What’s news in the Northwest today:
PULLMAN — Five members of a Washington State University fraternity have been arrested for what they call a “porch raid” prank and what police call residential burglary. Police say members of the Phi Kappa Alpha fraternity broke down the front door of the Alpha Gamma Delta sorority at about 1:22 a.m. Thursday and ran through the sleeping area shooting aerosol string. Cmdr. Chris Tennant said the house mother called 911 extremely scared. He said kicking down a door is not a prank. The Whitman County prosecutor is deciding whether to charge the five who were arrested Thursday.
Hertz suspends Muslim shuttle drivers in Seattle
SEATAC, Wash. — Rental car company Hertz indefinitely suspended 34 Somali Muslim shuttle drivers at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport for praying on company time, and the workers’ union is trying to put them back in the driver’s seat after what it calls a sudden policy change. The drivers are required to clock out, under the terms of a settlement two years ago with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Hertz spokesman Rich Broome said. It’s not about pay — break time is paid time — but to ensure workers were staying within the 10-minute time slots, which has been a problem, he said. Muslim workers who clocked out were not suspended.
Sheriff: Driver beat woman who yelled ’slow down’
BOISE — Authorities say a Boise woman was attacked and beaten in an apartment complex parking lot after she yelled at a driver to slow down. The Ada County Sheriff’s Office says the driver, 24-year-old Nicole Raymond was traveling with a male passenger, 30-year-old Robert James Elam, late Wednesday when a nearby pedestrian told them told them to de-accelerate. The sheriff’s office says Raymond and Elam stopped the car and approached the pedestrian, a 34-year-old woman. Witnesses told authorities that Elam then pushed the woman to the ground and held her while Raymond punched the woman in the face several times. The woman was treated for broken facial bones at a hospital. The sheriff’s office says Raymond and Elam were arrested a short time later on suspicion of aggravated battery.
Lewiston man found guilty of defacing pictographs
LEWISTON — A 20-year-old Lewiston man has been found guilty of defacing American Indian pictographs by spray painting marijuana leaves and marijuana-themed words on rock walls near Hells Gate State Park south of Lewiston. The Lewiston Tribune reports Freddie Bernal was found guilty late Wednesday of willful injury or depredation of property and providing false statements to investigators. Two other men who pleaded guilty testified against Bernal. Sentencing is set for Jan. 3. Officials say the February 2010 vandalism caused more than $200,000 in damage. Laser and archaeology specialists will have to remove the spray paint to maximize the preservation of the pictographs. Bernal’s attorney argued his client did not know the site was sacred to the Nez Perce or other tribes and thought they were just spray-painting rocks.
Unions supporting Occupy Seattle demonstration
SEATTLE — The Occupy Seattle demonstration at Seattle’s downtown Westlake Park is expected to grow today with support from union members and anti-war marchers. Washington State Labor Council spokeswoman Kathy Cummings told The Seattle Times “It’s their movement, but it’s our message.” Tents went up in the park last weekend in support of New York’s Occupy Wall Street demonstration against corporate political power. Seattle police arrested about two-dozen people Wednesday for refusing to remove tents, which aren’t allowed in the park. Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn said the city would allow protesters to camp overnight at City Hall Plaza, which has restrooms. Another demonstration is expected to hit downtown Seattle this afternoon with an anti-war march on the 10th anniversary of the Afghanistan War. Those protesters also plan to rally at Westlake Park.
Yellowstone hits 3 million summer visitors for 3rd year
BILLINGS, Mont. — Yellowstone National Park administrators are reporting that more than 3 million people visited the park over the summer. That marks the third straight year the park has broken the 3 million visitor mark during the park’s peak season from May through September. That was down just over 6 percent from last year’s record 3.3 million summer visitors. Park officials said the high numbers came despite snow and ice that lingered into May and several road closures caused by rockslides and avalanches. By comparison, the park recorded fewer than a quarter-million visitors last year from October through December. The nation’s first national park, Yellowstone includes portions of Wyoming, Montana and Idaho.
Judge nears decision on Haugen’s execution request
SALEM, Ore. — An Oregon death row inmate is likely to find out today whether he will get his wish to be executed. A Marion County judge will ask a series of questions of twice-convicted murderer Gary Haugen before deciding whether Haugen is competent to end his appeals and die by lethal injection. If the judge finds Haugen competent, he could immediately to sign a death warrant that schedules the execution. The judge last week ruled that Haugen can make reasoned decisions, but he stopped short of formally approving the execution. Haugen was convicted for the jailhouse murder of a fellow inmate. At the time, Haugen was serving a sentence for the murder of his former girlfriend’s mother.
Grizzly bear bites hunter on hand in NW Wyoming
CASPER, Wyo. — Wildlife officials say an elk hunter from Oregon was bit on the hand when he encountered a grizzly bear in the Shoshone National Forest near Meeteetse in northwestern Wyoming. Wyoming Game and Fish spokesman Eric Keszler says the man, whose name and age were not released, was injured when he surprised the bear Monday. Keszler says the man drove himself to a hospital and was treated for “very minor injuries.” The Casper Star-Tribune reports the man went back out hunting after he was released from the hospital. Keszler did not know if the man had bear spray, but he wasn’t sure it would have helped because the hunter and the bear surprised each other in close quarters.