Two men drown after dogs fall though ice on frozen pond

BELLINGHAM, Wash. — Two men drowned Tuesday after one tried to rescue a dog that fell through a frozen pond, and a neighbor tried to rescue the first man.

Local news media reported Gerald Bajema, 73, was walking his dogs near Bellingham at about 6 p.m. when the dogs ran onto a frozen pond and fell through the ice, according to Whatcom County Sheriff Bill Elfo.

Bajema tried to rescue his dogs, but fell through as well. A neighbor saw Bajema was in trouble and attempted to rescue him, only to fall in himself.

Elfo said a third neighbor saw both men struggling and called 911.

The sheriff’s office said rescuers found Bajema but he had died. The body of Tyler Takita, 49, was found Wednesday.

The sheriff’s office said one dog survived, and the other’s body also was recovered.

Report: Feds need better financial oversight at Hanford site

RICHLAND — A report by the federal government says the Department of Energy needs better financial oversight at sites like the Hanford decommissioned nuclear production complex in Richland.

The Tri-City Herald reported a Government Accountability Office report released Tuesday said it found issues with a lack of audits covering costs charged to the federal government and conflicts of interest.

The office said most of the Department of Energy’s $30 billion budget goes to contractors, most of which spend money on subcontracts.

The report said the Department of Energy has not yet “clarified which subcontracts should be audited and what an audit should entail.”

The report concluded the Department of Energy and the National Nuclear Security Administration were lax in ensuring that contractors met their requirements to audit subcontractor costs, despite the significant taxpayer dollars going to subcontractors.

Police suspect same man in Washington sex store assaults

SEATTLE — Authorities suspect the same man is responsible for recent assaults at Washington adult sex stores.

Local news media reported a female worker at the Castle Megastore in Tacoma was sexually assaulted early Monday and a male employee was beaten up. The Lovers adult store in Puyallup was robbed Friday night and a female worker was nearly kidnapped.

Security has been stepped up at the store in Tacoma, with a guard being placed out front.

Police said they believe the man in the Tacoma attack is the same man who got into the Lovers adult store in Puyallup just before closing Friday.

Along with extra security at the Castle store, police in Puyallup said they are going to increase their patrols around the Lovers store especially at closing.

Zoo to hold ‘gender reveal’ party for anteater pup

BOISE — A zoo in Idaho is holding a “gender reveal” party this weekend for its newest resident — a baby anteater.

The not-yet-named anteater pup will make its debut Saturday afternoon at Zoo Boise.

The baby anteater was just more than 2 pounds when it was born in January, and zoo officials have carefully tracked its weight and health. They said temperatures have warmed enough that the baby can go into a public exhibit area.

The pup’s parents, Gloria and McCauley, were paired through the Species Survival Plan program.

Gloria carries the baby on her back — their stripes match to provide camouflage in the wild.

Groomer charged with nine more counts in pet choking case

KENNEWICK — Prosecutors are bringing nine additional charges of animal cruelty against the owner of a pet grooming business in Washington who is accused of abusing and choking customers’ pets.

The additional charges were brought Tuesday against Michelle Burt in Franklin County Superior Court. She was previously charged with three counts of animal cruelty, and is now facing a total of 12 charges.

Burt owns two pet grooming businesses called Paw Spa in Pasco and West Richland.

Police said at least one dog and a cat died because of Burt’s actions at her Pasco location. Former employees told police Burt said she controlled animals by cutting off their air supply.

Burt previously pleaded not guilty to the first three charges, and she has been ordered to stay away from all pets while awaiting trial.

Oregon judge faces ethics complaints over 2014 lawsuit

BEND, Ore. — An Oregon judge is facing ethics complaints claiming she was the friend of a defendant in a lawsuit she overturned.

The Bend Bulletin reported Tuesday that two complaints accuse Deschutes County Circuit Court Judge Beth Bagley of failing to disclose a personal relationship with a defendant and recuse herself from a 2014 suit.

Niklas Goertzen has filed separate complaints with the U.S. District Court in Eugene and the Oregon Commission on Judicial Fitness and Disability.

Bagley dismissed Goertzen’s suit against several parents for what he said was wrongful interference in his contract as a girls’ soccer coach at a Sisers High School in central Oregon.

He was dismissed from the position in 2012.

Bagley’s attorney declined to comment.

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