What’s news in the Northwest today:
SEATTLE — Seattle police say some self-styled “superheroes” are patrolling the streets and trying to save people from crime. The seattlepi.com reports they call themselves the Rain City Superhero Movement — part of a nationwide movement. Police say they don’t mind people calling 911 and being good witnesses, but it’s not a good idea to put themselves in danger. In one case on Nov. 4, police found a man wearing a Batman costume and calling himself Phoenix the Guardian of Seattle. He was with four other men and one woman all in costumes. They were dealing with a threatening man swinging a golf club. Police took the club. Officers let the man go because the superheros refused to give their real names for an official complaint.
Museum planned for movies filmed in Oregon
EUGENE, Ore. — An Oregon screenwriter is planning a museum in Eugene dedicated to movies filmed in the state. Katherine Wilson is also a longtime movie location scout and a casting director. She wants to use a 2,500-square-foot space in downtown Eugene to create the Oregon Film Factory Movie Museum. Wilson signed a letter of intent this week with a Eugene commercial real estate broker. But she needs about $270,000 to create a museum that would celebrate classics such as “Animal House” and “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.” The Register-Guard reports that Wilson has the support of the Governor’s Office of Film & Television in Portland, and others.
New Washington ferry intentionally built to tilt
SEATTLE — If you think the new Washington state ferry Chetzemoka is leaning a bit to one side, you’re right. The ferry system says the 64-car ferry was built to tilt. It’s designed with a 1 percent list when it is empty to accommodate trucks and oversize loads. When the vessel is loaded, the list is eliminated. And, the ferry system said Thursday the ferry is safe to operate with the list when it’s not loaded and doesn’t need ballast. Gov. Chris Gregoire christened the ferry Sunday. It has gone into operation on the Coupeville-Port Townsend route. The state is building two more similar ferries for a total of $213 million for all three.
Hearing begins in US Highway 12 shipments
BOISE, Idaho — A hearing judge appointed by the Idaho Transportation Department is taking testimony over opposition to an oil company’s plans to haul four massive loads of equipment along U.S. Highway 12 in northern Idaho. The hearing Friday at the agency’s headquarters in Boise is the next step in a case over a plan by ConocoPhillips to ship the oversized loads from Lewiston to its refinery in Billings, Mont. Last week, the agency appointed Boise attorney Merlyn Clark as administrative judge in the case. Specifically, Clark must determine if opponents of the travel plan have a right to intervene in the case, even though the agency has already issued travel permits. Opposition lawyer Laird Lucas said the agency failed to properly consider public safety and convenience. Clark intends to issue a decision next week.
Woman sentenced for embezzling from school
HELENA, Mont. — A 55-year-old Kalispell woman has been sentenced to nearly two years in prison and ordered to pay more than $160,000 in restitution for embezzling from a therapeutic boarding school. Cynthia J. Rasmussen was sentenced to 21 months in prison Thursday during a hearing before U.S. District Judge Charles Lovell in Helena. From 2004 until February 2008, Rasmussen worked at the Montana Academy in Marion. Prosecutors say from 2005 through 2007, Rasmussen stole hundreds of thousands of dollars from the academy by writing herself multiple payroll checks, increasing her salary and using a company credit card to pay personal expenses. Prosecutors say Rasmussen continued to issue herself checks from the Montana Academy for several days after she was placed on administrative leave in February 2008.
Geese descend on western Montana waterfowl refuge
STEVENSVILLE, Mont. —Thousands of geese and other waterfowl have descended on the Lee Metcalf Refuge in southwestern Montana ahead of cold weather moving into the area. The Ravalli Republic reports refuge officials estimate that close to 8,000 snow and Ross’s geese had migrated into the refuge in the Bitterroot Valley on Thursday morning. Bob Danley is the refuge’s outdoor education coordinator. He says it’s the largest migration of those two species of geese that they’ve seen in recent memory. Several hundred tundra swans and a handful of trumpeter swans are also using the area. Danley says the geese are an indication that the cold weather is coming. he says the geese could stay at the refuge just north of Stevensville for a couple of days, at least until the cold air arrives.
Roommate arrested in Puyallup man’s death
PUYALLUP, Wash. — Police have arrested the roommate of a man who was found stabbed to death Thursday on the back deck of their apartment in Puyallup. Capt. Dave McDonald told The News Tribune of Tacoma a tip led officers to pick up the 55-year-old Thursday night at a bus stop in Lakewood. He’s jailed for investigation of murder. Police say the victim probably was killed early Thursday when neighbors heard a commotion in the apartment. McDonald said the two men had lived together for at least seven years and both had mental health issues.
Federal report: Oregon third-hungriest state
SALEM, Ore. — A new federal report says Oregon ranks third in the nation for hunger. The U.S. Department of Agriculture report released this week says that 6.6 percent of about 1.5 million Oregon households do not have regular access to healthy food. The Statesman Journal reports the Oregon rate ranks it just behind Maine, which was at 6.7 percent, and Alabama, which led the category at 6.8 percent. The number of Oregonians suffering from low or very low food security is two percentage points higher in the 2007-09 survey than it was in a 2004-06 survey. Jean Kempe-Ware, spokeswoman for the Oregon Food Bank, says it could have been worse without federal investments in food stamps and emergency food that helped lessen the impact.
Idaho police say robber betrayed by familiar voice
SANDPOINT — Police say the robber of a northern Idaho payday loan service gave himself away because he was a frequent customer of the business and a manager recognized his voice. Steven Lee Keller was arrested just over the border in Washington state at an Indian reservation casino, following the robbery of Sandpoint Title & Payday Loans. The 39-year-old made an initial appearance in 1st District court in Sandpoint on Wednesday, where the judge kept his $50,000 bail and appointed a public defender. A man who entered the payday loan office on Friday morning was wearing a bandanna, hooded sweatshirt and dark glasses to conceal his identity. But the manager just knew that voice — so well that she initially thought it was a joke. Keller allegedly brandished a utility knife before leaving with $200.
Oregon fire chief resigns after marijuana citation
GLADSTONE, Ore. — The fire chief in the Portland suburb of Gladstone has resigned after he was cited for driving under the influence and possession of marijuana. The Oregonian reported that 55-year-old John Figini submitted his resignation to the Gladstone City Council last week. He had been chief since 2003. According to court records, Figini was stopped by an Oregon State Police trooper on Interstate 205 near Tualatin on Sept. 19. He was cited for reckless driving and driving under the influence of intoxicants, both misdemeanors. He also was cited for possession of less than an ounce of marijuana, a violation.
Figini has contested the charges, which are set for administrative
Deputy remains hospitalized after shootout
GRANGEVILLE, Idaho — An Idaho County sheriff’s deputy remains hospitalized in serious condition following a fatal shootout with a man wanted on a felony warrant in Colorado. The Lewiston Tribune reports Deputy Fred Carey was wounded in the ankle and abdomen Wednesday morning during an exchange of gunfire with 47-year-old Curtis Scrivner. Carey remained hospitalized Thursday. Officers had been looking for Scrivner since Tuesday, when he displayed a firearm and fled from a deputy who was trying to arrest him on a felony warrant from El Paso County, Colo. Road construction workers spotted Scrivner Wednesday and called authorities. Witnesses said Scrivner was lying in the grass and opened fire when officers arrived. Carey was hit and then another officer shot toward where Scrivner was, killing him.
Idaho ski resorts ready to fire up lifts
BOISE — Skiers and shredders, wax your boards. Lookout Pass Ski Area in North Idaho is Idaho’s first resort to open this year, and others are gearing up for opening days, too. Mountain management says all lifts will be operating through Sunday on this initial weekend. The resort will open again for Thanksgiving. Skiing at other resorts is nearing, as well, with the season at Grand Targhee just over the Wyoming border beginning on Saturday. Lifts will be running at Sun Valley come Thanksgiving. Brundage and Bogus Basin, near McCall and Boise, respectively, will open when they get enough snow. Schweitzer near Sandpoint just got another 12 inches of snow overnight, and Silver Mountain above Kellogg is also getting hit by storms rolling through the region.
Police dog bites Tumwater police officer in groin
TUMWATER, Wash. — A Tumwater police officer will miss about six weeks of work while he recovers from being bitten in the groin by a Thurston County sheriff’s police dog. The Olympian reports the officer was bitten Sunday night while officers were looking for a burglary suspect in the former Olympia brewery. The suspect was caught. Sheriff Dan Kimball says the office feels terrible about the incident that occurred in the dark building when the Tumwater officer moved between the dog and the suspect. The sheriff says it wasn’t the dog’s fault.
Walla Walla toy store fights for octopus sign
WALLA WALLA, Wash. — The owner of a Walla Walla toy store is still fighting to keep a mural of a purple octopus. KVEW-TV reports Bob Catsiff now admits the painting on the downtown storefront is a sign, but he says the city’s sign code is unconstitutional. The city says the sign over the Inland Octopus toy store is too big. It’s fining Bob Catsiff $100 a day. So far the fine is more than $3,000. He hopes the fine will be dismissed if he wins his case in court.