Alleged diploma mill may have aided terrorists

SPOKANE – Federal officials are investigating an alleged Spokane-area diploma mill that could be providing fraudulent degrees that terrorists could use to enter the United States, according to court documents.

Half the degrees sold by St. Regis University and online universities were sold overseas, a majority to students from Saudi Arabia, the documents filed Monday in U.S. District Court said.

The documents don’t say how many degrees were sold overseas, but they contend the operation based in Spokane and northern Idaho “made millions” in the past few years.

Federal agents have targeted Steve and Dixie Randocks of Spokane in an eight-month investigation that is outlined in the documents.

Associated Press

Port Orchard: Schools debate holiday name

Debate over what to call the holiday period in late December and early January is roiling the South Kitsap School Board.

In May, the panel voted 4 to 1 to rename it from winter break to Christmas break. On Monday night, responding to a public uproar of e-mail and letters to the editor, the board voted unanimously to restore the name as winter break.

“I’ve heard from a lot of parents on both sides,” board member Patty Henderson said, “but what I’ve heard most of all is that there are more important issues than this.”

Associated Press

Seattle: Judge rules ads violated disclosure law

A Washington business group backed by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce violated disclosure laws when it waged an ad campaign against attorney general candidate Deborah Senn last year without proper reports, a judge says.

King County Superior Court Judge Richard Jones, in a ruling announced Monday, said the Voters Education Committee broke the campaign finance law that requires disclosure of donors’ identity.

The court scheduled a hearing for next spring on penalties. The court can fine the group up to $10,000 per violation. Asked what penalty is appropriate, Senn’s lawyer, Michael Withey, said, “You know, $1.5 million rings a bell.”

John White, the committee’s attorney, said an appeal is likely.

Associated Press

Issaquah: City adopts sex-offender residency

The most restrictive local ordinance on sex offender residency in Washington state has been adopted in this suburb east of Seattle.

By a unanimous vote Monday night, the City Council approved a ban on registered Levels 2 and 3 sex offenders – those considered most likely to reoffend – living within 1,000 feet of schools and day care centers.

The measure, which takes effect immediately, leaves open 15 percent of the developable land in this municipality of about 15,500 residents, mostly in office or commercial zones that now have about 260 residences.

Associated Press

Yakima: Plane makes precautionary landing

A Frontier Airlines Airbus 319 made an unscheduled landing at Yakima Air Terminal after a crew member smelled smoke in the rear cabin.

Flight 846, en route from Seattle to Denver with 136 passengers on board, requested the precautionary landing shortly before noon Monday.

The pilot did not declare an emergency but decided it was best to land in Yakima because “there isn’t a whole lot in between Seattle and Denver,” Yakima Air Terminal manager Buck Taylor said.

Associated Press

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