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Tuesday morning's headlines

Making headlines around the Northwest this morning:

  • Seattle Hostages, Two Others Killed by Somali Pirates
  • Snow in the Forecast
  • Higher Logging Fees Needed: Lands Commissioner

Two From Seattle Killed by Pirates

A Seattle couple sailing around the world were among four Americans killed by their Somali captors aboard their yacht today, according to a U.S. military statement. The four were captured last Friday.

Negotiations were underway for their release when military intelligence heard gunshots from aboard the yacht Quest. When they stormed the ship, they found Bob Riggle and Phyllis Macay of Seattle dead. They were passengers on the boat owned by Jean and Scott Adam of California, who were also killed.

Two pirates were reportedly killed, and 13 others captured, according to U.S. Central Command. KPLU News will update the story as more today's events are learned.


Cold and Snowy This Week

Snohomish County received a taste of what's to come full force this week: late February snow.  The Puget Sound area could get five to six inches of snow by early Thursday, according to various forecasts, including the National Weather Service. 

The Seattle's Scott Sunde reports some wet snowfall on hills above 300 feet will begin later tonight, followed by an Arctic air blast that will push through western Washington, dropping temperatures into the 20's and 30's over Wednesday and Thursday. 

Temperatures (in the Seattle area) ...will fall to 30 degrees in the Seattle area and into the 20s in many locations nearby. And Thursday the high in the Seattle area will barely rise above the freezing level.

Tacoma and the South Sound are expected to receive similar snowfall. The News Tribune's Steve Maynard spoke with meteorologist Johnny Burg at the National Weather Service:

“I would call this a good snow event,” Burg said.

Burg says Thursday's snowfall will hang around into the weekend, as temperatures will remain bitterly cold, in the upper teens to 20's, around the region. Normal highs for the last week of February average in the low 50's. 


Logging Fees Could Rise

A current $50 fee for logging on private lands isn't enough to pay for required environmental protections, according to Washington Lands Commissioner Peter Goldmark.  He's proposing raising those fees, according to The Seattle Times' Hal Bernton:

Goldmark's proposal comes as a recently released audit indicates that logging rules intended to protect streams often are not followed during logging operations. The report recommended an increase in staff visits before harvests.

A spokesman for timber-giant Weyerhaeuser tells Bernton the tax revenues his and other companies produces more than enough to enforce required state protections.

Clifford Traisman, with the groups Washington Conservation Voters and Washington Environmental Council, tells the Times 'constructive' fee proposals to offset more than $2 million in cuts to forestry practice enforcement are needed. Goldmark does not say how much of an increase he might propose.