What’s news in the Northwest today:
SEATTLE — The Woodland Park Zoo is asking the public to help name its new reticulated python. It’s an 8-year-old male that weighs 100 pounds. Zoo spokeswoman Gigi Allianic says reptiles don’t usually get names but this python is so beautiful zoo officials thought it might be fun to name it. The reticulated part of its species name comes from the Latin word for “net-like” and refers to its coloring. Names can be submitted on the zoo’s Facebook page until noon on Friday. Zookeepers will pick their favorite submissions and invite people to vote on May 17. Allianic says the new python is expected to continue to grow. The Southeast Asian species is the longest snake in the world and can exceed 30 feet in length and weigh as much as 300 pounds.
Nonprofits given checks “signed” by Jesus
RICHLAND, Wash. – It’s a special day when someone is handed a check signed by Jesus Christ. OK, so, the giant-size checks bearing Christ’s name on the signature line can’t be cashed, the two nonprofits who received them Wednesday also got five-figure numbers printed on smaller versions that are genuine. It was the spirit of fellowship and service inspired by Christ that led those involved with the 2011 ShareFest to raise more than $40,000 for Ignite Youth Mentoring and Teen Challenge — organizations dedicated to helping at-risk teens break the cycles that lead young people into substance abuse, gang involvement and dropping out of school. ShareFest Director Mark Baker handed the real checks – in small envelopes – to the two nonprofits’ directors and thanked them for what they do for the Tri-City community. “You guys work on opposite ends of the spectrum toward the same goal,” Baker said. “We really appreciate you guys.”
Hundreds of boats go after Hood Canal shrimp
BREMERTON, Wash. — On opening day of the shrimp season on Hood Canal, nearly 1,500 boats went out. The Washington Fish and Wildlife Department estimates they came back with 22,000 pounds of spot shrimp — prized for their succulent taste. The Kitsap Sun reports the season is limited to four days in May, and the remaining days are Saturday and May 25. The department may add another day if the haul is still short of the 80,000-pound quota. Department shellfish manager Rich Childers says fishing for three smaller varieties of shrimp is open from June 1 through Oct. 15 in Puget Sound, but the spot shrimp make up 99 percent of the desired catch.
Cougar captured near Idaho grocery store
LEWISTON — A long tail sticking out of the shrubbery was the first clue that a cougar had taken up residence near a grocery store in Lewiston. The cat was captured Wednesday afternoon after a wildlife biologist shot the 80- to 100-pound male with a tranquilizer dart. Idaho Fish and Game officials are seeking a zoo or research facility that is willing to take the animal, or it will have to be tranquilized because it has had contact with people. Safeway employee Fred Coates says someone working on a landscaping crew asked him if there were any animals living in the bushes because there was a long tail sticking out of one. Coates went to investigate, spotted the cougar and called authorities.
Pasco man arrested for kicking boy at flea market
PASCO – Bail was set at $100,000 for 19-year-old Pasco man accused of kicking a teen in the head until he was unconscious during a gang fight. Miguel A. Paniagua was arrested late Tuesday by Pasco police and made a preliminary appearance Wednesday in Franklin County Superior Court. Court Commissioner Jerri Potts found cause to keep Paniagua in the Franklin County jail on a 72-hour investigative hold for second-degree assault. She also agreed to follow the bail recommendation of Deputy Prosecutor Teddy Chow, who quickly read off a list of past convictions for Paniagua, including fourth-degree assault, eluding police, trespassing, drug possession and obstructing. Chow also said Paniagua is a documented gang member.
Trial ending for man in Lakewood police killings
TACOMA — The month-long trial of the man accused of being the getaway driver in the Lakewood police killings could go to the jury Thursday in Tacoma. The News Tribune reports Darcus Allen did not take the witness stand in his defense. The 39-year-old is charged with four counts of aggravated murder. Prosecutors say he drove Maurice Clemmons to and from the Parkland coffee shop where Clemmons killed the four officers in November 2009. Allen has said he didn’t know Clemmons intended to kill the officers. The Pierce County prosecutor is not seeking the death penalty. If convicted, Allen would be sentenced to life in prison without parole.
Moscow couple killed in crash with bus
MOSCOW — A Moscow couple has died after a head-on collision with a bus on Highway 55 near McCall. The Idaho State Police says 67-year-old Carol Martin was northbound Wednesday morning when the car she was driving drifted into the southbound lanes and collided with a Ford bus driven by a woman from Pollock. Carol Martin died at the scene. The Moscow-Pullman Daily News reports Martin’s husband, 75-year-old Don Martin, died at a Boise hospital.
SWAT team makes Walla Walla medical marijuana bust
WALLA WALLA, Wash. — A SWAT team arrested a Walla Walla man with a medical marijuana permit Wednesday night for having too much pot in his home. Police spokesman Tim Bennett says 58-year-old Terry Knapp has a permit that allows him no more than a pound-and-a- half of harvested marijuana. KONA reports officers found six pounds of marijuana plus 15 small marijuana plants. They also seized $1,500 in cash. Bennett says an informant made several large purchases of marijuana over the past couple of weeks. Knapp is jailed for investigation of delivery of a controlled substance and delivery of marijuana within 1,000 feet of a school zone.
Blasting resumes on Snoqualmie Pass I-90 project
HYAK, Wash. — The state Transportation Department resumed blasting Wednesday night at Snoqualmie Pass for a project to widen Interstate 90 on the east side of the summit. The department says drivers could be delayed up to an hour as the blasting continues between 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays. The Seattle Times reports the $551 million project will widen a five-mile stretch from four to six lanes. It should be completed in 2016.
Issaquah student going to National Geographic Bee
ISSAQUAH, Wash. — A seventh-grader from Issaquah, Arjun Kumar from Beaver Lake Middle School, will represent Washington at the annual National Geographic Bee later this month in Washington D.C. He is one of 54 students remaining in the nationwide competition — out of more than 5 million participants. The top 10 finalists will compete in the May 25 final round. It will be moderated by Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek, and shown on the National Geographic channel.
Great Falls woman arrested for child endangerment
GREAT FALLS, Mont. — Police removed eight children from a “very filthy” apartment in Great Falls and the woman who was caring for them faces criminal charges. Police say 27-year-old Evie McCard was watching her four children, three belonging to her sister-in-law and one belonging to her sister when officers arrived Wednesday. The police report says McCard’s 9-year-old daughter was heavily sedated while a 4-month-old was having trouble breathing. Both were taken to the hospital. As police interviewed McCard, another child climbed onto a stool near an open second-story window, nearly falling out. Officers say a razor was on the floor, there was exposed wiring and dirty diapers were piled underneath a bed. McCard faces a felony criminal endangerment charge and seven misdemeanor counts of endangering the welfare of a child.