Sunday regional briefs


No lock out planned at grain terminals

Northwest grain terminal owners say they have no plans to lock out workers even though they got no response to their final contract offer by a Saturday deadline.

Terminal owners said in a statement that they believe bargaining with a longshoremen’s union is at an impasse but have agreed to attend meetings with a federal mediator next week and “will approach them with an open mind.”

International Longshore and Warehouse Union spokeswoman Jennifer Sargent said Saturday workers will return to the negotiating table. Meetings are scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday.

Northwest terminals handle a quarter of all U.S. grain exports.


Jail finds love affair with high-profile inmates

Columbia County jailers say defendants in two of Oregon’s highest-profile recent crime sprees were carrying on a clandestine relationship behind bars.

Jail officials say Andrew Barnett, accused of perpetrating an anthrax hoax, and Holly Grigsby, charged in a three-state killing spree, traded love notes through the jailhouse library. The Oregonian reports that the scheme was uncovered last month, when a jailer found a four-page letter from Barnett hidden in a law book on a library shelf.

Jail supervisor Lt. Tony Weaver says Barnett’s note was vulgar and sexually explicit, and it included a racist rant against the African American judge presiding over their cases.


Brake pad makers gear up for Wash. law

Manufacturers of brake pads are gearing up to meet a first-in-the-nation Washington state law requiring they phase out the use of copper and other heavy metals.

Washington in 2010 banned the use of copper in brake pads, as a way to prevent the metal from polluting waters and harming fish. When brakes wear down, they release copper shavings onto roads and are eventually washed into rivers. State officials say that could harm marine life.

The first phase of the law takes effect Jan. 1, when manufacturers of friction brakes will be required to report the concentrations of heavy metals such as copper, zinc or nickel in their products.

The allowable amount of copper could drop almost to zero in 2023 if manufacturers show it is possible.


Police arrest 4 in package snatchings

Police credit sharp-eyed residents of West Seattle with helping them arrest four people suspected of stealing packages from front porches.

The Seattle Times reports that a woman at one house reported seeing a man run off with a UPS package late Friday morning and get into a white Toyota van. At mid-afternoon, a woman was seen jumping out of the same van at a different residence.

An officer spotted the van, pulled it over and found three men, one woman and several packages. The packages have been returned.

Officers are still trying to determine the owners of a pile of objects also found in the van.

The four people were booked into the King County Jail for investigation in the robberies and for outstanding warrants.


Police investigate after 2 bodies found

Spokane police say they’re investigating a homicide after a body was found in a house just blocks from where another body was found in an alley.

Police say the alley death is also considered suspicious and foul play is suspected.

Capt. Dave Richards tells The Spokesman-Review there is nothing to indicate the cases are related. Both bodies were found Friday. Neither victim has been identified.

The Associated Press


State Senate seat opening in northeast Wash.

Five people have applied for a state Senate seat from northeast Washington that becomes available Jan. 1 when veteran state Sen. Bob Morton retires halfway through his term.

The 7th District extends through Spokane, Pend Oreille, Stevens, Ferry and Okanogan counties.

County commissioners will appoint a replacement from among three nominees selected by Republican precinct committee officers.

The Spokesman-Review reports applicants so far include a county commissioner, a former legislator and a former legislative aide.