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Washington State News Archive

Below are archived news items for the current month. To view a previous month, choose it from the list below.

Reichert works to expand FEMA scope, resources -- Tacoma News Tribune - Please Ask a Librarian for a copy of this article.
More than four years before Hurricane Katrina slammed into the Gulf Coast, Jim Mullen said he knew there were problems when the Federal Emergency Management Agency fumbled its response to the magnitude 6.8 Nisqually earthquake. An Account of Preliminary Landslide Damage and Losses Resulting from the February 28, 2001, Nisqually, Washington, Earthquake. - 05/09/2006

"Bird flu: facts & fiction"--Bellingham Herald - Please Ask a Librarian for a copy of this article.
"The Implementation Plan For The National Strategy For Pandemic Influenza" is now available on the White House website. A much shorter briefing book provides an overview of the implementation plan. This document follows the "National Strategy for Pandemic Influenza", which was released in November 2005. The White House page on the pandemic flu provides links to recent activities and related documents. Locally, the Washington Department of Health has created a pandemic flu webpage which links to resources on Washington planning and preparation for the pandemic flu. Links include the Preparing for pandemic influenza: A Washington State Overview", prevention tips, and various fact sheets. - 05/11/2006

"Snohomish may use river as dividing line"[for new school]--Everett Herald - Please Ask a Librarian for a copy of this article.
A public hearing on the plan is set for next week to determine who will attend the new Snohomish High School. The Snohomish School District has information on the High School Boundary Committe, including the proposal and the Committe schedule. - 05/12/2006

"In pandemic, should shots go to the old or the young?"--Seattle Times - Please Ask a Librarian for a copy of this article.
Medline Plus provides information on the bird flu pandemic from the U.S. National Library of Medicine and National Institutes of Health. The World Health Organization has Frequently Asked Questions regarding avian flu in English and Spanish. See also: Influenza in our subject list for addtional reports and resources. - 05/12/2006

"Wine expo draws buyers from around world to Walla Walla"--Walla Walla Union-Bulletin - Please Ask a Librarian for a copy of this article.
The Walla Walla Valley is one of Washington's fast growing wine making areas. More information on Washington's wine industry can be found at Washington State Wine Commission. - 05/12/2006

"U.S. border plans worry Mexico" -- Seattle Times
President Bush prepares for a nationally televised address tonight unveiling a plan to send thousands of National Guard troops to help seal the nation's southern border against illegal immigrants. You can watch a live webcast or view the transcript of the President's address from the White House. - 05/15/2006

"White House gave no hint about extent of surveillance" -- Seattle Times
When he was asked about the National Security Agency's controversial domestic-surveillance program last Monday, U.S. intelligence chief John Negroponte objected to the question and said the government was "absolutely not" monitoring domestic calls without warrants. The House Committe on the Judiciary Report Directing the Attorney General to submit to the House of Representatives all documents in the possession of the Attorney General relating to warrantless electronic surveillance of telephone conversations and electronic communications of persons in the United States conducted by the National Security Agency : adverse report together with dissenting views (to accompany H. Res. 643) is available. - 05/15/2006

"Seattle school closure plans stir doubts" -- Seattle Times
Five months into the Seattle School District's second attempt in a year to close schools, the School Board has divided the city into quarters, appointed a citizens committee and accepted public comment at a series of meetings. The Seattle Public School's Five Year Development Plan is available online with links to community notes, the plan, estimated costs, and online discussions. - 05/15/2006

[Thurston County]"Commission airs proposed rules on store design" -- Olympian - Please Ask a Librarian for a copy of this article.
Proposed rules for how new large retail stores should look will get their first run before the Planning Commission tonight. The Thurston County Planning Commission webpage has links to their calendar, agenda, and contact information. - 05/15/2006

"Young, rural men with pickups tops among seat-belt scofflaws" -- Olympian - Please Ask a Librarian for a copy of this article.
About 48 million people do not regularly put on seat belts when they are on the road, a figure the government’s highway safety agency hopes to lower with an annual public education campaign ahead of the summer driving season. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Northwest Region has information on their Click It or Ticket Highway Signs Program. - 05/15/2006

"You’ve got mail, a quorum and, perhaps, a problem" -- Tacoma News Tribune - Please Ask a Librarian for a copy of this article.
Lakewood officials say elected leaders must be more careful with e-mail discussions. If you have a conversation about public business in cyberspace, it might be considered a meeting. And firing off a quick note could be a violation of the state Open Public Meetings Act. - 05/15/2006

"Feds recommend Hanford slowdown [in processing nuclear waste]"--Tri-City Herald - Please Ask a Librarian for a copy of this article.
Government Accountabilty Office--"Hanford Waste Treatment Plant: Contractor and DOE Management Problems Have Led to Higher Costs, Construction Delays, and Safety Concerns". Highlights and the full text of the report. Other interested parties include the Washington State Department of Ecology's Nuclear Waste Program and the Hanford Advisory Board, "...an independent, non-partisan, and broadly representative body consisting of a balanced mix of the diverse interests that are affected by Hanford cleanup issues...." formed by the U.S. Department of Energy. - 05/15/2006

"No rush to judgment on this"[same sex marriage decision] -- Tacoma News Tribune - Please Ask a Librarian for a copy of this article.
State Supreme Court takes its time to decide legality of gay marriage.After 30 years of debate and disputation, lawmakers finally passed a gay anti-discrimination bill – and even before the governor had signed it, initiative activist Tim Eyman began pushing for a public vote this fall. - 05/15/2006

"Lacey district girds for influx" -- Olympian - Please Ask a Librarian for a copy of this article.
The district’s area, which encompasses the land along the east side of the Henderson Inlet and to the westernmost parts of the Nisqually Indian Reservation, has a population of about 82,000 and might have a population of nearly 115,000 by 2015, according to projections by the Thurston Regional Planning Council. - 05/16/2006

"Washington home sales flat, prices surge"--Tri-City Herald - Please Ask a Librarian for a copy of this article.
(Note: Access to this newspaper article may require registration. WSL card holders can read older articles by using ProQuest Newspaper databases.) The information in this article comes from the Washington Center for Real Estate Research at Washington State University. - 05/16/2006

"Tacoma police brace for public oversight" -- Tacoma News Tribune - Please Ask a Librarian for a copy of this article.
Nearly a year after the Tacoma City Council voted to establish citizen oversight of the police department, city officials are preparing to implement a program. - 05/16/2006

"Plan for troops at border may not satisfy GOP" -- Seattle Times
Bush, in his prime-time address Monday, outlined a plan to send the part-time troops while training 6,000 new Border Patrol agents. - 05/16/2006

"Seattle's big role in fight on global warming" -- Seattle Times
The city of Seattle, a group of Alaska Natives and some of the nation's top climate scientists — including two from the University of Washington — thrust themselves into a high-profile legal battle Monday, hoping to resolve a stalemate over global warming. - 05/16/2006

"State graving yard report looks back at what went wrong"--Port Angeles Peninsula Daily News - Please Ask a Librarian for a copy of this article.
The Washington State Department of Transportation began construction of a graving yard at Port Angeles to build pontoons for the Hood Canal Bridge in 2003. The construction uncovered an Indian village and its large cemetary. The construction site at the cost of millions of dollars and delayed project time. The Department of Transportation's report "The Hood Canal Rehabilitation Project and Graving Yard Program" describes how this costly mistake occurred and lays out the responsibilities of the involved organizations. A summary can be found here. - 05/17/2006

"Tri-City employment weakens"--Tri-City Herald - Please Ask a Librarian for a copy of this article.
More information can be found at the Employment Security Department's Current Employment Situation. - 05/17/2006

"Senate OKs border fence, endorses citizenship chance" -- Olympian - Please Ask a Librarian for a copy of this article.
The Senate agreed to give millions of illegal immigrants a shot at U.S. citizenship and backed construction of 370 miles of triple-layered fencing along the Mexican border Wednesday. The Congressional Record is the official record of the proceedings and debates of the United States Congress. - 05/18/2006

"Tribes back compromise over trust land royalties "--Spokane Spokesman-Review - Please Ask a Librarian for a copy of this article.
The Bureau of Indian Affairs has a website on American Indian Probate Reform Act & Fiduciary Trust Model. - 05/18/2006

"Rumsfeld Reveals Split Over Interrogations"--Longview Daily News - Please Ask a Librarian for a copy of this article.
The U.S. Army has released unclassified portions of a 2004 report interrogation of detainees. - 05/17/2006

"A smooth ride: $48 million - Tacoma City Council members pitch plan to repair city streets" -- Tacoma News Tribune - Please Ask a Librarian for a copy of this article.
Nearly three-quarters of Tacoma’s residential streets need significant repair, and at the rate the city is working on them, it would take 220 years to fix all the ruts and potholes, public works officials say. The City of Tacoma keeps an update of Road construction activity and possible delays in the Tacoma area. - 05/18/2006

"Gov. Gregoire names residents to state posts" -- Olympian - Please Ask a Librarian for a copy of this article.
Several South Sound residents are among those recently appointed to state commissions and boards by Gov. Chris Gregoire. Bronwyn Vincent and Sharon Lehnert Reddick were appointed to the State Interagency Coordinating Council for Infants and Toddlers with Disabilities and Their Families. Michael Watson was appointed to the Information Services Board. - 05/22/2006

"1,000 per week go behind bars" -- Olympian - Please Ask a Librarian for a copy of this article.
Prisons and jails added more than 1,000 inmates each week for a year, putting almost 2.2 million people, or one in every 136 U.S. residents, behind bars by last summer. Prisons accounted for two-thirds of all inmates, or 1.4 million, while the other third, nearly 750,000, were in local jails, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics. - 05/22/2006

"Business groups top lobby spending" -- Olympian - Please Ask a Librarian for a copy of this article.
Interest groups have spent nearly $15 million this year lobbying lawmakers and contributing to their political campaigns, new data on file with the Washington State Public Disclosure Commission show. The nearly $7.7 million attributable to business groups was on par with recent trends. Other top sectors for spending, as usual, were health care, government, labor and education. - 05/22/2006

"Peninsula Fire seeks levy lift" -- Tacoma News Tribune - Please Ask a Librarian for a copy of this article.
The workload continues to grow at Pierce County Fire District 16 on the Key Peninsula. To keep pace, the rural agency will ask voters for permission to collect more property tax money than the state limit, an action known as a “levy lid lift.” If the measure passes this fall, the fire district plans to hire four new firefighters, including a paramedic. The Pierce County Auditor has more information on local area elections. - 05/22/2006

"New nuke plant not on area's horizon"--Vancouver Columbian - Please Ask a Librarian for a copy of this article.
The implosion of the cooling tower of the Trojan Nuclear Power Plant on the shore of the Columbia River signaled the end of another nuclear plant. Wikipedia has an article on the Trojan Nuclear Power Plant stressing the problems and environmental concerns that lead to its closing. Public electrical power and environmental concerns in the Northwest are coordinated by the Northwest Power and Conservation Council. Check out the Power Generation Map on their website to see the various power generating sites in the region. - 05/21/2006

"State foster parents nation's first to join union"--Pasco Tri-City Herald - Please Ask a Librarian for a copy of this article.
"In a letter to the state, the Foster Parents Association of Washington State said it was aligning with state government's largest union, the Washington Federation of State Employees, to improve a foster care system' in crisis.'" - 05/20/2006

"Mayor explores new funding route for road work" -- Seattle Times
Today, Mayor Greg Nickels is expected to propose a new levy and other taxes — not for shiny new buildings, but to repair roads and bridges. His citizen advisory committee has suggested a levy of $25 million a year, and Nickels may choose to go higher. - 05/22/2006

"Diverse group finding common ground: Northeast Washington Forestry Coalition gives everyone a voice"--Colville Statesman-Examiner - Please Ask a Librarian for a copy of this article.
The Northeast Washington Forestry Coalition is a local planning group for the Colville National Forest. Members are members of the community and the U.S. Forest Service. This group was formed in response to the Healthy Forest Restoration Act. - 05/23/2006

"Fuel prices could hurt state’s coffers" -- Olympian - Please Ask a Librarian for a copy of this article.
State budget analysts worry rising fuel costs could also end up decreasing state tax collections. Wolfgang Opitz, deputy director of the state Office of Financial Management, said recent tax collections indicate fuel prices have not cooled the economy. The state has already brought in $121 million more than predicted in the February forecast, he said. The OFM Forecasting Division provides estimates of state and local population, monitors changes in the state economy and labor force, and conducts research on a variety of issues affecting the state budget and public policy. - 05/23/2006

[Olympia] "School borders redrawn" -- Olympian - Please Ask a Librarian for a copy of this article.
Olympia school board shifts 68 kids, delays math vote, and alters Capital lunch rule. The Olympia School District website has news, schedules, contact information, and resources for students and parents. - 05/23/2006

"FTC finds little evidence of post-Katrina gas gouging"--Spokane Spokesman-Review - Please Ask a Librarian for a copy of this article.
[This story may require registration.] The Federal Trade Commission report finds that there was no widespread manipulation of fuel prices after Hurricane Katrina. - 05/23/2006

"Sewage dumped into Port Angeles harbor" -- Seattle Post-Intelligencer - Please Ask a Librarian for a copy of this article.
A major break in a pressurized sewer main Monday will force the city of Port Angeles to release up to 4 million gallons of sewage per day into its harbor until repairs are made. The city was unable to transport the sewage from the break to the city's wastewater treatment plant, said Glenn Cutler, Port Angeles PublicWorks and Utilties Department director. - 05/23/2006

"$1.8 billion surprise: Nickels beefs up street plan" -- Seattle Times
Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels rolled out a supersized, $1.8 billion tax package Monday — a plan so big it shocked even those who support asking voters to fund the city's growing backlog of transportation projects. "Bridging the Gap" Mayor Nickels' 2006 Transportation Initiative, which includes new taxes on property, employers and parking, is available. - 05/23/2006

"Senate adds employer fine to immigration bill" -- Olympian - Please Ask a Librarian for a copy of this article.
The Senate voted Tuesday to fine employers who hire illegal immigrants up to $20,000 for each unauthorized worker, providing teeth to a broad immigration bill before sending it to a final vote later this week. The full text of Senate bill 2611 Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2006 is available, as well as a summary and current status report. - 05/24/2006

"[U.S. Department of] Justice wants Hanford initiative tossed"--Pasco Tri-City Herald - Please Ask a Librarian for a copy of this article.
"The U.S. Department of Justice asked Tuesday that the Hanford waste initiative passed by voters be declared unconstitutional and overturned." - 05/24/2006

"[Mexican President] Fox in Yakima — Illegal immigrants vital to Valley's economy"--Yakima Herald-Republic - Please Ask a Librarian for a copy of this article.
The economy of the Yakima Valley is driven by agriculture. The March 2006 Agricultural Labor Employment and Wage Trends Report shows the prevailing wages for agricultural workers. - 05/24/2006

"State plans public hearings on spotted owl recommendations" -- Olympian - Please Ask a Librarian for a copy of this article.
With the threat of a lawsuit looming, the state is moving forward with two new rules intended to expand protection for the northern spotted owl, whose numbers have been in rapid decline. The state Forest Practices Board will hold four public hearings around the state on two proposed amendments. The first hearing is today in Kelso. Three others will be held during the first two weeks of June in Forks, Yakima and Mount Vernon. - 05/25/2006

"Voter registration rule too strict, lawsuit asserts" -- Olympian - Please Ask a Librarian for a copy of this article.
Misspelled names and other minor errors could improperly keep thousands of voters off the rolls in Washington state, critics said Wednesday in a federal lawsuit. State elections officials were reviewing the lawsuit and declined immediate comment. But Trova Heffernan, a spokeswoman for Secretary of State Sam Reed, said the matching law was meant to make sure potential voters do not misrepresent their identities. The Elections and Voting Office of the Secretary of State has information on current topics; resources for voters, political parties, and researchers; and public notices of hearings and meetings. - 05/25/2006

"Police break up Stryker protest" -- Olympian - Please Ask a Librarian for a copy of this article.
In the most emotionally charged of three days of protests, police arrested nine people Wednesday for disrupting the arrival of military vehicles at the Port of Olympia for shipment to Iraq. The Port of Olympian Commission provides meeting schedules and agendas; their public records policy; and contact information. - 05/25/2006

"VHA [Vancouver Housing Authority] improves its financial shape"--Vancouver Columbian - Please Ask a Librarian for a copy of this article.
The Vancouver Housing Authority works to corect shortcomings found in an audit by the Washington State Auditor's Office. This state agency performs audits of government agencies on the local and state level. - 05/25/2006

"[Mexican President] Fox - immigration solution requires respect"--Yakima Herald Republic - Please Ask a Librarian for a copy of this article.
President Fox spoke to Yakima residents about immigration issues. He toured an orchard and was told about the importance of apples to the local economy and the need to lower barriers to trade with Mexico. - 05/25/2006

"Investigators: VA [Veterans' Affairs] employee improperly took data home for 3 years"--Longview Daily News - Please Ask a Librarian for a copy of this article.
A U.S. Veterans Affairs Department lost the personal information for millions of veterans. There is great concern that this could lead to identity theft on a monumental scale. The Washington State Attorney General has a website on dealing with identity theft. - 05/26/2006

"High court limits whistleblower lawsuits"--Seattle Post-Intelligencer - Please Ask a Librarian for a copy of this article.
"The Supreme Court on Tuesday made it harder for government employees to file lawsuits claiming they were retaliated against for going public with allegations of official misconduct." An electronic version of the slip opinion for Garcetti v. Ceballos can be found here. This decision is so recent that there hasn't been a print copy of it released yet; however, then the print version will be the authoritative version. - 05/30/2006

"Will toll roads be common in Washington?"--Walla Walla Union-Bulletin - Please Ask a Librarian for a copy of this article.
A section on toll roads can be found at the end of a recent draft of the "Washington Transportation Plan Update". Currently most discussion on toll roads in Washington focus on the Puget Sound region. - 05/29/2006

"Toxic algae thrive in harbor bed" -- Tacoma News Tribune - Please Ask a Librarian for a copy of this article.
A murky bay on the south side of Vashon Island might be a breeding ground for a type of marine algae that produces poisons that can contaminate shellfish and kill people. More would fall ill if not for the state ,Department of Health [Division of Environmental Health: Food Safety & Shellfish Programs], which regularly tests shellfish for dangerous toxins, regulates harvests and shuts down beaches if necessary. - 05/31/2006

"DOT goes natural to filter runoff" -- Tacoma News Tribune - Please Ask a Librarian for a copy of this article.
Sediment Logs, fat cylinders of aspen chips, attempt to capture most of the pollutants that run off the roadway during heavy rains and keep them from getting into McAllister Creek at the bottom of the hill. “It’s a test for us,” said Mike Stephens, stormwater program manager for the state Department of Transportation’s environmental services office. - 05/31/2006

"High-tech locator gear helps hikers, but change of clothes is still best advice"--Port Angeles Peninsula Daily News - Please Ask a Librarian for a copy of this article.
Hikers in the Olympic National Park used the NOAA emergency beacon system as a rescue aid during a medical emergency. Olympic National Park has a webpage on wilderness safety. - 05/31/2006

"More U.S. troops headed to Iraq; cuts this year may be less likely" -- Seattle Times
The Pentagon's hopes to make substantial reductions in U.S. troop levels in Iraq this year appear to be fading as a result of resurgent violence in the country, particularly in the Sunni Arab stronghold of Anbar province, military officials acknowledge. The U.S. Department of Defense produces quarterly reports to Congress, entitled “Measuring Stability and Security in Iraq”. - 05/31/2006


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