This Hour: Latest Washington news, sports, business and entertainment - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather

This Hour: Latest Washington news, sports, business and entertainment

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Better weather aiding Washington wildfire fight

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) - A sheriff in the thick of a destructive wildfire that has charred hundreds of square miles of north-central Washington is encouraged by cooler weather and calming winds that are helping firefighters attack the stubborn blaze.

Okanogan County Sheriff Frank Rogers says fire crews quickly attacked a new fire east of Tonasket on Monday. A half-dozen homes were briefly evacuated, but the fire burned past them with no destruction.

Residents of a couple of dozen additional rural homes were told to leave Monday, but Rogers says that was really just a precaution.

The sheriff says cooler temperatures and higher humidity continue to be in the forecast, but unfortunately the area is also on "lightning watch" Tuesday through Thursday. In his words, "We don't need any more lightning."

The Carlton Complex of fires has burned about 379 square miles and destroyed an estimated 150 homes. The fire is being blamed for one death.


Washington loses latest bid for education agility

SEATTLE (AP) - Washington state has lost its latest bid for flexibility under the federal No Child Left Behind law.

State officials say they heard from U.S. Department of Education officials to say they were not going to approve a request made about a month ago.

Superintendent of Public Instruction Randy Dorn had asked if Washington schools could avoid sending letters to parents saying schools are not making adequate yearly progress and explaining that kids can transfer to a school that is.

The letters usually sent right before the new school year begins also offer outside tutoring.

Washington was the first state to lose its waiver from some elements of the federal education law. Forty-three states and the District of Columbia were given waivers while they wait for Congress to reauthorize the federal framework for the nation's schools.


Bomb scare on Metro bus in Kent was dud

KENT, Wash. (AP) - King County sheriff's deputies evacuated passengers and closed a Kent street after a suspicious bag was found on a Metro bus.

A SWAT team and a bomb squad with two robots responded about 7 a.m. Monday. Nearby businesses were evacuated, near Southeast 240th and 104th Southeast.

Buses were rerouted. The air space over the scene was closed to news helicopters.

KOMO reports a robot destroyed the device and officials determined it was left over from an earlier bomb training drill.


Man accused of shooting officer hanged himself

VANCOUVER, Wash. (AP) - Medical examiner Dennis Wickham confirmed that the man accused of shooting a Vancouver, Washington, police officer during a traffic stop committed suicide.

James Sapp was pronounced dead Friday, almost 24 hours after jail deputies intervened during the suicide attempt. Wickham said Monday that Sapp hanged himself.

Sapp had pleaded not guilty to attempted murder and other charges in the June 30 shooting of Officer Dustin Goudschaal.

The motorcycle traffic officer was shot seven times, but was protected by a ballistic vest. He was hospitalized for a few days before being sent home to recover.


Construction worker dies in fall in Bellevue

BELLEVUE, Wash. (AP) - A construction worker died in a fall at a building under construction at Bellevue College.

Police say the worker was on a ladder on the fourth story of the Health Science Building Monday when he fell about 50 feet to the ground. He was dead when emergency responders arrived.

Bellevue police say the state Department of Labor and Industries is investigating safety equipment used by the victim and whether safety procedures were followed.


Inmates punished following fight at Coyote Ridge

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) - The movements of inmates at Coyote Ridge Corrections Center are currently being restricted following two fights between several offenders.

The state Department of Corrections said Monday that following Sunday's incident, 22 offenders were placed in administrative segregation, and the rest of the minimum-security prison's inmates are not being allowed to congregate outside of their living units, except for when they go to meals.

The agency is currently investigating and Superintendent Jeff Uttecht will determine when the prison will return to normal operations.

Officials say the first fight broke out at about 6:30 p.m., followed a second fight in the same area a few moments later. Three inmates were treated at a local hospital, with one requiring stitches to the head. No staff members were injured.

Coyote Ridge, located about 40 miles northeast of the Tri-Cities, houses more than 2,550 prisoners and is the largest prison in the state.


Obama visit could make bad traffic situation worse

SEATTLE (AP) - President Barack Obama is visiting Seattle for political fundraisers and drivers should get ready for road closures around the Puget Sound region Tuesday afternoon and evening as the president's motorcade travels between stops.

Seattle police advised people to plan extra time for their commutes.

State highway officials had already asked commuters to make alternative plans this week if they usually drive to Seattle on Interstate 90, as three of westbound Interstate 90 are closed between Bellevue and Mercer Island for repairs.

Obama is scheduled to arrive at Boeing Field Tuesday afternoon.

KOMO reports the president's first stop will be a mansion in Seattle's Madrona neighborhood. He'll then head to Costco CEO Jim Sinegal's home in Hunt's Point for a fundraiser.

The president is not expected to make any public appearances in Seattle. Obama is scheduled to leave the Seattle area Tuesday evening, en route to another fund-raising stop in San Francisco.

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