Northwest Briefly: Suspect pleads not guilty to graffiti

SEATTLE — A man accused of graffiti vandalism spree in Shoreline pleaded not guilty Monday to malicious mischief charges in King County Superior Court.

Tony Huy Lee, 35, was released without bail while awaiting trial.

Police accuse him of spray-painting homes, businesses and city property with the tag “Kidd” and “K-D” over three years, causing more than $7,000 in damage.

Lee told KOMO News police have the wrong man. He said officers arrested him Feb. 8 because he was in the area of vandalism. He said blue paint on his coat was from painting his house.

Pedestrian trapped under car dies

Police say a 67-year-old Seattle man who ended up underneath a car driven by a 37-year-old woman in a fast food parking lot has died.

Police said they don’t know whether the driver knocked the man to the ground Monday afternoon or if he was already on the ground as she was backing up after picking up some food.

A witness told KIRO-TV the driver started screaming for help when she realized the man was under her car. Arriving police were able to lift the car off the man. Seattle Fire Department spokeswoman Dana Vander Houwen said medics performed CPR but the man died at the scene.

Police are investigating. They said they know the victim but he was not immediately identified.

Bill Gates Sr. will speak to UW graduates

William Gates Sr. will speak at the University of Washington’s graduation ceremony on June 12 at Husky Stadium.

The co-chairman of the Bill &Melinda Gates Foundation and father of Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates attended UW on the G.I. Bill after serving in the Army during World War II. He earned a bachelor’s degree in 1949 and went on to earn his law degree from UW in 1950.

Gates has served on the UW Board of Regents since 1997 and chaired the UW Foundation Board from 2001 to 2006, during the university’s most successful fundraising campaign in history.

Olympia: Soldier held in wife’s death

A 28-year-old Army sergeant accused of killing his wife during an argument and hiding her body in a storage crate has been ordered held on $750,000 bail.

Sheldon Plummer appeared before a judge Monday in Olympia via video feed. He is being held in the Thurston County jail for investigation of second-degree murder in the death of 27-year-old Winter Plummer.

According to court documents, the Joint Base Lewis-McChord sergeant walked into a sheriff’s office last Friday and confessed to killing his wife. The documents say Plummer told a detective that he strangled his wife after she attacked him with a knife during an argument in mid-February. In court, prosecutors said that Plummer sent texts from his wife’s cell phone so her relatives would believe she was still alive.

Guilty plea for former city councilman in pot case

Former Olympia City Councilman Joe Hyer has pleaded guilty to selling marijuana out of his home. Thurston County Superior Court Judge Richard Strophy sentenced Hyer on Monday to 10 days in jail with work release and 240 hours of community service.

Hyer told the judge, “I screwed up” as he pleaded guilty to one felony charge of unlawful delivery of a controlled substance.

The 37-year-old Hyer earlier resigned his council seat and ended his campaign for Thurston County treasurer. He was originally charged with three felony counts in the wake of his Feb. 18 arrest.

State, TransAlta in emission-cut talks

The state of Washington has entered formal talks with Canada-based TransAlta to reduce greenhouse gas emissions at the company’s coal-fired power plant in Centralia.

The announcement Monday comes nearly a year after Gov. Chris Gregoire signed an executive order calling for greenhouse gases at the plant to be cut in half by no later than 2025.

State officials said they hope to get a draft proposal for public review in July.

The Centralia plant is the largest single source of greenhouse gases in the state.

Spokane: Police shooting of suicidal man is ruled justified

The Spokane County prosecutor’s office has ruled that Spokane Valley police were justified in shooting a suicidal man who raised a gun toward officers.

Police said Monday that prosecutors found the shooting of Michael Young on Dec. 27 a justified use of force.

Officers had responded to a threatened suicide call. Young came out of a home with a pistol and refused orders to drop it. When he raised the gun, four officers fired.

Young survived multiple wounds and is not facing assault charges.

Pend Oreille County to get $27.3 million for broadband access

The Pend Oreille County Public Utility District will receive $27.3 million in a federal grant to bring high-speed broadband access to communities in northeastern Washington.

Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., said the money will deliver affordable broadband access to as many as 3,200 households and other customers.

The grant will allow the Pend Oreille PUD to deploy a fiber-optic broadband network along its electric service route to the premises of health care providers, school districts, libraries, government buildings, the Kalispell Tribe and others.

Satsop: Highway 520 bridge pontoon undergoes tests

It’s a concrete object 120 feet long, 38 feet wide and 29 feet tall. It’s a test pontoon recently completed at the Satsop Development Park.

It will give the Washington Department of Transportation and contractors a better idea of the construction methods that will be used for the pontoons for the new Highway 520 floating bridge.

KXRO reported the test is only one-sixth the size of the largest pontoon that will be built for the new bridge on Lake Washington between Seattle and Bellevue.

The pontoons will be built at a casting yard in Aberdeen or Hoquiam.

The test pontoon will be destroyed.

Vancouver, Wash.: Power line meeting attracts 700

About 700 people attended a Sunday meeting in Vancouver called by opponents of the Bonneville Power Administration plan to build a new high-voltage line through southwest Washington between Castle Rock and Troutdale, Ore.

The Columbian reported the meeting was called by a group called Stop Towers Now. Residents object to towers, which would be as tall as a 15-story building, and possible health risk of electromagnetic radiation.

BPA project manger Mark Korsness said the risks will be addressed in an environmental impact statement due next year. A final decision on the project is expected in 2012.

Yakima: EPA gathers more groundwater samples

The federal government has completed a second round of groundwater sampling in Eastern Washington’s lower Yakima Valley.

The goal of the sampling is to link high levels of nitrates in groundwater and private wells to potential sources of contamination.

EPA sampled over 330 residential drinking water wells in the first sampling effort. Those results helped officials identify locations for the next round of sampling, which included crop fields, dairies, 29 wells and wastewater treatment plants.

The agency sent more than 1,000 samples to laboratories for analysis. EPA said Monday the results are expected later this summer.

Idaho: 2,700 Guardsmen will be Iraq bound

More than 2,700 members of the Army National Guard in Idaho, Montana and Oregon are being sent to Iraq in a yearlong deployment this fall.

Col. Tim Marsano said the members of the 116th Cavalry Brigade Combat Team will go to Camp Shelby, Miss., for about two months of training starting Sept. 17, before heading to Iraq for the remaining 10 months of the deployment. About 1,500 of the soldiers are from Idaho; for many, this will be their second deployment to Iraq.

The U.S. Department of Defense notified the Idaho National Guard last fall that as many as 3,500 guardsmen could be deployed to Iraq this year. Marsano said the Pentagon has since decided it does not need that many soldiers from the 116th.

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