NEWS ROUNDUP
7:09 am
Wed June 22, 2011

Wednesday morning's headlines

Now for a little warmer day: Partly sunny, with a high near 72. Forecast here.

Making headlines around the Northwest:

Pot legalization going back before Washington voters

A man who once served as the Justice Department's top official in Western Washington is sponsoring an initiative to legalize marijuana in the state.

John McKay, the former U.S. attorney in Seattle, tells The Associated Press that laws criminalizing marijuana are wrongheaded because they create an enormous black market exploited by international cartels and crime rings.

McKay says he's joining a push that would regulate the recreational use of marijuana in a way similar to how the state regulates alcohol.

No state has legalized marijuana for recreational purposes in such a way, though some have decriminalized it, and the initiative would put Washington squarely at odds with federal law banning the drug.

Activists would have until the end of this year to gather more than 240,000 signatures advance the initiative.

The Associated Press

 

Off the AP wire: $2,500 offered over cat; bridge toll working

  • A 22-year-old Washington mother whose toddler was found wandering in the middle of the night in a motel parking lot has pleaded not guilty to child abandonment. Police say the woman was out gambling.
  • The Washington State Patrol says a 22-year-old Wisconsin man was killed Tuesday in a high-speed motorcycle crash in Olympia. The patrol says the motorcycle ran off a road at a slight turn about 3 a.m., and the rider was ejected and died at the scene.
  • A Washington bank robber known for wearing a variety of unattractive wigs is featured in a new wanted poster on the FBI website. FBI spokeswoman Ayn Sandalo Dietrich says the "Bad Hair Bandit" is the first bank robber from the FBI's Seattle division to appear on the national website in many years.
  • A $2,500 reward is being offered to help catch the person who tossed a cat down a storm drain in Olympia. The Humane Society says witnesses report seeing a tall man wearing a blue shirt lift up the grate, throw the cat in and run away. The cat treaded water for 45 minutes until it was rescued.
  • Officials say the tolling vendor for the Tacoma Narrows Bridge has fixed system bugs that caused thousands of Good to Go! account holders to wrongly receive fine notices. That means bridge users who were issued about 26,000 violations starting in mid-May won't have to pay a $52 fine.

Aerospace summit will come to Seattle

Seattle will be the site of a summit for aerospace manufacturers and suppliers next March and a Bellingham company will expand to reconfigure planes for an Austrian airline, Gov. Chris Gregoire told The Spokesman-Review.

Deals for both were struck during the second day of the Paris Air Show, which Gregoire is attending to boost the chances of selling more Boeing planes and the products of some 650 aerospace manufacturers and suppliers in Washington.

The March 12-13 summit, to be hosted by Boeing and the state Commerce Department, is expected to draw about 600 businesses and be the first of its kind in North America, Gregoire said in a telephone press conference.

Car thefts in Seattle, Tacoma spike

Car theft rates in Seattle, Tacoma and Bellevue spiked almost 20 percent in 2010, the National Insurance Crime Bureau told KOMO, and the area is now ranked 13th in the nation for car thefts instead of 37th.

The Northwest Insurance Council says the statistics should serve as a warning to local drivers.

"It actually costs every one of us when you see auto theft rise," said council president Karl Newman.

Of the more than 16,000 cars missing from Seattle Metro area last year, 15-year-old Hondas and Toyotas were the most sought-after vehicles.