Northwest Briefly: Two of state’s fast ferries sold for $4 million

SEATTLE — Washington state has finally sold two fast ferries that were taken out of service by legislators in Olympia after they were embroiled in a lawsuit.

A California transportation authority has agreed to buy the Chinook and the Snohomish, Washington State Ferries’ two fastest passenger ferries, for $4 million. The district plans to put them into service on San Francisco Bay.

The vessels cost $19.6 million to build. State Transportation Department officials had hoped to get $9 million for them.

The deal comes after months of attempts by Washington state officials to sell the vessels, including two unsuccessful tries on eBay.

The two catamaran-hull ferries were built in Anacortes in 1998 and 1999 and placed on the Seattle-Bremerton run, where they cruised at speeds of close to 45 mph.

They were shut down after beach landowners sued, saying there was damage from the vessels’ wakes. After the state settled the case, legislators ordered the state ferry system out of the foot-ferry business because of the high cost of the service.

Spokane: Snowfall leads to accidents

The first snow of the season caught some drivers unprepared, leading to more than 70 accidents in Eastern Washington — at least two of them fatal crashes.

Temperatures dropped Friday afternoon and a storm front that was dumping rain suddenly began dumping snow.

Two young people in a car died in a head-on collision with a truck about 3:50 p.m. Friday north of Deer Park. Authorities say the victims were 18 and 20 years old.

The State Patrol arrested a 39-year-old man for investigation of driving under the influence.

A one-car rollover accident took the life of a 64-year-old man who was driving along U.S. 2 and Highway 211 in Pend Oreille County near Diamond Lake at 3 p.m. Friday. Clyde Lippencott died at the scene and a passenger in his car was hospitalized. Officials say Lippencott lost control of his car, which rolled into a ditch.

Wenatchee: Diversity council lacks members

The Wenatchee Diversity Advisory Council, which was established by the city’s mayor in 2004 in response to allegations of racism by conference attendees, is struggling to get enough members to attend a meeting.

The 12-member council has two vacancies and hasn’t had a quorum since July. In November, only five members and a city staff representative attended a meeting.

The city’s executive services director told The Wenatchee World the council was having difficulty trying to set a meeting day and time that most of the members could attend.

Allison Williams said, “Sometimes people come together when there’s a big issue. Then it just kind of fizzles out over time.”

And there are some new racism allegations facing the city.

Mayor Dennis Johnson recently wrote a letter of apology to the Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence.

Johnson says he was “stunned and appalled” to learn of complaints by women who said they had seen and experienced discrimination at businesses while in Wenatchee and East Wenatchee attending a domestic violence conference.

One woman said she was the last to be served dinner at a restaurant because she is black.

Oregon: Vote tallies appear nearly perfect

A double check the Legislature ordered suggests that Oregon’s vote tally this year was close to spot-on.

Across the state, elections workers have been checking samples to see whether voting machines and procedures are accurate. Twenty-nine of the 36 counties have reported. The deadline is Thursday.

The results, elections workers say so far, show just minor discrepancies — nothing big enough to trigger recounts.

For instance, in Multnomah County, a check of more than 8,000 ballots showed John McCain got a vote in the original tally that he shouldn’t have gotten, and Barack Obama was shorted a vote.

Legislators approved the check last year. Under the law, each county must hand count at least 3 percent, and a maximum of 10 percent, of their precincts in at least three races.

“Everything has gone well in all the counties,” said state Elections Director John Lindback. “There’s no indication of any issues with tally machines anywhere.”

@3. Headline News Briefs 14 no:Ultralight pilot survives crash

Authorities say a pilot survived the crash of his ultralight aircraft on takeoff from a rural Mulino, Ore., airport.

The Clackamas County sheriff’s office said his injuries, which included a broken ankle, were not life-threatening.

The pilot was identified as 30-year-old Anthony Epperson of Tacoma.

The aircraft was described as a fixed-wing, single-engine, 2005 Ridge Runner 2.

The airport was at Mulino, a hamlet southeast of Portland.

Associated Press

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