What’s news in the Northwest today:
RUPERT, Idaho — Rain, snow and heat may not faze postal workers, but a pack of dogs allowed to run loose has put the kibosh on to-your-doorstep delivery of mail in parts of the south-central Idaho city of Rupert. The Times-News reports the U.S. Postal Service has suspended mail delivery in at least 10 neighborhoods until residents put up mailboxes near the street, sign up for a central communal box or rent a post office box. Incoming postmaster John Wiest says the agency has an obligation to keep its mail carriers safe. Minidoka County Undersheriff Vic Watson says the animal control officer has taken several dogs into custody and Rupert police have issued several citations.
Plan to tag Puget Sound orcas raises worries
SEATTLE — Federal biologists next month plan to attach tiny satellite devices on Puget Sound’s endangered orcas to better understand where they go during winter. But some whale experts worry the tags, about the size of a 9-volt battery with two darts attached, could injure the orcas. This is the first time dart-tags would be used on the southern resident killer whales that frequent the inland waters of Washington state and British Columbia. NOAA researcher Brad Hanson says tracking the orcas would pinpoint their range of travel and help inform their critical habitat. He says the whales heal within a few weeks. But whale expert Ken Balcomb thinks the tags are too invasive. He says the barbs wound the orcas and that the animals could potentially become infected.
Burglar leaves shoes behind at Hoquiam break-in
HOQUIAM, Wash. — Police say a Hoquiam burglar left his shoes behind as he escaped on a mountain bike. The homeowner heard noises about 5 a.m. today and scared off the man who fled with a bag of belongings. Sgt. Shane Krohn told KBKW a police dog was unable to track the suspect because of the weather, but officers did find the shoes. The burglar also dropped the bag containing stolen game systems and numerous knives
Parents arrested in 2-year-old’s overdose
POCATELLO, Idaho — A southeastern Idaho couple faces felony charges related to their 2-year-old son’s prescription drug overdose. The Power County sheriff’s office says Jim Norton and Liz Martinez were arrested on suspicion of child endangerment and possession of a controlled substance. The sheriff’s office says the boy was taken by ambulance to a Pocatello hospital on Dec. 29 and then airlifted to Primary Children’s Medical Center in Salt Lake City. The boy spent about a week in the intensive care unit suffering from an apparent overdose of a prescription drug. The boy also tested positive for methamphetamine. The charges were filed Monday. Power County court records show both were arraigned and pleaded not guilty on Tuesday. Both were appointed public defenders.
Woman believed to be oldest in Oregon dies Tuesday
EUGENE, Ore. — A woman believed to be the oldest person in Oregon and one of the oldest people in the world died Tuesday at a rehabilitation center in Creswell. Delma Kollar was 113 or 114, depending on different records. The Register-Guard reports she was a school teacher in Kansas and California before moving to Oregon in 1982. She outlived two husbands and two of three children.
Flood damages 145 vehicles in Oregon motor pool
SALEM — The Oregon State Motor Pool says 145 vehicles were damaged when floodwaters inundated its parking lot Thursday in Salem. The Statesman Journal reports insurance adjusters are adding up the damage. The Department of Administrative Services says the motor pool lot manager arrived about 8 a.m. Thursday and started moving vehicles, but parts of the lot were under 2 feet of water within an hour.
UI bemoans faculty losses amid budget crunch
BOISE — The head of the University of Idaho bemoaned the loss of key faculty members due to the budget crunch, saying most employees on the Moscow campus have not had a salary increase in four years and boosting compensation in his highest priority. UI President Duane Nellis told lawmakers today he was encouraged by the governor’s budget recommendation for the next fiscal year, which includes a $16.9 million boost in state support for Idaho’s public universities. Nellis is pleased the governor’s budget includes a 3 percent pay bonus for state workers, including university professors and faculty, but that’s only if state tax revenues stay on track. A legislative committee, however, opted Tuesday for a tax revenue forecast that’s $33 million less than the one favored by Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter.