Local news

In brief: State corrections boss resigns suddenly


The head of Washington’s corrections department abruptly resigned Friday for what the governor’s office simply described as “personal reasons.”

Gov. Chris Gregoire said in a statement shortly after accepting Eldon Vail’s resignation that she has appointed state prisons director Bernie Warner as acting secretary.

Vail did not return a phone call left at his home. His brief resignation letter to Gregoire said he was resigning with “deep regret” but offered no details.

The departure came after a chaotic week in the department. The widows of two of the four slain Lakewood police officers filed a claim accusing the agency of bungling its supervision of the killer. And an escape attempt at Clallam Bay Corrections Center on Wednesday ended with a prisoner being fatally shot.

Meanwhile, the department has been investigating an ethics complaint filed by a state lawmaker accusing one of Vail’s top administrators, communications director Belinda Stewart, of improperly operating nonprofits from her office.

Associated Press

Company issues recall of alfalfa sprouts

A North Idaho company linked to a multistate salmonella outbreak has voluntarily recalled its alfalfa sprouts.

Evergreen Fresh Sprouts LLC of Moyie Springs stopped producing sprouts last week after food safety investigators determined that many of the 21 people infected with salmonella had eaten Evergreen’s alfalfa sprouts.

Several have been hospitalized.

The company had initially refused to recall its sprouts, claiming that investigators had not produced conclusive evidence.

Tests to determine if sprouts were contaminated are still being conducted.

The recalled sprouts were sold under the Evergreen Produce label.

John Stucke

Negligent driving blamed in I-90 crash

Negligent driving caused a three-car crash Friday afternoon on Interstate 90 in Spokane, according to the Washington State Patrol.

Neida Rios, 58, of Fair Oaks, Calif., was in a Nissan Altima westbound on I-90 when she crossed the median and hit an eastbound Chevrolet Tahoe driven by Patricia Sodorff, 55, of Sandpoint, according to a WSP news release. Rios also hit Joel Fertakis, 49, of Spokane, who was eastbound in a Chevrolet pickup towing a 27-foot trailer. The crash caused the trailer to roll into the median and one of the lanes.

Sodorff and Rios were injured but not taken to a hospital, the news release said. Fertakis was not injured.

Chelsea Bannach


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