February 14, 2011 in Region

NW today: Students rally to hear feminist pornographer

Compiled from wire reports

What’s news in the Northwest today:

EUGENE, Ore. — After Oregon State University canceled a self-described feminist pornographer as the keynote speaker at its Modern Sex Conference, OSU students rallied and raised $4,000 for Tristan Taormino to appear. She’ll speak Tuesday night on campus on “Claiming Your Sexual Power.” In addition, The Register Guard reports, she’ll speak Wednesday at the University of Oregon on the topic, “My Life as a Feminist Pornographer.” Her visit to UO is sponsored by campus groups. OSU administrators said it was her work in the pornography industry that that led them to not spend taxpayer dollars for her speech at this week’s sex conference.

Coroner’s inquest set for man who died in custody

BILLINGS, Mont. — A coroner’s inquest is scheduled for March 16 in the death of a 31-year-old Billings man who suffered a heart attack after being shocked by a stun gun during his arrest in October. Yellowstone County Attorney Scott Twito tells The Billings Gazette that he expects the hearing over the death of Ryan Michael Bain to last several days. An inquest is required under state law when a person dies in police custody. Bain died at a Billings hospital on Oct. 12, two days after he struggled with officers who found him running naked through a neighborhood. Bain was hit three times with a stun gun during the struggle to arrest him and a fourth time at the county jail after being placed in a restraint chair.

Board seeks more flexibility in hiring contractors

BOISE — The state Board of Education wants more flexibility in temporarily hiring faculty from public universities. Spokesman Mark Browning told lawmakers today the board can contract university employees to work on board projects for up to six months under state law. The board introduced legislation in the House Education Committee that would remove the six-month deadline. The measure would also allow faculty to temporarily work for the board on without losing any of the tenure they have earned at their universities. Browning says the board has “borrowed” a small handful of faculty to work on projects for the board, such as a new system to collect and monitor student test scores, attendance and other data. Between two or three university employees are filling various board roles at any given time.

Free music downloads from Multnomah County Library

PORTLAND, Ore. — Multnomah County Library cardholders can now download up to three songs a week from the Sony Music catalog for free. The library is launching the Freegal Music service on its website. Patrons can download the music on a computer, MP3 player or other mobile device. Library cards are free to residents of Multnomah or Washington counties and to residents in the state of Washington in Camas, Woodland, Yale and in Clark, Skamania and Klickitat counties. The Newport Public Library was the first in Oregon to offer Freegal. It also rolled out last month at the Seattle Public Library.

Mom pulls out pistol in confrontation at Safeway

BREMERTON – Kitsap County sheriff’s deputies responded to reports of an altercation involving a gun Friday night at the Safeway store on McWilliams Road in East Bremerton. It turns out that a 46-year-old Bremerton woman had tried to help a store employee stop a shoplifter, and the shoplifter’s friends went after the woman a short time later. The incident began shortly before midnight when a store employee told the woman in the store that a young man appeared to be in the process of shoplifting. The woman later told deputies she went to her car, from where she observed the employee chasing the man out of the store. Trying to help, the woman drove her car at high speed after the alleged shoplifter, later identified as a 22-year-old Bremerton man. He dropped the case of beer and other items he was carrying in the parking lot as he ran to escape. The items were later returned to the store.

Missoula man charged in medical marijuana case

MISSOULA, Mont. — A 42-year-old Missoula man has been charged with registering as a medical marijuana caregiver for dozens of patients despite having a 1995 federal drug conviction for conspiracy to distribute marijuana. The Missoulian reports Andrew John Umhey faces 38 counts of falsifying state records. He appeared in Justice Court Friday and was released on bond. After receiving information from a confidential informant, prosecutors subpoenaed state records and found forms signed by Umhey claiming that he has no felony drug convictions. People with felony drug convictions are not allowed to be medical marijuana caregivers. Court records say Umhey and 42-yer-old Shawn Slattery ran a medical marijuana operation at Slattery’s house. A search found 32.5 pounds of marijuana, buds and 272 marijuana plants. Slattery is charged with possessing marijuana with intent to distribute.

Former Oregon parole officer faces new sex lawsuit

EUGENE, Ore. — A former federal parole officer in Eugene is facing another lawsuit alleging sexual harassment in addition to criminal charges. The Register-Guard reports that six women and a man have filed a federal lawsuit against Mark John Walker, who already faces criminal charges as well as three other lawsuits. Walker was indicted last summer on five criminal counts of sexually abusing women under his supervision. He was also charged with obstructing an FBI investigation by falsifying documents and intimidating witnesses. The new lawsuit claims Walker demanded sex from women under his supervision, including one woman who said he demanded a “threesome” with her and another woman, telling her he could have her locked up and her daughter taken away if she complained. Walker has pleaded not guilty to all criminal charges.

ZooMontana won’t take bison from sanctuary

BILLINGS, Mont. — Officials with ZooMontana say they will not be able to take two bison that were rescued from a western Montana animal sanctuary. The Billings zoo initially offered to take the animals rescued from the Montana Large Animal Sanctuary near Niarada, but officials told KULR-TV that budget troubles made it impossible. The zoo would have had to raise $30,000 just to build a shelter for the bison. Dave Pauli with the Humane Society of the United States says there are four other possible locations to house the animals, including private ranches or the Beartooth Nature Center near Red Lodge. Pauli says they hope to keep the bison in state. The bison are currently being cared for at a veterinary clinic in Laurel.

Benton City man killed in motorcycle crash

KENNEWICK — A Benton City man was killed and his wife injured in a motorcycle crash at West Richland. Police say the couple was on the motorcycle that collided Saturday with a car that had crossed the centerline into their lane. The Tri-City Herald reports 52-year-old Joel Vance was taken to a hospital in Spokane where he died. His wife, Lorri Vance, was reported in stable condition at Kadlec Medical Center in Richland.

Fire forces evacuation of 200 Hillsboro inmates

HILLSBORO, Ore. — A smoky fire forced the evacuation of more than 200 inmates at the Washington County Corrections Center and 14 of them were hospitalized. Hillsboro fire officials say a small fire broke out Sunday night in the facility’s laundry room which created a great deal of smoke. Firefighters quickly put out the blaze and inmates were evacuated to the front yard of the sheriff’s office across the street. Officials say there were no serious injuries but 14 people complained of nausea and vomiting and were treated at area hospitals. The evacuees were later moved indoors to the Washington County Jail. The cause of the blaze is being investigated.

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