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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.

"Money for local meth fight working its way through Congress"--Everett Herald - Please Ask a Librarian for a copy of this article.
Washington state will get federal money to fight methamphetamine, but the exact amount is caught up in the federal budget process. The House of Representatives has earmarked $950,000 for the Washington State Methamphetamine Initiative while the Sente has a $450,000 earmark for it. The final amount will have to worked out when the House and the Senate negotiate a Congressional budget resolution. The Washington State Methamphetamine Initiative is a statewide effort to combat methamphetamine use and manufacture on the state and local levels. - 08/01/2007

"FDA delays keep cheap drugs from shelves: FDA struggling to keep pace with generic applications"--Spokane Spokesman-Review - Please Ask a Librarian for a copy of this article.
The Food and Drug Administration has a backlog of nearly 1,300 generic drugs awaiting approval. The backlog is caused by lack of staff and funding while the number of applications has increased. Generic drugs are the pharmaceutical equivalents of brand-name drugs. They can be 20% to 80% cheaper than their brand-name counterparts. The Washington State Health Care Authority considers generic drugs to a good way to keep prescription costs down. - 08/01/2007

"State ag department forms beekeeping advisory panel"--Moses Lake Columbia Basin Herald - Please Ask a Librarian for a copy of this article.
Farm workers don't do it, machines don't do it, but bees do it--pollinate flowering agricultural crops that range from alfalfa to winesap apples. They provide a vital service to Washington's farms and orchards. Now bees are in the midst of a crisis known as colony collapse disorder. Theories about the drastic drop in bee populations range from parasites and diseases to pesticides. The Washington State Department of Agriculture is forming an advisory panel on beekeeping to help deal with this threat to farm crops. - 08/02/2007

"Collapse puts eyes on bridges"--Olympia Olympian - Please Ask a Librarian for a copy of this article.
The fatal collapse of a freeway bridge in Minneapolis has made people painfully aware that bridges around the state need maintenance and repair. 100 out of 112 bridges in Thurston County are in fairly good shape, but the Highway 101-I-5 interchange is bearing more traffic than planned. The Tacoma News Tribune has a story on "Bridge fixes here must wait: ‘Only so much money,’ especially with soaring cost of Hood Canal span". A bridge on I-5 over the Nisqually River and another bridge in the Tacoma port area are not aging well. Escalating costs of the bridge replacement over Hood Canal are eating into transportation funds. The Port Angeles Peninsula Daily News reports that "Aged Elwha bridge closed permanently in wake of Minnesota tragedy". The closure was on the advice of the Federal Highway Administration. The Seattle Times observes "Local bridges also are cause for concern" in King County. The Seattle Post-Intelligencer wonders if the "Collapse may give voters incentive to back road plan". Bridge repair is part of a $7 billion Roads & Transit measure for the Central Puget Sound region on the November ballot. The Everett Herald is relieved that Snohomish "County has a few 'obsolete' bridges". The Yakima Herald-Republic explains that "County bridges have load limits, no hazards" in Central Washington. The Spokane Spokesman-Review notes that "A quarter of state bridges 'deficient'" , but only 7 bridges in Spokane County have load limits. According to the Pasco Tri-City Herald, "Tri-Cities' bridges in good shape ". Bridge inspections in Washington State are the responsiblity of the Washington State Department of Transportation. - 08/03/2007

"Race toward rebirth"--Vancouver Columbian - Please Ask a Librarian for a copy of this article.
What are the odds in Vegas? Scientists are taking bets to see who wins – the geologic forces rebuilding the cone of elk populations, and insects have on regrowth of the slowly recovering ecosystem. A series of satellite images of the devastated area show how the environment of the affected area has changed throughout time. - 08/06/2007

"Local per capita income on the rise: increase to $30,881 is below national average"--Bellingham Herald - Please Ask a Librarian for a copy of this article.
The U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis released the 2006 report for personal income in metropolitan areas, which shows that all major cities in Washington saw some amount of personal income growth last year. The BEA also tracks economic outlook for Washington state, which predicts a slight slowing in the percentage of real personal income growth for the next two years. - 08/08/2007

"DOC tightens work-release rules"--Seattle Times
In the wake of an escapee assault and a raid that turned up illegal contraband, the Department of Corrections has announced that it will be tightening contracts with work-release facilities. The DOC will require that work-release programs more closely follow the standards set out by the American Correctional Association, and will focus on educating prisoners on the Prison Rape Elimination Act. Work-release programs allow inmates to gradually transition into the working world during the last six months of their sentence. - 08/09/2007

"Tulalips want protection for Cama Beach: beach could be added to historical register"--Everett Herald - Please Ask a Librarian for a copy of this article.
After the discovery of ancient human remains at an excavation site on Cama Beach, Tulalip tribes are petitioning that a portion of the beach, located on National Register of Historic Places. The site is already listed on the register as a historic fishing resort. The tribe had previously agreed to allow the state to restore the resort before the remains were found during excavation. According to Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission had been hoping to open a state park on the beach. - 08/10/2007

"Nonprofit hospitals' tax break scrutinized"--Tacoma News Tribune - Please Ask a Librarian for a copy of this article.
A recent report issued by the Washington State Joint Legislative Audit & Review Committee calls into question state tax exemptions enjoyed by a number of nonprofit hospitals in the state. The report is asking legislators to re-examine tax breaks the state has traditionally provided to nonprofit hospitals, among other charities, due to the finding that “(f)or-profit hospitals typically serve more Medicaid patients and do comparable charity care as nonprofits, without getting the tax break.” MultiCare Health System and Franciscan Health System are two of the largest private nonprofit hospital systems that benefit from the current tax exemption laws. - 08/13/2007

"10,000 acre fire scorches Hanford monument"--Pasco Tri-City Herald - Please Ask a Librarian for a copy of this article.
A fire along Highway 240 near the Hanford Reach National Monument had burned thousands of acres of grass by 9 p.m. Monday evening, Dept. of Fish and Wildlife officials reported. They were unsure what caused the blaze, but suspected a manmade source because of the close proximity to the highway. The fire danger map shows that eastern Washington and Oregon are under “high” to “very high” fire danger alerts, although the Forest Service’s Current Fire Map shows that Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming are the states most affected by fires at the moment. To date, wildfires have burned over 5 million acres this year, down slightly from 2006. - 08/14/2007

"'Green' allies see environmental value in logging"--Seattle Post-Intelligencer
Environmentalists are considering lawmakers’ bid to set aside $70 million in state money for logging a victory. The Washington Environmental Council is among the groups praising the plan, recognizing that the timber industry is an important piece of the state economy, while the trees that feed the industry can act as a “buffer” against floods and droughts. The Department of Natural Resources currently manages the state’s timberland, and is also responsible for managing trust lands in commercial use. Concerns have been raised that the high price of real estate could equal commercial development of those lands. - 08/14/2007

"Attorney General: guard your identity: McKenna tours state to educate public"--Bellingham Herald - Please Ask a Librarian for a copy of this article.
In a visit to Bellingham on Wednesday, Attorney General Rob McKenna informed citizens that Washington ranked ninth in the nation in per capita incidents of identity theft. As part of a statewide identity-theft education tour, McKenna gave the crowd tips on protecting their identities, and informed them of a state law that holds business owners liable if they are careless with customer information. The Attorney General’s office helps consumers to safeguard against fraud, identity theft, and other scams, and offers free shredding events throughout the state. - 08/16/2007

"A cleaner, greener future"--Tacoma News Tribune - Please Ask a Librarian for a copy of this article.
The country’s largest biodiesel refinery opened Wednesday in Grays Harbor County. The Imperium Renewables refinery, which uses mainly canola and palm oil to manufacture the cleaner burning fuel, will sell its product to large cruise lines and other users of heavy machinery. While canola seeds have not typically been a staple crop in Washington, the refinery will get some canola oil from a Yakima County farm that sends its seeds to be crushed into oil at a government-funded crushing plant in Sunnyside. A Washington state law requires all diesel fuel sold to state agencies to contain at least 2 percent biodiesel by November of 2008. - 08/17/2007

"Input sought for new medical marijuana rules"--Vancouver Columbian - Please Ask a Librarian for a copy of this article.
A Washington voter initiative law passed in 1998 currently allows for the use of medical marijuana, but state lawmakers are looking to revise that law. The one on the books now says that medical marijuana users are allowed a 60-day supply, but it doesn’t specify how much that should be. The legislature is asking the Department of Health to write up new guidelines and to submit a report detailing the exact amount patients will be allowed, and how they can obtain their marijuana safely. The health department is asking for public input, and will hold four public workshops about the issue. - 08/20/2007

"Mint Farm set to power up"--Longview Daily News - Please Ask a Librarian for a copy of this article.
The need for new energy sources in the Northwest has lead to new conventional and renewable energy plants to come online. The Mint Farm Energy Center in Longview is a natural gas powered plant that will generate enough eletricity to serve 200,000 homes. This plant is finally coming online under its third ownership group. Cheap energy costs mothballed it, expensive energy revived it. - 08/21/2007

"Food banks need work all around, says survey"--Olympia Olympian - Please Ask a Librarian for a copy of this article.
The state’s food banks are not coordinated well enough to properly feed Washington’s hungry, a new report shows, particularly in smaller towns and rural areas. Food banks generally get their supplies from < a href="http://www.foodlifeline.org/">larger regional organizations, but often the smaller banks don’t have the equipment or manpower to ship supplies. The survey also revealed that one-third of food banks in the state don’t have computers, which would help them communicate and coordinate efforts with other banks. The Washington Food Coalition and the Department of Community Trade and Economic Development are hoping to build relationships among the food bank community to ensure greater cohesion. - 08/21/2007

"Wolf proponents pack Sequim meeting hall"--Peninsula Daily News
Wolf? Where? Department of Fish and Wildlife officials recently held a public meeting in Sequim to address the issue of wolves. While the department says it has no plans to reintroduce the wolf at this time, there have been gray wolf sightings in the northeast corner of the state. Wolves will inevitably move into the area from British Columbia and Idaho, where they have already been reintroduced, officials predict. The state’s Wolf Working Team will draft a wolf management plan, developed under the State Environment Policy Act, after it hears opinions from citizens across the state. - 08/22/2007

"'Death' fungus offers hope: Native organism may be the perfect bane against invasive cheatgrass"--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.) Will the invasive species be defeated by the Black Fingers of Death? That's what scientists at Gonzaga University call a fungus otherwise known as Pyrenophora semeniperda. It may be a cure for cheatgrass, an invasive species that has overrun large parts of Washington. Cheatgrass is a fire hazard across the West and crowds out native plants. The fungus works by attacking cheatgrass seeds. The Black Fingers of Death name comes from its long, black, spore-laden tendrils. - 08/22/2007

"Tribes win key ruling; others will have to pay"--Everett Herald - Please Ask a Librarian for a copy of this article.
A federal court ruled that Indian tribes should have a greater say in where and how the state builds culverts that block salmon migration. The court’s decision references the 1855 Point Elliott Treaties that give tribes the right to take fish from “all usual and accustomed grounds and stations.” The judge ruled that culverts hinder salmon passage, therefore the state breaks the treaty when it builds culverts without tribal consultation. State attorneys argued that culvert projects also work to open up more areas of fish habitat. - 08/23/2007

"Regional leaders unite to limit greenhouse gas "--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.) The Western Climate Initiative isn't comprised of just states anymore--it's become an international effort. The Canadian provinces of British Columbia and Manitoba have joined Arizona, California, New Mexico, Oregon, Washington, and Utah in pledging to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 15% below pre-2005 levels by 2020. Each state and province is free to design its own ways to meet this goal. One strength of a regional agreement is that it lessens the chance of one state luring business from another state by offering looser environmental regulations. One way to track greenhouse gas emissions will be through the Climate Registry. - 08/23/2007

"Good medicine: Cowlitz Indian Tribal clinics earns accreditation"--Longview Daily News - Please Ask a Librarian for a copy of this article.
The Cowlitz Indian Tribe Health Clinic is dealing with the shortfall in health services to American Indians. The Clinic, recently recognized by the Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care, receives some funding from the federal Indian Health Service. Athough run by the Cowlitz Tribe, it serves Indians from several tribes as well as non-Indians who have health insurance. It is also starting a chemical dependency treatment program with Cowlitz County for youth of all racial groups. The National Library of Medicine has a portal on American Indian Health. - 08/24/2007

"Two projects at Rainier selected for funding"--Tacoma News Tribune - Please Ask a Librarian for a copy of this article.
As part of the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Centennial Initiative, Mount Rainier National Park has received approval for two projects this year. Some of the funding for the projects will come from the government, while the rest will be donated through philanthropic means. Washington’s National Park Fund will donate an additional $160,000 over and above its usual annual contribution of $100,000. Four national parks in Washington have had projects approved for funding through the Centennial Initiative program, for a total receipt of $4.8 million. - 08/24/2007

"Hookah bar owners vow to fight smoking ban"--Bellingham Herald - Please Ask a Librarian for a copy of this article.
The Cobra Lounge, a hookah bar set to open in Bellingham, is ready to challenge the Department of Health over Washington’s smoking ban. The owners of the bar claim that it should be exempt from the law because it is a private club requiring membership and will be run during smoking hours by volunteers, not employees. The Department of Health, which enforces the ban, says the hookah bar will be in violation of the law as a retailer of tobacco and will take appropriate action if the bar opens as planned. The smoking ban was enacted in December of 2005 as part of the state’s Tobacco Prevention and Control program. - 08/27/2007

"Tri-Cities Research District finally getting off the ground"--Pasco Tri-City Herald - Please Ask a Librarian for a copy of this article.
The Tri-Cities Research District is a good example of how different levels of government cooperate in economic development. Formerly known as the Tri-Cities Science and Technology Park, its partners include the federally funded Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, the Washington State University Tri-Cities Branch Campus, and the Port of Benton County. The goal of the Tri-Cities Research District is to leverage the Tri-Cities' combination of highly trained workforce, open spaces, and available funding into a more diversified regional economy. - 08/27/2007

"Washington must lose weight, report says"--Tacoma News Tribune - Please Ask a Librarian for a copy of this article.
A report from the Trust for America’s Health reveals that almost 60 percent of Washington residents are overweight, although the state only ranked 31st in obesity rates out of the 50 states. Although obesity is rising in Washington, there is some good news. The state ranked second-lowest for inactivity in adults and fifth-lowest for obesity in children and teenagers. Nationally, two-thirds of adults are obese, according to the study. The Trust for America’s Health is recommending that state and federal governments take a larger role in the fight against fat. - 08/28/2007

"Endangered species suit planned"--Seattle Times
The Center for Biological Diversity has announced that it intends to sue the U.S. Department of the Interior. The environmental group accuses the department of making political decisions to illegally remove, refuse to list, or downgrade certain animals on the endangered species list. Two of the animals mentioned in the lawsuit include the marbled murrelet and the Western snowy plover, both native to western Washington. If the lawsuit goes forward, it will be the largest legal action in the history of the Endangered Species Act. - 08/29/2007

"Quincy junior high on 'needs improvement' list"--Moses Lake Columbia Basin Herald - Please Ask a Librarian for a copy of this article.
A keystone of the federal No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) is that local schools are graded on how well students do on standardized tests administered by state education agencies. In Washington the test is the Washington Assessment of Student Learning (WASL) overseen by the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction. Low WASL scores can put a school on a five level improvement process mandated by NCLB. A junior high school in Quincy is on the fifth and lowest level. A list of schools in improvement status can be found here. A list of school districts in improvement status can be found here. A summary of WASL performance by school district can be found here. - 08/29/2007

"WASL results mixed in Seattle, statewide"--Seattle Post-Intelligencer - Please Ask a Librarian for a copy of this article.
The WASL (Washington Assessment of Student Learning) test results from last spring are in—scores in reading and writing across the state remain high, but math continues to pose a problem for 6, 8, and 10th graders. This year’s seniors will be required to pass the reading and writing portions of the exam in order to graduate, but legislators have postponed the math requirements for four more years. The state’s testing has broadened in the last two years to include several more grades, in order to comply with the federal No Child Left Behind Act. - 08/30/2007

"Police emphasis patrol begins today"--Spokane Spokesman-Review
Don't let your Labor Day weekend be lit up by a police car's flashing lights. You really don't want to learn the hard way what some of the traffic fines are in Washington. The Washington State Patrol will be out in force as part of Operation C.A.R.E (Combined Accident Reduction Effort), a national campaign to catch the drunk, the speeding, and the reckless on the highways. The State Patrol issued nearly 6,300 speeding tickets over Labor Day weekend last year. - 08/31/2007

"Meteor 'outburst' expected Saturday morning"--Peninsula Daily News
Astronomers say Saturday morning in the Pacific Northwest will be the perfect time to catch a shower—a meteor shower. Most of the rest of the country won’t be able to the shower because it will be too light, but the Pacific Northwest is ideally located to see the Aurigid “outburst,” which will happen at approximately 4:15 a.m. The short, intense cascade of falling stars, originating from the constellation The Charioteer, has only been observed twice in history. - 08/31/2007


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