July 19, 2011 in Region

In Brief: News from around the Northwest

From wire services

Idaho daughter and mother get DUIs an hour apart

IDAHO FALLS, Idaho — Idaho authorities say a mother and daughter were arrested for drunken driving within an hour of each other — the mother when she went to pick up her daughter’s dog.

The Post Register reports a sheriff’s officer stopped 28-year-old Alisha Gardner at 10:56 p.m. Saturday in Idaho Falls after spotting her car swerving and crossing the centerline.

Sgt. Jeff Edwards said her blood-alcohol level was twice the legal limit, so Gardner was taken to jail.

Just under an hour later, 51-year-old Diana Gardner arrived to pick up her daughter’s dog, which was in the car. An officer smelled alcohol on her and a test revealed that her blood-alcohol level was also twice the legal limit, so she was arrested.

The report did not say what happened to the dog.

RNC chair visiting Washington, says it will be competitive

OLYMPIA — The chairman of the Republican National Committee is traveling to Washington state, saying he believes it will be a presidential battleground in 2012.

Reince Priebus said in an interview Tuesday that President Barack Obama will not be able to repeat his performance of four years ago, when he easily carried Washington on his way to the White House. He said Washington is one of the states the RNC has identified as competitive in 2012, although he declined to say how many states were on his list.

Washington hasn’t sided with a Republican for president since Ronald Reagan in 1984.

State Democratic Party Chairman Dwight Pelz said the party believes Obama will do well in the state but that organizers are not taking anything for granted.

Panel considers new revenues for Washington transportation

SEATTLE — Gov. Chris Gregoire is beginning a series of meetings that will seek to identify new ways to raise revenue to pay for transportation projects.

Gregoire and other transportation leaders will gather Tuesday in Seattle. They are to develop a 10-year plan that will identify projects and ways to pay for them, including the possibility of new taxes, fees and tolls. The results will be presented to the Legislature next year and possibly to voters.

Transportation packages approved in 2003 and 2005 increased the gas tax and other fees for a series of projects around the state. But those ongoing tax collections will now largely go toward debt payments on the ventures.

Transportation Department fined over worker’s death

SEATTLE — The Washington State Department of Transportation has been fined $22,000 over the death of a highway worker killed by a falling tree.

The Seattle Times reports the Department of Labor and Industries issued the fine for four serious safety violations in the death of 66-year-old Bill Rhynalds, of North Bend.

He died in January after a falling cottonwood tree struck him and his car on Highway 203 near Carnation.

Rhynalds was in the area responding to a report of another downed tree that had fallen on a power line. While setting up cones to divert traffic, he was hit by the second tree.

The Department of Transportation has 15 days to decide whether to appeal the fine.

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