Traffic returns to Wash. bridge that collapsed
MOUNT VERNON, Wash. (AP) - Traffic is moving again across the Interstate 5 Skagit River bridge at Mount Vernon, a key route in Washington between Seattle and Canada.
The state Transportation Department announced it opened to southbound traffic just before 5 a.m. Wednesday and would open to northbound traffic an hour later.
State and contract workers rushed work on a temporary span after the bridge collapsed May 23 when it was hit by a truck carrying an oversize load.
The temporary section of the bridge is 160 feet long but only 24 feet wide.
It has two lanes in both directions, but the speed is limited to 40 mph on the bridge.
LAKEWOOD POLICE SHOOTING
Lakewood police kill suspect holding gun
LAKEWOOD, Wash. (AP) - Lakewood police shot and killed a man in a confrontation Tuesday night at a duplex in the Tillicum area.
Lakewood police Lt. Jeff Alwine says officers went to a duplex looking for a man wanted on an arrest warrant accusing him of felony theft.
Alwine says two officers saw the 28-year-old Lakewood man through a broken window holding a gun. He refused commands to drop the gun and come out.
Alwine says he did something threatening that caused the officers to fire.
He died at the scene.
Not guilty plea in Nine Mile slaying
SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) - The man accused of strangling his girlfriend and putting her body in a tub of acid at a Nine Mile Falls home pleaded not guilty Tuesday to a murder charge in Spokane.
KXLY reports trial for 27-year-old Jason Hart is set for Aug. 12.
He's accused of killing 33-year-old Regan Jolley. They had been dating for a few weeks.
Hart is a disabled military veteran.
DISABLED WOMAN STRANGLED
Port Angeles woman sentenced for role in killing
PORT ANGELES, Wash. (AP) - A Port Angeles woman who watched her boyfriend strangle her friend and helped dispose of the body won't spend any more time behind bars.
A Clallam County Superior Court judge sentenced 27-year-old Kendell K. Huether on Tuesday to 17 months. With credit for the year.5 she has spent in jail and electronic monitoring, she won't have to go to prison.
Huether pleaded guilty to rending criminal assistance in the October 2011 death of Jennifer Pimentel, who was disabled.
The Peninsula Daily News reports Huether also was found guilty of tampering with a witness to throw off investigators.
Her boyfriend at the time, 23-year-old Kevin Bradfield, was sentenced last month to 25 years in prison for murder.
Prosecutors say he killed Pimentel to prevent her from accusing him of rape.
Coast Guard suspends search for missing fisherman
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) - The Coast Guard has ended its active search for a Washington man missing from a fishing boat west of Juneau.
KINY-radio reports 25-year-old Alan Young of Chehalis (shuh-HAY'-lihs) fell Monday night from the Swift into Icy Strait 30 miles west of Juneau during the chum salmon fishery.
The skipper, 47-year-old Tim Lane of Sitka, launched a dinghy and attempted a rescue but also fell into the water.
Alaska State Troopers say Lane spent several hours floating with a personal flotation device. A Coast Guard helicopter hoisted Lane to safety from a beach east of Excursion Inlet.
Lt. Sarah Morin says Coast Guard searchers are confident they would have spotted the missing man if he was alive.
The crew of the Pacific Horizon found the Swift and reported it unoccupied.
OCEAN SHORES SURF DEATH
Ocean Shores surf fisherman died of heart problem
OCEAN SHORES, Wash. (AP) - The Grays Harbor County coroner's office says the surf fisherman who died near Ocean Shores probably died of a heart rhythm problem that could have been triggered by cold water.
KBKW reports the autopsy on 65-year-old Antonio Inocencio of Federal Way indicated cardiac arrhythmia, which has been associated with cold-water immersion deaths.
Inocencio was fishing alone.
He was apparently knocked down by a wave and pulled under when his waders filled with water. His body was found Sunday by a beachcomber.
Parents' ruse snares man wooing daughter
SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) - A Spokane father who discovered his 15-year-old daughter was being wooed on Facebook by a man twice her age took matters into his own hands.
He hatched a Facebook ruse that drew the 30-year-old Federal Way, Wash., man to Spokane earlier this month. Then the father and a couple of his buddies staked out the arranged meeting spot, and blocked the man's escape until police arrived.
The Spokesman-Review reports that the suspect, identified in court documents as Jason D. Richards, faces charges of child rape and attempted kidnapping in Spokane County Superior Court.
He is jailed on a $100,000 bond.
BOEING 787-OIL FILTER
Diverted United 787 passengers on way to Tokyo
SEATTLE (AP) - Passengers from a United Airlines Denver-to-Tokyo flight that diverted to Seattle Tuesday when the Boeing 787 had an oil filter issue are on their way again.
United spokeswoman Mary Ryan says in an email that the airline put them up in hotel rooms overnight and they took off from Sea-Tac Airport Wednesday morning in another 787. Ryan says there's no further information about the oil filter or aircraft maintenance.
A Boeing spokeswoman told The Seattle Times Tuesday the problem was unrelated to any battery issues that grounded the 787 fleet from January to May.
WESTERN WILDFIRES-FEDERAL SPENDING
As fires rage, feds cut funding on prevention
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) - The federal government is spending less and less on preventing wildfires even as the nation endures increasingly destructive blazes.
The Obama administration is proposing a 31% cut to the main program that clears brush and overgrown trees to prevent forest fires. That program is already funded at lower levels than 11 years ago. Automatic budget cuts that kicked in in March have made the gap worse. As a result, the Forest Service treated 1 million fewer acres this year than last and expects to treat far fewer next year.
Federal fire officials say the problem is that an increasing chunk of their budget is eaten up simply trying to put out the giant blazes.
8 of the nine worst fire years in U.S. history have been recorded since 2000.
TACOMA DOME NAMING RIGHTS
Tacoma hopes to sell naming rights to Tacoma Dome
TACOMA, Wash. (AP) - The city of Tacoma hopes to sell naming rights to the Tacoma Dome, the blue and white arena next to Interstate 5 in the city.
Facilities Director Kim Bedier says the city could use the money to help renovate the three-decade-old wooden building.
The News Tribune reports the Tacoma Dome is supposed to pay for itself with concerts, games and other events. But the city had to pay more than $1 million in 2011 to cover its 11 million budget.
ASH GROVE-POLLUTION PENALTY
EPA levies $2.5M penalty against US cement maker
BOISE, Idaho (AP) - The Environmental Protection Agency levied a $2.5 million penalty against a cement maker and required the company to invest $30 million in pollution controls at plants in nine states alleged to have violated the federal Clean Air Act.
Ash Grove Cement Co.'s penalty was announced Wednesday by the EPA and Department of Justice in a deal where the Kansas-based company also will spend $750,000 to mitigate effects of past emissions.
The EPA said this will reduce thousands of tons of harmful pollutants from plants in Arkansas, Idaho, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Texas.
Ash Grove disputes it violated federal pollution laws, but says it agreed to the deal as costs rose.
The EPA says this pact will reduce pollution that can hurt human health and cause acid rain.
Renton man pleads guilty to selling fake Chihulys
SEATTLE (AP) - The U.S. attorney's office says a Renton man who made $40,000 selling generic pieces of glasswork on the Internet as Chihuly (shuh-HOO'-lee) artwork pleaded guilty Wednesday in Seattle.
Thirty-5-year-old Michael Little could get up to 20 years in prison when he is sentenced Oct. 4 in federal court for wire fraud.
The U.S. attorney's office says Little used forged papers to authenticate the art but an expert determined they were not the work of Dale Chihuly.
SPOKANE VALLEY METAL THEFTS
Spokane Valley metal thefts put buildings at risk
SPOKANE VALLEY, Wash. (AP) - Metal thieves are putting some Spokane Valley buildings at risk.
The Spokane Valley Fire Department says thieves have been taking the brass fittings that firefighters use to charge the sprinkler system in the event of a big fire.
Anyone seen tampering with the fittings should call police.
A reward for information about the thefts is offered through Crime Stoppers.
Wash. jobless rate drops to 6.8% in May
OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) - Washington state's unemployment rate dropped to 6.8% last month.
Numbers released Wednesday by the state Employment Security Department also show that in addition to a decrease from April's 7% rate, the state added an estimated 4,100 jobs in May. Economists say that the state's jobless rate has fallen by .7%age points since the start of the year, and that the state has regained more than 162,000 of the 205,000 jobs it lost during the recession.
Industries that saw the most job gains in May included government, education and health services, and leisure and hospitality. Manufacturing, professional and business services, and other services saw the most losses, along with construction.
Nearly 237,000 people were unemployed and looking for work last month, including more than 119,000 who claimed unemployment benefits.
HOSTILE WORK ENVIRONMENT
Jury tells WSU Tri-Cities to pay $100,000
RICHLAND, Wash. (AP) - A Benton County Superior Court jury has awarded $100,000 in damages to a former employee of Washington State University Tri-Cities who said she endured a hostile work environment created by a supervisor.
The supervisor referred to students and employees with derisive racial terms.
The Tri-City Herald reports the jury's decision followed a two-week trial.
Damages were awarded to Anna Mitson, but not two other women who filed the lawsuit in October 2011 with her. Their lawyer, Andrea Clare, says jurors rejected the bulk of the claims because the harassment did not meet specific requirements.
The workers had complained about Jaime Contreras, who was the school's director of student affairs from 2008-2011.
He resigned after an investigation confirmed he used derogatory terms.
Energy Secretary visits Hanford site in Wash.
RICHLAND, Wash. (AP) - Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz says he intends to have a new plan by the end of the summer for resolving technical problems with a waste treatment plant under construction at the nation's most contaminated nuclear site.
Moniz visited south-central Washington's Hanford Nuclear Reservation on Wednesday for the first time since being confirmed by the Senate in May.
His visit comes amid increasing criticism of the Energy Department's management of the cleanup effort there.
That includes repeated delays and rising costs for building a massive plant to treat millions of gallons of highly radioactive waste that is stored in leaking underground tanks.
Gray whale seen in Puget Sound
PURDY, Wash. (AP) - A gray whale has been spotted in Burley Lagoon in the south Puget Sound.
John Calambokidis, a whale expert with Cascadia Research, told KOMO the marine mammal is believed to be the same one that has been in the south Sound for the past several days.
It was seen Tuesday in Budd Inlet near Olympia. On Wednesday it showed up in Burley Lagoon, a small body of water Pierce County. To get back to the Pacific Ocean, the whale would have to swim about 200 miles.
Calambokidis says the gray whale is a small one and does not look to be in good shape.
It's not uncommon for gray whales to divert into Puget Sound during their annual migration up the Pacific coast, but they usually don't make it into the south Sound.
Alaska Airlines clarifies boarding for turboprops
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) - Passengers must still board through security gates when Alaska Airlines switches to turboprop aircraft for flights from Fairbanks to Anchorage.
Airline spokesman Tim Thompson says the Transportation Security Administration requires security screenings for aircraft with more than 60 seats. The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports the Q400s that will replace the larger 737 jets have 76 seats.
The airline recently announced that it plans to replace most of the jets it flies between Fairbanks and Anchorage with three turboprop planes, beginning next March, freeing up the jets to be used for new routes between Anchorage and the Lower 48.
Era Aviation, which flies smaller planes, boards its turboprops with service to Anchorage through the regional airline section of the Fairbanks terminal.
That means passengers don't have to go through security.
WHATCOM ANIMAL SHELTER
New Whatcom Humane Society shelter opens
BELLINGHAM, Wash. (AP) - The Whatcom Humane Society is opening a new $2.6 million shelter to provide more room and services for animals.
The facility was opening Wednesday. The organization closed its Port of Bellingham-owned Williamson Way shelter, as well as its county-owned Baker Creek shelter.
The new, 19,000-square-foot shelter includes special areas for dogs, cats, birds and small or exotic animals, as well as an expanded veterinary and surgery area for the diagnosis and treatment of animals.
WALLA WALLA SWEET ONION
Walla Walla sweet onion harvest begins
WALLA WALLA, Wash. (AP) - Some farmers in the Walla Walla area have already started harvesting their Walla Walla sweet onions.
KVEW reports the harvest is starting about a week.5 early.
The Walla Walla sweet onion is the official vegetable of the state of Washington.
MOUNT RAINIER OUTHOUSE
New outhouse planned 10,000 feet up Mount Rainier
MOUNT RAINIER NATIONAL PARK, Wash. (AP) - Renovation work starts this summer on the highest outhouse in Washington.
The National Park Service plans to upgrade the toilets at Camp Muir, which is at the 10,000-foot level of Mount Rainier.
Camp Muir is a destination for day hikers and a stop for climbers before they make their final push to the top of the 14,410-foot mountain.
On a summer day, hundreds of people may visit Camp Muir. Existing toilets are decades old and smelly because composting doesn't work at that elevation.
Park architect Sue Ann Brown told KIRO-FM building materials will have to be flown to Camp Muir for four toilets that will cost about $200,000.
Rutgers and Washington State to play in football
PISCATAWAY, N.J. (AP) - Rutgers and Washington State have agreed to play a home & home football series beginning in 2014.
The two universities made the announcement on Wednesday.
The first game will be played in Seattle on Aug. 29, 2014, and it will be Rutgers' first as a member of the Big Ten Conference.
The two schools have never met on the football field. Rutgers is 0-4 all-time against Pac-12 competition. The Scarlet Knights also have an upcoming home & home series with UCLA in 2016 and 2017.
Washington State will play at Piscataway on Sept. 12, 2015.
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