Northwest Briefly: State students score highest in nation on SAT

  • Mon Sep 13th, 2010 10:08pm
  • News

OLYMPIA — For the eighth consecutive year, Washington state students had the highest average SAT scores in the nation among states where more than half the eligible students took the tests.

The College Board said more than 37,000 Washington students took the SAT test last school year, including nearly 29,000 public school students.

Washington students scored higher in critical reading, math and writing than all other states in which at least 25 percent of students tested. The percentage of students tested is significant because generally the more students who test, the lower their scores.

Washington’s SAT participation rate of 54 percent is the highest among Western states and beats the national average of 47 percent.

New Employment Security commissioner named

Gov. Chris Gregoire has appointed Paul Trause to lead the state Employment Security Department.

Trause, who was deputy commissioner at the agency, will replace Karen Lee. Lee is leaving the agency to serve as chief executive officer of Pioneer Human Services in Seattle. Gregoire announced the appointment Monday.

Trause, who will earn $141,549 a year, will start Oct. 1.

Seattle: Gates to receive Boy Scouts’ highest honor

Bill Gates will receive the Boy Scouts of America’s highest honor today.

The Chief Seattle Council is giving the Microsoft co-founder and philanthropist the Silver Buffalo, which recognizes individuals for extraordinary community service.

Current members of Gates’ former Cub Scout pack, Boy Scout troop, and his scoutmaster are scheduled to attend the awards luncheon in Seattle.

The Silver Buffalo has been awarded annually since 1925. Previous recipients include Colin Powell, Walt Disney, Bob Hope and fourteen U.S. presidents.

State Supreme Court to hear fight over I-90 rail

The state Supreme Court has agreed to hear a lawsuit seeking to keep Sound Transit’s light-rail off I-90.

The Seattle Times said a hearing on the case is scheduled for Thursday.

In 2008, voters approved the light-rail route across Lake Washington via the I-90 bridge. It would be part of a three-line, $18 billion transit-expansion.

Developer Kemper Freeman and other opponents argue the plan violates the state constitution. Opponents say trains are not a “highway use” under the 18th Amendment, which directs the gas tax to state roads.

Backers of the light-rail expansion say a 2004 amendment gives light rail as an option. The plan is to turn the bridge’s express lanes over to light-rail.

Vancouver, Wash.: Missing boy, 5, wandered into wrong classroom

A 5-year-old Vancouver kindergarten student who wandered into the wrong classroom set off a school lockdown before he was located Monday.

Vancouver police said the boy arrived at Walnut Grove Elementary on the school bus as usual. The problem started when he played outside with some first-graders and then followed them into their classroom.

The mother of Braiden Gonzalez realized he was missing when she arrived to pick him up from his half day of kindergarten.

Vancouver Public Schools spokeswoman Kris Stork said the boy sat at the desk of a new student in the first grade classroom — and responded to the teacher as if he was that student. District officials said he also did not respond when his name was called on the intercom system.

Stork said he was found about 1 p.m. after his photo was circulated.

Enumclaw: Driver kills self after car kills cyclist

Authorities said a driver who struck and killed a bicyclist pulled over and fatally shot himself.

The King County Sheriff’s Office responded to an emergency call early Sunday morning in Enumclaw.

Sgt. John Urquhart told The Seattle Times that officers discovered that after the driver of the truck realized the bicyclist was dead, he shot himself.

He said an investigation into the incident was continuing and that he didn’t have any more details.

Shelton: B.C. man guilty in stepdaughter’s slaying

An Abbotsford, B.C., man has pleaded guilty to a murder charge for fatally slashing his 5-year-old stepdaughter’s throat with a kitchen knife during a family visit to Washington state.

On Monday, 29-year-old Peter Wilson changed his Mason County Superior Court plea to guilty in the June 27 death of Clare Shelswell.

Court documents said Wilson and his wife were arguing about child discipline at a house they were visiting near Lake Cushman when he told her he would “take care of it.” A short time later, his wife heard screaming and found her daughter in a pool of blood.

Tacoma: Suspicious parcel had audio equipment

A suspicious package inside a Tacoma government building that led authorities to evacuate the County-City Building and block off streets in the area contained audiovisual equipment.

The Tacoma News Tribune reported work is continuing after employees were evacuated and some court proceedings were canceled.

Tacoma police spokesman Mark Fulghum said the package contained audiovisual equipment.

Police were called when a crate addressed to government lawyers and delivered to the building was X-rayed and found to contain multiple wires.

Bremerton: Trooper identified in shooting

Both a Washington State Patrol trooper and an intruder fatally shot at the trooper’s south Kitsap County home have been identified.

The State Patrol said Monday that 36-year-old Corporal Jason Blankers is an emergency driving instructor at the patrol’s academy in Shelton. A patrol spokeswoman said Blankers is an 11-year veteran of the State Patrol and has never used deadly force before.

The Pierce County medical examiner’s office has identified the dead man as 30-year-old Brent Bayliffe of Port Orchard.

Associated Press