What’s news in the Northwest today:
KETCHUM, Idaho — An anti-wolf activist stands accused of illegally killing a trophy bull elk last year. Anthony Mayer was charged with felony poaching in Blaine County last month. The Idaho Mountain Express reports that the 59-year-old killed a trophy elk out of season in northern Blaine County, near Alturas Lake. Mayer is the founder of www.saveelk.com, a website that protests the reintroduction of wolves into the northern Rocky Mountains in the mid-1990s. He’s entered a written plea of not guilty.
Suquamish woman faces charge for hitting firefighter, nurse
HANSVILLE, Wash. — A Suquamish woman faces a felony charge of third-degree assault after allegedly hitting a firefighter in the groin and biting his thumb, according to documents filed in Kitsap County District Court. She also is accused of hitting an emergency room nurse. The incidents followed a car crash Sunday afternoon. Sharleina E. Henry, 19, allegedly walked away after the crash. Kitsap County Sheriff’s deputies believe she was intoxicated, and when a North Kitsap Fire and Rescue firefighter tried to get a blood sample from her, she hit him in the groin, deputies said. She later bit him on the thumb en route to the hospital. At Harrison Medical Center, the woman punched an emergency room nurse in the neck, deputies said.
Charges dropped in cocaine ring
COEUR d’ALENE— Kootenai County prosecutors have dismissed drug charges filed against eight of 11 people accused of being involved in a cocaine ring because the informant won’t testify while he faces federal charges. Deputy prosecutor Barry Black told the Coeur d’Alene Press the charges were dismissed Tuesday without prejudice, meaning the state could refile them. The charges were based on testimony from James R. “Slim” O’Neill. He is facing federal charges and invoked his Fifth Amendment right not to incriminate himself by testifying. O’Neill was arrested with nine others in a drug sting in May. He and six others are scheduled to face trial Oct. 26.
Grangeville fire being investigated as arson
GRANGEVILLE, Idaho — Police in Grangeville believe a weekend fire that destroyed a popular steakhouse was intentionally set. Police Chief Glenn W. Quantz tells the Lewiston Tribune the fire appears to be the work of arsonists. He says police have some people of interest “who were pretty quick to come and view the scene.” Firefighters were called to Ernie’s Steakhouse shortly after 1 a.m. Sunday. When they arrived, the fire had engulfed the front section of the restaurant and its roof, which later caved in.
Former owner of Pompeys Pillar dies at 89
BILLINGS, Mont. — Stella Foote, a Billings collector who helped preserve what is often called the only physical evidence of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, has died at the age of 89. John Foote of Eagle, Idaho, says his mother died in an assisted living facility there on Tuesday. Foote and her husband, Don, bought Pompeys Pillar in the 1950s and for 38 years operated the historical landmark, which contains Capt. William Clark’s signature and the date July 25, 1806. John Foote negotiated the landmark’s sale to the Bureau of Land Management in 1991.
Missoula man jailed on $2 million bail for heavy drinking
MISSOULA, Mont. — A Missoula judge has ordered a man jailed on $2 million bail for continuing to drink heavily in violation of his probation on a felony DUI conviction. District Judge Robert L. “Dusty” Deschamps III said Tuesday that jailing 72-year-old Carl Midland is the only way he can think of to keep him from drinking himself to death. The Missoulian reports that Deschamps said the action stems from a bit of a guilty conscious. He at one time told Midland he didn’t care if he drank himself to death as long as he didn’t drive and endanger others.
Fire department policy irks cop chief
LEWISTON — The Lewiston Fire Department has begun to bill insurance companies following fuel spills, drawing criticism from the city’s police chief along the way. Lewiston Fire Chief Gordy Gregg said the city is trying to recoup costs from its response to traffic accidents that release automotive fluids. The person responsible for the accident is liable for that cost, he said. In an e-mail to Gregg, Police Chief Steven Orr wrote, “I feel this is an unethical attempt to bilk insurance companies and our citizens for services that are already provided by LFD via tax-based funding.”
Pasco woman pleads guilty to lesser charge in alleged murder plot
PASCO — A Pasco woman accused of plotting to kill her husband pleaded guilty to a lesser charge on Tuesday and was sentenced to 80 days in jail. Michelle Murdock, 39, was charged in Franklin County Superior Court in July with first-degree conspiracy to murder her husband after John David Murdock, 62, told police the couple’s nanny had informed him of a plot to inject him with a tranquilizer and throw him down the stairs or over a balcony. But Dave Murdock later said he didn’t believe his wife planned to kill him, didn’t fear her and believed the murder plot instead had originated with nanny Shalena Kay Millward.
Washington plans 725 more job cuts
OLYMPIA — The Washington budget office said Tuesday that 725 more jobs would be cut from state agencies to help meet the governor’s order for a 6 percent cut in spending. The Olympian reports the cuts began taking effect Friday, although some agencies are still making plans to cut their budget, which could include more furlough days. Office of Financial Management spokesman Glenn Kuper says state government already has eliminated about 3,000 positions in the past year-and-a-half. Most of the pending layoffs are in the Department of Social and Health Services.
Bill Gates Sr. seeks support for state income tax initiative
MOSCOW — Bill Gates Sr., father of Microsoft’s founder, said Washington can’t fund a 21st Century education system with a tax structure from 1935. Forty-three states currently have an income tax in place, and he hopes to make Washington the 44th, he said at a Thomas S. Foley Institute for Public Policy and Public Service event at Washington State University Tuesday. Gates, a lawyer, civil activist and philanthropist, has long been active in pushing for an income tax in Washington state.
Tight money prevents some Oregon prosecutions
PORTLAND, Ore. — Many Oregon prosecutors say tight money has forced them to stop prosecuting dozens of illegal acts as crimes. The Oregonian reports that Multnomah County is treating many minor crimes — such as being caught with small amounts of drugs or minor shoplifting — as violations where a perpetrator can pay a fine and go free. District Attorney Mike Schrunk says he’s had no choice because his office doesn’t have the funds. Some counties like Washington and Linn have public safety levies or timber money that allow prosecutors to pursue more cases. But other district attorneys say it’s difficult to get voters to approve levies, and they have had to do more with less.