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In brief: Montana man dies on Lochsa River

LEWISTON – The Idaho County Sheriff’s Office has released the name of a 29-year-old Missoula man who died in a rafting accident on the Lochsa River in north-central Idaho.

The Sheriff’s Office says Keegan Seth Ginther died Wednesday afternoon.

Officials say Ginther was rafting with four friends from Missoula when the raft flipped in the Lochsa Falls Rapid and threw all four into the water. Ginther was swept downriver.

One of the rafters, 30-year-old Bradley Applegate, was able to get to shore and flag down a passing motorist who took him downriver where he pulled Ginther out of the water. Emergency responders were unable to revive him.

Ex-deputy faces murder trial

LEWISTON – A Nez Perce County magistrate judge has ruled there is probable cause to try a former sheriff’s deputy with strangling his ex-wife with a belt on May 1.

Judge Kent Merica ordered Joseph Thomas Jr. bound over for trial on a first-degree murder charge after a preliminary hearing Wednesday. Thomas is charged with killing 28-year-old Beth Irby-Thomas and is scheduled to be arraigned next Wednesday.

Thomas’ friend, Guy Arnzen, testified that on the night of Irby-Thomas’ death, Thomas came over to his house and “told me that he killed Beth.”

Arnzen said he called 911. Officers said they found Irby-Thomas in her house with a belt cinched around her neck.

UW approves large tuition hike

SEATTLE – The University of Washington has approved a 20 percent tuition hike for next year – one of the single biggest percentage cost spikes in the school’s history.

The Seattle Times reports that regents for the state’s largest university approved the hike on Thursday. Next fall, undergraduate tuition and fees will total $10,574 for an in-state student. Out-of-state tuition will jump 10 percent to $27,230.

Airline passenger stung by scorpion

PORTLAND – An Oregon man got a surprise – and some pain – when he was stung by a scorpion during a commercial flight from Seattle to Anchorage, Alaska.

Jeff Ellis, of West Linn, told KPTV he was trying to sleep on a red-eye Alaska Airlines flight June 17 when he felt something in his sleeve and tried to brush it away.

He said he felt the crawling again, looked down and saw the culprit. “I picked my hand up and said, ‘Oh, my God. That’s a scorpion.’ ”

Ellis said he grabbed the scorpion with a napkin, but not before it stung him on the elbow. He said it caused a burning sensation.

Ellis was checked by two doctors on board and medics on the ground.

The flight originated from Austin, Texas, where Alaska Airlines officials believe the scorpion got on board. Ellis said the airline offered him 4,000 frequent-flier miles and two round-trip tickets.


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