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POLICE

Homicide count climbs

The new year has ushered in a rash of metropolitan-area homicides.

The 13-year-old son of a Clark County, Wash., sheriff's deputy was arrested Wednesday for the fatal shooting of his 10-year-old sister, Emilee Randall.

Matthew Randall apparently shot his sister in the head with his father's service pistol. Clark County sheriff Sgt. Craig Randall and his wife were out of the house at the time of the shooting.

Also on Wednesday, police arrested a 41-year-old Vancouver, Wash., resident, Chad Hazen, after he reported that his wife was dead in a room at a Jantzen Beach hotel. He is charged with killing his 37-year-old wife, Jennifer. Police have not released details of the death but say the two were on a one-night getaway at the hotel.

That same day, a memorial service was held for 18-year-old Cassondra Brown at St. Johns Christian Church. Police think Brown was killed and dismembered by her on-and-off boyfriend, Benjamin Karl Cramer, during the first week of January. He has been charged with murder and abuse of a corpse.

Remains recently found at Kelley Point Park have not been identified.

CHARITIES

Agency closes centers

A 20 percent drop in donations and holiday kettle collections has forced Portland's Salvation Army Cascade Division to cut 14 staff positions, close two family service centers in Milwaukie and shift some services to the organization's remaining metro-area centers.

The cuts also will include a wage freeze for remaining staff and postponing equipment purchases, said spokeswoman Tara Nimz.

No services to families will be cut, Nimz said, but the locations of some will change. They are:

• The service center at 16037 S.E. McLoughlin Ave., Milwaukie, has closed. Most of the center's clients will be transferred for services to the Gresham facility at 39 N.E. Fourth St.

• The service center at 1712 N.E. Sandy Blvd. will close Feb. 3, and services will be transferred to divisional headquarters at 1785 N.E. Sandy Blvd. Until its closure, the center is operating at reduced hours, from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. daily.

• Service centers at 5325 N. Williams St. and in Hillsboro will remain open. Beginning Feb. 3, services will be expanded at the Hillsboro and Gresham centers. Expanded services will start Feb. 17 at the North Williams branch.

For more information about the changes, call 503-231-4357.

ENVIRONMENT

Hantavirus found in parks

A Portland State University biologist has discovered traces of hantaviruses in four local parks, although he says they don't pose a public health threat at this point.

Luis Ruedas, an assistant professor of biology at PSU, found mice harboring the virus in Forest Park in Northwest Portland, Tryon Creek State Park in Southwest Portland, Powell Butte Park in Southeast Portland and Oxbow Park east of the city.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, hantaviruses can cause a life-threatening disease called hantavirus pulmonary syndrome, or HPS. The viruses are carried by deer mice and other rodents and can be spread to people who are exposed to rodent droppings, urine or saliva.

Symptoms include fever and muscle aches, shortness of breath and coughing. Once the coughing begins, the disease progresses quickly, requiring hospitalization within 24 hours.

There have been five cases of HPS in Oregon since 1993, with three deaths.

ENERGY

Power shortages unlikely

The Northwest Power Planning Council has revised its analysis of the region's supply of electricity, concluding that power shortages will be extremely unlikely in the near future.

According to the council's latest projections released last week, the probability of power shortages is under 1 percent for 2003 and no greater than 6 percent through 2006.

The new figures give a much more optimistic outlook than did the council's estimates in December. The earlier numbers had pegged the likelihood of power shortages at up to 15 percent through 2006.

Ñ Tribune staff