Northwest Digest

Posted: Monday, April 03, 2006

Man arrested on Oregon arson charge

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JUNEAU - Police arrested a 21-year-old man with a Mendenhall Valley address last week on a warrant charging him with first-degree arson in Coos County, Ore.

Andrew T. Strome was indicted on Dec. 16, 2005 on charges of first-degree arson, attempted first-degree arson, unlawful possession of a destructive device and two counts of first-degree criminal mischief. At his initial court appearance Friday, Juneau District Judge Keith Levy set bail at $250,000 pending extradition to Oregon.

"Oregon wants Mr. Strome back," Assistant District Attorney Doug Gardner told the judge.

Juneau Police Capt. Tom Porter said officers found there was an arrest warrant for Strome on Thursday after serving him with papers in a domestic-violence case.

North Bend Police Sgt. Curt Bennett said the charges against Strome stem from a June 17, 2005, fire in a garage detached from a home in the community. He said he could provide no details of the fire.

Strome told Levy that he did not have a job in Juneau and asked for a court-appointed attorney. He said he was represented by a public defender on a disorderly conduct charge in Oregon about a year ago.

Levy appointed the public defender's office for further Juneau proceedings and told Strome he knew of no local charges against him.

Sister beats brother to win spelling bee

ANCHORAGE - Danielle Tacey beat out 149 other student spellers, including her older brother, to win the Alaska State Spelling Bee Friday for the second year in a row.

Tacey correctly spelled the word "vespertilian," meaning "of or relating to or resembling a bat" to clinch the title.

Tacey, will go in two months to the 79th annual Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C., where she placed 52nd last year.

Tacey's brother, Nicholas, who also came in second last year, stumbled on the word "delicatessen."

"It's pretty much luck," Danielle Tacey said, admitting that she didn't know how to spell delicatessen either. She said that if she had gone first, her brother probably would have won.

"But I didn't," she said. "I got the easy words."

Danielle and Nicholas' parents, Glen and Mary Tacey, said it was stressful to watch their kids compete against each other for the second year in a row. "It's heart-wrenching," Glen Tacey said. "Very bittersweet."

The pair sparred for so long at Central Middle School's meet that the school ended up asking Scripps whether both could compete at the state level.

Cybelle Weeks of the Scripps National Spelling Bee said the school received permission to send two winners to the state meet.

Inmate attack raises transport concerns

OLYMPIA, Wash. - An attack on a county corrections officer has raised concerns about the way inmates are transported to and from court hearings, and about the aging Thurston County jail and courthouse.

Carl W. Vance, 62, attacked a corrections officer in an elevator Friday while she was transporting him. He took her gun and they scuffled for 20 minutes but no shots were fired. Vance and the guard were taken to a hospital after other jail personnel forced the elevator door open and subdued Vance.

Vance had succeeded in wresting the gun from the officer, and was pointing the weapon at her when the doors opened. Jail staff tackled him before he could fire a shot, Daniels said.

The courthouse and elevator were built during the 1970s, when the jail typically held about 70 inmates. Now, the jail population hovers around 400, with inmates constantly going to and from court hearings, which wears on the elevator and increases the likelihood of malfunctions, said Corrections Chief Karen Daniels.

Because of the level of inmate traffic, corrections officers frequently escort inmates one-on-one from the jail to the courthouse, as was the case Friday, Daniels said. That standard is not likely to change, she said.

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