February 22, 2011 in Region

NW today: Officer fired after Taser joke with friend

Compiled from wire reports

What’s news in the Northwest today:

POST FALLS — A veteran Post Falls police officer and former “Officer of the Year” has lost his job for using his Taser while joking around with a friend on duty. Ian Johnson, who worked for the department for 15 years, was fired by police Chief Scot Haug last month for poor decision making. Johnson told the Coeur d’Alene Press his friend had jokingly asked to be Tasered — and so after making a call at his friend’s office in December, Johnson pulled his stun gun and clicked the trigger. Johnson said the Taser was 10 inches away and other precautions were taken to blunt the shock. Johnson said his friend wasn’t hurt and that he’d never intentionally Taser a friend because it’s a painful experience. During an investigation, Johnson called the encounter a “stupid joke that went bad.”

Rep. Rick Larsen survives earthquake in New Zealand

EVERETT — Washington U.S. Congressman Rick Larsen was in New Zealand when the 6.3 magnitude earthquake hit. He writes on his Facebook page that after a meeting in Wellington his group walked to a nearby church and shared a prayer for the people of Christchurch. Larsen is traveling with a congressional delegation. He represents the 2nd District that covers Whatcom, Skagit, Snohomish, San Juan and Island counties.

Lawmaker: Ban using planes to bag big game

BOISE — The flat hilltops and gullies of western Idaho may be suited for airplanes, but hunters are apparently using this aircraft-friendly landscape to exploit a loophole in state law that forbids aerial hunting. One Idaho lawmaker wants it to stop. House majority leader and avid hunter Mike Moyle says landowners in Washington and Payette counties last year complained that hunters were using small airplanes to shoot big game animals. They’d land on a flat patch of ground nearby, load up their quarry and be flying again within a matter of minutes. Idaho law forbids hunting from helicopters, but doesn’t expressly prohibit using planes. Moyle’s bill, introduced Monday, would forbid using all aircraft for hunting, transporting hunters and gear, or the taking of any animals on the ground on the same day.

Weather stalls refinery equipment movement

LEWISTON — Weather has stalled two loads of refinery equipment bound for Billings. The first megaload has been stalled east of Lolo Hot Springs, Mont., for 10 days while the second load was parked at Kooskia on Monday night for the third straight night. The Lewiston Tribune reports the chance of snow at Kooskia is 80 percent tonight and 90 percent in the Lowell area, the end of the next segment. It’s not clear what effect the delays and weather will have on the planned movement of a test module for ExxonMobil/Imperial Oil that has a permit to leave the Port of Lewiston tonight. However, the Missoulian reports the paved turnouts on U.S. Highway 12 and some of the needed utility work have yet to be completed in Montana.

Yakima school dress code: white, gray or black

YAKIMA — Since school resumed in January at Washington Middle School in Yakima, students have been following a dress code that requires them to stick to three colors — white, gray or black. Principal Dave Chaplin said the “Dress for Success” policy has improved the safety climate and reduced outside influences. He told the Yakima Herald-Republic the dress code also “levels the playing field” for students from different social and economic backgrounds. Nearly 96 percent of the 700 students qualify for free or reduced meals. More than a third are bilingual students and a third also are migrants.

Yellowstone Club employee dies while skiing

BOZEMAN — The Yellowstone Club says a 45-year-old employee has died after a fall while skiing at the private resort near Big Sky in southwestern Montana. The club issued a news release saying lift attendant David Mueller of Bozeman died Thursday. Ski patrol and paramedics responded to the accident on Pioneer Mountain and Mueller was taken to Bozeman Deaconess Hospital. The Bozeman Daily Chronicle reports the cause of death was not immediately known.

Coroner: Trio was bludgeoned to death

YAKIMA – Three people recently found dead in a remote West Valley home were bludgeoned to death, Yakima County Coroner Jack Hawkins announced this afternoon. Late Friday morning, authorities found 61-year-old Bill Goggin, his wife, Pauline Goggin, 60, and his mother, Elizabeth Goggin, 98, dead in a home in the Falcon Ridge housing development. Autopsies of the three bodies began this morning and are still being conducted, Hawkins said. Hawkins said his office isn’t ready to release information about where on their bodies the three victims were bludgeoned, and that a weapon has yet to be identified. Tissue examinations are still being conducted and another review of the crime scene will take place, he said.

Teen girl dies in Montana snowmobile accident

MISSOULA — A 14-year-old Stevensville girl has died in a snowmobile accident. The Missoulian reports Kaitlin Horn died after the snowmobile rolled over Sunday at her home. Ravalli County sheriff’s officials didn’t release details, but the family provided a death notice to the newspaper.

Woman found dead in burning car near Tonasket

OKANOGAN, Wash. — Okanogan Sheriff Frank Rogers says a woman found dead in a burning car near Tonasket is apparently the elderly woman who owned the car. The Wenatchee World reports firefighters responded to a grass fire late Saturday night and arrived to find a burning SUV with the body inside.

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