Northwest Briefly: Anti-tax rally attracts 1,500 protestors

OLYMPIA — The Washington State Patrol says about 1,500 people attended an anti-tax rally on the Capitol campus on Independence Day.

Organizers of the Taxed Enough Already event had told the Olympian they expected several thousands of people to attend.

State Patrol Sgt. Freddy Williams says the agency estimated about 1,500 people.

The group was protesting the Obama Administration’s economic policies. The rally in Olympia was held in concert with hundreds of others around the country.

Lake Ross: Wildfire burns 70 acres of forest

About 70 acres of forest are burning in the steep terrain of Ruby Mountain near the Lake Ross National Recreation Area in Whatcom County.

The National Parks Services expects the fire to grow over the weekend due to the dry and hot weather. The fire was likely started by lighting and detected on June 28.

The Skagit Valley Herald reports that no firefighters are on scene due to the steep and dangerous terrain.

Seattle: Sockeye salmon numbers at record low

The number of sockeye salmon returning to Lake Washington this summer is one of the lowest on record, dashing chances of any recreational or commercial fishing later this year in the area.

The Seattle Times reports that nearly 13,000 sockeye salmon have returned to the lake east of Seattle. The rate is on pace to meet the forecast of 19,000 salmon, not enough to grant a fishing season for the popular fish.

This year’s run is on pace to be half of last year’s, which was 33,702 — the lowest on record since 1972. In 2007, 69,271 salmon returned.

Those numbers are drastic contrast to 2006, when the run numbered 453,543 and state authorities granted several days of fishing.

The recent sharp declined has many fishermen worried.

“Perhaps it will be a new record low, all of us are praying that doesn’t happen,” said Frank Urabeck of Bonney Lake, a longtime sport-fishing activist. “We are in a hole and we need to get out of it, my hope is that if things turn around in the ocean, then these fish have a capability of coming back fast.”

Biologists are unable to pinpoint the reason for the sharp drops, but some say poor food-production conditions may be a factor.

In order to allow fishing, at least 350,000 fish have to make it through the Ballard Locks in Seattle. That’s where the Puget Sound meets the fresh water lakes of the Seattle area.

Port Angeles: Man surrenders to police

A man wanted on a federal warrant emerged from a Port Angeles house’s crawl space and surrendered to police, ending a tense situation in this small town on the Olympic Peninsula.

Brian Smith, deputy chief of the Port Angeles police, identified the man as 37-year-old Leslie Wilson.

Wilson was convicted of second-degree murder in federal court in 1992 for a slaying on the Makah Indian Reservation, according to court documents. At the time, he was sentenced to 19 years in prison and 60 months of supervised release.

An arrest warrant was issued for Wilson in March.

Saturday’s incident started when an officer spotted a man matching Wilson’s description in the area. The officer then watched the man head toward a house.

The residents of the home notified police they thought an intruder was in their garage. Shortly after, Port Angeles police and U.S. marshals blocked off street in the surrounding area.

Once Wilson was located, negotiators moved in, and gave Wilson a phone. Wilson spoke to family members on the phone, and then he came out. Wilson was not armed, Smith said.

“We talked him out,” Smith said. “We couldn’t rule out that he was armed, but as it turned out he was not.”

Court documents say Wilson allegedly violated terms of his supervised release, including drinking alcohol on separate occasions and failing to obtain substance abuse evaluations.

Wilson failed to appear in court on June 11 as well.

Port Angeles police, Smith said, were told Wilson had been released to a halfway house in the area.

Associated Press

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