What’s news in the Northwest today:
FOREST GROVE, Ore. — Police in the Portland suburb of Forest Grove are looking for a teenager who showed up at a slumber party with a shotgun, prompting a warning shot by a parent. KGW-TV reports that other teens at a home in Forest Grove were frightened by a teen who had not been invited to the slumber party and showed early this morning with a shotgun in hand. Police said a father inside the house grabbed a pistol and fired a warning shot into the ceiling to scare the armed teen away. He then tried to wrestle the shotgun away from the teen and it went off, firing into a washing machine. No one was injured and witnesses said the teen fled in a friend’s car. No other details were immediately available.
Climber rescue under way at Mount Rainier
ASHFORD, Wash. — KIRO-TV reports Mount Rainier National Park rangers are attempting to rescue a climber who is stuck with hypothermia and frostbite near Liberty Ridge. Park spokeswoman Patti Wold said the climber was in a party of three that left White River on Friday. KOMO Radio reports a helicopter from Joint Base Lewis-McChord also is responding.
Rail tracks cleared after Bonners Ferry rockslide
BONNERS FERRY — Railroad tracks used by Amtrak and 30 freight trains a day are clear again after a rockslide near Bonners Ferry. Burlington Northern Santa Fe spokesman Gus Melonas says the route was reopened at 11:10 p.m. Monday. Crews worked through Sunday night to clear the tracks after sensors detected the avalanche Sunday afternoon. Train traffic was safely stopped before it reached the slide in a canyon 15 miles east of Bonners Ferry. Some trains were rerouted while others waited for the track to reopen. It’s a key rail link between the Northwest and Midwest. Melonas says the slide, about 30 feet deep and 30 feet wide, along the Kootenai River was caused by heavy rains, melting snow and changing spring temperatures.
Edmonds man steps on escaped snake in back yard
EDMONDS, Wash. — An Edmonds man was in his back yard Sunday when he stepped on the tail of a 4-foot long orange and white snake. Rusty Bennett tells The Daily Herald of Everett it was “kind of freaky.” He and his wife called police. An animal control officer identified the reptile as a type of candy cane corn snake. It turns out the snake belongs to a neighbor who said it escaped eight months ago. Officials are surprised the pet snake was able to survive that long outside on its own.
Charter bus driver had 3 previous DUI arrests
BOZEMAN, Mont. — A charter bus driver arrested for drunken driving in Yellowstone National Park while hauling a bus load of middle school students on a field trip had been arrested three times before for driving under the influence. The Bozeman Daily Chronicle reports a search of public records found Jack Kane Parrent Jr. was convicted of drunken driving in Columbia Falls in 1991 and Lewis and Clark County in 2001. The Chronicle also found Parrent was charged with drunken driving in Vancouver, Wash., in 1998. A Clark County, Wash., clerk says Parrent has a warrant out for his arrest on that charge. Karst Stage owner Jerry Perkins says the previous DUIs did not show up in the background checks run by the bus company’s insurance provider.
Unlicensed Oregon dentist faces prosecutors
PORTLAND, Ore. — An unlicensed Oregon dentist who claims self-defense for shooting a man is facing cross-examination by prosecutors in his murder trial. The Oregonian reports that 81-year-old Viktor Gebauer took the stand Monday in his own defense, claiming that Viktor Merezhnikov barged into his Gresham home, demanded money and refused to leave before threatening him with a knife. But prosecutors argue Merezhnikov was only seeking relief for the toothache that persisted for more than a week after Gebauer had removed a crown. Prosecutors argue that Gebauer planted the knife in the dead man’s hand. In his testimony Monday, Gebauer talked about his work as a dentist in Russia, saying he did not seek U.S. certification when he immigrated to Portland in 1989 and later treated mostly Russian immigrants who lacked insurance.
Rally driving track riles Snoqualmie residents
SNOQUALMIE, Wash. — A century-old Weyerhaeuser mill site near Snoqualmie is being used for a driving school that teaches rally racing — fast, all-terrain driving. Enthusiasts love the chance to rip around the 315-acre rally track at DirtFish Rally School. And the mayor of Snoqualmie, Matthew Larson, thinks annexing the Old Mill Adventure Park will bring some money. But some neighbors object to the added noise in the city of nearly 11,000 people near Mount Si. The Seattle Times reports a rally in April attracted more than 1,000 people and was broadcast on ESPN. A pre-annexation agreement calls for DirtFish to limit large events to no more than two a year and not to use the site as a racetrack.
Nampa ordinance delays dealers melting down gold
NAMPA, Idaho — The Nampa City Council has passed an ordinance requiring gold dealers to wait five days before melting down or reselling precious items such as jewelry or coins so that police have time to track stolen property. The ordinance passed last month also requires Nampa gold dealers to apply for a business license and undergo a background check by July 1. Nampa Police Detective Sgt. Joe Ramirez tells the Idaho Press Tribune that tracking stolen jewelry has been next to impossible without the ordinance. He says pawn shops are required to hold property for 14 days. Ramirez says there are eight documented precious metal dealers in Nampa, but he estimates there are actually 15 to 20 in the city.
Ex govs help launch Idaho education task force
BOISE — Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush says many of the education changes being implemented in Idaho are happening across the country. Bush visited Idaho today to address a technology task force that was formed as part of the new laws authored by public schools chief Tom Luna. Former West Virginia Gov. Bob Wise also addressed the group, which is studying Idaho’s implementation of a laptop program for high school students. The new education laws also limit teachers union bargaining rights, introduce merit pay for educators and shift money from salaries to classroom technology. While Idaho has moved forward with implementation of Luna’s changes, a group of teachers and parents who want to repeal the new laws have succeeded in their efforts to place three referendums on the November 2012 ballot.
148 Hanford workers take voluntary layoff
RICHLAND, Wash. — A Hanford contractor that plans to cut 1,400 jobs by the end of September says 148 employees have accepted voluntary layoffs. The Tri-City Herald reports that the remaining 1,200 layoffs from the CH2M Hill Plateau Remediation Co. will be involuntary as federal stimulus money runs out. The contractor is responsible for cleaning up Hanford ground water.
10-year sentence for escaping Sunnyside jail
YAKIMA, Wash. — A 32-year-old man who escaped from the Sunnyside jail has been sentenced in federal court to 10 years in prison. The Yakima Herald-Republic reports Aaron Lopez Garcia of Yakima was being held in the jail in 2005 while awaiting sentencing on a gun charge when he and three other inmates escaped through a hole in a bathroom ceiling. The others were quickly captured but Garcia remained at large before at tip led to his arrest in 2009 in Mexico.
Portland teen running for mayor
PORTLAND — A Portland teenager says he is running for mayor. KGW-TV reports that 19-year-old Max Brumm plans to focus his campaign on parks spending, public campaign financing and efficient spending on infrastructure projects. Brumm is a recent graduate of Lincoln High School in Portland. Mayor Sam Adams has not yet announced whether he will run for another term. Meantime, former city commissioner Charlie Hales and New Seasons co-founder Eileen Brady have already announced their plans to run for mayor this year.
Lawsuit against MSU seeks reason for suspension
BOZEMAN, Mont. — The Bozeman Daily Chronicle and Montana Newspaper Association have filed a lawsuit against Montana State University seeking information concerning the school’s suspension of MSU Symphony Orchestra conductor Shuichi Komiyama. The lawsuit filed Monday in Gallatin County District Courts contends 47-year-old Komiyama holds a position of public trust and that the public’s right to know the reason for the suspension outweighs personal privacy concerns. The lawsuit also seeks court costs. The newspaper reported last month that the charismatic Komiyama had been suspended but the school declined to say why. Komiyama could not be reached for comment.
Newly minted quarter honors Olympic National Park
PORT ANGELES, Wash. — Olympic National Park gets its two-bits worth in a new quarter from the U.S. Mint. One side of the coin honors the park with a depiction of a Roosevelt elk standing on Hoh River gravel bar with Mount Olympus in the background. The Peninsula Daily News reports it’s the eight in a series of 56 coins in the America the Beautiful Quarters Program. Some of the first Olympic National Park coins are being distributed in a ceremony today at the Port Angeles City Pier.