Other News

Interesting news stories from around the Pacific Northwest.

UW Health Alliance International

The Obama Administration says it wants to re-invent foreign aid and one of its mantras is to increase “country ownership” of the programs it funds for improving health and welfare in poor countries.

Given this, it came as a shock to Dr. Stephen Gloyd and others at the UW’s Health Alliance International (HAI) when the government basically pulled the plug on a long-running AIDS health care project in Mozambique that is, or was anyway, widely regarded as a model of doing just that.

“It’s ironic given their goal of wanting to strengthen local governance,” said Gloyd, director at HAI.

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

  • Angry Crowd at Seattle Police Accountability Forum
  •  Investigation of John T. Williams shooting Deemed Fair
  • Legislature Nixes Governor's Plan for Regional Ferry Authority

 

Anger, outbursts at forum on Seattle Police conduct

A Seattle police accountability forum at City Hall turned into a shouting match at times, and some demanded the resignation of Police Chief John Diaz. 

KOMO News reports the goal of the Thursday night meeting was to restore trust between police and minorities.

adventureswhistler.com

What led to killings of 100 sled dogs in Whistler last spring? British Columbia's Premier Gordon Campbell has appointed a task force as part of a widening investigation into the animal deaths at a dog sled compound near the winter resort town of Whistler.

Gary Davis / KPLU

King County's Metro Transit is making lots of changes to its bus schedules starting this Saturday, February 5.

Who's affected?

The changes will impact all areas of the county and include routing and bus stop changes for approximately two dozen routes from various areas of the county that pass through downtown Seattle.

AP

Making headlines around the Northwest this morning:

  • Budget Cuts Create Backlog for King County Prosecutor
  • Boeing Says More 787 Work Possible in Everett
  • Six Years of Rate Increases Needed, Says Seattle City Light
  • State Patrol to Investigate Gig Harbor Police Chief

 

Budget Cuts Strain King Co. Prosecutor Staff

The King County Prosecutor says his office can’t keep up with high-priority crimes because of budget cuts and a jump in aggravated assaults. Doug Satterberg has asked the County Council for $225,000 in emergency funding. The Seattle Times' Keith Ervin reports the request comes six months after voters rejected a proposed sales tax increase:

Vessel Zodiac Corporation

Commuters on I-5 may see something a little different on Thursday: a truck carrying a 114-foot, tall ship's mast. It's for the Bellingham-based historic schooner Zodiac.

The Zodiac lost its old mast and boom last September in an incident near Lummi Island.

In a single day, Washington cut more than 5,000 families from the state's welfare-to-work program. That's because a strict, five-year limit on benefits kicked in. It's a cost-cutting measure ordered by the Governor.

Joerg Sarbach / AP

Here's how bitter it's become in the battle between Google and Microsoft's Bing search engine.

At a conference in San Francisco, a Google executive stood on stage and accused Microsoft of using the latest version of its Internet Explorer browser to spy. Google ran a sting operation to prove his point, as summarized by Todd Bishop at TechFlash:

AP

Making headlines around the Northwest this morning:

  • Monroe Prison Employees Faced Previous Assault
  • State Tuition Program Heading Toward Trouble?
  • Pierce County Takes Stand Against All-Mail Vote

 

Report: Evidence Prison Guard May Have Fought Back

Investigations into the death of Officer Jayme Biendl at the Monroe Correctional Center chapel Saturday night reveal evidence of a physical struggle. The Herald of Everett reports a physical examination of the prime suspect showed signs he'd been involved in violence.

Charla Bear

Drivers in Seattle may have noticed they’re hitting more potholes this year than usual. City officials say they’re aware of 1,800 holes in the road this winter compared to 570 last winter. Mayor Mike McGinn says Mother Nature has made it tough to fix them:

“The rain, snow, freezing weather has led us to have a dramatically larger number of potholes and an aging infrastructure, frankly, this winter season than in prior years.  We are not currently meeting the 72-hour standard we’ve set for ourselves because of the number of pothole requests.”

City of Seattle website

Need to report a pothole in your neighborhood? Or pay a parking ticket? The City of Seattle has launched a new one-stop website that it hopes will improve customer service and foster public participation.

Making headlines this morning around the Northwest:

  • Another Prosecution in Afghan War Crimes
  • Local Reaction to Health Bill Ruling
  • Seattle Schools Audit: Rules Not Followed

 

Army To Prosecute Fifth Stryker Soldier

The Army will prosecute Spc. Michael Wagnon, the fifth Stryker Brigade soldier from Joint Base Lewis-McChord accused of war crimes against Afghan civilians. The News Tribune's Adam Ashton reports Wagnon is accused of a variety of crimes, including murder, conspiracy and drug use:

AP

In case you missed it, Bill Gates thinks we should eradicate polio.

Not just him. You and me, too.

Bill and Melinda Gates have given a lot of money — about $1.3 billion — in support of the global campaign to eradicate polio. But, as Gates has been saying a lot the past week, it’s going to take a truly global effort to succeed:

“If eradication fails because of a lack of generosity on the part of donor countries it would be tragic. We are so close, but we have to finish the last leg of the journey,” says Gates in his annual letter released today.

Gates has been on the global media circuit for the past week or so stumping for polio eradication. He wants the public everywhere to push their governments to provide more funds for this big global project.

Gates made the case early last week when he announced his $50 million donation (matched by an Abu Dhabi crown prince) to boost the vaccination campaign in Pakistan and Afghanistan, two of the four countries (the others being India and Nigeria) where polio is still endemic.

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Washington's governor has ordered an independent investigation into the killing of a prison guard at the Monroe Correctional Center on Saturday night.  Veteran officer Jayme Biendl was strangled at her post in the prison chapel. Her body was discovered after she failed to turn in her keys at the close of her shift.

An inmate who was missing during a routine count earlier Saturday evening, Byron Scherf, is considered the 'prime suspect' of Monroe Police, according to Seattlepi.com's Chris Grygiel:

Seattle Parks and Recreation

If you care about youth sports, neighborhood gatherings or activities for seniors, you might rely on community centers. In Seattle, some big changes to the facilities could be on the way. Officials say they’re too expensive as the city struggles with shrinking revenue. So they're asking anyone who's interested in community centers to help decide their fate.

Wash. DOC

His “worst nightmare.” That's how Washington’s Secretary of Corrections is describing the murder this weekend of a female correctional officer. Prison officials say 34-year-old Jayme Biendl was strangled to death.

Making headlines this morning around the Northwest:

  • Prison guard death first in 30 years
  • Details on Anti-War Protester Spying 
  • Suicide Prevention Fence for Olympia I-5 Bridge

 

Monroe Guard's Death

Shock and sadness over the murder of a Monroe Reformatory guard dominate western Washington headlines.  Jayme Biendl was killed late Saturday night while on duty in the prison chapel. An inmate - three-strikes  lifer Byron Scherf - is the lone suspect. 

Ben Curtis / AP

A rally in support of the anti-government protests in Egypt will begin at noon Saturday in downtown Seattle's Westlake Park.  

One of the organizers is Alaa Badr, an Egyptian American who has been in the United States for 17 years. He works for Microsoft and lives in Issaquah with his wife and three children. Lately, he says, they've been staying up till one in the morning watching Al Jazeera.

"But then we get up again at 5 a.m., just to see what's happened, because of the time difference," he says.  

UNICEF

Bill and Melinda Gates are big believers in vaccines and in the benefit of eradicating, rather than simply controlling, those human diseases that have the potential for being completely wiped out.

Today, Gates and British Prime Minister David Cameron announced a combined new donation of $166 million in support of the global polio eradication campaign.

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Wonderlane / Flickr

The weekend brings the first of many planned Lunar New Year celebrations around the region. Many Asian cultures mark the event with colorful festivals, parades and performances, including the Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, Tibetan and Mongolian communities, among others.

The Chinese celebrations often include the dramatic Lion and Dragon dances. Many of the region's events are centered around children and family activities:

Gary Davis / KPLU

Making headlines this morning:

  • Key Document Surfaces in Woodcarver Shooting
  • Education Department Idea Moves Forward in Olympia
  • Packed Hearing Backs Saving a Tacoma High School

 

Woodcarver's Shooting: Evidence Surfaces

A city councilman's email plea to Seattle Police Chief John Diaz for an independent investigation following the  fatal shooting of John T. Williams by a cop last August was omitted from a public disclosure request. 

US Army

There's been a significant development in the case of five Washington-based soldiers accused of killing unarmed Afghan civilians last year. The Washington Post reports a plea deal has been struck with one of the key defendants. But an Army spokesman cautions nothing's been finalized. 

The Post, citing an anonymous source, says Specialist Jeremy Morlock has agreed to a deal that would spare him the possibility of life in prison.

AP

Washington's Senior US Senator, Patty Murray, has become the first woman ever appointed as chairman of the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee.

Murray replaces Democratic Sen. Daniel Akaka of Hawaii as the new committee chair.  According to Rob Hotakainen, Staff writer at the Olympian, Akaka is an 86-year-old veteran of World War II and has headed the committee for the last four years.

Seattle parking rates are going up in 4 neighborhoods, down in 11 neighborhoods and will stay the same in 7 others. Seattle Transportation Department spokesman Rick Sheridan says the upshot is that 73% of the city’s paid parking spaces will either stay the same or get a rate reduction. But several areas still face big hikes and community leaders are worried.

Kristian Foden-Vencil / OPB

Irate drivers in four Washington cities are filing ballot initiative paperwork this week to unplug automated traffic enforcement cameras.

So far, driver rebellions have ignited in Longview, Bellingham, Monroe and Wenatchee. Signature drives have started in those cities to unplug their red light cameras. Professional initiative promoter Tim Eyman is involved in all four of the nascent municipal campaigns.

WSDOT / flickr.com

Mukilteo ferry commuters need to make alternate plans for traveling to and from Whidbey Island on three weekends (Friday through Sunday) this spring. The dates are March 18-20, March 25-27 and April 1-3. The Mukilteo terminal is closing for a $2.6 million overhaul of the dock. Commuters will have to either drive around or take special sailings between Edmonds and Clinton.

Elaine Thompson / AP

Making headlines this morning:

  • Boeing Windfall for Thousands of Workers
  • Seattle Reconsiders Parking Rate Hikes
  • Another Effort to Legalize Marijuana
  • Sports "Star" Winners Announced
     

Bonuses for Boeing workers

More than 48,000 Boeing workers be handed incentive bonuses next month. The windfall, averaging about $5,000 per employee, is the result of solid profit gains last year, according to The Seattle Times' Dominic Gates:

TED.com

The popular TED Talks series is sprouting a new arm: TED Books.  Seattle-based Amazon began selling the short (10,000 to 20,000 word) digital books today. They are available on the Kindle platform.

The first three ebooks with the new imprint are based on materials from popular Talks series speakers:

A Pierce County man is in custody for allegedly making an online threat to Governor Chris Gregoire. The Washington State Patrol picked up Robert R. Locke, of the Graham area, on Tuesday afternoon. 

In a statement, the patrol reports Gregoire's office received the still unspecified threat early Tuesday morning. The message was traced to Locke, and he was picked up while walking on a Pierce County street about six hours later. 

Detectives reported their arrest took place without incident. 

Locke was booked into Pierce County jail, where he's charged with one felony count of threatening the governor or the governor's family.

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