State regulators approved $23,000 for rail safety upgrades to protect tourists visiting Palouse Falls in Whitman County.
At the request of the Union Pacific Railroad, Washington’s Utilities and Transportation Commission approved grant money to pay for about 1,000 feet of fencing between the railroad right of way and Palouse Falls State Park.
Palouse Falls, which the Washington Legislature designated this month as the “state waterfall,” draws thousands of visitors annually during spring and summer, but the proximity of the falls to the track presents a safety risk when people trespass on the railroad tracks. The fencing work should be completed in June, officials said.
Tribe donations aid schools, nonprofits
The Coeur d’Alene Tribe gave out $1.2 million Thursday to support a variety of educational efforts through grants to schools, school districts and nonprofit groups in the Inland Northwest.
Fifty-two grants were given, supporting reading, music, art and science programs; vocational and GED preparation classes; college scholarship programs; and other educational projects and programs.
“When it comes to supporting students throughout the state, we are proud to stand up for education,” said Chief Allan, chairman of the Coeur d’Alene Tribe.
As part of its gaming compact with the state of Idaho, the tribe agreed to give 5 percent of its net gaming revenues to support education. Since 1992, the tribe has given out more than $21 million in educational grants.
Detainees break hunger strike
SEATTLE – After six days of refusing food, the last four immigrants on a hunger strike at the Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma have eaten a little bit of food.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said the four detainees had a few bites of breakfast Thursday morning, but they remain under medical observation because of how long they have been without nutrition.
The hunger strike began Friday at the Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma with hundreds of participants refusing to eat to call for better treatment and an end to deportations.
Immigrant-rights activists said detainees are seeking better food and treatment, as well as to be released on bond while their cases are heard.
The agency also said that four people skipped dinner Wednesday night in protest, but ate breakfast Thursday.
More human bones found near dam
CRESCENT BAR, Wash. – A second set of human bones exposed by lowering the reservoir behind Wanapum Dam were found in the Crescent Bar area.
Grant County sheriff’s spokesman Kyle Foreman said the coroner believes the bones found last Friday are probably as old as the first bones found March 4. The wear pattern on the teeth indicates the person ate food different from modern humans.
The Wenatchee World reported the latest bones also are expected to be turned over to the state Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation.
The bones were found by people exploring the shoreline after the reservoir was lowered because of a crack in the Wanapum Dam.
Invasive mussels found on boat
IDAHO FALLS, Idaho – State officials said inspectors have stopped a boat entering Idaho with invasive mussels attached to it.
Idaho state Department of Agriculture officials told the Post Register that the boat was stopped Tuesday at the Cotterell Port of Entry station on Interstate 84 in eastern Idaho.
Officials said the intercepted boat had been at Lake Powell in the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area on the Utah-Arizona border.
The state has 15 mandatory watercraft inspection stations in an attempt to stop quagga and zebra mussels from entering state waters. They started operating in February.
Officials said the mussels could cost the state about $100 million if they became established.
Biologists also say the mussels could harm fishing in the state.