Other News | KNKX

Other News

Interesting news stories from around the Pacific Northwest.

Wash. DOC

His “worst nightmare.” That's how Washington’s Secretary of Corrections is describing the murder this weekend of a female correctional officer. Prison officials say 34-year-old Jayme Biendl was strangled to death.

Making headlines this morning around the Northwest:

  • Prison guard death first in 30 years
  • Details on Anti-War Protester Spying 
  • Suicide Prevention Fence for Olympia I-5 Bridge

 

Monroe Guard's Death

Shock and sadness over the murder of a Monroe Reformatory guard dominate western Washington headlines.  Jayme Biendl was killed late Saturday night while on duty in the prison chapel. An inmate - three-strikes  lifer Byron Scherf - is the lone suspect. 

Ben Curtis / AP

A rally in support of the anti-government protests in Egypt will begin at noon Saturday in downtown Seattle's Westlake Park.  

One of the organizers is Alaa Badr, an Egyptian American who has been in the United States for 17 years. He works for Microsoft and lives in Issaquah with his wife and three children. Lately, he says, they've been staying up till one in the morning watching Al Jazeera.

"But then we get up again at 5 a.m., just to see what's happened, because of the time difference," he says.  

UNICEF

Bill and Melinda Gates are big believers in vaccines and in the benefit of eradicating, rather than simply controlling, those human diseases that have the potential for being completely wiped out.

Today, Gates and British Prime Minister David Cameron announced a combined new donation of $166 million in support of the global polio eradication campaign.

Read more

Wonderlane / Flickr

The weekend brings the first of many planned Lunar New Year celebrations around the region. Many Asian cultures mark the event with colorful festivals, parades and performances, including the Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, Tibetan and Mongolian communities, among others.

The Chinese celebrations often include the dramatic Lion and Dragon dances. Many of the region's events are centered around children and family activities:

Gary Davis / KPLU

Making headlines this morning:

  • Key Document Surfaces in Woodcarver Shooting
  • Education Department Idea Moves Forward in Olympia
  • Packed Hearing Backs Saving a Tacoma High School

 

Woodcarver's Shooting: Evidence Surfaces

A city councilman's email plea to Seattle Police Chief John Diaz for an independent investigation following the  fatal shooting of John T. Williams by a cop last August was omitted from a public disclosure request. 

US Army

There's been a significant development in the case of five Washington-based soldiers accused of killing unarmed Afghan civilians last year. The Washington Post reports a plea deal has been struck with one of the key defendants. But an Army spokesman cautions nothing's been finalized. 

The Post, citing an anonymous source, says Specialist Jeremy Morlock has agreed to a deal that would spare him the possibility of life in prison.

AP

Washington's Senior US Senator, Patty Murray, has become the first woman ever appointed as chairman of the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee.

Murray replaces Democratic Sen. Daniel Akaka of Hawaii as the new committee chair.  According to Rob Hotakainen, Staff writer at the Olympian, Akaka is an 86-year-old veteran of World War II and has headed the committee for the last four years.

Seattle parking rates are going up in 4 neighborhoods, down in 11 neighborhoods and will stay the same in 7 others. Seattle Transportation Department spokesman Rick Sheridan says the upshot is that 73% of the city’s paid parking spaces will either stay the same or get a rate reduction. But several areas still face big hikes and community leaders are worried.

Kristian Foden-Vencil / OPB

Irate drivers in four Washington cities are filing ballot initiative paperwork this week to unplug automated traffic enforcement cameras.

So far, driver rebellions have ignited in Longview, Bellingham, Monroe and Wenatchee. Signature drives have started in those cities to unplug their red light cameras. Professional initiative promoter Tim Eyman is involved in all four of the nascent municipal campaigns.

WSDOT / flickr.com

Mukilteo ferry commuters need to make alternate plans for traveling to and from Whidbey Island on three weekends (Friday through Sunday) this spring. The dates are March 18-20, March 25-27 and April 1-3. The Mukilteo terminal is closing for a $2.6 million overhaul of the dock. Commuters will have to either drive around or take special sailings between Edmonds and Clinton.

Elaine Thompson / AP

Making headlines this morning:

  • Boeing Windfall for Thousands of Workers
  • Seattle Reconsiders Parking Rate Hikes
  • Another Effort to Legalize Marijuana
  • Sports "Star" Winners Announced
     

Bonuses for Boeing workers

More than 48,000 Boeing workers be handed incentive bonuses next month. The windfall, averaging about $5,000 per employee, is the result of solid profit gains last year, according to The Seattle Times' Dominic Gates:

TED.com

The popular TED Talks series is sprouting a new arm: TED Books.  Seattle-based Amazon began selling the short (10,000 to 20,000 word) digital books today. They are available on the Kindle platform.

The first three ebooks with the new imprint are based on materials from popular Talks series speakers:

A Pierce County man is in custody for allegedly making an online threat to Governor Chris Gregoire. The Washington State Patrol picked up Robert R. Locke, of the Graham area, on Tuesday afternoon. 

In a statement, the patrol reports Gregoire's office received the still unspecified threat early Tuesday morning. The message was traced to Locke, and he was picked up while walking on a Pierce County street about six hours later. 

Detectives reported their arrest took place without incident. 

Locke was booked into Pierce County jail, where he's charged with one felony count of threatening the governor or the governor's family.

midorisyu / Flickr

Todd Bishop at TechFlash has discovered that Microsoft is into global health, in a weird way.

As Todd reports, Microsoft has applied for a patent for “Adapting Parasites to Combat Disease.”

melsil / YouTube.com

Seattle has a special connection to the Oscars this year. Anne Rosellini, a Mercer Island High School graduate and co-founder of the One Reel Film Festival at Bumbershoot,  received two nominations for "Winter's Bone,"  a film she produced and co-wrote, with director Debra Granik. Here's the trailer:

Making headlines this morning:

  • A Little Pot With Your Booze?
  • Boeing Announces 2011 Profit Projections
  • State Parks Facing Tough Budget

 

Should the state legalize marijuana sales?

The idea has the backing of some state legislators who filed legislation Tuesday. It would allow state liquor stores to sell pot. KING-TV reports the bill's chief backer is Seattle Democrat Mary Lou Dickerson:

dc.gov

Been having a hard time finding a space at park-and-ride lots? Sound Transit feels your pain.

The transit agency says it's started to crack down on drivers who violate parking rules at Sounder train stations and park-and-rides. Transit riders are complaining that it's getting harder to find parking spaces, at least in part because of other drivers parking inconsiderately.

Sound Transit began giving warnings last week, but starting this week, cars violating Sound transit parking rules will be immediately towed.

At risk? Vehicles that are ...

AMagill / Flickr

Today’s big global health news: An international fund that was created (with significant support from the Gates Foundation) to fight AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria in poor countries has identified episodes of fraud or at least misappropriation of funds amounting to tens millions of dollars.

Kirby Wilbur is the new Republican Party chairman in Washington, unseating former state lawmaker Luke Esser over the weekend in a party's leadership vote. The former KVI talk radio host beat Esser by a vote of 69 to 36, with seven votes for Puyallup Republican Bill Rennie, according to The Seattle Times' Jim Bruener.

Despite GOP gains in the state, Wilbur told the Times the party's advances should have been bigger

US Army

The US Army is phasing out the UH-1 "Huey" helicopter by October, 2012. The workhorse of the Vietnam war is one of the most widely recognized helicopters in the world. The Yakima Training Center Air Ambulance Detachment retires its Huey in a final flight ceremony at 10 a.m. this Wednesday, January 25. 

Every winter we hear about skiers and snow boarders at nearby ski resorts who end up in dangerous situations after wandering into areas marked “off limits."  That often triggers expensive search and rescue operations.

KCWTD / Flickr

Making headlines this morning:

  • Investigation Begins into Port Orchard Shootings
  • King County's 'Brightwater' Grinds Toward Completion
  • All Aboard: Amtrak Ridership Gains in Northwest

Courtesy Ray Garrido / WSDoE

Making headlines this morning:

  • Inquest of Woodcarver's Shooting Raises More Questions
  • Everett to WSU: Shall We Dance?
  • Here Come the High Tides
  • Huskies Zap Arizona for Pac 10 Lead

Oran Viriyincy / Flickr

Traffic congestion in the Seattle area is tied (with Atlanta) for tenth worst in the nation. 

A decade ago, traffic here made headlines for being second worst, in annual rankings by the Texas Transportation Institute.  But, researchers found more accurate ways of measuring congestion, and Seattle’s dubious ranking dropped, as Mike Lindstrom writes in The Seattle Times:

A diversion program intended to keep drug abusers and troubled mentally ill people out of hospitals and jails has run into opposition.  Neighbors of a proposed new facility in Seattle don’t want it.  They say the "Jackson Park" area between Rainier Valley and the Central District already has enough challenges and has become a dumping ground. 

Courtesy Laura James

Making headlines this morning:

  • Puget Sound Murky From Stormwater Runoff
  • More Heavy Rains Coming, with Potential Flooding
  • Tacoma Considers Closing a High School

FBI

The FBI says a backpack bomb found along the Martin Luther King Day parade route in Spokane could have hurt many people. A bomb disposal unit safely defused the device Monday. Now the federal government has enlisted a joint terrorism task force to track down the would-be bomber.

These are uneasy times for the 56,000 Washingtonians on the Basic Health Plan. The state-subsidized health insurance program is tentatively slated to end March 1st. But House Democrats presented a Hail Mary proposal to possibly save it.

Washington's current two-year budget is still $600,000,000 out of whack. Finding hundreds of millions of dollars in savings between now and the end of the fiscal cycle in June is no easy task.

Paula Wissel

Seattle City Light has identified 56 streetlights in the Seattle area that could give off potentially dangerous voltage.  That’s the final tally from an inspection of nearly 37,000 metal streetlights for voltage issues.

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