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Washington State News Archive

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"Personal Incomes Rise, Construction Down" -- Vancouver Columbian - Please Ask a Librarian for a copy of this article.
The Commerce Department reported Thursday that personal incomes rose by 1 percent in January while consumer spending was up by 0.5 percent. The income advance was the largest since a 1.3 percent jump in January 2006 and both the income and spending gains were bigger than had been expected. You can find the Report, highlights of the Report, and technical notes at the Bureau of Economic Analysis site. - 03/01/2007

"More volcano monitoring planned at Mount Rainier"--Yakima Herald-Republic - Please Ask a Librarian for a copy of this article.
The U. S. Geological Survey is placing more monitoring equipment around Mount Rainer. The mountain is more than a Washington state icon--it's also the third most dangerous volcano in the United States. The danger to the heavily populated lowlands around the mountain could come from eruptions or mudflows which can happen without a volcanic eruption. - 03/01/2007

"Regulators, tribes agree on new casino compacts"--Spokane Spokesman-Review - Please Ask a Librarian for a copy of this article.
(Registration may be required to read this article. State Library cardholders can access articles in back issues via ProQuest.) 27 Indian tribes that operate casinoes hit the jackpot--or at least 3 salmon in a row--in an agreement with the Washington State Gambling Commission. The agreement, Appendix X2 in the Tribal-State Gambling Compacts, will allow a major increase in the number of slot machines tribes can operate, loosen the rules governing slots, and expand hours. The changes are summarized in this press release. The agreement still has to approved by the governor and the Bureau of Indian Affairs. This agreement was spurred on, in part, by a recent compact with the Spokane Tribe that expanded the number of slot machines they could operate. - 03/02/2007

"Audit leads to state plan to take over most trucker testing"--Pasco Tri-City Herald - Please Ask a Librarian for a copy of this article.
The state of Washington will be limiting the use of private contractors to administer the driving section of the Commercial Dirver License test to truck drivers. An investigation showed that some contractors were giving the licenses to people who either failed the test or didn't even take it. A random test of truck drivers showed most of them failed at least part of the test. Failure in the real world would bring them to the attention of the Washington State Patrol. - 03/05/2007

"Soldiers, families, vets: It's not just Walter Reed"--Seattle Times
The hospital systems run by the U.S. military and the Department of Veterans Affairs are being strongly criticized for deplorable conditions at Walter Reed Hospital and other facilities. The Secretary of the Army has resigned over the scandal. There will be a Congressional hearing today to investigate why conditions got so bad. - 03/05/2007

"WA Senate approves Real ID delay measure"--Vancouver Columbian - Please Ask a Librarian for a copy of this article.
The state Senate passed SB 5087 by a wide margin on Mar. 5. The bill is in reaction to Title II of the federal REAL ID Act of 2005 that protects national security by setting elaborate national standards for drivers licenses. SB 5087 would base state compliance with REAL ID on costs, privacy issues, record keeping burdens on license applicants, and the right of the state to challenge the REAL ID Act in court. The National Governors Association and the National Conference of State Legislatures issued a joint statement calling for a delay in implementing REAL ID and for federal funding to cover the costs. - 03/06/2007

"Asian pollution feeds NW storms: Particles bringing turbulence to Pacific" Spokane Spokesman-Review - Please Ask a Librarian for a copy of this article.
(Registration may be required to read this article. State Library cardholders can access articles in back issues via ProQuest.) Pollution knows no boundaries, even when the smokestack is half a world away. It's known that pollution from India and China reaches the U.S.. Now it's been shown the particles in the pollution can intensify storms along the way. The same dust storm can dump grit on both Beijing and Spokane. - 03/06/2007

"Murray wants answers on Madigan"--Tacoma News Tribune - Please Ask a Librarian for a copy of this article.
Senator Patty Murray is seeking answers from the Army about complaints concerning Madigan Army Medical Center. The Senator's office received complaints from Madigan patients that they were experiencing similar bureaucratic processing delays as those afflicting patients at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. The situation at Walter Reed has led to Congressional hearings. - 03/07/2007

"Fired U.S. attorney wary of Hastings aide's call on '04 governor race"--Pasco Tri-City Herald - Please Ask a Librarian for a copy of this article.
John McKay, former U.S. Attorney for Western Washington, testified at a Congressional hearing that an aide to Representative Doc Hastings contacted McKay shortly after the 2004 gubernatorial election. The aide wanted to know if there would be an investigation into voter fraud in the exceedingly close election of Governor Christine Gregoire. Such a request from a Congressional office could pose ethnical issues. The hearing is looking the circumstances surrounding the recent, unusual mass removal of U.S. Attorneys. - 03/07/2007

"WA Senate passes measure requiring medically accurate sex ed"--Yakima Herald-Republic - Please Ask a Librarian for a copy of this article.
The latest skirmish in the culture wars occurred when the state Senate passed SB 5297. This bill mandates that any public school offering sex education has to offer medically accurate information in addition to abstinence only lessons. The Superintendent of Public Instruction the Department of Health have issued guidelines for medically accurate sex education. Supporters argued that students need accurate information if they are to act responsibly. Opponents argued that abstinence is the best policy and the measure takes away power from local school districts. - 03/08/2007

"New state wilderness area passes key hurdle"--Olympian - Please Ask a Librarian for a copy of this article.
The fourth time might be a charm. The House of Representatives Natural Resources Committee finally approved HR 886 that would set aside 106,577 acres in the Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest as the Wild Sky Wilderness. The Senate has approved this act three times, but this is the first time the act will reach the House floor for a vote. - 03/08/2007

"King County's new face" -- Seattle Times - Please Ask a Librarian for a copy of this article.
The Metropolitan King County Council is expected to approve the proposed logo today, replacing the current gold-crown logo. The change will cost about $600,000 and be phased in over five years. The new logo will first appear on new county park signs and corrections-department uniforms, according to Carolyn Duncan, a spokeswoman for the county. The King logo will replace the gold-crown logo on stationery as it runs out and on Metro buses when they are replaced. You can find background on the logo decision, FAQs on the logo, the motion for renaming, and the ordinance to Establish the official symbol of King County to be the likeness of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr at King County website. - 03/12/2007

"Visit brings history of Celilo Falls to life"--Yakima Herald-Republic - Please Ask a Librarian for a copy of this article.
Fifty years ago the rising water behind the newly constructed Dalles Dam covered the historic Indian fishing and trade center at Celilo Falls. Representatives from Indian tribes and the Corps of Engineers met to commemorate the drowning of a way of life. An article from the Oregon Historical Quarterly describes how fishing rights among Indians at Celilo Falls became more complicated after the arrival of settlers. - 03/12/2007

"House OKs lower school levy bar: Measure would let districts raise tax burden with simple majority"--Spokane Spokesman-Review - Please Ask a Librarian for a copy of this article.
(Registration may be required to read this article. State Library cardholders can access articles in back issues via ProQuest.) Should Washington state change the law that requires a 60% majority for school levies to pass? The argument pits what it could do for schools versus what it could do to property taxes. The House of Representatives approved House Resolution 4204 that's in favor school levies passing with 51% of the vote. This is the first step in changing the law. Next the Senate will reconsider a similar measure, Senate Resolution 8207, that it already voted down. If both Resolutions pass, then in November there would be an election to to amend Section VII, Article 2 of the Washington State Constitution that has set the supermajority levy vote as law since 1932. - 03/13/2007

"38,000 kids now eligible for state health care" -- Tacoma News Tribune - Please Ask a Librarian for a copy of this article.
Flanked by children, Gov. Chris Gregoire signed a bill Tuesday to expand health-care coverage to thousands of Washington’s youngest residents. The measure will provide health-care coverage to 38,000 more children in the next two years. Coverage is either free or on a sliding scale based on the family’s annual income. The expansion will cost around $60 million in state and federal money. You can access the Bill Concerning access to health care services for children, as well as the Final Bill Report through the State Legislature, and its Fiscal Notes through the Office of Financial Management. - 03/14/2007

"Vader kills its school"--Longview Daily News - Please Ask a Librarian for a copy of this article.
Sometimes you don't get what you don't pay for. The voters in the Vader School District voted down a levy and a bond issue for the struggling district. As a result the school will close and its 89 students will be reassigned to neighboring school districts. Incidentally, residents will likely pay higher taxes for those districts than if the bond and levy had passed. - 03/14/2007

"Pentagon: Iraq in some ways in civil war" -- Seattle Post-Intelligencer - Please Ask a Librarian for a copy of this article.
The U.S. military for the first time Wednesday said in a new report that some of the violence in Iraq can be described as a civil war. The military also provides current statistics on U.S. casualty status. - 03/14/2007

"Paid family leave now in hands of House" -- Olympian - Please Ask a Librarian for a copy of this article.
Workers would receive five weeks of paid family leave to care for a new child or a sick parent under a measure passed Wednesday by the state Senate, with supporters saying it was a win for families and opponents saying it would add an unnecessary tax on workers. The Office of Financial Management was working Wednesday to calculate the bill's cost to the state after the amendments. The initial fiscal note attached to the measure pegged its cost at nearly $200 million for the 2011-2013 biennium. - 03/15/2007

"GOP tries to limit tribal gifts: Democrats block plan, saying it's discriminatory"--Spokane Spokesman-Review - Please Ask a Librarian for a copy of this article.
(Registration may be required to read this article. State Library cardholders can access articles in back issues via ProQuest.) Republicans failed in their effort to prevent Indian tribes from making political donations to governors. The proposal was made in the form of amendments to existing bills. It was blocked by Democrats who said the amendments interfered with the tribes' right to take part in the political process. They also pointed out Washington has campaign finance laws and a Public Disclosure Commission that makes campaign donation information available to the public. - 03/15/2007

"In brief: Bill would ban drivers from text messaging"--Spokane Spokesman-Review - Please Ask a Librarian for a copy of this article.
(Registration may be required to read this article. State Library cardholders can access articles in back issues via ProQuest.) Freedom of speech doesn't give you the right to drive with your hands off the wheel. The Washington state House of Representatives passed HB 1214 that outlaws text messaging while driving. The bill will now go to the Senate. Washington is one of three states considering similar measures. - 03/15/2007

"WA lawmakers eye canceling '08 presidential primary"--Yakima Herald-Republic - Please Ask a Librarian for a copy of this article.
Will Washington state hold a presidential primary in 2008? Not if House Bill 2379 has its way. Presidential primaries are a fairly recent development in Washington and were started as a result of an initiative in 1989. The Republican and Democratic parties are not supportive of the primary and take a "it's our candidate and we'll choose who we want to" attitude. Supporters of the primary see popular selection of candidates as broad-based right. Another issue is that the Washington primary would be too late to have any effect on selecting a presidential candidate. - 03/16/2007

"WA revenues shoot up again; reserves now top $2 billion" -- Vancouver Columbian - Please Ask a Librarian for a copy of this article.
Washington's once-torrid economy is gradually cooling, but still is expected to produce another tax windfall of $126 million, driving the state's reserves to a record $2 billion, state revenue officials said Thursday. The governor's own $30 billion budget proposal, released last December and based on an assumption of a $1.9 billion projected surplus, suggested spending about $1.3 billion and leaving about $600 million in savings, including money in a hard-to-tap "rainy day" fund. - 03/16/2007

"Card shaves drug costs" -- Seattle Times
Thousands of Washington residents who pay full retail prices for their medications now can get relief, thanks to a state-backed card that will entitle them to the same discounts enjoyed by patients with insurance. Two years in the making, the Washington Prescription Drug Program discount card makes Washington one of about a dozen states to harness the clout of the uninsured to negotiate discounts comparable to what insurers and other large buyers command. - 03/19/2007

"Growth ripples through city's plans"--Pasco Tri-City Herald - Please Ask a Librarian for a copy of this article.
The expansion of the Coyote Ridge Correctional Center is paralleled by growth in the adjoining town of Connell. Coyote Ridge CC's increase of inmate population from 600 to 2,648 by the end of 2008 is needed as Washington state deals with a ongoing shortfall of prison beds. Connell, a town of 3,200 people, expects hundreds of new residents as more prison employees and inmate families move there. Schools, zoning, and utilities will all feel the impact. Other towns in Washington could undergo similar experiences as other prisons expand and perhaps new ones are built. - 03/19/2007

"Violent crime in city, county drops"--Yakima Herald-Republic - Please Ask a Librarian for a copy of this article.
The Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs (WASPC) relased preliminary 2006 crime statistics for the state that showed Yakima had one of the lowest rates of violent crimes. Unfortunately it also had one of the higher rates for property crime. Overall the statistics show that there was a decrease in both the number of crimes and the crime rate per 1,000 population. The WASPC website has a summary of the statistics as well as detailed tables. - 03/20/2007

"Top attorney sinking fast" -- Tacoma News Tribune - Please Ask a Librarian for a copy of this article.
The White House began floating the names of possible replacements for Attorney General Alberto Gonzales on Monday as the Justice Department released more internal documents related to the firings of eight U.S. attorneys last year. The U.S. House Judiciary Committee has posted the released documents as well as providing webcams and print access to the Hearing on: The Inspector General's Independent Report on the F.B.I.'s Use of National Security Letters. - 03/20/2007

"Attorney praised, then sacked: Official thought McKay worthy of judgeship before backing firing"--Spokane Spokesman-Review - Please Ask a Librarian for a copy of this article.
(Registration may be required to read this article. State Library cardholders can access articles in back issues via ProQuest.) How quickly one can fall from grace. John McKay was recommended for a federal judgeship not long before he was fired along with 7 other U.S. attorneys. He is strongly supported by Republicans and Democrats in Washington's Congressional delegation. Apparently he upset his superiors in the Justice Department by speaking out for more funding for LInX, a law enforcement information sharing program. The unusual mass firing of U.S. attorneys has become the focus a House Judiciary Committee investigation. - 03/21/2007

"Gore's ozone message splits Capitol Hill"--Olympian - Please Ask a Librarian for a copy of this article.
Temperatures rose on Capitol Hill when Senator James Inhofe of Oklahoma challenged former Vice President Al Gore's testimony on global warming. Senator Inhofe thinks warnings about global warming are alarmist. Government scientists disagree. - 03/22/2007

"Mosquito-borne disease season nears"--Pasco Tri-City Herald - Please Ask a Librarian for a copy of this article.
It's not just malaria any more. It will soon be mosquito season and, with it, the threat of West Nile virus. People can reduce the threat of mosquitos by emptying containers of unused, standing water around their property. The Washington State Department of Ecology has a manual on "Best Management Practices for Mosquito Control". - 03/22/2007

"Ferry fares to rise unless legislators act" -- Seattle Post-Intelligencer
State ferry fares will increase about 2.5 percent May 1 unless state lawmakers move to stop the increase. State transportation commissioners agreed to the increase to keep cash flowing into a system they said needs major investment to continue operating. You can find the 2007 Fare Proposal information on the Department of Transportation website. The site includes ways to make public comments and information on public meetings. - 03/23/2007

"Federal grants will bring new Parker water system"--Yakima Herald-Republic - Please Ask a Librarian for a copy of this article.
Multiple levels of government are working together to give Parker, an unicorporated area of 300 people, safe drinking water it couldn't otherwise afford. Th area's shallow wells, polluted by bacteria and nitrates, need to be replaced with a central well and water system that will cost $2.8 million. The bulk of the money is coming from U.S. Department of Agriculture and is coordinated by the Washington Department of Community, Economic and Trade Development. a href="http://www.pan.co.yakima.wa.us/">Yakima County and the Yakama Nation are working to resolve water quality issues in the area. - 03/23/2007

"Veterans might get protection" -- Tacoma News Tribune - Please Ask a Librarian for a copy of this article.
Soldiers and veterans could soon join minorities, the elderly and gays in being protected under Washington state’s anti-discrimination law. State Sen. Steve Hobbs’ bill against military discrimination unanimously passed the Senate and is now on track in the House. The House Committee on State Government and Tribal Affairs plans to approve the bill on Wednesday. You can also find the Fiscal Note for Bill 5123 through the Office of Financial Management. - 03/26/2007

"Budget cuts may quiet 2-1-1 service:The network is for non-emergency calls and acts as an alternative to dialing 9-1-1."--Walla Walla Union-Bulletin - Please Ask a Librarian for a copy of this article.
Funding could get much tighter for 2-1-1, A telephone-based referral network. People can get local health and social service information by dialing 211, thus freeing up 911 for emergency and crime reports. The 211 service in Washington is overseen by Washington Information Network 2-1-1 (WIN211), a nonprofit organization that gets support from the state. It asked for $4 million, but it looks as if the legislature will give it $1 million. - 03/26/2007

"Washington will soon start collecting sale tax from Internet and catalog companies" -- Bellingham Herald - Please Ask a Librarian for a copy of this article.
It won’t be long before you’ll be charged Washington sales tax on items you buy from many out-of-state Internet and catalog companies. People who buy items from such companies are already supposed to pay the sales tax, but few do. Now, under a new law, Washington is joining 21 others states to make it easier to collect sales tax from those companies. The Association of Washington Cities has an overview of the Streamline Sales Tax. - 03/27/2007

"$30 million to help Columbia get 3 feet deeper"--Pasco Tri-City Herald - Please Ask a Librarian for a copy of this article.
The Army Corps of Engineers got double the money approved by Congress for the Columbia River Channel Improvement Project. This project will deepen a 103 mile long navigation channel in the river from 40 to 43 feet so larger cargo ships can reach Columbia River ports such as Vancouver. These ports are used to export agricultural products from Eastern Washington. - 03/27/2007

"FBI director defends need for powers" -- Seattle Times
FBI Director Robert Mueller struggled Tuesday to allay congressional concerns about growing management problems at the bureau, including a report of widespread abuse of its power to obtain phone, Internet and financial records without court oversight. You can view the webcast of the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing Oversight of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, read Robert S. Mueller's statement, and find the U.S. Dept. of Justice's Review of the FBI's Use of National Security Letters. - 03/28/2007

"Senate wants more buildings on campus" -- Daily Olympian - Please Ask a Librarian for a copy of this article.
The Capitol Campus would change dramatically in the coming years under a proposal released Wednesday by the state Senate. The Senate budget includes money to complete the design of the $111 million Heritage Center, which would be built into the bluff reaching from the campus to Capitol Lake. - 03/29/2007

"Basin salmon runs continue to improve"--Pasco Tri-City Herald - Please Ask a Librarian for a copy of this article.
An administrator for the National Marine Fisheries Service told a gathering in Pasco that salmon runs have greatly increased over the last seven years. The increase in the number of salmon is the result of better fish passageways at dams and, perhaps, salmon adapting to the changes in river currents. The Fish Passage Center tracks the number of fish migrating past Columbia River dams. While the numbers improve, the methods used often draw criticism. In another article in the same issue, Representative Doc Hastings criticizes plans to draw down the reservoir behind the John Day Dam to help migrating salmon. - 03/29/2007

"Bills target K-12 math, science instruction" -- Vancouver Columbian - Please Ask a Librarian for a copy of this article.
House Bill 1906 and Senate Bill [5813] sidestep the debate over what test will replace the Washington Assessment of Student Learning in math and science. Those tests will be deferred for at least three to five years under other pending bills. Instead, legislation passed Thursday by the Senate K-12 Education Committee addresses what teachers should teach and what students should learn to allow them to compete in a global economy. - 03/30/2007


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