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Friday, October 4, 2002 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Local Digest

Slaying suspect will be in court

PORTLAND — Ward Weaver, whom police suspect in the slaying of two Oregon City girls, is scheduled to appear in Clackamas County Court today, the district attorney's office said in a statement.

Weaver's appearance in court may indicate he will be charged in the deaths of Ashley Pond, 12, and Miranda Gaddis, 13.

A grand jury has been meeting for two weeks to hear evidence supporting the prosecution's request for an indictment charging Weaver with abducting and killing the girls. The grand-jury proceedings are kept secret.

The girls disappeared two months apart last winter and their bodies were found in Weaver's back yard in August. Weaver, a 39-year-old single father of five, was in jail on an unrelated rape charge at the time of the search.

Fight between mother, school-bus driver probed

LYNNWOOD — Edmonds school officials are investigating a fight between a bus driver and the mother of students Tuesday afternoon on one of their buses at College Place Elementary School.

The mother of four students boarded a bus parked at the school at 3 p.m. and got into a brawl with a male bus driver, according to Debbie Jakala, spokeswoman for the Edmonds School District. The Lynnwood woman suffered a cut on her mouth which required stitches; the driver suffered facial bruising and minor injuries to his neck and shoulders.

The mother climbed onto the bus, while children were boarding at the end of the day, to talk to the driver. She had heard that he was scolding students for their behavior on the bus, according to a Lynnwood police report.

The driver, who has worked for the district since 1999, is on paid administrative leave until school officials and Lynnwood police finish their investigations. No charges have been filed.

Body of man who drowned while fishing is recovered

LACEY — The body of a 71-year-old man who drowned while fishing was pulled from the Nisqually River yesterday.

Hector Evans, of Tacoma, fell into the river Wednesday about a half mile east of Interstate 5. His body was discovered during low-tide yesterday.

2 left homeless after fire spreads from bin to building

SEATTLE — A mother and her daughter are homeless after a fire set in a recycling bin spread to their apartment building early yesterday.

Firefighters were called to the Yesler Terrace apartments at 107 Broadway at 1:15 a.m. to find a fire that had spread up the side of a two-story building and into the roof, said Seattle Fire Department spokeswoman Helen Fitzpatrick. The arson caused about $25,000 worth of damage.

Man faces 5 years in prison after pleading guilty to fraud

SEATTLE — A Bellingham man who took $200,000 from a disability-insurance company while running a successful cabinetry business faces up to five years in federal prison after pleading guilty to mail fraud yesterday.

Wesley Wayne Herman, 44, is scheduled to be sentenced in December.

Herman admitted that between 1994 and 1997, he claimed he was unable to work because of viral encephalitis and collected the money from Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance of Milwaukee. But at the same time, he ran a cabinetry business and rang up $335,000 in profits.

4 areas in B.C. among parks being created in Canada

OTTAWA — Four areas in British Columbia are among 10 new national parks and five marine conservation areas being created by the Canadian government.

Prime Minister Jean Chretien yesterday announced details of a plan to increase the size of Canada's parks system by almost 50 percent.

Seven of the parks will be in British Columbia's Gulf Islands.

In all, the new parks will protect an area roughly equal in size to the Canadian provinces of Newfoundland and Labrador.

Three of the five national marine conservation areas will be located in Gwaii Haanas off British Columbia's Queen Charlotte Islands, in western Lake Superior, and in British Columbia's southern Strait of Georgia.

Times staff and news services.

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