The Associated Press

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The Associated Press (“AP”) is the essential global news network, delivering fast, unbiased news from every corner of the world to all media platforms and formats. On any given day, more than half the world’s population sees news from the AP. Founded in 1846, the AP today is one of the largest and most trusted sources of independent newsgathering. The AP considers itself to be the backbone of the world’s information system, serving thousands of daily newspaper, radio, television, and online customers with coverage in text, photos, graphics, audio and video.

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Law & Justice
9:55 am
Tue March 15, 2011

Prosecutors seek death penalty in murder of prison guard

Snohomish County Prosecutor Mark Roe says he'll seek the death penalty if Byron Scherf is convicted of aggravated murder in the death of Monroe prison Corrections Officer Jayme Biendl.

In announcing his decision Tuesday in Everett, Roe said jurors "should have the opportunity of imposing the ultimate punishment if they see fit."

Biendl was strangled Jan. 29 in the prison chapel.

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Science
3:45 pm
Fri March 11, 2011

Japan tsunami illustrates risks facing Pacific Northwest coast

UW Brian Atwater (center) points out evidence of the 1700 Cascadia earthquake and tsunami to field-trip participants during a canoe trip along the Niawiakum River.
Brian Atwater University of Washington

The same type of tectonic earthquake that hit Japan - involving the collision of plates that make up the Earth's crust - could happen in the Northwest.  Similar faults lie in the Cascadia subduction zone. 

The head of the Pacific Northwest Seismic Network at the University of Washington, John Vidale, told The Seattle Times' Sandi Doughton the Cascadia fault last ruptured in 1700.  Scientists believe it generated at magnitude 9 earthquake and a tsunami that may have been bigger than the one that battered Japan. 

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Japan Quake Aftermath
10:45 am
Fri March 11, 2011

Threat from tsunami waves lessens; people asked to stay off coast beaches

Waves common for a stormy springtime day crash into the beach Friday, March 11, 2011 in Moclips, Wash. A Tsunami caused by the Thursday earthquake in Japan reached the west coast of the United States early Friday, though its impact was minimal.
Ted S. Warren AP

Updated at 10:32 a.m.

The first wave of the tsunami to hit the Washington Coast measured 1.6 feet at La Push and about half a foot at Neah Bay and Port Angeles, according to the National Weather Service.

Tsunami Adisory Remains in Effect

Science and Operations officer Kirby Cook says the tsunami advisory is still in effect for the Washington Coast and more waves could be on the way. Cook says more waves are landing in California and that means Washington and Oregon can expect more as well.

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Japan Quake
8:33 am
Fri March 11, 2011

Tsunami waves washing in along Northwest coast; limited evacuations in Grays Harbor, Pacific counties

A tsunami evacuation sign in Grays Harbor County, on Washington's coast. There have been limited evacuations, as a surge of 4 feet is expected this morning.
AP

The National Weather Service reports the tsunami generated by the 8.9 earthquake that hit Japan on Friday is now coming ashore on the Washington and Oregon coastline.

Meteorologist Johnny Berg says the tsunami advisory is still in effect and waves are coming in, but he says he doesn't have details to offer about how high those waves are.

An AP photographer reports vigorous wave activity on the coast near Moclips, on the central coast, similar to any stormy day on the ocean beaches.

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Breaking News
7:08 am
Fri March 11, 2011

Major quake, tsunami hits Japan; limited evacuations on Washington coast due to wave threat

Cars and other Debris swept away by tsunami tidal waves are seen in Kesennuma in Miyagi Prefecture, northern Japan, after strong earthquakes hit the area Friday, March 11, 2011.
Keichi Nakane Yomiuri Shimbun

Updated 7:08 a.m., PST.  

The National Weather Service (NOAA) has issued a tsunami advisory for the Washington Coast following the massive 8.9 quake in northeast Japan.

Tsunami 'Advisory' Definition, from the National Weather Service:

  • Persons in a tsunami “Advisory” coastal area should move out of the water, off the beach and out of harbors and marinas.
  • Tsunami Advisories mean that a tsunami capable of producing strong currents or waves dangerous to people in or very near water is imminent or expected.
  • Significant widespread inundation is NOT expected for areas in an ‘advisory.'

 

Waves Expected Here After 7 a.m.; Some Evacuations on Coast

In Pacific and Grays Harbor counties, emergency management officials say "limited" evacuations are taking place. 

In Grays Harbor County, evacuations are taking place in the lowest-lying areas of Taholah, Pacific Beach, Moclips and Iron Springs (north of Copalis Beach), are people are being asked to move to higher ground.  A wave surge of up to 4 feet is projected for those areas shortly after 7 a.m. this morning, the highest level of wave expected to hit Washington state.

Pacific County has implemented its 'reverse 911' system, calling residents on the coast and in lowlying areas and asking them to evacuate calmly. He says an orderly evacuation is happening in Long Beach, Ilwaco and Ocean Park.

People are being asked to stay away from the beaches, harbors and coastal lowlands. Although the initial wave times are indicated, the highest wave may not impact the area for a few hours after that time.

In Oregon, tsunami sirens are blaring in coastal communities, the warning for residents to seek higher ground.  Traffic is heavy on the main transportation artery, Highway 101. In Seaside, at least one hotel has been evacuated. Waves in Oregon may be as high as 6 feet, and expected to arrive between 7 and 8 a.m.

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Former Washington Governor
10:11 am
Wed March 9, 2011

Obama nominates Locke as ambassador to China

President Barack Obama, left, announces that Commerce Sec. Gary Locke, right, will be the next US ambassador to China, in the Diplomatic Room of the White House Wednesday, March, 9, 2011. Locke is replacing Jon Huntsman.
Pablo Martinez Monsivais AP Photo

 WASHINGTON (AP)     President Barack Obama has nominated Commerce Secretary Gary Locke to be the next U.S. ambassador to China. At a White House appearance Wednesday (Video), Obama credited Locke for expanding exports to China and said he has earned the trust of business leaders.

The post is one of the most important diplomatic jobs in government. If confirmed by the Senate, Locke would become the first Chinese-American to serve as the envoy to China.

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Law and Justice
2:41 pm
Mon March 7, 2011

State investigates patient's escape from Western State Hospital

The Washington Department of Social and Health Services is reviewing how a patient was able to escape from
Western State Hospital at Lakewood.

Jonathan D. Wilson remained in Pierce County Jail over the weekend, and Department of Corrections spokesman Chad Lewis says officials are deciding Monday where he should be transferred. 

The News Tribune's Stacia Glenn reports Wilson may be headed to Mason County.

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Law & Justice
2:16 am
Fri March 4, 2011

Pierce County deputy dies after being treated for on-duty injuries

A Pierce County sheriff's spokesman says a 29-year-old deputy has died less than 24 hours after undergoing
surgery for an injury he suffered in an on-duty assault last year.

Spokesman Ed Troyer called Shandon Wright's death Thursday night "a duty-related death" and said fellow officers were shocked.

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Unemployment
4:38 pm
Tue March 1, 2011

State's jobless rate drops

Washington state added 11,000 jobs in January as the unemployment rate in state dropped from 9.3%  in December to 9.1% at the start of the year.

It's the strongest month of job growth in three years, and the largest since November 2007, the month before the national recession began. The gains came outside the agriculture sector.

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Transportation
6:09 pm
Mon February 28, 2011

Avalanche, heavy snow close I-90 across Snoqualmie Pass for hours

The scene at Denny Creek along I-90 in east King County late Monday afternoon. Snow has been falling at a rate of 3 inches per hour.
WSDOT

Updated 9: 21 p.m.

Avalanche danger, heavy snowfall and spun-out vehicles have kept Interstate 90 over Snoqualmie Pass closed for hours as a winter storm buffets the Washington Cascades. Eastbound lanes reopened late this afternoon, and westbound lanes later Monday evening.

Transportation officials closed the pass late Monday morning due to eight inches of snow that had fallen since 6 a.m., plus poor visibility and spinouts.

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Environment
10:01 am
Sun February 27, 2011

Freight train derails near Tacoma; at least 50 gallons of lye spilled

Crews work to pull away collided trains and get four overturned cars off the beach at Chambers Bay, near Tacoma, where two freight trains sideswiped, toppling several cars of sodium hydroxide (lye) Saturday evening.
Dan gigharbor.patch.com

Updated 12:15 p.m. Sunday, February 27: Authorities report the leak has since been repaired, according to a statement from West Pierce Fire & Rescue Sunday as reported by Q13 FOX TV. Authorities confirmed that about 50 gallons of sodium hydroxide spilled. Amtrak passenger service between Seattle and Portland has been suspended because of the accident.

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Defense
4:58 pm
Fri February 25, 2011

Boeing workers and unions celebrate winning bid for Air Force tanker contract

It's a day of celebration and pride at the Boeing plant in Everett, after the company won the $35 billion-dollar Air Force contract for a new aerial tanker fleet. 

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Environment
4:36 pm
Thu February 24, 2011

Clean up continues after fuel tanker spill on Olympic Peninsula

This image was captured by a WSDOT worker at the site of a tanker fuel spill near the Olympic Peninsula town of Forks on Wednesday. Clean up continues there.
WSDOT Flickr

An estimated 4,300 gallons of fuel spilled Wednesday when a tanker truck overturned on U.S. Highway 101 about 25 miles south of Forks. Work continues at the site today to contain the spill as quickly as possible.

Kim Schmanke of the state's Department of Ecology says crews righted the damaged trailer late Wednesday afternoon. The State Patrol says the truck driver wasn't injured in crash yesterday morning. 

Schmanke says response agencies and cleanup contractors are working to recover the spilled fuel and assess environmental impacts.

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Defense
2:37 pm
Thu February 24, 2011

Boeing wins massive Air Force refueling tanker contract

The Pentagon wants Boeing to build the next generation of Air Force refueling tankers. The contract is worth $35 billion. Boeing's bid beat out rival EADS, parent of Airbus. 

The Air Force has tried for nearly a decade to replace its aging fleet of Eisenhower-era tankers, the equivalent of a flying gas station.

The planes will be based on Boeing's 767 jetliner.  The work is expected to impact 50,000 jobs, according to the Associated Press.

Washington's congressional leaders are celebrating the announcement. In a statement issued shortly after the Pentagon's choice was made public, Senator Patty Murray cheered the decision:

“This decision is a major victory for the American workers, the American aerospace industry and America’s military. And it is consistent with the President’s own call to ‘out-innovate’ and ‘out-build’ the rest of the world," Murray stated.

 

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Hostages on Yacht
4:54 pm
Tue February 22, 2011

Remembering Seattle sailors, killed by Somali pirates

Phyllis Macay and Bob Riggle with their friend Walter Friesen, before a race/rally from San Diego to Cabo San Lucas (Mexico), an event affectionately known as the Baja Haha.
Courtesy of Walter Friesen

Family and friends are grieving the loss of a Seattle couple who were killed as they sailed around the world.  They were captured by Somali pirates, along with another couple from California. 

Walter Friesen  knew them.  He's a member of the Seattle Singles Yacht Club, where the deceased couple met. 

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