What’s news in the Northwest today:
GRAHAM, Wash. — The Bethel School District is investigating the death of a 16-year-old who committed suicide in Graham, southeast of Tacoma. Friends from Graham-Kapowsin High School told KING-TV he was pushed over the edge by bullying. Police say the boy shot himself Tuesday at home. School officials told the station Thursday that a derogatory text message was recently circulated, and the boy was involved in an off-campus fight. The school says it never received any complaints about bullying from the boy or his parents.
WSU consolidates pharmacy program in Spokane
PULLMAN, Wash. — Washington State University’s College of Pharmacy will consolidate in Spokane in 2014. Currently, pharmacy doctoral students take their first two years of classes in Pullman and move to Spokane for their third year. Each class has about 95 students. Pharmacy Dean Gary Pollack told the Moscow-Pullman Daily News the change is part of the policy to make WSU-Spokane the university’s health sciences campus.
Same man suspected in E. Washington bank robberies
TRI-CITIES, Wash. — Police believe the same robber may be responsible for bank holdups at Kennewick, Walla Walla and Coeur d’Alene. Kennewick police say he wears a bicycle helmet or cowboy hats, enters the banks and takes money at gunpoint. In an Oct. 2 holdup in Kennewick, KONA reports, he wore a white bicycle helmet, a bandanna, gloves and sunglasses. He pointed a weapon at the clerk and demanded that money be put in a Halloween bag. He fled on a bicycle that he abandoned a short distance away. He also may be responsible for a holdup in Coeur d’Alene in August and one in Walla Walla in September.
Realtors spend $2 million on real estate initiative
HELENA, Mont. — The National Association of Realtors has spent nearly $2 million on behalf of a Constitutional initiative that would forbid state and local governments from enacting a tax on real estate transfers and sales. Lee Newspapers of Montana reports the Chicago-based group has given $1.95 million in direct donations or in-kind expenditures to the Montana Coalition to Prevent Double Taxation. Records filed with the state political practices office say the National Association of Realtors has given all but $7,000 of the $1.79 million in direct donations the coalition has received as it works to pass CI-105.
Nevada man charged with helping bank robbery
BOISE — A 52-year-old Winnemucca, Nev., man is jailed on $1 million bail after being charged with aiding and abetting a Boise bank robbery. Daniel Parsons appeared in 4th District Court Thursday. Police believe Parsons drove the getaway car after a woman robbed a KeyBank branch in southwest Boise Wednesday afternoon. The pursuit ended when the car crashed into a shed in a yard west of Nampa. Parsons and the woman were taken to the hospital.
Montana reports another calm fire season
BILLINGS, Mont. — For the second straight year, Montana has had a calm fire season. The Northern Rockies Coordination Center estimates that fire has burned 55,000 acres this year in Montana. That figure is up from 48,912 acres a year ago, but just a fraction of the 10-year average of 429,698 acres that burn. National Weather Service officials tell The Billings Gazette the wet spring helped keep fire activity down. The largest fires were the 16,500-acre Rat Patch fire and the 12,000 acre Raven fires that burned together about 48 miles north of Winnett in late August. No buildings were lost.
Former Oregon policeman, wife, face fraud charges
BEND, Ore. — A former Bend police captain and his wife who have been under investigation by the FBI and IRS for nearly two years for their real estate dealings in Oregon and Indiana have been indicted on fraud charges. The Bulletin reports that Kevin and Tami Sawyer are charged with 21 counts of various crimes that include conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud, bank fraud and money laundering. The indictment by a federal grand jury alleges that between January 2004 and January 2009, the couple used investor money to pay for personal property — including cars, credit cards and their vacation home in Mexico. Prosecutors claim the fraud cost investors more than $4.4 million.
Washington state farm raises pheasants for hunters
CENTRALIA, Wash. — This is a busy time of year at the Fish and Wildlife Department’s pheasant farm at Centralia. The Daily News of Longview reports volunteers are trucking out as many as 2,000 birds a day and releasing them at hunting sites. The 220-acre Bob Oke Game Farm raises about 45,000 birds a year. Pheasants reproduce naturally in Eastern Washington, but springs are too wet for the birds to survive in Western Washington without the state hatchery. The birds are protected in 54 pens and fed all the wheat they can eat until they are released.
More child rape victims in Washington County
HILLSBORO, Ore. — Washington County sheriff’s detectives believe there may be multiple victims of a 20-year-old man accused of raping a 15-year-old runaway. After questioning the girl at a hospital last Saturday, detectives searched the Rock Creek apartment of Jeffrey Erickson and arrested him Sunday on rape charges. He’s jailed on $250,000 bail. The sheriff’s office reports detectives learned an 11-year-old girl and 14-year-old girl have also been victimized in recent weeks, and investigators are concerned there may be more victims.
Human remains found in Wood River valley
KETCHUM, Idaho — The Blaine County sheriff’s office says a hunter found human remains last weekend in the Wood River Valley. But the Idaho Mountain Express reports investigators are saying little else. Sheriff’s Lt. Jay Davis said Wednesday that investigators are suspicious of foul play, but aren’t sure yet. Davis declined to say where the remains were found, saying investigators don’t want that to influence whatever information might come from the public. Davis described the remains as bones that are “old and not recent.” The bones are being analyzed to determine cause of death and identity, but Davis declined to say where the analysis is taking place.
1999 Olympic Park goat attack like fatal goring
PORT ANGELES, Wash. — A Mason County man says he was gored by a mountain goat in 1999 in Olympic National Park in an attack similar to the one last weekend that killed a Port Angeles man. Mike Stoican of Allyn told The Peninsula Daily News he was near the summit of Mount Ellinor in the park, putting on ski pants when the goat charged. He received a 4-inch deep wound in his right thigh that barely missed an artery. Friends helped him to a hospital. Olympic National Park officials have no record of Stoican’s encounter. They said the first goring in the park was the one Saturday that killed Robert Boardman on a trail about 17 miles south of Port Angeles.
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