NW Today: Lion cub rescued in Washington ends up in New Mexico

CARLSBAD, N.M. — An orphaned mountain lion cub rescued by a Davenport hunter has found a home in New Mexico.

Zia was discovered last October stumbling through rows of wheat stubble. So dehydrated, she could hardly make a sound and was too weak to stand. Her mother was nowhere to be found.

The hunter, Dave Garnetti of Davenport, tells the Carlsbad Current-Argus he took her home and his family nursed her back to health before turning her over to the Washington Department of Fish and Game.

The Living Desert Zoo in Carlsbad had been looking for a mountain lion when it learned about Zia and another orphaned cub from California. The zoo took in both cubs.

When Garnetti found Zia, she was small enough to fit in a backpack. Zookeepers say she’s now a healthy 30-pound cat.

Possible source of fumes uncovered at Hanford

RICHLAND — A Hanford contractor has identified two possible sources of fumes that have sickened 18 workers over the past two weeks at tank farms holding radioactive and chemical wastes.

The contractor, Washington River Protection Solutions, said Thursday an investigation found a cut in insulation at a pump and liquid in unused equipment.

The Tri-City Herald reports the cut has been sealed and the old equipment has been cordoned off.

All the workers who reported symptoms have been cleared to return to work, including four who were sent to Kadlec Regional Medical Center in Richland.

The symptoms include sore throats, headaches, coughing, burning eyes, nose bleeds, a metallic taste, dizziness and an accelerated heart rate.

Hanford tanks hold 56 million gallons of waste from nuclear weapons production.

Idaho mental health records added to FBI gun check

TWIN FALLS, Idaho — Idaho added mental health records to a national Federal Bureau of Investigations database, making it easier for background checks to discover if would-be gun owners have a history of mental illness.

The Twin Falls Times-News reports gun store customers are asked to complete a form revealing their legal status, criminal history and whether they have been committed to an institution for health reasons or found mentally unfit by a court.

The answers are then compared against the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System.

Until last year, Idaho was one of 17 states that submitted only a fraction of records, making it difficult to know whether people were telling the truth about mental problems.

Now, Idaho State Police say they’re keeping the FBI up-to-date on those records.

Rain raises landslide risk in northwest Oregon

PORTLAND, Ore. — Steady rain has raised the landslide danger in northwest Oregon and southwest Washington.

The Oregon Department of Geology issued a warning Thursday for slides on saturated slopes in the Coast Range, Willapa Hills, north Oregon Cascades and Columbia River Gorge.

The National Weather Service says rainfall from Thursday through Friday could total 2 to 5 inches on the coast, Coast Range and Cascades and up to 1.5 inches in other parts of the region.

Oregon state geologist Vicki McConnell told The Oregonian landslides are common over the winter and most pose little risk. But residents should be aware of the terrain around their homes and where slides have occurred in the past.

University of Idaho preparing for guns on campus

MOSCOW, Idaho — The University of Idaho is taking steps to comply with a new state law that allows people with an enhanced concealed-carry permit to bring a concealed weapon on campus.

The law takes effect on July 1.

New University of Idaho president Chuck Staben sent a letter to the school community Thursday. It announced the formation of a task force to recommend what policy changes the school should make to ensure campus safety while adhering to state law.

The Moscow-Pullman Daily News reports the university currently does not allow guns on campus and that policy will remain in effect until July 1.

INL contractor gets 5-year extension

IDAHO FALLS, Idaho — Battelle Energy Alliance has received a five-year extension on its 10-year contract to operate the Idaho National Laboratory near Idaho Falls.

Battelle Energy Alliance began running the facility in early 2005 and will now operate the laboratory through Sept. 30, 2019.

The U.S. Department of Energy announced the contract extension Thursday.

The agency says it extended the contract because of BEA’s consistently strong annual performances.

The INL is one of the Energy Department’s 10 national laboratories and a major employer in eastern Idaho.

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