What’s news in the Northwest today:
YAKIMA — Prosecutors in Washington state have filed a felony assault charge against a woman accused of biting the lower lip off another woman at a Yakima nightclub. The Yakima Herald-Republic reports 37-year-old Kaycee Mae Gonzales was arraigned Monday for the Jan. 23 attack at Jack-Sons Sports Bar. The victim told police she was in the back of the bar when Gonzales attacked her without warning. Police said the woman was missing a large section of her lower lip and that the injury was “consistent with teeth marks.”
Lawmaker pushes for ban on flavored tobacco
OLYMPIA — Lawmakers in Olympia have proposed a ban on flavored tobacco products, but barring such items could cost the state millions of dollars. Bills in the House and Senate would ban flavored tobacco products such as cigarillos, and smokeless tobacco products like pouches, pills or capsules. Department of Health Secretary Mary Selecky said Monday in a Senate hearing that flavor plays a big factor in attracting young smokers. But the Office of Financial Management reports that the state would lose around $20 million in the next biennium because of tax revenue loss. The state is facing a $5 billion deficit this session. Republican Sen. Janea Holmquist Newbry of Moses Lake said the bill may preclude adults from choices. Opponents also say the bill is sweeping because it could include pipe tobacco. The measure also establishes more regulation on tobacco displays in stores and gives local authorities more power in tobacco regulations.
Homeless families will move into tent city in Bremerton
BREMERTON, Wash. – Bremerton’s first tent city in modern times will host its first homeless families today. Empty tents with mattresses stand waiting at “Sally’s Camp,” a former municipal court building at 911 Pacific Ave. Heat fills the building. There is a children’s play area ready for use and a roomful of donated couches that suddenly appeared over the weekend. Showers and ample bathrooms stand ready. Little kitchenettes will be available so people can microwave a bite or two. Seventeen families with children will live here. The camp will last six months.
Brokaw to speak at Montana commencement
MISSOULA — Former “NBC Nightly News” anchorman, author and Montana ranch owner Tom Brokaw is scheduled to give the commencement address at the University of Montana this spring. The ceremony is scheduled for 10 a.m. on Saturday, May 14, in Washington-Grizzly Stadium. Brokaw stepped down in 2004 after 21 years as anchor and managing editor of “NBC Nightly News,” but still works as a special correspondent for NBC News. He is the best-selling author of several books, including “The Greatest Generation” — stories of Americans who were born around 1920, came of age in the Great Depression, fought in World War II and rebuilt the postwar world. UM officials say they will present honorary doctorates to Brokaw and Bernard Osher, whose foundation supports a network of lifelong learning institutes for older adults.
Man crashes car into Tualatin gas station
TUALATIN, Ore. — A man who crashed his van into a Tualatin gas station Monday night told clerks he had a bomb in the vehicle. Police determined there was no bomb. Lt. Greg Pickering told KGW the 33-year-old Lakewood, Wash., man was taken to a hospital for an evaluation. Pickering said drugs and alcohol are suspected to be factors in the crash. No one was injured when the van ended up near the cash register at Jackson’s Shell station. Police had the scene surrounded until early today when they determined the area was safe.
Man gets 2 years for swindling car dealers
VANCOUVER, Wash. – On Monday, a Vancouver man was sentenced to two years in prison in a scheme that defrauded more than 50 used-car dealers across the country, according to a bulletin from Emily Langlie, spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Seattle area. Steven P. Drury, 47, aka Stan Davis, had pleaded guilty in August to money laundering. Using a company he’d established in Vancouver in 2005, Auto Credit Solutions, Drury and others contacted the car dealers and offered to manage the subprime installment payment contracts the dealers had drawn up with folks with poor credit who bought used cars. Drury and his telemarketers proposed to bundle the dealers’ car loan portfolios with those of other car dealers and sell them to investors, according to the indictment, filed in April in U.S. District Court. Car dealers were told they “could get cash immediately if they sold their notes, rather than holding onto their notes and receiving payments over time,” said Assistant U.S. Attorney Arlen Storm, who prosecuted the case for the Department of Justice.
Jerome police officer shot during chase
JEROME, Idaho — Officials in south-central Idaho say a Jerome city police officer is hospitalized after being shot during a chase that ended when the suspect’s vehicle crashed on a county road. Jerome County Sheriff Doug McFall said the police officer was airlifted to a Boise hospital Monday evening while the suspect, who also suffered a gunshot wound, was taken to a Twin Falls-area hospital. McFall did not release the officer’s name but said his injuries do not appear to be life threatening. Officials did not say how the chase began Monday afternoon, but said it started on city streets and eventually involved three officers and a deputy. It ended with the crash at about 5 p.m.
Man accidentally shoots self at Richland school
RICHLAND — Police are investigating what a man was doing in a Richland elementary school parking lot Monday night when he accidentally shot himself in the leg. Police told KNDU the man was sitting in a pickup truck when he wounded himself in the thigh. He was rushed to a hospital. Investigators want to know why he went to Badger Mountain Elementary School.
Woman sentenced for fifth and sixth DUIs
BILLINGS — A 52-year-old Billings woman who was arrested after driving drunk to pick up her daughter at school has been sentenced for her fifth and sixth DUIs. The Billings Gazette reports Kristi Jo Fallang Bauer was sentenced Monday to 10 years with the Department of Corrections, with five suspended, for her sixth DUI. District Judge G. Todd Baugh also gave Bauer a concurrent 13-month sentence for her fifth DUI. Bauer also was ordered to complete a state alcohol treatment program. Court records say Bauer was arrested for her fifth DUI in April and was out on bond awaiting trial when she was arrested in September. A middle school official called police when Bauer arrived at the school intoxicated and said she wanted to pick up her daughter for a dentist appointment.
Surveyor finds skeletal remains at Kennewick
KENNEWICK — A surveyor working near the Columbia River at the Tri-Cities noticed cowboy boots in a pond and then spotted skeletal remains. The Tri-City Herald reports Kennewick police secured the scene near Clover Island Monday night for an investigation today to recover any evidence. The Benton County coroner will try to identify the remains and determine the cause of death.
Oregon lawmakers to look at plastic grocery bag ban
SALEM, Ore. — A proposal to make Oregon the first state to ban plastic grocery bags is getting its first hearing in the Legislature. The Senate Environment and Natural Resources Committee is scheduled hear arguments about the idea today. The measure would outlaw plastic checkout bags, forcing shoppers to either bring their own or pay 5 cents each for recycled paper bags. Supporters of the ban say it would help reduce litter and pollution on beaches. It’s supported by the grocery industry, which fears cities would enact their own bans and force food stores to live by different rules on either side of city boundaries. Opponents of a ban say shoppers, not the government, should decide what type of grocery bag to use.
Lawyer: Jury awards $46 million in restaurant shooting
SEATTLE — A lawyer for a young man paralyzed from the waist down in a 2007 shooting in a Kent, Wash., restaurant says a jury has awarded more than $46 million to three victims. Lawyer Ron Perey said late Monday that the majority of the money will go to 31-year-old Steve Tolenoa, who was partially paralyzed and has no use of his hands. Five people were wounded when 23-year-old Frank Lee Evans began shooting. Evans was sentenced to 63 years in prison. Three victims filed suit, alleging the Denny’s restaurant did not take steps to keep customers safe. An Associated Press phone message seeking comment from Denny’s Inc. was not immediately returned.