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Latest Washington news, sports, business and entertainment at 9:20 p.m. PST


Cooke Aquaculture to pay $2.75M over net-pen collapse

(Information from: The Seattle Times, )

SEATTLE (AP) — Fish-farming company Cooke Aquaculture has agreed to pay $2.75 million to settle a Clean Water Act lawsuit following the collapse of one of its net-pens in 2017.

The Seattle Times reports that the settlement with the nonprofit Wild Fish Conservancy still needs the approval of a federal judge, but the money would pay for legal fees as well as Puget Sound restoration projects.

The nonprofit sued the company after a net-pen near Cypress Island collapsed, allowing more than 260,000 nonnative Atlantic salmon to escape.

Fears that they would survive and spread into Washington waters, posing a threat to native salmon, did not materialize, but the Legislature passed a law phasing out the farming of Atlantic salmon in the state by 2025.

Cooke recently proposed to farm native steelhead in Washington.

More than $1 million of the settlement money would go to the Rose Foundation for Communities and the Environment, an Oakland, California-based nonprofit, for projects to improve Puget Sound water quality and aquatic habitat.



Increase in owl collisions with vehicles in Skagit County

(Information from: Skagit Valley Herald, )

MOUNT VERNON, Wash. (AP) — Wildlife rehabilitation facilities are seeing an increase in owls being hit by vehicles north of Seattle.

The Skagit Valley Herald reports the increase is something Sarvey in Arlington and Wolf Hollow Wildlife Rehabilitation Center on San Juan Island see each fall.

Wolf Hollow Education Coordinator Shona Aitken says 14 of 17 owls treated at the center this fall were hit along Highway 20 and Memorial Highway, and in the Big Lake, Bow, Mount Vernon and Sedro-Woolley areas.

While there’s always an uptick in injured owls this time of year, she said seeing 17 since Sept. 15 is unusually high.

Some of the owls have died, some were released into the wild, and some are still undergoing treatment.

At Sarvey, six owls hit by vehicles in Skagit County have been received since Oct. 1.

Aitken says drivers can help by being aware that owls typically hunt between dawn and dusk and aren’t just found in forested areas.



Driver hits 4 pedestrians, kills 1, on Seattle sidewalk

(Information from: The Seattle Times, )

SEATTLE (AP) — Police say a driver hit four pedestrians on Seattle’s Aurora Avenue, killing one and injuring the others, and then tried to flee.

The Seattle Times reports the woman was driving north near North 40th Street when she struck the pedestrians around 1 p.m. Friday, according to Seattle Police spokesman Patrick Michaud.

He says her car hit a pole and rolled back into the roadway, coming to a rest by the median. Michaud says the driver got out of the car with minor injuries and ran away.

Michaud says a witness followed and directed officers to her.

Seattle Fire spokesman Lance Garland says one person was declared dead at the scene and three others were taken to Harborview Medical Center.

He says the injured include a 35-year-old man and 25-year-old man in critical condition and a 63-year-old man in stable condition.



1 dead in Mount Vernon mobile home fire

MOUNT VERNON, Wash. (AP) — Authorities say one person died after a fire ripped through a mobile home in south Mount Vernon.

The Skagit Valley Herald reports the Mount Vernon Fire Department was called to a fully involved house fire at about 6:45 a.m. Thursday at Mountain View Mobile Park, Chief Bryan Brice said.

Brice says the fire was under control at about 7:25 a.m., at which point crews discovered the deceased person.

Assistant fire chief Bryan Harris said a total of 10 people were inside the home when the fire broke out. He says two were treated for injuries with one taken to Skagit Valley Hospital.

Authorities are investigating.


Washington plans to spray for gypsy moths

(Information from: Capital Press, )

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — Two small areas of northwest Washington likely will be sprayed with an insecticide to stop an outbreak of gypsy moths, including a type native to Asia never before detected in the U.S.

The Capital Press reports the Washington State Department of Agriculture said it tentatively plans to release Bacillus thuringiensis var. kurstaki over a small city on Puget Sound called Woodway, and an Everett neighborhood called Boulevard Bluffs.

Officials say a Hokkaido gypsy moth trapped in Woodway this summer was the first Hokkaido moth caught in the U.S.

Three hybrid Asian gypsy moths were caught in Boulevard Bluffs.

Gypsy moths native to Asia are more mobile than European varieties and are considered more of a danger to spread.

Before finalizing plans to spray next spring, the department will conduct environmental reviews and consult agencies including the USDA.

Washington has sprayed for gypsy moths most years since 1979.



Idaho utility will dismiss lawsuit against EPA over dams

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — An Idaho utility will voluntarily dismiss its lawsuit against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency involving relicensing of the company’s hydroelectric project where federally protected fall chinook salmon reproduce.

Idaho Power in documents filed earlier this week in U.S. District Court says the EPA in response to the lawsuit has approved allowing warmer water temperatures in the Snake River below the Hells Canyon Complex on the Idaho-Oregon border.

The National Marines Fisheries Service says the change is not likely to jeopardize salmon or their critical habitat.

Idaho Power says allowing warmer water below the dams could reduce the cost of electricity and save customers up to $100 million over 50 years.

The company says the Hells Canyon Complex generates about 70% of its hydroelectric power supplied to customers.


Montana court removes potential wilderness mine obstacle

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — A recent Montana Supreme Court decision has removed one obstacle for a mining company seeking to explore a silver and copper deposit in northwestern Montana potentially worth billions of dollars.

Exploration in the Cabinet Mountains has been delayed in part by a dispute over whether Mines Management Inc. can access the deposit by tunneling under a man’s nearby unpatented mining claims.

In a 5-0 decision Tuesday, Supreme Court justices ruled that the late Arnold Bakie’s claims were invalid because they didn’t contain any valuable minerals.

The justices overturned a previous jury verdict that Mines Management owed Bakie and investors, including former Gov. Brian Schweitzer, $3.3 million.

Luke Russell, a spokesman for Mines Management owner Hecla Mining Co., says the company is working with U.S. Forest Service officials on an environmental analysis of the mining project.


Authorities: Masseur stalked client

SEATTLE (AP) — King County prosecutors say a man was stalked for months by his masseur, who showed up at the victim’s gym and coffee shop, twice appeared naked in his front yard and installed a tracking device on his Jeep.

Court records say 34-year-old Christopher Piscatella allegedly became fixated on the 47-year-old client, who found Piscatella on an online directory for professional massage therapists offering therapeutic massage. But a search of the state Department of Health’s website found no record of Piscatella as a licensed massage therapist.

Prosecutors last week charged Piscatella with felony stalking, stalking, second-degree malicious mischief and two counts of indecent exposure.

The Seattle Times reports that Piscatella is to be arraigned Dec. 3. It wasn’t immediately clear if he had an attorney.


Pierce County deputies shoot, kill man

EATONVILLE, Wash. (AP) — Authorities say a man died in a shooting involving three Pierce County deputies.

KOMO reports someone returned to their home near Spanaway at about 12:30 a.m. Friday to find a stranger inside a pickup in their driveway. The homeowner reportedly confronted that person and fired a few warning shots into the ground.

Pierce County deputies later spotted a truck matching the suspect’s description, which crashed near Eatonville, Washington.

Deputies tried to talk with the suspect, which is when the shooting took place.


Family: 3 kids in car when woman killed in shooting

VANCOUVER, Wash. (AP) — The family of a Vancouver woman who was fatally shot by her estranged husband as she sat in a car in an elementary school parking lot is providing more details on the tragedy.

In a posting Wednesday on the website Go Fund Me, Tabitha Ojeda says her sister, Tiffany Hill, was with their mother and Hill’s three children on Tuesday when she was killed outside Sarah J. Anderson Elementary School.

Hill’s mother was shot three times but is expected to survive. The children were not injured.

Police have said Hill had an active restraining order against her husband, Keland Hill, and he had just posted bail in the case.

Keland Hill fatally shot himself after a short police chase.

The children will be taken in by Tiffany Hill’s sisters.

The Associated Press