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In brief: Woman dies from injuries in wreck

Fri., April 29, 2011

A Sandpoint woman died from injuries sustained in a traffic accident Monday, the Idaho State Police reported.

Judith Linker, 69, died Wednesday afternoon at Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center in Spokane after a deer went through her windshield west of Sandpoint, the ISP said.

Keith Nicholas, 37, of Libby, Mont., was driving east on U.S. Highway 2 near Dover around 11:15 a.m. Monday when he hit a deer. The deer flew into the westbound lane and went through the windshield of Linker’s 2009 Toyota XB Scion.

Linker’s car crossed the oncoming lanes, went off the south shoulder, severed a high-tension power pole, went through a creek and stopped on the opposite bank, an ISP news release said.

Nicholas was not injured.

Mild fire season expected in NW

BOISE – Wind-driven wildfires already have destroyed 400 homes and charred more than a million acres in Texas, but the coming wildfire season for the northern United States is looking much milder, and likely to get a late start.

That was the verdict from U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and U.S. Bureau of Land Management Director Robert Abbey, after they toured the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise on Thursday and were briefed on nationwide firefighting efforts.

While the outlook is looking relatively calm for the Northwest, Abbey warned that it could change. Among the possibilities: The very moisture that’s dampening fire risk now could promote so much growth in grasses and brush that come August or September, when that foliage dries out, fire risk could jump.

“It’s still important for individual homeowners to take responsibility for defensible space around their own homes,” Abbey said. “All of us have a responsibility.”

Officials monitor Hayden Lake dam

Recent high water has raised concerns about an earthen dam on Hayden Lake.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers plans to reinforce the structure, which is also known as the Hayden Dike Road.

Local officials have closed the top of the dam to public access. In addition, a temporary “no wake” zone will be in force at Honeysuckle Beach to prevent further erosion.

No structures are threatened with flooding at this time.

Monitoring of the dam has been a cooperative effort among Kootenai County and other local, state and federal agencies, including the Hayden Lake Recreational Water and Sewer Board, the city of Hayden and Idaho Department of Water Resources.

Meeting Saturday on marina plan

The Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation will hold an open house from 5 to 7 p.m. Saturday at Heyburn State Park Visitor Center near Plummer, Idaho, to discuss a draft design for the Chatcolet Marina on Lake Coeur d’Alene.

The new design’s intent is to consolidate boat houses in the area and relocate the float homes at Hidden Lake to the redesigned Chatcolet Marina. Park officials also want to increase moorage opportunities, provide additional parking and provide a marina concession building.

For more information, call (208) 686-1308.

Dad pleads guilty to hurting child

A Spokane man who pleaded guilty to fracturing his 2-month-old daughter’s rib and skull received nearly five years in prison Thursday.

Daniel S. O’Brien, 25, pleaded guilty to first-degree assault of a child; Superior Court Judge Maryann Moreno sentenced him to about 59 months in prison.

O’Brien was arrested Feb. 10, 2010, after he and his girlfriend, Jordan Calvert, brought their infant daughter, Tristan, to a local hospital with bruises and fractured bones.

O’Brien admitted causing the girl’s injuries and told police that he had mental problems that caused him to black out when angry.

Japanese speech contest today

Students from five Spokane high schools will compete in the area’s first Japanese-language speech contest at noon today in the Ferris High School auditorium.

The students will be divided into three groups, depending on how long they’ve been studying the language, according to Gary Starr, Japanese language instructor at North Central High School.

Akihiro Fujimori, the consul general of the Japanese Consulate General in Seattle, is expected to attend, Starr said in a news release.

The winner receives an all-expenses-paid trip to the statewide Japanese language competition in Seattle.

Help needed for trail work

The Riverside State Park Foundation is looking for volunteers for a trail work party from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday at the park.

Volunteers will plant vegetation along trails to prevent erosion.

Tools, gloves and snacks will be provided, but volunteers should bring hats and water. Volunteers are also encouraged to wear long pants and sleeves because of the presence of poison ivy in the park.

Anyone interested in volunteering should call Greta Olson at (360) 305-0520 or email greta.olson@hotmail. com.

Birth control program backed

OLYMPIA – Washington state could save about $4.5 million over the next two years by supplying more women with better birth control, health officials told a Senate panel. But a critic of the proposal to spend more state money on a family planning program suggested it will actually lead to more unplanned pregnancies, not fewer.

The Senate Ways and Means Committee is considering a proposal to spend an extra $900,000 on the Take Charge Program, and receive nearly $9 in federal money for each dollar of state money spent. That could cover women up to 250 percent of the federal poverty level, instead of the current program that stops at 200 percent of the poverty level. The program includes exams, PAP smears and birth control.

Without the program, low-income women were likely to use less expensive and less effective birth control, said Laurie Cawthon, an epidemiologist for the state, and “You get what you pay for.”

Joseph Backholm of the Family Policy Institute contended more birth control will create problems, not solve them. It will lead to more risky sex, more pregnancies and more sexually transmitted disease, he said.


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