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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Hostages on Yacht
11:22 am
Tue February 22, 2011

U.S. military: Seattle couple among four killed by Somali pirates

Phyllis Macay and Bob Riggle are pictured here in 2005 in California. Macay and Riggle, both of Seattle, were reported killed by Somali pirates today, as were Scott and Jean Adam, aboard the yacht Quest, according to the U.S. military.
Courtesy Joe Grande

Updated at 11:22 a.m.

The U.S. military reports pirates have killed four American hostages they were holding on a yacht off Somalia's coast. The U.S. Central Command says negotiations had been under way to try to win release of the two couples on the pirated vessel Quest.

Gunshots were heard; and when U.S. forces reached the yacht, they found four all four hostages had been shot.

Two of the hostages. Phyllis Macay and Bob Riggle, are from the Seattle area. Quest was owned by Jean and Scott Adam, a couple from California who had been sailing around the world since December 2004.  The Associated Press reports U.S. Navy personnel administered to the four as soon as they could board the boat, but all had died from their wounds.

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Law and Justice
8:54 am
Tue February 22, 2011

Supreme Court won't hear appeal on state's campaign disclosure laws

The Supreme Court has rejected an appeal challenging campaign disclosure laws in Washington state.

The court on Tuesday let stand without comment a federal appeals court ruling that upheld the state's disclosure requirements. Human Life of Washington challenged the requirements as a violation of the First Amendment. The group didn't want to reveal its donors in a 2008 campaign opposing an assisted suicide ballot measure.

Law and Justice
9:19 am
Mon February 21, 2011

State prison inmates are now older, whiter and more violent

Correctional officer Ken Kleinworth frisks an inmate leaving a dining hall at the Washington Corrections Center in Shleton last Thursday. The population of Washington state prison inmates has become whiter, older and more violent in the past decade.
AP

The population of Washington state prison inmates has become whiter, older and more violent in the past decade. That's according to an Associated Press review of Department of Corrections records.

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John T. Williams Shooting
4:34 pm
Wed February 16, 2011

Seattle police officer Ian Birk resigns after report finds fault

The Seattle police officer who fatally shot a woodcarver on a downtown street last summer has resigned.

Chief John Diaz says Officer Ian Birk resigned as of 4 p.m. Wednesday.

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JOHN T. WILLIAMS SHOOTING
2:12 pm
Wed February 16, 2011

Woodcarver fatal shooting not justified, says Seattle Police board

Deputy Chief Clark Kimerer announces the findings of a Seattle Police Department review of the fatal shooting last summer of John T. Williams by Officer Ian Birk.
Liam Moriarty KPLU News

The shooting death of a Native American woodcarver by a Seattle police officer last summer was not justified. That’s the finding announced by the police department’s Firearms Review Board today. 

The review found Officer Ian Birk took actions that were "outside of policy, tactics and training."

The case is “among the most egregious failings that I’ve seen in my thirty years with the Seattle Police Department,” said the board chairman, Deputy Chief Clark Kimerer.

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520 Floating Bridge
11:38 am
Wed February 16, 2011

Preparing for tolls, get your "Good to Go" pass early

Wikimedia.org

Tolls on the old 520 bridge across Lake Washington are coming soon--likely starting in April.

It's an all-electronic system, so there won't be an option to just throw some coins into a box. You'll need a special pass on the windshield of your car. The price of driving over the floating span between Seattle and Bellevue will vary, depending on the time of day.  

State Transportation Secretary Paula Hammond put on a happy face as she reminded folks to get ready to pay as much as $3.50 each way at the height of rush hour.

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SEATTLE MARINERS
12:31 pm
Tue February 15, 2011

Ken Griffey, Jr. back with Mariners again as special consultant

Ken Griffey Jr. talks to the media during a news conference at spring training baseball Saturday, Feb. 21, 2009 in Peoria, Ariz.
Charlie Riedel AP

Junior is back.

Ken Griffey, Jr. is returning to the Seattle Mariners as a special consultant less than a year after abruptly retiring from baseball.

The Mariners made the announcement Tuesday morning.

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JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD
10:59 am
Tue February 15, 2011

Obama's budget plan would boost JBLM construction

Army Col. Thomas Brittain, (r), and Air Force Col. Kenny Weldon, (r), shake hands upon the merger of Fort Lewis and McChord Air Force Base into Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Feb. 2010.
Ted S. Warren AP

Construction at Joint Base Lewis-McChord would increase further if Congress adopts President Obama's 2012 budget proposal.

The News Tribune reports that the spending plan released Monday would set aside more than $300 million for construction at the base south of Tacoma, up from about $172 million in the 2011 budget proposal Congress has yet to approve.

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EARTHQUAKES
1:09 pm
Mon February 14, 2011

4.3 and 2.5 magnitude quakes shake Mount Saint Helens

A magnitude 4.3 quake at 10:35 a.m. Monday at Mount St. Helens was felt in southwest Washington and the Portland area.

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PRISONS
2:20 pm
Fri February 4, 2011

Corrections chief changes policies after Monroe guard's murder

Under new procedures announced today, state prisons (such as this one in Shelton) will operate under new security guidelines. The revisions stem from guard Jayme Biendl's killing last Saturday at Monroe.
Ted S. Warren AP Photo

The state Department of Corrections is changing some of its procedures in response to the killing of a female guard at the Monroe prison last weekend.

Jayme Biendl was found strangled in the prison's chapel last Saturday night. An inmate has been arrested in the killing.

Corrections Secretary Eldon Vail said Friday that prisons will immediately:

  • begin counting staff members whenever an offender is missing;
  • officers will begin regular check-ins on guards who serve at duty posts alone;
  • conduct drills on the use of silent alarms on the hand-held radios that guards carry.

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Law and Justice
2:12 pm
Thu February 3, 2011

Guilty verdict in murder-for-hire case of Clearly Lasik co-founder

The co-founder of a Northwest chain of eye-surgery centers has been convicted of plotting to kill two former colleagues.


Dr. Michael Mockovak of Clearly Lasik eye centers was found guilty Thursday of four counts, including attempted murder. The King County Superior Court jury deliberated for less than two days.


Prosecutors said Mockovak was willing to pay more than $100,00 to have business partner Dr. Joseph King and former company president Brad Klock killed, and that he solicited an employee to hire an assassin.

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Law & Justice
11:05 am
Tue January 25, 2011

King County to pay $10 million in case of mistaken identity

This surveillance video outside the Cinerama Theatre in downtown Seattle captures the moment Christopher Harris was slammed into a theater wall by a deputy working for Metro Transit last May.
MJDArv YouTube.com

King County has agreed to pay $10 million to a man who suffered a catastrophic brain injury when a sheriff's deputy slammed him into a concrete wall after a chase in Seattle.

Christopher Harris ran from deputies who mistook him for a suspect in a fight on in May 2009. After a couple of blocks, Harris stopped, and a deputy knocked him 8 feet into a concrete wall, head first.

Harris eventually emerged from a coma but can't walk or talk. The 30-year-old is expected to need round-the-clock care for the rest of his life.

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John T. Williams shooting
4:15 pm
Thu January 20, 2011

Inquest jury split over questions about Seattle police shooting

Four of eight jurors in a coroner's inquest say woodcarver John T. Williams didn't have enough time to put down his knife before he was shot and killed by Seattle police Officer Ian Birk.

Only one juror found Williams had time to put down the knife. The other three answered "unknown." Thursday's conclusions are only findings of fact by the jury, which did not have to be unanimous. 

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Lewis County
7:13 am
Thu January 20, 2011

Explosion at Chehalis power plant; no injuries reported

A blast and fire at a natural-gas fired power plant in Chehalis was caused by a transformer explosion. No one was injured, according to a plant spokeswoman.

Jan Mitchell says the PacifiCorp-owned facility’s damage is limited to a large transformer on the edge of the property. 

The fire did not involve the plant itself or natural gas.

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Winter Weather
10:06 am
Mon January 17, 2011

WSDOT worker killed by falling tree; Worst of storm & flooding over

A veteran Washington State Department of Transportation worker has died after being hit by a falling tree during Sunday night's rain storm.  Maintenance Superintendent Jim McBride said the worker was setting up safety cones to alert motorists to downed power lines when the tree fell on his truck and killed him on Highway 203 just south of Carnation. 

Department spokeswoman Kris Olsen identified the man as 66-year-old Billy Rhynalds, a 12-year veteran of the department.

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