April 1, 2014 in City, Region

In brief: Inslee signs law to wind down Innovate Washington

 

OLYMPIA – Innovate Washington is going out of business.

Gov. Jay Inslee signed legislation Monday that abolishes the Spokane-based state agency, turning its building and work on aviation biofuels over to Washington State University-Spokane and putting the state Commerce Department in charge of winding down some of Innovate’s other projects by mid-2015.

Innovate Washington was the successor to the Spokane Intercollegiate Research and Technology Institute, or SIRTI, which began in the 1980s as an effort by Spokane businesses to attract more high-tech jobs to the area by bringing the public and private colleges together for joint projects.

Off-duty officer on leave following DUI arrest

An off-duty Spokane police officer was arrested and cited on suspicion of driving under the influence on Saturday night, a news release from the police department said.

Officer Mike Russo, who has been on the force since 2003, has been placed on administrative leave. The Washington State Patrol will investigate the incident, the release said. In addition, the Spokane Police Department will do an internal investigation.

Boy dies after being pulled from truck in canal

An 8-year-old boy has died after he was pulled from a pickup truck that went into a canal north of Moses Lake on Sunday afternoon, the Grant County Sheriff’s Office said.

Divers were searching Monday for the body of a man who was in the truck with the boy and two others when it drove off a maintenance road on Billy Clapp Lake, Sheriff’s Office spokesman Kyle Foreman said. The two other boys were taken to the hospital for treatment and are recovering, Foreman said.

Two fishermen witnessed the truck go into the water around 3:30 p.m. Sunday, Foreman said. The fishermen pulled the first two boys from the water, he said. A sheriff’s deputy and a Fish and Wildlife official arrived and jumped into the canal to rescue the third boy, who was not breathing when he emerged, Foreman said. CPR was started and the boy was taken to a hospital, where he later died.

Authorities are investigating the cause of the crash. Foreman said there were not any early indications that foul play was involved.

Sex abuse case against nuns can proceed, judge rules

HELENA – A federal judge ruled that 95 people can pursue sex abuse claims in state court against an order of nuns during bankruptcy proceedings involving the Roman Catholic Diocese of Helena.

The Ursuline Sisters of the Western Province aren’t covered by an automatic stay in civil proceedings that was granted to the diocese when it filed for Chapter 11 protection, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Terry Myers said in a Friday order.

A combined 362 plaintiffs filed two lawsuits claiming abuse by the diocese and the Ursulines between the 1940s and 1970s, when the plaintiffs were children.

The lawsuit against the order alleges that nuns and priests at the Ursuline Academy in St. Ignatius abused dozens of Native American children.

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