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Thursday morning's headlines

Peak-season surcharges kick in Sunday on many Washington State Ferry routes. Some fares will increase as much as 25%.
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Peak-season surcharges kick in Sunday on many Washington State Ferry routes. Some fares will increase as much as 25%.

Here's what's making headlines around the Northwest this morning:


  • Last Blast of Winter Today?
  • Summer Ferry Surcharge Starts This Weekend
  • Crime Stoppers of Puget Sound Under Investigation
  • Starbucks Profits Up 20%;  Microsoft to Release 3Q Numbers Today

Really? Warmer, Drier Weather Ahead

It's almost May, but parts of western Washington could still get snow today. But that could be the last of it.

A cold front and showers could drop the snow level to 1,000 feet Thursday morning, says KING 5 meteorologist Jeff Renner. It could briefly drop lower in the form of heavy showers. Wet snow or a rain/snow mix could lead to brief accumulations.

Computer models are showing a shifting weather pattern that could mean an end to the wintry conditions, and bring warmer and drier weather this weekend.


Ferry Peak Season Surcharge Begins Sunday; Some Fares Up 25%

The Washington ferry peak season surcharge begins Sunday, and many fares will be going up 25 percent. The ferry system says the surcharge apples to full fare vehicle-driver tickets. It does not affect passenger-only fares, except on Anacortes-San Juan routes. A typical fare of $11.85 for a car and driver on the Seattle-Bainbridge run will be going up to $14.85.

The summer surcharge runs through Sept. 30.


Starbucks Profits Up for 3rd Quarter; Microsoft to Release Figures Today

Starbucks reports its profits climbed 20% for the second quarter just ended. A key reason for the strong showing: grocery-store sales, which rose 30%. The Seattle-based coffee chain recently switched from Kraft to other distributors for those grocery sales.

The company says it has no plans to raise its prices, but...

"That doesn't mean they won't," said Sharon Zackfia, a market analyst. "They've been making surgical price increases in certain markets".

Starbucks is now the number-three U.S. restaurant chain, behind McDonalds and Subway.

Meanwhile, Microsoft is expected to provide further insights into how the increasing popularity of computer tablets is reshaping technology when it releases its fiscal third-quarter report after the stock market closes today. The results are expected to show that the world's largest software maker is still thriving even though it hasn't released an operating system to compete against computer tablets running on programs made by Apple and Google.


15 Board Members of Crime Stoppers of Puget Sound Resign; SPD Investigating

Seattle Police are investigating a complaint against Crime Stoppers of Puget Sound after 15 members of the group's board resigned amid complaints about budget discrepancies within the organization.

Former board president Cynthia Tobias told Q13 Fox news many resigned because they could not get answers to their questions. A source on the board also said there was a financial irregularity of nearly $500,000 in 2006.

Retired Seattle Police Department Detective Myrle Carner founded Crime Stoppers of Puget Sound more than 20 years ago and insists there has been no unlawful misappropriation of funds to run the program. Seattle police say they've only received one complaint about Crime Stoppers of Puget Sound and that it is in the preliminary stages of review.