The Goldendale woman accused of killing her 2-year-old daughter and severely cutting her teenage daughter at a Cannon Beach hotel said nothing during her first court appearance Monday. 40-year-old Jessica Smith appeared in court via a video link from the Clatsop County Jail after being arrested late Sunday. Authorities began looking for her Friday after a housekeeper at the resort found Smith’s toddler dead in a room. Police say the older daughter was badly cut and taken to a Portland hospital for surgery. She is expected to recover. Smith was silent at her arraignment and looked down during most of her time on screen. She did not enter a plea and is being held without bail. Her lawyer, William Falls, declined to comment.
Mid-Columbia Medical Center and Oregon Health Sciences University have entered into a new agreement that includes recruiting additional physicians to The Dalles. The 10-year deal will also see MCMC and OHSU enhance the hospital’s electronic records system to provide a seamless treatment experience for patients receiving care at both facilities. OHSU President Joe Robertson says the collaboration brings out the best of a community health system and an academic health system. MCMC President and CEO Duane Francis emphasized the Medical Center board will remain independent and locally controlled. Mark Inger of OHSU’s executive management team has been placed on the MCMC board, and the seat will be filled at the OHSU’s discretion. Francis noted new medical services through the new partnership will be developed over time. He said current MCMC physicians will be transitioned over two years to become employed by OHSU, but would still live and work in The Dalles as they are leased back to MCMC.
A wildfire in east Klickitat County burned 50 acres late Monday afternoon but was quickly contained. Ed Powell of Klickitat County Emergency Management says one dwelling was destroyed in the fire at Woodland and Old Stage Road, along with two outbuildings and several vehicles. Responders were able to safely remove the occupant of the residence, who suffered what Powell termed minor injuries. Rural Fire District 7 was joined in suppression efforts by crews from Appleton, Centerville, Goldendale, High Prairie, and the Washington Department of Natural Resources. Cause of fire is still under investigation. The fire occurred at around 4:45 Monday afternoon.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has settled a lawsuit that will force it to disclose the amount of pollutants its dams are sending into American waterways for the first time in the agency’s history. The legal settlement could have broad implications for the Corps’ hundreds of dams nationwide. The Corps says in the settlement it will immediately notify the conservation group Columbia Riverkeeper of any oil spills among its eight dams in Oregon and Washington. The Corps also will apply to the EPA for pollution permits, something it has never done for the dams on the Columbia and Snake rivers. The settlement was filed in U.S. District Court in Portland. Columbia Riverkeeper says in the lawsuit that the Corps violated the Clean Water Act.
Washington voters have through Tuesday to get their primary election ballots in or postmarked for mail delivery. With the top two candidates in each race advancing to the general election regardless of party, most local races will serve as little more than preliminaries for November. There are three candidates in Klickitat County for West District Court Judge: Dave Brown, Jeff Baker, and Elizabeth Hallock; and for position three on the PUD board: Sherry Carver, Jonathan Lewis, and Dan Gunkel. In Skamania County three candidates are running for auditor: Keith Chamberlain, BreAnna Mendoza, and Robert Waymire; and four are seeking a spot on the PUD Commission: Dan Gunderson, Bob Wittenberg, Thomas Linde, and Liz Green. There is also a four-way primary for position two from District 14 in the Washington House contested by Gina McCabe, Adam Yoest, Paul George, and Ben Shoval, who withdrew from the race last month but his name remains on the ballot. And the third Congressional District primary sees incumbent Jaime Herrera Beutler challenged by Michael Delavar and Bob Dingenthal.
It has been a busy summer for North Wasco County School District 21 maintenance crews, as a number of projects have been undertaken to be ready for the upcoming school year. The work has included new portables at Chenowith and Dry Hollow elementary schools, a new restroom in the special needs area at the Wahtonka campus, roof work at Colonel Wright Elementary and The Dalles Middle School, and solving drainage issues at The Dalles High School. D-21 Facilities Director Dennis Whitehouse notes the district has a long list of maintenance needs, and right now they are holding steady. Whitehouse says a number of H-VAC and water piping issues in D-21 facilities need to be addressed.
The Nene Creek Fire sparked by lighting over the weekend about 22 miles north of Shaniko Butte has burned 200 acres. The fire is on Warm Springs tribal land of mixed conifer, grass, and brush. The Northwest Interagency Coordination Center says 10 residences are threatened by the fire along with two other structures. Three fire crews totaling 103 people and ten engines are battling the fire. Four crews from the nearby Logging Unit fires, including two heavy-lift helicopters, spent Sunday working with Warm Springs Fire Management to check expansion of the blaze. There is no containment figure at this time.
We are four weeks away from the Roy Webster Columbia River Cross Channel Swim, and already the 550 available spots in the Labor Day swim are sold out. Hood River County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Mike Glover says the entrants once again are coming from all over. Glover says they could use more volunteers to help the swim go smoothly on Labor Day morning. Those who would like to help can call the Chamber at 541-386-2000.
Police say the mother of a toddler found dead at a Cannon Beach resort on Friday has been taken into custody. Cannon Beach Police Chief Jason Schermerhorn says 40-year-old Jessica Smith of Goldendale was found about 15 miles east of Cannon Beach by a Coast Guard helicopter. Clastop County District Attorney Josh Marquis said it is believed Smith was hiding all weekend in the remote wooded area. Marquis added Smith faces one count of aggravated homicide…and one count of attempted aggravated homicide. Authorities had said Sunday that the mother of the toddler and a teen girl found seriously injured in a resort room was wanted on suspicion of murder. Schermerhorn said the cause of death of the 2-year-old remains unknown after an autopsy, but it determined her death was a homicide. Authorities had been looking for Smith since a housekeeper discovered the toddler and her 13-year-old sister Friday morning at the resort. Previously, officials wanted to ensure Smith’s welfare. The teen had severe cut wounds, but authorities say she is expected to make a full recovery.
A 49-year-old Kentucky man who worked as a technical writer for Insitu in 2011 was sentenced by a federal judge in Yakima to three months in prison for selling trade secrets involving drone aircraft. Stephen Martin Ward was found guilty in April of stealing trade secrets under the federal Economic Espionage Act. U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington Michael Ormsby says Ward was arrested in November 2011 in Indiana after giving a digital copy of an unmanned aircraft maintenance manual to an undercover agent for 10-thousand dollars. Ormsby says Ward was hired by Insitu as a technical writer in August 2011 to create a maintenance manual for a drone. On Thursday, federal District Judge Rosanna Malouf Peterson sentenced Ward to three months in prison and ordered him to have no contact with Insitu, parent company Boenig, or its employees.