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NW today: Prisoners help save endangered frogs

Mon., Nov. 8, 2010, 8:25 a.m.

What’s news in the Northwest today:

TACOMA — Prison inmates at the Cedar Creek Correctional Center are helping raise endangered Oregon spotted frogs for release back into the wild. The prison near Littlerock in Thurston County raises bigger frogs with a higher survival rate than other sites in the program with the state Fish and Wildlife Department — Northwest Trek, the Oregon Zoo in Portland and the Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle. Department of Corrections spokesman Chad Lewis says the prison is ideal for the work because it has people with plenty of time in a controlled environment. The prisoners call their frog-raising area “Frogga Walla.”

Man gets 10 years for shooting death

SANDPOINT — A former Bonner County man who entered a plea agreement in a January 2007 shooting death has been given a 15-year prison sentence. Keith Allen Brown entered an Alford plea to voluntary manslaughter and accessory to grand theft in the shooting death of 47-year-old Leslie Carlton Breaw during a heated argument. The Bonner County Daily Bee reports 1st District Judge Fred Gibler sentenced Brown on Friday, ordering him to serve at least 10 years before being eligible for parole. He gave Brown credit for the more than three years he served while waiting trial. Brown and his former wife were originally charged with first-degree murder in Breaw’s death and with grand theft for allegedly cashing a $56,000 escrow check that belonged to Breaw.

Sick sea lions may spread disease to people, pets

TILLAMOOK, Ore. — Marine mammal experts are warning people to stay away from sea lions they may find dead on a beach. At least two more dead sea lions were found over the weekend on Oregon beaches. The animals may carry a bacterial disease — called leptospirosis — that can be spread to dogs and people. In people it causes flulike symptoms — fever, chills and headaches. The disease can be spread on contact with a sick or dead California sea lion or its waste.

Longtime supporter of the arts in Idaho dies

BOISE — Jane Oppenheimer, a longtime fixture in Boise’s art world and benefactor of the art programs all across Idaho, has died. She was 92. Relatives say Oppenheimer died Saturday at her Boise home. She served on the Idaho Commission of the Arts and during her tenure advocated for statewide support of arts programs. In 2005, she received the Governor’s Award in the Arts for Excellence in Support of the Arts. She was instrumental in founding the Idaho Botanical Garden and was an active supporter of the Boise Philharmonic and the Idaho Shakespeare Festival.

Barkus attorney asks for change of plea hearing

KALISPELL, Mont. — A state senator charged with driving a boat while drunk and crashing into the rocky shoreline of Flathead Lake is close to a plea agreement. Attorney Todd Glazier filed a request Wednesday asking that Sen. Greg Barkus’ Nov. 29 trial be canceled and that a hearing be scheduled for him to change his plea. The Republican from Kalispell is charged with criminal endangerment and two counts of vehicular assault for the Aug. 27, 2009 crash that injured all five on board, including U.S. Rep. Denny Rehberg and two of his staffers. One of Rehberg’s staffers was in a coma for more than a week.

Oregon pedestrian fatals nearly double this year

PORTLAND, Ore. — The number of pedestrians killed in Oregon this year has nearly doubled from last year. State highway officials say 52 people have been killed while walking on roads or streets across the state so far this year, compared to 29 during the same period in 2009. Just last week, three people died after being struck by cars; one in Eugene, one in Milton-Freewater and another in Welches, The manager for Oregon’s pedestrian safety program, Julie Yip, said the common factor in many of those deaths is visibility — people wearing dark clothing on unlit roads.

Sheriff: Shots fired during standoff in Cowlitz

KELSO, Wash. — Police say they’ve arrested a man who fired two dozen shots during an hours-long standoff at his home in Cowlitz County. Deputies responded to a report of a drunken man shooting a gun at a residence near Rose Valley Sunday afternoon. Authorities say deputies cordoned off the residence as numerous gunshots were heard being fired inside the home. A SWAT team tried to convince the man to give up and at one point fired tear gas inside. After four hours, the man surrendered without further incident.

BLM wild horse roundup draws protests, activists

BEND, Ore. — The federal Bureau of Land Management has begun rounding up wild horses near Burns to preserve public land as animal rights activists and other fans of the animals keep close watch. The law requires the agency to keep herds under certain levels to protect the habitat and the horses themselves, he said. The BLM manages about 38,400 wild horses and burros on rangelands across the West. It is scheduled to gather 12,000 horses, including about 360 from the Warm Springs herd, this year. Those that are not adopted will be sent to long-term pastures in the Midwest.

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