Local news

In brief: Gay marriage opponents to submit signatures

OLYMPIA – Opponents of same-sex marriage say they will turn in their signatures for Referendum 74 this morning.

Joseph Backholm, of Preserve Marriage Washington, said Monday that the campaign will turn the signatures in to the secretary of state’s office at 10 a.m. The campaign says it will submit more than 225,000 signatures, well over the number needed to qualify the measure for the November ballot.

The referendum seeks to overturn the measure allowing same-sex marriage in the state that was passed by the Legislature and signed by Gov. Chris Gregoire earlier this year. The new law takes effect Thursday unless opponents turn in enough signatures.

Backers of R-74 need to have 120,577 valid voter signatures by today to qualify for the ballot. The secretary of state’s office recommends that campaigns submit about 150,000 signatures in order to provide a cushion for invalid or duplicate signatures.

Second trial under way in vehicular homicide case

Testimony began Tuesday in the second vehicular homicide trial against a Spokane man who killed a woman riding a scooter north of Spokane in 2010.

Jonathan P. Bales, 22, is facing a second trial after a jury deadlocked and could not come to a unanimous decision following his first trial last September.

Bales was driving his 1985 Pontiac Firebird southbound on Wandermere Road on July 16, 2010, when he crossed the centerline and struck 54-year-old Rene Blaume, who was riding her Racer iScooter.

A blood test on Bales was negative for alcohol but showed traces of marijuana.

Sheriff arrests suspect after pulling over roommate

A Spokane County sheriff’s deputy who fell while chasing a fleeing suspect last month got a lucky break early Tuesday when he pulled over the man’s roommate.

The driver alerted Deputy Ryan Truman that suspect Brandon J. Hoffman, 22, was living at his home in the 12500 block of North Freya Street.

Truman and another deputy went to the home and arrested Hoffman.

Truman had been looking to arrest Hoffman since the man threw his bicycle at him and ran away after being stopped for riding without a front light and rear reflectors about 4 a.m. May 18.

Truman said Hoffman gave him a false name, but he was able to identify him through booking photos and other police records.

Truman yelled at Hoffman to stop several times as he ran away, but he “fell during the foot pursuit and sustained minor injuries,” and the man got away.

Hoffman was booked into jail on charges of making a false statement, resisting arrest and third-degree assault.

Air ambulance company opens base in the Palouse

Northwest Medstar has opened a helicopter base in the Pullman-Moscow area.

The Spokane-based emergency air ambulance service said the growing population of the two college towns and the surrounding Palouse region and the rising number of critical care helicopter transports drove the need.

The new base is the fourth for MedStar. It also has bases in Spokane, Moses Lake and the Tri-Cities.

Earlier this year MedStar watched as competitor Life Flight opened a base in Sandpoint to serve North Idaho, an area that MedStar also serves from its Spokane base.

Life Flight also has a helicopter ambulance base in Lewiston – just 32 miles south of Pullman.

Both air ambulance companies operate as nonprofit organizations and are based in the Northwest.


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