NW today: Guitar sculpture remembers Kurt Cobain

What’s news in the Northwest today:

ABERDEEN, Wash. — A concrete sculpture of a guitar in memory of Kurt Cobain will be unveiled in Aberdeen on April 5, the 17th anniversary of the grunge singer’s death. The ceremony will be at a park next to the Young Street Bridge which he mentioned in a song. The Daily World reports it’s a gathering place for people who visit Aberdeen looking for ways to remember the frontman for the band Nirvana, who took his own life in 1994. In addition to the guitar sculpture there will be a steel ribbon with the lyrics, “One more special message to go and then I’m done and I can go home” — from the song “On a Plain.” In 2005, the fan-driven Kurt Cobain Memorial Foundation raised enough money to install a new sign telling visitors to “Come As You Are” below the “Welcome to Aberdeen” sign near the bluff in East Aberdeen. The phrase is the name of one of Nirvana’s most popular songs.

Former US attorney to speak in favor of pot bill

OLYMPIA — Former federal prosecutor John McKay will join a state lawmaker and Seattle officials speaking in favor of a bill to legalize and regulate the sale of marijuana in Washington state. The bill was sponsored by Democrat Rep. Mary Lou Dickerson of Seattle but never made it out of committee. McKay and Dickerson will hold a press conference today in support. Dickerson’s measure sought to have the Washington State Liquor Control Board sell and regulate cannabis. It would make marijuana possession legal for adults over age 21. Supporters say that it could have raised up to $420 million per biennium in taxes and licensing fees. McKay and Dickerson will speak to the need to replace Washington’s policy of prohibition with one of “rational regulations.”

Lawmaker wants new attorneys for Idaho Legislature

BOISE — A North Idaho lawmaker irked that a bill he sponsored to nullify the federal health insurance overhaul failed says the Legislature should stop consulting the Idaho Attorney General’s office and get its own lawyers. Republican Rep. Vito Barbieri of Dalton Gardens introduced a bill on Tuesday that calls for the Legislature to hire two attorneys for a new “Office of Legislative Counsel.” Barbieri’s bill to nullify the health insurance overhaul died in a Senate committee last month. The attorney general’s office advised lawmakers that approving such a law would violate the U.S. and Idaho constitutions as well as lawmakers’ oath of office. The Spokesman-Review reports that Barbieri’s bill would pay for the two-lawyer office by shifting money from the attorney general’s budget.

300 Longview traffic camera tickets dismissed

LONGVIEW, Wash. — Traffic tickets are being dismissed for about 300 people who were caught on camera running red lights or speeding through school zones in Longview. The Oregonian reports that an employee for the company that runs the system punched in the wrong city code — Lynnwood, instead of Longview. Longview Police Chief Alex Perez says all notices issued from Feb. 14 through March 9 are being dismissed. At $124 a ticket, that’s more than $37,000. Anyone who already paid the fine will receive a refund. The company, American Traffic Solutions, will not charge the city for operating the system during the time period, when the city started the automatic ticketing system.

Army recruiter sentenced in Portland in thefts

PORTLAND, Ore. — An Army recruiter who pleaded guilty to receiving stolen military property was sentenced Tuesday in Portland to two years’ probation. The Oregonian reports Sgt. John Jeremy Joseph sold ballistics vests and other gear that had been stolen from the Oregon Army National Guard. The 32-year-old Vancouver man ended up cooperating with federal investigators and recorded transactions with Sgt. Jason M. Weisenburg. The 30-year-old from Gresham has pleaded not guilty to charges of theft of government property. Joseph has resigned from the military. He had worked as an Army recruiter in Portland.

Big quake would crumble many Portland buildings

PORTLAND — A structural engineer for the city of Portland says about 10 percent of the city’s buildings would tumble down in a sustained, violent earthquake. Those are buildings like the Multnomah County Courthouse made of unreinforced masonry — bricks and mortar without steel bracing. Engineer Amit Krumer says bricks would crumble and walls not tied into roofs or floors would fall. KGW reports about 10 percent of the masonry buildings, like City Hall, are reinforced with braces or shock absorbers to withstand shaking.

Judge: Not enough DNA to stop Oregon murder trial

BEND, Ore. — A judge has rejected arguments that a tube of lip balm could be key evidence in the aggravated murder trial of an Oregon man accused of killing his wife and burying her body in a barrel. KTVZ-TV in Bend reports that lawyers for Darrell Middlekauff of La Pine opened their defense Tuesday by arguing the case should be thrown out because prosecutors lost a tube of ChapStick. Defense lawyers said DNA tests may have shown it was possible someone else killed his wife, Brenda Middlekauff. But a judge agreed with prosecutors who argued nothing recovered from inside the barrel – not even the victim’s liver – could have provided a DNA profile by the time it was pulled from the ground 2 1/2 years after her death.

Idaho Senate panel takes up 20-week abortion ban

BOISE — The Idaho Legislature is again grappling with abortion, considering a ban of elective procedures after a fetus has reached 20 weeks following fertilization. The Senate State Affairs Committee began considering the bill this morning. Sen. Chuck Winder, a Boise Republican, and other anti-abortion advocates argue that babies can feel pain after 20 weeks, so an abortion shouldn’t be allowed. They’ve called their bill the “Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act,” which is modeled after a law in Nebraska. Democratic Sen. Michelle Stennett of Ketchum raised concerns this bill could force parents to deliver babies with rare conditions that leave them incapable of survival beyond the womb. Sean Patrick Kenney, a Nebraska doctor and abortion foe who testified today, suggested parents should make babies comfortable until they reach their “natural conclusion.”

Warrant issued for car theft connected to Idaho death

BOISE — A man charged with assaulting a woman in Montana last summer is wanted on a $1 million warrant in Idaho, where Boise police believe he stole the woman’s car the day she was found dead. Boise police issued the warrant for 31-year-old Lloyd McNeil in the theft of a car belonging to 30-year-old Natalie Davis. Davis was found dead and partially burned in her house in Boise on March 5. Officials have called her death suspicious, but Ada County authorities have not released the cause. In Montana, McNeil faces an April 19 trial in Gallatin County for assault with a weapon, partner or family member assault and unlawful restraint. He is charged with choking Davis, slapping her face and hitting her with a large flashlight during a July 4 camping trip.

Tri-Cities company selling residential windmills

KENNEWICK, Wash. — A Tri-Cities company is offering a way for property owners to generate their own electricity from the wind. KNDU reports Dayco Heating and Air Conditioning is selling residential wind turbines. A 45-foot tall tower holds a turbine with 6-foot blades. It costs about $17,000, and homeowners need a least one-third acre of land and necessary permits. The company’s Mike Durkee says the windmill won’t generate enough electricity for a whole house, but it would help and could pay for itself over time.

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