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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.

"Pharmacy Board vote OKs policy" -- Olympian - Please Ask a Librarian for a copy of this article.
The state Pharmacy Board moved toward resolution of a controversy over the exercise of "conscience" by pharmacists, approving a policy that is expected to get a full public hearing in January. By a 6-1 vote in Kent, the board adopted the draft policy crafted by Gov. Chris Gregoire, which allows a pharmacist to refuse to fill a prescription, but only if another pharmacist in the outlet is available to fill the legal request without delay. You can access the Governor's Statement on Washington Board of Pharmacy Rules. - 09/01/2006

"Washington's No Child Left Behind progress "--Yakima Herald-Republic - Please Ask a Librarian for a copy of this article.
Under the No Child Left Behind program, each state must identify school districts and individual schools that need improvement. The Superindtendent of Public Instruction issued the list for Washington state. Results were mixed. - 09/01/2006

"Property information request denied"--Yakima Herald-Republic - Please Ask a Librarian for a copy of this article.
The Kittitas County Superior Court ruled that Yakima County does not have to give a list of property owners to an Oregon company. The decision was based on Washington's Public Records law. The company has the right to inspect property records, but the county does not have to create a customized list of information that would be used for commercial purposes. - 09/05/2006

"New voting machines give disabled voters a helping hand"--Longivew Daily News - Please Ask a Librarian for a copy of this article.
Although Cowlitz County carries out its elections by mail, there will be an assisted technology voting machine at the county administration building. This machine is for people with visual impairments or who are unable to manually mark their ballots. County auditors are responsible for making sure polling places are accessible or provide assistance so people can vote. These requirements are part of the Federal Help America Vote Act of 2002. - 09/05/2006

"The air's hazy, but isn't bad to breathe "--Pasco Tri-City Herald - Please Ask a Librarian for a copy of this article.
According to the Benton County Clean Air Authority smoke from wildfires is becoming noticeable in the Tri-Cities area. It isn't a health problem for most people. Smoke can create unhealthy air quality for people closer to fires. The Washington State Department of Ecology monitors current air quality for each county. - 09/06/2006

"Mayor wants to plant 649,000 trees--Mayor wants to plant 649,000 trees"--Seattle Post-Intelligencer - Please Ask a Librarian for a copy of this article.
As soon as settlers reached the Seattle area they started cutting down trees, and people have been doing it ever since. The amount of land in Seattle covered by trees is down to 18%. Mayor Nickels is proposing an Urban Forest Managment Plan to reverse this trend. This program would involve planting 649,000 trees to undo the losses due to parking lots, large buildings, and invasive species. - 09/06/2006

"24-year Agent Orange study ending"--Pasco Tri-City Herald - Please Ask a Librarian for a copy of this article.
Agent Orange was used as a defoliant in Viet Nam. It has been linked to severe illnesses among people exposed to it. A formal study is ending after 24 years. Now a meeting is being held by the Food and Drug Administration to decide where to store the data that's been gathered. - 09/07/2006

"CIA gets funding to bring back al-Qaida tracking unit" -- Olympian - Please Ask a Librarian for a copy of this article.
The Senate voted unanimously Thursday to devote $200 million to revive a CIA unit dedicated to hunting down Osama bin Laden and other top al-Qaida leaders as it neared a final vote on a huge Pentagon budget bill. You can access the full text of the Senate Amendment and its corresponding House Bill. - 09/08/2006

"Vit [vitrification] plant to cost $12 billion "--Pasco Tri-City Herald - Please Ask a Librarian for a copy of this article.
There's 53 million gallons of radioactive waste at Hanford. The Department of Energy's plan is to build a vitrification plant that willturn it into a stable glass product for permanent disposal. The Army Corps of Engineers estimates that the cost for the plant has risen from $5.5 billion to $12.2 billion (not counting the contractor's fee). The plant was supposed to be up and running by 2011. Bechtel, the prime contractor, now estimates the plant will be operational in 2019. Meanwhile the waste sits in underground tanks over ground water that leads to the Columbia River. - 09/08/2006

"Senate: No Prewar Saddam-al-Qaida Ties"--Vancouver Columbian - Please Ask a Librarian for a copy of this article.
The Senate Select Intelligence Committee issued reports today that showed no pre-war link between Saddam Hussein's regime and al-Qaida. The first report compares pre-war and post war intelligence on Iraq's weapons of mass destruction and links to terrorists. The second report evaluates the information supplied by an exile group, the Iraqi National Congress, to intelligence agencies. - 09/08/2006

"Murders, gun crimes rise" -- Everett Herald - Please Ask a Librarian for a copy of this article.
The rates of homicide and firearm violence jumped upward in 2005, ending a decadelong decline, according to a new U.S. Justice Department report that reinforces recent warnings by law enforcement officials. - 09/11/2006

"Latinos at high risk for scams"--Yakima Herald-Republic - Please Ask a Librarian for a copy of this article.
A Federal Trade Commission survey on consumer fraud shows that Latinos are twice as likely as other groups to be victimized by predatory loan schemes. They are vulnerable because of language barriers and a perception they're less likely to report this to authorities. The FTC has a Spanish language website. The Washington State Attorney General has websites on consumer protection in both English and Spanish. The Washington State Department of Financial Institutions has a website on predatory lending and a Spanish language website. - 09/11/2006

"Voter error may kill 1 in 5 ballots" -- Everett Herald - Please Ask a Librarian for a copy of this article.
Thousands of primary ballots will not be counted in partisan races because Snohomish County voters failed to follow directions. You can find directions for filling out ballots through the Washington Secretary of State's Office. - 09/12/2006

"Freeway left a neighborhood divided"--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.) An urban highway is a convenient way to get across town, but often at a steep cost to the neighborhoods along its route. Spokane's East Central neighborhood was cut in half by I-90. Now Spokane and the Department of Transportation are trying to learn from that lesson in planning the North Spokane Corridor. - 09/12/2006

"Education report gets mixed grades" -- Olympian - Please Ask a Librarian for a copy of this article.
A draft report that recommends spending more state dollars to improve Washington's education system is a good start but doesn't go far enough, speakers said at a public hearing Tuesday. Washington Learns - a group of committees authorized in 2005 by the Legislature to study everything from early learning to higher education - created the draft and is set to release final recommendations in November. - 09/13/2006

"Reactor to stand at least until '09"--Pasco Tri-City Herald - Please Ask a Librarian for a copy of this article.
The B Reactor turns 62 years old this month and it will stand for at least 3 more years. The National Park Service and the Department of Energy will study the feasibility of turning it into a historical site instead of cocooning it. The B Reactor created the plutonium used in the first A-Bomb test and the bomb dropped on Nagasaki. - 09/13/2006

"West Nile confirmed in South Sound man" -- Tacoma News Tribune - Please Ask a Librarian for a copy of this article.
Washington’s first case of human West Nile virus was confirmed Wednesday in a Gig Harbor-area man. A second likely case, in the man’s wife, is awaiting confirmation by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, according to Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department spokeswoman Joby Winans. You can access the full text of the Washington Department of Health News Resease and their West Nile Virus fact page. - 09/14/2006

"Hanford cleanup failures vex feds"--Longview Daily News - Please Ask a Librarian for a copy of this article.
The complexity and cost overruns at the Waste Treatment Plant at Hanford are of great concern to legislators and government agencies. The House of Representatives Energy and Water Development Appropriations Subcommittee has been holding hearings on the cleanup's progress--or lack thereof. The Government Accountability Agency has a very critical report on the project. The Washington State Department of Ecology has a list of frequently asked questions about the cleanup project. The Tri-Cities area also keeps a close eye on Hanford. - 09/14/2006

"Senate votes to add security at U.S. ports" -- Olympian - Please Ask a Librarian for a copy of this article.
The Senate approved a port-security bill Thursday that its sponsors said would make the nation safer from attack, after it rejected a plan to inspect every inbound cargo container for nuclear weapons. The measure, approved 98-0, would require installing radiation monitors at the country's 22 largest ports and would authorize a pilot program involving three foreign ports to scan all cargo containers headed to the United States. - 09/15/2006

"Pollution inquiry demanded "--Spokane Spokesman-Review - Please Ask a Librarian for a copy of this article.
N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA) and trichloroethylene (TCE) are found in rocket fule--and in water wells west of Spokane. Perchlorate, a degreaser used by the military in the 1950's and 1960's, is also present in these wells. Spokane County is concerned. Many people believe the chemicals come from an old missile site. The Army Corps of Engineers isn't so sure. The Environmental Protection Agency is trying to pin down the source of the pollution. - 09/15/2006

"Uninsured patients taxing county health care system" -- Everett Herald - Please Ask a Librarian for a copy of this article.
The annual cost of providing health care for uninsured children and adults in Snohomish County reached $50 million, while statewide the total exceeds half a billion dollars, according to a recent report by Washington's insurance commissioner. The Commissioner's Office also provides other Regional reports on the uninsured and uncompensated care costs. - 09/18/2006

"Plan aims to cut recidivism: New prisons secretary proposes job training, treatment programs"--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.) Harold Clarke, the Secretary of the Department of Corrections, has introduced a strategic plan to deal with the reality and mathematics of prisons. Washington has almost 18,000 prison inmates. Housing an inmate costs $27,000 a year. 97% of inmates get released; 42% re-offend. Statistics can be found the Department of Corrections website. You can compare Washington's prison statistics to those of of other states at the Bureau of Justice Statistics website. - 09/17/2006

"Violent crime increased 2.3 percent in '05" -- Olympian - Please Ask a Librarian for a copy of this article.
Violent crime rose 2.3 percent last year, the first increase since 2001, the FBI reported Monday. The agency found there were 1.39 million violent crimes - which include rape, murder, robbery and aggravated assault - reported in the United States in 2005, up from 1.36 million the previous year. The figures from the FBI's 2005 annual report largely track preliminary results from earlier this year. - 09/19/2006

"State taxes contentious for Yakamas"--Yakima Herald-Republic - Please Ask a Librarian for a copy of this article.
Washington state and the Yakama Nation are at odds over taxes again. A controversial change in the fuel tax agreement between the state and the tribe have led to abandon an earlier agreement on cigarette taxes. Many Yakamas believe the state shouldn't tax them because they were recognized as a sovereign nation under the Treaty of 1855. The National conference of State Legislatures has a webpage on state-tribal tax issues. - 09/18/2006

"Youth anti-drinking campaign launched" -- Olympian - Please Ask a Librarian for a copy of this article.
The Washington State Liquor Control Board launched a campaign Tuesday to prevent underage drinking that will visit 15 middle schools across the region, including two in South Sound. Both locally and statewide, roughly 1 in 5 eighth-graders claim they've consumed alcohol in the past 30 days. That's according to the 2004 Healthy Youth Survey, which is done every two years and will be administered to students again this fall. You can access an online database for HYS results, or find results through their reports and response rates. - 09/20/2006

"Ships dumping ballast water target of ruling"--Vancouver Columbian - Please Ask a Librarian for a copy of this article.
Before a ship leaves a port it often fills its ballast tanks with water for added stability. When the ship reaches its destination it pumps out this water along with whatever plants and animals were in it. This practice is a major source of a invasive marine species. The U.S. District Court in San Francisco has issued a decision to make the Environmental Protection Agency regulate ballast water like it regulates waste water. The Northwest Environmental Advocates posted this decision on their website. The decison is based on the Clean Water Act. Washington state has a list of prohibited non-native aquatic animal species. - 09/19/2006

"GAO criticizes VA operations "--Pasco Tri-City Herald - Please Ask a Librarian for a copy of this article.
On September 20 the Government Accountability Office (GAO) issued a report highly critical of the federal Department of Veterans Affairs' (VA) budget process and estimates of case loads. Highlights of the report included the statement: "Unrealistic assumptions, errors in estimation, and insufficient data were key factors in VA's budget formulation process...." It didn't help that the VA underestimated the number of Iran and Afghanistan veterans needing services by 87,000. The VA operates 5 medical centers, 9 clinics, 5 vet centers, and a cemetary in Washington state.The U.S. Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs oversees the VA. - 09/21/2006

"State prices I-933 at $8 billion" -- Olympian - Please Ask a Librarian for a copy of this article.
Initiative 933 could force the state, its cities and counties to pay out more than $8 billion in compensation to property owners, according to a new study released Wednesday. The analysis, by the state Office of Financial Management, estimates that I-933, a land-use proposal on the Nov. 7 ballot, would cost state agencies between $2 billion and $2.18 billion in the next six years. - 09/21/2006

"Bacteria thriving in Hood Canal: Huge jellylike colony underwater covers 'ecological dead zone'"--Seattle Post-Intelligencer
Fish and crabs can't survive in a four mile long dead zone in Hood Canal, but a mat of bacteria is thriving and covering the area. A dead zone exists where low oxygen levels kill off marine life. This is a reoccurring problem in Hood Canal. The Hood Canal Dissolved Oxygen Program is a coalition of county, state, federal, and tribal agencies studying this crisis and trying to devise solutions. - 09/22/2006

"Call for wider HIV testing gets mixed reaction in region: Critics fear government intrusion into privacy" 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.)There's disagreement in the Spokane area over the Centers for Disease Control's recommendation that people from the ages 13 to 64 be voluntarily tested for HIV/AIDS. Some people see this as a sensible way to control the spread of the disease; others think it's one more example of the government invading their privacy. People with HIV/AIDS in Washington state are required to notify people they may have infected. - 09/22/2006

"Panel advises tax plan tweaks" - Tacoma News Tribune - Please Ask a Librarian for a copy of this article.
Tacoma would need to significantly raise property taxes to make up for lost revenue from business and sales taxes if it adopted City Manager Eric Anderson’s tax overhaul proposal, a volunteer task force concluded. Still, the group found enough potential benefits from Anderson’s service tax idea – including making taxes more transparent and eliminating the unpopular business and occupation tax – to recommend the City Council continue studying it, as well as two other tax change proposals it came up with after months of study. The Tacoma City Council provides the final report of the Service Tax Task Force, as well as information on committee members, previous agendas and minutes, supporting documents and the approved resolutions. - 09/25/2006

"Where are the workers?"--Pasco Tri-City Herald - Please Ask a Librarian for a copy of this article.
The farmer talking about fruit harvest has a point when he says, "When you've gotta pick 'em, you've gotta pick 'em." It's hard to get the fruit picked when there aren't enough available farm workers. Cracking down on illegal immigration has hurt the supply of farm labor in a region where over 57% of farm workers are non-citizens. (This number comes from a U.S. Department of Agriculture website on demographic characteristics of hired farm workers). - 09/25/2006

"House joins Senate, OKs Ice Age monument"--Yakima Herald-Republic - Please Ask a Librarian for a copy of this article.
The U.S. House and Senate have approved bills to create an Ice Age Floods National Geologic Route across four states. Glaciers in Idaho acted as a dam so meltwater in Montana formed Lake Missoula. The dam would break so the water would wash and gouge its way across Washington until it reached the Columbia Gorge and Oregon on its way to the ocean. This process happened repeatedly. The National Park Service published a report on the proposed National Geologic Route. The Ice Age Floods Institute is an enthusiatic backer of the plan. Now the House and Senate bills still need to be reconciled. - 09/26/2006

"Seattle Center, environment, the homeless in budget plan" -- Seattle Times
After several bleak budgets, a growing economy means the city can finally start writing checks, Mayor Greg Nickels said Monday. In his 2007-2008 budget, the mayor recommended spending new money on Seattle Center, the environment, the homeless and a new park-rangers program to patrol downtown parks. You can access the City of Seattle's Budget Committee website, which includes meeting schedules, member profiles, budget graphs and other supporting documents. - 09/26/2006

"I-933 costs could be billions" -- Everett Herald - Please Ask a Librarian for a copy of this article.
Taxpayers will fork out $7.8 billion over five years if a property rights initiative on the November ballot is adopted, according to a University of Washington study released Tuesday. - 09/27/2006

"Supreme Court jumps into dispute over labor union fees for politics"--Longview Daily News - Please Ask a Librarian for a copy of this article.
The U.S. Supreme Court will decide if the Washington Education Association must get special permission from members to use part of their dues for political campaigns. The case, Gary Davenport, et al. Petitioners v. Washington Education Association, will go in front of the Justices next year. - 09/27/2006

"Water storage sites not limited to Black Rock"--Yakima Herald-Republic - Please Ask a Librarian for a copy of this article.
Four more sites have joined the Black Rock site as possible locations for a new reservoir in Central Washington. The locations are Sand Hollow and Crab Creek in Grant County and Foster Creek and Hawk Creek in Lincoln County. The new reservoir would draw water from the Columbia River and store it for irrigation purposes. - 09/28/2006

"Veterans' health fund underspent" -- Olympian - Please Ask a Librarian for a copy of this article.
The Department of Veterans Affairs failed to fully spend a promised $300 million since 2005 to fill critical gaps in mental health services for returning troops and others, congressional investigators said. The money was supposed to be used to improve awareness of the VA's mental health programs and provide better access to them for troops who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, women and other veterans suffering from serious mental illnesses. But a Government Accountability Office report released Thursday found that the agency underspent the money and that not all of what it did spend went to those programs. - 09/29/2006


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