In brief: McEuen Park project low bidder is CNI
Contractors Northwest Inc. of Coeur d’Alene is the low bidder for the reconstruction of McEuen Park in downtown Coeur d’Alene.
CNI’s bid of $14.6 million was about $442,000 below the estimated cost for the makeover of the park next to Tubbs Hill and the Coeur d’Alene Resort.
Work is set to begin this month and continue into November.
The city opened bids Tuesday. Five other bids ranged from $15 million to $17.8 million.
The city will review all bids and recommend awarding the job, and the City Council will vote on it Thursday at 5 p.m.
CNI Chairman and CEO Dean Haagenson said the company is pleased its bid came in below all others.
“We’ve had a long dry spell getting new work, so we’ve needed it,” Haagenson said. “We think it’s going to be a treasure for Coeur d’Alene forever, and we are pleased we’re going to have a part getting it built.”
CNI’s last major project locally was Kootenai Health’s Kootenai Cancer Center at Post Falls, which opened in November 2010.
Coeur d’Alene teen found in California
A runaway teen from Coeur d’Alene was found in Southern California on Tuesday, police said.
Jaidyn Bendocchi, 14, was found at the home of an unidentified 27-year-old man in Bakersfield, according to Sgt. Christie Wood of the Coeur d’Alene Police Department. The man has not been found or charged with a crime, she said.
The girl is being returned to her parents’ custody, Wood said.
Charter school funds win House passage
BOISE – The Idaho House has voted 42-27 in favor of a plan to help charter schools with part of their building costs, with the $1.4 million cost next year coming at the expense of the state’s other schools.
The vote Tuesday came after more than an hour of debate.
North Idaho lawmakers split in the vote. Those voting yes included Reps. Cindy Agidius, R-Moscow; Eric Anderson, R-Priest Lake; Vito Barbieri, R-Dalton Gardens; Frank Henderson, R-Post Falls; and Luke Malek, R-Coeur d’Alene.
Those voting no included Reps. George Eskridge, R-Dover; Shannon McMillan, R-Silverton; and Shirley Ringo, D-Moscow.
The bill now moves to the Senate.
Comet watching planned at school
The Spokane Astronomical Society is holding three public viewing events, weather permitting, for the appearance of comet Pan-STARRS in the evening sky this month.
Society members will gather with their equipment at Prairie View Elementary School, 2606 W. Johansen Road, on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday evenings to observe the comet, which will be visible just after sunset. Members of the public are invited to join them.
The comet should appear in darkening twilight just above the horizon in the west shortly after sunset. It will disappear below the horizon as evening progresses. It has been visible with the naked eye in the southern hemisphere. The events will not be held if it is cloudy.
Armed robbery reported at home
The Spokane County Sheriff’s Office is investigating a report of an armed robbery of a home in Spokane Valley on Tuesday morning.
Two men with handguns forced their way through the back door of a home in the 2300 block of South Bannen Road just before 5 a.m., a Sheriff’s Office news release said.
No one was injured, the release said.
The victims told deputies the men were wearing all dark clothing with the hoods of their sweatshirts up. The suspects were described as about 6 feet tall and 200 pounds. Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Check at (509) 456-2233.
Budget cuts may slow Hanford fixes
OLYMPIA – Federal budget cuts may disrupt efforts to close the radioactive waste tanks currently leaking at Hanford Nuclear Reservation and lead to layoffs or furloughs among workers there, officials said Tuesday.
In a letter to Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, the Department of Energy estimates that it will have to eliminate $92 million in funding for the Office of River Protection at Hanford, which will result in furloughs or layoffs impacting about 2,800 contract workers. Inslee spokesman David Postman said the governor’s initial concern is for the workers but emphasized that budget constraints cannot be an excuse to delay response to the leaking tanks.
“The federal government has a commitment to the people of Washington State to clean up Hanford and the governor will do everything possible to make that happen,” Postman said.
The work to close the tanks will continue but may move at a slower pace. The federal government spends some $2 billion each year on Hanford cleanup – one-third of its entire budget for nuclear cleanup nationally – so the project is still in line to receive most of its usual federal funding.
Poll finds voters oppose new gas tax
SEATTLE – A survey conducted by Seattle pollster Stuart Elway found that most voters in Washington oppose higher transportation taxes.
The poll found 72 percent opposed a higher gas tax and 62 percent opposed a car tab increase.
The Elway poll surveyed 412 registered voters between Feb. 28 and Saturday.
The Seattle Times reports the poll also found 70 percent of voters rate the state’s transportation system as satisfactory.
Senate Transportation Committee Co-chairman Curtis King of Yakima says the poll reinforces his belief there’s no need for higher transportation taxes this session.
House Transportation Chairwoman Judy Clibborn of Mercer Island says the poll indicates raising those two taxes to fund a proposed $10 billion transportation package will be a “heavy lift.”