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In brief: Mead man among three killed in Arizona crashes

CASA GRANDE, Ariz. – Three people were killed and at least 12 injured after a dust storm led to multiple crashes Tuesday on Interstate 10 between Phoenix and Tucson, authorities said.

Arizona Department of Public Safety officials identified one of those killed as Gordon Lee Smith, 76, of Mead, Wash.

They said Smith’s wife was injured, but her condition wasn’t immediately disclosed.

DPS officials said 19 vehicles – 10 commercial vehicles, seven passenger cars, one tanker and one recreational vehicle – were involved in chain-reaction collisions south of Casa Grande shortly after noon.

Television footage showed that several cars and tractor-trailers smashed into each other near Picacho Peak in south-central Arizona.

The names and hometowns of the other two killed weren’t immediately available, authorities said.

EWU student alleged to have heroin

An Eastern Washington University student was arrested after campus police discovered heroin in his dormitory room while executing a search warrant after he was reported to be in possession of illegal fireworks.

Jason Pierce, 25, was arrested Friday on charges of heroin possession, according to court records. Police received reports that Pierce, who lives on campus in Pearce Hall, was bringing Roman candles into the dorm, Deputy Chief Gary Gasseling said.

Police found a couple of packs of fireworks in the dorm in addition to several syringes and a bag filled with heroin, according to court records.

Labor complaint names Clearwater Paper

The U.S. Department of Labor has filed a whistle-blower complaint against Clearwater Paper Corp. for allegedly firing a worker who raised concerns about excessive sawdust exposure.

The complaint, filed in U.S. District Court, seeks to reinstate the employee and award more than $300,000 in back pay and damages.

According to the complaint, the employee was fired in 2010 after filing a safety complaint with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration in Boise. The complaint said the employee lost his job shortly after an OSHA inspection to evaluate workers’ exposure to cedar sawdust at the Lewiston mill, which the company has since sold.

“We disagree with the complaint and the conclusion and we will vigorously fight this in federal district court,” said Matt Van Vleet, a Clearwater spokesman.

Van Vleet said the employee was fired for work performance issues. The termination went to arbitration, and the arbitrator found that Clearwater had just cause to fire the employee, he said.

“Clearwater Paper encourages our employees to speak up and speak out about safety and health concerns,” he said.

The inspection did not find that the sawdust levels posed a health risk, Van Vleet said.

Ex-WSU professor sentenced to prison

MOSCOW, Idaho – A former Washington State University professor has been sentenced to up to five years in prison for felony injury to a child after prosecutors said he sexually assaulted a teen in Idaho.

Andrew Appleton, 52, was sentenced to one to five years in prison Monday. But 2nd District Judge John Stegner retained jurisdiction in the case, telling Appleton that if he successfully completes a six-month prison treatment program, he may be allowed to serve the remainder of his time on probation.

Prosecutors charged Appleton with felony rape because they said he sexually assaulted a teenager for a year starting when she was 16. The charge was reduced in exchange for his guilty plea. Appleton was removed from his job as an associate professor of political science after his arrest.

Man in mask robs CdA Dutch Bros.

Coeur d’Alene police are looking for a man they say robbed the Dutch Bros. Coffee at 1680 Northwest Blvd. just before 10 p.m. Monday.

Police describe the suspect as possibly having a dark complexion, about 5 feet 10 inches tall, and wearing a black hooded sweatshirt and red ski mask. Employees said he walked up to the drive-thru window brandishing a plastic Dollar Tree bag under which he claimed to have a gun. He threatened to shoot the employees if they did not fill a sack with cash, according to police.

The suspect fled on foot, heading east on Mill Avenue with an undisclosed amount of cash. A police dog attempted to track the man but was unsuccessful. Anyone with information is asked to contact the Coeur d’Alene Police Department at (208) 769-2320 or the police tip line at (208) 769-2296.

Traffic dispute leads to gunfire, injury

TUKWILA, Wash. – Police in the south Seattle suburb of Tukwila say an argument over a car blocking a road led two men to pull out guns and fire at each other.

Police Cmdr. Eric Drever said officers who responded Tuesday afternoon to the report of gunfire found one man suffering from a single gunshot wound. That man was reported in stable condition Tuesday night at a hospital.

KOMO-TV reported that both men are claiming self-defense.

Drever said both are now cooperating with police.

Council considers city-run marijuana shop

WHITE SALMON, Wash. – The city of White Salmon may open a city-run marijuana shop to raise money.

The City Council split on the proposal Monday, but it may come up for a vote again next week.

KREM reported if the city applies for a pot shop, City Council members and spouses would be subject to background checks.

White Salmon is in Klickitat County across the Columbia River from Hood River, Ore.