January 6, 2011 in City

In brief: Merging mishap dunks trailer

From Staff And Wire Reports

A semitruck lost its load of apples Wednesday after its trailer vaulted over a guardrail on Interstate 90 at Wallace and plummeted 80 feet into the south fork of the Coeur d’Alene River about 1:50 p.m.

Brendan C. Scott, 18, of Osburn, Idaho, was driving a Ford Thunderbird when he entered the freeway and failed to yield to the eastbound truck, driven by Allen R. Williams, 55, of Rock Springs, Wyo., the Idaho State Police said.

Williams swerved to avoid hitting Scott, causing his trailer to fishtail, police said. The semi crossed the road, hit the median, went back across the road and struck the guardrail. The trailer flew over the guardrail and landed in the river below. A recovery operation was under way Wednesday night for the trailer, the ISP said.

Police said the two vehicles never collided and no one was injured. Scott was cited for failing to yield.

City agrees to pay for plant violation

The Spokane Regional Solid Waste System has agreed to pay a $5,000 fine for violating mercury pollution standards.

The fine results from annual testing in June during which the Waste-to-Energy Plant on the West Plains exceeded mercury limits.

April Westby, an environmental engineer for the Spokane Regional Clean Air Agency, said the city of Spokane, which runs the system, agreed to the settlement on Dec. 28.

Besides the fine, the city has agreed to always run a pollution control system that uses carbon. The system was turned off during the tests in an attempt to prove that the plant could attain standards without it. Officials say they always run pollution controls but wanted to maintain the option of keeping it off in case the system broke. The city also agreed to install controls to help ensure that the carbon system is operating correctly.

The fine is for the city’s second air-pollution violation in less than a year. In May, Spokane paid $600 for violating its air pollution permit at the Northside Landfill by filing its annual emissions inventory report two weeks late.

Feds fine city for discharges

The city of Bonners Ferry will pay a $12,300 federal fine for problems at its wastewater treatment plant.

The plant had more than 1,600 violations of its discharge limits during a five-year period ending last May. Wastewater discharged into the Kootenai River exceeded limits for E. coli, chlorine, pH and other compounds.

“The permit limits are in place to protect Idaho’s streams and rivers,” said James Werntz, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s director of Idaho operations.

To correct the permit violations, the city has reduced inflow and infiltration into their collection system and is removing the sludge buildup in the sewage lagoons.

Father, four sons died from smoke

REDMOND, Wash. – The King County medical examiner’s office says a Redmond, Wash., father and his four young sons died from smoke inhalation in a New Year’s Day apartment fire.

The victims have been identified as 32-year-old David Wayne Thompson and his sons – Tristan, 12, David Jr., 6, Leviticus, 5, and Wyatt, 3.

The mother of the three younger boys, Lilly Reasor, 31, escaped.

RAINIER, Ore. – The popular police chief of a small Oregon town was shot to death Wednesday while investigating a report of an attempted car theft at a strip mall, authorities said.

The unnamed suspect was wounded by gunfire shortly after officers rushed to the scene.

The killing of Rainier police Chief Ralph Painter, 55, stunned the town of 1,800, which had never before lost an officer in the line of duty.

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