What’s news in the Northwest today:
PULLMAN – The Pullman City Council will discuss medical marijuana and the possible regulation of newly approved “community gardens” at its regular meeting Tuesday. The discussion is prompted by recent changes in state law, which took effect July 22. The law now allows up to 10 patients to join together and raise “community gardens” for the purpose of supplying themselves with medical marijuana. Each garden would be limited to a maximum of 45 marijuana plants. The law also authorizes cities and counties to adopt zoning regulations, business licensing requirements, taxes and health and safety regulations related to these dispensaries. City Attorney Laura McAloon said Pullman can’t pass an ordinance prohibiting the gardens. Consequently, the council needs to decide if it wants to regulate them in some way. Alternatively, she said, the city could approve a temporary moratorium or interim zoning regulation prohibiting the activity, which would give staff and the council time to consider what type of regulations might be appropriate. Given the confusion surrounding the new law and the “high probability of future changes,” McAloon said, many Washington cities have opted to put moratoriums in place. They can remain in effect for as long as a year, she noted, and can be renewed for one or more additional six-month terms if preceded by a public hearing and supported by findings of fact. In Washington, individuals must have a debilitating or terminal medical condition to qualify for the drug. The law offers some legal protection in state court but doesn’t shield patients from potential arrest.
Man accused of stabbing wife to death in Wenatchee
WENATCHEE — Police say a man stabbed his wife to death in front of their children Sunday during an argument at their home in Wenatchee. Police say their 13-year-old daughter was stabbed in an arm when she tried to intervene. The man fled and was found after a short search. Officers arrested 40-year-old Sebastian Cortes-Aguilar for investigation of murder and assault. His wife, 38-year-old Ortencia Arroyo Alehandre, was declared dead at the scene. The 13-year-old girl was treated and placed in the care of godparents along with her 7-year-old brother.
Deferred maintenance tab grows for Idaho universities
MOSCOW, Idaho — Several years of state budget cuts has forced administrators at Idaho’s public universities to put off millions of dollars in maintenance and repair projects to buildings and infrastructure on campus. Six years ago, the list of deferred maintenance projects at the University of Idaho was pegged at $70 million. But the Lewiston Tribune reports the price tag for projects in waiting at the Moscow campus is now more than $200 million. In recent years, school administrators say the state has appropriated just $3 million per year for maintenance and upgrade projects. The to-do list is also growing at Lewis-Clark State College, though it’s much smaller than at other Idaho campuses. School officials say the backlog is estimated at $15.3 million, most tabbed for upgrades to some of the oldest buildings.
Man stabbed after dispute on Seattle bus
SEATTLE — Police arrested a 38-year-old man suspected of stabbing another man Sunday afternoon in downtown Seattle after a dispute that began on a Metro bus. Police say the suspect poured a beer on the 30-year-old victim and followed him as he got off the bus with his family, including his mother. Witnesses reported the stabbing on the sidewalk. The victim was taken to a hospital and is expected to recover. The suspect also was treated at a hospital for cuts to his hand from the stabbing.
2 rescued from Grand Teton National Park
JACKSON, Wyo. — Two climbers were rescued over the weekend in Grand Teton National Park. Rangers used helicopters to rescue a 28-year-old climber stranded Friday near the top of the Grand Stand, and to evacuate a 25-year-old climber injured Saturday in a fall above Death Canyon. According to the Jackson Hole Daily, rangers on Friday rescued Jesse Selwyn, of Florence, Mont., who tried to climb the Black Ice Couloir on the northwest side of the Grand. Park spokeswoman Jenny Anzelmo-Sarles said the second operation occurred Saturday, when Lauren McLean, of Lake Oswego, Ore., fell 20 to 30 feet because her belay system failed. McLean was flown to the University of Utah Medical Center in Salt Lake City for medical care, according to the park’s press release.
Arrest made in death of 3-year-old in hot car
BILLINGS — The Big Horn County sheriff’s office says a woman has been arrested in the death of a 3-year-old boy whose body was found in a parked car in Hardin. Coroner Terry Bullis says Jaren Blacksmith died of hyperthermia, or elevated body temperature, on Wednesday as temperatures reached the low 90s in Hardin. An investigation led to the woman’s arrest on Friday on suspicion of negligent homicide. Her name has not been released. She is scheduled to be arraigned this week. The boy was from Lodge Grass but was in a foster home in Hardin.
More illegal crab activity in Puget Sound
SEATTLE — With more people taking up crabbing in Puget Sound, the people who police the harvest are seeing an uptick in illegal activity. The Seattle Times says there’s no shortage of crustacean scofflaws. The offenders include recreational fishermen who don’t get licenses or ignore quotas and size limit to large-scale poaching by commercial or tribal fishermen. State fish and wildlife officer Erik Olson says it’s not uncommon to find violations on 50 to 80 percent of the recreational crabbing boats they stop. A review last year by the state Auditor’s Office called widespread illegal crabbing one of the biggest threats to future crab populations.
Man accused of fleeing in ambulance cleared
SANDPOINT — The Bonner County Prosecutor has dropped a felony charge filed against a Sagle man accused of hijacking a county ambulance during a medical call last year. Attorneys agreed to drop their case against 26-year-old Cody Wayne Mills due to lack of evidence that could prove criminal intent in his actions. The judge dismissed the case with prejudice, meaning prosecutors can pursue the case again if new evidence emerges. Mills was charged in December with operating a motor vehicle without the owner’s consent after a tussle with ambulance personnel responding to a call to his residence. After entering the ambulance on a gurney, police say Mills got out of his restraints, got into the driver’s seat and drove the ambulance a short distance before crashing and causing $2,500 worth of damage.
Second woman files complaint against former deputy
BOISE — A second woman has filed a civil complaint alleging a former Ada County sheriff’s sergeant made unwanted sexual advances. KTVB-TV reports the second woman came forward after hearing about another case reported this spring. Former Sgt. Joe Wright resigned in May, about a month after the first woman accused him of forcing himself on her. Attorney Joe Filicetti said that the first encounter was consensual and that Wright denies the second accusation. Gem County officials investigated the first case and did not find enough evidence to file criminal charges. The woman has filed a $1.5 million civil lawsuit. The second woman, who alleges Wright kissed and groped her, has filed a civil complaint seeking $250,000 in damages but has not filed a lawsuit. Attorney Jeff McKinnie represents both women.
Body of Colorado climber recovered on Mount Baker
BELLINGHAM, Wash. — The Whatcom County sheriff’s office says search and rescue volunteers have recovered the body of a climber who fell to her death last month on Mount Baker. KGMI reports they roped into a snow hole Saturday at the 5,300-foot level to reach the body of 34-year-old Sheryl Costello, of Golden, Colo. She had reached the summit of the 10,781-foot mountain on July 3 with her boyfriend, but he lost sight of her on the way down. Crews were unable to reach her body at the time because of dangerous conditions on the mountain in northwest Washington.
Washington man accused of raping woman from Philippines
PORT TOWNSEND, Wash. — A Brinnon man has been charged with raping a 22-year-old woman he lured from the Philippines with the promise of marriage. The Peninsula Daily News reports 48-year-old Patrick John McAllister was released on $100,000 bond after his Aug. 5 arrest. He’s scheduled to be arraigned Friday on 41 counts of rape and sexual assault. McAllister’s lawyer, Lance Hester, said he will plead not guilty. Investigators say McAllister was introduced to the woman by a relative, visited her in 2008 and later told her he wanted to marry her. She arrived in March 2010 and was brought to McAllister’s home. She said she was raped and assaulted for more than a month until she escaped. The investigation took more than a year because of language difficulties.
Oregon higher ed, workers bargain down to the wire
SALEM, Ore. — Nearly 4,000 staff workers in the Oregon higher education system face a potential strike vote if talks break down. A bargaining session has been scheduled for Sept. 2 between university officials and the union representing classified workers in categories such as security, food service, clerical and technical. The Salem Statesman Journal reports the union has declared an impasse, and contract talks are in a 30-day “cooling-off” period. A spokeswoman for the system says that if a deal isn’t reached by Sept. 16, university administrators can implement their final offer, and the workers will have the right to call a strike. The deal offered by the state is like one facing ratification this week by state agency workers. Union negotiators want to take furlough days off the table.
No injuries in shooting at Vernonia trout farm
VERNONIA, Ore. — The Columbia County sheriff’s office says no one was injured when a family dispute erupted into gunfire at a trout farm near Vernonia. A 57-year-old woman, Sally Ann Lee, was arrested early today after deputies and officers surrounded a trailer. The sheriff’s office said she fired at least four shots Sunday evening at a family member and sent others running for cover at Lee’s U-Catch Trout Farm. She was reportedly upset about her house going into foreclosure.
Pipe bomb found at Helena youth home
HELENA — Helena police say a 15-year-old boy living in a group home was arrested after a live pipe bomb was found in the boy’s backpack. Police Chief Troy McGee told the Independent Record a 6-inch-long PVC pipe bomb was found Saturday afternoon at the Margaret Stuart Group Home. The facility was evacuated and a bomb technician was called in to dispose of the bomb. McGee said the device was live and could have detonated. The boy was arrested on suspicion of felony criminal endangerment and possession of a deadly weapon in a youth facility and was taken to a juvenile detention center in Great Falls. McGee said officers did not learn what the boy planned to do with the bomb.