Metro bus driver is disciplined for anti-Muslim sign

SEATTLE – A King County Metro transit driver has been disciplined for posting a sign in his bus that reportedly said no one should give Muslims any sympathy.

Officials disclosed the job action Wednesday, but refused to give the driver’s name or describe the discipline any way except to say it was “significant.”

The driver admitted posting signs that “referred to all Muslims as being opposed to this country,” but is now sorry for doing so, Metro spokeswoman Linda Thielke said.

Thielke said the man was disciplined for violating a rule barring drivers from posting personal political signs and for failing to follow customer service guidelines in dealing with passengers.

KOMO cuts jobs: KOMO-TV has cut 22 jobs, including that of “People Helper” reporter Brook Stanford, because of a sharp decline in advertising revenues, the station announced Wednesday. News anchors Gary Lindsey and Eric Slocum are among 10 newsroom staffers leaving the station, said KOMO spokeswoman Maria Collins. Stanford and Slocum are leaving voluntarily, she said. Seattle-based Fisher Communications told its units in August that expenses would need to be cut 10 percent by next year, said Christopher Wheeler, senior vice president for communications. Fisher owns 12 television and 26 radio stations, most of them in the Northwest.

Ferry evacuated: The state ferry Kitsap was evacuated after a powdery substance was found on the passenger deck, but tests later ruled out any biohazard, officials said. Once the substance was tested by city firefighters, the Kitsap was reloaded and left for Bremerton at 12:40 a.m. Friday, nearly an hour and a half late, ferry spokesman Larry Keyes said. The powder was noticed by a crew member on the passenger deck about 11:15 p.m. Wednesday after walk-on passengers and vehicles had been taken aboard and the ferry was about to leave Colman Dock, Keyes said. He said tests showed the powder was inorganic, and the exact nature remains undetermined.

Record humpy: To 9-year-old Alex Minerich, the fish just looked ugly. It turned out to be a record four times over. At 14.86 pounds, the pink salmon, known as a humpy for the shape the fish take on as they fight their way upriver to spawn, was several ounces heavier than the biggest on record. The fish was one of 29 that Minerich, a fourth-grader at Juanita Elementary School in Kirkland, and his father Steve caught Sept. 30 at Hansen’s Bar on the Skykomish River. They released most of the others. “It fought really hard as I chased it down the river,” young Minerich said. “Once we had it on the bank, I looked at it and thought it was a pretty ugly fish.”

Anthrax hoax: A Dallas woman suspected of mailing a piece of paper with the misspelled words “ANTRAX VIRUS” and a white, powdery substance as a practical joke has been indicted by a federal grand jury. Patricia Jones, 51, was charged Wednesday with mailing a threatening communication and mailing a nonmailable substance, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Portland. Police have said the envelope was sent Saturday to a Monmouth resident, whom police have declined to identify. A mail carrier reported seeing the powder falling out of the envelope and the Monmouth post office was shut down for the rest of the day while investigators searched the area. The powder was determined to be harmless. If convicted, Jones could face up to six years in prison and $350,000 in fines.

Separated twins a year old: It was a year ago that Alaina and Xela Bryce were born, joined by a thin strip of abdominal flesh. Now separated, the two girls couldn’t be more different. Alaina has her father’s eyes and is full of energy and giggles. Her nickname is “wild thing.” Her sister Xela (pronounced SHAY-la) is quieter, still recovering from six complicated surgeries and months in the hospital to correct severe heart defects. She came home from Portland’s Legacy Emanuel Hospital in July after a final, 12-hour surgery to reconstruct her heart.

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