Northwest Briefly: 3 injured in high school explosion in Vancouver

VANCOUVER, Wash. — An Evergreen High School student suffered ear injuries when an explosive device went off at the school.

Two high school staff members who reported dizziness and asked for medical assistance were taken to a hospital.

Firefighters and police responded to the school’s freshman academy at 1:53 p.m. Tuesday. Early radio reports indicated staff members were searching a student’s bag when the explosive — described as a small, snap-type firecracker — went off accidentally.

Glacier: Man missing on Mount Baker

A Lynden man has been missing since Saturday after telling friends he intended to climb to the top Mount Baker by himself.

The Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office says a friend reported 31-year-old Kevin Lafleur missing after he didn’t show up to one of his jobs on Monday.

Lafleur’s vehicle was found at the snowline on Glacier Creek Road, indicating that he intended to climb Baker by the standard route.

Bellingham Mountain Rescue volunteers, along with snowmobile volunteers and friends of Lafleur, searched the area of the lower Coleman Glacier this week.

Members of Skagit Mountain Rescue will also search the east side of the mountain in case Lafleur hiked or skied into the Baker Lake area.

Bellingham: Teacher feared homicide victim

Sheriff’s investigators are working on the assumption that a man found shot to death near Alger may be a missing Ferndale teacher.

Skagit County Chief Criminal Deputy Will Reichardt said investigators were checking DNA, dental records and fingerprints Tuesday to make a positive identification.

He said there was no identification on the body found Sunday by hikers.

The man was shot in the head, but Reichardt said the death was not a suicide.

Thirty-eight-year-old Jeremy Scully of Bellingham was last seen Thursday, and his car was found Saturday near lake Samish with the door ajar and the key in the ignition.

Scully was a substitute teacher in the Ferndale School District and also helped coach pole vaulters.

Tacoma: Captured sea lion dies at zoo

One of seven sea lions trapped at Bonneville Dam on the Columbia River and sent to the Port Defiance Zoo and Aquarium in Tacoma has died while undergoing medical inspection before transfer to a Sea World park, the Humane Society of the United States said Tuesday.

The society, which is mounting a federal appeals court challenge to federal authorization to kill or capture some of the animals, demanded a moratorium on the captures until a full investigation can be held.

Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife spokesman Rick Hargrave said “it went under anesthesia and never came back.”

He said the department’s marine mammal specialist, Robin Brown, said such deaths are neither common nor unusual among marine mammals. He said plans are to continue trapping on Mondays and Thursdays.

Associated Press

Olympia: Razor clam dig starts Saturday

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife says clam diggers have the go-ahead to have the last razor clam dig of the spring season, starting Saturday.

Long Beach and Twin Harbors Beach will open for morning digs May 3-7, while Copalis and Mocrocks are scheduled to open May 4 and 5 only.

The department approved the dig after marine toxin tests showed the clams were safe to eat.

No digging will be allowed after noon on any beach. Kalaloch Beach will remain closed to harvest.

Department shellfish manager Dan Ayres says a review of the total harvest levels after the April opener showed there were enough clams remaining for a May opener.

Under the department’s rules, harvesters may take no more than 15 razor clams and must keep the first 15 taken, regardless of size or condition.

Associated Press

Idaho: Teacher turns self in to face charges

A camp counselor and Tumwater teacher, wanted by Idaho authorities for five counts of lewd conduct with a minor, has turned himself in to investigators and currently resides in the Latah County Jail.

Timothy Andrew Kellis, 38, surrendered Monday to the Idaho State Police. The most recent warrant charges him with five counts of lewd conduct with a minor under the age of 16.

The five felony counts are in addition to previous charges filed when Kellis was arrested April 12. During that arrest, Kellis was charged with two counts of lewd conduct with a minor and one count of sexual abuse of a child.

Kellis, who currently works as a teacher in Tumwater, was working in the summer of 2007 as a camp counselor at Camp Grizzly in Latah County.

During that time, Kellis “fondled and engaged in lewd and lascivious conduct with two minors under the age of 16,” according to documents.


Oregon: $7.25 million fine for dumping

A federal judge has approved a $7.25 million fine against an Egyptian shipping company that dumped oil sludge at sea, the largest penalty for dumping ever assessed in the Pacific Northwest.

National Navigation Co. pleaded guilty to 15 counts of violating pollution laws in Oregon, Washington and Louisiana, and trying to cover it up.

The company also agreed to a plan to audit its ships for environmental compliance and to having a court-appointed monitor track its operations.

The fine could have been higher if National Navigation managers had not immediately admitted the violations.

Based in Cairo, the largest international shipping company in Egypt did not dispute most of the evidence but blamed the violations on some chief engineers.

A Coast Guard investigation revealed the ship had been illegally dumping waste oil into the ocean since at least 1999.

Associated Press

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