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In brief: No passenger trains north of Seattle

Thu., Nov. 22, 2012

SEATTLE – No passenger trains will run north of Seattle until Friday because of the danger of more mudslides hitting the tracks south of Everett.

Amtrak said buses will serve its passengers between Seattle and Vancouver, B.C.

Sound Transit said its Sounder train will run a special day-after-Thanksgiving schedule on Friday – assuming there are no more mudslides – and resume the normal commuter schedule on Monday.

The Burlington Northern Santa Fe tracks were hit by 15 mudslides in heavy rain Monday and early Tuesday. The largest slide of mud, rocks and trees at Everett was 15 feet deep.

Spokesman Gus Melonas said crews cleared the tracks to keep freight trains operating.

Traffic advisory issued in Oregon

PORTLAND – The Oregon state Department of Transportation has issued a traffic advisory for the four-day Thanksgiving weekend because of wet roads and the chance for snow and ice in the mountain passes.

Spokesman Don Hamilton said motorists should remember to keep some extra room between their vehicle and the one in front of them because wet roads mean more stopping distance.

In other traffic issues this weekend, some areas still have standing water from Monday’s storm, and Interstate 5 might be clogged Saturday because of the Civil War football game between Oregon and Oregon State in Corvallis.

Woman sentenced for helping hide victim

A North Idaho woman who helped her husband conceal the body of a homicide victim has been sentenced to two years in prison.

The Bonner County Daily Bee reported that 23-year-old Jennifer Dunnagan Thrasher was sentenced Monday in 1st District Court.

Thrasher was charged as an accessory to the killing of 19-year-old Michael Wyatt Smith after telling authorities she helped bury Smith’s body in a makeshift grave in a remote area. Police said her now-estranged husband, 20-year-old Austin Blake Thrasher, shot and killed Smith in September 2011 in a romantic rivalry over a 16-year-old girl.

Austin Thrasher faces a first-degree murder charge, but that case is on hold while he’s evaluated to determine if he’s able to assist in his own defense.

CdA School Board seeks replacement

The Coeur d’Alene School Board is seeking applicants to fill a vacancy for its Zone 1 position following the resignation of trustee Jim Purtee.

The board will appoint a person to serve the remainder of the term, through June.

Applicants must submit a resume and a letter of interest with contact information and a statement about their background, the main reasons they are applying and their top three objectives if appointed. Applications are due by Dec. 12, 5 p.m., to board clerk Lynn Towne, 311 N. 10th St., Coeur d’Alene, ID 83814.

Candidates must be a registered voter and live in Zone 1, which encompasses the eastern section of the school district: the entire area east of 15th Street from the district’s northern to southern boundaries, plus the area north of Dalton Avenue from 15th Street to U.S. 95 and south of Prairie from 15th to Highway 95.

Prosecutor: Theft motive in monkey killing

BOISE – Prosecutors said Wednesday that the man accused of killing a monkey at Boise’s zoo told police he hoped to steal the animal before he was bitten and he clubbed it to death with a tree branch.

Michael J. Watkins, 22, entered Zoo Boise on Saturday morning, manipulated a lock to get into the primate enclosure and removed the patas monkey by wrapping it in his jacket, Ada County Deputy Prosecutor Fafa Alidjani told reporters after Watkins was arraigned in Boise’s 4th District Court.

Watkins isn’t scheduled to enter a plea on his felony burglary and grand theft charges until a preliminary hearing Dec. 5.

“He told police he was going to throw the monkey outside the fence,” Alidjani said. When he failed, the monkey bit him, prompting Watkins to use a tree branch to bash the monkey in the head and neck, she said.

A security guard spotted the intruder, who ran, and the animal died a short time after it was found by zoo officials.

If he’s convicted, Watkins faces up to 10 years in prison for the burglary charge and 14 years in prison for the grand theft charge. Idaho law allows prosecutors to bring a grand theft charge against someone accused of killing livestock or other animals valued at more than $150.

Judge Henry Boomer refused a bid by Watkins’ public defender, Gary Reedy, to reduce bail from $150,000 to $10,000.


 

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