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Wednesday, July 15, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Spokane

Bus driver accused of touching girls

The Spokesman-Review

A Spokane school bus driver was put on paid leave pending an investigation into an allegation that he may have inappropriately touched two students from Wilson Elementary School.

Principal Rita Forsythe was notified of the incident Thursday when the two fifth-grade girls came forward, said Spokane Public Schools spokeswoman Terren Roloff. The principal interviewed the girls and at least two other students who were on the bus, Roloff said.

The investigation was then turned over to Laidlaw, and school officials asked that the driver be removed from all routes while the school bus company investigates.

The district will not conduct its own investigation, Roloff said. The district has a contract with Laidlaw for student transportation.

Road work likely to slow traffic

South Hill drivers may be delayed today and Thursday at the intersection of 29th Avenue and Fiske Street.

Crews will be working on a water main, and the two center lanes of 29th Avenue will be closed from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Also, Monroe Street will be reduced to two lanes today through Friday just south of First Avenue.

Drivers should expect slower traffic while crews work on a conduit in the alley there.

North Idaho

Field burning suit dismissed

A federal judge Tuesday dismissed a lawsuit that claimed the state illegally discriminates against North Idaho residents with respiratory ailments by managing field burning smoke in a way that prevents them from leaving their homes and going to public places when farmers are burning.

The class-action suit, filed in February by Sandpoint-based Safe Air For Everyone, charged that the state is violating the Americans with Disabilities Act and the federal Rehabilitation Act in its regulation of field burning smoke in North Idaho.

One of the named plaintiffs is Alex Heisel, a Post Falls teenager with cystic fibrosis. Smoke on the Rathdrum Prairie during the late summer burning season allegedly aggravates her disease, and Heisel has to leave school and move to the smoke-free Priest Lake region during that period, according to the suit.

U.S. District Judge Edward Lodge ruled that plaintiffs failed to allege discrimination as required for a claim under those statutes. Lodge also suggested the remedy the plaintiffs sought may be more appropriately addressed by the federal Clean Air Act, which regulates agricultural burning, or by a change in state policy regarding field burning.

MISSOULA

Coal train derails; four cars missing

Four of a coal train’s cars were missing after a derailment and may be submerged in the Clark Fork River, officials said.

Representatives of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency were at the scene Tuesday.

No one was injured Monday when 27 cars derailed about 2 1/2 miles west of Trout Creek. They were part of a train with 115 cars and four locomotives.

“We do know that of the 27 cars, all but four have been accounted for,” said Lynda Frost, spokeswoman for Missoula-based Montana Rail Link. “The four could be in the river, but we haven’t been able to confirm they’re in the river yet.”

Frost said the Clark Fork may be as deep as 80 feet where the derailment occurred, making it difficult to see the cars if they are in the water.

Crews hope to have the tracks clear by midday Friday, Frost said. Meanwhile, rail traffic is being rerouted.

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