Thursday morning's headlines

Dec 9, 2010

 Get ready for changes in health insurance for kids next week, a Tacoma historic preservation project takes shape, Bremerton welcomes the USS Nimitz, and a hospital lockdown in Mt. Vernon following a man's death.

Push to Get Kids Insured by Next Week

Parents with children under the age of 19 might want to make sure they’re covered with health insurance by next Wednesday.  That’s when an open-enrollment period ends for children whose parents buy individual insurance plans.  During that period, insurance companies cannot reject anyone because of a pre-existing medical condition. 

What happens after December 15th is a matter of dispute between Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler and the insurers, according to the Seattle Times.  The companies say the law allows them to screen children, to prevent parents from waiting until after the kids are sick to sign up for coverage.  But Kreidler says the screening is only allowed temporarily.   


Downtown Tacoma Elks Renovation Taking Shape

In the midst of hand-wringing over the fate of Tacoma's Old City Hall,  plans to preserve and redevelop the historic Elks Temple are shaping up. Last night, reps for the investors, McMenamin Brothers, revealed their latest ideas. The planned entertainment project could include a park, but won't have a grocery store. 

The News Tribune reports about 100 people came to ask questions about the project:

...the project is on schedule to start construction in summer 2011, which puts the opening in fall 2012. 

The Elks renovation includes retail and apartments. A new hotel complex is planned next door, which also includes shops and plans for apartments.  The Trib reports the park idea came about after a prospective major retail tenant wasn't secured:

Because a large retailer isn’t headed for the new building, the space devoted to retail shrank by half to 15,000 square feet. That opened up space for a “pocket park” on top of the parking garage, facing Commencement Bay.

The project is expected to create nearly 300 construction jobs.


Bremerton Welcomes Thousands of Sailors

There's a homecoming of sorts in Bremerton this morning. The city's rolled out the welcome mat for the USS Nimitz and its crew of about 2,800 sailors.  Now based in San Diego, the Nimitz  will spend the next year undergoing maintenance at the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard.  It last called Bremerton home from 1987 to 1997.

Ship spokesman Lt. Cmdr. Steve Ruh told the Kitsap Sun nearly 800 of the Nimitz crew will call the Bremerton area home. About 500 moved in advance of the school year or over the Thanksgiving holiday.


Hospital Lockdown After Man Dies

from the Associated Press


The Skagit Valley Hospital in Mount Vernon went into a lockdown when about 100 relatives and friends came to the emergency room where a man died.

Sheriff's Detective Kay Walker told the Skagit Valley Herald they were upset with the medical community over care for the man. The 30-year-old collapsed at a home in Burlington Tuesday night and was taken to the hospital where he died about an hour later.

Family members in the emergency room were described as hostile. Hospital spokeswoman Kari Ranten says because of the number of people, the hospital heightened security. Police, deputies and troopers assisted.

No one was violent. There were no arrests.