What’s news in the Northwest today:
PORTLAND, Ore. — Frustrated teachers who have been unable to stop students from “grinding” on the dance floor have canceled the winter formal at Cleveland High School in Portland. Vice Principal Pam Joyner told The Oregonian chaperones have tried everything to prevent the inappropriate contact — lectures, shining flashlights, and T-shirts that said “No bumping.” Nothing worked. So, teachers refused to chaperone the January dance. Cleveland’s special projects coordinator, Jan Watt, says the students dance like people they see on TV. Some students told The Oregonian grinding is no big deal, but they wouldn’t want their parents to watch.
Recommendation: Kill more Bonneville Dam sea lions
PORTLAND — An advisory group recommends killing more sea lions that have been dining on salmon at the Columbia River’s first dam, known to some as the “Bonneville buffet.” The task force meeting in Portland this week concluded Wednesday that the states of Washington and Oregon should shoot the California sea lions on the spot, rather than trapping and killing by lethal injection. One member of the task force, Oregon Anglers executive director Dennis Richey, says if they saw the Bonneville Dam as a dangerous place they would leave. A Humane Society official, Sharon Young, was the only member of the task force to vote against shooting.
Man sentenced for fatal boating crash
ASOTIN, Wash. — A 34-year-old Lapwai, Idaho man has been sentenced to just over three years in prison for piloting a boat on the Snake River while intoxicated and hitting another boat, killing a 15-year-old boy. Gordon J. Higheagle pleaded guilty Wednesday to homicide by watercraft and four counts of reckless endangerment for the Aug. 14 collision that killed Jonas D. Yochum of Lewiston, Idaho. Whitman County Superior Court Judge David Frazier sentenced Higheagle to three years and five months in prison, calling the boat crash “a crime of gross irresponsibility.”
Helena woman charged in hammer attack on husband
HELENA, Mont. — A 50-year-old Helena woman is charged with aggravated assault after her husband was beaten with a hammer, suffering extensive injuries to his head and face. The Independent Record reports Jill M. Lotter was released from jail Wednesday after posting $50,000 bond. Prosecutors say a neighbor called authorities Tuesday afternoon, when Lotter allegedly told the neighbor she had hit her husband in the head with a hammer. The neighbor found the man on the living room floor, bleeding from head and facial injuries. The man was airlifted to a Great Falls hospital, where he underwent emergency surgery. He was listed in critical condition.
Wind farm gets thumbs down in SE Idaho
BLACKFOOT, Idaho — A proposed wind farm in southeastern Idaho suffered a setback this week when officials turned down its special use permit application. The Bingham County Planning and Zoning Commission said Blue Ribbon Energy’s plan to install 27 wind turbines near the Goshen townsite would have put the spinning blades too close to homes. Company officials were frustrated, saying they did their best but couldn’t anticipate the demands of the commission. Blue Ribbon had scaled back its proposal from 50 turbines to 27, to address community concerns.
Invenergy wants to build wind farm near Belt
GREAT FALLS, Mont. — Chicago-based Invenergy has applied for a permit to build a $50 million, 24-megawatt wind farm about 20 miles southeast of Great Falls. The Great Falls Tribune reports the request for the special use permit was filed with the Cascade County Planning Office on Wednesday. Invenergy spokesman Mark Jacobson describes the location’s wind resource as “screaming.” The Big Otter Wind Energy Project is proposed on 3,500 acres of private land just south of Belt. The power would be shipped to an existing 100-kilovolt transmission line.
Wyoming considers hiring lawyer for wolf talks
CASPER, Wyo. — Wyoming lawmakers are considering whether to hire a lawyer and join Montana and Idaho in trying to negotiate the removal of wolves from the federal endangered species act. The Casper Star-Tribune reports that the Legislative Management Council will meet Friday and consider a request to spend $30,000 on a lawyer to negotiate with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Idaho and Montana would be expected to contribute as well. However, the council could also decide to end its involvement with the two other states in efforts to delist wolves. The federal government lifted protections for wolves in Idaho, Montana and parts of Oregon, Utah and Washington in 2009 but that was later reversed by a federal judge.
Vancouver firefighter resigns to end sex case
VANCOUVER, Wash. — A Vancouver firefighter accused of having a sexual relationship with a woman he met on an aid call has resigned. Clark County Fire District 6 Chief Jerry Green told The Columbian Wednesday that the resignation of Richard Wilson will end the internal investigation. Wilson had been placed on paid leave last month after a man complained Wilson was having an affair with his wife. They met while the firefighter was on an aid call to their home involving one of their children. The wife confirmed the relationship to The Columbian and said there’s no law against dating. She says she’s divorcing her husband.
‘Save the bear’ campaign for Gig Harbor bear
GIG HARBOR, Wash. — A “save the bear” campaign asks the state Fish and Wildlife Department not to kill the bear that attacked a woman at Gig Harbor. The News Tribune reports dozens of e-mails have been sent to the agency pleading for the bear’s life. Spokesman Craig Bartlett says agents believe the bear should be killed because experience shows that a bear that attacks a person is likely to do so again. Officials also want to test it for rabies. The bear remains at large. It’s been able to resist traps baited with doughnuts, maple syrup, grease and sardines.