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Friday morning's headlines

It's Friday, April 8th. Enjoy the sunshine today. We have a rainy weekend ahead of us, with continued cool overnight temperatures. 

In morning headlines:

  • Protests at State Capitol Bring Arrests, Lockdown
  • Big Service Cuts Ahead for Community Transit 
  • Mystery Oil Spill on Lake Union
  • Mariners Come Home

Rare Lockdown at State Capitol

The State Capitol went into lockdown for a couple of hours Thursday after protests erupted outside the governor's office. More than a dozen people were arrested. They were there to protest budget cuts that have, among others, hit union home care workers and services to the poor.

“I’m willing to get arrested because it means peoples lives and livelihood and it’s time for the legislators to understand that people are dying,” protester Karen Washington told KPLU's Austin Jenkins.

Jenkins reports its the first capitol lockdown in recent memory. The move drew criticism from Senate Majority Leader Lisa Brown (D-Spokane). 

Hundreds of union members are expected to join those from SEIU at the capitol today, part of labor demonstration that will draw people from across the state. 


Big Cuts Ahead for Community Transit, Snohomish County Commuters

Like other local transit agencies, Community Transit is preparing huge service cuts as budgets tighten. The Herald of Everett's Katya Yefimova and Bill Sheets report CT is planning 20% reductions in 2012, meaning employee layoffs, fewer buses and longer wait times for customers:

"It's likely we'll go from 15 minutes to 30 or 20," said Joyce Eleanor, Community Transit chief executive officer. "In some areas it could be an hour; in some areas it could be two hours."

Eleanor is having to find cuts ranging from $10-15 million for next year's budget.

New double-decker buses were introduced this week, a fleet of 23 coaches paid by federal and state grants. CT spokesman Martin Munguia tells The Herald the buses will save money over the long run because they'll "hold more people on one bus." 


Small Slick on Lake Union

About 40 gallons of oil were recovered Thursday by state Ecology crews following a mysterious spill on Seattle's Lake Union. The sheen appeared along the lake's east shore, not far from a partially submerged houseboat. KING-TV reports its not clear if the spill came from that vessel:

Department of Ecology officials said the substance has a petroleum odor, and a sample was collected for testing.

A boom was used to contain as much of the spill as possible, and is still in place this morning.


First 2011 Home Stand for Mariners

In tonight's home opener, former Mariner announcer Dave Niehaus will be honored, as the team welcomes the Cleveland Indians to town. This is the first season since the birth of the club without Niehaus, and Mariner jerseys sport a tribute to the hall-of-fame broadcaster, according to Sportspress Northwest's Seth Kolloen:

At 4 p.m., at the bronze mitt, the portion of 1st Ave. that runs along Safeco will be renamed “Dave Niehaus Way.” Gates open at 4:40, and the pre-game ceremonies begin at 6:30. Dave’s wife Marilyn will throw out the first pitch.

Kolloen also reports Ichiro Suzuki and Franklin Gutierrez will be awarded their Gold Glove awards tonight, and the team will honor the victims of the Japan earthquake with a moment of silence.