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Hecla fined $318K over death of miner

Hecla Mining Co. has been fined $318,200 by federal regulators for the death of a worker last year in Idaho’s Lucky Friday Mine.

Larry Marek died April 15, 2011, during a cave-in at the underground silver mine near Mullan.

In a report released last year, Mine Safety and Health Administration officials called Lucky Friday managers negligent for failing to install adequate ground support and not testing the stability of the rock where the cave-in occurred. Hecla has disputed those findings.

The Spokesman-Review says Hecla must either pay the fines by June 19 or contest them. Company officials were not immediately available to comment.

The Associated Press

Three Idaho college baseball players drafted

Three baseball players at smaller Idaho universities and colleges were drafted in the later rounds of the Major League Baseball draft June 4-6. The Chicago Cubs and Kansas City Royals, the two Major League teams with minor league affiliates in Idaho, drafted the players, who have until July 13 to sign a contract.

Unlike in other top American sports, baseball draft picks usually spend several years in the minors before potentially getting called up to the big leagues. Later-round draft picks are unlikely to receive hefty contracts. Under new MLB rules, any signing bonus by a late-round draftee exceeding $100,000 counts against a team’s budget for signing its top picks.

The Royals picked pitcher Zeb Sneed, a junior from Northwest Nazarene University in Nampa, in the 11th round with the 343rd overall pick. Sneed, a 6’5” pitcher, graduated from Twin Falls High School. If he elects to forgo his senior season at NNU, he could end up pitching for the Idaho Falls Chukars, a Royals affiliate team.

The Cubs picked two Idaho collegians in back-to-back rounds in the latter half of the forty-round draft. Lewis-Clark State College senior pitcher Austin Pentacost was drafted in the 29th round and College of Idaho senior outfielder Izaac Garsez was picked in the 30th round. Pentacost is originally from Kennewick, Wash., while Garsez graduated from Caldwell High School. If they sign with the Cubs, both players could suit up for the Boise Hawks this summer.

Both LCSC and C of I had strong end-of-season runs, making it into the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics World Series tournament. LCSC ended C of I’s season in a playoff game on May 26, while LCSC’s championship hopes ended two days later. Garsez was named to the NAIA All-America team on June 4.

LCSC tops all other Idaho schools in turning out professional baseball talent, with 14 former Warriors making a major league roster.

Brad Iverson-Long

Consolidation will move PepsiCo from its distribution center in Coeur d’Alene

PepsiCo is going to move out of its distribution center in Coeur d’Alene as part of its plan to consolidate operations in Spokane Valley, Wash.

An employee said the company will leave its center at 520 W. Dalton Ave. in Coeur d’Alene, and a fleet vehicle maintenance shop at 17 N. Ralph St. in Spokane. The company employs about 130 people in the region.

After August 1, PepsiCo will occupy 80,000 square feet at 11016 E. Montomery Drive in Spokane Valley, in the 50-acre Central Business Park, officials with Central Park said in a release.

PepsiCo signed a long-term lease for its new space, where it will consolidate its eastern Washington and northern Idaho operations, Central Park officials said. Greater Spokane Inc. assisted PepsiCo in getting $50,000 in incentive funds from the governor’s Strategic Reserve Fund.

IBR Staff

Civil lawsuit against Coeur d’Alene mayor dismissed; small business loan rewritten

A civil lawsuit filed last year against the mayor of Coeur d’Alene has been dismissed after the bank re-wrote the small business loan.

The Coeur d’Alene Press reports the breach of guarantee claim seeking $80,000 plus attorney’s fees from Mayor Sandi Bloem was dismissed in March.

Bloem said in November that the parties had tried to re-negotiate the federal small business loan, but were unable to before the $75,000 loan, with interest, was supposed to be paid off in July 2011.

Bloem owns a jewelry store in Coeur d’Alene.

Bloem said the small business loan was re-written.

Attorneys for Panhandle State Bank declined comment.

The Associated Press

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