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Monday morning's headlines

Nicholas K. Geranios
Associated Press
An endangered Columbia Basin pygmy rabbit emerges from an artificial burrow inside an enclosure sat the Sagebrush Flats reserve near Ephrata, Wash. Wildlife experts are making one last effort to save the endangered Columbia Basin pygmy rabbit.

Showers likely. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 64. Chance of precipitation is 60%. More gloomy news about the week's weather here.

Making headlines around the Northwest:


Gas prices falling, but state still above average

The AAA auto club reports the average price of a gallon of gas in Washington is $3.88. That's down 3 cents in a week and 15 cents in a month, but it's 18 cents higher than the national average.

Some metro prices from the AAA's Monday survey: Bellingham $3.93, Bellevue $3.89, Seattle-Bellevue-Everett $3.90, Tacoma $3.84, Olympia $3.86, Vancouver $3.84, Yakima $3.90, Tri-Cities $3.92, and Spokane $3.83.

Off the AP wire: Climber rescued, arrest in torture case ...

  • A Coast Guard helicopter from Port Angeles rescued a climber who had fallen and suffered a shoulder injury near Mount Baker. The Coast Guard says two park rangers had reached the woman Sunday but were unable to move her from her location, at an elevation of about 5,000 feet.
  • Arraignment is set Monday for a fifth suspect arrested in connection with the videotaped torture of a man. The woman was booked into Pierce County Jail last week on suspicion of first-degree murder, kidnapping and rendering criminal assistance. She has not been charged. The News Tribune reports investigators believe she drove another suspect to and from the crime scene. Prosecutors have previously charged three men and a woman in the case. Law enforcement obtained the 19-minute videotape of the incident earlier this year.
  • Authorities have found the wreckage of an airplane that crashed in rugged terrain in eastern Oregon. The Tri-City Herald reports that the plane was reported missing early Sunday with three people on board. There was no information released late Sunday about survivors. Umatilla County Emergency Management officials say the plane was bound for Wyoming after taking off from Dallesport, Wash. The wreckage was found near Ukiah, some 50 miles south of Pendleton.
  • Yakima police say a 24-year-old woman was shot early yesterday in the parking lot of a fast-food restaurant. Sgt. Mike Costello says the woman was unconscious and slumped over in her car when officers arrived around 2 a.m. yesterday. She died shortly after being taken to a local hospital. Yakima County Coroner Jack Hawkins identified the woman as Yecenia Guerrero.
  • One of four Washington state-based soldiers accused of murdering civilians while serving in southern Afghanistan in 2010 has been released from confinement as he awaits trial. The Seattle Times reports that Pvt. 1st Class Andrew Holmes, of Boise, Idaho, was released Friday from confinement at Joint Base Lewis-McChord. A base spokesman says Holmes reported to his unit where he will be monitored and cannot travel outside Washington.

'Sovereigns' gaining attention in Washington

Deputies were prepared for the worst as they stood by in a Spokane County courtroom earlier this month during routine hearings for mostly low-level felonies.

Their focus was on one of the more benign cases: possession and distribution of marijuana.

But it wasn't the nature of the allegations that got their attention. It was the defendant, a self-proclaimed "sovereign" who doesn't consider himself a citizen of the United States even though he was born and raised here.

The Spokesman Review reports that 30-year-old Adrian B. Shannon is among a growing number of people who question the legitimacy of federal, state and local government agencies and employ a series of legal maneuvers they believe exempt them from driver's licenses and birth certificates, paying taxes, or even criminal charges.

Last hope for restoring the pygmy rabbit

Wildlife experts are making one last effort to save the endangered Columbia Basin pygmy rabbit, believed extinct in the wild since mid-2004.

The pygmy rabbit is the smallest rabbit in North America, and can fit in a person's hand. Adults weigh about a pound and measure less than a foot in length. The previous effort to reintroduce the pygmy in 2007 ended badly when they were quickly gobbled by their many predators.

Some 100 pygmy rabbits are being released this time into large wire enclosures. The rabbits — who were raised in captivity for this last-ditch effort — must learn quickly to find food, breed and avoid being eaten. The wire enclosures give them a fighting chance to survive, scientists say.

Dysfunction: Is Bellevue the next Seattle?'s Strange Bedfellows blog has an interesting roundup of transportation battles that put Bellevue on par with Seattle. 

Seattle has a fairly well-deserved reputation for gumming up the works when it comes to major transportation projects (see Alaskan Way Viaduct replacement, tunnel). But lately our neighbors to the east, Bellevue, have been giving the Emerald City a run for its money when it comes to transportation dysfunction.

The Seattle politics blog cites these two examples: A faction on the Bellevue City Council wants to change Sound Transit’s planned light rail route for the Eastside; and on Friday, Tim Eyman said Bellevue developer Kemper Freeman had donated $500,000 to Initiative 1125, a measure that, if approved by voters, would require a majority legislative vote for new highway tolls.