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Legalizing marijuana
1:40 pm
Thu February 9, 2012

Marijuana legalization to be decided by Washington voters

Backers of the measure said it would allow the state to regulate marijuana use, raise money through taxes on marijuana and would squeeze the powerful drug cartels controlling the black market.
Flickr

OLYMPIA, Wash. — Washington state lawmakers said Thursday that an initiative to legalize and regulate the recreational use of marijuana will be decided by voters.

If passed, Initiative 502 would make Washington the first state to legalize the recreational use of marijuana and would place it at odds with federal law, which bans marijuana use of all kinds.

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Home loans
11:15 am
Thu February 9, 2012

Washington's share of mortgage settlement: $648 million

Washington's share of a $25 billion national settlement with the nation's biggest mortgage lenders will be about $648 million.

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Olympic Sports
9:44 am
Thu February 9, 2012

Swinging sisters: The Madrigal girls are tops in NW boxing

Maira Madrigal, 24, of Wenatchee is one of the Northwest’s top amateur female boxers.
Jessica Robinson Northwest News Network

"To challenge yourself, you have to fight someone who actually knows how to fight.”

Up until the last few decades it was considered indecent for women to box. This year, women’s boxing will make its Olympic debut in the Summer Games of London.

The contenders for the first-ever U.S. Olympic women's boxing team face off in Spokane. It's a big development on the international stage. But the face of boxing has already been changing in small clubs across the Northwest.

Enter the Madrigal sisters.

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Wine Business
9:29 am
Thu February 9, 2012

Kalama wine bottle plant to restart, kick out 100 million bottles

The Kalama plant should be ready to restart in July, producing 100 million bottles a year for West Coast wineries.
Fabio Coatti Flickr

KALAMA, Wash. — Workers have jackhammered out tons of glass that hardened in an electrical furnace after it failed at a wine bottle plant at Kalama.

The old furnace has been removed and the Bennu Glass company is installing a new furnace that will be fueled by liquid oxygen to heat molten glass to 2,800 degrees.

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public health
9:23 am
Thu February 9, 2012

Whooping cough spiking statewide, outbreak in Snohomish

Whooping cough has made a big comeback across Washington. With more than 900 cases statewide, the illness hit its highest numbers last year since a similar spike in 2005. 

It’s reached epidemic proportions in Snohomish County. 

The situation there is serious enough that health agencies offered two free vaccination clinics last Saturday – and plan another one later this month.

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Record Bin Roulette
4:30 am
Thu February 9, 2012

Here's some lascivious love songs for V-Day

You'll put an eye out with that thing!
--(@rwen flickr

Love songs are the heart, soul and spleen of the music business. And musicians, being rebels and upstarts, have always been pushing the boundaries of taste and decency, leading to some surprising outcomes…

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Mysteries of the NW
5:40 pm
Wed February 8, 2012

Mel's Hole investigated again; mystery remains unsolved

KOMO illustration captured from their news story video.

In a story worthy of our “I Wonder Why … ?” series, a Seattle TV station has resurrected the mystery of Mel’s Hole located somewhere (but no one knows where) near Ellensburg.

KOMO wrote on Tuesday:

From Bigfoot to the disappearance of D.B. Cooper, the Pacific Northwest is full of mysteries. Another mystery burred deep in the hills of eastern Washington keeps resurfacing. Ellensburg and its surrounding valleys and Manastash Ridge are beautiful in any season. Some believe what lies beneath is a deep, dark hole with supernatural powers.

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Crime
4:02 pm
Wed February 8, 2012

Agency will investigate 911 call in Powell fire

The charred rubble of the home where Josh Powell and his two sons were killed Sunday, in Graham, Wash., in what police said appeared to be a deliberately set fire is shown on Tuesday.
The Associated Press

TACOMA, Wash. — A social worker pleaded with a 911 dispatcher throughout a nearly seven-minute call to quickly get police to Josh Powell's house after he locked himself inside with his two sons.

(The un-edited audio of that 911 call is posted above.)

But the dispatcher seemed to have trouble understanding the seriousness of the situation. It took almost two minutes from the start of the call for the dispatcher to learn Powell's address, as the social worker fumbled through paperwork, and more than three minutes to understand that she was there to supervise a child custody visit. Near the end of the call, she asked how long before officers could get there.

The agency that runs the call center said it would review the matter and start a disciplinary investigation if necessary.

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Washington State Legislature
3:27 pm
Wed February 8, 2012

Bill legalizing gay marriage passes House vote: 55-43

John Baux, of Bremerton, Wash., places a sign against gay marriage in the Capitol rotunda Wednesday, Feb. 8, 2012, in Olympia, Wash. Lawmakers are poised to legalize gay marriage in Washington state.
The Associated Press

OLYMPIA, Wash. — The Washington state Legislature has voted to legalize gay marriage, setting the stage for the state to become the seventh in the nation to allow same-sex couples to wed.

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Groove Notes
2:50 pm
Wed February 8, 2012

Latin jazz musicians to protest outside of the Grammy Awards

Oscar Hernandez, right, two-time Grammy winner for Latin Jazz Album, joins musicians and others demonstrating outside a meeting of the board of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (NARAS) in May.
The Associated Press

When the Grammy Awards revealed last year that they were reducing the number of award categories from 109 down to 78, it didn’t take long for those affected to show their displeasure. And, the passion hasn't died down. This year, members of the Latin jazz community will be protesting the awards ceremony.

Read more on Groove Notes.

Crime
2:18 pm
Wed February 8, 2012

Powell family blames government, bias, media for murder-suicide

Alex Ramirez, 17, brings a balloon to a growing memorial to Charlie and Braden Powell, Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2012, at Carson Elementary School in Puyallup, Wash., where Charlie attended school.
The Associated Press

An uncle and aunt of Josh Powell issued a statement saying there's no justification for the loss of his children, but Maurice and Patti Leach feel "this family tragedy was set into motion from the beginning due in part to the various questionable government agencies' practices, religious bias, the Internet kangaroo courts, and sensationalized news media."

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Gay rights
1:37 pm
Wed February 8, 2012

National org. prepares for gay marriage repeal effort in Washington

OLYMPIA, Wash. – Gay marriage isn’t the law in Washington yet, but national opponents are already preparing for a repeal campaign.

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Law
1:01 pm
Wed February 8, 2012

$151,000 embezzled from Lakewood fallen officers fund

The Treasurer of the Lakewood Police Independent Guild has been arrested for embezzlement.

Skeeter Timothy Manos allegedly diverted $151,000 from a fund intended to benefit the families of four police officers who were killed by gunman Maurice Clemmons in 2009.

Skeeter was arrested this morning at Lakewood City Hall. He’ll appear in Federal Court in Tacoma this afternoon to face ten federal felony charges.

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Transportation
8:56 am
Wed February 8, 2012

Tolls on I-5 between Washington, Oregon looking more likely

Interstate 5 crosses the Columbia River from Vancouver, Wash., bottom, into Portland, Ore., in this 2005 photo.
The Associated Press

OLYMPIA, Wash. – Washington lawmakers are moving forward with plans to allow tolls on the proposed Columbia River Crossing between Portland and Vancouver. The project will cost as much as $3.5 billion and drivers will likely bear some of that cost.

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Food for Thought
4:30 am
Wed February 8, 2012

Road rage in the frozen food aisle!

It happened to KPLU's Grooveyard and Weekend Edition host Kevin Kniestedt. Assaulted by a deranged woman in an electric shopping cart at a local supermarket.  Click "listen" to hear him describe his harrowing ordeal.

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