Skagit County

Will James / knkx

Bouquets, balloons, and hand-drawn posters piled up Monday at the grassy entryway of the Cascade Mall, the small-town shopping center that is the site of America's latest mass killing.

Residents of Burlington drifted by the makeshift memorial to pay respects to the five people fatally shot Friday - or simply to take stock of what had happened to their community of 8,000 people about an hour's drive north of Seattle.

Chris Kittredge Photo

In recent years, the Samish River Basin in Skagit County has suffered severe pollution from fecal coliform bacteria. Water polluted with untreated sewage and manure leads to frequent closures of shellfish beds and beaches. County authorities are testing a new method to find the sources: poop-sniffing dogs

Bellamy Pailthorp Photo / KPLU News

For the second time this month, about 200 berry pickers at a Skagit Valley farm have walked off the job.

The workers are striking over pay for the boxes of blueberries and strawberries they harvest at Sakuma Brothers Farms in Burlington. Many of those berries are sold to Haagen-Dazs for ice cream. The workers in question have been earning $3.50 per a flat of blueberries, which is about 12 pints. They say they can’t pick them fast enough to earn a fair wage.

In Skagit County, a decades-old fight over water rights has come to a
head.

County Commissioners are walking away from an agreement they say
was originally intended to allocate water permits fairly, while
protecting endangered salmon. But now they say that agreement has
caused nothing but lawsuits, so they’re seeking mediation instead.

AP

The families of six Tesoro Corporation refinery workers killed in an explosion at an Anacortes site last April have filed a wrongful-death suit against the company Wednesday. 

The Seattle Times' Jim Brunner reports the suit alleges Tesoro was negligent in addressing the conditions that resulted in the blast, which killed seven people. In addition to the six families, a contractor injured in the explosion has also joined the suit.