What’s news in the Northwest today:
TACOMA — A judge is ordering teachers in Washington state’s third-largest school district to go back to work. The decision came following arguments by the Tacoma School District that 19 different state courts have ruled teacher strikes illegal since 1976. Pierce County Superior Court Judge Bryan Chushcoff said he would issue a temporary restraining order against the picketing teachers, but the language of the order wasn’t expected to be decided until later today. Hundreds of teachers began picketing in front of Tacoma’s major high schools Tuesday after contract negotiations broke down over the weekend. The strike has kept 28,000 students home. The school district said it would wait until it sees the language of the order before deciding whether classes would resume on Thursday.
Idaho man electrocuted while working in Washington
COLFAX, Wash. — Officials in eastern Washington say a 38-year-old Idaho man was electrocuted while working on electrical lines at a gravel crushing plant near Colfax. The Whitman County coroner’s office identified the victim as James Hussey of Peck, Idaho. Investigators say Hussey and other employees of DeAtley Crushing Service were working with generator electrical lines Tuesday morning when Hussey came in contact with a line that was still charged. He was pronounced dead at the scene by a flight nurse who was consulting with doctors at a Spokane trauma center. The coroner’s office and the Mining Safety and Health Administration are investigating.
Tacoma police spokesman reprimanded in Linnik case
TACOMA — Tacoma police spokesman Mark Fulghum has been reprimanded for not promptly sending an Amber Alert in the 2007 deadly abduction of Zina Linnik. The Tacoma News Tribune reports that a sergeant called Fulghum at 4 a.m. on July 5, 2007, telling him to issue an alert for Linnik, who had been reported abducted six hours earlier. But Fulghum had taken an over the counter sleep aid and fell back asleep, even though he was on call. The alert was issued at 10 a.m. The alert informs the public about abducted children and provides details that might help law enforcement find them. Linnik, 12, was kidnapped near her home the night of July 4, 2007 and later killed. Convicted sex offender Terapon Adhahn confessed to and was convicted of kidnapping, raping and killing the girl. He is serving a life sentence.
Maya Angelou urges people to inspire others
BOZEMAN, Mont. — Author, poet and civil rights activist Maya Angelou urged Montana State University students to inspire and be inspired by others. She told a Bozeman audience Tuesday that she could never have overcome the great obstacles in her life without people who believed in her and became her “rainbows in the clouds.” And she urged the 3,400 people in attendance to encourage and inspire others. Angelou was awarded the MSU Presidential Medal for Global and Visionary Leadership. MSU President Waded Cruzado says Angelou gave a voice to those who triumphed over cruelty. Angelou closed by telling the audience that when life gets hard, think of me, think of your university, your parents, your professors, you grandparents, “think of everybody who has been a rainbow in your cloud.”
Oregon trial begins in suit over stun gun use
EUGENE, Ore. — A trial is under way in Eugene over a police officer’s use of a stun gun to stop a man fleeing over a fence from a traffic stop. The excessive force suit filed by 34-year-old David Snauer in federal court says he suffered broken neck and back bones when he landed on his head, had multiple surgeries and had to use a wheelchair for months. A Springfield police officer pulled him over in 2007 for a burned-out license plate light. The Eugene Register-Guard reports the trial began Tuesday and is expected to last most of the week. The officer’s lawyer told the jury that the use of the stun gun was “reasonable and necessary under the circumstances.”
Glacier High student expelled for drugs, knives
KALISPELL, Mont. — Glacier High School administrators have expelled a student for bringing drugs, alcohol and a machete to the Kalispell school. Officials say the senior was caught in the parking lot Friday with marijuana and a subsequent search of his car turned up alcohol, the machete and two large knives. Glacier High student resource officer Jason Parce tells KCFW-TV that the 17-year-old who was expelled was the only student involved. His name was not released.
Idaho high court upholds teen’s murder conviction
POCATELLO, Idaho — The Idaho Supreme Court has upheld the murder conviction of a Pocatello teen found guilty of killing his classmate and the life sentence that went with it. But the high court threw out Brian Draper’s conviction of conspiracy to commit first-degree murder, saying that jurors were given erroneous instructions on the conspiracy charge. Draper and another teen, Torey Adamcik, were convicted of stabbing fellow Pocatello High School student Cassie Jo Stoddart to death in 2006. All three were 16 at the time, and Draper and Adamcik were charged as adults. The Idaho State Journal reports that the Idaho Supreme Court ruling means that Bannock County prosecutors will have to decide whether to re-try Draper on the conspiracy charge.
Successful Oregon breeding season for snowy plovers
FLORENCE, Ore. — Scientists say a threatened West Coast shorebird, the western snowy plover, has had a successful breeding season in Oregon. So far, a record 154 chicks have survived long enough to learn to fly this year. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service spokeswoman Janet Lebson tells The Oregonian that the season could yield about 200 such fledglings. The previous high in 2007 was 124, but that number dropped to 73 in 2008. Lebson says when the birds were listed as threatened in 1993, there were only 35 plovers in Oregon. Now there are about 150 to 175 adults — close to scientists’ recovery goal of 200. Federal and state agencies began working on a recovery plan in the 1990s. For more than a decade, biologists in California, Oregon and Washington have fenced off nesting areas and posted them off-limits for seven months of the year when plovers are present.
Police discover 2 people in heavily-loaded pickup
HERMISTON, Ore. — A pair of Irrigon residents were found walking in a field with $3,000 worth of stolen metal in their loaded-down pickup truck. The East Oregonian reports the pickup was loaded too heavily to drive away. A Hermiston police officer found 25-year-old James Riley and 38-year-old Christina Kettlewell in a field next to an irrigation materials supply company. They were charged with first-degree theft. Hermiston Police Lt. Jason Edmiston says the stolen metal was in a pile at the supply company.
California woman pleads guilty to Idaho bank fraud
BOISE — A California woman who pleaded guilty to bank fraud and identity theft in Idaho faces more than 30 years in federal prison at her December sentencing. The U.S. Attorney’s Office says 27-year-old Janelyn Dasig, of San Francisco, went to Wells Fargo bank locations throughout southwestern Idaho in January and withdrew more than $18,000 impersonating customers with fake identification. Authorities say Dasig was arrested on Jan. 13 in Boise and in her possession, officers found an envelope with unauthorized bank account information. Dasig pleaded guilty Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Boise to bank fraud and aggravated identity theft. She faces up to 30 years in prison for bank fraud and another two years for identity theft at her Dec. 5 sentencing hearing.
Oregon sheriff’s team rescues hiker behaving oddly
BEND, Ore. — A Deschutes County, Ore., rescue team responding to a report of a hiker acting strangely on South Sister peak encountered a man that a sheriff’s officer describes as incoherent and aggressive. Capt. Tim Edwards says the 24-year-old Bend man became combative and picked medics up off the ground when they tried to treat him Tuesday. That prompted a sheriff’s deputy to subdue the man with a stun gun. The team decided it was unsafe to fly the man out by helicopter so search and rescue volunteers brought him down the mountain on a wheeled stretcher. He was taken to a Bend-area hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. Edwards says the man was not arrested due to his medical issues. However the case will be referred to the county district attorney’s office for review.