What’s news in the Northwest today:
BOISE — Idaho Department of Fish and Game Director Cal Groen has a Nov. 10 date in a northcentral Idaho courtroom after being cited for trespassing. Groen, 63, was involved in an incident near Elk City in northcentral Idaho in which he and three hunting companions were cited in the reported trespassing incident. The state wildlife agency director has said he was helping members of his hunting party butcher two elk at the site in question. He maintained his party had permission in previous years to hunt there, but was unaware the land had changed ownership. The Idaho County Sheriff’s Department says Groen’s party was cooperative in the investigation and that several items, including four- and five-point antlers, were taken into evidence.
Yakima neighbors complain about Halloween display
YAKIMA, Wash. — A Halloween display in Yakima has upset some neighbors. They told KAPP-TV that hanging dolls with fake blood and missing limbs are too gruesome for kids walking by. The man who hung the dolls from his tree, Justin Tabert, says people have a right to their opinion and he does too.
Tri-Cities pregnancy-murder trial goes to jury
KENNEWICK, Wash. — A jury in Kennewick is now deliberating in the aggravated murder trial of a woman accused of killing a pregnant woman and cutting the baby from her womb. Lawyers made their closing arguments Monday in the trial of the 25-year-old Kennewick woman, Phiengchai Sisouvanh Synhavong. She is pleading innocent by reason of insanity. If convicted she would be sentenced to life in prison without parole. The baby survived the June 2008 attack at a Kennewick park and lives with its father.
Judge dismisses abuse case against North Idaho man
SANDPOINT — A judge has dismissed the case against a northern Idaho man charged with lewd conduct and sexual abuse of a minor in Bonner County. Court records show the prosecution sought to drop the charges against 50-year-old Ted Norman Engelbrecht to avoid further trauma to the girl who claims she was abused. Prosecutors say the girl’s therapist advised it would not be in her best interest to continue. Engelbrecht, of Priest River, told the Bonner County Daily Bee on Friday that he is innocent and the girl’s mother fabricated the abuse allegations.
Moscow council approves security camera guidelines
MOSCOW — The Moscow City Council approved guidelines Monday on how security cameras can be used on city property in response to two suspected arson fires that destroyed two city restroom facilities in the past year. City Attorney Randy Fife drafted the policy after concerns were raised about residents’ privacy and how the cameras’ data would be stored and used. The security camera policy includes rules on the locations of cameras, on who would have access to view the cameras’ images and on how long those images would be kept, Fife said.
Two of 133 guns stolen from Billings found
BILLINGS, Mont. — Federal officials say they’ve recovered two of the 133 guns stolen from a Billings shipping company this summer. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms wouldn’t tell KULR8-TV where the guns were found, only that it was in a western state not bordering Montana. No charges have been filed. The two guns were among an estimated $40,000 worth of weapons stolen from Con-way Freight in Billings on Aug. 2. However, federal authorities say the guns are worth much more on the black market.
Whitman County considers giving more employees money for health care
MOSCOW — Whitman County commissioners are considering expanding the county’s contribution toward employee health care because of sharply increasing insurance rates. In one such move, commissioners voted Monday to contribute to both insurance premiums for married employees the same amount as that of unmarried employees. In the past, the county made only one contribution per health care plan. Married county employees either had to each have their own plan to each get the county’s contribution, typically $653, or one employee had to give up the county’s contribution to share a family plan with their partner.
Eastern Idaho provider sentenced for Medicaid fraud
BOISE — A federal judge has sentenced an Idaho Falls man to 15 months in prison for defrauding Medicaid out of more than $65,000 during a four-year period. The judge also ordered 49-year-old Dirk Moore to three years of supervision after his release and to repay the federal government. Moore is the former co-owner of PSR Services and provided psycho social rehabilitation services for the agency, as well as another agency called Angel Wings Center of Healing. He was charged by prosecutors for billing Medicaid for services never properly delivered to clients.
Biden campaigning for Murray in Vancouver
VANCOUVER, Wash. — Vice President Joe Biden returns to Washington for the second time this month to campaign for Sen. Patty Murray in Vancouver. He’s also supporting 3rd Congressional District candidate Denny Heck in a get-out-the-vote rally this afternoon at the Pearson Air Museum. Murray, a three-term incumbent, is in a competitive re-election contest against Republican Dino Rossi. Heck and Republican state Rep. Jaime Herrera are vying for the seat being vacated by retiring Democratic Rep. Brian Baird. Biden also campaigned for Murray on Oct. 8 in Tacoma. President Barack Obama will be in Seattle Thursday for another Murray event.
Report favors tearing down K East reactor
KENNEWICK — A key Department of Energy report is recommending that the K East Reactor be torn down rather than put into long-term storage like most of Hanford’s other reactors. DOE will take public comment for 30 days before making a final decision on whether to tear down the reactor or cocoon it. The Environmental Protection Agency, the regulator on the project, agrees with the report’s conclusion.
Scads of mushrooms and calls prompt lecture
YAKIMA — A massive crop of mushrooms in Central Washington has mushroom-hunters excited this season, and it’s keeping local mushroom experts extremely busy. So the Yakima Area Arboretum will host a lecture Saturday titled “Why the Fungi? Mushroom Basics.” Colleen Adams-Schuppe, co-executive director of the arboretum, said, “They’re just all over. It’s kind of a weird phenomena that’s going on. They’re like little invaders.” A Forest Service botanist will talk about things to consider before eating mushrooms as well as the wet, warm conditions that are making this a prolific period for mushrooms statewide.