June 22, 2011 in Region

NW today: Submarine exploring sunken ship

Compiled from wire reports
 

What’s news in the Northwest today:

PORT TOWNSEND, Wash. — A private submarine is diving this week near Port Townsend to examine the wreck of a steamer that sank in 1921 in Puget Sound. The 90-year-old wreck of the SS Governor rests in 240 feet of water. The Peninsula Daily News reports people on board the 15-foot submarine from OceanGate of Everett will take photos to develop three-dimensional images of the hulk. The expedition will test equipment OceanGate will use to examine an oil tanker, the Montebello, that was sunk by the Japanese during World War II off the coast of California near Morro Bay. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration wants OceanGate to help determine if 70,000 barrels of oil can be removed from the tanker.

Man accused of sending porn to sex offenders

TACOMA — A Lakewood man charged with possessing child pornography may have been sending images to inmates of the Special Commitment Center for sex predators on McNeil Island. The News Tribune reports 50-year-old Michael A. Tharp was charged last week in federal court in Tacoma and is being held at the federal detention center in SeaTac. Investigators write in court papers that some commitment center residents said they sent Tharp money for child pornography. Tharp denied distributing child pornography and said he provided legal research services.

A bit of sun makes Puget Sound plankton bloom

OLYMPIA — The Ecology Department says tests confirm the reddish-orange color to the water in parts of central Puget Sound is harmless plankton called Noctiluca. Spokeswoman Sandy Howard said today the plankton may have bloomed because of a bit of recent sunshine. It is not the so-called red tide that refers to paralytic shellfish poisoning. Howard says the department appreciates people who reported seeing streaks in the water that look like tomato soup. The department wants to know about possible pollution.

No tent camping in 3 campgrounds near Yellowstone

BOZEMAN, Mont. — The Gallatin National Forest says grizzly bear experts have recommended banning tent camping in three campgrounds near Yellowstone National Park, including one where a Michigan man was mauled to death last July. The requirement for hard-sided recreational vehicles only is in effect for the Soda Butte, Colter and Chief Joseph campgrounds just east of Cooke City because bears frequent those areas. Forest spokeswoman Marna Daley says the requirement is in place this summer while managers consider a long-range strategy. Hard-sided vehicles include those made of metal or strong composite plastic. Truck-box campers that have a 4-foot high hard side, in addition to a raised upper section, are permissible. The new rules follow the death of 48-year-old Kevin Kammer of Grand Rapids, Mich., and injuries to two others at the Soda Butte campground last summer.

Grizzly bear euthanized; killed chickens, goats

KALISPELL, Mont. — A young grizzly bear with a history of killing chickens and goats has been captured in northwestern Montana and euthanized. State Fish, Wildlife and Parks officials say the bear was captured in a leg snare on June 16 about 10 miles southwest of Trego. In mid-May, the 3-year-old bear was captured on the Flathead Indian Reservation, fitted with a radio collar and released near Coal Creek, a tributary of the North Fork Flathead River. The bear is suspected of killing 11 chickens along West Fortine Creek and was seen near several homes on June 5. FWP Region 1 spokesman John Fraley says the bear returned to the same farm on June 13 and killed three domestic goats.

Man kicked by Seattle police files lawsuit

SEATTLE — A federal lawsuit has been filed in a case where Seattle police officers kicked a Latino man while using anti-Mexican language. The lawsuit was filed today. Martin Monetti says that his civil rights were violated by police using unnecessary force, among other allegations. It names the city, as well as Seattle police officers Shandy Cobane and Mary L. Woollum. In April, 2010, Seattle police officers responding to a robbery call outside a nightclub stopped Monetti. A video shot by a freelance videographer shows officers kicking him and using a racial epithet, sparking ire from the city’s Latino leaders. Last month, Seattle Police chief John Diaz suspended Cobane for 30 days, removed him from the gang unit and assigned him to do community work with Latinos. Monetti is seeking unspecified damages.

3-year-old boy mauled by dog near Copalis Beach

COPALIS BEACH, Wash. — A 3-year-old boy who was mauled by the family dog Tuesday near Copalis Beach was airlifted to a hospital in Seattle with injuries to his face and left eye. KBKW and KXRO report he had reportedly touched the dog, a 4-year-old Australian shepherd, as it was eating. Grays Harbor sheriff’s Deputy Dave Pimentel says the dog will be quarantined for 10 day for rabies precautions and then euthanized.

Campaign manager sues Idaho school board

LEWISTON — The campaign manager for a man elected to the Lewiston School Board last month is suing the board and the district it represents, claiming the board has waited too long to swear-in his candidate. The Lewiston Tribune reports that Dale Yochum Sr. was elected with more than 57 percent of the vote in a three-way race. His term begins July 1 and the school district says it intends to swear Yochum in at the first July meeting. Yochum’s campaign manager, David Estes, contends in his lawsuit that waiting until July violates the district’s charter, which calls for board members to take office at the first regular meeting after the election. Superintendent Joy Rapp says board members have taken office in July since trustee elections began being held in May.

Oregon woman indicted in death of daughter, 11

PORTLAND, Ore. — An Oregon woman accused of killing her 11-year-old daughter has been indicted on an aggravated murder charge. The Oregonian reports a Washington County grand jury indicted 38-year-old Kristina Buckley of Sherwood on Tuesday in the June 2 strangulation death of her daughter, Cecilia. If convicted, Buckley could face the death penalty. The aggravated murder charge replaces an original charge of murder. Buckley was scheduled to be arraigned on the new charge on Thursday. Court records show her husband told police Buckley suffered a “psychotic episode” days before the death, and a psychiatrist prescribed “anti-psychotic medication.” Her attorney was not available for comment today.

Lawmakers seek oil drilling ban for Oregon Coast

GRANTS PASS, Ore. — Members of Oregon’s congressional delegation want to keep the Oregon coast free of offshore oil drilling platforms. Democrats Kurt Schrader, Peter DeFazio and David Wu introduced an amendment today that would exempt waters off Oregon from a bill to make it easier for oil companies to do deep-water drilling. Schrader says that Oregonians don’t want to jeopardize the commercial fishing and tourism that are important to the coastal economy. DeFazio adds that Oregon can’t afford a repeat of the Deep Water Horizon blowout in the Gulf of Mexico last year. Wu says Oregonians see more value in preserving their coast and developing renewable energy. A moratorium on drilling in federal waters off the Oregon Coast was in place for two decades before it was rescinded in 2008.

Aggressive mosquito breed spreads in Oregon

PORTLAND — An aggressive breed of mosquito found in the Portland metro area about five years ago is spreading, boosting the risk of spreading disease along with it. The Oregonian reports the species commonly called the rock pool mosquito is native to Asia. Most mosquito breeds feed during the night, after dusk and before dawn. But the rock pool breed will bite all day. They’re also believed to be efficient carriers of diseases like dengue fever, West Nile virus and encephalitis. Health officials say they haven’t been linked to those diseases in the Portland area. But because they feed during a longer portion of the day than most mosquitoes, the potential for disease transmission is much greater.

Convicted Oregon gold miner applies for site

PORTLAND — A gold miner convicted of illegally mining a site near a salmon stream in southern Oregon has applied to mine the same site again. The Oregonian reports that 39-year-old Cliff Tracy has tried to mine the 5-acre site next to Sucker Creek since the mid-1990s. He was convicted on a misdemeanor illegal mining charge in 2009, but the U.S. Forest Service says that won’t be a factor in their evaluation of his new proposal for the site near Cave Junction. With the price of gold at all-time highs at about $1,500 an ounce, Tracy says the Forest Service can get miners to restore old mining sites like the ones that line Sucker Creek. But conservation groups say Sucker Creek is one of Oregon’s top streams for salmon and steelhead.

Oregon House votes to pay ranchers for wolf kills

SALEM, Ore. — The Oregon House has unanimously voted to pay ranchers who lose livestock to wolves. The House vote today sends the measure to the Senate. The legislation had appeared dead, but was revived after ranchers, conservation groups, and the governor’s office spent three days in a closed room last week hammering out details of the $100,000 package. The bill is considered crucial to getting ranchers on board with restoring wolf packs that had been hunted to extinction in Oregon in the early 20th century. A state fund would replace payments to ranchers from the conservation group Defenders of Wildlife, which runs out in September.

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