What’s news in the Northwest today:
KENNEWICK – A 30-year-old Richland man who admitted spanking his son and said, “I wasn’t right in my head,” received a one month jail sentence. Jeremy Lyle Boese pleaded guilty Thursday in Benton County Superior Court to fourth-degree assault with domestic violence. He also had been charged with third-degree assault of a child with domestic violence allegations, but prosecutors agreed to amend it to the single charge as part of a plea deal. “I spanked my son, sir,” Boese told Judge Bruce Spanner. “I’m guilty.” Boese said he was “real sick” at the time, but he is trying hard to get fixed. “It wasn’t me, man. I wasn’t right in my head,” Boese said. Boese was arrested in March after the grade-school boy called relatives and said he was scared to return home to his father, court documents said. The boy said he had been beaten, including being hit with the metal end of a belt, for his problems at school, documents said. Richland police reportedly found bruises covering the child’s lower back and bottom. The boy has been placed with relatives, and Boese was ordered to have no contact with his son for two years.
Flood damage tally to start; waters still high
BILLINGS, Mont. — Federal emergency officials have started arriving in Montana to gauge the damage from flooding that is expected to continue for possibly several more weeks. Rain that plastered the state for more than a week finally eased Tuesday, allowing authorities in the swamped town of Roundup to start pumping water from some areas. First Sgt. Levi Doll with the Montana National Guard says water levels dropped more than 2 feet in Roundup after the Musselshell River receded. Warmer weather this week is expected to trigger a second round of flooding from the melting snowpack. Forecasters say flooding also is possible along numerous rivers including the Yellowstone, Tongue, Shields, Big Hole and Upper Missouri. Federal teams will start assessing damage by Thursday.
Organic farming more popular in Oregon, Northwest schools
SALEM, Ore. — Interest in organic farming courses is growing at Northwest universities. The Capital Press in Salem reports that a lot of aspiring farmers arriving on campus these days may come from big cities in addition to rural areas. And many of them are interested in organic and small-scale agriculture instead of larger production farming. So far, Washington State University officials say the school offers the only organic agriculture major in the nation. But organic-oriented courses at Oregon State University have proven popular, even among students who aren’t agriculture majors.
Mother, son die in Tacoma house fire
TACOMA — The Tacoma Fire Department says a mother and her young son have died in a Tacoma house fire caused by a heater placed too close to combustibles. Assistant Chief Jolene Davis tells The Seattle Times the fire began around midnight in the living room. When firefighters arrived the house was filled with smoke. The two people inside were found upstairs and were taken to Tacoma General Hospital, where they died. The Pierce County Medical Examiner says the two were a woman and her young son. Damage to the house is estimated at $35,000.
2 lost climbers found safe on Mount Baker
MOUNT BAKER, Wash. — Two climbers lost in poor conditions on Mount Baker over the weekend have been found safe. The Whatcom County Sheriff’s office tells The Bellingham Herald the climbers reported missing on Sunday were found Monday evening. They were on the south side of Mount Baker near Easton Glacier when a weather system moved in that caused zero visibility. They followed a set of ski tracks made by what turned out to be another set of lost hikers who were later found off Mosquito Lake Road. Once the two climbers realized they were turned around, they camped for the night and traced their way back to their camp the next day. The climbers — 31-year-old Jennifer Oerkfitz from Illinois, and 58-year-old Jack Gracic from Seattle — were found uninjured at about 5 p.m. Monday nearing their base camp. Both are experienced climbers who were climbing Baker for the first time.
Avalanche damages Sperry Chalet in Glacier park
KALISPELL, Mont. — An avalanche has damaged a popular backcountry hotel on the west side of Glacier National Park and managers say the risk of another snow slide is preventing a full assessment of the damage. Sperry Chalet coordinator Kevin Warrington tells the Daily Inter Lake he expects to open the chalet on July 8 as scheduled, but some rooms may not open this season. Warrington says the avalanche damaged windows and doors on the southern end of the building while a few rooms are full of snow. The chalet isn’t taking any more reservations for the summer and those who have reservations will be notified about the damage and how it may affect their plans. Warrington says some skiers saw the damage and notified park officials.
Idaho law enforcement agencies sign pursuit policy
BOISE — More than a dozen law enforcement agencies from seven neighboring counties will begin handling car chases and other pursuits the same way under a new multi-agency policy. Sheriffs and police chiefs from the counties were expected to sign the new policy this afternoon. The new agreement means that all the agencies will be operating under the same guidelines when deciding whether to pursue fleeing suspects, when to end the pursuits and what tactics to take during a pursuit.
Today’s hospitals are more open, less foreboding
SEATTLE — Two new hospitals in Puget Sound are turning the concept of hospital on its head. The innovative designs at Swedish/Issaquah and St. Elizabeth in Enumclaw include big windows that let in natural light, rooms with pullout couches for overnight visitors and even hospital beds that ask patients questions in different languages. The Seattle Times reports that the changes reflect the realities of modern-day health care: Sicker inpatients, shorter stays for most patients and the need for bedside equipment led to large, single rooms and pullout couches for overnighting family members. The new design for Swedish/Issaquah highlights food and spa and wellness products. The new St. Elizabeth in Enumclaw opened in February with beds programmed to provide information to patients and to ask questions in 20 languages.
Prohibition lands in Kennewick basement
KENNEWICK, Wash. — A Kennewick man has created his own Prohibition Era pool room he calls “Jerry’s Speakeasy,” in the basement of his home. Jerry Johnson’s inner sanctum gives visitors a sneak a peek into the world of gangster Al Capone. The Tri-City Herald reports his room includes mementos of ax-wielding Carrie Nation, who delighted in smashing up saloons. And there are FBI wanted posters for George “Machine Gun” Kelly, John Dillinger, “Baby-Faced” Nelson and “Pretty-Boy” Floyd. Johnson spent more than half a year creating the specially decorated pool room, using artifacts representing the era from 1920 to 1933. Among the items hanging on the walls are a replica Thompson “Tommy” submachine gun and shadow boxes with paraphernalia from the dry days when the only legal way to obtain alcohol was with a federal government prescription.