What’s news in the Northwest today:
PUYALLUP, Wash. — A 12-year-old Washington state boy pulled seemingly lifeless from the Pacific Ocean six weeks ago after being underwater for at least 15 minutes has gone home. KOMO-TV showed Dale Ostrander gingerly walking out of a Piece County hospital. His mother — Kirsten Ostrander — says Dale is not 100 percent, but that she expects a full recovery. The boy was visiting a southwest Washington beach with a church group in early August when a rip current sucked him out to sea. Dale suffered brain damage and is relearning how to walk and talk. Therapists will continue to help him at his Spanaway home with his speech and concentration.
Olympic skier’s foundation aims to prevent suicide
BOISE — A charitable foundation established in the name of Olympic silver medalist Jeret “Speedy” Peterson has donated $10,000 toward the creation of a statewide suicide prevention hotline in Idaho. Peterson was found dead July 25 after shooting himself in a remote Utah canyon three days after a drunken driving arrest in Idaho. He was 29. KTVB-TV reports a nonprofit organization established in Peterson’s name — The Speedy Foundation — aims to prevent suicide through research, education, and by reaching out to kids deemed at-risk. As part of those efforts, the foundation made a donation toward the creation of a statewide suicide prevention hotline during a ceremony today in Boise, where Peterson grew up. Idaho is the only state without its own suicide prevention hotline.
Union conflict flares at Longview, Wash., terminal
LONGVIEW, Wash. — A conflict over Longshore union jobs at the Port of Longview, Wash., grain terminal is flaring up again with the arrest of protesters blocking railroad tracks. Cowlitz County sheriff’s spokesman Grover Laseke says several people were arrested today for trespassing. At least two people were treated after being hit with pepper spray. A dozen officers in riot gear stood guard along the tracks as a grain train finally entered the terminal. International Longshore and Warehouse Union Local 21 President Dan Coffman says two Longshore officers and about 10 wives and mothers of Longshore workers were arrested. ILWU believes its members have the right to work at the new terminal. EGT Development has hired another firm that is staffing with workers from a different union, Portland-based Operating Engineers Local 701.
Longtime Fish and Game officer killed by tree
POCATELLO, Idaho — Authorities say a longtime Idaho Fish and Game officer died when a tree fell on him in a firewood cutting accident. Custer County sheriff’s officials say 64-year-old Lon Teeter was cutting down a 30-foot tree Saturday near his cabin outside Stanley. The tree was supporting a dead tree that had previously fallen into it, which apparently caused the tree to fall in a direction Teeter hadn’t expected. Teeter’s son Kelly Teeter tells the Idaho State Journal that they were cutting firewood and the tree just fell on him. Lon Teeter had ended his career as a conservation officer in Fish and Game’s Region 5 in 2000. Regional supervisor Mark Gamblin says Teeter continued to perform volunteer work and was a full-time volunteer coordinator for the agency until 2005.
Racist message found on UM Native American center
MISSOULA, Mont. — Students found a racist message plastered on a door at the University of Montana’s Payne Family Native American Center. The bumper sticker found Monday on the doors to the building’s recycling center read “Save the White Race! Earth’s Most Endangered Species.” It included the online address to a white supremacist group. The Missoulian reports that the bumper sticker was removed shortly after it was found. The discovery came a week and a half after a student found discriminatory messages stuffed into books in the African-American section of the university’s library. UM director of public safety Gary Taylor says the university is investigating both incidents but has no leads at this time.
Police in Oregon break door in suicide kit scare
SPRINGFIELD, Ore. — When the FBI notified police in Oregon that a Springfield man had purchased a mail-order suicide kit, officers went to his home and kicked down his door to make sure he was OK. He is. The Register Guard reports the helium hood kit was ordered in February by a newspaper employee for a reporter working on a story about suicide kits. The story was published in March. Sgt. Richard Jones says there was nothing in the information received Tuesday from the FBI that the kit was purchased months ago. The FBI is asking police to conduct welfare checks as part of its investigation of a California company that was raided in May. A bill outlawing the sale of suicide kits in Oregon was signed into law in July.
2 teens killed in crash on I-15 near Fort Hall
POCATELLO, Idaho — Idaho State Police say two teenagers died in a crash on Interstate 15 north of Fort Hall. Troopers say a 2002 Ford Mustang driven by 17-year-old Micah Story of Chubbuck crossed over the median and into the southbound lanes on Tuesday afternoon. The Mustang overturned and was struck by a tractor-trailer. The Idaho State Journal reports that Story and her passenger, 18-year-old Jacob Colbo of Blackfoot, were both declared dead at the scene. The truck driver was unharmed. Police are investigating the cause of the accident, but say they don’t believe speed was a factor. The crash closed southbound traffic on the interstate until about 7 p.m.
Coroner: Kennewick woman killed son then herself
KENNEWICK, Wash. — The Benton County coroner says 56-year-old Ruth Mertz killed her 28-year-old son, Jason, at his apartment Friday in Kennewick and then shot herself in the head. KVEW reports reports he died at the scene and she died at a hospital. The coroner says she left a note that indicated she was responsible for the deaths. Her husband, Dave Mertz, told KNDU their son had a form of autism. He says she had trouble coming to grips with it and was getting worn out.
Sex offender accused of murder in Monroe
EVERETT, Wash. — Trial began Tuesday in Everett for a sex offender charged with murder in the strangling death of a woman in Monroe. Snohomish County prosecutors say 46-year-old Michael Benjamin hit 36-year-old Angela Pettifer over the head with a bottle of hot sauce in the attack in August of last year. She was partially disrobed and prosecutors say genetic evidence linked him to her body. The Daily Herald reports hot sauce found soaking her hair and clothes was the same brand found in Benjamin’s refrigerator. His defense lawyer disputes the genetic evidence and said Benjamin was accused because of the hot sauce. Jurors are not expected to hear that Benjamin was convicted in 2006 of communicating with a minor for immoral purposes.
Oregon mayor, 3 councilors survive recall election
OAKRIDGE, Ore. — The mayor and three city councilors in the small Oregon timber town of Oakridge have survived a recall election despite a financial crisis that has turned recent council meetings into shouting matches. The Register-Guard reports that final, unofficial returns from Tuesday’s election show Mayor Don Hampton and councilors Rayetta Clark, Amy Kordosky and Glenn Fortune retaining their posts. The recall effort began weeks before city officials revealed that the town blew through $1.2 million in cash reserves over a two-year period. However, once the budget crisis hit, the idea of booting those councilors who refused to fire City Administrator Gordon Zimmerman became a way for people in the town to vent. Recall foes organized in recent weeks and attended a recent council meeting wearing “no recall” T-shirts. They warned that a void on the council would do more harm than good.
Pullman council OKs public security cameras
PULLMAN — The Pullman City Council approved spending a $300,000 grant Tuesday night to install security cameras in public areas of the city. The Moscow-Pullman Daily News reports Mayor Glenn Johnson said the cameras would be used to identify criminals. The grant money comes from the Smart Policing Safety Camera Initiative Project.
Cosmopolis still considering lawn height limit
COSMOPOLIS, Wash. — The Cosmopolis City Council is expected to talk about a lawn height limit again at its meeting tonight. KBKW reports Councilman Frank Chesnut wants to add the issue to the agenda. He says he doesn’t want to see the idea die on the vine. The council passed an 8-inch limit last month with a $200 fine for homeowners who failed to mow. It was vetoed by Mayor Vickie Raines who said it also should have applied to businesses.