June 16, 2011 in Region

NW today: Prison escapee picks wrong cabin for help

Compiled from wire reports
 
AP Photo/Daily Inter Lake, Brenda Ahearn photo

Members of the West Side Road Crew work to clear snow from the Big Bend section of Going-To-The- Sun Road on Wednesday in Glacier National Park, Mont.. According Public Affairs Officer Ellen Blickhan the park experienced an above average winter and spring in terms of precipitation. Logan Pass is not expected to be open to visitors until late June or early July.
(Full-size photo)

What’s news in the Northwest today:

FORKS, Wash. — An escapee from the Olympic Corrections Center near Forks was able to get about 14 miles away before he stopped at a cabin at the Hoh River Resort, still wearing his prison uniform, and asked to use the phone. It happened to be a cabin occupied by an off-duty prison guard. Resort owner Sally Capelle told the Peninsula Daily News the guard tackled him Wednesday, but the inmate was able to break away, losing his shirt in the process. About five hours later, corrections officers caught 39-year-old James Edward Russell in dense brush about a mile away from the resort. State Deputy Prisons Director Earl Wright says Russell had turned up missing at a Tuesday night head count at the minimum security prison south of Forks.

Narcotics police raid Wake ‘n Bake Cannabis Lounge

ALOHA, Ore. — A police narcotics team raided the Wake ‘n Bake Cannabis Lounge in Aloha. The Oregonian reports officers removed computers and interviewed customers Wednesday but didn’t arrest anyone. Washington County sheriff’s spokesman Dave Thompson said detectives suspect the business was selling marijuana in violation of Oregon’s medical marijuana law. The business opened in November. It charges a fee for people to become members and then distributes marijuana.

Sprinkler causes Columbia River sea lions to scoot

PORTLAND, Ore. — The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife has a new tool against nuisance sea lions in the Columbia River — a water sprinkler. Wildlife officers installed a sprinkler with a motion detector on a dock. When a sea lion climbs on the dock, the sprinkler turns on. KATU reports it appears sea lions don’t like the noisy spray. They scoot off.

Oregon Death row inmate insists on execution

SALEM, Ore. — Death row inmate Gary Haugen says he’s insulted by an attempt to call off his execution so he can have a mental examination. Haugen told the Statesman Journal that he wants no one to spare his life and doubts the governor will stop the lethal injection scheduled for Aug. 16. It would be Oregon’s first execution in 14 years. In an interview Wednesday, Haugen said he’s sacrificing himself to protest what he calls the hypocrisy of the justice system and the arbitrary and vindictive nature of the death penalty. Haugen is sentenced to die for killing a fellow penitentiary inmate in 2003 while Hugen was serving time for killing the mother of his former girlfriend.

Chelan water storage project would cost up to $4 billion

WENATCHEE, Wash. — A study commissioned by the Chelan County PUD looked at nine canyons that could be pumped full of water at night when electricity is cheap and drawn down to generate electricity when demand is higher. The study found the project would cost $1 billion to $4 billion — too much to attract investors at current market conditions. The Wenatchee World reports the $165,000 “pumped storage” study was funded in by the state Ecology Department as part of its effort to increase water storage in the Columbia Basin.

Oregon doe gives birth to 3 fawns near hospital

ASHLAND, Ore. — She was not admitted to Ashland Community Hospital in southern Oregon to give birth, but fortunately she didn’t need a health care plan. The Mail Tribune reports that hospital staff and patients watched a black-tailed doe give birth to three fawns — instead of the usual two — on the hospital grounds Wednesday. Nurse Nancy Nowlin said she was sitting down to enjoy her lunch in a hospital break room while outside a picture window, near a bird feeder and a statue of an angel, the mother deer was delivering her fawns. Nowlin said that after each birth, hospital employees played a lullaby over the intercom like they do for every baby born in the hospital’s birthing center. A state biologist said three fawns are uncommon but not rare.

Darigold pleads guilty to polluting Issaquah creek

SEATTLE — The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Seattle says Darigold pleaded guilty Wednesday in federal court in Seattle to violations of the Clean Water Act for discharging an ammonia solution from its Issaquah plant into a creek. The discharge in October 2009 killed about four dozen fish, including some Chinook salmon, an endangered species. Under a plea agreement, Darigold will improve compliance at dairies in five western states, plus pay a $10,000 criminal fine and $60,000 for restoring the Issaquah Creek watershed.

Grass fire covers 1,200 acres in Yakima Valley

YAKIMA, Wash. — A wind-blown grass fire covered 1,200 acres near Union Gap and required firefighters from several Yakima Valley agencies to bring it under control. The Yakima Herald-Republic reports a 30 mph winds pushed the fire across a hillside Wednesday and the smoke was visible from Yakima. Firefighters used a bulldozer to cut fire lines and called in more crews to keep the flames from spreading. Another grass fire near Selah was contained to about an acre.

Jerome teen faces hearing in brother’s shooting

TWIN FALLS, Idaho — A Jerome teenager who says he was tired of his brother screaming at his mother faces a hearing to determine if there’s probable cause to charge him with shooting his brother in the hand and leg. The Times-News reports 18-year-old Zachary Sparks faces a preliminary hearing Friday in 5th District Court on a charge of felony aggravated battery with a deadly weapon. Law enforcement reports say Jerome County sheriff’s deputies responded to the report of a shooting on May 4. Zachary Sparks told officers his brother threw him against the wall when he tried to calm him down. Sparks told officers he got a shotgun from his bedroom, but thought the safety was on when he pointed it at his brother. The boys’ mother said she didn’t see the shooting.

Caldwell man arrested in baseball bat beating

CALDWELL, Idaho — Caldwell police say they have arrested a man suspected of beating a teenage boy and another man with a baseball bat. Authorities say Larry Lucero was arrested and could face multiple charges from an encounter Wednesday with two victims not yet identified by police. A 911 hang up call alerted police, and officers responded to the scene an apprehended a man carrying a baseball bat. After entering the residence, they found a man in his 40s with head injuries and the teen with multiple injuries. The teen is being treated for injuries at the West Valley Medical Center.

Gray wolf killed on Darby ranch where horse killed

HAMILTON, Mont. — Trappers caught and euthanized a female gray wolf on a Darby-area ranch where a horse was found dead two weeks ago. Two Feathers Ranch manager Jeff Rennaker says the wolf was captured Tuesday about 300 yards from his house and within 100 yards of where the horse died. A government trapper set traps shortly after the horse’s death. Rennaker says a trail camera shows the wolves came close to being captured several times over the past two weeks, including Sunday when a wolf laid down on the jaws of the trap, but the trap didn’t snap shut. The ranch owners were given a 45-day permit to kill up to five wolves after the horse’s death.

Homeless man fatally beaten at Toppenish camp

TOPPENISH, Wash. — Yakima County sheriff’s detectives suspect other residents of a transient camp near Toppenish may be responsible for the beating death of a homeless man who was motionless for four days before anyone called for help. Det. Stew Graham says 51-year-old Samuel Mosher died Monday of head injuries he received a week-and-a-half ago. Graham says deputies were called last week after fellow users of the camp “got tired of him apparently being in their way.”

Sauk-Suiattle Tribe fires 11 employees

DARRINGTON, Wash. — The Sauk-Suiattle Tribe at Darrington has fired 11 of the tribe’s 64 employees. Tribal Chairwoman Janice Mabee told The Daily Herald the employees were fired last week amid a Tribal Council dispute. The tribe has about 200 enrolled members.

Attorney: MSU prof will register as sex offender

BOZEMAN, Mont. — An attorney for a suspended Montana State University associate professor says his client will register as a sex offender for a 1990 conviction in California. Symphony conductor Suichi Komiyama was suspended from MSU this spring. The Bozeman Daily Chronicle and the Montana Newspaper Association filed a lawsuit Monday seeking the reason. A spokeswoman for the attorney general’s office says the agency recently learned that Komiyama pleaded guilty to having sexual intercourse with a minor and sent him a letter dated June 6 informing him he had to register as a sex offender. He was not listed on the state registry this morning. Attorney Chuck Watson tells the Chronicle his client did not know he had a duty to register on the 20-year-old charges, but will comply.

Law school faculty deny Natelson emeritus status

MISSOULA, Mont. — Former University of Montana law professor and two-time gubernatorial candidate Rob Natelson says it was “petty” and “inexplicable” for the law school faculty to deny him emeritus status. Natelson retired in May 2010 after 23 years. He tells the Missoulian that law school faculty voted against request for emeritus status, which is granted based on the professor’s research, service and instruction. Natelson says such status is almost always given. He says he should have received emeritus status based on his years of service, published scholarly articles and his involvement in innovative teaching projects. Law School Dean Irma Russell says she could not speculate why the faculty denied Natelson’s request. Natelson filed a complaint in 2004 saying political discrimination led him to be passed over for a job teaching constitutional law.

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