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Wed March 2, 2011
Wednesday morning's headlines
Making headlines around the Northwest this morning:
- Seattle Schools Scandal: Contractor Defends Pay
- Amber Alert Ends Safely in Bonney Lake
- JBLM Soldier Killed in Afghanistan
- NASCAR for Puget Sound?
Seattle School Contractors Ready to Speak Out
As the Seattle School Board prepares to vote on a motion to fire Superintendent Maria Goodloe-Johnson this evening, one of the contractors under scrutiny in the alleged contracting fraud is speaking out. Seattle's Urban League and other small business contractors are expected to tell reporters, including KPLU's Paula Wissel, they earned their pay.
"...Let me be clear: we lived up to contractual obligations and requirements of the Seattle School District..," says Urban League President Tony Benjamin in a press release issued Tuesday.
The group was paid about $600,000 for contracts that were questioned by a recent audit, according to The Seattle Times' Jim Brunner.
Questions about the Urban League's handling of public contracts surfaced in the state audit, which questioned $1.8 million in expenses in Seattle Public Schools' small-business contracting program. The Urban League was the largest single recipient of that money...
Their press conference is scheduled this morning.
The Defense Department says Pfc. David R. Fahey of Norwalk, Connecticut, was killed when his combat unit was hit by an improvised explosive device in Afghanistan's Kandahar Province on Monday. The News Tribune reports:
Fahey was the first reported combat death from the local Army base in more than six months.
A base spokesperson told the Trib that Fahey was deployed to Afghanistan in June last year, and reported to Joint Base Lewis-McChord in 2009. He enlisted in 2007.
Chehalis Child Abduction Ends Peacefully
An Amber Alert issued Tuesday morning ended safely yesterday afternoon in Bonney Lake, after the father of a 4-year old was found with his son in a store's parking lot. KING-TV reports Dustin Jacek allegedly took his son forcibly from his mother at a Chehalis women's shelter and thrown into a car. The car then reportedly hit another vehicle as it sped away:
Witnesses say (the younger) Jacek had been hurt while being put in the getaway car. Police have not said how badly he, or the person who was hit by the car, were injured.
The nearly six hour hunt ended after the father's cell phone signal was pinpointed.
NASCAR Track Getting the Green Flag Here?
There's renewed interest from a state lawmaker to bring NASCAR to the region. The Kitsap Sun reports Rep. Brian Hatfield (D-Raymond, Pacific County) has introduced new legislation that would set up a public speedway authority.
Kitsap area leaders previously considered such a plan but came down against it, reports The Sun's Steven Gardner:
"Nobody is looking at Kitsap County. I don't think NASCAR would even be interested in going back there again," Hatfield said.
But NASCAR leaders say the Northwest remains a "long-term opportunity," according to Gardner.
Hatfield's interest may signal a push by southwest coastal communities for the idea.