Two Republic, Wash., residents were injured Tuesday after their car drove off a highway north of Spokane and smashed into a tree.
Joy A. Schutt, 72, was westbound on state Route 20 about 12:20 p.m. when her 2000 Subaru Legacy went off the highway about 15 miles west of Kettle Falls and struck the tree head-on, the Washington State Patrol reported.
Joy Schutt and her passenger, Rexford M. Schutt, 73, were both transported to Mount Carmel Hospital in Colville where they were in satisfactory condition Tuesday night, a nursing supervisor said.
The cause of the accident is unknown, WSP said.
Gas leak halts college classes
A gas leak evacuated the main classroom building at Spokane Community College Tuesday.
The leak occurred about 11 a.m. while crews were conducting annual maintenance on a gas meter and set off a release valve, said college spokeswoman Anne Tucker.
There were nearly 1,870 students in 98 classes at the time, Tucker said.
About 225 classes were canceled because of the leak.
Classes continued in the other buildings, and all classes were to be held as scheduled today.
Fire victim’s identity sought
RATHDRUM – The Kootenai County Sheriff’s Office said investigators are working to identify the body found in a burned Rathdrum mobile home.
The fire was reported Sunday night by neighbors. The neighbors tried to put out the flames with a garden hose, but by the time firefighters arrived it was fully engulfed. The badly burned body was discovered inside about two hours after firefighters responded to the blaze.
The single-wide mobile home served as both a home and an office space for the refrigerant company OZ Technology, owned by Gary Lindgren. Northern Lakes Fire Chief Dean Marcus said roughly 30 cylinders, possibly filled with refrigerant, were on the front porch of the home, and that complicated efforts to extinguish the fire.
Duncan permitted to be own lawyer
INDIO, Calif. – A judge said a man previously convicted of killing a couple and two children in North Idaho can act as his own attorney in a California case charging him with kidnapping, torturing and killing a 10-year-old boy.
The ruling Monday involves Joseph Edward Duncan III, who told a Riverside County judge he wants to remain silent in court and doesn’t intend to file any motions or plead guilty.
Duncan is charged with killing Anthony Martinez, who was abducted as he played with his brother near their Beaumont home. The boy’s battered, nude body was later found in the desert.
Duncan was convicted last year of the 2005 kidnapping, sexual abuse and torture of 9-year-old Dylan Groene and his 8-year-old sister Shasta, and Dylan’s murder at a campsite in Western Montana. He was also convicted of killing the children’s older brother, mother and fiance at their home near Coeur d’Alene.
He received three death sentences and multiple life sentences for those crimes.
Referendum 71 appeal to be heard
OLYMPIA – State lawyers will travel to California to argue that petitions for Referendum 71 should be made public.
The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has granted Attorney General Rob McKenna’s request for a fast-track appeal. A hearing is scheduled for Oct. 14 in Pasadena, Calif.
R-71 asks voters to either approve or reject a new law expanding domestic partnerships for gay couples.
The referendum’s conservative sponsors want to keep their signed petitions out of public view, because they fear harassment from gay-rights supporters.
A federal judge in Tacoma granted the sponsors’ request earlier this month. But McKenna is appealing, citing the state’s open-government laws.
Tribe to wait longer for recognition
BILLINGS – The Department of Interior has delayed its long-stalled decision on whether a landless Montana Indian tribe deserves federal recognition.
The Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians date their quest for recognition to the 1860s, when a small band of American Indians led by Chief Little Shell was cut out of a treaty signed with federal authorities.
The tribe, with about 4,300 members, is recognized by the state of Montana. It submitted its federal recognition application in 1978.
The new decision deadline is Oct. 26, Assistant Secretary of Indian Affairs George Skibine wrote in a letter sent Tuesday to the tribe.
Skibine wrote that the deadline was pushed back because the final decision is still under legal review. The same reason was offered for a 60-day delay announced in July.
Man found dead in university dorm
PORTLAND – A 20-year-old student has been found dead in a dorm room at Western Oregon University in Monmouth.
Monmouth Police Chief Darrell Tallan said Tuesday the cause of the man’s death has not been determined and an autopsy will be performed. The student’s name has not been released.
Classes don’t start until Monday, but this week is orientation for new students.
The death was discovered Tuesday at about 6:20 a.m.
Town celebrates first traffic signal
ZILLAH, Wash. – City officials are holding a ribbon-cutting ceremony Thursday to celebrate the installation of the only traffic light in Zillah.
The light to be installed next month is part of a $1 million project to widen the intersection and install sidewalks at First Avenue and Vintage Valley Parkway.
The Yakima Herald-Republic reports the Zillah City Council expects increased traffic in the town of 2,600 from a housing development.
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