October 5, 2011 in Region

NW today: Killing suspect linked to white supremacists

 

What’s news in the Northwest today:

PORTLAND — The father of a woman suspected in a Washington state killing and the disappearances of two men says she’s been addicted to heroin and methamphetamines and involved with white supremacists. Authorities are trying to find 24-year-old Holly Grigsby and her 31-year-old boyfriend, David Joseph Pedersen. Police in Washington say the pair are suspects in the murder of Pedersen’s stepmother. They’re also wanted in the disappearances of his father and a 19-year-old Oregon man last seen leaving for a weekend jazz festival. Fred Grigsby, of Portland, said today his daughter was, as he put it, “mixed up” with white supremacists. Photos show her boyfriend with tattoos indicating white power sympathies. Grigsby says his daughter had drug addictions as a teenager. He also says she has a 2-year-old son, who’s safe with the father.

Search on for man who shot 3 on Montana reservation

BILLINGS, Mont. — The search for an armed suspect in a triple shooting on the Crow Reservation spanned the southeast Montana countryside today as people were warned to stay inside for their safety. Authorities were seeking Sheldon Bernard Chase, 22, in the deaths of a his grandmother and a young couple at a rural residence about 10 miles outside of Lodge Grass, a town of about 500 people near the Wyoming border. Big Horn County Commissioner John Pretty On Top said schools there re-opened this morning but classes were held behind locked doors. Police, game wardens and tribal authorities are combing county roads looking for the suspect, Pretty On Top said.

Mom says she’d take blame in Barefoot Bandit case

EVERETT, Wash. — The mother of Colton Harris-Moore says she’s not responsible for crimes committed in the Barefoot Bandit case but she’d take the blame if it gets him out of prison faster. Pam Kohler of Camano Island told The Daily Herald she knows her drinking habits and questions about her parenting skills are detailed in reports prepared for his sentencing Dec. 9 in federal court in Seattle. The 20-year-old pleaded guilty in June to federal charges related to an international crime spree that included dozens of burglaries and stealing cars, boats and five planes. He was arrested in July 2010 in the Bahamas. Harris-Moore also is still facing more than 30 state charges in cases consolidated in Island County Superior Court at Coupeville.

GOP candidate with ties to KKK drops out

HELENA, Mont. — A candidate for Montana’s U.S. House seat with ties to the Ku Klux Klan says he is dropping out of the race because he didn’t have enough support. John Abarr of Great Falls told The Associated Press early today that he is withdrawing his candidacy because the campaign “wasn’t going anywhere.” The 41-year-old night auditor was a former KKK organizer. At the time of his June announcement he said he believed people would back him as part of a backlash to the nation’s first black president. But leading Montana Republicans either rebuked or ignored him. Leading state Republicans have already rallied around Bozeman businessman Steve Daines in 2012 as the popular choice to replace Republican U.S. Rep. Denny Rehberg, who is running for U.S. Senate.

Obama to step up power line projects

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration moved today to speed up permitting and construction of seven proposed electric transmission lines in 12 states, saying the projects would create thousands of jobs and help modernize the nation’s power grid. The projects are intended to serve as pilot demonstrations of streamlined federal permitting and improved cooperation among federal, state and tribal governments. The projects will provide more than 2,500 miles of new transmission lines, including: a 500 kilovolt, 300-mile transmission line proposed by Idaho Power in Oregon and Idaho; 1,150 miles of high-voltage lines across Wyoming and Idaho. In all, the projects are expected to create more than 10,000 direct and indirect jobs, help avoid blackouts, restore power more quickly when outages occur and reduce the need for new power plants, officials said.

Lawsuit filed over Yellowstone River oil spill

BILLINGS, Mont. — Several landowners whose property was damaged when an ExxonMobil Corp. pipeline spilled oil into the Yellowstone River have filed a lawsuit seeking unspecified damages for long-term harm to their property and businesses. Attorney Cliff Edwards filed the lawsuit in state District Court in Billings on Tuesday on behalf of eight landowners, The Billings Gazette reported. An oil pipeline buried 5 to 7 feet below the Yellowstone River ruptured July 1, spilling about 42,000 gallons of crude oil into the flooded waterway. Dale Getz, a community relations adviser for ExxonMobil in Billings, said to his knowledge, the lawsuit is the first related to the spill, but the company does not comment on pending litigation. He said the cleanup will continue. The lawsuit names ExxonMobil Oil Corp., ExxonMobil Pipeline in Houston, Billings refinery manager Jon Wetmore and pipeline terminal superintendent Jason Montgomery.

Idaho group to protest against corporate America

BOISE — You don’t have to live in New York to be fed up with Wall Street. So says an Idaho group planning a protest against corporate America in downtown Boise today to show solidarity with demonstrations that started last month outside the New York Stock Exchange. A spokesman for the Idaho group, Occupy Boise, says dozens of people are expected to join the march from a downtown Boise park to the Idaho Capitol and call for an end of corporate control of government. The initial protests in New York, called Occupy Wall Street, started Sept. 17 and have since spread to other cities.

Oregon airport wants to sell ads on control tower

MEDFORD, Ore. — The Medford airport wants to sell advertising space on its control tower. The airport’s director, Bern Case, tells the Medford Mail Tribune he’s negotiating with a company interested in using the space for corporate branding. Case wouldn’t disclose the name of the company or what the deal would raise for the airport. The proposal calls for signs on each of the tower’s four sides. Case says the signs would be about 25-feet square. The tower is 100 feet tall, and 34 feet on each side. The signage would require changing city sign laws, and some city officials are dubious about the idea. Case says the Federal Aviation Administration’s main concern is that sign lighting doesn’t hinder the visibility for air traffic controllers.

Water now flowing over top of Glines Canyon Dam

PORT ANGELES, Wash. — Demolition work has lowered the Glines Canyon Dam and water started cascading Tuesday over the top of the dam on the Elwha River. The Peninsula Daily News reports large portions of the 210-foot tall Glines Canyon Dam and the 108-foot tall Elwha Dam have disappeared since last month when work began. It’s a three-year, $325 million project to remove the two dams and restore salmon runs to the Olympic Peninsula river.

New $100 fine for misbehaving WSU students

PULLMAN, Wash. — Any Washington State University student caught trespassing, damaging property or drinking under age can expect to pay a $100 fine. The Office of Student Standards and Accountability says the fine will apply to any violation of the school’s standards of conduct. Previously, only students who broke drug or alcohol rules were fined. The Moscow-Pullman Daily News reports the office expects to collect more than $10,000 a year.

Suspect in SUV theft apprehended after swim

TWIN FALLS, Idaho — A 30-year-old south-central Idaho man is jailed after a pursuit that started with the theft of a sport utility vehicle and ended with a swim across the Snake River. The Times-News reports Jason Hutcherson of Rupert was booked into the Mini-Cassia jail Tuesday evening on two counts of grand theft and other charges. Minidoka County Sheriff Kevin Halverson says a woman reported seeing Hutcherson jump in her SUV and drive off Tuesday morning. The driver eluded deputies. Jerome County officials say someone reported seeing the SUV in the Milner Dam area at about 3 p.m. An attempt to stop the vehicle resulted in a mile-long chase that dead-ended on a dirt road. Authorities say the driver got out and swam across the river. Hutcherson was spotted hiding in the rocks and arrested.

Ohio court denies inmate request for death date

COLUMBUS, Ohio — The Ohio Supreme Court has rejected a condemned inmate’s request for an execution date and death by either electric chair or injection. Timothy Dunlap is under a death sentence in both Idaho and Ohio for separate killings in 1991, and is currently housed on Idaho’s death row. The Ohio high court without comment denied Dunlap’s request today. He asked for the execution date in a handwritten filing in July. Lethal injection is the only option for execution in Ohio after the state retired its electric chair in 2001. Dunlap was sentenced to die in Ohio for killing his girlfriend in Cincinnati in October 1991, 10 days before he murdered a bank teller in Idaho.

East Helena man struck by vehicle improving

HELENA, Mont. — An East Helena man charged in his son’s drowning is improving after being struck by a vehicle over the weekend. Lewis and Clark County Sheriff Leo Dutton told the Independent Record Tuesday that Leo Mathis’ condition was upgraded from critical to good. Mathis is hospitalized in Billings after being struck Friday night while sitting or lying in the road. Officials are still looking for the driver. Dutton says it’s unclear what Mathis was doing in the road, but that “alcohol played a considerable part.” Mathis is charged with negligent homicide in the drowning of his 3-year-old son Leo Mathis Jr. during the spring flooding. Prosecutors allege Mathis was legally drunk when he tried to carry his son across Prickly Pear Creek. Mathis lost his footing and his grip on the boy.

Bangor man grows really big pumpkin

BANGOR, Wash. — Mark Murphy thinks the pumpkin he’s been growing at his home near Bangor will weigh more than 1,100 pounds. That would weigh about 300 pounds more than his best big gourd previously. And it could win one of the cash prizes Saturday when the Pacific Northwest Giant Pumpkin Growers hold their weigh-off at Central Market in Shoreline, just north of Seattle. The Kitsap Sun reports Murphy and his partner Sunshine Ruiz keep their pumpkin warm and feed it a soup made from fish heads, molasses and gypsum.

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