Northwest Briefly: Seattle uses salt on snowy streets under new policy

SEATTLE — Seattle used salt on streets for the first time in about a decade under a new policy adopted after complaints about slow snow removal.

A spokeswoman for the city Transportation Department, Marybeth Turner, says trucks spread salt on arterial, hills, bus routes and around hospitals from 8:30 p.m. Sunday to midnight.

She says officials decided to use salt because of a forecast for up to 4 inches of snow.

The city previously declined to use salt because of environmental damage and corrosion. Compact snow and ice covered streets for days last month and complaints prompted Mayor Greg Nickels last Wednesday to announce the change in policy.

@3. Headline News Briefs 14 no:Bank robberies decrease in 2008

The FBI says there were 153 bank robberies in Washington state last year, the fewest in decades.

Robbers took a little more than $743,000.

From 1996 to 2006, Washington averaged about 300 bank robberies a year. But that number fell dramatically in 2007, to 176, and it dropped 13 percent more last year.

FBI officials attribute the lower numbers to cooperation with local police agencies, as well as better training of bank employees.

@3. Headline News Briefs 14 no:King County sets first all-mail election date

King County will hold its first all-mail election on Feb. 3.

One of the issues on the ballot is the job of elections director, a position that had been appointed.

Six people are running for the job, including current elections director Sherril Huff and state Sen. Pam Roach.

King has the largest population in the state, and more than 930,000 people in the county voted in the November election. Of those, 648,000 mailed in absentee ballots and 282,000 went to nearly 400 polling places.

Pierce County will be the last of 39 counties in Washington to offer polling places.

@3. Headline News Briefs 14 no:Seattle to Tukwila light-rail to start in July

Sound Transit plans to open its light-rail line between Seattle and Tukwila in July with an extension to Sea-Tac Airport by the end of the year.

The agency also plans to break ground this month on a 3-mile link from downtown Seattle to the University of Washington.

And thanks to voter approval in November, the light-rail line next will be expanded east to Redmond, north to Lynnwood and south to Federal Way.

Now transit authorities are deciding fares. They have proposed a system based on distance. The maximum cost of a ticket from downtown to the airport would be $2.75.

@3. Headline News Briefs 14 no:Lung Association’s NW chapter shut down

A judge has essentially put the Northwest chapter of the American Lung Association out of business, after the chapter got into hot water for giving its Seattle headquarters and $600,000 to different, newly created charity.

In an order Monday, King County Superior Court Judge Regina Cahan said the American Lung Association was likely to win its claim that the regional affiliate breached its contract.

The judge issued a preliminary injunction that forbids the Northwest chapter and the newly created charity from using American Lung Association donor lists or spending money except for legal fees. They can’t even use the word “lung” in their business names anymore.

@3. Headline News Briefs 14 no:Police arrest second suspect in shooting

Seattle police have arrested a second suspect in the shooting that killed a performer and wounded two other men at the Chop Suey nightclub.

Police say a SWAT team stakeout arrested an 18-year-old Sunday night outside his parents’ home. He was jailed for investigation of assault.

A 25-year-old man was arrested by officers responding to the shooting early Sunday.

All three victims were men in their 20s. One died at a hospital and police say one had life-threatening injuries. The third was treated and released.

Port Townsend: Ferry service has resumed

Service on the Port Townsend-Keystone route has resumed with passenger-only service on Monday afternoon.

High winds Sunday delayed the installation of barges needed to accommodate foot traffic.

There will be passenger-only service on the route for a month as the car ferry Steilacoom II is out for maintenance.

Longview: Drug witness found dead

A man found dead in a Longview park was expected to testify for the prosecution in a drug trial.

Police say the defendant is a person of interest in the slaying of 26-year-old Jeremy McLean of Longview. His body was found Wednesday in Willow Grove park, along the Columbia River.

A police spokeswoman said McLean was expected to testify against a 51-year-old Longview man.

Olympia: Budget may cut monitoring of ex-cons

To help balance the budget Gov. Chris Gregoire has asked the Department of Corrections to cut $125 million from spending plans.

DOC Secretary Eldon Vail say the state may release some offenders earlier, increase use of monitoring bracelets and reduce supervision of ex-cons.

The Tacoma News Tribune reports eliminating supervision for people who served time for gross misdemeanors would save $31 million. Eliminating supervision for offenders considered a low to moderate risk would save $10 million. The saving would come from eliminating jobs formerly known as parole officers.

Even after the cuts, the prison system will have 72 more employees and $53 million more in the next two years than it has in the current budget.

Toppenish: Yakama unsolved death report

A draft report is coming out later this month probing 16 unsolved deaths on the Yakama Indian Reservation.

Federal investigators decided to review Yakama cold-case files about two years ago. They started with the deaths of 16 women, because they were under the most mysterious circumstances.

U.S. Attorney Jim McDevitt in Spokane said a draft report on those 16 cases will be released to all law-enforcement agencies involved in a few weeks.

Oregon: Town mulls ban on deer feeding

Jacksonville officials are considering a ban on feeding what one City Council member calls “horned mountain rats,” more commonly known as black-tailed deer.

If humans didn’t feed the deer, state wildlife biologists say, there would be less overpopulation, disease and death in the herds.

Several deer have been found either dead or diseased.

Councilman John Dodero said the deer are part of the allure of the tourist town, and visitors and new residents may not see the harm in feeding them.

Associated Press

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