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In brief: Groups seek funds for grizzly habitat

Conservation groups are trying to raise $1.5 million to secure grizzly migration corridors in the Cabinet-Purcell Mountains.

The groups have purchase options on two parcels, totaling 258 acres, near Troy and Noxon, Mont. The parcels were identified as critical grizzly use areas based on wildlife studies and computer modeling done by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Trans-border Grizzly Bear Project, said Ryan Lutey, lands director for the Vital Ground Foundation, which would manage the lands. Both parcels are located in valley bottoms.

About 35 to 45 grizzly bears are believed to remain in the Cabinet-Purcell Mountains, which span 2,600-square miles in northwest Montana and southern British Columbia.

Protecting migration routes will help grizzlies avoid conflicts with people and survive in an era of climate change, Lutey said.

Vital Ground is collaborating with the Alberta-based Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative on the project.

Scholarship fund honors Novak

A $25,000 endowment has been created in honor of Terry Novak, late Spokane city manager and Eastern Washington University professor.

Novak served as a city manager in Hopkins, Minn., Columbia, Mo., and Spokane before pursuing positions in higher education. At EWU, Novak taught public administration classes, served as interim dean of EWU’s College of Business and Public Administration and vice president of business and finance.

He died in 2009.

The annual scholarship will be given to a student who is pursuing a masters degree in public administration and plans to have a career in the public service sector.

EWU, its faculty and staff, Spokane residents, and “most notably Barbara Novak and the extended Novak family,” raised the money for the endowment, according to an EWU announcement.

To make a donation to the endowment, send money to EWU Foundation, attn: Terry Novak Endowment, 102 Hargreaves Hall, Cheney, Wash., 99004.

Senate approves electric car fee

OLYMPIA – Senate lawmakers have approved a bill that would impose an annual $100 fee on electric cars to recover lost gas tax revenue.

Drivers would pay the fee every year when they got their car tabs renewed.

Democratic Sen. Mary Margaret Haugen of Camano Island included the fee on her transportation budget. She said the proposal was dependent on the electric car fee’s passage.

The Senate Transportation committee chairwoman said electric car owners need to pay their fair share of highway maintenance.

The Washington State Department of Transportation estimates that drivers of gasoline-powered vehicles pay about $200 a year in gas tax. Washington’s gas tax is 37.5 cents per gallon.

The bill now moves to the House for approval.

Prosecutor finds shooting justified

PORT ORCHARD, Wash. – Kitsap County Prosecutor Russ Hauge said a sheriff’s deputy was justified in firing at a man during a shootout outside a Walmart store.

Hauge said Tuesday he had reviewed the Washington State Patrol’s investigation of the Jan. 23 case, which showed that 31-year-old Anthony Allen Martinez of Salt Lake City had fired on two deputies as he fled from them after they asked him for identification outside the Port Orchard store. Both deputies were wounded. The prosecutor says Deputy Krista McDonald then took aim and fired, hitting Martinez in the leg and fracturing his femur from about 100 feet away.

The WSP investigation found that the wounded Martinez fatally shot 13-year-old Astrid Valdivia when she tried to check on him, then shot himself in the heart. The girl had been traveling with Martinez.