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Spokane/East. Wash/North Idaho News Releases for Sat. Feb. 4 - 1:10 am
Thu. 02/02/23
Thirty Year-Old Yakama Man Sentenced to Ten Years Imprisonment for Brandishing a Firearm During and in Relation to a Crime of Violence
U.S. Attorney's Office - Eastern Dist. of Wash. - 02/02/23 5:58 PM

Yakima, Washington – Vanessa R. Waldref, the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington, announced that James Skahan-Lowe, age 30, was sentenced today after having pleaded guilty on November 1, 2022, to Brandishing a Firearm During and in Relation to a Crime of Violence. Chief United States District Judge Stanley A. Bastian sentenced Skahan-Lowe to a 10-year term of imprisonment, to be followed by a 5-year term of court supervision after he is released from federal prison. 

According to information in court documents and disclosed during court proceedings, Skahan-Lowe assaulted a male victim in Yakima, Washington on February 26, 2022. The victim had stopped on the side of the road to answer his cell phone. Skahan-Lowe saw the victim parked on the side of the road and confused him for someone else.  Skahan-Lowe then parked behind the victim, got out of his car, and began arguing with the victim.  Although the victim attempted to calm the situation down, Skahan-Lowe ultimately returned to his car and grabbed a rifle.  Skahan-Lowe pointed the rifle at the victim and ordered him to get on the ground.  The victim refused and attempted to run away.  Skahan-Lowe chased the victim and then began hitting him with the rifle. 

After assaulting the victim, Skahan-Lowe drove away from the area.  Skahan-Lowe and another person returned to the crime scene a few minutes later.  An unknown person then stole the victim’s car.  Law enforcement arrived and provided the victim with medical treatment.  The victim’s car was recovered a short time later.  At the time, Skahan-Lowe was on pretrial release in a separate state criminal case, charging Skahan-Lowe with viciously assaulting another victim and fracturing that victim’s skull with a mallet.

On February 2, 2023, Skahan-Lowe appeared for his sentencing hearing for brandishing a firearm during a crime of violence. The victim courageously spoke at the hearing and described how this violent crime has affected him and his family.  Skahan-Lowe also made a statement at the sentencing hearing and apologized to the victim.  Skahan-Lowe stated that he is a good person but was filled with rage during that time in his life.  Chief Judge Stanley A. Bastian stated that he hoped that Skahan-Lowe was sincerely sorry for his actions.  Chief Judge Bastian then advised that he has an obligation to protect the community and imposed a sentence of 120-months imprisonment to be followed by 5-years of court supervision.   

U.S. Attorney Waldref commended the bravery of the victim in this case. She stated, “I commend the courage and bravery of the victim to come forward and speak about this horrific crime. My office has an amazing team of prosecutors as well as victim and witness advocates, who work closely and respectfully with victims to ensure their voices are heard and to seek justice. The United States Attorney’s Office will continue to aggressively prosecute those who perpetrate violence within the boundaries of the Yakama Nation.  Everyone deserves to feel safe. By removing dangerous individuals from society, our neighborhoods and communities will be safer and stronger.”

“Senseless is the only word describing the crime committed by the defendant” said Richard A. Collodi, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Seattle field office. “Mr. Skahan-Lowe violently assaulted the victim after a case of mistaken identity. The FBI and our partners will continue working to reduce violent crime on our state’s reservations and hold those who commit those crimes accountable.”

As set forth in court documents and proceedings, Skahan-Lowe has an extensive criminal history. In 2010, he was convicted of Residential Burglary and Vehicle Prowling. In 2011, he was convicted of Unlawful Possession of a Firearm.  In 2014, he was convicted of First-Degree Possession of Stolen Property and Second-Degree Burglary.  In 2016, he was convicted of Possession of a Stolen Vehicle.  In 2017, he was convicted of Second-Degree Burglary.  In 2018, he was convicted of Possession of a Stolen Vehicle.  He was later convicted of First-Degree Burglary, Possession of a Stolen Motor Vehicle, and First-Degree Unlawful Possession of a Firearm.     

This case was prosecuted under the Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) program.  PSN is a federal, state, and local law enforcement collaboration to identify, investigate, and prosecute individuals responsible for violent crimes in our neighborhoods. The U.S. Attorney’s Office is partnering with federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement to specifically identify the criminals responsible for violent crime in the Eastern District of Washington and pursue criminal prosecution.

This case was investigated by the Yakama County Sheriff’s Office, the Yakama Nation Police Department, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.  This case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Tom Hanlon. 

1:22-CR-2079-SAB-1


BLM waives day use fees in observance of Washington's Birthday
Bureau of Land Management Ore. & Wash. - 02/02/23 3:36 PM

REVISED STORY - CORRECTION: September fee-free day for National Public Lands Day is Sep. 23


PORTLAND, Ore, — In honor of George Washington’s birthday and to increase recreational access to public land, the Bureau of Land Management is waiving recreation standard amenity and day-use fees for visitors on Feb. 20, 2023. The BLM invites the public to visit the unique and diverse natural landscapes and visitor facilities on BLM-managed lands to celebrate the life of the first U.S. President George Washington.

This marks the second of the BLM’s fee-free days of 2023. Fee-free days refer to the waiver of standard amenity fees and day-use fees, such as visitor centers, picnic/day use areas, and National Conservation Lands units where fees are charged. Expanded amenity fees and other fees, like group day use, overnight camping, cabin rentals, and individual special recreation permits, will remain in effect unless the authorized officer determines it is appropriate to waive them.

BLM’s public lands offer spectacular beauty in the colder months. Find a map of BLM’s top recreation locations in the snow, rain, or ice here:
https://storymaps.arcgis.com/stories/766c58075f574db2b52f3d2e13b75bb8


Winter recreation on public lands

Be prepared:

  • Know before you go. Check with local offices for current conditions, including closures and travel restrictions.
  • Make sure tires have adequate traction for road conditions.
  • Ensure that a friend or family member is aware of your adventure plans.
  • Ensure you have the 10 essentials before venturing out: navigation tools (map, GPS, personal locator beacon), headlamp, sun protection (sunglasses and sunscreen, especially against snow glare!), first aid kit, knife/gear repair kit, fire essentials (fire starter, matches, lighter, etc.), shelter (i.e., an emergency blanket that folds up extremely small), extra food, extra water (beyond the minimum expectation), and extra clothes (layer up!).


Recommendations on where to go with snow (NOTE: these locations may or may not have fees): 

  • Burns: Steens Mountain offers an array of winter recreation opportunities, including snowmobiling, snowshoeing, and skiing. Individual permits must be obtained through the Burns District Office.
  • Lakeview: Gerber Recreation Site is popular for ice fishing and open year-round for camping. The paved roads are not plowed but remain clear of snow most winters. Wood River Wetland offers hiking, dog walking, bird watching, hunting, and (when there’s enough snow) snowshoeing. Be aware that the parking area is not plowed in the winter, so parking is not always available.
  • Medford: Cross country skiing and snowshoeing are available at the Cascade Siskiyou National Monument and Table Mountain Winter Play Area.
  • Washington State: Split Rock Recreation Site at Palmer Lake offers ice fishing (or regular fishing if there is no ice). Visitors can also hike on the Similkameen Rail Trail from Oroville to the Enloe Dam or on the Cowiche Canyon Trail (where there is usually little to no snow). The Yakima River Canyon Recreation Site is a great location for winter camping. If winter is mild, the Juniper Dunes Off-Highway Vehicle Area is a good option for recreation, and if the winter is cold, the Fishtrap Recreation Area offers ice fishing and cross-country skiing.

Recommendations on where to go with little to no snow (NOTE: these locations may or may not have fees):  

  • Northwest Oregon: The West Eugene Wetlands offer disc golf, the Sandy Ridge Trail System offers mountain biking, Shotgun Creek Recreation Site is open to off-highway vehicles, and the Wildwood Recreation Site has an underwater salmon viewing chamber.
  • Medford: Sites such as the Upper and Lower Table Rocks, Cathedral Hills, and Mountain of the Rogue offer winter hiking and tend to be free of snow.

In 2023, BLM will waive recreation standard amenity and day use fees for visitors on: 

  • January 16 (Birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr.)
  • February 20 (Washington’s Birthday)
  • June 19 (Juneteenth National Independence Day)
  • August 4 (Great American Outdoors Day)
  • September 23 (National Public Lands Day)
  • November 11 (Veterans Day)

For more information about the BLM’s recreation fee program, please visit https: //www.blm.gov/programs/recreation/permits-and-fees.


-BLM-

The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land located primarily in 12 western states, including Alaska, on behalf of the American people. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. Our mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of America’s public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations.