Northwest briefly: Man fatally shoots wife at church

FEDERAL WAY — A Federal Way police spokesman says a man who accompanied his wife to a Federal Way church for a counseling session fatally shot the woman Wednesday evening.

Officer Raymond Bunk says a 38-year-old Lakewood woman was shot several times just before 6 p.m. at Calvary Lutheran Church. She was taken to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, where she died.

Bunk says a 42-year-old Lakewood man has been arrested for investigation of homicide. The spokesman says the man called 911 to report the shooting and was arrested at the scene.

Bunk says it wasn’t immediately clear whether the shooting took place during or just after the counseling session. Neither the man nor the woman was immediately identified.

Wenatchee: 2 die in apartment fire

Authorities say two women are dead after a fire at the Garden Terrace retirement apartments.

A Harborview Medical Center spokeswoman in Seattle says Myrna Hansen died Tuesday evening. She had been in critical condition in Harborview’s burn unit. Wenatchee Fire Marshal Mark Yaple says the Monday evening fire started in Hansen’s fourth-floor apartment. He says it started near a couch by a baseboard heater.

Chelan County Coroner Wayne Harris says 87-year-old Elsie Reiswig, who also lived at the Garden Terrace, died Tuesday morning at Central Washington Hospital. He says she suffered an apparent heart attack after being evacuated during the fire and going out to dinner with family members.

Harris tells the Wenatchee World that because of her age, the fire was probably a stressor that caused her heart to fail.

Seattle: Ressam appeals decision

Would-be millennium bomber Ahmed Ressam is appealing a federal court’s ruling that his 22-year sentence was too lenient.

A three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled 2-1 last month that the sentence was too short, given Ressam’s al-Qaida training, criminal history and malicious intent.

Ressam was arrested in Washington state in December 1999 on his way to bomb Los Angeles International Airport. The ruling was the latest step in Ressam’s long legal battle, which has already been to the Supreme Court.

The 9th Circuit also removed U.S. District Judge John C. Coughenour from the case, saying it doubted his impartiality. Coughenour has twice sentenced Ressam to 22 years, saying it was a fair sentence given his post-conviction cooperation.

Ressam’s lawyer, Seattle Federal Public Defender Tom Hillier, said Wednesday that he will file a petition for rehearing in the 9th Circuit on Thursday.

UW doctor to co-chair new NFL committee

The University of Washington doctor picked to co-chair the NFL’s committee on concussions is the chief of neurological surgery at Harborview Medical Center. Dr. Richard Ellenbogen also is a university professor and attending neurosurgeon at Seattle Children’s.

The NFL announced earlier this week that Ellenbogen will co-chair the NFL’s head, neck and spine medical committee with Dr. Hunt Batjer of Northwestern University.

Ellenbogen is also co-director of the Seattle Sports Concussion Program and was a key advocate for the state law that requires medical clearance for young athletes after they suffer a concussion. He was formerly chief of neurosurgery at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C. celebrates 1st birthday is celebrating its first birthday with music, cheap beer and free cupcakes.

The online-only successor to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer began on the Web on March 18, 2009, a day after the 146-year-old P-I published its last edition on newsprint. Its owner, New York-based Hearst Corp., had been losing money on the newspaper for years and the Web-only version is designed to change that. says it now receives an average of 40 million page views per month.

The birthday party will be tonight at the Crocodile Cafe in Seattle’s Belltown district. Besides free cupcakes and $1 beer, two groups will provide music. Proceeds from the $5 cover charge will go to 826 Seattle, a nonprofit writing center for kids.

Port Angeles: Ex-Clallam County cashier embezzled $617K, state AG says

A former cashier in the Clallam County treasurer’s office has been charged with embezzling more than $617,000.

The state attorney general filed the felony theft charge against Catherine Betts on Tuesday in Clallam County Superior Court.

Assistant Attorney General Scott Marlow said Betts has been summoned to appear in court April 23. A fraud investigator in the state Auditor’s Office said the stolen money consisted of real estate excise tax payments from 2004 to 2009. Betts was the only cashier working at that time in the office.

Anacortes: Boiler problems cause black smoke from refinery

A Tesoro refinery official in Anacortes says boiler problems are responsible for the heavy black smoke seen coming from the refinery Wednesday afternoon.

John McDarment said the refinery’s boilers produce steam, which goes into the flare to dampen the smoke. He says boiler problems reduced the steam load, resulting in the smoke. But he adds the facility is fine.

Wenatchee: Apartment fire sends 8 to hospitals

A two-alarm fire at the Garden Terrace apartments in Wenatchee sent eight people to hospitals and forced about 150 residents from their units. About 100 people were able to return to their apartments after the fire was extinguished but 45 others were sheltered by the Red Cross, at hotels or with family and friends.

Wenatchee Fire Chief Stan Smoke said the fire started Monday evening in the fourth-floor apartment of a blind woman who suffered second-degree burns and smoke inhalation. He said Tuesday she was eventually transported to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle. Seven other residents were treated at area hospitals for smoke inhalation.

The chief said the cause of the fire is under investigation. Many of the residents are elderly and disabled. One of those sleeping on a cot at a shelter after the fire was 86-year-old Willie Carpenter, who fled with his 15-year-old cat Gizmo. The local Humane Society is caring for the cat temporarily.

Yakima: Lawyers act as judges, tackle backlog

What do you call 23 lawyers in Yakima County? Try, “your honor.”

The lawyers being sworn in Friday as judges pro tem are volunteering their time to help tackle a backlog of civil and domestic-relations matters in Superior Court.

The county developed the program based in part on recommendations from local lawyers who were frustrated at frequent delays in their cases. Officials didn’t have money to hire new judges and don’t expect to for the foreseeable future.

The volunteers will undergo regular training that the county offers for judges pro tem. The parties in a case must agree on which attorney will be their judge.

Officials hope the effort will cut the county’s 550-case backlog in half by the end of the year. —— “If it’s something that works for the court and the attorneys, we would like to make it permanent because we are never going to have the resources in this budget climate for the foreseeable future,” said county court consultant Harold Delia.

Nine attorneys had initially indicated interest in serving, but Delia earlier said he expected that number to grow as more lawyers learned about the program.

Nearly 8,100 civil and domestic cases were filed in the county last year, compared with less than 4,000 felony criminal cases.

Federal judges have agreed to let the county use one of their courtrooms for the volunteers.

The mass swearing-in is set for 1 p.m. Friday in courtroom No. 4 on the third floor of the county courthouse.

From Herald news services

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