What’s news in the Northwest today:
PORT ORCHARD, Wash. — An inmate from the Kitsap County Jail who recently earned his GED discovered a math error in how the county calculates “good time” for inmates. The discovery by 48-year-old Robert “Doug” Pierce affects not only his sentence but other state prisoners from Kitsap County. The Kitsap Sun reports the county has agreed to rewrite its policy. Good time is the time inmates can reduce their sentence by good behavior, an important tool in jail management. The state’s 37 county jails can award any amount of good time up to one-third of the sentence. Read the full story.
Washington surrogate mom opens business in Oregon
LONGVIEW, Wash. — Tina Franklin has given birth to 10 babies, but only three of them are her own. She’s been a surrogate mother for the other seven — a set of twins, a set of triplets and two single pregnancies for other people. Now 37, Franklin’s last pregnancy was in February, and she says it will be her last. But her experience has led the Washington woman to start a business in Rainier, Ore. She opened the Oregon Surrogacy Center last month because it’s legal to compensate surrogate mothers in Oregon, but not Washington. The Daily News of Longview reports surrogate mothers can earn between $18,000 and $30,000. In addition the intended parents pay medical expenses and legal fees.
Woman jumps from burning Federal Way apartment
FEDERAL WAY, Wash. — A woman dropped from a smoky third floor window of a burning apartment building in Federal Way. KOMO-TV reports she fell about 15 feet and landed on plants and grass. KIRO-TV reports she was talking to neighbors after the jump, coughing and crying. She was apparently uninjured in the fall but was taken to a hospital as a precaution. Six apartments in the building are damaged by smoke or water.
Vandals damage pumpkins at church patch
MISSOULA — Vandals with knives damaged pumpkins in a Missoula church’s patch, and church officials estimate the damage will slice $1,000 from its fundraising efforts. Missoula Alliance Church Pastor Dan Nagel says the damaged orange gourds were found when workers opened the patch for business at noon Monday. Nagel says it looks like someone took a machete and just hacked at the pumpkins. Members of the congregation raised the pumpkins. Church officials began selling them Saturday in hopes of raising up to $20,000 for its overseas missions. About 120 of the patch’s 1,500 pumpkins were destroyed.
Bremerton homeless camp raises neighbors’ ire
BREMERTON, Wash. — Some residents on the east side of Bremerton are upset with a neighbor’s proposal to build a temporary camp for the homeless. Volunteers with Bremerton Rescue Mission would build as many as three dozen 12-by-12-foot plywood cabins for families with children. They would use portable toilets. The man behind the plan, Bremerton engineer Joel Adamson, says neighbors were angry and some yelled at him over the weekend when he passed out notices. Kitsap County would have to issue a permit for the homeless camp and the Kitsap Sun says that’s now uncertain.
Seattle would fine for unwelcome yellow pages book
SEATTLE — Yellow pages publishers may sue Seattle over an ordinance approved Monday by the city council that could fine them up to $125 for each book delivered to people who don’t want them. KIRO-TV reports the ordinance also requires yellow pages publishers to be licensed. Neg Norton with the Yellow Pages Association says the ordinance is a free speech violation that unfairly singles out the industry for fees and regulations.
Central Washington University begins party investigation
ELLENSBURG, Wash. — Police began interviewing Central Washington University students Monday to determine whether drinks were spiked at an off-campus party, causing the hospitalization of a dozen young adults Friday night. Five detectives are compiling a list of names of students to be questioned about what they saw and heard and whether they were assaulted or given drugs at the party. No arrests were reported as of Monday, and toxicology results based on blood and urine could take weeks to process. The party took place at a student’s parents’ weekend home in Roslyn, about 30 miles west of the Ellensburg campus.
Risk of labor stoppage looms over TriMet
PORTLAND, Ore. — Rumors of a work slowdown or a sickout continue to swirl around TriMet and its drivers as the relationship between the transportation agency and union members sharply deteriorates. The Oregonian reports that the rumors point to a work slowdown or drivers calling in sick on Wednesday. Union members have been working without a contract for nearly a year and are angry about new health care costs. And two weeks ago, the agency announced that union employees need to start paying into their benefits. TriMet has never faced a strike or work slowdown and it contends that it wouldn’t be able to handle such scenario. In Oregon, it’s been illegal since 2007 for transit employees to strike.
Man finds wedding ring in grandmother’s garden
SHELBY, Mont. — A Shelby woman received a big surprise for her 80th birthday — the wedding ring she lost eight years ago. Norma Welker tells the Great Falls Tribune she took the ring off while she was arranging flowers cut from her garden. A phone call distracted her while she cleaned up and she didn’t realize the ring was gone until after her trash had been hauled away. She searched the compost pile with no luck and figured the ring was gone forever. This spring, she decided her garden was too difficult to keep up and asked her grandson to till it so she could plant grass. Nick Welker was tilling the area when he spotted what he thought was a pop top. He picked it up and discovered it was his grandmother’s ring.