Friday morning's headlines

Feb 18, 2011

Making headlines around the Northwest this morning:

 

  • Seattle Mayor Vetoes Tunnel Plan as Expected
  • Arraignment in Kent Today in 49th Green River Killing
  • Investment Firm Buys Majority Stake in Haggen Chain
  • Boeing, Alaska Air Employees Awarded Bonuses

 

McGinn Vetoes Tunnel Plan in Symbolic Move

Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn is staying out on a limb and keeping his election promises, using his veto power Thursday in a symbolic attempt to stop the tunnel along the Seattle waterfront from being built.

Mc Ginn rejected agreements the city council approved 8-1 earlier this month. The council is expected to pass the plan into law Feb.28.

Nearly every large interest group in the state wants to move ahead with plans to replace the aging Alaskan Way Viaduct - which was badly damaged in the Nisqually earthquake in 2001.

But McGinn says in a statement he made a promise and wants to "protect Seattle from unacceptable risks" of cost overruns on the $2 billion project. Governor Chris Gregoire promises such cost overruns won't happen.

 

Ridgway Expected to Plead Guilty Today to 49th Green River Killing

Already serving 48 life terms in the Green River killings, Gary Ridgway is expected to plead guilty to a 49th murder at his arraignment Friday at the King County Regional Justice Center in Kent.

Ridgway already confessed to killing 20-year-old Rebecca "Becky" Marrero in 1982 as part of the 2003 plea deal that spared him the death penalty.

Her remains weren't found until Dec. 21 when teenagers found a skull in a ravine in Auburn. Ridgway was charged Feb. 7. He was brought from the Washington State Penitentiary at Walla Walla for the arraignment where Marrero's family will have the opportunity to confront him.

 

Private Group Buys Majority Share of Bellingham-Based Haggen Foods

Private investment firm Comvest Group is buying a majority share of Bellingham-based Haggen Inc., which operates 30 supermarkets in Washington and Oregon.

The Bellingham Herald reports that the Haggen family will retain a significant minority ownership stake and will continue to be involved in the company. Rick Haggen told The Herald's Dave Gallagher that  the acquisition is the best way to stay competitive in the grocery store industry and keep the company’s headquarters in Bellingham.

“It was important for us to maintain the headquarters in Bellingham,”Haggen said. “I think this is a great outcome for the people who work here and the customers.”

Terms of the purchase were not disclosed.

The Haggen family started the business in Bellingham in 1933. The company operates stores under the Haggen Food & Pharmacy and TOP Food & Drug names. The company says no changes to the stores
are planned.

Comvest Group is based in West Palm Beach, Fla.

 

Boeing, Alaska Air Bonuses Paid Out

Alaska Air Group says it's paying $72 million in bonuses this week to nearly all of its 12,600 Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air employees for exceeding the Seattle company's 2010 goals. The bonus of about 9 percent is more than a month's pay for most workers.

At Boeing, Seattle Times aerospace reporter Dominic Gates writes that:

45,800 employees in Washington state shared bonuses totaling $231 million, for an average of just over $5,000 each. Companywide, about 108,000 employees received a total of almost $503 million.

Boeing machinists are not part of the annual incentive plan. Eligible employees in the commercial-airplane division received a bonus equivalent to 14.25 days' extra pay. In the military and space division, which was slightly less profitable in 2010, employees received bonuses equivalent to 12 extra days' pay.