Virus shutdowns cause big spike in Washington jobless claims
OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — Washington state saw an 843% week-over-week increase in claims for unemployment benefits last week as businesses started to temporarily close under state-mandated orders to slow the spread of coronavirus. Numbers released Thursday by the U.S. Department of Labor and the state Employment Security Department showed that that 133,464 new claims for unemployment benefits were filed with the state during the week of March 15-21, an increase of 119,310 new claims over the previous week. Nationally, nearly 3.3 million Americans applied for unemployment benefits last week — almost five times the previous record set in 1982.
VIRUS OUTBREAK-IMMIGRATION JAIL
2 virus-vulnerable detainees released from immigration jail
SEATTLE (AP) — Immigrant rights attorneys say two detainees with health conditions that make them vulnerable to COVID-19 have been released from an immigration jail in Tacoma. The Northwest Immigrant Rights Project and the American Civil Liberties Union of Washington sued on behalf of nine detainees with underlying conditions. A federal judge last week declined to immediately order their release, but after the attorneys filed another request on Tuesday, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement released two of the seven from its Northwest detention center. Matt Adams, legal director of the Immigrant Rights Project, said it’s not clear why those two were released while the others remain in custody. ICE did not immediately return an email seeking comment.
VIRUS OUTBREAK-UNACCOMPANIED CHILDREN
3 migrant children in US custody test positive for virus
WASHINGTON (AP) — Three immigrant children currently in U.S. government custody at a New York facility have tested positive for the coronavirus. The Office of Refugee Resettlement said Thursday that it has suspended releases from centers in New York that house immigrant children apprehended by U.S. border authorities without their parents or a guardian. The office says five staff members at three separate facilities in New York have also tested positive for the virus as well as a staff member at a Texas center and a foster parent in Washington state. The announcement comes a day after immigrant advocates asked a federal judge to release about 1,200 children who have been in custody more than 30 days over virus concerns.
Police: Man found dead on Seattle street was shot in head
SEATTLE (AP) — Authorities are investigating after finding the body of a man on a street in North Seattle. Seattle police detective Mark Jamieson told the Seattle Times that about 4:40 p.m. Monday, someone called 911 and reported that a man’s body was lying in the street. He says patrol officers responded and found the body, then notified homicide detectives and crime-scene investigators. The King County Medical Examiner’s Office on Tuesday identified the victim as 25-year-old Ramadan Ahmed. The office says Ahmed died from a gunshot wound to the head and his death was ruled a homicide.
SOUND TRANSIT-MICROSOFT LAWSUIT
Seattle transit authority sues Microsoft over land dispute
SEATTLE (AP) — The Central Puget Sound Regional Transit Authority has filed a lawsuit against Microsoft for land and access to add light rail service. The Seattle Times reported Tuesday that the authority, known as Sound Transit, claims the software giant created risks of missing the agency’s August 2024 goal to complete the project from Overlake to downtown Redmond. The institutions differ by more than $17.5 million over how much Sound Transit should pay to buy land next to Highway 520. A jury trial was scheduled for May 11 to settle the price dispute.
Man charged in infant daughter’s death
PORT ANGELES, Wash. (AP) — A Forks man has been charged with the murder of his infant daughter. The Peninsula Daily News reports 20-year-old Izaiah Calloway was charged this week in Clallam County Superior Court with second-degree murder and second-degree assault of a child. Port Angeles police say 7-week-old Faye River Raven Yates died at a Tacoma hospital Sunday after she was assaulted last week. Both charges contain vulnerable victim and position of trust enhancements that could lengthen Calloway’s prison term if he’s convicted. Calloway is expected to enter a plea to the charges in April. It wasn’t immediately known if he has a lawyer. Port Angeles police say Calloway assaulted the baby at his home in Forks because the baby would not stop crying.
VIRUS OUTBREAK-ALASKA AIRLINES
Alaska Airlines cuts flights, pay due to coronavirus
SEATTLE (AP) — Alaska Airlines says it will reduce flights by 70% in April and May and cut pay to its CEO and president to zero through September to conserve cash amid the coronavirus outbreak. The Seattle-based airline said Wednesday that like other airlines they are seeing demand for flights drop by more than 80% and that flight schedules for June and beyond will be based on demand. Additionally Alaska plans to slash pay by 50% to the president of Horizon Air, and cut it by 20 to 30% for other executives. The company board also will not take their pay.
Flatter or fight? Governors seeking help must navigate Trump
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Amid an unprecedented public health crisis, the nation’s governors are trying to get what they need from the federal government, and get it fast. But it’s not always easy to understand the best way to deal with President Donald Trump. Republicans and Democrats alike are testing whether to fight or flatter the president, and whether to back channel requests or go public as they try to get Trump’s attention and his assurances. At stake may be states’ access to masks, ventilators, and other personal protective gear that’s critically needed by health care workers, in addition to field hospitals and federal cash.
COLD CASE ARREST
Georgia police say man arrested for 2002 killing
LAWRENCEVILLE, Ga. (AP) — Police in suburban Atlanta say a man has been arrested in a 2002 cold case killing. Gwinnett County police said in a news release Thursday that 43-year-old Titus Norwood was arrested Wednesday in Washington for the September 2002 slaying of 30-year-old Weldon Mills in Norcross. Police say the Gwinnett County Sheriff’s Office will arrange for Norwood to be sent back to Georgia to face charges of felony murder and aggravated assault. It wasn’t immediately clear whether Norwood had an attorney who could comment on the charges.
PLASTIC BAG BAN
Wash. governor signs bill to ban single-use plastic bags
OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — A bill that will ban single-use plastic bags in the state has been signed into law by Gov. Jay Inslee, in what he called “”a victory for our environment.” The bill was signed Wednesday and goes into effect on Jan. 1, 2021. It bans retailers from giving out single-use plastic bags and requires an 8-cent charge for other bags.The 8-cent charge would help stores cover the cost of paper or durable, reusable bags and create an incentive for shoppers to bring their own bags. The fee would increase to 12 cents in 2026.The legislation also requires paper bags to be made from 40% recycled material.