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Tuesday, April 6, 2004 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Local Digest

Poultry slaughter ordered in B.C.

FRASER VALLEY, B. C. — Canadian officials yesterday ordered the slaughter of some 19 million chickens and turkeys in British Columbia to try to stop the spread of bird flu.

The cull in Fraser Valley, which would affect some 80 percent of the province's poultry producers, was ordered after avian flu spread beyond a "hot zone" surrounding the first affected farms.

Agriculture Minister Bob Speller said the Canadian Food Inspection Agency recommended the cull.

About 400,000 birds already had been ordered slaughtered before yesterday's decision.

Two workers have caught mild forms of the H7 avian flu but have recovered. The strain, unlike the flu that killed 24 people in Thailand and Vietnam, is not considered life-threatening to humans.

Fort-Lewis based soldier killed by explosive in Iraq

FORT LEWIS, Pierce County — A Fort Lewis-based soldier was killed in Mosul, Iraq, Sunday when an explosive hit the vehicle he was in, the military reported last night.

The man is identified as Army Spc. Philip G. Rogers, 23, of Gresham, Ore.

He's from the 3rd Battalion, 2nd Infantry Division.

Puget Sound Energy wants to raise gas, electricity rates

SEATTLE — Puget Sound Energy has asked state regulators to approve a rate-increase proposal that would affect hundreds of thousands of natural-gas and electricity customers.

The Bellevue-based utility said it needs an overall increase of 5.7 percent from its power customers and a 6.3 percent increase from its natural-gas customers to enhance customer service and strengthen its financial position. For the average household, that would work out to be an additional $4.06 per month for electricity and $4.47 for natural gas.

The Washington state Utilities and Transportation Commission could take up to 11 months to consider the proposal, which was filed yesterday.

AquaSox owners donate to Everett fireworks drive

EVERETT — The owners of the Everett AquaSox have donated $17,500 toward this year's Fourth of July fireworks and $1,500 in seed money for next year's event.

As a result of the donation by Mark and Joan Sperandio, announced yesterday, this year's fireworks display in Everett will be known as the "Everett AquaSox Thunder on the Bay." The couple also donated $1,000 to the annual Jaycees Fourth of July Parade.

A total of $37,500 has been raised in recent months for the Fourth of July celebration. The fate of the celebration had come into question after Everett last year pulled its funding for the Salty Sea Days Association, which had been responsible for the fireworks.

Charges urged against driver who lost board from trailer

BELLEVUE — State Patrol investigators have recommended that prosecutors file felony hit-and-run charges against a Newcastle man who they say knew a piece of particleboard flew off his rental trailer and crashed through the windshield of a Jeep, blinding its driver.

The Patrol finished its investigation of James Hefley, 28, last week and sent the findings to the King County Prosecutor's Office, which has the final say about charges.

The accident occurred Feb. 22 on Interstate 405 near Renton. Detectives traced a fingerprint on the board to Hefley, who was arrested March 19.

Former teacher sentenced for having sex with student

EVERETT — A former Jackson High School teacher was sentenced yesterday to 15 months in prison for having a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old student.

The defense and prosecution had agreed to a plea agreement of six months in jail and counseling, but Snohomish County Superior Court Judge Kenneth Cowsert instead sentenced Robert Beresford, 35, to the longer sentence, as well as up to four years of community custody. Beresford's teaching credential also was revoked. Cowsert said he did not believe Beresford, a first-time offender, would benefit from a treatment program.

According to charging papers, Beresford and the girl had sex in his Everett home, on his boat, in his car and in his classroom.

Seattle council won't weigh two annexations this year

SEATTLE — The Seattle City Council voted yesterday to slow down the possible annexation of two areas of unincorporated King County that would add 46,000 residents to the city.

In a unanimous decision, the council said it would not consider designating North Highline and West Hill as potential annexation areas this year, as Mayor Greg Nickels had recommended. The council wants assurances from King County that it would cover some potential costs of annexation. It also wants to poll current Seattleites and residents in the targeted areas to see whether they support the idea.

Residents of North Highline and West Hill would have to petition to be annexed or vote for annexation before their communities could become part of Seattle.

Seattle trawler that hit reef in Alaska needs major repair

KODIAK, Alaska — One of the largest research trawlers in the United States will need substantial repairs after striking a reef off the coast of Kodiak Island.

Repairs will take place in the vessel's homeport in Seattle.

The crew of the 215-foot Miller Freeman spent the weekend on nearby Woody Island assessing damages after the mishap Thursday in Rolling Bay south of the Sitkalidak Strait.

The vessel was doing research on the Shelikof pollock fishery and calibrating its hydro-acoustic instruments when the accident occurred.

The Miller Freeman, a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration vessel (NOAA), was traveling at 11 knots in 66-foot-deep water when it struck an uncharted reef ledge.

Canada, U.S. to work jointly on relocating killer whale

VANCOUVER, B.C. — Canadian and U.S. agencies announced plans yesterday for getting a lone orca out of Nootka Sound, where it has been cozying up to boats and float planes since separating from its pod in 2001.

If the pod swims close to Nootka Sound, on the west side of Vancouver Island, this spring, biologists will try to lead the orca, nicknamed Luna, to it. If that fails, they'll capture Luna and move him to the San Juan Islands this summer or fall, when killer whales are in Washington waters.

The U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service and Fisheries and Oceans Canada have each pledged $100,000 toward the effort.

The U.S. and Canadian fisheries agencies worked together in summer 2002 to move another young orca back to Canadian waters from busy Puget Sound.

Dancer who died at festival suffered from heart disease

SEATTLE — Francine Bazy, a renowned local dancer who collapsed and died Saturday after performing at the Seattle Center World Rhythm Festival, had heart disease, "which caused her heart to stop," a King County Medical Examiner's investigator said yesterday.

Bazy, 43, of Seattle, who was better-known by her stage name, Yosheh Amayo-Baptiste, specialized in teaching and performing Caribbean, West African and Brazilian dance.

Motorcycle hits 130 mph; man arrested in Federal Way

FEDERAL WAY — A 21-year-old Federal Way man was arrested yesterday after authorities say he raced a motorcycle on Interstate 90 at speeds topping 130 mph. The incident began about 10:15 a.m. near North Bend. Troopers on a State Patrol plane spotted the speeding motorcycle and called troopers on the ground to try to stop it.

The chase was called off because of high speeds, said Patrol spokeswoman Kelly Spangler. The plane tracked the motorcycle as it turned off I-90 and weaved south, running through a construction site and almost hitting an off-duty police officer.

The rider went to his home on 11th Place Southwest in Federal Way and drove inside the garage, Spangler said. Police surrounded the home, and the man's relatives talked him into surrendering. He was booked on suspicion of eluding police, a felony.

Information is from Seattle Times staff and news services.

Copyright © 2004 The Seattle Times Company

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