Northwest Briefly: Cougar encounters close trail

LEAVENWORTH — A popular trail about two miles north of Leavenworth has been closed until further notice because of cougar encounters in the area.

U.S. Forest Service officials said a cougar chased a mountain biker on the Freund Canyon Trail on Friday. Over the past six weeks, the Wenatchee River Ranger District has received one other first-hand report and two other second-hand reports about cougars in the area.

Officials hope to reopen the trail in a couple of weeks.

Seattle: Gregoire made 7 D.C. trips

Gov. Chris Gregoire has made seven trips to the other Washington since President Barack Obama was inaugurated. That’s more times than during the entire four years of her first term.

Most of those trips happened during the state’s ban on noncritical travel. Gregoire said the trips that have cost taxpayers about $7,400 combined are attracting dollars back to the state.

Gregoire said there are both immediate and long-term benefits to her meetings with cabinet officials. For example, she said her connections helped pave the way for certain cherry exports to Japan this year that appeared in jeopardy.

Gregoire also said she’s pressing the Obama administration and Congress on several fronts, including health care and energy policy.

Spokane: Bachelor party leads to jail

A bachelor party ended with the groom and two friends in jail after 25 law enforcement officers arrived to break up a bar brawl.

Groom-to-be Brandon Peterson said the wedding is still on, and he hopes to be free to attend next weekend.

The 27-year-old Peterson said in a jailhouse interview with The Spokesman-Review that he doesn’t remember much about the incident, which began early Sunday morning at a Spokane bar.

One of the bachelor party guests began jumping on a car in the parking lot, other patrons tried to stop him, and a fight broke out. A deputy who responded was surrounded and shoved, which brought two dozen additional officers to the scene.

Peterson and two others were booked into Spokane County Jail for assault on law enforcement and intimidation of a public servant.

Stevenson: Boater dies on river

The Skamania County sheriff’s office said a Molalla, Ore., city councilman has been killed in a kayaking accident on the Little White Salmon River east of Stevenson.

Undersheriff Dave Cox said Monday that 31-year-old Ryan Morgan was reported missing late Sunday afternoon after he became separated from his kayaking partner, Marcus Fant of Oregon City, Ore., in a stretch of river with many rapids. Searchers looked for Morgan late Sunday and again Monday. A search team from a whitewater guide service finally located Morgan’s body and kayak Monday afternoon, wedged underwater in a logjam about a half mile from the Little White Salmon fish hatchery.

The Oregonian reports that Morgan was appointed to fill a vacancy on the City Council in November after working for many years in the juvenile justice system. He was a board member for a community-based anti-crime program.

North Cascades: Climber dies in fall

A Colorado climber has died in a mountaineering accident in North Cascades National Park.

Craig Luebben, 49, of Golden, Colo., was an accomplished climber and Mount Everest guide.

The National Park Service said Luebben and his climbing partner Guillermo Benegas of Sandy, Utah, were approaching the southeast face of Mount Torment on Sunday when a piece of ice broke off, taking Luebben with it.

He fell about 40 feet and was critically injured by falling ice.

His climbing partner managed to move Luebben to a ledge and call for help on a cell phone. However, Ranger Kelly Bush said Luebben died before he could be rescued. Bush says neither climber did anything wrong, calling them both “highly skilled, on top of their game.”

National Park Service rangers brought the two men out by helicopter.

Vancouver, Wash.: Fire displaces 31

Thirty-one people lost their homes this weekend after a fire burned through the roof of a large Vancouver apartment complex. By the time firefighters arrived early Sunday, all the residents had safely evacuated.

Flames were shooting 30 feet into the air from the roof of the complex’s “R” building. Fire investigators suspect a cigarette left burning on an outside deck started the fire, which caused more than a million dollars in damage. Out of the 31 fire victims, only three had renter’s insurance

Red Cross crews were helping the residents but fire officials said the organization’s resources had been drained by the downturn in the economy.

Port Angeles: Biker honored for safety

A motorcycle author from Agnew, who wrote what is considered the authoritative book on motorcycle safety, will be inducted into the American Motorcycle Association’s Hall of Fame.

David Hough’s best advice to motorcyclists is “Take it seriously.”

The second edition of his book, “Proficient Motorcycling,” has sold about 150,000 copies.

He will be inducted into the Hall of Fame on Dec. 5 at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas with five others in the hall’s class of 2009.

The association primarily honors racers and big-name stunt riders.

Hough sees the award as a recognition of the many people teaching motorcycle safety and writing books.

Hough began riding a motorcycle when he lived on Bainbridge Island and commuted to Boeing.

Ore.: Four teens killed in crash

Authorities said four Washington teenagers died and a fifth was critically injured Monday in a crash on Highway 30 just west of Clatskanie.

Oregon State Police Lt. Gregg Hastings said the teenagers were in a sport utility vehicle that slid into the path of an eastbound van after the 17-year-old driver lost control.

The female driver and three passengers — two 18-year-old men and an 18-year-old woman — died at the scene. A fifth occupant, an 18-year-old man, was flown by helicopter to Portland’s Legacy Emanuel Hospital.

Hastings says the teens were from Clark County and their names won’t be released until relatives are notified.

The 55-year-old Vancouver, Wash., man driving the van was taken by ambulance to a Longview, hospital.

Associated Press

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