What’s news in the Northwest today:
HILLSBORO, Ore.— A burglary suspect dubbed “Moss Man” on the Internet — because he was found in a full-body camouflage outfit — says his arrest outside a Hillsboro museum was a Halloween mix-up. KGW-TV reports Gregory Liascos appeared in court Tuesday facing burglary and criminal mischief charges from his Oct. 14 arrest outside the Rice Northwest Museum of Rocks and Minerals, west of Portland. Police say the 36-year-old Portland man cut a hole in the wall. Officers found a bike and a backpack, but they didn’t find the suspect until a police dog bit what appeared to be the ground. It was Liascos in the camo outfit. He says it was a Halloween costume his kids had given him. He says he was just waiting for the police to pass by when he was bitten.
Thieves trot off with horse tails
BOZEMAN, Mont. — At least two southwest Montana horse owners are reporting thieves trotted off with tail hair from their horses. Such hair can be valuable to makers of handcrafted horse bridles or other items. Sandy O’Rourke reported someone entered a Three Forks corral on Oct. 17 and cut off the tail hair of two horses and part of the mane of a third horse. The hair was cut off below the bony section of the tail. The horses were not injured. In Dillon, Bob and Connie Riley are offering a $500 reward for information leading to whoever snipped the tail off their horse about a month ago. Horses use their tails to communicate with one another and to swat flies. Bob Riley tells the Bozeman Daily Chronicle that it takes four to five years for the tail to grow back.
Garbage bag saved lost Central Washington hiker
ELLENSBURG, Wash. — A Tacoma woman who became lost Saturday on a day hike near Lake Ingalls in Central Washington survived three nights in the snow by wrapping herself in a plastic trash bag. Kittitas County Undersheriff Clayton Myers also says 50-year-old Natalya Manko wisely decided to return to the site where she lost her way, after failing to find a way out. Following her tracks in the snow, a helicopter crew found her Tuesday on the north side of Stuart Pass. She was treated for frostbite and hypothermia at Central Washington Hospital in Wenatchee.
Republicans hold off on GOP leader expulsion
COEUR D’ALENE — Northern Idaho Republicans decided to delay a vote on whether to oust one of their leaders until Nov. 23, after next week’s election. State Committeeman Matt Roetter had faced expulsion Tuesday night from the Kootenai County Republican Central Committee, because he’s said publicly he can’t support state Rep. Phil Hart. Hart, a GOP lawmaker from Athol, is protesting his federal and state taxes and took trees from state land in 1996s without initially paying for them, something Roetter sees as inappropriate. The Coeur d’Alene Press reports Republican leaders insist it’s Roetter’s role to back up Hart, no matter what. Short of voting Roetter out, the local Republicans did vote 42 to 21 to demand leaders back GOP candidates that win their primaries. Roetter says trying to enforce rigid party discipline chips away at freedom.
Execution date for Ronald Smith to be set Nov. 3
KALISPELL, Mont. — An execution date for a 53-year-old Canadian man on Montana’s death row will be set during a Nov. 3 hearing in Philipsburg. The Daily Inter Lake reports District Judge John W. Larson signed an order Monday setting the hearing date. Ronald Allen Smith was convicted of the 1982 murders of 24-year-old Harvey Mad Man and 20-year-old Thomas Running Rabbit near East Glacier. Smith rejected a plea agreement that would have sentenced him to life in prison and asked for the death penalty, but he later changed his mind and has filed several appeals.
Hoquiam mayor favors fluoride despite opposition
HOQUIAM, Wash. — Hoquiam Mayor Jack Durney hopes to move toward fluoridating the city’s water on his own authority, even though the city council voted against the proposal. Durney says he welcomed the public discussion at Monday’s council meeting but heard nothing to change his mind about the benefits of adding fluoride to the drinking supply to prevent tooth decay. Some opponents at the meeting warned that overexposure to fluoride could weaken bones in the elderly.
Bainbridge Island police shoot man with ax
BAINBRIDGE ISLAND, Wash. — Bainbridge Island police shot and killed a man officers say attacked them with an ax. KIRO-TV reports two officers responded to an unintelligible 911 call Tuesday night and found a man in his 20s who would not answer questions. Kitsap County sheriff’s spokesman Scott Wilson says the man was aggressive and charged at the officers. They shocked him with a Taser. He retreated, but Wilson says he came back at the officers with an ax, and the officers fired. The man went back into an apartment where a SWAT team entered about 10 p.m. to find him dead.
Robbery suspect found dead after Longview shootout
LONGVIEW, Wash. — An armed robbery suspect was found dead after a shootout with a police officer in Longview. The Oregonian reports the suspect is believed to have robbed a market about 8:30 p.m. Tuesday. A witness reported seeing him drive off in a dark pickup. Cowlitz County sheriff’s Chief Criminal Deputy Charlie Rosenzweig says an officer spotted the truck and chased it for about three miles when it blew a tire. The man ran off, firing at the officer, who returned fire. Rosenzweig said the man was last seen alive.
Tribal Welcome Pole raised at Port Angeles college
PORT ANGELES, Wash. — A dozen tribal members from throughout the North Olympic Peninsula lifted a Welcome Pole into place at the Peninsula College Longhouse on Tuesday afternoon. The 20-foot-tall statue depicts a traditionally dressed Native American with forearms extended and hands facing upward in the gesture of welcome common to the Lower Elwha Klallam and Jamestown S’Klallam tribes. About 250 people braved the drizzle to attend the pole-raising ceremony at the main campus of Peninsula College. As the carriers lifted the heavy statue into place, it teetered precariously at about a 50-degree angle from the wet ground outside the Longhouse, called The House of Learning.
Grant County adds special prosecutor for gangs
EPHRATA, Wash. — The Grant County prosecutor’s office has created a new position to deal with gang crimes. The Columbia Basin Herald reports the office received a $100,000 federal grant for the position. Prosecutor Angus Lee says the deputy prosecutor also will be working on gang prevention with sheriff’s deputies and businesses by filing trespass orders against identified gang members. That could force them to leave the area.
Haggen stores pull alcoholic energy drinks
BELLINGHAM, Wash. — Haggen Food & Pharmacy stores have stopped selling the caffeinated malt beverage Four Loko, which is blamed for sickening Central Washington University students at an off-campus party. The Bellingham-based chain has 32 locations in Washington and Oregon, including Top Food and Drug stores. Haggen spokeswoman Becky Skaggs told The Bellingham Herald the store took the action Tuesday in response to Attorney General Rob McKenna’s call for a ban on sugary, alcoholic energy drinks aimed at young people.
Grizzly numbers hit new high in Yellowstone region
BILLINGS, Mont. — Grizzly bear numbers in the three-state region in and around Yellowstone National Park have hit their highest level in decades. Scientists from a multi-agency research team will announce Wednesday that at least 603 grizzlies now roam the Yellowstone area of Wyoming, Montana and Idaho. That’s about three times the number when the species was put on the endangered list in 1975. But more bears also means more run-ins with humans. At least 45 grizzlies have been killed this year, most of them by hunters or wildlife agents. The last time so many bears died, 2008, the population dipped the next year.
Woman must pay restitution to elderly man under her care
LEWISTON — A Reubens woman has been ordered to pay more than $114,000 in restitution to an 87-year-old Clarkston man who was under her care for nearly three years. An Asotin County judge ordered Deana L. Watkins, 45, to pay $114,692.25 to William (Murph) Watkins at a rate of $50 per month. Deana Watkins entered an Alford plea in August to first-degree theft in Asotin County Superior Court. She was sentenced to 90 days in jail.