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Thu March 24, 2011
Thursday morning's headlines
Good morning. Will it be as sunny as Wednesday? No, but we will see occasional sun breaks along with clouds and showers around western Washington today, according to the National Weather Service.
Making headlines this morning:
- Guilty Plea in Afghan Civilian Murders
- Seattle Pays Out Millions in Madison Valley Flood Suit
- New Plan Could Keep State History Museums Open
Morlock Pleads Guilty to Murder
Army Spc. Jeremy Morlock pleaded guilty to three counts of murder of unarmed Afghan civilians, admitting the motive in the deaths was "...to kill people." Morlock's plea came at a Joint Base Lewis-McChord court martial hearing Wednesday, a process followed closely by KPLU's Austin Jenkins.
Morlock will be a key witness in hearings of four Stryker Brigade platoon mates who are also charged in the deaths, reports The News Tribune's Adam Ashton:
Morlock will be a key witness against Staff Sgt. Calvin Gibbs, who allegedly plotted to murder Afghan civilians and brought his comrades along with him. Gibbs denies the charges and is expected to face a court-martial in June.
The war crimes are the subject of international attention, with photographs of soldiers posing with corpses published online this past week by Germany's Der Spiegel.
Settlement in Seattle Neighborhood's Flood Problems
A group of homeowners in the Seattle neighborhood of Madison Valley will get $2.5 million from the city as compensation for chronic flooding after severe storms. In a lawsuit, the property owners blamed a city project to control sewage and wastewater runoff in nearby neighborhoods for increased flooding in Madison Valley, reports The Seattle Times' Lynn Thompson:
The lawsuit was filed in December 2009, the third anniversary of a torrential rainstorm that flooded more than 30 homes in Madison Valley and resulted in the drowning of a woman in her basement recording studio several blocks away.
During intense storms, residents say sewage backed up and left arsenic, mercury and bacteria in their homes.
The deal allows for a financial judgment without the city having to admit wrongdoing.
Will Olympia Sacrifice Planned Museum to Save Others?
The director of the state's historical society says museums in Tacoma, Olympia and Spokane would not have to close - as proposed by the governor - if money were redirected from a planned Heritage Center at the State Capitol campus.
The Olympian's Jordan Schrader reports the society's David Nicandri knows it will be tough for the idea, proposed in new legislation, to fly:
“For us to get a dollar means somebody’s got to lose one,” said Nicandri, whose agency runs the Washington State History Museum in downtown Tacoma and Olympia’s smaller State Capital Museum. “It just makes it very difficult.”
The bill would seek $8 million in fees already approved for the yet unbuilt Heritage Center, and creating a Department of Heritage, Arts and Culture. It's champioed by Tacoma Rep. Jeannie Darneille. It will run into opposition should it reach the state senate, where the Heritage campus plan was championed by Olympia Sen. Karen Fraser, writes Schrader.