Stryker soldiers to stay in Iraq 3 extra months

FORT LEWIS – Stryker brigade soldiers from Fort Lewis will have their stays in Iraq extended by three months under an order Wednesday by Defense Secretary Robert Gates.

Gates announced that beginning immediately tours of duty for all active-duty Army units in Iraq would be lengthened from the current 12 months to 15 months. The decision comes as the military struggles to supply troops to the conflict.

The decision affects two Stryker brigades from Fort Lewis, south of Tacoma.

The 3rd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division has been in Iraq for more than 10 months since leaving in June of last year on its second deployment to the country.

Soldiers from the 4th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division are in the process of shipping out for the brigade’s mission in the Middle East, one that was moved up by a month as part of the surge of U.S. forces into Iraq.

More than 90 soldiers from Fort Lewis have died in Iraq since the war began in March 2003.

Effective this summer, traffic cameras are on target to shoot photos of drivers who run red lights at two yet-to-be-named intersections here.

The Tacoma City Council on Tuesday night unanimously authorized a three-year contract of up to $7 million with Scottsdale, Ariz.-based Redflex Traffic Systems Inc. to install and maintain the cameras.

An accompanying ordinance allowing the use of the cameras received a first reading. Council members are expected to approve it next week.

It will be the first photo enforcement of traffic laws in Tacoma. The penalty will be a $101 fine.

“We intend to stop red-light running in Tacoma,” City Councilman Mike Lonergan said.

“I think it will help safety in the city,” Tacoma police Lt. Pete Cribbin said. “This is a very big problem.”

The contract with Redflex is for as many as 10 intersections, but council members said they want to move slowly at first.

A Seattle metal-recycling yard has been closed down by police following a three-month undercover investigation showed the yard’s owners were purchasing large quantities of stolen scrap metal.

Much of the stolen metal came from public utilities, detectives said on Tuesday after arresting the co-owner of Everbright International. The woman was booked into the King County Jail on suspicion of trafficking in stolen property.

Police said they planned to arrest her husband, the other co-owner, but that he had left for Hong Kong with a shipment of recycled metal.

“This place, Everbright, was being used as an ATM machine by a lot of people,” said detective Sam DeJesus of the Seattle Police Department’s pawn and commercial security unit.

Associated Press

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