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Spokane/East. Wash/North Idaho News Releases for Tue. Dec. 7 - 9:41 pm
Federal
BLM Burns District opens public scoping period for Bridge Creek Area grazing plans (Photo)
Bureau of Land Management Ore. & Wash. - 12/03/21 10:47 AM
Bridge Creek Area Land Status Map
Bridge Creek Area Land Status Map
http://www.flashalertnewswire.net/images/news/2021-12/5514/150583/thumb_BCA_EIS_LandStatusMap.jpg

Hines, Ore. – The Bureau of Land Management Burns District is initiating an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the Bridge Creek Area Allotment Management Plans (AMPs) and seeking public input on issues, actions, and alternatives that the EIS should address. The 30-day public scoping period will begin on December 3, 2021.

“There is a high level of public interest in this project and the BLM welcomes public participation to reach a sound decision,” said Andrews/Steens Field Manager Don Rotell. 

The Bridge Creek AMPs EIS will analyze several alternatives for livestock management and related actions in the 26,378-acre project area on Steens Mountain in southeast Oregon near the town of Frenchglen. The project includes four allotments: Hammond, Mud Creek, Hardie Summer, and Hammond Fenced Federal Range allotments. There is currently no grazing preference or grazing authorizations associated with the four allotments in the project area, all of which have been largely un-grazed since 2014. 

The alternatives in the EIS will consider issuance of 10-year grazing permits to up to three applicants and approval of four AMPs that outline seasonal grazing systems, grazing utilization thresholds, monitoring, and range developments. 

Additional project information is available through BLM’s ePlanning website at: https://eplanning.blm.gov/eplanning-ui/project/2013546/510 

Public comments should be submitted no later than January 3, 2022 on the ePlanning project page, by email to LM_OR_BU_BCA_AMP@blm.gov">BLM_OR_BU_BCA_AMP@blm.gov, or mail to 28910 Hwy 20 W., Hines, Oregon 97738. Please reference “BCA AMP” when submitting comments.

-BLM–

This year, we invite everyone to reimagine your public lands as we celebrate 75 years of the BLM’s stewardship and service to the American people. The BLM manages approximately 245 million acres of public land located primarily in 12 Western states, including Alaska. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. The agency’s mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of America’s public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations. 




Attached Media Files: Bridge Creek Area Land Status Map

Nurse Pleads Guilty to Tampering with Morphine at Moses Lake Clinic
U.S. Attorney's Office - Eastern Dist. of Wash. - 12/06/21 12:40 PM

Spokane, Washington – Esther Rae Tuller, age 40, of Moses Lake, Washington, has pleaded guilty to tampering with morphine medication while working as a registered nurse.  Chief United States District Judge Stanley A. Bastian accepted Tuller’s guilty plea and scheduled a sentencing hearing for March 17, 2022, in Spokane. 

According to court documents and information disclosed during Tuller’s change of plea hearing, between August 2019 and April 2020, Tuller was a Washington-licensed registered nurse employed at the Confluence Health Clinic in Moses Lake.  Her position as a nurse provided her with access to medications, including opioid narcotics such as morphine, an opioid derivative commonly prescribed by hospitals and health care facilities to relieve pain.

While working at Confluence Health, Tuller used syringes to remove morphine from at least 17 vials, and then ingested that morphine as part of her own opioid addiction.  She then replaced the morphine with a saline solution that was essentially salt dissolved in water, and attempted to glue the caps back onto the vials to make them appear intact.  Before Tuller was apprehended by law enforcement, at least one Confluence Health patient who was prescribed morphine had to be rushed to the emergency room; that patient continued to be in excruciating pain after receiving only saline from what was supposed to be morphine vials. 

United States Attorney Vanessa R. Waldref emphasized that part of her mission to ensure a safe and strong community in Eastern Washington includes addressing the opioid epidemic in all of its forms. “While Ms. Tuller’s addiction to opioids is both tragic and far too common, her decision to take advantage of her access to medical-grade morphine was an egregious breach of trust.  It is deeply troubling that she compounded her misconduct by secretly replacing that morphine with saline in vials that she knew would be distributed to patients.  She recklessly and seriously endangered the safety of patients who rely on the judgment and integrity of health care professionals every day.”  

The drug tampering charge carries a maximum penalty of 10 years imprisonment, a $250,000 fine, and up to 3 years of court supervision after release. 

United States Attorney Waldref underscored how important it is to detect crimes like these.  “I commend the outstanding investigative work by the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Diversion Group as well as the Food and Drug Administration’s Office of Criminal Investigations.  This case demonstrates that DEA, FDA, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office will work tirelessly to protect and strengthen our communities both by combatting opioid abuse wherever it occurs, and by holding accountable anyone who abuses a position of trust to access dangerous drugs or put vulnerable patients at risk.” 

Frank A. Tarentino III, Special Agent in Charge of DEA’s Seattle Field Division, highlighted DEA’s ongoing work against the abuse of opioids.  “Ms. Tuller’s reckless actions violated her oath as a medical professional, and undermined the trust and confidence of the public.  During this national opioid crisis, people are depending on health care and law enforcement professionals to keep our communities safe from anyone who seeks to exploit the system designed to provide care and treatment for those in need.”

“The FDA oversees the U.S. drug supply to ensure that it is safe and effective, and those who knowingly tamper with medicines put patients’ health at risk,” added Special Agent in Charge Lisa L. Malinowski of the FDA Office of Criminal Investigations Los Angeles Field Office. “We will continue to protect public health and bring to justice any health care professionals who take advantage of their unique positions or compromise their patients’ health and comfort by tampering with needed drugs.”

This investigation was conducted by the DEA’s Diversion Group in the Seattle Field Office, and the FDA’s Office of Criminal Investigations, Seattle Domicile.  Assistant United States Attorneys Dan Fruchter and Tyler H.L. Tornabene are prosecuting this matter on behalf of the United States. 

No. 2:21-CR-00163-SAB (E.D. Wash.)


Colville Tribal Member Sentenced to 107 Months for Carjacking Victim at Gunpoint and Unlawful Possession of Firearms
U.S. Attorney's Office - Eastern Dist. of Wash. - 12/02/21 11:22 AM

Spokane, Washington – Senior United States District Judge Rosanna M. Peterson sentenced Kyle Steven Scott Cate, age 30, an enrolled member of the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation, to 107 months of imprisonment for Carjacking and Felon in Possession of a Firearm following Cate’s guilty pleas to two federal indictments earlier this year.

According to court documents, on April 30, 2020, at 2:30 a.m., Cate began banging on the door of a residence located in Coulee Dam, Washington, on the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation.  Cate’s victim, who also is an enrolled member of the Colville Tribe, came to the door, and Cate asked him for a ride to Nespelem, Washington.  When the victim declined to give Cate a ride, Cate brandished a snub-nosed pistol at him before stealing his 1998 Black Subaru Legacy at gunpoint. Before leaving, Cate demanded the victim’s keys, pointed a pistol at his face, and said he would shoot him.  With Cate’s pistol only 4 to 5 inches away from his face and fearing for his safety, the victim gave up his keys.  Cate left in the carjacked Subaru, driving in the direction of Nespelem.  His victim called 911. 

Within minutes of the 911 call, Colville Tribal Police observed the Subaru Legacy driving toward Nespelem.  Police matched the license plate to the victim’s stolen car, and began pursuing Cate. Cate led officers on a chase that lasted approximately 23 miles, during which he reached speeds of approximately 100 miles per hour.  After Cate endangered law enforcement, other drivers, and himself for a significant period of time, the engine on the Subaru Legacy failed and Tribal Police were able to stop the carjacked vehicle.  During Cate’s arrest, Tribal Police recovered seven .22 caliber bullets from Cate’s pocket. A firearm that met the description given by Cate’s victim was recovered along Cate’s flightpath, consistent with Cate having thrown it from the moving vehicle during the high-speed chase.  Cate’s fingerprint was later recovered on the firearm.

Separately, and prior to the carjacking, Cate was found in possession of four stolen firearms in August 2018.  Those firearms, which had been stolen during a residential burglary, were recovered from Cate’s home.  Cate admitted that he possessed the guns and that he knew they were stolen.  At the time he possessed the stolen firearms, Cate had a prior felony conviction for Second Degree Robbery in Okanogan County Superior Court. 

United States Attorney Vanessa Waldref commended the joint efforts of law enforcement and emphasized the need to keep Eastern Washington safe and strong.  “All people in Eastern Washington deserve to be safe in their homes, whether they live in big cities, small towns, rural communities, or on reservations.  The danger inherent to stealing a car at gunpoint was made significantly worse when Mr. Cate led law enforcement on a high-speed chase.  He needlessly endangered countless people – including other Tribal members, Tribal law enforcement, innocent bystanders, and himself.  His offense may have taken only moments, but it has had a lasting impact on his victim and the community.  This case illustrates the good reasons why felons are not legally permitted to possess firearms, and it is alarming that entirely separate from the carjacking conduct, Mr. Cate was in possession of numerous firearms.  I am grateful to all of the federal, state, and Tribal officers who investigated the cases against Mr. Cate, and thankful that neither they, nor anyone else, was physically hurt by his actions.”   

Donald Voiret, the Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Seattle office, echoed the U.S. Attorney, stating: “Mr. Cate’s casual use of violence and blatant disregard for people’s safety indicates that significant time in prison may be the only way to ensure that he is not an ongoing menace to the public.”  ATF Seattle Field Division Special Agent in Charge Jonathan T. McPherson, joined that sentiment, noting: “Mr. Cate’s dangerous use of firearms in the commission of a carjacking, while also being a felon in possession of other stolen firearms, clearly warrants this significant sentence.  ATF will continue to investigate aggressively those who possess and use firearms illegally, including to threaten innocent bystanders as Mr. Cate did.”

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”), Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (“ATF”), Colville Tribal Police, and Washington State Patrol investigated these cases, which were prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Richard Barker.

2:20CR00108-RMP-1
2:21CR00051-RMP-1


State
Will Shad Become The Signature Fish Of The Columbia?
Northwest Power and Conservation Council - 12/03/21 12:36 PM

Independent Scientific Board reports on the proliferation of American Shad in the Columbia: 5 million counted so far this year at Bonneville Dam – five times more than all species of salmon and steelhead. Shad could be impacting other fish. Link to blog post: https://www.nwcouncil.org/news/will-shad-become-northwest-s-premier-fish


Tri-Cities-area School Districts
MEDIA ALERT: Regional Middle School Art Exhibit Opens (Photo)
ESD 123 - 12/07/21 6:42 PM
2021-12/1212/150691/Pioneer-mask.jpg
2021-12/1212/150691/Pioneer-mask.jpg
http://www.flashalertnewswire.net/images/news/2021-12/1212/150691/thumb_Pioneer-mask.jpg

PASCO, WA – The 2021 Regional Middle School Art Exhibit kicked off with an opening reception at 5:30 PM on Thursday, December 7th at Educational Service District 123. Nearly 100 pieces of student artwork are on display at the ESD 123 building in Pasco. This year’s exhibit showcases the artistic talents of 80 middle school students representing 10 schools across southeast Washington.

During the reception, school and district staff presented the student artists with certificates. Thanks to the generous sponsorship of STCU, ten students (one from each participating middle school) had their names drawn to receive $25 gift cards to a local art store. Three more students at the opening reception had their names drawn to receive special art kits. 

The 2021 exhibit includes 93 pieces of art from these middle schools:

  1. Columbia (Burbank)
  2. Finley
  3. Robert Olds Jr. High (North Franklin)
  4. McFarland (Othello)
  5. Ochoa (Pasco)
  6. Enterprise (Richland)
  7. Touchet
  8. Preston Hall (Waitsburg)
  9. Garrison (Walla Walla)
  10. Pioneer (Walla Walla)

The 2021 Middle School Art Exhibit is on display at the ESD 123 building at 3924 W. Court Street in Pasco now through December 31st. The exhibit is open to the public.  Photos of the artwork will be posted to the ESD website next week.  For more information, please contact Molly Curtiss, Director of Communications, at 509.544.5787 or tiss@esd123.org">mcurtiss@esd123.org.

###

About ESD 123:  Educational Service District 123, based in Pasco, WA, is one of nine ESDs in Washington. Dedicated to delivering collaborative solutions that promote learning, ESD 123 serves 23 school districts in seven counties of Southeastern Washington. Under Superintendent Darcy Weisner and its board of directors, this legislatively mandated, not-for-profit educational organization provides efficiency of educational systems and equity of learning opportunities for over 75,000 Washington students. For more information about ESD 123, please call 509-544-5700 or 888-547-8441 or visit www.esd123.org.




Attached Media Files: 2021-12/1212/150691/Pioneer-mask.jpg , 2021-12/1212/150691/Othello-students.jpg , 2021-12/1212/150691/IMG_0014.JPG , 2021-12/1212/150691/Enterprise-artwork.jpg

Businesses
PacificSource Health Plans Announces Idaho's 2021-2022 CHE Program Funding Recipients
PacificSource Health Plans - 12/06/21 11:48 AM

 

Bingham Memorial Hospital, Sandpoint Family Health Center, Valor Health, Kootenai Health Foundation, and Weiser Memorial Hospital to receive grants

 

(Boise, ID) December 6, 2021— PacificSource Health Plans is pleased to announce the 15 healthcare organizations, including five in Idaho, that will receive a combined total of more than $1.6 million in funding as part of its annual Community Health Excellence (CHE) program for the 2021-2022 cycle. Now in its 12th year, the CHE program has awarded more than $8 million in community grant awards to providers advancing healthcare delivery innovations in Oregon, Idaho, Montana, and, Washington. 

2021-2022 CHE program awards include a number of projects centered on improving access to services through recruitment, retention, clinic expansion, and healthcare service integration. Additionally, one-third of funded projects focus on reducing health disparities and improving equitable access to care. 

 

The full list of CHE one-year grant awards include: AWARE (MT), Bingham Memorial Hospital (ID), Cancer Support Community Montana (MT), Columbia Gorge Family Medicine (OR), Corvallis Family Medicine PC (OR), Mosaic Medical (OR), One Community Health (OR), Orchid Health (OR), Partnership Health Center (MT), Sandpoint Family Health Center (ID), and Valor Health (ID). Two-year grants to improve behavioral health access were awarded to: Center for Family Development (OR), Kootenai Health Foundation (ID), Mid-Columbia Medical Center (OR), and Weiser Memorial Hospital (ID). 

 

“With the continued community impact of COVID-19 in 2021, I’m pleased that we were able to expand the CHE program to be more responsive to provider needs, including adding a two-year grant to improve behavioral health service access,” said Ken Provencher, president and CEO of PacificSource. “I am confident this year’s grantees and the important work they facilitate will improve the long-term health of the communities these providers serve.”

 

Through the CHE program, PacificSource funds provider projects that advance healthcare integration, address health disparities and promote equity, and that develop the provider workforce. Applications are independently evaluated, and awards go to organizations that prioritize advancing the Quadruple Aim and demonstrate significant positive impact for their patients, regardless of their insurance or PacificSource member status. 

 

To be considered for the CHE program, contracted PacificSource providers must complete an online application including a detailed budget. The next CHE grant cycle will open in January 2022. For more information, please visit https://www.pacificsource.com/che-program/

About PacificSource Health Plans:

PacificSource Health Plans is an independent, not-for-profit community health plan serving the Northwest. Founded in 1933, PacificSource has local offices throughout Oregon, Idaho, Montana and Washington. The PacificSource family of companies employs more than 1,500 people and serves over 523,700 individuals throughout the Greater Northwest. For more information, visit PacificSource.com.


PacificSource Health Plans Announces Idaho's 2021-2022 CHE Program Funding Recipients
PacificSource Health Plans - 12/06/21 11:48 AM

 

Bingham Memorial Hospital, Sandpoint Family Health Center, Valor Health, Kootenai Health Foundation, and Weiser Memorial Hospital to receive grants

 

(Boise, ID) December 6, 2021— PacificSource Health Plans is pleased to announce the 15 healthcare organizations, including five in Idaho, that will receive a combined total of more than $1.6 million in funding as part of its annual Community Health Excellence (CHE) program for the 2021-2022 cycle. Now in its 12th year, the CHE program has awarded more than $8 million in community grant awards to providers advancing healthcare delivery innovations in Oregon, Idaho, Montana, and, Washington. 

2021-2022 CHE program awards include a number of projects centered on improving access to services through recruitment, retention, clinic expansion, and healthcare service integration. Additionally, one-third of funded projects focus on reducing health disparities and improving equitable access to care. 

 

The full list of CHE one-year grant awards include: AWARE (MT), Bingham Memorial Hospital (ID), Cancer Support Community Montana (MT), Columbia Gorge Family Medicine (OR), Corvallis Family Medicine PC (OR), Mosaic Medical (OR), One Community Health (OR), Orchid Health (OR), Partnership Health Center (MT), Sandpoint Family Health Center (ID), and Valor Health (ID). Two-year grants to improve behavioral health access were awarded to: Center for Family Development (OR), Kootenai Health Foundation (ID), Mid-Columbia Medical Center (OR), and Weiser Memorial Hospital (ID). 

 

“With the continued community impact of COVID-19 in 2021, I’m pleased that we were able to expand the CHE program to be more responsive to provider needs, including adding a two-year grant to improve behavioral health service access,” said Ken Provencher, president and CEO of PacificSource. “I am confident this year’s grantees and the important work they facilitate will improve the long-term health of the communities these providers serve.”

 

Through the CHE program, PacificSource funds provider projects that advance healthcare integration, address health disparities and promote equity, and that develop the provider workforce. Applications are independently evaluated, and awards go to organizations that prioritize advancing the Quadruple Aim and demonstrate significant positive impact for their patients, regardless of their insurance or PacificSource member status. 

 

To be considered for the CHE program, contracted PacificSource providers must complete an online application including a detailed budget. The next CHE grant cycle will open in January 2022. For more information, please visit https://www.pacificsource.com/che-program/

About PacificSource Health Plans:

PacificSource Health Plans is an independent, not-for-profit community health plan serving the Northwest. Founded in 1933, PacificSource has local offices throughout Oregon, Idaho, Montana and Washington. The PacificSource family of companies employs more than 1,500 people and serves over 523,700 individuals throughout the Greater Northwest. For more information, visit PacificSource.com.