Local news

In brief: Man facing charges for multiple crimes

A man charged with a range of crimes from harming a police dog to burglarizing the condominium owned by the chief civil deputy Spokane County prosecutor appeared in court Thursday and was held on a $100,000 bond.

Christopher A. Hill, 32, appeared before Superior Court Judge Annette Plese on charges including several counts of residential burglary, second-degree burglary, several vehicle thefts, malicious mischief and attempt to elude police, all from 2011.

Included in the litany of charges is the residential burglary of the home owned by Jim Emacio, who reported on Aug. 14, 2011, that someone had entered his home, located near Gonzaga University, through his kitchen window. Emacio reported several items missing.

Emacio did not immediately return a call seeking comment. Plese set Hill’s arraignment for 9:30 a.m. on Tuesday.

Wood boats ready to make CdA splash

Wooden boats will begin arriving today on Lake Coeur d’Alene for this weekend’s Coeur d’Alene Wooden Boat Show.

More than 50 boats – many of them restored crafts from the 1940s, ’50s and ’60s – will be on display Saturday and Sunday at the Coeur d’Alene Resort floating boardwalk. They range from a 15-foot canoe to the custom 60-foot sailboat Sizzler, launched by Hagadone Marine Group in 2007.

Other highlights include a 1929 GarWood Runabout, a 1929 Chris-Craft Cadet, and Spirit Wind, a homebuilt, 22-foot, three-mast frigate resembling a pirate ship.

The wooden boats will be on display Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

On Saturday at 11 a.m., a cardboard boat regatta will be held at the city beach at Independence Point. Teams will be given one hour to build boats from cardboard and duct tape, then will race their creations.

The boat show, sponsored by the Coeur d’Alene Chamber of Commerce, is free and open to the public.

Bear spray suspect faces assault charge

The man accused of using bear spray to commit two robberies was ordered held on a $10,000 bond for a companion charge of assault.

Jeffrey M. Matthews, 29, appeared Friday before Superior Court Judge Annette Plese.

Matthews also was wanted for a violation of probation for his manslaughter conviction from 2007.

He was charged with third-degree assault after an employee at O’Reilly Auto Parts, 2424 N. Division St., said a car drove into the parking lot last Tuesday. The driver, later identified as Matthews, began yelling at the employee and then sprayed him with a can of bear spray.

The same vehicle was linked to two reported robberies on Friday and Saturday at the Trading Co., 13014 E. Sprague Ave., and Big Lots, 14024 E. Sprague Ave., in Spokane Valley. Charging documents in those cases weren’t available Thursday.

Plese set Matthews’ arraignment for Tuesday.

Inmates’ freedom ends within hours

After escaping just after midnight, two Benewah County jail inmates were arrested following a multidepartment search near Worley, Idaho.

The Benewah County Sheriff’s Department sent out an alert early Thursday morning after jailers learned that Todd E. Miller, 40, and Tyler J. Walton, 20, were missing from the jail, Kootenai County Sheriff’s Lt. Lisa Carrington said in a news release.

At 3:17 a.m. Thursday a Coeur d’Alene Tribal Police officer approached a vehicle at the Smoke Shop in Worley and saw one man run from the car, which was later determined to be stolen from St. Maries.

Inside the car the tribal officer found a discarded pair of orange pants from the Benewah County jail.

Kootenai County deputies, Idaho State Police and Spokane County sheriff’s helicopter Air One deployed a perimeter around the area to search for Miller and Walton.

At 6:33 a.m. deputies found Miller, and he was arrested without incident.

At 7:34 a.m. Walton was seen running along nearby railroad tracks. A short time later, tribal officers found Walton hiding in some roadside brush, Carrington said, and he was taken into custody without incident.

Both men were transported to the Kootenai County Public Safety building and booked into jail on the charge of escape.

Idaho fires trigger disaster declaration

BOISE – Gov. Butch Otter has issued a statewide disaster declaration due to wildfires, allowing Idaho National Guard troops to be mobilized to help fight at least nine major fires burning across the state.

The declaration, signed late Wednesday, is for the next 30 days but notes that it could be extended. “There is an imminent threat to life and property as a result of wildfires within the state of Idaho,” states the governor’s declaration, which calls it a “perilous situation.”

Rob Feeley, public affairs officer for the Idaho state Bureau of Homeland Security, said the declaration allowed National Guard troops and equipment to be mobilized starting Thursday. They headed to the Trinity Ridge, Halstead and Mustang Complex fires in southern Idaho, bringing ground transportation to help move supplies and personnel, traffic control crews and standby helicopters for medical evacuation.

State patrol, chief receive awards

The Washington State Patrol has received two national and international performance awards for 2011, Gov. Chris Gregoire announced Thursday.

The International Association of Chiefs of Police named WSP the best state police agency of its size – 1,100 to 2,500 employees – in the last year.

“This is no surprise for those of us who work directly with the men and women of the state patrol,” Gregoire said. “I’m very pleased that an outside, objective organization would come to the same conclusion.”

WSP Chief John Batiste received a lifetime achievement award on behalf of the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators.

Batiste became state patrol chief in 2005.

“He has grown to lead and mentor so many others in that role that he has become perhaps the single greatest influence on traffic safety in our state,” Gregoire said.

Hayden Lake algae spurs health notice

A health advisory has been issued at Hayden Lake after water samples confirmed the presence of the blue-green algae Anabaena circinalis on the lake’s north end.

The naturally occurring microscopic bacteria can produce toxins that can harm or kill animals.The Panhandle Health District and the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality issued the health advisory Thursday.

Symptoms have not been documented in humans, but the public is advised to avoid any activity that could lead to ingesting the lake water, officials said.

Anabaena circinalis blooms occur when water temperature and oxygen levels are optimal, nitrogen is unavailable and phosphorus is abundant.

Seed growers sue over OK for canola

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Specialty seed producers and some agricultural organizations have gone to court hoping to block state approval of canola production in the Willamette Valley.

They say the action threatens Oregon’s $32 million specialty seed industry.

Some farmers want to grow canola for processing into cooking oil or biodiesel fuel.

Seed-crop farmers fear canola will cross-pollinate related plants such as cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, kale and turnips. They fear that could contaminate the seeds they sell to production growers and gardeners.

The suit was filed Wednesday in the Oregon Court of Appeals.

It asks for an injunction against a Department of Agriculture rule from last week that permits farmers to plant canola around the edges of the valley.

Stepmother loses bid to delay lawsuit

PORTLAND – A Portland judge has ruled that a lawsuit against the stepmother of a missing Oregon boy can go forward.

Judge Henry Kantor said a two-year delay sought by Terri Horman, stepmother of Kyron Horman, wouldn’t serve a purpose.

She sought the delay, saying the suit would be a proxy for a criminal investigation. Detectives have focused on her, although they haven’t called her a suspect.

The lawsuit was filed by Desiree Young, Kyron’s biological mother.

Terri Horman was the last person known to have seen Kyron. He was 7 when he disappeared June 4, 2010.

The suit proceeded Thursday with a deposition of Horman’s biological son, James Moulton.

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