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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.

"Tax break caught in political tug of war" -- Tacoma News Tribune - Please Ask a Librarian for a copy of this article.
A tax break that could save Washington state residents more than $500 million a year is being held hostage on Capitol Hill. The tax break, which expired at the end of last year, would allow Washington residents to resume deducting what they pay in state and local sales taxes from their federal returns. But last week, the House’s Republican leadership rolled that deduction into a single bill that increases the minimum wage – a Democratic favorite – and permanently reduces the estate tax, a Republican priority. The House approved the measure by a 230-180 vote early Saturday and left town for its August recess. - 08/01/2006

"Women contest Plan B stances" -- Olympian - Please Ask a Librarian for a copy of this article.
The battle over an Olympia pharmacy's refusal to stock emergency contraceptives intensified Monday as nine women filed complaints with the state against a handful of South Sound pharmacies that failed to have the Plan B ­morning-after pill on hand recently. Steven Saxe, executive director for the Pharmacy Board in the Department of Health, said a panel of three board members has 21 days to review the complaints. The Board provides links to all Washington laws relating to Pharmacy. - 08/01/2006

"Senate approves more drilling in Gulf" -- Bellingham Herald - Please Ask a Librarian for a copy of this article.
Overriding objections from some coastal lawmakers, the U.S. Senate voted Tuesday to expand offshore drilling in 8.3 million acres of the eastern Gulf of Mexico. The measure, which passed 71-25, would clear the way for energy companies to harvest oil and natural gas in an area southwest of the Florida Panhandle. It would forbid drilling within 125 miles of Florida until 2022. - 08/02/2006

"Probe into tax-haven abuses names Seattle-based Quellos" -- Seattle Times
A large but low-profile Seattle-based investment firm, Quellos Group, used a bewildering series of fake securities deals between offshore shell companies to help rich clients shelter more than $2 billion in capital gains from taxes, a Senate report released Tuesday alleges. You can access Senator Carl Levin's statement at the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations Hearing: Tax Haven Abuses: The Enablers, The Tools & Secrecy, as well as the Tax Haven Report, here. - 08/02/2006

"Senate approves sweeping bill on retirement benefits" -- Olympian - Please Ask a Librarian for a copy of this article.
The Senate approved and sent to the White House pension legislation to give millions of Americans a better chance of getting the retirement benefits they've earned while sparing taxpayers from possibly paying for failed pension plans. The legislation, passed 93-5 late Thursday, also provides new incentives for young workers to enroll in 401(k) plans, reflecting the trend away from traditional employer-based pensions. - 08/04/2006

"DSHS settles lawsuit" -- Olympian - Please Ask a Librarian for a copy of this article.
The Department of Social and Health Services has settled a lawsuit for $1.5 million filed on behalf of four Oak Harbor children for abuse they allegedly suffered while in child care in a private home. DSHS no longer is responsible for licensing or approving child care in Washington. Those responsibilities moved to a new Department of Early Learning on July 1. DSHS still investigates allegations of child abuse and neglect. - 08/07/2006

"Work-release plan could skip Pierce County" -- Tacoma News Tribune - Please Ask a Librarian for a copy of this article.
State prison officials want to open more work-release centers around the state to take some of the pressure off an overtaxed prison system and to ease the transition of ex-convicts into local communities. The state Growth Management Act says cities and counties cannot ban essential state facilities – that includes prisons work-release centers – and must set up a process for the state to obtain the necessary permits to build them. The Washington State Department of Corrections has information on current Transition Services. - 08/07/2006

[Bellingham] "City, county prepare for 'concurrency' planning" -- Bellingham Herald - Please Ask a Librarian for a copy of this article.
County officials plan a $5 million project to transform Lincoln from a rural road into commuter thoroughfare to serve fast-growing Birch Bay, Birch Point and Semiahmoo, starting in 2008. Coordinating such road improvements with development is a big motivation behind state laws calling for "concurrency" management. You can access Washington State Law on Growth Management, Bellingham's Concurrency Report and the city's Six Year Transportation Plan. - 08/08/2006

"Successes give inspiration in fight to cut drop-out rate" -- Olympian - Please Ask a Librarian for a copy of this article.
About 55.3 percent of Olympia's low-income students leave school without a diploma. That's a lot more than the percentage of low-income students who don't graduate across Thurston County and the state, where 37 percent and 31.6 percent drop out, respectively. Those statistics prompted the Olympia School Board to adopt a goal in December stating that the district would cut the number of dropouts in half by the end of the 2007-08 school year. And this summer, a new Olympia Drop Out Reduction Committee has formed to tackle the problem. You can access the Olympia School District's Strategic Plan and a slideshow on Graduation and Dropout Rates. - 08/09/2006

[Whatcom] "County border security needs outlined" -- Bellingham Herald - Please Ask a Librarian for a copy of this article.
The United States' northern border with Canada deserves more manpower and equipment, members of the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Homeland Security agreed Tuesday. The Media Advisory for the field hearing is available. - 08/09/2006

"British arrest 21 in terror plot to blow up airliners en route to the U.S." -- Seattle Times
British authorities said today they had thwarted a terrorist plot to simultaneously blow up several airliners heading to the U.S. using explosives smuggled in hand luggage, averting what police described as "mass murder on an unimaginable scale." You can access the Transportation Security Administration's statement on the Threat Level Change for the Aviation Sector to find out how security measures have changed. - 08/10/2006

"Feds rule laid-off mill workers ineligible for retraining money" -- Yakima Herald-Republic - Please Ask a Librarian for a copy of this article.
Just days after Yakima Resources closed its mill, former workers have gotten more bad news. The U.S. Department of Labor says workers aren't eligible for federal job retraining assistance. Workers can still get state help with retraining, but that program doesn't provide a stipend and health benefits covered under the federal program. The Employment & Training Administration of DOL's Office of National Response has more information about their programs and the The Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act - 08/10/2006

"Longview schools slice up budget" -- Longview Daily News - Please Ask a Librarian for a copy of this article.
To balance next year's budget, the Longview School District cut nearly $300,000 of its supply and maintenance dollars from accounts that won't directly affect student education. Information about the school's board, current board agenda, previous meeting minutes can be found here. - 08/11/2006

"Fighting stops on Lebanon border" -- Olympian - Please Ask a Librarian for a copy of this article.
Israel halted its offensive against Hezbollah guerrillas as a U.N.-imposed cease-fire went into effect today after a month of warfare that killed more than 900 people, devastated much of south Lebanon and forced hundreds of thousands of Israelis into bomb shelters. Read the full text of the resolution and the text of the U.N.'s Human Rights Council Resolution on Human rights and Israeli operations in Lebanon - 08/14/2006

"Lower Elwha get land to rebury their ancestors" -- Seattle Times
Three years after state construction crews accidentally unearthed an ancient tribal village, an agreement signed Monday gives the Lower Elwha Klallam people land to rebury their ancestors. The state Department of Transportation mistakenly disturbed the village of Tse-whit-zen and human remains when it started construction in August 2003 on a dry-dock project at the Port Angeles waterfront. The DOT provides access to the full text of the Legal Notice of Intent to Sole Source and the Hood Canal Bridge-Port Angeles Graving Dock Report. You can learn more about the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe at the Tse-whit-zen Village News. - 08/15/2006

"Yakimas, utility sign salmon agreement"--Yakima Herald-Republic - Please Ask a Librarian for a copy of this article.
The Yakama Tribe reached an agreement with the Grant County Public Utility District to improve conditions for migrating salmon on the Columbia River. The Public Utility District--the largest nonfederal hydroelectric project in the nation--will install more efficient turbines and fish passages in the Wanapum and Priest Rapids Dams. Water flow will also be adjusted in spawning seasons. - 08/15/2006

"Olympia approves 105-acre addition" -- Olympian - Please Ask a Librarian for a copy of this article.
The area around Smith Lake would be better off within Olympia's boundaries, City Council members said as they gave unanimous preliminary approval to the annexation of 105 acres Tuesday night. The full text of public documents are available through the City Council meeting notes. Documents include the Ordinance and Resolution, a site map, and the Thurston County Commissioners Letter, among others. You can learn more about the Olympia City Council's agenda at the City of Olympia. - 08/16/2006

"Sides tussle over dam [in Black Rock Canyon]"--Pasco Tri-City Herald - Please Ask a Librarian for a copy of this article.
The Yakima Basin Storage Alliance held a conference in Yakima on the proposed Black Rock Reservoir. This project would provide the Yakima River with sufficient water to support both agriculture and salmon. It would be created by building a dam at Black Rock Canyon in eastern Yakima County and water would be pumped in from the Columbia River at times of high water flow. The Bureau of Reclamation estimates the project would cost around $4 billion. - 08/16/2006

"GAO warns of suspect military recruiting" -- Tacoma News Tribune - Please Ask a Librarian for a copy of this article.
Military recruiters have increasingly resorted to overly aggressive tactics and even criminal activity to attract young troops to the battlefield, congressional investigators say. The full text of the Government Accountability Office Report to Congressional Requesters on Military Recruiting is available. - 08/16/2006

"State official: Gay rights law causes little stir" -- Olympian - Please Ask a Librarian for a copy of this article.
More than two months after new civil rights protections for gays and lesbians went into effect, state officials have spent more time answering questions than launching investigations. That's fine with Marc Brenman, director of the state Human Rights Commission, who sees an education effort as a crucial service during the law's early days. The full text of the bill Expanding the jurisdiction of the Human Rights Commission is available. - 08/17/2006

"City surprised by underwater turbines study"--Port Townsend Jefferson County Leader
Port Townsend feels blindsided by the Snohomish County Public Utility District's application to study the possibility of anchoring 450 underwater turbines on the nearby ocean floor. The turbines would use tidal power to generate electrical power. The Public Utility District says it didn't have time to contact the city. The District was trying to forestall an application by a company that is filing study applications with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on the best underwater power sites around the country. - 08/16/2006

"Judge finds NSA program unconstitutional"--Pasco Tri-City Herald - Please Ask a Librarian for a copy of this article.
A Federal judge in Detroit ruled that the National Security Agency's warrantless wiretapping program is unconstitutional. The lawsuit was brought by the American Civil Liberties Union which argued that the program violates constitutional rights unlike the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. The White House plans to appeal the ruling. - 08/18/2006

"Workers continue to pump oil from old shipwreck in Ocean Shores" -- Seattle Post-Intelligencer - Please Ask a Librarian for a copy of this article.
After two weeks of work, more than 13,000 gallons of fuel oil has been pumped from the S.S. Catala, a ship that ran aground on a beach at Damon Point State Park in 1965. As much as 47,000 gallons could still be inside the three remaining fuel tanks, which are harder to reach, state Ecology Department officials said Wednesday. - 08/18/2006

"Medical pot: legal, but still under wraps" -- Seattle Times
Washington's 1998 medical-marijuana law, approved by 59 percent of voters, said people with certain debilitating conditions could use marijuana so long as their doctor said it could help. The biggest question has always been this: How is a sick person supposed to get the stuff? You can access the law through the Revised Code of Washington Chapter 69.51 on Medical Marijuana and a Fact Sheet on Medical Marijuana by the Washington Department of Health. - 08/18/2006

"Unopposed candidates a cause for concern?" -- Seattle Times
For 39 people running for the state Legislature — nearly a third of all races — the November election is essentially over. They have no opponent. It's the largest number of unopposed candidates in at least 36 years. And it's no one-time blip, but rather a decades-old trend that's increasing over time. Information outlining the process for Candidates and Political Parties can be found at the Washington Secretary of State's Office of Elections. Elections also provides a list of Candidates Who Have Filed. - 08/20/2006

"Firefighters battle weather, as well as blazes"--Yakima Herald-Republic - Please Ask a Librarian for a copy of this article.
High temperatures + low humidity + lightning + tinder dry forests = more than 130,000 acres of wildfires in Washington state. Major fires are located in the North and Central Cascade Mountains and in the Olympic National Forests. A high pressure weather system offers no relief so the Northwest Interagency Coordination Center is positioning crews to fight any new fires. The Department of Natural Resources is Washington's lead agency in fighting wildfires - 08/22/2006

"Voters still must pick a party, court rules" -- Olympian - Please Ask a Librarian for a copy of this article.
A three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has refused to reinstate Washington's "top two" primary system, ruling Tuesday that it infringes on the rights of political parties to choose their own nominees. The final petition for writ of certiorari is available, as well as the appendix to the petition. - 08/23/2006

"Tacoma council OKs cleaning up homeless camps" -- Tacoma News Tribune - Please Ask a Librarian for a copy of this article.
Tacoma City Council members committed $500,000 Tuesday night to move homeless people out of unsanitary, garbage-strewn encampments and find them places to live. The one-year program will be paid for with a combination of city money, grants from other public agencies and donations from the Franciscan and MultiCare health systems. You can watch a video of the Tacoma City Council meeting. - 08/23/2006

"Dayton-area residents evacuated [to escape wildfire]"--Spokane Spokesman Review
It's another Red Flag day for fires in Washington state. A wildfire in the Dayton area caused the evacuation of 300 people as fires burned their way through 15,000 acres of brush, trees and wheatfields near the town. According to the National Weather Service's National Fire Weather Page this could happen anywhere in Eastern Washington right now. - 08/23/2006

"State accepting design proposals for new ferries"--Anacortes American - Please Ask a Librarian for a copy of this article.
The Washington State Department of Transportation/Washington State Ferries has issued a request for proposals for the design and construction of four new ferries. These vessels will carry 144 cars and serve routes in central Puget Sound and the San Juan Islands. The ferries will cost over $321 million dollars to build and start coming into service in 2009 if all goes as planned. - 08/23/2006

"State grants to offer training for better jobs" -- Everett Herald - Please Ask a Librarian for a copy of this article.
Edmonds Community College is one of 10 colleges chosen to receive an Opportunity Grant. The grants were created by the Legislature last year. Twenty-four proposals were submitted. EdCC will get $432,000 over the next three years. The money will help the equivalent of 47 full-time EdCC students each year over the next three years. Washington Higher Education Coordinating Board has more information on the Education Opportunity Grant, including eligibility requirements. - 08/24/2006

"Fires eat up resources: Air support in short supply as region's wildfires grow"--Spokane Spokesman Review - Please Ask a Librarian for a copy of this article.
Governor Christine Gregoire proclaimed a statewide emergency as wildfires spread in Eastern Washington and the Cascades. This proclamation directs state agencies and the Washington National Guard to support local jurisdictions in fighting fires. The State Emergency Operations Center will coordinate this support. Resources, including aerial firefighting tankers, are getting stretched thin as fires grow throughout the West. - 08/24/2006

""Morning after pill" approved; teen access is next battle" -- Seattle Times
It's the morning after, and the controversy over nonprescription sales of the emergency contraceptive Plan B hasn't abated. By year's end, women 18 and older who want to use the so-called "morning-after pill" will be able to buy it from licensed pharmacies without having to visit a doctor. Adult men, too, will be able to buy the contraceptive for their partners. The Food and Drug Administration provides access to their news brief on Plan B and in-depth Information Page on the drug. - 08/25/2006

"Punish Fort Lewis objector, report says" -- Tacoma News Tribune - Please Ask a Librarian for a copy of this article.
The officer who reviewed the Army’s case against Fort Lewis Lt. Ehren Watada said he should be court-martialed for the three charges against him, stemming from his refusal to go to Iraq, according to an Army report released Friday. The full text of the Investigating Officer's Report is available through the Ft. Lewis Public Affairs Office. - 08/28/2006

"State's glaciers melting faster"--Pasco Tri-City Herald - Please Ask a Librarian for a copy of this article.
Washington state has the most glaciers of any of the lower 48 states, but it's fast losing them. The United States Geological Survey's Ice and Climate Project reports that Washington's glaciers have lost 33% to 50% of their mass in the last 150 years. Glaciers have been a stable source of meltwater that is used for hydroelectric power, irrigation, and salmon recovery. That could change if they melt away. Global warming is a likely cause of this meltage; the Washington State Department of Ecology has a website on the effects of global warming on Washington - 08/27/2006

"State rest stops get Wi-Fi" -- Olympian - Please Ask a Librarian for a copy of this article.
Wireless Internet access is available at rest stops along Washington highways just in time to help drivers negotiate traffic this Labor Day weekend. The service went up Monday at 28 of the state's 42 rest stops, including the Maytown and Scatter Creek stops south of Tumwater along Interstate 5. The new offering is the result of a Department of Transportation partnership with Road Connect Inc. and Parsons Transportation Group. The DOT offers online access to Statewide Traveler Information for real-time traffic updates. - 08/29/2006

"Workers pick up tips for harvest "--Pasco Tri-City Herald - Please Ask a Librarian for a copy of this article.
Picture a conference room equipped with a 10 foot ladder, large apple bin, and tree branches heavy with fruit. It's a WorkSource training room for recruiting harvest workers--and there are more jobs than applicants. Apple growers are scrambling for workers. - 08/29/2006

"Effects of coastal ‘dead zone’ unclear"--Aberdeen Daily World - Please Ask a Librarian for a copy of this article.
A dead zone lurks off the Washington coast. It's an area of water with such low levels of oxygen that fish suffocate. The result are fish kills. It's also fatal for other other forms of marine life such as crabs. A similar dead zone occurred off the Oregon coast. Dead zones have become a regular feature in the Gulf of Mexico and Hood Canal. - 08/30/2006

"Bellingham mayor quits; to leave Nov. 1" -- Bellingham Herald - Please Ask a Librarian for a copy of this article.
Bellingham Mayor Mark Asmundson will resign from his position Nov. 1, ending a decade of leadership that saw a struggling former mill town become a burgeoning city consistently named one of America's best places to live. Asmundson's sudden announcement, sent late Tuesday afternoon to all city employees by e-mail, caught City Hall by surprise. It also leaves the Bellingham City Council in charge of naming a yearlong replacement. You can access the full text of the Mayor's email. - 08/30/2006

"DOE combines 2 safety-related offices "--Pasco Tri-City Herald - Please Ask a Librarian for a copy of this article.
The Department of Energy will combine two of its major safety offices, the Office of Environment, Safety and Health and the Office of Safety Performance Assurance, into one office, the Office of Health, Safety and Security. DOE has released a report explaining the reorganization. Critics are concerned that less emphasis will be given to worker safety and health at Hanford in the new organization. - 08/31/2006

"State is fighting to keep infamous rapist locked up" -- Seattle Times
Kevin Coe's rape trial in Seattle in 1985 re-emerged Wednesday when Attorney General Rob McKenna filed a petition to commit Coe, scheduled for release Sept. 8, to Washington's sex-predator treatment institution on McNeil Island. More information on the case and filing can be found through the AG's News Release. - 08/31/2006


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