Northwest Briefly: Fort Lewis payroll tops $1 billion

FORT LEWIS — The U.S. government paid $1.041 billion to active-duty soldiers in Pierce County in 2006.

That’s according to figures released this week in the Census Bureau’s Combined Federal Funds Report.

The $1.041 billion is nearly double the $544 million paid to active-duty soldiers in Pierce County a decade earlier, in 1996, and up $64 million from 2005.

The Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber of Commerce attributes the payroll growth to the increased numbers of soldiers at Fort Lewis, pay increases for service members during the past six years and large outlays for hazard pay, family separation allowances and re-enlistment bonuses.

All come from the continuing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Bellingham: Man dead after 4-hour standoff

A 24-year-old man is dead in Bellingham following a four-hour standoff that began when he brandished a handgun at police.

The man’s name was not released. His cause of death was not announced.

Two officers who fired their weapons during the standoff have been placed on paid administrative leave pending internal review and review by the Whatcom County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office.

Lt. Steve Felmley said the incident began about 5:30 p.m. on Friday after reports that the man and three other individuals were acting disorderly and throwing items out the windows of a home.

Three of the individuals left without trouble, but police called in their SWAT team and blocked off streets in a four-block area when the 24-year-old man displayed his weapon on the front porch of the home.

Felmley said police shot at the man with immobilizing beanbags and bullets after he charged at officers with the gun. The man retreated into the house and officers fired several canisters of tear gas into the home.

When officers broke the door down about 9:30 p.m., the man was dead, according to Felmley.

Alaska: Man dies on Seattle fishing boat

The Coast Guard is investigating the death of a man on board a Seattle-based fishing boat.

The 39-year-old man, whose name has not been released, was repairing a suspected gas leak Thursday night on the Zenith as the vessel was about 72 miles southeast of False Pass in the Aleutian Islands.

Other crew members found the man unconscious. Attempts to resuscitate him failed.

The Zenith is owned by Jubilee Fisheries Incorporated.

The Coast Guard said its investigators planned to meet the vessel at Sand Point.

@3. Headline News Briefs 14 no:Anchorage digs out from snow again

Anchorage continues to dig out from a snowfall that set a record for the day and the month.

The National Weather Service said 17.2 inches fell at its office just south of Anchorage’s international airport and 22 inches fell in northeast Anchorage on Friday and Saturday.

The heaviest snow fell between 3 and 6 p.m. Friday at a rate of almost two inches per hour.

The monthly total at the weather service office is now 29.7 inches, breaking a record from 1963 when 27.6 inches fell during April.

The 15.5 inches that fell Friday is the third most for any one day in Anchorage. The record is the 25.7 inches that fell six years ago on March 17, 2002.

B.C.: Church floor collapse injures 39

The floor of an Abbotsford church filled with about 1,000 teens collapsed during a concert, injuring at least 39 people, three of them seriously, officials said.

The youths were at the Central Heights Church to hear the Christian rock band Starfield on Friday night when a large area in front of the stage gave way, police said.

Investigators were trying to determine what caused the collapse. When officers arrived at the scene, they saw a hole in the floor about 22 feet wide, said Casey Vinet of the Abbotsford police.

Associated Press

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