Northwest briefly

ABERDEEN – Two chapters of the Audubon Society are launching a legal blitz against The Weyerhaeuser Co. and the state Department of Natural Resources, charging that they have caused the spotted owl population to dwindle by not setting aside enough forestland in southwest Washington.

Weyerhaeuser denied the claim, saying it “exceeds the standards as required by state and federal law.” The state agency said it was still reviewing the case.

The Seattle and Kittitas chapters filed a 60-day notice Tuesday with the U.S. Department of the Interior stating that they intend to sue the timber company and the state. The Endangered Species Act requires that challengers give formal notice of intent to file legal action.

In its letter to the state and Weyerhaeuser, the Audubon chapters said they were “willing to engage in negotiations to find a mutually satisfactory settlement to this matter prior to litigation.”

In the official notice, they said areas of concern are five spots in Grays Harbor and Pacific counties where the state has allowed Weyerhaeuser to extensively log within 70 acres of spotted owl nesting areas. The parcels in question add up to more than 6,300 acres. The Audubon chapters say any logging in those areas violates the Endangered Species Act.

Weyerhaeuser spokesman Frank Mendizabal flatly denied that the spotted owl was in any danger.

The Daily World

A former Ferndale police sergeant fired more than a year ago for investigating his chief has reached a settlement with the city of Ferndale.

Former Sgt. Michael Ashby will receive $32,500 and voluntarily resign from the police department, retroactive to Nov. 30, 2004, just days before he was fired, said Pat Buchanan, a litigation attorney for the city.

Ashby was fired in December 2004 after conducting his own investigation of then-Police Chief Dale Baker, making allegations of policy violations. Ashby’s investigation violated the chain of command, according to a termination letter from Mayor Jerry Landcastle.

Baker was fired about two weeks after Ashby for a history of lewd behavior, attendance problems, intimidation and conflict with other law enforcement officials, according to his termination letter.

The Bellingham Herald

Washington Secretary of State Sam Reed and more than 30 of his family members will reunite on Reed Island today to dedicate a monument to ancestors who gave their name to the 508-acre island in the middle of the Columbia River.

Reed Island, formerly called Vancouver Island, is now a state park used for camping, fishing, hiking, swimming, boating and bird watching.

A half-mile upstream on the Washington side is Point Vancouver, the highest point on the river where British Royal Navy Lt. William Broughton journeyed in 1792. He named the island after the expedition commander, Capt. George Vancouver, who stayed on his ship off the mouth of the Columbia River and never set foot on the island.

A monument will be unveiled on the island today to tell the story of the Reed family, which settled on the island in 1885.

The Columbian

A shoplifting attempt gone bad at a Main Street business on Tuesday resulted in the arrest of a 22-year-old Orting man on felony charges of robbery, assault and theft.

Shortly after 9:15 a.m., Brandon Johnson reportedly attempted to steal a pair of $300 boots from Arnold’s Ranch &Home. After he was approached by an employee, Johnson left the store and drove off in a 2003 Toyota Corolla, which he allegedly stole from an acquaintance who was with him.

Store co-owner Frank Arnold jumped onto the hood of the vehicle in an effort to prevent Johnson from leaving, and Johnson drove down Main Street with Arnold on the hood until Arnold was no longer able to hold on. Arnold was not injured when he fell off the hood, a Ranch &Home employee said.

Johnson was later spotted on I-90 by a state Department of Fish and Wildlife officer, who tried to stop him. Johnson reportedly continued to drive for several miles, and was pulled over outside Ellensburg, Capt. Ross Green said.

Johnson is being held at Kittitas County Corrections Center on charges of felony eluding, first and second-degree theft, second-degree robbery and second-degree assault.

The Daily Record

A 14-year-old girl who authorities say has a history of setting fires was one of four teenagers charged Wednesday in connection with an arson that damaged a church last week.

The 14-year-old and another teen also were charged with setting another fire that destroyed a vacant home in Yelm in March.

Yelm police arrested the girl Friday, along with her 13-year-old sister and two 17-year-old boys. All were charged Wednesday with second-degree arson and second-degree burglary for the fire March 13 at the Church of Christ on Rhoton Road.

The girl became a suspect when a video surveillance camera captured her igniting a trash bin earlier that night at Prairie Park Plaza.

“It’s obvious to us that she has some issues involving fires,” said deputy prosecutor Laura Murphy, who is handling the cases in Thurston County Juvenile Court.

The girl, who remains confined in lieu of $20,000 bail, could face eight to 10 months in a state juvenile detention center if convicted, Murphy said.

The other teens were being held with bail set at $10,000, court documents say.

The Olympian

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