What’s news in the Northwest today:
CORVALLIS, Ore. — A 65-year-old Oregon man has been convicted of public indecency for riding his bicycle through a Corvallis park while nude. The Gazette-Times reports that David Owen Lamb told arresting officers he found riding without clothes “exciting.” But during his trial, Lamb, who served as his own legal representative, argued he did not have the intent to sexually arouse himself or anyone else in the park and along the bike path. Among the witnesses was Benton County Sheriff Diana Simpson, who had been running along the bike path with her husband, Bret Godfrey. A judge sentenced Lamb to 20 days in jail after a Benton County jury found him guilty on Tuesday.
Walk through purse at Bellingham museum
BELLINGHAM — The idea of the oversized purse has grown to new proportions at Whatcom Museum. Edison-based industrial artist Ries Niemi installed his 14-foot-tall “World’s Largest Walk Thru Handbag” sculpture Tuesday morning in the Lightcatcher building courtyard, which is accessible to the public without paying for entry to the museum. The sculpture, along with some of Niemi’s embroidered art, will remain on view through Sept. 11. The open metalwork of the stainless steel handbag is decorated with images of consumerism and wealth, such as metal dollar signs and diamonds, and includes openings on each side to walk through. Part of the inspiration for the larger-than-life piece came from the gigantic drive-through tree stumps of the Northwest, as well as the ever-expanding size of women’s purses.
Washington may impose fee to visit state parks
OLYMPIA — Visitors to Washington state parks may have to pay a fee, starting in July. A bill to create the Discover Pass passed the Legislature and is awaiting Gov. Chris Gregoire’s signature. A pass would cost $10 a day or $30 a year per vehicle. The Olympian reports the passes are expected to generate more than $64 million every two years. Most of the money would go to the state Parks and Recreation Commission. Smaller amounts would go to the Fish and Wildlife Department and the Department of Natural Resources. Washington has 119 state parks and millions of acres of publicly owned land.
Girl Scout camps near Longview, Hoquiam closing
LONGVIEW, Wash. — The Girl Scouts Council of Western Washington plans to board up buildings and turn off power and water at camps near Longview and Hoquiam to save $2.4 million in maintenance costs over the next five years. Other Girl Scout camps would remain open at North Bay, Carnation, Hood Canal and Belfair. The Daily News reports Girl Scouts in the Longview area are concerned about losing use of the 78-acre forested Camp Evergreen where youth groups have been enjoying the outdoors since 1947. The Girl Scouts are holding a meeting on the plan Thursday night at the Cowlitz PUD auditorium.
Open casket for Marine at White Swan High School
WHITE SWAN, Wash. — Friends of a Marine killed in Afghanistan paid their respects at an open casket viewing of his body in uniform Tuesday in the gym at White Swan High School. The mother of Lance Cpl. Joe Jackson, Lydia Soren of Yakima, told KAPP she felt her son’s presence and was moved by the people who cried over his body. School Superintendent Rick Foss says he approved the use of the gym for services to make it easier for the mourners in White Swan. The burial is set for today at Tahoma Cemetery in Yakima. The 22-year-old Jackson was killed April 24 by an improvised bomb. He was with a unit from Camp Pendleton, Calif. Flags at Washington state agency buildings were lowered to half-staff Tuesday in his memory.
Two Oregon farm bills move ahead, 1 for beekeepers
SALEM, Ore. — Two bills supporting small farms have moved ahead in the Oregon Legislature, one to help beekeepers maintain honey quality and the other to allow farmers to process fewer than 1,000 poultry a year without going to an inspected facility. The Oregonian reports that both bills were headed to the Senate floor for a final legislative vote after they were earlier passed by the House. The agriculture group Friends of Family Farmers says the bills would be a boon for hundreds of small farmers across the state. Supporters of the bill on honey from bees say it will establish quality and identity standards, along with rules on labeling.
Democrats explore revision to anti-tax initiative in Washington
OLYMPIA — Senate Democrats are considering a proposal that would make it easier for Washington state lawmakers to repeal tax exemptions. A key committee is scheduled to explore a bill today that would ask voters to give the Legislature the option of modifying tax breaks with a simple majority. A voter-approved initiative last year requires a two-thirds majority to increase taxes or fees. Democrats believe that Initiative 1053 was not understood to apply to repealing tax exemptions. The Ways and Means Committee is also scheduled to consider bills that would eliminate some tax breaks. I-1053 essentially blocked all tax increases at a time that lawmakers are trying to close a projected deficit of more than $5 billion in the next operating budget.
Jackie O’s half brother released, Oregon hearing set
MEDFORD, Ore. — The half brother of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis has been released from a southern Oregon jail and allowed to return home to Ashland until a hearing scheduled later this month for an alleged probation violation following his child pornography conviction. The Mail Tribune reports that 63-year-old James Auchincloss faces more than a year in prison if a judge determines he is in violation. Auchincloss was sent to the Jackson County Jail in Medford on March 2 without bail after prosecutors said he again violated probation for his August 2010 conviction on two felony counts of encouraging child sexual abuse. But a judge ordered his release Tuesday under terms of home confinement until the May 24 probation hearing. Auchincloss has denied the alleged violation and prosecutors emphasized no new charges are involved.
Ohio congressman gets offers to run elsewhere
CLEVELAND, Ohio — A spokesman says a liberal congressman who could lose his Ohio district is hearing from people across the country who want him to run in their states. Republicans in control in Ohio may eliminate the Cleveland seat held by eight-term Democrat Dennis Kucinich during this year’s redistricting. Ohio will lose two House districts because of U.S. population shifts. Kucinich was in Washington state for appearances last week. Spokesman Nathan White tells The Plain Dealer of Cleveland that Washington is among 20 states where people are urging Kucinich to run. Washington will add one new congressional seat. Kucinich has said he will fight to stay in Congress and promote liberal policies. The repeat presidential candidate told the Cleveland newspaper he would not discuss speculation about other states.
NTSB releases report on fatal Okla. plane crash
ELK CITY, Okla. — An Idaho man killed in a plane crash in western Oklahoma reported a “gyro problem” shortly before his plane crashed near Elk City. The National Transportation Safety Board’s preliminary report on the crash says pilot Art Lazzarini of Hailey, Idaho, was trying to divert to Liberal, Kan., when the plane disappeared from radar and crashed about 11:30 a.m. April 21. The wreckage was found nearly two hours later by a rancher about nine miles northwest of Elk City. The report says Lazzarini was flying the single-engine, experimental plane from Pueblo, Colo., to McKinney, Texas, where the plane was to be sold. The preliminary report does not list a suspected cause of the crash. A probable cause report on the crash is not expected for several months.
Warm Springs breaks ground on new Oregon casino
WARM SPRINGS, Ore. — The Warm Springs tribes have broken ground on a new casino at a site along U.S. Highway 26 in central Oregon. KTVZ-TV in Bend reports that tribal officials say the new Indian Head Casino will be temporary because the tribes are not giving up on controversial plans for a big casino at Cascade Locks in the Columbia River Gorge. The off-reservation proposal for the river gorge has been all but stalled for years, drawing opposition and criticism. Tribal officials said the temporary casino was needed to boost revenue, especially with other revenue sources — including the timber industry — still in a slump. The new casino will have 500 slot machines, a restaurant with seating for a 120 and a gift shop.
Idaho man dies in crash, was fleeing police
McCALL, Idaho — Idaho State Police say a central Idaho man who was fleeing law enforcement officers was killed when his pickup went off the road and struck a tree. Police in McCall were pursuing 26-year-old Andrew E. Dalgleish of McCall through the side streets of the town with their emergency lights and sirens activated at about 5 p.m. Tuesday. The ISP says Dalgleish drove onto State Highway 55, where he reached speeds of up to 80 mph. His pickup went off the road and hit a tree. Dalgleish was not wearing his seat belt. He was pronounced dead at the hospital. The crash remains under investigation. A news release from the ISP does not say why police were pursuing Dalgleish.
Judge throws out lost child lawsuit against TriMet
PORTLAND, Ore. — A judge has thrown out a lawsuit against TriMet filed by the father of a 3-year-old boy who was left stranded at a Portland MAX station. The Oregonian reports today that the dismissal of the Multnomah County lawsuit became final in April when the appeal period ended. Aaron Bailey of Portland sued last year on behalf of his son Aiden, accusing the transit agency of negligence because the MAX operator did not respond to calls on the train’s emergency intercom. A TriMet lawyer says the agency could not be sued for negligence because the boy was not physically injured. Aiden was kept safe by a woman who saw him on the platform and reunited with his father who returned in seven minutes. After the incident TriMet fired the operator.
Pilots gear up for fire season with Idaho training
BOISE — Pilots who fly firefighting missions in C-130 aircraft are in Idaho this week, taking practice runs at targets around the region as they gain recertification. The skies above Boise were abuzz with the large planes flying from the Boise Airport to water drops on the Boise National Forest and the Bureau of Land Management’s Boise and Twin Falls districts. The four military C-130s, flown by reserve and National Guard pilots, are equipped with slide-in units which can drop up to 3,000 gallons of retardant or water on wildfires. They’re normally based in North Carolina and neighboring Wyoming. National wildfire experts predict a busy fire season this year in Texas and Colorado, though Boise’s National Interagency Fire Center forecasts lower wildfire potential for the West and Midwest due to ample precipitation.
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