In brief: Idaho election saw low turnout
BOISE – Official results for Idaho’s Nov. 2 elections, certified this week by the state Board of Canvassers, show just 58.1 percent of the state’s registered voters cast ballots, the lowest turnout for a midterm election since 1978.
The turnout fell well below predictions, which were based on hot races and heavy early voting. “People just for some reason didn’t show up,” said Chief Deputy Secretary of State Tim Hurst. “We’ve always talked about how candidates and issues are what get people out to vote, and we had candidates, we had issues, and nobody voted. I don’t have an explanation.”
The final canvass of Idaho’s votes found no change in tallies from unofficial results released the morning after the election.
Guilty in death of pregnant woman
WATERVILLE, Wash. – A 35-year-old Tonasket, Wash., woman has been convicted on charges she hired people to kill a woman who was pregnant with her husband’s child.
Lacey Hirst-Pavek has been found guilty of aggravated first-degree murder in the slaying of 25-year-old Michelle Kitterman, of Tonasket, and first-degree manslaughter in the death of Kitterman’s unborn child in a Douglas County Superior Court. Prosecutors say Hirst-Pavek planned the attack because Kitterman was having an affair with her husband.
Kitterman was beaten and stabbed to death on March 1, 2009, on a remote Tonasket road. Two other people involved in her death have been convicted and a third has pleaded guilty.
Hirst-Pavek faces a life term in prison when she is sentenced Tuesday in Okanogan County Superior Court. Her trial was moved to Waterville in Douglas County because of publicity in the case.
Tamarack’s lease has been paid
BOISE – Tamarack Resort’s delinquent state land lease has been paid, a positive sign for those hoping for a ski season at the failed Idaho vacation getaway.
The Idaho Department of Lands on Friday said Credit Suisse Group and a homeowners association that wants to have skiing starting Dec. 20 paid about $415,000, covering the lease for 2,100 acres through next June.
Homeowners are trying to drum up enthusiasm for Tamarack among potential season-ticket buyers, as they seek to resurrect a ski season after lifts were shuttered in March 2009.
U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Terry Myers, who is overseeing Tamarack’s $300 million bankruptcy, still has to sign off on the pact between Credit Suisse, the homeowners and the state.
PORTLAND – Oregon Health & Science University says it has formed a cancer care and research plan that includes a recruiting drive and a commercial DNA testing lab.
The Oregonian reported the plan also includes the expansion of the university’s cancer tissue bank into a unique and potentially profitable resource for researchers and drug companies.
The plan was announced Friday, about two years after OHSU received a $100 million gift from Nike co-founder Phil Knight and his wife, Penny, to support cancer research.
OHSU officials said the main goal of the effort is to use DNA testing to choose treatments that target an individual tumor’s weaknesses, rather than blasting them with toxic chemotherapy or radiation.
Oregon budget in the black
SALEM – State economists say the revenue forecast for Oregon is finally showing a modest gain after nearly two years of declines.
The quarterly forecast for state revenue now projects the two-year budget cycle will end with $62 million left over.
But the extra money reflects $1 billion in cuts enacted earlier this year.
State economist Tom Potiowsky told state lawmakers Friday that a planned multibillion-dollar investment by Intel and strong job growth numbers last month are encouraging signs.
But he warns there’s still a 25 percent chance of falling back into a recession.
Sheriff’s deputy charged with rape
YAKIMA – A Yakima County sheriff’s deputy accused of breaking into a home and forcing a woman to perform a sex act has pleaded not guilty.
Deputy Sean Moore, 37, entered not guilty pleas Friday to rape, assault and burglary charges.
The judge ordered his bail at $500,000.
The charges stem from an alleged attack on Oct. 24.
Moore is also accused of assaulting the woman and threatening her male friend at gunpoint earlier in the day at the same house; investigators say he was in uniform at the time.