Friday, February 6, 2009

Cashmere queen loses title over drug bust

The Cashmere Queen contest winner was stripped of her crown after pleading guilty to possession of drug paraphernalia.


The Cashmere Queen contest winner was stripped of her crown after pleading guilty to possession of drug paraphernalia.

The Wenatchee World reports 18-year-old Sara Young was sentenced last month to one year probation and fined $293. She had been a passenger in a car in which a Chelan County sheriff's deputy found marijuana and two pipes.

The Queen Cashmere contest director, Kim Phillips, said the misdemeanor violated the contest's code of conduct. In addition to the title, Young loses a $1,000 scholarship.

The 2008 runner-up, Princess Leah Griffith, will assume the duties of Cashmere queen until the next royalty selection in March.


Information from: The Wenatchee World,

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Seattle bank robber claims he left bomb behind Staff

SEATTLE – Police shut down Fifth Avenue at Union Street in downtown Seattle after a bank robber said he left a bomb behind.

Police evacuated a Washington Mutual branch and sent in a robot after a bank robber left behind a threatening note.

The bomb squad did not find a threat.

The suspect robbed the bank on Fifth Avenue at about 3:30 p.m. Wednesday and got away on foot.

The suspect is still on the loose. He is described as a white male in his 30’s, 6-foot-4 and thin, with light brown hair, no facial hair or glasses. He was wearing a green sports jacket and a maroon tie.

No injuries were reported.

Corrections officer charged in road rage incident


A rookie Pierce County corrections officer has been charged with second-degree assault for pointing his gun at another car during a road rage incident in Burien, according to court documents.

Yury Nijnik, 28, is set for arraignment Feb. 10 at the Regional Justice Center in Kent. He was released from jail last week on $5,000 bail, although a judge prohibited him from carrying a gun while the case is pending.

Nijnik was arrested Jan. 25 after an incident that began when he allegedly cut off another car with two adults and their 12-year-old niece on First Avenue South near South 160th Street. The second driver, Shean Corvari, honked and Nijnik made a derogatory hand gesture, court documents say.

As Corvari drove on, he noticed Nijnik driving recklessly and swerving between lanes. Corvari managed to get ahead of him in traffic and tried to ignore him until Nijnik pulled alongside him and pointed a gun, court documents say.

Corvari turned left on South 144th Street to get away, but Nijnik cut across two lanes and pulled in front of him, slamming his brakes. Nijnik then got out of his car and pressed his Pierce County corrections ID card against Corvari's window with his gun tucked into his waistband, court documents say.

"(Corvari) stated that he felt very threatened and was in fear that Nijnik was going to shoot him or his wife," court documents say.

Nijnik was hired as a corrections officer six months ago and still is in his one-year probationary phase. He had no arrest authority and was carrying his personal weapon, Pierce County Sheriff's Detective Ed Troyer said.

He was placed on paid administrative leave while the Pierce County Sheriff's Office conducts an internal investigation, Troyer said.

"He's on probation, so it doesn't look very good for him," he said.

After the initial confrontation, Corvari had rolled back and bumped into Nijnik's vehicle when a traffic light turned green, court documents say. Nijnik claimed his car had been rammed several times, which caused him to feel threatened, but officers found no visible damage, court documents say.

"The car ... appeared to be in pristine condition," court documents say.

Nijnik denied that he brandished his weapon. When he called 911, he told the dispatcher that the other car's occupants "may" have seen his gun, although he didn't understand how. He said he took his gun out, but placed it in his glove box "in case he got into a fight," court documents say.

He said he then holstered the gun when police arrived, court documents say.

Corvari also has a concealed pistol license, but never drew his weapon. His wife and Nijnik both called 911 and King County sheriff's deputies responded, according to court documents and police.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Sheriffinvestigates whether Michael Phelps smoked pot.

(CNN) -- A South Carolina sheriff's office is investigating whether Olympic gold medalist Michael Phelps smoked marijuana on the University of South Carolina campus.

Authorities will file criminal charges if the investigation determines that they are warranted, a spokesman said Tuesday.

"If someone breaks the law in Richland County, we have an obligation as law enforcement to investigate and to bring charges," Sheriff Leon Lott said in a statement.

"The Richland County Sheriff's Department is making an effort to determine if Mr. Phelps broke the law. If he did, he will be charged in the same manner as anyone else. The sheriff has a responsibility to be fair, to enforce the law and to not turn a blind eye because someone is a celebrity."

Phelps admitted "regrettable behavior" on Sunday after a British newspaper published a photograph of him smoking through a bong. The tabloid News of the World showed Phelps using the bong during what it said was a November party at the University of South Carolina, in Richland County.

Both university police and Columbia, South Carolina, police have said they would not pursue charges, according to The State newspaper in Columbia. It was unclear where the party took place, the paper said, or whether it was on the USC campus.

"I engaged in behavior which was regrettable and demonstrated bad judgment," said Phelps, who won a record eight gold medals at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, China, in a statement Sunday.

"I'm 23 years old, and despite the successes I have had in the pool, I acted in a youthful and inappropriate way, not in a manner that people have come to expect from me," he said. "For this, I am sorry. I promise my fans and the public -- it will not happen again."

The U.S. Olympic Committee also issued a statement that said in part, "Michael has acknowledged that he made a mistake and apologized for his actions. We are confident that, going forward, Michael will consistently set the kind of example we all expect from a great Olympic champion."

In 2004, Phelps was arrested on charges of driving under the influence in Salisbury, Maryland. He pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 18 months probation. He also issued an apology after that incident.

Phelps is one of 12 Olympic athletes who have signed on to "My Victory," an initiative launched last year by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency aimed at keeping competitive sports clean.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Troopers with bogus degrees won't be charged

Criminal charges won't be filed against nine Washington State Patrol troopers who were investigated over whether they knowingly used phony college degrees to obtain higher pay.

Criminal charges won't be filed against nine Washington State Patrol troopers who were investigated over whether they knowingly used phony college degrees to obtain higher pay.

The chief deputy prosecutor for Thurston County, Jon Tunheim, says a review found insufficient evidence to show the troopers knew the diplomas were from institutions that lacked accreditation.
Tunheim said Monday that it appeared the troopers relied on the State Patrol’s human resources department to determine whether the degrees would qualify them for higher pay.

He added that the troopers requested that their higher incentive pay be discontinued and have repaid the added money.

The troopers were put on paid leave Oct. 13 while the case was investigated. It was not immediately known when the troopers may return to active duty.


Information from: The Olympian,