What’s news in the Northwest today:
SEATTLE — An Alaska state lawmaker is returning home by sea after refusing a pat-down search at a Seattle airport, a spokeswoman said. Rep. Sharon Cissna underwent a body scan as she was preparing to leave Seattle-Tacoma International Airport Sunday and was then required to undergo the pat-down by Transportation Safety Administration officials, said Michelle Scannell, her chief of staff. Scannell said that TSA called for the pat-down because the scan showed Cissna had had a mastectomy. But it wasn’t immediately clear from statements by the lawmaker’s office and TSA why that would necessitate the further search. Scannell described the pat-down search as “intrusive,” but did not elaborate on the Anchorage Democrat’s decision. Cissna, who had undergone medical treatment in Seattle, is traveling by ferry from Seattle to Juneau, Scannell said.
Rescuers search Mount Hood for missing snowboarder
PORTLAND — Rescuers are searching Oregon’s Mount Hood for a 26-year-old man who apparently got lost while snowboarding. His name was not released, but he was reported to be from the Southeast and visiting a friend in Hood River. The Clackamas County sheriff’s office started searching Sunday afternoon after the man called a friend on his cell phone to say he was lost. Search crews were able to communicate with the man until his cell phone battery went dead, and are focusing on the tree line on the west side of the mountain. The man was wearing clothing for snowboarding but crews said he was not equipped for extended overnight conditions, and temperatures have dropped into the teens.
Tree on fire led searchers to lost snowboarders
BOISE — Three people who got lost while snowboarding at Bogus Basin Mountain Recreation Area were found after setting a tree on fire to direct search crews to their location. Boise County officials say the three were located at about 12:40 a.m. today. They were not injured. Officials say the snowboarders called 911 at about 5 p.m., but didn’t stay on the cell phone long because the battery was about to die. They told a dispatcher they planned to set up camp for the night. Ski patrol called off its search at about 8 p.m. About an hour later, emergency dispatchers received reports of a tree on fire in the area where the men were reported lost. The Idaho Mountain Search and Rescue Unit found the men and put out the fire.
Eugene osprey nest moved to safer location
EUGENE, Ore. — An osprey nest on top of an Oregon Department of Transportation light pole at Eugene had to go. ODOT spokesman Rick Little says it was a fire hazard to the pole and to fledglings. KVAL reports crews from ODOT and the Eugene Water and Electric Board moved the nest Sunday from the pole near the Delta Highway-Interstate 105 interchange to a new 120-foot nesting platform. Little says they hope when the ospreys return in a few weeks they’ll recognize their old nest on the new platform.
Man wanted in Utah nabbed in southeastern Idaho
POCATELLO, Idaho — An alleged fugitive gang member sought for weeks by authorities in Salt Lake City has been taken into custody in Idaho. Federal authorities say 33-year-old David Andrew Fink was arrested Sunday in Pocatello after authorities received a tip from someone who recognized Fink from media releases. Fink was listed three weeks ago as Public Enemy No. 1 by the Salt Lake Area Gang Project and is accused of violating probation for a 2005 conviction on federal racketeering crimes. Utah authorities claim Fink is a member of a white supremacist gang. Investigators believe Fink was in Pocatello for just a few days before being apprehended peacefully. He is being held in the Bannock County Jail and is expected to appear in federal court later this week.
Seattle-area nurse inspired to join Air Force
ABERDEEN, Wash. — A brother who died in Afghanistan inspired a Seattle-area nurse to join the Air Force Reserve. Noel Davis-Carroll has been training to become a flight nurse to help wounded soldiers in transit. She told The Daily World of Aberdeen she thought of her brother when her training got tough.
Montesano native Tim Davis was a special forces airman who was killed Feb. 20, 2009, by a roadside bomb. Davis-Carroll lives in Des Moines and works as nurse in the emergency room at Highline Medical Center in Burien. Her husband, Warren Carroll, supports her plan to go to Afghanistan.
Lawmakers look to trim ‘safety net,’ plug deficit
OLYMPIA — As state lawmakers grapple with a huge budget deficit, attention is focusing on a program that provides medical care and cash assistance for some of the state’s poorest residents. The Disability Lifeline program serves people who don’t qualify for federal welfare or other assistance programs. It’s one of the big-cost state government programs that lawmakers are looking to change as they stare down a $5 billion deficit in the next two-year budget. The state would save $327 million biennially by nixing the program, as Gov. Chris Gregoire suggested in her budget. Democrats in the Legislature are pushing instead to retain it in a less costly form.
Mudslides often block Washington passenger trains
EVERETT — Mudslides have been mucking up passenger rail traffic this winter between Seattle and Everett. The Daily Herald reports passengers on dozens of Amtrak and Sound Transit trains have been bused while Burlington Northern Santa Fe tracks have been blocked for cleanup and safety precautions along a stretch along Puget Sound at the base of steep bluffs. A Washington Transportation Department spokeswoman, Vickie Sheehan, says the Amtrak Cascades route from Eugene, Ore., to Vancouver, B.C., averages three to 10 mudslides a winter but in the past three months there have been nearly 20.
Complex cleanup work at Hanford plutonium plant
RICHLAND — Cleanup workers have begun the complex task of removing 196 skinny tanks contaminated with plutonium at the Plutonium Finishing Plant on the Hanford Nuclear Reservation. The Tri-City Herald reports the so-called “pencil tanks” range from 3 to 22 feet long. They were used during the Cold War to increase the production of plutonium for nuclear weapons by recovering plutonium from scrap material that otherwise would have been waste. Before they could remove the tanks, workers had to repair a 40-year-old crane inside a four-story tall room.
Autopsies on 3 killed at home near Yakima
YAKIMA – Autopsies are scheduled today on three people who were found dead Friday at a home west of Yakima. Investigators collected evidence at the scene over the weekend, but the sheriff’s office says it can’t say yet what led to the deaths. The three are 61-year-old William Goggin, his 60-year-old wife Pauline Goggin, and his 98-year-old mother Elizabeth Goggin.