NW today: Shoplifter hacks off security guard’s ear
What’s news in the Northwest today:
LONGVIEW, Wash. — Police in Longview, Wash., say a shoplifter with a hatchet sliced off most of a store security guard’s ear. The shoplifter pulled a small hatchet out of his waistband Monday afternoon and swung, chopping off nearly the entire ear. The guard was taken to a Portland hospital for emergency plastic surgery in an attempt to reattach the ear. The attacker remained at large.
Otter says planning jobs to remain at Idaho site
BOISE — Gov. Butch Otter says news that France’s state-controlled nuclear giant Areva has decided to suspend plans to build a uranium enrichment plant in eastern Idaho may not be as it sounds. Areva announced today a series of job cuts and other steps to make the company profitable after a disastrous 2011. Otter Spokesman Jon Hanian says the company intends to keep as many as 300 engineering, design and planning jobs already in place at the Eagle Rock Enrichment Facility near Idaho Falls. Areva won a license to build and operate the planned $3 billion gas centrifuge uranium enrichment plant in October.
Ex-Ranger convicted in 2009 stabbing
OLYMPIA – A judge convicted a former Army Ranger of first-degree assault with a deadly weapon Monday in the 2009 stabbing of an Olympia man outside a Fourth Avenue bar. Alfred Joseph Sanchez, 22, a former member of the 2nd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, will remain in custody until sentenced. He faces 10 to 12 years in prison based on his offender score. He was convicted of stabbing Brad Merten in the back with a kitchen knife outside Charlie’s Bar & Grill on March 28, 2009. The attack left Merten with a punctured lung, broken rib and damaged liver.
Luna’s tech task force to vote on recommendations
BOISE — A statewide task force is finalizing recommendations for Idaho lawmakers on how to implement education changes that phase in laptops for every high school teacher and student while making online courses a graduation requirement. The task force was created in May as part of sweeping new education changes backed by public schools chief Tom Luna. The group is charged with executing Luna’s plan to boost technology in the classroom. The sweeping education changes backed by Luna and the governor are being carried out even as critics behind a referendum campaign seeking to overturn the laws gear up for a November 2012 vote on the measures.
Coeur d’Alene mulls new nepotism rules for city
COEUR D’ALENE — Leaders in Coeur d’Alene are considering language that would add more clarity to rules making it illegal for relatives of the mayor or other city council members to be hired as city employees. The proposed change comes in the wake of reports earlier this year that three grandchildren of City Council President Ron Edinger were hired as seasonal workers. Edinger’s grandchildren were fired after city officials were made aware of the prohibition already spelled out in Idaho statutes. City officials said any violations were inadvertent.
Construction begins at site of Chobani plant
TWIN FALLS, Idaho — Construction work has already begun at a site in Twin Falls that will be home to a multi-million dollar Chobani yogurt plant. The Idaho Department of Labor is gearing up to begin interviews for key management positions at the facility. New York-based Chobani announced last month it’s plans to build a Greek yogurt production plant in southeast Twin Falls. Officials estimate the plant will employ more than 400 people and inject millions of dollars in the regional economy.
Tire debris smashes windshield in Bellevue
BELLEVUE, Wash. — The Washington State Patrol says a driver was lucky to avoid serious injury when a large piece of tire rubber smashed through the windshield this morning on Highway 520 in Bellevue. Trooper Julie Startup says the rubber missed the driver by inches and landed in the passenger seat. The rubber had separated from the rim of a wheel on a trailer being towed by a pickup truck in the opposite direction.
$1 million bail set, man charged with burning girlfriend
CALDWELL, Idaho — A state judge in Idaho set bail at $1 million for a Nampa man charged with pouring lighter fluid on his girlfriend and setting her on fire. Police say 32-year-old Jesus Montes Montes set his girlfriend on fire after an argument on Saturday evening. Prosecutors said Monday she was hospitalized in critical condition. Montes is charged with felony aggravated arson and battery charges. Prosecutors say he has previous convictions for domestic battery in the presence of a child and driving under the influence.
Yelm puppy hit by car recovers before burial
YELM, Wash. — Reta McKinlay thought her grandchildrens’ puppy was dead after it escaped through a fence at her home in Yelm and was hit by a car. Scamp was bleeding. His eyes were fixed. He wasn’t breathing. McKinlay’s husband wrapped the terrier-Shih Tzu in a blanket Dec. 3 and left it under a wheelbarrow to keep animals away from the body. She sat down with her 6-year-old twin grandchildren and told them Scamp had gone to heaven. But when her husband went out to bury the dog the next morning, Scamp was sitting up. After $3,000 in veterinary bills, McKinlay says they felt confident enough to tell the grandchildren the puppy is alive. She says Scamp’s return is the family’s Christmas present.