June 20, 2011 in Region

NW today: Alexie novel removed from Richland schools

Compiled from wire reports
 

What’s news in the Northwest today:

The Associated Press today issued the following correction: In a story about the Richland school district banning Sherman Alexie’s “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian,” The Associated Press erroneously reported the district’s Instructional Materials Committee had not read the book, and that the committee decided to ban the book because of profanity and sex scenes. The committee had read the book and did not give a single recommendation, but was divided on the book, with some opposing the book and some endorsing it. The Richland School Board considered those mixed recommendations and voted to remove the book from the reading lists.

KENNEWICK – Students in Richland school classes won’t read an award-winning book by a Northwest author in the foreseeable future. The Richland School Board voted 3-2 this week to prohibit use of “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian” by Sherman Alexie in classrooms of any grade level. The book had been piloted in a ninth-grade English class last fall and then was reviewed by the district’s Instructional Materials Committee. The original question before the board was whether to use “Absolutely True” in freshman classes. But the final vote took it away from all students. None of the board members had read Absolutely True, they conceded. The book is based on Alexie’s own upbringing on the Spokane reservation and his leaving “the rez” to go to school in nearby Reardan, a predominantly white farming town. In the book, Alexie’s alter ego is shunned by his old friends and neighbors and bullied by his new classmates. The 14-year-old protagonist struggles with poverty, racism and death. Alexie uses some profanity and other potentially offensive language to describe those situations in the National Book Award winner, which has earned him challenges from schools and libraries. The novel landed on last year’s Most Challenged list by the American Library Association.

Transgender woman sentenced in Idaho bomb plot

PAYETTE, Idaho — A southwestern Idaho woman will serve at least three years in prison after she planted fake destructive devices, set fire to her truck and then ran naked along a rural highway to draw attention to her struggle as a transgender person. Catherine Carlson was sentenced Friday in Idaho’s 3rd District Court. The Argus Observer reports Carlson sat quietly as Judge Susan Wiebe ordered her to serve up to 10 years in prison and reimburse Payette County for $1,500 in emergency response costs. In court, Carlson has said that it was all a misunderstanding. She has clashed with local authorities since 2007, when her given male name was included on a traffic citation. Carlson legally changed her name to “Catherine” more than three decades ago, before her sex change operation in 1980.

Boeing announces air show orders worth $11 billion

LE BOURGET, France — Boeing has announced orders and commitment for 56 planes worth about $11 billion at the Paris Air Show. The company says Air Lease Corp. will buy up to 33 new planes, including 737s, 777s and 787s. The deal is a mix of orders and options that would be worth more than $4.2 billion at list prices. Boeing says two undisclosed customers signed orders and commitments for 17 747-8 Intercontinentals. The new version of the jumbo jet carries 467 passengers. The orders are worth $5.4 billion. And Boeing says Qatar Airways has ordered six 777 jets in a $1.7 billion deal. Boeing also announced today it has awarded a contract to Chengfei Commercial Aircraft Co. in Chengdu, China, to produce rudders for the 737.

State senator remains jailed pending arraignment

BOISE — A state senator jailed on suspicion of misdemeanor drunken driving and felony grand theft is expected to be arraigned in Idaho’s 4th District Court. Senate Republican Caucus Chairman John McGee was arrested early Sunday after police say he took a Ford Excursion, which was attached to a cargo trailer, from a Boise home and a blood-alcohol test showed the four-term lawmaker had been drinking. An arraignment has been scheduled later today. Police say the vehicle and trailer became stuck as McGee tried backing into the yard of a home in southwest Boise. People who lived inside the home called police. McGee was found sleeping inside the vehicle and arrested. A breath test found the 38-year-old had a blood-alcohol content of 0.15 percent, nearly twice the legal limit in Idaho.

Webinars this week on Yellowstone snowmobiles

YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK, Wyo. — There’s still about another month to weigh in on a proposal to restrict the number of snowmobiles allowed in Yellowstone National Park. The National Park Service plans hold two Web-based meetings and two actual meetings on the proposal this week — one in the Denver-area and one in Washington, D.C. Webinars are scheduled Tuesday at noon Mountain time and on Wednesday at 5 p.m. Mountain time. Meetings will also be held Tuesday at the Sheraton on Union in Lakewood, Colo. and on Thursday at the Daughters of the American Revolution headquarters in Washington. Both will run from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. local time. The proposal would vary the number of snowmobiles between 110 and 330 daily. Public comments will be accepted through July 18.

Bones uncovered at Oak Harbor are Native American

SEATTLE — Officials say bones found last Thursday at an Oak Harbor construction site are from Native Americans who may have died more than 400 years ago. Allyson Brooks with the Washington State Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation told KOMO today that the bones are from at least three people. The construction project is on hold while the state and city consult with tribes to determine if the location was a burial site. A state anthropologist, Guy Tasa, said last week there is a chance the bones were buried there before the 1700s.

Artifacts may have been damaged in Moclips fire

MOCLIPS, Wash. — Some museum artifacts being stored at the Ocean Crest Resort restaurant may have been damaged in a fire this morning. Tim Dunn with the Museum of The North Beach in Moclips tells KBKW some items were stored at the restaurant while the museum is being renovated. The museum exhibits some Quinault Indian baskets and items from early settlers on the Washington coast. The extent of the fire damage is not yet known. The fire was reported around 4:30 a.m. and shut down Highway 109 traffic for several hours while multiple agencies responded.

Idaho suspending Medicaid payments to hospitals

TWIN FALLS, Idaho — The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare is suspending Medicaid payments to hospitals around the state for at least one week because an increase in claims is straining its funding. The suspension to 51 hospitals that accept Medicaid patients begins today, delaying payment of about $13 million in claims, agency spokesman Tom Shanahan said. “We’re really sorry we have to suspend the payments, but we have to meet our budget,” Shanahan told The Times-News. He also said the agency intends to announce by Thursday if it will suspend payments to hospitals again next week. “Whether or not we suspend the payments for another week will depend on how many claims we receive,” he said.

Lewis County deputy kills suspect in Napavine

NAPAVINE, Wash. — The Lewis County sheriff’s office says the man killed by a deputy today morning in Napavine was a Napavine resident who was acting violently with a knife. Deputy Stacy Brown says the deputy responded with police about 2 a.m. at a home where the man tried to break in. Brown says there are five stab marks in the door — three all the way through. And there are six stab marks on a parked pickup — four through the hood. The sheriff’s office says the deputy saw the suspect and fired when he refused to take his hands out of his pockets and charged. He died at the scene. Brown says investigators think the man and resident may have known each other.

Oregon man gets 8 months in prison for deer poaching

EUGENE, Ore. — An Oregon man has been sentenced to eight months in prison for his role in what Oregon State Police have called the largest deer poaching case in state history. The Register-Guard reports that 26-year-old Miguel Kennedy of Springfield was sentenced last week in Eugene after pleading guilty to identity theft, forgery, unlawfully transferring hunting tags and racketeering. Racketeering is defined as collaborating with others in a pattern of criminal behavior using the same method to commit multiple crimes. Several other Springfield residents have also been charged in the alleged illegal killing of nearly 300 deer between 2005 and 2010. Kennedy will actually serve 14 months in prison as a result of also violating his probation in a previous case.

Medical pot industry group asks judge to block law

HELENA, Mont. — An attorney for a medical marijuana industry group is asking a judge to block a new Montana law eliminating the sale of medical pot before it takes effect next month. James Goetz, attorney for the Montana Cannabis Industry Association, told Helena District Judge James Reynolds today that the law is unconstitutional. Assistant attorney general Jim Molloy defended the new law, saying it is in line with what voters intended when they authorized medical marijuana use in 2004. Molloy says the plaintiffs are trying to preserve their own commercial interests. The new law will effectively put commercial growers out of business by barring pot providers from making a profit. It also places additional checks on eligible conditions for qualifying for the drug and on the doctors who certify medical marijuana patients.

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