Jobless checks missing for many in Pierce County

TACOMA – At least 1,400 people waiting for unemployment checks in Pierce County got bad news this week: Their payments are missing.

“Something went wrong,” U.S. Postal Service spokesman Richard Casmier said, though no one seems to know exactly what happened.

The good news? The state Department of Employment Security has promised to print emergency checks and hand them out today and Monday.

“People are going to get their checks,” Clarence Hubert, an Employment Security official, told KIRO-TV. “We’re going to make sure they have those checks. That’s the bottom line.”

Michael Wilson, communications director for the Employment Security Department, said the mix-up appears to be limited to Pierce County.

Seattle

Charge filed for assault of teacher: King County prosecutors filed a second-degree assault charge Friday against a 15-year-old boy accused of attacking his special-ed teacher. They also released documents indicating the boy had past difficulties in California. The mentally handicapped boy – released to a caretaker after the attack Monday – was arrested Wednesday because of the severity of the teacher’s injuries. He was held at the Juvenile Detention Center pending a juvenile court appearance set for Christmas Eve. Prosecutors said he attacked his special education teacher, Jennifer Panico-DiGiorgio, 25, in a clash over class work. Panico-DiGiorgio said the boy grabbed her head, twisted her torso and slammed her head on his desk. Then he pinned her against the desk with his knee and repeatedly punched her in the head with his fist, court papers said.

Richland

County official wants to buy reactor: The U.S. Department of Energy may have no use for a surplus nuclear reactor, but a Benton County commissioner believes the Tri-Cities community can find one. Claude Oliver said Hanford’s Fast Flux Test Facility reactor should be acquired by the Tri-Cities as government surplus. Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham this week ordered the research reactor permanently shut down, because it has long lacked a mission to justify its maintenance costs. At a Dec. 31 commission meeting, Oliver will offer a plan to commit $250,000 in county funds to investigate legal and other issues related to acquiring the reactor.

Spokane

Police shoot man with hammer: Officers responding to a complaint about a disorderly person shot and wounded a man after he set fires and came at them with a hammer, police chief Roger Bragdon said Friday. The 35-year-old man was shot twice in the torso and was in serious but stable condition in a Spokane hospital, Bragdon said. His identity was not immediately released. Officers arrived at a Spokane home in response to a call for help from residents, and found the man throwing tools and knives, yelling at them from his second floor apartment, and building a small fire. During the hourlong standoff, police fired several nonlethal rounds at the man, but one officer fired bullets from his service weapon when the man continued to advance on them with a hammer, police said.

Airmen home for Christmas: About 80 airmen from Fairchild Air Force Base will return home from the war in Afghanistan in time for Christmas, base officials said. The members of the 92nd Air Refueling Wing were among the first service personnel to deploy following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. The airmen will be flying between five and 10 Fairchild-based KC-135 air tankers home, base officials said Thursday. The bulk of the 92nd’s air refueling tankers remain deployed in support of U.S military operations in Afghanistan.

Portland

Alleged ax attacker escapes: A man suspected of using an ax to wound two people at a coastal resort before being shot by a resident slipped away from the hospital where he was being treated for his injuries Friday. Jimmie Douglas Davis, 35, was at Legacy Emmanuel Hospital being treated for the gunshot wounds. Because of the severity of the injuries, he wasn’t due to be released until Dec. 26, Oregon State Police said. Davis is suspected of attacking 34-year-old Laura Rydstedt and 51-year-old Robert Leichleiter, both residents of the Siltcoos Resort in the Westlake area of Dunes City, near Florence. Both Rydstedt and Leichleiter were treated at a hospital. Byron Sanchez, 28, shot Davis during the ax attack, police said. It was not clear what prompted the attack, but neighbors said the suspect had argued with both victims. Ed McMillan, a resort resident, said Sanchez yelled for the ax wielder to stop, then fired a warning shot from his pistol. The attacker then closed the apartment door, McMillan said. “(Sanchez) opened the door, and the guy was still going at it,” McMillan said, “so he shot him in the back. That didn’t faze him, so he shot him a second time, and the guy went down.”

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