Wash. pulls permits for 2 oil train terminals

HOQUIAM (AP) – Officials are rejecting permits for two major oil-train terminals in Southwest Washington after deciding the projects should face more environmental scrutiny.

The state Shorelines Hearings Board issued a letter Wednesday saying it plans to invalidate the permits for Westway Terminal Co. and Imperium Terminal Services, which want to build oil shipping terminals at the Port of Grays Harbor that could store up to 1.5 million barrels of crude from North Dakota and Alberta. The city of Hoquiam issued the permits last spring, after determining in conjunction with the state Ecology Department that the proposals posed minimal threat to the environment.

Groups including the Quinalt Indian Nation and the Sierra Club appealed. They argued that city and state officials failed to consider the cumulative environmental impacts of having the two terminals running along with a third terminal planned nearby. The board agreed.

The board also says the effects of increased train and vessel traffic need to be considered, as does the damage that could be posed by an oil spill.

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  • USDA issues health alert for some California chicken

    SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) – The U.S. Department of Agriculture is issuing a public health alert for raw chicken packaged at three Foster Farms facilities in California after 278 people have fallen ill.

    The USDA says that strains of Salmonella Heidelberg are associated with chicken distributed to retail outlets in California, Oregon and Washington state.

    The Salmonella outbreak has spread to 18 states, though most of the illnesses have been reported in California.

    A spokesman for Foster Farms says no recall is in effect and that the infections were caused by eating undercooked or improperly handled chicken.

    The USDA has not directly linked the outbreak of illnesses to a specific product or production period. The USDA mark on suspect packages would read: P6137, P6137A and P7632.

    Cooking chicken to 165-degrees kills the Salmonella bacteria.

    It's time to cook.... your chicken.

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  • Washington state health exchange ready to launch

    SEATTLE (AP) – Officials launching Washington state’s new health insurance exchange have said they aren’t concerned that computer glitches, bad weather or even debates in Washington, D.C., over a possible government shutdown will stop people from signing up for health insurance when the marketplace debuts on Tuesday.

    “We’re not really worried about that,” said Michael Marchand, spokesman for the Washington Health Benefit Exchange, which runs the Washington state programs involved in President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act.

    They’re also not worried about being overwhelmed by consumer phone calls or Internet traffic or even political protests when the exchange opens, he said.

    “This is a long-awaited step forward for our country and our state,” Gov. Jay Inslee said during a news conference in Olympia. “Despite the shenanigans happening in Washington, D.C., today, we’re ready to go in the state of Washington tomorrow.”

    State Sen. Karen Keiser says the Affordable Care Act is the law of the land and nothing that happens in Washington, D.C., this week will change that.

    “This isn’t a one-day event. This is a landmark in history,” said Keiser, D-Kent.


    Washington Healthplanfinder: http://www.wahealthplanfinder.org

    On the telephone:

    1-855-923-4633 on weekdays from 7:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.

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  • Scientists working to define Cascadia Subduction Zone

    GRANTS PASS, Ore. (AP) – Scientists are just back from a monthlong research cruise in the Pacific Ocean off Washington state, where they were trying to find the stickiest point on a section of the Cascadia Subduction Zone (CSZ), the huge undersea fault that breaks loose every few hundred years and generates a massive tsunami and earthquake.

    Paul Johnson, a professor of geophysics at the University of Washington, was 1 of the principal scientists. He says it will be some time before the data from deep-sea measurements of heat and gas emissions is fully analyzed.

    But preliminary indications are the strongest upheaval will be farther out to sea than previously thought. That is important because the farther out to sea that upheaval occurs, the bigger the tsunami, and the less damage on land from the earthquake.

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  • Fisher making a comeback in Washington State

    OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) – A weasel-like mammal that saw its numbers in Washington state dwindle to nothing over the past century is in the midst of a comeback. Wildlife officials reintroduced 90 fishers to the Olympic peninsula a few years ago, and are now preparing a plan to possibly reintroduce more of the cat-sized carnivores to Mount Rainier and North Cascades national parks.

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  • Cops dealing Doritos at post-legalization Hempfest

    SEATTLE (AP) – A few things will be different at this year’s Hempfest, the 22-year-old marijuana-friendly “protestival” on Seattle’s waterfront.

    When it starts Friday, the haze of pot smoke might smell a little more like victory, after Washington and Colorado became the first states to legalize marijuana use by adults over 21. And the Seattle police will be busy handing out Doritos. Seriously.

    Sgt. Sean Whitcomb says it’s not just an effort to satisfy the munchies. The department has 1,000 bags affixed with labels urging people to check out a question & answer post on its website about Washington’s law.

    As many as 85,000 people per day are expected for the 3-day festival. Executive director Vivian McPeak says the event is calling for reforms of federal marijuana laws.

    Follow Johnson on Twitter at https://twitter.com/GeneAPseattle

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  • Amber Alert ends with teen found safe in Idaho

    CASCADE, Idaho (AP) – The FBI says it’s sending a team to Idaho to investigate the shooting that led to the death of a man suspected of killing a California woman and her young son and abducting her 16-year-old daughter.

    Forty-year-old James Lee DiMaggio was killed Saturday after his campsite was spotted in Idaho’s rugged Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness.

    Teen found safeThe teen, Hannah Anderson, was found safe. Ada County sheriff’s spokeswoman Andrea Dearden says she has no apparent injuries and there are no reports of injuries among law enforcement.

    At a news conference Saturday evening, Dearden said the teen and DiMaggio were spotted not far from where a horseback rider reported seeing the pair Wednesday.

    Dearden said she didn’t know if DiMaggio fired at officers.

    Authorities offered few other details as the team from Washington, D.C., prepares to investigate.

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  • Washington health exchange ready to launch – regardless of federal government shutdown

    SEATTLE (AP) – Politicians and administrators launching Washington’s new health care exchange on Tuesday say nothing will stop the state from signing people up for health insurance.

    They’re not concerned about technical glitches or being overwhelmed by consumer phone calls and web traffic. They are prepared to take comments and complaints from the public. And they say the debate in the other Washington won’t affect Washington Healthplanfinder, even if there is a federal government shutdown.

    State Sen. Karen Keiser says the Affordable Care Act is the law of the land and nothing that happens in Washington, D.C., this week will change that. She doesn’t expect protests to disrupt the launch. She adds, however, that the first open enrollment period will last six months, so early protests will not stop what she calls this landmark in history.


    Associated Press

    Starting today, uninsured residents in Grays Harbor County can enroll in quality, affordable health plans simply by calling or visiting www.wahealthplanfinder.org Coverage begins on January 1, 2014.

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  • Record setting rainfall across Western Washington

    TACOMA, Wash. (AP) — Saturday’s rain set records across Western Washington, from Olympia to Bellingham. And the National Weather Service says the rain isn’t over yet.

    Record rainfall of 1.71 inches was recorded at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport on Saturday. The weather service says that is more than double the old record of 0.83 of an inch set in 1948.

    A record rainfall of 2.93 inches was set in Olympia, breaking the old record of 0.82 set in 1971.

    A record was also set at the Hoquiam airport, where 1.78 inches fell on Saturday. The old record of just over an inch was set in 1962.

    Another record was set at the Quillayute airport, with 1.93 inches of rain. That broke the previous record of 1.32 set in 1971.

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  • Whooping cough cases decrease in WA but not gone

    LONGVIEW, Wash. (AP) — As Oregon and national health officials raise the alarm about whooping cough in the Pacific Northwest, Washington health officials report the illness is declining.

    The Daily News reports (http://is.gd/kcEqfK ) that by mid-July this year, there were 419 cases of whooping cough or pertussis in Washington state. That’s down considerably from the same period in 2012 when 3,237 cases were reported.

    State health officials say 14 Washington counties have reported no pertussis at all this year.

    These statistics clash with a statement issued Tuesday by the Oregon March of Dimes, which said pertussis cases in the Northwest have essentially tripled over several years.

    Oregon cases did increase from 2011 to 2012, but they started declining in 2013. Michele M. Larsen of the March of Dimes Greater Oregon Chapter told The Daily News chapter officials were not aware of the latest figures.

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  • Wash. woman gets nearly 3 years in swindle

    PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) – Federal prosecutors say an Ocean Park, Wash., woman has been sentenced to nearly three years in prison for swindling a retired St. Helens, Ore., man out of nearly $650,000.

    Lisa Mottaghi was sentenced Wednesday in federal court in Portland for wire fraud. The U.S. attorney’s office says she first borrowed large sums of money from 74-year-old Gerald Voorhees and later created a false email identity to get more money from him.

    The Daily News of Longview reports (http://is.gd/RWPujl ) the woman was also ordered to pay restitution.

    Information from: The Daily News, http://www.tdn.com

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  • Dog defends owner in Castle Rock attack

    CASTLE ROCK, Wash. (AP) – Police in the southwest Washington community of Castle Rock say a female jogger’s dog attacked and chased off a man who had knocked the woman down in an attempt to grab her cell phone.

    The Daily News of Longview reports (http://is.gd/EeCsse ) the 22-year-old woman was not seriously hurt. She was jogging with two dogs on a trail along the Cowlitz River dike when a man jumped out of the bushes last Thursday evening. Police say 1 of the dogs attacked and the man ran off.

    Now police are warning walkers and joggers to be alert on the popular river trail system. They say the man was described as shirtless and shoeless with shaggy blond hair and scruffy facial hair.

    A police dog searched the area unsuccessfully.

    Information from: The Daily News, http://www.tdn.com

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