Storms cut power in Washington state mountain towns for days
SKYKOMISH, Wash. (AP) — Rural mountain communities outside Seattle where unusually intense winter storms knocked out power for days have seen some relief. Convoys were able to bring in food and other supplies after crews cleared power lines and trees that had fallen across a highway leading to the small towns. A series of winter storms dumped several feet of unusual snow on parts of western Washington state. Authorities had warned it could be several days before power is fully restored for hundreds of people in the area. But late Thursday afternoon, authorities estimated power would be restored on Friday afternoon. As the storms moved south Thursday, heavy rain and strong winds battered parts of Southern Oregon and Northern California.
AP-SUPREME COURT JUSTICE RETIREMENT
Washington Supreme Court Justice Charles Wiggins to retire
Olympia, Wash. (AP) — Washington Supreme Court Justice Charles Wiggins announced Thursday he will retire at the end of March. Wiggins was first elected to the court in 2010. He is 72. In a letter to Gov. Jay Inslee, Wiggins wrote that it had been “a tremendous honor” to serve on the court but that he wanted to spend more time with his wife, Nancy, and their family. Inslee, a Democrat, will appoint a new justice who must run in the November election, and then again in 2022, when Wiggins’ term would have ended. The other members of the court are: Chief Justice Debra Stephens, Justices Barbara Madsen, Charles Johnson, Susan Owens, Steven Gonzalez, Sheryl Gordon McCloud, and Mary Yu.
Washington Supreme Court OKs lesser version of carbon cap
SEATTLE (AP) — Gov. Jay Inslee says a Washington Supreme Court decision limiting his program to cap carbon pollution is a “clarion call” that lawmakers must act. The court on Thursday reinstated Inslee’s Clean Air Rule but drastically limited its application. In a 5-4 decision, the court said the rule can apply to refineries, power plants and factories that create their own emissions _ but not to companies that sell or distribute petroleum or natural gas for others to burn. Inslee says the ruling makes it clear that lawmakers need to pass comprehensive legislation to protect the climate.
ROAD RAGE KILLING
Man killed in road rage shooting confrontation near Tacoma
LAKEWOOD, Wash. (AP) — Authorities say a 48-year-old man died in a road rage shooting near Tacoma after he and a 42-year-old man exited their vehicles with guns. Detective Ed Troyer says Darek Williams was driving a Chevrolet Silverado Wednesday evening when he passed several vehicles on Chamber Creek Road and then stopped his truck, blocking traffic. Troyer says Williams then got out with a handgun. Troyer says the 42-year-old passenger in another truck exited the vehicle with a gun and during a confrontation the passenger fired a fatal shot at Williams. There’s no indication the men knew each other. The News Tribune reports that the shooter was cooperating with investigators and as of Thursday morning had not been arrested.
2 people found burned near hop yard were homicide victims
YAKIMA, Wash. (AP) — Yakima County Coroner Jim Curtice has announced that a woman and man whose bodies were found partially burned near a Moxee area hop yard earlier this month died from internal trauma. The Yakima Herald-Republic reports the deaths of 32-year-old Alyson Harris and 24-year-old Miguel Martinez-Vasquez are classified as homicides. Curtis has not released the exact manner of death at the request of Yakima County sheriff’s detectives, who are investigating. The bodies were found burned about 6 miles east of Moxee on Jan. 7. Curtis said they were identified based on tattoos. Yakima police said the pair was reported missing Dec. 21.
Missing woman’s estranged husband named person of interest
ALBANY, Ore. (AP) — Police say the estranged husband of a missing Albany woman is now a person of interest in their investigation. KOIN-TV reports 37-year-old Tiffany Lazon was reported missing Jan. 8 by her daughter. Police said Thursday that Craig Lazon is the last person known to have had contact with her in late December. Police say he told them Jan. 9 that he didn’t know where Tiffany was and thought she moved to Washington. Late Tuesday, Craig Lazon was arrested on charges connected with Tiffany’s cat, which was found in a storage locker without food or water. Tiffany Lazon is described as 5-foot-5 and 115 pounds, with blonde hair and glasses.
Officials: 23 cases of vaping-related illness in Washington
OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — Health officials said Thursday more cases of severe vaping-related lung disease have been confirmed in Washington state, bringing the total number to 23, All of the confirmed cases have a history of using e-cigarettes or vapor products. KOMO reports eight cases have been confirmed in King County, four in Snohomish County, three in Spokane County, two in Kitsap County, two in Yakima County and one each in Clark, Klickitat, Mason and Pierce counties.
FATAL SNOWMOBILE CRASH
Woman dies in northeastern Oregon snowmobile crash
WESTON, Ore. (AP) — Authorities say a woman died in a snowmobile crash in northeastern Oregon while trying to traverse winter weather conditions to her home near Weston. The East Oregonian reports 58-year-old JoLynn Lieuallen was found dead shortly before 6 p.m. Wednesday. Family members say Lieuallen had parked at her mother’s house and was snowmobiling to her home because of poor road conditions, according to the Umatilla County Sheriff’s Office. A worried family member went to look for her and discovered the crash. The sheriff’s office says deputies and East Umatilla County Fire and Rescue got to the crash with help from snowmobile operators and a snow cat.
Starbucks, home of the $4 latte, is moving into poor areas
DETROIT (AP) — Starbucks, the home of the $4 latte, is expanding a program to open coffee shops in poor neighborhoods. The Seattle-based company plans to open or remodel 85 stores by 2025 in rural and urban communities across the U.S. Each store will have event space, and Starbucks will work with local United Way chapters to offer programs like youth job training. Starbucks has opened 15 community stores since it announced the project 2015, including ones in Ferguson, Missouri, and New Orleans. The company says the stores are profitable and feature the same menu and similar prices as regular Starbucks.
Washington secretary of state unveils election security bill
OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — Washington Secretary of State Kim Wyman is seeking $1.8 million in state money for security in county election offices that would make Washington eligible for another $8.6 million in matching federal funds.The Seattle Times reports that the budget request is part of an election security proposal Wyman, a Republican, unveiled Wednesday. The bill also provides stricter penalties and restrictions surrounding the collection of ballots _ which are mailed to each of the state’s nearly 4.5 million voters _ and provides more thorough post-election audits for race recounts. It also would eliminate online ballots for military and overseas voters, to reduce the risk of potential malware coming into elections offices.