What’s news in the Northwest today:
SEATTLE — Seattle police officers have been reminded to watch their language. Three officers have been suspended for using vulgar words in March of last year while dealing with suspected gang members. KING-TV reports one officer was suspended for 15 days and two others for 20 days. The officers said the language was justified in dealing with “obvious gang-bangers.” But the office of accountability said profanity is unprofessional.
Temporary agreement reached on sparing sea lions
PORTLAND, Ore. — The Humane Society of the United States says it has reached an agreement with the states of Oregon and Washington and a federal agency to temporarily halt plans to kill California sea lions at Bonneville Dam this year. The Humane Society said today the agreement with the states and NOAA Fisheries Service suspends plans to kill as many as 85 sea lions at the dam, where they feed on federally protected salmon and steelhead migrating up the Columbia River. Earlier this month, the fisheries service had authorized the states to resume killing some sea lions after a federal appeals court struck down the previous authorization last year. The Humane Society argues that overfishing, hatchery practices and dam operations are a much bigger threat to fish.
Power line contact burns 2 men
BREMERTON, Wash. — A Kitsap County landscape company official is calling a 21-year-old man a hero for helping save a 28-year-old coworker severely injured when he contacted live power lines while using a hedge-trimmer. Both men suffered burns. The Kitsap Sun says the two Pacific Landcare Group workers were in a boom truck Tuesday when the 28-year-old came in contact with the wires in Bremerton. John Murray of the landscape company says the 21-year-old was able to pull his coworker off the lines, yell for help and perform CPR. Both men were taken to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle. The 28-year-old was flown there immediately; the younger man was taken there after treatment in Bremerton. Murray said both men were “walking and talking” at the hospital. Puget Sound Energy and the state Department of Labor and Industries are investigating.
Recovered tiger cub, brother ready for birthday
TACOMA — Point Defiance Zoo has a party planned to celebrate the first birthday of endangered Sumatran tiger cubs Mali and Bima. Mali nearly died of an intestinal blockage in November but has recovered. The twin cubs born May 25, 2010, are among about 75 Sumatran tigers in North American zoos. The Tacoma zoo says fewer than 300 Sumatran tigers live in the wild worldwide. Zoo keepers today planned to give the cubs birthday “meatsicles” and scheduled a brief public appearance for reporters. The cubs will celebrate their first birthday with the public on Saturday.
King County libraries removing security cameras
SEATTLE — King County libraries are removing all security cameras to avoid giving any video to police that could invade patron privacy. The director of the county library system, Bill Ptacek, told The Seattle Times it’s an issue of intellectual freedom. The system has about four-dozen cameras at 10 of its 46 libraries. The issue of police access came up in March when Des Moines police obtained a court order to see video of a panhandler pushing down a 77-year-old man in a library parking lot and stealing a wallet. After they obtained the video, police identified and arrested a suspect, a transient. Des Moines Police Chief John O’Leary says there should be no expectation of privacy in a library parking lot.
Ex-Hoquiam teacher pleads guilty in sex case
MONTESANO, Wash. — The former Hoquiam choir teacher who was charged with sexual misconduct with a minor pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of coercion. KXRO reports the plea last week in Grays Harbor County Superior Court means Matthew Hirschfelder avoids a trial and having to register as a sex offender. He could face up to a year in jail when he is sentenced on Tuesday in Montesano. The case began in 2006 when an 18-year-old choir member told police she had been involved in a sexual relationship with Hirschfelder who was 33 at the time. The case led to a state Supreme Court decision that student age doesn’t matter in teacher-sex cases, even if the student is considered an adult by other state laws.
Suspicious device at CWU was homemade camera
ELLENSBURG — A suspicious device that shut down part of the Central Washington University campus for four hours Tuesday was determined to be a homemade camera. Campus Police Chief Steve Rittereiser told Daily Record a groundskeeper found a cylinder with duct tape on it. Officers closed a street while an Army explosive ordnance disposal team from the Yakima Training Center traveled to Ellensburg to check it out the unidentified object. The chief says it contained what appeared to be film and could have been a camera made for some project.
Bremerton woman accused of webcam molestation
BREMERTON — A Bremerton woman is accused of molesting a young girl while a convicted sex offender watched in Kenmore via webcam. The Kitsap Sun reports 25-year-old Ann R. Wilson was charged Friday in Kitsap County District Court with first-degree child molestation. She remains in the Kitsap County jail on $250,000 bail. Prosecutors charged 38-year-old Troy L. Perkins of Kenmore with being an accomplice to sexual exploitation of a minor. He remains jailed on $250,000 bail. Detectives say the two met online and began a romantic relationship. In separate interviews with detectives, Perkins and Wilson accused each other of having the webcam idea.
Yelm woman found dead in backyard barrel
YELM, Wash. — A woman was found dead in a large barrel in her backyard near Yelm. The Thurston County sheriff’s office says the death appears to be an accident. The Olympian reports the woman who was in her 50s appeared to have been dead for some time when the body was discovered Tuesday. Sgt. Cheryl Stines says the barrel apparently was used to store food. It was buried with the lid at ground level. The woman was upside down in the barrel. She apparently fell in headfirst and could not get out.
Mental exam for Everett inmate who stabbed lawyers
EVERETT, Wash. — A mental exam has been ordered for a murder defendant who stabbed two of his lawyers with pencils in court in Everett. The Daily Herald reports Joshua Monson was strapped in a chair in the jail for Tuesday’s video hearing. The mental exam will determine if the 27-year-old is able to assist in his defense. Monson is facing drug and murder charges. Officials say he stabbed his first lawyer in the neck with a pencil earlier this month and stabbed his second lawyer with a pencil a few days later. The lawyers were not seriously injured. He now has a third defense lawyer.
Grant saves college program at Connell prison
CONNELL, Wash. — A $140,000 grant will maintain college classes until next year at the Coyote Ridge Corrections Center at Connell. The Tri-City Herald reports the money comes from the Sunshine Lady Foundation, operated by Doris Buffett, sister of billionaire Warren Buffett. Without the grant, the program would have ended in September. Department of Corrections officials hope a federal grant will be reinstated in 2012 to continue the classes. Prison’s education director Loretta Taylor says about 100 prisoners could earn AA degrees next year. Officials say offering college classes to inmates reduces the chance they will commit new crimes.
Washington woman finds anti-Muslim note on car
REDMOND, Wash. — A woman says she found an anti-Muslim note on her car after she and her young daughter parked the vehicle briefly to go into a coffee shop in the Seattle suburb of Redmond. On Tuesday, the Washington state chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations called a news conference and the Muslim woman talked about Monday’s incident. She did not want to be identified by name. Seattle television stations say the note displayed for reporters said in English “We don’t Muslims in America” and a message written in Arabic told the pair to leave. Redmond police say they are investigating.