Bernie Sanders to hold campaign rally in Tacoma Monday
OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders will hold a rally in the Tacoma Dome Monday night in his first 2020 campaign appearance in Washington state. Sanders is fresh off a win in the New Hampshire primary and visiting Washington ahead of its March 10 presidential primary. State Democrats scrapped the caucuses they previously used _ and which Sanders won in 2016 _ for the primary. Ballots will be mailed to the state’s nearly 4.5 million registered voters on Feb. 21.
BUDGET-VOLCANO DEBRIS CONTROL
Federal budget does not fund volcano debris dam, monitoring
LONGVIEW, Wash. (AP) — County officials in Washington state say the annual federal budget does not fund a request to raise the height of a dam to stop debris flow from the Mount St. Helens eruption. The Daily News reports President Donald Trump’s annual budget proposal does not include money to raise the Toutle River sediment retaining dam or monitor sediment from the 1980 eruption, which dumped about 3 billion tons of erodible debris in the Toutle Valley. Officials say the fiscal year 2021 budget would mark the sixth consecutive year the federal government has not funded the region’s volcano-related flood control obligations.
SALMON HATCHERIES-RAIN DAMAGE
Washington state salmon hatcheries damaged by heavy rains
SEATTLE (AP) — Washington state wildlife experts say recent rain has damaged some salmon hatcheries in the Pacific Northwest. KOMO-TV reported Wednesday that flooding inundated some of the facilities, young salmon were swept away and sediment spilled into egg strays killing some of the unborn fish. Experts say the effects of the damage could be experienced for years to come. Hatchery workers on the Nisqually Indian Reservation, in Puyallup and other regions in the state have experienced varying degrees of wet weather effects. Experts say it is likely that wild salmon were affected by the rain too.
Supreme Court upholds billions of dollars in transit funding
SEATTLE (AP) — The Washington Supreme Court has upheld vehicle registration tax increases in the Puget Sound area, a decision that preserves billions of dollars in voter-approved money earmarked for light trail and other projects. Seven people filed the lawsuit to overturn a rate increase by Sound Transit. Voters in 2016 approved the rate hike to fund the Sound Transit 3 expansion project. The lawsuit sought a refund of millions of dollars in car registration fees collected through the increase to help pay for the $54 billion expansion. In a 7 to 2 decision Thursday the high court justices found that the motor vehicle excise tax was constitutional.
ELECTION 2020-PRESIDENTIAL FUNDRAISING
Sanders tops in Washington fundraising among Democrats
SEATTLE (AP) — Bernie Sanders has raised more money in Washington state than any of his rivals for the Democratic presidential nomination. The Seattle Times reports the Vermont senator brought in more than $2 million from Washington residents through the end of 2019, beating out Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who raised about $1.6 million, and Pete Buttigieg, the former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, who raised $1.5 million. That’s according to Federal Election Commission filings. President Donald Trump, meanwhile, raised more than $2.7 million from Washington donors — topping what his campaign raised in the state in the whole of the 2016 campaign.
AMTRAK DERAILMENT VERDICT
$10M verdict for man injured in Amtrak derailment
TACOMA, Wash. (AP) — A jury has awarded more than $10 million to a man who was seriously hurt when an Amtrak train derailed between Tacoma and Olympia in 2017. The News Tribune reports Donnell Linton, of Renton, is one of many passengers of Amtrak Cascades 501 who sued Amtrak after the train left the tracks and part of it crashed onto the freeway below. Three died and dozens were injured. Jurors issued the verdict in Linton’s favor Tuesday in in U.S. District Court in Tacoma. An Amtrak spokesperson declined to comment about the decision. Linton and his son were traveling to Oregon to visit Linton’s newborn grandchild when the train derailed Dec. 18, 2017, according to one of his attorneys.
Lawmakers pass bill to limit immigration detention center
OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — The Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma would not be allowed to expand under a bill that the state House of Representatives approved Wednesday. If it becomes law, HB 2640 would declare that the privately owned and operated immigration detention center is not an “essential public facility,” Rep. Jake Fey, the bill’s sponsor, says that would enable Tacoma to block expansion of the facility. The GEO Group runs the facility for the U. S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, known as ICE. The House voted 85-12 to approve the bill, which moves to a Senate committee.
AMERICAN AIRLINES-ALASKA AIRLINES
American and Alaska strike deal around Seattle flights
DALLAS (AP) — American Airlines and Alaska Airlines are deepening their ties in Seattle, where both carriers compete against Delta Air Lines. Along with the agreement, American said Thursday that it will launch two new international routes out of Seattle — one to India’s technology hub of Bangalore, and another to London. No U.S. airline currently flies to Bangalore. American and Alaska will share revenue from the flights. They are betting that corporate travelers from companies including Amazon will snap up seats. Alaska is also joining oneworld, one of the three global alliances that dominate the airline business.
Infant with Aspergillus mold infection dies
SEATTLE (AP) — A nearly 6-month-old baby has died after contracting an Aspergillus mold infection at Seattle’s Children’s hospital. The Seattle Times reports Beth Hutt died early Wednesday. Her parents, Katie and Micah Hutt, said in a Facebook post Wednesday that they were very grateful to the team that watched over their daughter. Beth was born in August with a heart condition and was rushed to Seattle Children’s. At some point at Seattle Children’s, Beth contracted an infection in her heart from the Aspergillus mold, a recurring problem that has sickened patients at the hospital. Beth’s family is involved in a class-action lawsuit against Children’s, filed on behalf of the families of patients who have been sickened from the mold.
Man steals luggage, sets it on fire in Seattle airport
SEATAC, Wash. (AP) — A Des Moines, Washington, man was arrested for allegedly taking a military member’s luggage, setting it on fire and destroying a 9/11 memorial at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. Court documents say the suspect stole luggage that was left unattended on Jan. 30. Officers retraced the suspect’s steps through surveillance cameras, which led them to a stairwell in the airport’s parking garage. Officers noticed heavy black smoke and could see flames from what appeared to be a fully engulfed fire on the 7th floor. Firefighters were able to extinguish the fire. Police tracked the suspect through security cameras. and arrested him inside the airport.