Local news

In brief: Alcohol alleged in fatal head-on crash

An apparently intoxicated driver was killed Tuesday night in Asotin County when he lost control on state Highway 128 and collided head-on with another vehicle, the Washington State Patrol said.

James E. Cornelia, 39, of Lewiston, died at St. Joseph Regional Medical Center in Lewiston following the 9:30 p.m. crash.

He was headed east on the state highway at Red Wolf Bridge in a 1994 Isuzu pickup when he drifted into the right guardrail. His truck rebounded across the roadway into the path of the second vehicle.

Cornelia was not wearing a seat belt. Troopers said the accident was caused by driving under the influence.

The driver of the second vehicle was identified as Brentley J. Uhlorn, 25, of Cottonwood, Idaho, who was wearing a seat belt. He was with two passengers, one of whom, Gustav Eichner, 20, of Ritzville, was not wearing a seat belt and was injured, troopers said.

Ad salesman seeks Valley council seat

The Spokane Valley City Council learned Tuesday that a 10th application for the vacant City Council seat had been discovered. The application period ended at 4 p.m. Friday, but this week staff found another application that had been misplaced.

The error was discovered after the applicant, Clyde Cordero, 51, called the city to ask why he did not appear on a list of those who had applied for the position.

Cordero ran unsuccessfully as a Democrat in the primary in August 2010 for the U.S. House seat held by Cathy McMorris Rodgers. He works as an ad salesman for an online publisher. In his application Cordero wrote that the city needs a clear vision for the future and that he wants to encourage neighborhood associations and community policing programs.

The council will vote on March 22 on which of the 10 candidates to interview. The interviews will take place at the March 29 council meeting. Final selection is set for April 5.

Levies pass in all but Boundary County

North Idaho voters approved maintenance and operation levies in Coeur d’Alene, Post Falls and Lake Pend Oreille school districts, but a majority of the Boundary County School District’s residents marked the ballot no.

“I was disappointed because it’s so important,” said Melanie Staples, Boundary school board chairwoman.Without the levy, all extracurricular activities – anything outside of the core subjects, including sports, plays, concerts, honor society and student council – would be cut, Staples said. Additionally, at least 12 employees would be cut.

Coeur d’Alene School District voters approved a $12.8 million, two-year maintenance and operations levy, with 64.49 percent approval, according to Kootenai County elections officials.

Post Falls School District voters agreed to a two-year levy totaling $2.6 million, with a 63.75 percent approval.

More than 62 percent of voters said yes to Lake Pend Oreille School District’s two-year, $13.6 million levy.

The Kootenai County Sheriff’s Department is conducting an impaired-driving emphasis in the Kootenai County area.

Deputies will conduct patrols focusing on alcohol- and drug-impaired drivers from Friday through March 21. They will strictly enforce impaired-driver laws in an effort to reduce the number of injury accidents and deaths in Kootenai County, a Sheriff’s Department news release said.

There were 175 impaired-driving fatalities in Idaho in 2008, the news release said. Last year, more than 41 percent of the state’s 96 highway fatalities were caused by impaired driving.

The emphasis is sponsored by the Idaho Transportation Department’s Office of Highway Operations and Safety.

Climate change focus of forest forum

A new U.S. Forest Service planning rule will be discussed from 1 to 4 p.m. March 21 during a forum at the Idaho Panhandle National Forest headquarters, 3815 Schrieber Way, in Coeur d’Alene.

The proposed rule affects the forest planning process, which governs management on 155 national forests and 20 grasslands. Public comment will not be taken at the forum, but written comments may be submitted through May 16.

For the first time, the rule would require forest managers to anticipate and plan for climate change. U.S. Agricultural Secretary Tom Vilsack has also stressed public collaboration, which he said would help reduce lawsuits that have halted both logging projects and ecosystem restoration.

The new rule’s intent has drawn praise from national environmental groups, but also criticism for lack of specifics.

The rule’s full text is available at www.fs.usda.gov/planningrule.

Port making room for megaloads

LEWISTON – The Port of Lewiston is adding more storage space for the ExxonMobil/Imperial Oil processing plant modules.

Port manager David Doeringsfeld told the Lewiston Tribune that eight acres are being added to a 9.5-acre area where 34 modules are currently being stored.

He said vegetation will be removed from seven acres of the land and that fabric designed to prevent weed growth will be placed down and covered with an 8-inch-thick layer of gravel. Crea Construction of Lewiston is the apparent low bidder for the work.

Kiewit is working for Imperial Oil splitting 33 of the modules in half so that they could be moved on the interstate, rather than on U.S. Highway 12. A route has not been announced.

The modules are going through northwestern Montana to the Kearl Oil Sands project in Alberta.

Puget Sound drownings confirmed

OLYMPIA – The Thurston County coroner says two men whose bodies were found on Puget Sound beaches in the county in the past week both died of drowning.

Coroner Gary Warnock said a body found Tuesday on the shore of Budd Inlet is that of 29-year-old Jason Edward Leppert, of Olympia.

Sheriff’s Lt. Greg Elwin said there’s nothing to indicate Leppert’s death was the result of a crime.

Last Saturday, a kayaker found the body of 32-year-old Doy “Marty” Pierce.

Sheriff’s detectives and Olympia police detectives said they are investigating how the bodies got into the water. Detectives say there is no indication the men knew each other.


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