve the power grid, and without it residents of Portland and Vancouver would risk blackouts within five years. The line is opposed by some residents worried about its affect on health and property values. The Columbian reports a final decision on the $340 million project is expect in 2013. The line would run between Castle Rock and Troutdale, Ore.

Portland council settles police union grievance

PORTLAND, Ore. — The Portland City Council voted to settle a union grievance over a lengthy suspension given to an officer for having sex with another Portland cop while one of them was on duty. The Oregonian reports the council voted this fall to pay Officer Scherise Hobbs nearly $2,000 and to restore more than 100 hours of vacation pay. The newspaper requested police records that showed she was first suspended in 2002 and nearly fired in 2005 for a second offense. Police Chief Mike Reese warned Hobbs last month she would be fired for any more instances where her personal relationship clouds her judgment. The other officer was fired in 2006 after two arrests in a domestic violence case.

Oregon orders Bend to trim urban growth proposal

BEND, Ore. — The state has rejected a city of Bend proposal to expand its urban growth boundary by about 8,500 acres. The Oregon Land Conservation and Development Commission issued a final order Wednesday that outlines how Bend must amend its expansion proposal to comply with state land use laws. The state said the city should increase its density within current limits. The last time Bend expanded its urban growth boundary was 1981, when the city’s population was 17,425. The population is now over 80,000.

Idaho girl ran over by truck in critical condition

REXBURG, Idaho — A two-year-old girl ran over by a pickup truck in the parking lot of an eastern Idaho restaurant remains in critical condition. Rexburg police say the toddler was leaving a McDonald’s restaurant at about 12:30 p.m. Thursday and the driver of the truck did not see her as she walked behind her family. Police say the truck ran over the girl’s torso and she was flown to a Salt Lake City hospital. The girl suffered internal injuries.

Murder charge in Pierce County barbell beating

TACOMA — A man accused of beating his landlady with a barbell and running over her with a van has been charged with murder in Tacoma. The News Tribune reports a not guilty plea was entered Thursday on behalf of 32-year-old Ivan Lee Pinto. He’s jailed with bail set at $1 million. Deputies arrested Pinto on Wednesday near Roy after he reported the death. He told police she struck him first during an argument. The autopsy found the 60-year-old woman had been hit multiple times with a blunt object, but the fatal skull fracture was caused by being run over by a vehicle.

Poaching charge refiled against anti-wolf activist

KETCHUM, Idaho — Prosecutors have refiled a felony elk poaching charge against an anti-wolf activist. The charge against Anthony Mayer of Twin Falls was dismissed in Blaine County last month, though he still faced three misdemeanor counts concerning the killing of a bull elk in the fall of 2009. During an Oct. 20 hearing, Magistrate Judge R. Ted Israel said it was clear that Mayer had killed the elk out of season. But he dismissed the felony poaching charge based on when the measurement of the elk antlers was taken. The antlers were measured before a 60-day drying period required by the Boone and Crockett scoring system. Blaine County Prosecutor Jim Thomas says the antlers have been remeasured and the case against Mayer will continue.

Lewis-McChord screens soldiers for brain injuries

JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. — Joint Base Lewis-McChord is screening soldiers returning from combat for signs of traumatic brain injuries. Being exposed to explosions can lead to depression, sleep loss and short-term memory problems. The News Tribune reports the base held an event Thursday to spread information about TBI to military families. Soldiers are being treated at Madigan Army Medical Center’s traumatic brain injury program.

Woman sets sweater on fire in Yakima police car

YAKIMA, Wash. — Police say a woman who was placed in the back of a police car in Yakima took off her sweater and set it on fire. Officers noticed smoke Wednesday and pulled her out. She was flown to a Seattle hospital and treated for smoke inhalation. Lt. Mike Merryman told the Yakima Herald-Republic the woman had been patted down but was allowed to keep a cigarette lighter. She had not been arrested, just detained while officers tried to sort out a domestic violence situation. The fire burned a whole in the seat and damaged a door panel.

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