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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.

"Feds consider new elk-hunting plan near Prosser"--Yakima Herald-Republic
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is proposing that elk hunting be allowed on a portion of the Hanford Reach National Monument north of Prosser beginning next fall. Since 1975, the elk population on the Yakama Nation and the WA Dept. of Fish & Wildlife, is to reduce damage to nearby crops and vegetation. Public comment on the proposal will be accepted until December 30th. - 12/01/2011

"State adopts plan to manage wolves"--Wenatchee World
The Washington Fish & Wildlife Commission has approved a proposed plan for managing the gray wolf population in the state. The plan establishes the state as the authority over what happens to wolves and other wildlife, instead of the federal government. Officials have been working since 2007 to figure out how to recover the wolf population and delist them from endangered species protections, while at the same time managing wolf conflicts with wildlife and humans. Hunters and livestock groups have opposed the proposed plan, saying that its proposed level of 15 breeding pairs of wolves is too many. - 12/03/2011

"State shellfish industry gets a shot in the arm"--Olympia Olympian
State and federal officials announced a new shellfish initiative on Friday. The initiative “calls for a streamlined, faster-paced permitting process for new and expanded shellfish farms, stepped-up restoration projects for two native shellfish populations – the Olympia Oyster and the pinto abalone – and new water-quality projects in shellfish-growing areas of Puget Sound.” The initiative is part of an effort by the federal government to “create guidelines for sustainable aquaculture that could help reduce the nation’s $9 billion trade deficit in seafood.” - 12/10/2011

"1 of 7 state residents lacks health insurance"--Seattle Times
According to a new report released by Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler, the number of Washingtonians without health insurance has risen sharply since 2008 and is expected to reach a total of 1 million people by the end of the year. In addition, hospitals and health care providers are spending about $1 billion per year on uncompensated care, which translates to an estimated $1,017 increase to an average family’s annual insurance premium to help defray the cost of charity cases and bad-debt write offs. Thanks to higher populations of college students and retirees, though, 6 counties in the state have actually seen an increase in insured residents since 2008, since college students stay on their parents' insurance and retirees leave commercial insurance for Medicare. Meanwhile, nearly 30% of people aged 18-34 are without health coverage, even though many of them are employed and have the option of paying to be covered. - 12/13/2011

"State looks at costs of defending sex felons"--Tacoma News Tribune
Various proposals are being crafted to lower the legal bills associated with representing offenders confined in the Special Commitment Center on McNeil Island. The Washington State Office of Public Defense released a report detailing their proposal earlier this month and it aims to reduce the $7 million annual cost of defending indigent felons by up to $1 million. Meanwhile, the Governor’s Office is also examining ways to reduce costs, perhaps by shifting some to county governments, and legislators may have their own ideas as well. - 12/12/2011

"CDC: Startling data about sexual, physical violence"--Seattle Times
The National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows that nearly one-fifth of U.S. women have been the victim of a sexual assault sometime in their lives, one in four has been the victim of severe physical violence by a boyfriend or husband, and one in six has experienced a stalking that made her very fearful or believed that someone close to her would be harmed or killed. For men, one in seven has experienced severe physical violence from an intimate partner and one in 19 has experienced stalking. Data was collected during a national representative phone survey of 16, 507 U.S. adults and the survey is the first of what will be an annual survey of domestic violence. - 12/15/2011

"DOJ findings put mayor on hot seat”--Seattle Times
The US Dept. of Justice (DOJ) has released the findings of their investigation into excessive use of force by the Seattle Police Department (SPD). According to the report, “starting from the top, SPD supervisors often fail to meet their responsibility to provide true oversight of the use of force.” While not all officers are guilty of using excessive force, investigators found that a small number are too quick to “escalate” situations. DOJ investigators and Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn are scheduled to meet next month to discuss the findings. - 12/18/2011

"EDUCATION: 7 Mid-Columbia schools on low-performing list"--Pasco/Kennwick/Richland Tri-City Herald
State education officials have released a list of the lowest-performing schools in the state that receive federal money targeted toward low-income students. Listed are the 5% of schools eligible to receive federal Title I money that are identified as the “persistently lowest-achieving schools” in the state. Fifty-seven schools from 38 districts are on the list, including Highlands Middle School in Kennewick, Kiona-Benton City Middle School, and Robert Frost, Longfellow, Rowena Chess, Emerson, and Virginia Robinson elementaries in Pasco. Even though no school improvement grant money will be available in the 2012-13 school year, state law mandates that the list be released. - 12/20/2011

"Violent crimes fall, property crimes rise in Vancouver"--Vancouver Columbian
Preliminary data released by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) shows that violent crimes in Vancouver decreased in the first half of 2011, while property crimes increased. Compared with the same time period last year, violent crimes were down 8.3% and property crimes were up 7.5%. The decrease in violent crime mirrored the national trend, although Vancouver saw a sharper decrease, while the rise in property crime was opposite of what’s happening in the rest of the nation, which is seeing a decrease of 3.7%. - 12/21/2011

"Sen. Hargrove bill would let Discover Pass transfer to another vehicle"--Port Angeles Peninsula Daily News
On the last day of the recently concluded special session, Sen. Jim Hargrove introduced a bill that would allow an owner of a Discover Pass to transfer it between two vehicles. The bill would also clarify what Dept. of Natural Resources lands are included in the list of areas that require a pass. Hargrove wants to expand the term “recreation site or land” to include campgrounds, trails, and trailheads. The bill will be considered during the regular legislative session that begins January 9th. - 12/23/2011

"Quincy is making recycling mandatory"--Moses Lake Columbia Basin Herald
As part of their negotiations with Consolidated Disposal Services (CDSI), the Quincy City Council has decided to require residents to have a recycling bin. The move is expected to add about $4 per container to customers’ bills and it was pointed out that if a person currently has a 100-gallon garbage can and moves to a 60-gallon can with a recycle bin, the bill won’t change at all. It is expected to take 60 to 90 days to get the cans and enforcement procedures and penalties have yet to be worked out. - 12/27/2011

"Redistricting: Olympia moves into new 10th district"--Olympia Olympian
The Washington State Redistricting Commission released a draft congressional district plan today. The plan places most of Thurston County, including Olympia, in a new 10th Congressional District, shifts the 9th district northward, creating a minority-dominated district that stretches from northeast Tacoma to Renton, south Seattle, and Bellevue, preserves Tacoma as the urban anchor for the 6th district, and sends part of the 8th district into Eastern Washington. Commission members have until January 1st to create and agree upon new congressional and legislative maps. If they fail, the state Supreme Court takes over. - 12/28/2011

"Washington women's salaries fall well behind"--Everett Daily Herald
According to a report released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, women in Washington earn 76.5% as much as men, compared with the national average of 81.2%. Women have a median weekly earning of $748 in our state, compared with $978 for men. The ratio puts Washington in 41st place nationwide. - 12/29/2011

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