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Washington State News Archive

Below are archived news items for the current month. To view a previous month, choose it from the list below.

"New U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon starts tenure" -- Seattle Post-Intelligencer - Please Ask a Librarian for a copy of this article.
Starting his first day of work, new Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon vowed Tuesday to end mistrust of the United Nations and called for action to tackle "daunting" problems from crises in the Middle East and Darfur to reducing extreme poverty by half by 2015. You can access the Secretary-General's latest Press Releases and Statements through the U.N. Office of the Spokesperson. - 01/02/2007

"Area farmer travels with trade delegation: The three delegates visited five Asian countries"--Walla Walla Union-Bulletin - Please Ask a Librarian for a copy of this article.
Jay Takemura, a Dayton area grain farmer, was a member of a trade delagation promoting wheat exports to Asia. Grain exports are an important part of Washington's economy and international trade. For instance, grain from the Palouse may be shipped to Indonesia where it's used to make Pepperidge Farm wafers that are shipped back to the U.S. Exports of agricultural products are supported by the Washington Wheat Commission, the Washington State Department of Agriculture, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Marketing Services. - 01/01/2007

"Storm teaches Olympia a lesson" -- Olympian - Please Ask a Librarian for a copy of this article.
City managers had a hard time reaching workers during and after last month's windstorm, revealing an unexpected problem in emergency response. The reason was that many workers have only cordless or cell phones, Emergency Management Coordinator Greg Wright said. City Council members agreed that the storm response was excellent, but some had concerns. You can access background information on the agenda item to discuss the City of Olympia Response to December 15, 2006, Windstorm, view the video feed of the City Council Meeting, or find the minutes of the Meeting. - 01/03/2007

"Methadone clinic to be discussed with public"--Pasco Tri-City Herald - Please Ask a Librarian for a copy of this article.
Meetings will be held on the possibility of opening a methadone clinic in Kennewick for treating opiate addicts. The clinic would need approval from the DSHS Division of Alcohol and Substance Abuse (DASA). The only state approved methadone clinics for Eastern Washington are in Yakima and Spokane. DASA has a "Directory of Certified Chemical Dependency Services in Washington", also known as the Greenbook. - 01/03/2007

"Death stuns school" -- Tacoma News Tribune - Please Ask a Librarian for a copy of this article.
Students flee Tacoma's Foss High School after teen shot. The Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction has created a School Safety Center that provides safety resources for parents, teachers, students and the general public, such as How Fast Can 9-1-1 Get Emergency Help to Your School. OSPI also provides access to the International Association of Chief of Police's Guide for Preventing and Responding to School Violence. - 01/04/2007

"Portland, Seattle score well on emergency communications"--Vancouver Columbian - Please Ask a Librarian for a copy of this article.
Emergency service departments in the Portland and Seattle areas generally understand each other when responding to a crisis. The Department of Homeland Security released a report on tactical interoperability communication among emergency service departments. The study, covering 75 metropolitan areas, looked at agreements between departments, region wide standard operating procedures, and compatibility of equipment. - 01/04/2007

"Democrats take charge of Congress" -- Everett Herald - Please Ask a Librarian for a copy of this article.
Democrats assumed control of Congress Thursday in a splash of ceremony, history and action. Most of the attention focused on the House of Representatives, where Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., won election as the nation's first woman speaker, placing her third in the line of succession to the presidency. You can keep up with daily House activities at the House Press Gallery, find the Calendar for the First 100 Hours of the New Democratic Congress, and read the San Francisco Gate's transcript of Pelosi's speech upon her election of speaker of the House. - 01/05/2007

"Washington state fines payday loan companies $1.2 million"--Pasco Tri-City Herald - Please Ask a Librarian for a copy of this article.
Two payday lending companies, Advance Til Payday and Zippy Cash, got zapped by the Department of Financial Institutions (DFI) with $1.2 million in fines and an a good faith effort to shut them down. The DFI found that these businesses violated rules on loan limits. It didn't help that one of the owners neglected to tell DFI he was barred from doing similar business in another state and had an assault conviction in Washington. The DFI website has a summary of the complaint and the full Statement of Charges - 01/05/2007

"Dicks takes leadership of powerful House panel: Oversees $26B[illion] interior budget"--Bellingham Herald - Please Ask a Librarian for a copy of this article.
Representative Norm Dicks has risen to one of the most powerful budget making position in Congress. He will chair the Interior Subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee. This Subcommittee oversees the budget for the Department of the Interior, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Forest Service, the Naitonal Endowment for the Arts, and the Smithsonian. Many people will want to be his friend. You can read more about the appropriations process here. - 01/08/2007

"Legislative session 2007: Plenty of ways to dip into the state’s surplus"--Tacoma News Tribune - Please Ask a Librarian for a copy of this article.
The Washington State Legislature opens its 2007 session today. This session will draft the 2007-2009 state biennial budget, but the budget process started months ago. The Governor's budget proposal has already been submitted to the Legislature. Now the House and Senate will each prepare their own budget proposals. The trick is to get the House, the Senate, and the Governor to agree on a budget. If all goes well, the budget can be passed before the end of the regular session - 01/08/2007

"Black Rock benefit? A $2.4 billion question"--Yakima Herald-Republic - Please Ask a Librarian for a copy of this article.
Opponents of the proposed Black Rock Reservoir charge that estimates of revenue from power generation by the project are off by billions of dollars. The Yakima Basin Storage Alliance claims power generation could bring in $2.4 billion dollars over 20 years while Columbia Institute for Water Policy says the actual total over that period would be $200 million. - 01/09/2007

"Black Rock revenue will offset cost, supporters say"--Pasco Tri-City Herald - Please Ask a Librarian for a copy of this article.
The Yakima Basin Storage Alliance says that the proposed Black Rock Reservoir would create enough revenue through power generation, irrigation, and land development that would more than pay for its $ 4.2 billion construction and maintenance costs. A well managed project could produce revenues of $6.68 billion. The reservoir would be located between Yakima and the Columbia River. The water for the reservoir would be drawn from the Columbia. - 01/09/2007

"More snow may sock region" -- Everett Herald - Please Ask a Librarian for a copy of this article.
The National Weather Service on Monday issued a high wind watch for this afternoon into the evening for the Everett vicinity. The Department of Transporation has a news release on the Preparation for Western Washington Snow, as well as traffic alerts, weather forecast maps, and mountain pass information. - 01/09/2007

"Justices to hear teachers lawsuit"--Spokane Spokesman-Review
(Registration may be required to read this article. State Library cardholders can access articles in back issues via ProQuest.)The U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments today over whether or not the Washington Education Association (WEA) can use dues paid by non-members for political purposes. The WEA, the state's largest union for teachers, collects dues from non-members since it represents them in collective bargaining. The State of Washington is siding with the non-members who disagree with how the dues are spent. The court hearing combines two cases: Washington v. Washington Education Association and Gary Davenport v. Washington Education Association. - 01/10/2007

"Criticism of Bush's Iraq plan is fast, furious" -- Seattle Times
President Bush's plan to send more troops to Iraq was met by a degree of skepticism not seen from Congress in the past six years, with lawmakers from both parties expressing concern that Bush's vow to take the fight to Syrians and Iranians could cause the war to spread, just as the Vietnam War spread into Cambodia. You can access the New Way Forward factsheet and Background Briefings by Senior Administrative Officials. - 01/12/2007

"Howls, prints herald return of wolves to Washington: Panel created to develop management plan"--Spokane Spokesman-Review - Please Ask a Librarian for a copy of this article.
(Registration may be required to read this article. State Library cardholders can access articles in back issues via ProQuest.) Gray wolves are returning to Washington. They were wiped out in Washington in the 1930's, but there are signs they're starting to return to Eastern Washington. The Department of Fish and Wildlife assembled a group of people representing various interests--from wolf lovers to sheep farmers--with the goal of creating a wolf managment plan that will avoid some of the controversies caused by the recovering wolf populations in Idaho and Wyoming. Gray wolves are currently protected under the Endangered Species Act. - 01/12/2007

"Storm aftermath: Dealing with adjusters"--Seattle Post-Intelligencer
This has been a season of storm damage, and people often count on their insurance to pay for the repairs. Sometimes policy holders have to negotiate with the insurance company when the company offers less money than is expected. If policy holders feel their insurance company isn't acting in good faith, they can contact the Office of the Insurance Commissioner for help and advice. - 01/16/2007

"Governor's health care report calls for access for everyone" -- Olympian - Please Ask a Librarian for a copy of this article.
Gov. Chris Gregoire released the final version of a sweeping report about health care in Washington late Thursday. You can access Governor Gregoire's statements regarding health care at her website. The Joint Health Care Costs and Access Committee Blue Ribbon Commission provides access to the Commission's organization, meeting agendas and reports. - 01/17/2007

"New houses of horrors: Senate panel considers owners' 'Bill of Rights'"--Spokane Spokesman-Review - Please Ask a Librarian for a copy of this article.
(Registration may be required to read this article. State Library cardholders can access articles in back issues via ProQuest.) A work session was held on January 16 for three bills that would regulate home construction in Washington state. Senate Bill 5045 mandates licensing and ongoing training for building contractors. Senate Bill 5046 gives homeowners up to four years to sue designers, builders, and material suppliers for defects or violations of building codes. Senate Bill 5049 mandates warranties of two to ten years on various types of defects and household systems in new homes. The Building Industry Association of Washington thinks these bills are terrible ideas that would drive up housing costs while driving small contractors out of business. - 01/17/2007

"State to issue new stormwater rules today" -- Seattle P.I.
Today, in what the state Department of Ecology calls a historic step, the agency will issue new rules -- years after they were legally required -- designed to take steps toward controlling this pollution-laced concoction. You can access the Municiple Stormwater Permits through the Department of Ecology's Water Quality Division. - 01/17/2007

"Legislature asked for money to improve public defense"--Spokane Spokesman-Review
(Registration may be required to read this article. State Library cardholders can access articles in back issues via ProQuest.) Chief Justice Gerry Alexander of the Washington Supreme Court called for more money for public defenders in his State of the Judiciary speech. He requested $62 million while pointing out less than 1% of the state budget is spent on the court system with local governments having to bear most of the costs. Much of the money would be going to the Office of Public Defense and the Office of Civil Legal Aid. The speech is given annually to the Legislature. - 01/18/2007

"Senate OKs lobbyist reforms" -- Seattle Times
The Senate, responding to voter frustration with corruption and special interest influence in Washington, on Thursday overwhelmingly approved far-reaching ethics and lobbying reform legislation. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., who made the bill his first initiative as head of the chamber, called it the "most significant legislation in ethics and lobbying reform we've had in the history of this country." - 01/19/2007

"State enters new era of combating pollution "--Pasco Tri-City Herald - Please Ask a Librarian for a copy of this article.
The Department of Ecology has issued new rules regulating stormwater runoff. Stormwater is seen as a major source of pollution. Separate rules have been crafted for arid Eastern Washington and wet Western Washington. The rules will be phased in over a five year period. - 01/19/2007

"Passport requirement hits air travelers today" -- Everett Herald - Please Ask a Librarian for a copy of this article.
Americans flying to Mexico, Canada and the Caribbean made sure to bring their passports Monday because of a new rule going into effect today that requires them to show one to get back into the country. You can find How To Get a Passport, information on the New Requirements for Travelers, and a Statement by the Office of the Spokesman on the change at the U.S. Department of State. - 01/23/2007

"Report shows WA foster-care program still needs work"--Yakima Herald-Republic - Please Ask a Librarian for a copy of this article.
The Braam Oversight Panel was formed as the result of a lawsuit against Washington state by 13 people who received inadequate care and treatment while in the foster care system. The most recent report by the Panel says the state is not reaching the compliance goals set by the lawsuit settlement. The Department of Social and Health Services admits goals haven't been reached, but that progress is being made. - 01/23/2007

"Tumwater may grow by 1,500 acres" -- Olympian - Please Ask a Librarian for a copy of this article.
The largest annexation in Tumwater history is up for public review starting Thursday. The proposed 1,500-acre annexation would cover 1,100 homes and about 2,500 residents in an area west of the city and between Interstate 5 and Black Lake. The City of Tumwater provides information on Annexation Methods, Policies, FAQs, as well as a map of city limits and urban growth areas, and interview with Tumwater Mayor Ralph Osgood on the topic. The Planning & Facilities Department of Long Range Planning provides access to Tumwater's Comprehensive Plan, the Growth Management Act, the Planning Commission's Agenda and Minutes, and contact information. - 01/24/2007

"Alcohol limits proposed; buzz not all good"--Vancouver Columbian - Please Ask a Librarian for a copy of this article.
The Vancouver city council is looking into having the Washington State Liquor Control Board establish an alcohol impact area (AIA) covering the downtown area. An AIA limits the sale of high-alcohol, low cost beer and wine products in designated areas in order to control public drunkeness. Seattle (home of the original skid row) and Tacoma already have AIAs. - 01/23/2007

"East side may get veterans cemetery"--Pasco Tri-City Herald - Please Ask a Librarian for a copy of this article.
The US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) oversees a system of national cemetaries for honorably discharged veterans. The Tahoma National Cemetary is in Western Washington, but Eastern Washington doesn't have a large population to qualify for one. The Washington State Department of Veterans Affairs is working with the VA to set up an agreement where the VA would give the state money to build a cemetary in the Spokane area that the state would maintain. House Bill 1292 and Senate Bill 5058 would provide the legislation needed to enable the state to carry out its side of the agreement. - 01/25/2007

"City grilled over viaduct" -- Seattle Post-Intelligencer
The city of Seattle told state lawmakers Thursday that its new plan to replace the Alaskan Way Viaduct with a four-lane tunnel is not just feasible but that the work could be completed with more than $100 million to spare. A Senate Transportation Committee hearing did little to defuse the tensions about the multibillion-dollar project, which has sparked a turf war between Seattle and the state. After the work session, committee Chairwoman Mary Margaret Haugen, D-Camano Island, voiced her frustration. Governor Christine Gregoire provides an Outline to Replacing the Alaskan Way Viaduct and the Washington Department of Transportation provides maps, survey findings, and project comparison charts. - 01/26/2007

"Con man offers government grants"--Longview Daily News - Please Ask a Librarian for a copy of this article.
Be wary if somebody calls you, offers a government grant, asks for your bank account information, and says he'll send the paperwork later. That's not how government grants are handled so the phone call is from Uncle Scam, not Uncle Sam. This is another form of identity theft. The Attorney General has a tip sheet on avoiding identity theft. - 01/26/2007

"East Side could lose highway funding: West Side projects may divert money"--Spokane Spokesman-Review - Please Ask a Librarian for a copy of this article.
(Registration may be required to read this article. State Library cardholders can access articles in back issues via ProQuest.) Legislators from the Spokane area are concerned that expensive transportation projects such as replacing the Alaska Way Viaduct in Seattle will drain money away from projects such as the North Spokane Corridor. Portions of the North Spokane Corridor are already complete, but it will take 10 years to finish the project. Some legislators have sponsored House Bill 1173 that would dedicate transportation funds for the North Spokane Corridor. - 01/26/2007

"Ore. bill would cut sex offender registry" -- Olympian - Please Ask a Librarian for a copy of this article.
Serial rapists, child molesters and other predatory sex offenders have to register as sex offenders. So did Matthew Shettles. Shettles testified in hopes that the committee would pass House Bill 2333, which would ease Oregon's legal requirement of lifetime sex-offender registration for young people who had consensual sex with teenagers. You can compare this proposed legislation to the Washington State Law on Sex Offenses and Registration of sex offenders. - 01/29/2007

"Future suddenly not so formless: Teams help students with aid applications"--Spokane Spokesman-Review - Please Ask a Librarian for a copy of this article.
(Registration may be required to read this article. State Library cardholders can access articles in back issues via ProQuest.) The Northwest Education Loan Association (NELA) put on a workshop to help students and parents fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) forms. The FAFSA must be filled out to qualify for Federal student aid, and it requires detailed information a family's income and financial status. The FAFSA forms can be found iat many libraries. The Higher Education Coordinating Board (HECB) also provides information about state and Federal student aid programs. - 01/29/2007

"Bill would let casinos move, but not multiply" -- Tacoma News Tribune - Please Ask a Librarian for a copy of this article.
Now that the state of Washington is preparing to give Indian tribes a massive increase in gambling revenue, the Legislature is thinking of tossing commercial casinos a bone. The size and meatiness of that bone are subject to interpretation. House Bill 1477 and Senate Bill 5558 would freeze the number of minicasinos in Washington to those already open or in the process of opening. It also would give cities and counties, for the first time, the legal ability to decide where casinos can open. The bill was drafted by minicasino lobbyists for and staff members of the Association of Washington Cities. - 01/30/2007

"Custody battle exposes difficulties with international law"--Yakima Herald-Republic - Please Ask a Librarian for a copy of this article.
Viviana Fuentes won custody of her daughter, Judy, when she divorced her husband in 1995. That December Judy went to Mexico to spend Christmas with her father and never came back. Her father says she's happier there. Viviana has tried every legal avenue and won, but to no avail. Mexico signed the Hague Convention on International Child Abduction, but doesn't always follow it. The U. S. State Department has a website devoted to international child abduction. The Washington state courts system has published a review of how it has handled international child abduction cases in Washington state. - 01/30/2007

"Senate committee tackles hot topic: global warming"--Seattle Times
Global warming is heating up Capitol Hill. The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee held a session on "Senators Perspectives on Global Warming". Most spoke to the need for immediate action to curtail global warming. The House of Representatives Committee on Oversight and Government Reform held a hearing on political interference with government climate change scientists. Incidentally, 2006 was the warmest year on record for the United States. - 01/31/2007

"Heart of America bill [on nuclear waste] blasted"--Pasco Tri-City Herald - Please Ask a Librarian for a copy of this article.
Initiative 297, which would have prohibited nuclear waste being sent to Hanford, has had a rocky history. It was overturned by a Federal court so its supporters crafted House Bill 1419 and Senate Bill 5393 to make it acceptable to the courts. The Department of Ecology and the Department of Health both oppose the bills on the grounds they might slow down nuclear waste cleanup. - 01/31/2007


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