January 9, 2013 in City

In brief: Dorn seeking charter school law changes

From Wire Reports

SEATTLE – State schools chief Randy Dorn has sent a letter to legislative leaders asking them to revise the charter school law to give the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction jurisdiction over the new schools.

Dorn said the law, which was approved by voters in November, is unconstitutional because it establishes a separate system of public schools, run by an independent, unelected agency. The state constitution says the superintendent of public instruction is in charge of all matters pertaining to public schools.

He said the problem can be easily fixed by a simple amendment.

Dorn also expressed these concerns before the election and has threatened to file a lawsuit to fix the problem.

Three-strikes convict granted release

EVERETT – One of the first people to be sentenced to life in prison under Washington’s “three strikes” law can be released.

Gov. Chris Gregoire agreed last month to commute the sentence of Larry Lee Fisher, and the Department of Corrections is planning his eventual release.

Fisher was sentenced in 1994, just one month after the persistent offender law took effect. He robbed $151 from a Lynnwood sandwich shop. It was his third robbery conviction.

The state Clemency and Pardons Board recommended commuting the life sentence for the 54-year-old. He has accepted responsibility for his actions, apologized to victims and participated in mental health and substance abuse programs in prison.

Man hit by bus, walks block to coffee shop

SEATTLE – The Seattle Fire Department said a man who was hit by a bus downtown got up and walked a block to a Starbucks, even though he was bleeding from the head.

Department spokesman Kyle Moore said the well-dressed 32-year-old man apparently suffered a concussion Tuesday morning.

He was taken to Harborview Medical Center with serious injuries.

The bus driver showed signs of being under the influence of drugs or alcohol and was arrested. The driver gave a blood sample and was released pending test results.

Heating repair uncovers uninvited guest

YELM, Wash. – A heating repairman had good news and bad news for Washington state homeowner Velma Kellen.

He had fixed her heating ducts. But someone was living in a crawlspace under the home and had diverted the heat to keep warm.

Beer cans and a liquor bottle were found beneath the house.

Kellen told KOMO-TV on Monday that she had no idea how long the unwanted visitor had been climbing into her crawlspace, which has an opening to her backyard.

Kellen thinks the person also might have smoked marijuana, because she often smelled smoke. The squatter somehow fooled her three dogs.

Police blow up ice chest in bomb scare

SCAPPOOSE, Ore. – Police in the small Oregon town of Scappoose said several buildings were evacuated after a man walked into the police station with an ice chest and said he believed there was a bomb inside that he had disarmed.

The building containing the police station and City Hall was among those evacuated Tuesday afternoon, KATU-TV reported. Authorities also closed off several blocks to traffic.

The man reportedly put the ice chest outside. The Oregon State Police bomb squad arrived and blew up the chest.

No injuries were reported.

Power back on after campus explosions

EUGENE, Ore. – Internet service at the University of Oregon was up and running and the showers had hot water Tuesday, a day after a series of explosions knocked out power to as many as 18 campus buildings.

Crews worked through the night to restore power to about 3,000 students living on campus, said university spokeswoman Julie Brown.

After the explosions, blamed on an overheated electric line, students used flashlights to negotiate darkened stairwells and hiked around campus to find buildings where they could get their electronic gear charged.

The explosions began with five in a cluster at about 10 a.m. Monday, followed by more blasts over a half-hour that sent smoke spurting from the underground utility system.

Four buildings were getting power from large generators Tuesday rather than the campus system, Brown said. She said it’s expected to take a couple of days to make repairs and re-establish normal electrical service.

The cause of the overheating isn’t yet known, Brown said.

Police find bags stolen from airport

VANCOUVER, Wash. – Police who searched a Vancouver, Wash., home say they’ve recovered six suitcases and numerous other items believed stolen from Portland International Airport since last May.

Port of Portland police and Vancouver police say they’ve identified a group of people believed responsible for 15 instances of baggage theft. Police don’t believe the case is linked to an instance of baggage theft last weekend at the airport.

Of four people detained during Tuesday’s search, two were released and two were arrested on unrelated warrants.

Port of Portland spokesman Steve Johnson said police have identified the owners of the stolen property and are in the process of notifying them.

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