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AP

Western Washington can look forward to an added gift of the Winter Solstice: a total eclipse of the moon. The heavenly event begins at 10:32 pm tonight, with the moon in full eclipse from 11:41 pm to 12:53 am, according to NASA.

AP

Washington Ready to Add a Congressional Seat, while two western Washington Congressmen prepare for leading defense roles, and gay and lesbian service members mark the end of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" 

The Defense Department is deploying about 700 soldiers from Joint Base Lewis-McChord to Afghanistan next summer to support combat operations.

The department said Friday the I (First) Corps Headquarters will serve as the International Security Assistance Force Joint Command Headquarters.

In a press release, Joint Base Lewis-McChord public affairs noted a historic aspect to the assignment:

AP Photo

King County deputies' pay-cut plan rejected, a car injures pedestrians at the Pike Place Market, the fight over proposed ferry service cuts heats up, and a popular Seattle language school closes.

Exec Says King County Deputies' Pay Plan Won't Fly

Dow Constantine says a union-offered plan to save taxpayers money would actually cost them more. 

AP

Washington's Board of Pharmacy has decided to not change a rule that prohibits pharmacies from refusing to dispense all legal drugs, including the morning-after contraceptive "Plan B."

The governor "hates" her own budget plan, education leaders don't like it either, and Tacoma prepares for potential closure of landmark museum, and a  tree 'grows' in White Center.

Gregoire "Hates" Her Budget

The governor laid out her plans to cut $4 billion and balance the state budget, then told reporters she "hates" what she's had to do.

Gov. Chris Gregoire has unveiled a two-year budget plan that uses a mix of cuts to state programs, suspension of voter initiatives and use of the state's "rainy day" reserve to patch a projected $4.6 billion deficit.

Gary Davis/KPLU

Seattle City Light inspectors have discovered potentially dangerous voltage present in three streetlights, a situation under scrutiny since a dog was electrocuted Thanksgiving Day on Queen Anne. "Sammy" was on a walk with his owner when he stepped on a metal plate cover at the base of a streetlight on Queen Anne Avenue. 

The lights have been shut off to the three lights until repairs can be made.

Leavenworth Area Promotions

Tourism promoters in Leavenworth say they have a hit with a sexy YouTube video showing dancing girls, a Nutracker figure and scenes from the Bavarian-themed North Cascades town.

The Wenatchee World reports the hip-hop spoof cost the Leavenworth Area Promotions board $11,000, and it has already been viewed nearly 85,000 times as of Wednesday:

Governor to announce $5 billion budget cut plan, war claims a soldier from Yelm, and Seattle Center's big announcement today.

A whooping cough outbreak at an elementary school in north Tacoma has sickened at least six children.  Investigators are looking into additional cases. 

The disease, also known as pertussis, can cause serious illness in young children, especially infants.  More than one-third of infants less than one year old who get the disease must be hospitalized, according to the Tacoma - Pierce County Health Department.  

If your home has smoke detectors, that’s an important safety step.  Starting in January, new homes, and existing homes that are sold, also need to have a carbon monoxide detector.   A new state law requires the sensors to prevent accidental poisonings. 

Gary Davis/KPLU

Washington gets a top grade for being ready to handle disasters. A new study ranks the state among the most adept a wide variety of public health threats, from flood response, handling disease outbreak, and reacting to chemical spills, among other emergencies. But the report warns gains in emergency preparedness could be lost to budget cuts. 

Twitpic/KING5unit9

Overnight storm knocks out power to tens of thousands, flooding rivers are receding, video of a water rescue near Everett, and rail commuters get a reprieve.

Twitpic/JonRepp

The heavy rains dumped by the Pineapple Express have caused so many landslides, the state is asking your help in keeping track of them. 

The National Weather Service reports 29 major landslides since Friday. 

Washington's Department of Natural Resources reports the slides have damaged roads, houses, and power lines across western Washington, and portions of the Burke-Gilman trail in Seattle. 

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