What’s news in the Northwest today:
PULLMAN — Actress Betty White is now an honorary alumna of Washington State University. Earlier this month, White received the honor, along with a white doctor’s coat, at the Washington State Veterinary Medical Association’s centennial gala in Yakima. White has a long relationship with the WSU College of Veterinary Medicine thanks to her friendship with alumnus Bob Olds, who practiced for decades in Southern California. She became a donor to the college and has visited several times. After donning the white coat, White offered to spay or neuter anyone in the audience.
Man charged with providing alcohol to 11-year-old
MISSOULA, Mont. — A 27-year-old Missoula man is charged with providing alcohol to an 11-year-old boy who ended up “deathly ill” outside the man’s tent at the Occupy Missoula encampment last week. The Missoulian reports John Skinner pleaded not guilty Monday to endangering the welfare of a child. Missoula police say Skinner encountered the boy and a friend outside a Missoula bar and the friend asked Skinner to buy them alcohol. Skinner then reportedly invited them to his tent on the courthouse lawn so he could keep an eye on them. Detective Lt. Scott Brodie says someone called 911 after the 11-year-old was found vomiting. He was treated at the hospital and pleaded guilty to underage drinking last week. Occupy Missoula officials have said Skinner was not participating in the Occupy Missoula movement.
Bellingham barking dog ordinance taking fowl turn
BELLINGHAM, Wash. — Bellingham has an ordinance against barking dogs, but what about crowing roosters? Whatcom Humane Society Executive Director Laura Clark told the city council Monday that animal control officers are getting an increasing number of noise complaints about domestic fowl. The Bellingham Herald reports a council committee is looking at adding roosters, turkeys and peacocks to the animal noise ordinance. Noise violators would face a fine of up to $250.
Antique cars rolling into new Tacoma museum
TACOMA, Wash. — The first cars are being moved into the new LeMay America’s Car Museum in Tacoma. The News Tribune reports the 40 cars moved Monday needed a dry day because they have wood parts, no windows or old paint jobs. About 200 cars are being cleaned for delivery by the end of November to the museum near the Tacoma Dome. Exhibits are being prepared for the $60 million museum to open to the public in June. It expects to attract more than 400,000 visitors a year. Most of the cars come from the collection of the late Harold LeMay.
S. Idaho county to challenge redistricting plan
TWIN FALLS, Idaho — Twin Falls County is expected to file a legal challenge contesting the redrawing of Idaho’s political boundaries. County Prosecutor Grant Loebs told the Times-News that local government officials plan to file a challenge with the Idaho Supreme Court over the redistricting maps drawn up earlier this month. The plan laying out Idaho’s 35 legislative districts has been a sore spot for some Twin Falls County officials, who fear it weakens their influence. The map splits the county into three legislative districts. The city of Twin Falls would be in its own district, while the rural parts of the county would be split into two other districts that will be grouped with Elmore and Owyhee counties to the west, and Cassia and Power counties to the east.
Hanford groundwater plant completed early
RICHLAND, Wash. — A $24 million groundwater treatment system has started operating at the Hanford nuclear reservation. It uses 31 wells and 61 miles of piping to treat 35 million gallons a month. The contractor, CH2M Hill Plateau Remediation, says it was able to start the plant near the H Reactor three months earlier than planned because of lessons learned on a similar plant near the D Reactor. The Seattle Daily Journal of Commerce reports both systems remove chromium contamination left over from plutonium production for nuclear weapons. The treated water is injected back into the aquifer.
Multnomah County sued over deputy sex
PORTLAND, Ore. — A woman who had sex with a Multnomah County sheriff’s deputy is suing the county for as much as $360,000. In the suit filed Friday in Multnomah County Circuit the woman says she requires counseling. Although she wasn’t physically forced to have sex she says the contact was not consensual because the deputy had the authority to send her to jail. He was supervising the woman to make sure she followed court orders as she awaited trail in a robbery case. They went to a motel after he checked her out of work release to attend drug treatment. The Oregonian reports 40-year-old Deputy Adam Levin pleaded guilty in February to custodial sexual misconduct and served more than three weeks in jail. He has resigned.
Trail closed after grizzly attacks hunter
GREAT FALLS, Mont. — The U.S. Forest Service has closed a two-mile section of trail in the Lewis and Clark National Forest southwest of East Glacier Park after a grizzly bear attacked an elk hunter over the weekend. The grizzly chased 31-year-old Anthony Willits and 29-year-old Greg Louden of Kalispell off an elk carcass on Saturday. The bear was shot after charging the men and biting Willits’ leg. Acting Rocky Mountain District Ranger Wendy Maples told the Great Falls Tribune on Monday the remains of the elk and the grizzly could keep the sow’s cubs in the area and attract other bears. Trail 137 will be closed from its junction with Trail 134 in the north to its junction with Trail 136 in the south to prevent further run-ins between grizzlies and hunters.
Man charged with hammer attack on disabled man
BILLINGS, Mont. — A Billings man is charged with hitting a disabled man in the head with a hammer a dozen times before robbing him of $48 and his cell phone. The Billings Gazette reports 22-year-old Sonny Tee Reese pleaded not guilty Monday to felony robbery. His bail was set at $50,000. Prosecutors say the robbery happened on Oct. 15. The victim’s wife told police she came home and found her husband on the floor in a pool of blood. The man told investigators that Reese, whom he considered a friend, came to his house. He said he let Reese inside and he was struck with a hammer about a dozen times. He said the attacker threatened to “come and finish the job” if he reported the attack.
Booth pleads guilty to reduced murder charge
CALDWELL, Idaho — A man who won a new murder trial after the Idaho Supreme Court said his guilty plea was coerced has again pleaded guilty in connection with a 2005 shooting. Canyon County Prosecutor Bryan Taylor told the Idaho Press-Tribune that Trevor James Booth pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of second-degree murder in Canyon County’s 3rd District Court on Monday. Prosecutors said Booth was 20 when he entered the home of 23-year-old College of Idaho student Leonard Kellum and shot him five times. Kellum was still alive when rescue workers arrived; he identified Booth as the shooter. Booth is set to be sentenced on Dec. 19; second-degree murder carries a penalty of 10 years to life in prison.
Court date set for Nampa man on kidnapping charges
BOISE — A high school janitor is due in court next month on allegations that he attacked a female pedestrian in downtown Boise and tried to drag her into his vehicle. Court records show 57-year-old James Kopp of Nampa faces felony charges of second-degree kidnapping and aggravated battery after his arrest early Saturday. A preliminary hearing the case has been scheduled for Nov. 7. Police say a woman reported she had just crossed the street when a man she didn’t know got out of his car and punched her in the head, knocking her to the ground. Witnesses say the man, later identified as Kopp, fled in his vehicle. Kopp is an evening janitor at Nampa Christian High School and has been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of his case.
Razor clam weekend on Washington coast
ABERDEEN, Wash. — The first razor-clam dig of the season will get under way on evening tides Friday and Saturday at four ocean beaches. KBKW reports the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife approved the dig after marine toxin tests confirmed the clams are safe to eat. Beaches scheduled to open for the two-day dig are Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis and Mocrocks. No digging will be allowed either day before noon. All diggers age 15 or older must have a fishing license.
Idaho looks for balance in new 5-year energy plan
BOISE — Idaho officials are in the process of rewriting the state’s five-year energy plan in a way that balances the needs of consumers, utilities and businesses. Idaho’s first energy plan was written in 2007 and was used to guide policy on renewable energy, efficiency and serve as a basis for a moratorium on coal-fired power plants. Now, an interim legislative committee is working on an update. The Idaho Statesman reports the panel has started with a draft developed by Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter’s advisory group, the Strategic Energy Alliance. The committee will also take testimony next week at public hearings. Consumer groups are looking for an energy advocate, while utilities hope the state can focus on helping them supply power. Business groups want the policy to encourage economic development.