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

OFFICER SHOOTS SUSPECT

Bellingham officer shoots, kills suspect who stabbed man

BELLINGHAM, Wash. (AP) — Authorities say a Bellingham police officer has shot and killed a suspect who had stabbed another man.

Bellingham police Lt. Danette Beckley tells Seattle news station KOMO-TV that witnesses called 911 Sunday afternoon over a fight on the street and then saw a man stab another in the neck.

Police say the callers followed the suspect and told emergency dispatchers where he was as he headed to a transit terminal.

Beckley says responding officers saw he still had the knife and a confrontation occurred, with an officer opening fire. She didn’t give the condition of the man who had been stabbed.

The TV station says the Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office and other agencies are investigating.

PROSECUTOR-TEXTS

Legal bills mounting in court battle over prosecutor’s texts

(Information from: The News Tribune, http://www.thenewstribune.com)

TACOMA, Wash. (AP) — Legal bills now total more than half a million dollars in a long-running court case over whether Pierce County Prosecutor Mark Lindquist must release text messages under Washington state’s public records law.

Lindquist has been involved in a long-running public records fight with a former sheriff’s detective. The state Supreme court has ordered him to disclose any messages on his personal phone that were work-related, but Lindquist has maintained the messages are private communications made outside of the scope of his employment.

The News Tribune in Tacoma reports that according to the latest figures from the county’s risk management division, the public bill for the long-running legal tussle is now more than $584,000.

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RAW SEWAGE-SEATTLE

Flooded wastewater plant relies on sewage-eating bugs

(Information from: The Seattle Times, http://www.seattletimes.com)

SEATTLE (AP) — Managers at a flooded wastewater-treatment plant in Seattle that is dumping raw sewage into Puget Sound are counting on bugs to get the plant back up and running normally.

The Seattle Times reports millions of gallons of raw sewage and stormwater have flowed into Puget Sound since high tides and heavy rains overwhelmed the facility last month.

Electrical and equipment failures have been blamed for the disaster and negative impacts on microorganisms.

The bugs, which are at the center of the plant’s recovery plan, help reduce the volume of solids in the treatment process, kill harmful bacteria and produce methane that heats the plant.

But the bugs have been suffering with little food or heat since the flood.

Plant managers are now working with a team of consultants to revive the bugs before they die.

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RESILIENCE MAPS-NATIVE SPECIES

Conservation group maps land protection strategy in 3 states

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — A conservation group has created maps identifying key landscapes in the Pacific Northwest most likely to sustain native species amid climate change, and is distributing money to protect private lands through use-limiting easements or outright purchases.

The Nature Conservancy says it received $6 million from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation that it’s now distributing among local land trusts in Idaho, Oregon and Washington for easements or acquisitions.

In all, the publicly available maps cover some 355,000 square miles in those three states plus portions of Montana, Nevada, California and Utah.

The Nature Conservancy says so far about $4.5 million in grants have been identified to conserve about 70 square miles of private land.

FEWER STUDENT ARRESTS

Fewer students arrested after Spokane school policy change

(Information from: The Spokesman-Review, http://www.spokesman.com)

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — Police school resource officers in Spokane are arresting far fewer students after the district changed the way it approaches discipline issues.

The Spokesman-Review reports that as of Feb. 28, district officers have arrested 58 students. That compares to 467 arrests at the same time last year.

The changes are partly in response to a new state law that limits long-term suspension and expulsion and demands districts collect and publish more data on discipline. Many of the changes already been implemented in the field, but the district’s board will consider the policy later this month.

District spokesman Kevin Morrison says the district is still working on the policies because the state mandate is so new. The changes include putting an emphasis on deescalating situations before making an arrest, and requiring resource officers to be trained on how to communicate with kids who have behavioral issues or disabilities.

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WHEAT WORRIES

Farmers consider alternatives amid lower wheat prices

(Information from: Lewiston Tribune, http://www.lmtribune.com)

LEWISTON, Idaho (AP) — Some wheat farmers in the northwest are considering switching crops as prices slip below the break-even mark.

Soft white wheat and club wheat — two varieties commonly grown in parts of Washington, Oregon and Idaho — were selling for $4.67 to $4.90 a bushel last week, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Portland.

Washington Wheat Commission member Gary Bailey told the Lewiston Tribune that many farmers are looking for new avenues of income. He says some eastern Washington farmers are putting more acres into garbanzo beans, which fetch a higher price.

Sam White of the Pacific Northwest Farmers Cooperative in Genesee, Idaho says there hasn’t been a wheat crop failure in three years, with Russia, Ukraine and Argentina all harvesting good crops last year and Australia reported to have a record harvest this year.

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SEATTLE PIPELINE DIVEST

Seattle declines to end Wells Fargo banking contract now

(Information from: The Seattle Times, http://www.seattletimes.com)

SEATTLE (AP) — Top officials in Seattle have sent a letter to Wells Fargo saying the city will honor its contract through the expiration date rather than cut ties now over the bank’s role as a lender to the Dakota Access pipeline project.

The Seattle Times reports Mayor Ed Murray, Council President Bruce Harrell and Councilmember Tim Burgess sent a letter to bank officials Friday saying a new bank will be found when their contract ends at the end of 2018.

Councilmembers voted unanimously Feb. 7 to direct officials to end the city’s contract with the San Francisco-based bank once it expires. Wells Fargo responded, giving the city of Seattle the chance to break its contract now.

The city officials wrote that the complexity of banking services used by the city will require a lengthy process to secure a new vendor.

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CARPET KNIFE ATTACK

Everett man following fatal knife attack on woman

(Information from: The Daily Herald, http://www.heraldnet.com)

EVERETT, Wash. (AP) — Authorities have charged an Everett man with second-degree murder and first-degree assault following a knife attack that killed a 78-year-old woman and injured her 62-year-old daughter.

The Daily Herald reports that court papers filed Friday list the charges against 31-year-old John Dimitri Kuljis.

Barbara Decker died and Janine Shaffer sustained injuries in the Feb. 19 attack in Decker’s Snohomish-area home.

Authorities say Kuljis cut both women’s throats with a knife used to cut carpet.

Documents say Kuljis was in the home with his uncle, who was doing construction work on the bathroom.

The uncle told officials that they fled after the attack and the nephew threw the knife out the window.

Kuljis is being held on $1.5 million bail. Police haven’t stated a motive for the attack.

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HANFORD NUCLEAR CLEANUP

Demolition resumes on Hanford plutonium plant

(Information from: Tri-City Herald, http://www.tri-cityherald.com)

RICHLAND, Wash. (AP) — Demolition of a major plutonium plant at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation in Washington state has resumed.

The Tri-City Herald reports that demolition of the Plutonium Finishing Plant’s Plutonium Reclamation Facility resumed this week after being halted in late January when a radiation alarm sounded.

The plant operated for decades making hockey puck-sized tablets of plutonium for the nation’s nuclear arsenal.

Kelly Wooley is deputy project manager for the Plutonium Finishing Plant for U.S. Department of Energy contractor CH2M Hill Plateau Remediation Co.

Wooley says the source of the radioactive contamination in a rubble pile that has been cleaned up wasn’t identified.

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SEATTLE SYNAGOGUE VANDALIZED

Vandals target Seattle synagogue, spray-paint with graffiti

(Information from: The Seattle Times, http://www.seattletimes.com)

SEATTLE (AP) — Police say a Seattle synagogue in the Capitol Hill neighborhood was vandalized with anti-Semitic Holocaust-denying graffiti.

The Seattle Times reports a police officer discovered the spray-painted message Friday morning on an exterior wall of Temple De Hirsch Sinai.

Rabbi Daniel Weiner says the message reads “The Holocaust is fake history.” The “s” characters in the graffiti are dollar signs.

Weiner says it “really is a toxic mix of Holocaust denial, the stereotypical charge that Jews are obsessed with money, and the notion coming from the (President Trump) administration that all facts are fungible . fake facts, fake history.”

Weiner says for a time Friday a bed sheet saying “Love Wins” was hung over the graffiti, but he thinks it’s important for people to see what was done.

Seattle police are investigating the incident as a hate crime.

Gov. Jay Inslee said in a statement Friday that he that he continues to stand with the Jewish community as he has stood with all Washingtonians.

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