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Washington State News Archive

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"Troop buildup foes pool their efforts" -- Everett Herald - Please Ask a Librarian for a copy of this article.
Two senators leading separate efforts to put Congress on record against President Bush's troop buildup in Iraq joined forces Wednesday, agreeing on a nonbinding resolution that would criticize the plan. Sens. John Warner, R-Va., and Carl Levin, D-Mich., had been sponsoring competing measures opposing Bush's strategy of sending 21,500 more U.S. troops to the war zone, with Warner's less harshly worded version attracting more Republican interest. The text of the new Senate Concurrent Resolution 7 sponsored by Levin and Warner is available. You can also find Levin's Resolution authorizing expenditures by the Committee on Armed Services. - 02/01/2007

"Report: People to blame for global warming" -- Bellingham Herald - Please Ask a Librarian for a copy of this article.
Scientists are basically done arguing about the causes of climate change: global warming is “very likely” caused by people. The panel, a group of hundreds of scientists and representatives of 113 governments, used its strongest language yet, saying now that world has begun to warm, hotter temperatures and rises in sea level “would continue for centuries” no matter how much humans control their pollution. While the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report is not yet released, you can download the 21 page summary for policy makers, access a webcast of the conference, read the chapter outlines, and get the ICPP's press release. - 02/02/2007

"19 levees in WA on Corps of Engineers' list of concern"--Vancouver Columbian - Please Ask a Librarian for a copy of this article.
Nineteen levees in Washington state are in danger of failing due to poor maintenance. Failure could lead to loss of property and, perhaps, life due to flooding. This information is part of a national list of endangered levees compiled by the Army Corps of Engineers. - 02/02/2007

"Bush budget retains tax cuts" -- Seattle Times
President Bush will send Congress a $2.9 trillion spending request today that seeks billions of dollars more to fight the Iraq war and tries to restrain the spiraling cost of the government's big health-care programs. The Office of Management and Budget has the Budget of the United States Government, Fiscal Year 2008 and the White House has specifics on President Bush's Budget and Washington. - 02/05/2007

"Red Mountain ripe for irrigation"--Pasco Tri-City Herald - Please Ask a Librarian for a copy of this article.
Reclaiming Red Mountain by irrigation is the goal of local agricultural interest seeking to spread the cultivation red wine varietal grapes. The Bureau of Reclamation considered Red Mountain unsuitable for irrigation when it developed the Yakima Project. Now the Kennewick Irrigation District thinks modern irrigation techniques and the high value of grapes with the Red Mountain appellation have made expanded irrigation feasible, but not easy. - 02/05/2007

"Governor won't force HPV vaccine" -- Olympian - Please Ask a Librarian for a copy of this article.
Gov. Chris Gregoire told the state's association of medical doctors Monday that she prefers a voluntary, state-paid program for vaccinating pre-teen girls against a sexually transmitted virus linked to cervical cancer. The Washington State Department of Health provides a HPV Vaccine fact sheet and the Center for Disease Control provides detailed information on the HPV Vaccine Main Page, including a helpful Questions and Answers page. You can also find the Product Approval Information & Licensing Action for the vaccine at the Food & Drug Administration's website. - 02/06/2007

"'Pandemic' of thefts: Farmers, utilities hit especially hard as crooks swipe copper, aluminum"--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.) Recycling is usually seen as a good thing, but not when it's done by thieves trading in stolen metal. Recycled metal is in high demand with prices to match so thieves are bringing sprinkler heads, copper wire, and bronze artwork to junkyards and recyclers. The cost of replacing these items can run into the hundreds of thousands of dollars. House Bill 1251 and Senate Bill 5312 tighten rules on how recyclers and junkyards receive and pay for scrap metal. House Bill 1987 would make property owners not liable for injuries to thieves who are hurt while trying to steal metal (trying to steal a live electric cable has its risks). - 02/06/2007

"School measures likely to pass" -- Seattle Post-Intelligencer
Voters were poised Tuesday to renew two property-tax measures that would bring in $887 million to Seattle Public Schools over the next few years, to pay for small class sizes, school construction projects and a host of other education programs. Both the capital bond, Proposition 1, and the operating levy, Proposition 2, appeared to be passing, according to early returns. You can access regularly updated Election Results at King County Elections. - 02/07/2007

"State official praises boost in economy in Tri-Cities"--Pasco Tri-Cities Herald - Please Ask a Librarian for a copy of this article.
Juli Wilkerson, Director of the Department of Community, Trade and Economic Development, said the Tri-Cities are a model of how government and private interests can cooperate in creating economic growth. She said the mutual support given by Washington State University's Tri-Cities Campus, the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, and local businesses to each other is a model for other towns to follow. - 02/07/2007

"Power shift gives Wild Sky Wilderness clear sailing in Congress" -- Everett Herald - Please Ask a Librarian for a copy of this article.
Creation of a Wild Sky Wilderness area seems no longer a matter of if but when. "With the political landscape changing, it looks really good for this to happen," said Tom Uniack, conservation director of Washington Wilderness, which sent 10,000 signatures of supporters to Congress three years ago. Senator Patty Murray and Rep. Rick Larsen, D-Wash., each introduced legislation placing 106,577 acres of the Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest in east Snohomish County under the blanket of extra federal protection afforded wilderness areas. You can access Murray's Senate Bill 520 and Larsen's House Bill 886 along with major action on the bills, cosponsors and ammendments. - 02/08/2007

"Hospitals fight over heart procedures"--Yakima Herald-Republic - Please Ask a Librarian for a copy of this article.
Senate Bill 5606would loosen the regulations on performing elective angioplasties for 22 hospitals in the state--and there are other hospitals that strongly oppose it. This procedure is fairly lucrative for hospitals. Some of the hospitals that are allowed to do it fear severe financial losses if they face competition. The Department of Health regulates hospitals and did a study on elective angioplasties in 2005. - 02/08/2007

"Bill aims to ease Pierce County’s ex-con burden" -- Tacoma News Tribune - Please Ask a Librarian for a copy of this article.
Pierce County already has more than its fair share of ex-convicts, sex offenders and programs that cater to prison inmates, and it’s high time other counties share the burden, Pierce County Prosecutor Gerry Horne told state lawmakers Thursday. Horne was testifying in favor of a measure that would make state agencies “give great weight” to how many work-release centers, released prison inmates and registered offenders a community already has before trying to put more such facilities in those cities or counties. House Bill 1733 also calls for an equitable distribution of those facilities around the state. Dave Williams, lobbyist for the cities, said Conway’s bill would make every city and county plan for such facilities. He noted 10 counties currently are not required to do so under the state Growth Management Act. - 02/09/2007

"Repaying a debt to the innocent" -- Seattle Times
Under a measure lawmakers are considering this year, the state would compensate people for the years they lost behind bars. If the bill is passed, Washington would join 21 other states, the District of Columbia and the federal government with similar laws on the books. You can access House Bill 2122 Authorizing payment of claims for wrongful conviction and imprisonment. You can also find the 1996 National Insitute of Justice report Convicted by Juries, Exonerated by Science. The Innocence Project Northwest provides news and information on wrongful convictions in Washington. - 02/12/2007

"Bill would boost disability assistance: Move to help caretaking families named for Morehouse"--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.) House Bill 1548 and Senate Bill 1548, if passed, will be known as the Lance Morehouse Jr. Memorial Individual & Family Services Act. Named in honor of a Spokane resident, the Act would have the Division of Developmental Disabilities would streamline and increase support to families taking care of family members with developmental disabilities at home. Support would include hiring therapists, remodeling for wheelchair access, and respite care. A fiscal note makes an estimate of the Act's cost over a six year period. - 02/12/2007

"Bill would fund WASL for private schools" -- Olympian - Please Ask a Librarian for a copy of this article.
Some private schools voluntarily take the Washington Assessment of Student Learning, but a bill introduced this session would ask the state to pay for those tests. Under House Bill 1772, introduced by State Rep. Dave Quall, a Democrat from Bellingham, the state would pay for WASL tests administered to an entire class. - 02/13/2007

"Local official pushes health care for kids"--Yakima Herald-Republic - Please Ask a Librarian for a copy of this article.
Anita Monoian of Yakima Neighborhood Health Services, an organization that provides links to health care for people with low incomes, is in Olympia lobbying for House Bill 1071 and Senate Bill 5093. These bills, introduced at the request of Governor Gregoire, would provide health insurance to all children in Washington who lack health coverage, including 10,000 in the Yakima Valley. Opposition to the bill is based on its costs as laid out in a fiscal note. A recent Employment Security Department report on employee benefits in 2006 notes fewer companies are offering health coverage and many of those that do have reduced health benefits. - 02/13/2007

"North Korea agrees to shut down reactor" -- Everett Herald - Please Ask a Librarian for a copy of this article.
In a landmark international accord, North Korea promised Tuesday to close down and seal its main nuclear reactor within 60 days in return for 50,000 tons of fuel oil as a first step in abandoning all nuclear weapons and research programs. The U.S. Department of State provides the Initial Actions To Implement Six-Party Joint Statement and the Briefing by Secretary Rice on the Six Party Talks. - 02/14/2007

"Microsoft prompts job shuffle in Basin"--Pasco Tri-City Herald - Please Ask a Librarian for a copy of this article.
Not all farms in Central Washington are agricultural. Companies such as Microsoft are planting server farms in places like Quincy. Server farms house many, many data serving computers that require large amounts of electricity. The advantage Central Washington offers is cheap electricity from the Columbia River. They also require workers to keep the farms running 24 hours a day. In a related story, the Moses Lake Coumbia Basin Herald reports that Ask.com has leased space in Moses Lake because of the area's cheap electricity and trained work force. - 02/14/2007

"Lawmakers ask Washington state legislators to rethink tax"--Anchorage, Alaska KTUU - Please Ask a Librarian for a copy of this article.
The bills one state's legislature considers can have an effect on other states. The Alaska state legislature is considering HJR8 in response to a bill being considered by the Washington state legislaure. Senate Bill 5207 would slap a $100 tax on each container processed by Washington ports. 3,000 containers are shipped from Washington to Anchorage every week. Alaskans are concerned that the tax raising their cost of living. The Washington Public Ports Association doesn't like SB 5207 either. - 02/13/2007

"Flu measures hinder school, activities"--Grand Coulle Star - Please Ask a Librarian for a copy of this article.
Influenza has struck the Grand Coulee area and the Grant County Health District isn't taking any chances. On Monday of this week all students were tested upon arrival at local schools and any students with a temperature over 100.4 degrees were sent home. Public sporting events were cancelled or, in the case of two games, only players, coaches, and officials were allowed to attend. These preventive measures are just a hint of the measures that would be taken by the Washington State Department of Health in case of a flu pandemic. - 02/14/2007

"Seattle will get its viaduct vote" -- Seattle Post-Intelligencer
Seattle will get its advisory vote on replacing the Alaskan Way Viaduct -- and with its results, perhaps one more card to play in the high-stakes game over state Route 99. Two Seattle City Council members pushed this week to halt the balloting after the state Department of Transportation, Gov. Christine Gregoire and legislative leaders said Wednesday that a city replacement tunnel design was unsafe. You can find additional news releases and project proposals on the viaduct from the Seattle City Council. You can also find the Council's Resolution on Next Steps in the Viaduct Replacement Project and the Department of Transportation's most recent Technical Review - 02/16/2007

"Peanut butter illness hits home: Two in Spokane among confirmed salmonella cases"--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.) Nobody wants to have a peanut butter, jelly, and salmonella sandwich, but that can happen with a bad batch of peanut butter. If you have Peter Pan or Great Value peanut butter with a product code starting with 2111 on the lid, you have a bad batch. According to the Centers for Disease Control, it's associated with salmonella cases across the nation. The Spokane Regional Health District has reported two cases of salmonella poisoning. The Food and Drug Administration is warning people to avoid this batch of peanut butter. The Washington State Department of Health urges people to contact their local health district if they theink they've been infected by salmonella. - 02/16/2007

"Advocates urge support for tent city measure" -- Olympian - Please Ask a Librarian for a copy of this article.
Advocates from Olympia and Seattle testified in favor of a bill Monday that would free religious groups to erect tent cities for the homeless for at least 90 days. House Bill 2244 would clarify that counties, cities and towns could not bar faith communities from housing such encampments as Camp Quixote, which sprang up earlier this month on Olympia’s west side after city officials evicted a protest encampment on city land downtown. You can find information on the Interagency Council on Homelessness and the 2005 Homelessness Housing and Assistance Act through the Washington State Department of Community, Trade and Economic Development and the current laws on Homeless Housing and Assistance in Washington. - 02/20/2007

"Small communities hit especially hard by Iraq deaths: One in five killed comes from town less than 5,000"--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.) Rural areas and small towns provide a large proportion of military recruits, and they are bearing a large proption of the casualties in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Spokesman-Review also provides a map showing the hometowns of service members killed in Iraq. - 02/20/2007

"Terror data flawed, audit finds" -- Tacoma News Tribune - Please Ask a Librarian for a copy of this article.
Most of the Justice Department’s major statistics on terrorism cases are highly inaccurate, and federal prosecutors routinely count drug trafficking, marriage fraud and other unrelated crimes as part of anti-terrorism efforts, according to an audit released Tuesday. The report was produced by the US Dept. of Justice Office of the Inspector General. - 02/21/2007

"Gun-shy about fighting wildfires"--Yakima Herald-Republic - Please Ask a Librarian for a copy of this article.
Four Forest Service firefighters died in the Thirtymile Fire in 2001. These deaths resulted in the passage of Public Law 107-203 and the prosecution of the crew leader for manslaughter. According to a survey done by the International Association of Wildland Fire, the threat of being held criminally responsible for crewmembers deaths in the chaos of a wildfire is discouraging firefighters from taking crew leader positons. As one respondent said in the remarks section of the survey: "This is precedent setting and could wreak havoc in getting anyone to take supervisory or command positions where human life is at risk...." - 02/21/2007

"County to limit access to public records online" -- Everett Herald - Please Ask a Librarian for a copy of this article.
Snohomish County plans to strip access to hundreds of thousands of public records from its online archives next month out of public concern over identity theft. You can access the Snohomish County Auditor's Privacy Press Release. Currently, records can be found through the Auditor's Document Search Site. You can find contact information for accessing Snohomish County records at the Auditor's Office or visit the Center for Health Statistics through the Department of Health for vital statistics in Washington State. - 02/22/2007

"Study indicates Washington following trend toward child obesity"--Pasco Tri-City Herald - Please Ask a Librarian for a copy of this article.
Hey, kids, put down those doughnuts and do something aerobic. A study issued by the University of Washington's Human Services Policy Center says almost one quarter of Washington's youth range from being overweight to obese. They're (un)well on their way to being like adults, over 50% of whom are overweight. Meanwhile the government has been waging a 50 year campaign for physical fitness. - 02/23/2007

"Here are some tax credits and deductions you need to know about"--Seattle Post-Intelligencer - Please Ask a Librarian for a copy of this article.
The Internal Revenue Service says Washington residents are overlooking some of the deductions they could take to lower their taxes. For instance, this year you may qualify for a one time only telephone excise tax refund. Another tax deduction Washington residents can take is for sales tax--the Washington State Department of Revenue provides information about this deduction. - 02/23/2007

"$3 toll versus $49 fine?" -- Tacoma News Tribune - Please Ask a Librarian for a copy of this article.
After the new Tacoma Narrows bridge opens, state officials expect an average of 1,800 people a day will drive across without paying the toll. If that number doesn’t change over the first year and they all pay their fine, the state will take in nearly $6.7 million. The estimates were provided by the Washington State Patrol, the Administrative Office of the Courts and the Department of Transportation. The amount of the fine is part of Senate Bill 5391, which the Senate approved Friday on a 38-9 vote. The bill goes to the House. - 02/26/2007

"More fruit growers ready to use guest-worker program"--Yakima Herald-Republic - Please Ask a Librarian for a copy of this article.
Fruit growers were hurt last year when tighter immigration polices created a shortage of fruit pickers. This shortage forced farmers to pay higher wages or watch their fruit rot. This year farmers are looking at labor contractors who bring in foreign workers under H-2A temporary visas. Labor contractors using the H-2A program must also report to the Employment Security Department. - 02/26/2007

"Marker recalls 1858 slaughter of horses"--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 little known monument near Spokane memorializes some of the sadder victims of the Indian wars--and a way of life: 800 horses. In 1858 troops under Colonel George Wright defeated local Indians and then killed their horses. The reason was "...to prevent the Indians from waging further warfare." It also destroyed a way of life the tribes had developed since the horses were introduced to them, well before whites came to the area. Maps of the battles Wright fought with the Indians can be found on the Washington State Library's website. - 02/26/2007

"$1.2 billion more for education sought" -- Seattle Times
The state would increase education spending by $1.2 billion over the next two years under a budget plan state legislators unveiled Monday. The plan, released by the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Education, represents the first time lawmakers have weighed in on the education budget this session and is expected to act as a blueprint for final budget negotiations. You can find more budget information through the Legislative Evaluation & Accountability Program. - 02/27/2007

"Western governors target global warming; others seek clean energy"--Yakima Herald-Republic - Please Ask a Librarian for a copy of this article.
Governor Christine Gregoire joined the governors of Oregon, California, Arizona, and New Mexico to form the Regional Climate Action Initiative. (See the news release and the proclamation here.) The purpose of this alliance to do something the federal government is in no hurry to do--reduce greenhouse gas emissions. This goal will probably be done done through a cap-and-trade system where companies are limited to how much greenhouse gases they emit; those that come in under the limits can sell credits to those who exceed the limits. The Pew Center on Global Climate Change tracks the individual states' efforts to deal with climate chage. - 02/27/2007

"Puget Sound salmon forecast promising" -- Olympian - Please Ask a Librarian for a copy of this article.
The state Department of Fish and Wildlife and tribal co-managers released a mixed bag of 2007 salmon-run forecasts Tuesday. Among the predictions: Westport salmon anglers will catch fewer chinook salmon this summer, but Puget Sound anglers should be awash in pink salmon and chum salmon. A Lake Washington sockeye salmon season is a long shot, but Puget Sound anglers could see longer salmon seasons by 2010. You can find the News Release on Salmon Forecasts and find more information on the 2007 Salmon Fishing Season at the Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife. - 02/28/2007

"Timber counties face cuts: End of Craig-Wyden payments would strain schools, services"--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.) In the heyday of logging, rural counties could count on getting 25% of the revenue from timber sales on National Forests which are untaxable lands. This money went to schools and essential public infrastructure. The Craig-Wyden bill (Public Law 106-393) provided Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PiLT) to counties as they lost income due to the decline of logging. Washington counties received $47.3 million from PiLT in 2006. Now Craig-Wyden is expiring. Budgets for rural roads and school districts could be slashed. The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will be holding hearings on Senate Bill 380 to extend Craig-Wyden. - 02/28/2007


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