August 18th, 2013
03:06 AM ET

Seattle police cure munchies at Hempfest

When Seattle pot smokers got the munchies this weekend, the cops had their back.

Now that marijuana is legal in Washington, there's not much police could do about weed-toting revelers at the city's Hempfest.

But they did want to explain the new rules surrounding recreational marijuana use in the state - and hit upon a novel distribution format: Doritos.

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Filed under: Marijuana • U.S. • Washington state
Man arrested in Washington state ricin probe
Ricin is a toxin derived from castor beans.
May 22nd, 2013
10:33 PM ET

Man arrested in Washington state ricin probe

A 37-year-old man arrested Wednesday in Washington state as part of a probe of ricin-laced letters threatened in one such letter to injure and kill a federal judge, a grand jury indictment alleges.

FBI agents arrested Matthew Ryan Buquet on Wednesday afternoon, and he made his initial court appearance in Spokane later in the day, the federal agency's Washington state office said in a news release.

A grand jury charged Buquet with mailing threatening communication, claiming he "knowingly and willfully" mailed through the U.S. Postal Service a letter "containing a threat to injure and kill Judge (Fred) Van Sickle," according to the indictment. Van Sickle is a senior judge in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Washington.

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Filed under: Crime • U.S. Postal Service • Washington state
March 11th, 2013
02:57 PM ET

3 killed in Navy plane crash

Three Navy crew members died when their EA-6B Prowler crashed Monday morning about 50 miles west of Spokane, Washington, the service said.

The Navy has yet to release the names of the three service members.

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Filed under: Military • U.S. Navy • Washington state
February 15th, 2013
05:57 PM ET

Tank storing radioactive waste leaking in Washington

A tank storing radioactive waste at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation in southeast Washington is leaking liquids to the tune of 150-300 gallons per year, the governor said Friday.

"This is an extremely toxic substance and we have to have a zero tolerance policy for leaks of radioactive material into the ground, and potentially groundwater of the state of Washington," Gov. Jay Inslee told reporters.

He stressed the leak poses no immediate public heath risk, but said that fact should not be an excuse for complacence.

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Filed under: Energy • Environment • Nuclear • Washington state
Democrats hold the Washington governorship
Democrat Jay Inslee will become Washington's next governor, after Rob McKenna conceded their tight race.
November 9th, 2012
11:02 PM ET

Democrats hold the Washington governorship

Democrats held onto the governorship in Washington on Friday, bringing an end to the only outstanding election from this week's governors' races.

Republican candidate Rob McKenna conceded to Democratic candidate Jay Inslee in a video statement. Inslee, a former U.S. representative, will succeed two-term Democratic Gov. Christine Gregoire.

"Despite the extraordinary efforts of our volunteers, donors, staff and everyone who's been part of Team McKenna, it appears we will fall short of victory when the last ballots are counted. After 17 months of hard work, that is a very disappointing result," said McKenna.

Eleven states held governors' races Tuesday. Democrats were defending eights seats, Republicans three.

By Wednesday afternoon, CNN had projected winners in all but one of the elections - Washington - where mail-in ballots made up about 40% of the votes.

With the race in Washington now decided, Democrats hold 19 governorships; Republicans 30. Rhode Island's governor is an independent.

Republicans flipped North Carolina this year, expanding their national lead over Democrats at the statehouse level. The state hadn't elected a GOP governor since the 1980s.

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Filed under: 2012 Election • Politics • Washington state
Wash. counties drop marijuana misdemeanor possession cases in light of vote
November 9th, 2012
08:19 PM ET

Wash. counties drop marijuana misdemeanor possession cases in light of vote

The prosecutor's offices for two Washington counties - including the one that contains Seattle - announced today they will dismiss 175 misdemeanor marijuana possession charges, days after the state's voters legalized the drug.

The dropped cases all involve arrests of individuals age 21 and older for possessing one ounce or less of marijuana.

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Suspect in cafe killings shoots self, Seattle police say
A suspect in the deadly shootings in Seattle this afternoon was caught on camera.
May 30th, 2012
03:35 PM ET

Suspect in cafe killings shoots self, Seattle police say

[Updated at 7:47 p.m. ET] Seattle police say the same suspect was behind both of the fatal shootings Wednesday that left a total of four people dead and two critically wounded. The suspect shot himself as police closed in.

[Updated at 7:25 p.m. ET] A man believed to be the gunman in the killings at a Seattle cafe shot himself as police moved in on him Wednesday afternoon, police said. His condition was not immediately known.

[Updated at 6:22 p.m. ET] A fourth fatality has been reported in a shooting at a Seattle cafe and an apparent carjacking that already left two men and a woman dead, and three others seriously wounded, police reported Wednesday.

Two men were killed at a coffeehouse in the city's University District, while a woman died in the carjacking, Seattle police said. Three more people - another two men and a woman - were wounded at the coffeehouse. One victim in the cafe shooting has life threatening injuries, and two others are seriously wounded, according to police.

 Investigators were looking for any connections between the two incidents, which happened about four miles and a few minutes apart, police spokesmen said.

"We're definitely in a dynamic situation right now," Deputy Police Chief Nick Metz told reporters.

Police found the black Mercedes SUV involved in the apparent carjacking abandoned. Video from the scene showed a handgun on the driver's seat of the vehicle. A K-9 is being used to track the suspect. Police officers have brought the dog to inspect the vehicle a few times during the search.

The suspect is described as a white male, between 30 and 40 years old, with a medium build, brown hair and a goatee or beard, police said. He fled on foot following the shooting at the cafe, police said.

"Whether he is armed at this time, we don't know," Metz said. But he added, "We're assuming he's very dangerous."

Metz warned residents in the area not to open their doors if anyone came by who they did not know. He also urged residents to make sure all their doors were locked.

CNN affiliate KIRO reported multiple ambulances, police officers and fire trucks were at the scene.

For more information on the shooting check CNN's local affiliates in Seattle: KOMO, KCPQ, and KIRO.

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Gotta Watch: Dangerous jobs
Calling all alligator hunters - the state of Texas needs you!
May 2nd, 2012
08:41 PM ET

Gotta Watch: Dangerous jobs

There are some men and women who don't fear danger or even risking their lives at work. For some, the adrenaline rush of pushing themselves to the edge keeps their jobs interesting and rewarding.  CNN.com has collected video of some of these risk-takers putting their lives on the line. Watch as an alligator hunter, firefighter and window washer are caught in precarious positions that will put a chill up your spine.

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Need a job? Texas needs gator hunters

Texas officials say the state needs more alligator hunters to provide his or her services.

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Fireman: Roof under him 'just dropped'

A life and death moment for Michigan fighters caught on tape, as a roof collapsed under them. WXYZ reports.

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Window washer saved from fall

A Seattle man is safe on the ground after hanging from a building. KOMO reports.

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Filed under: Alligators • Animals • Fire • Gotta Watch • Michigan • Survivor Stories • Texas • U.S. • Washington state
Company aims to mine resource-rich asteroids
The asteroid Eros was photographed by NASA's Near Earth Asteroid Rendezvous mission in 2000.
April 24th, 2012
05:36 PM ET

Company aims to mine resource-rich asteroids

Eric Anderson and Peter Diamandis pioneered the business of sending millionaire tourists to space. Now they want to mine asteroids for what they say will be tens of billions of dollars worth of resources annually for use on Earth and beyond.

Seattle-area's Planetary Resources, backed by big-money investors including filmmaker James Cameron and Google executives Larry Page and Eric Schmidt, said Tuesday it plans to develop and launch a series of robotic systems and unmanned spacecraft, starting with its Arkyd-100 Earth-orbiting space telescopes that it hopes to launch by the end of 2013 to identify candidate near-Earth asteroids.

The company hopes to dispatch swarms of Arkyd-300 prospecting spacecraft, which would orbit candidate asteroids and finish the process of determining what they hold, within 10 years.

The Bellevue, Washington, company would then unveil a new system of spacecraft for the payoff: mining precious metal, such as platinum, for use on Earth; and extracting water, whose elements the company says can be used for fuel and life-support systems in space.

In short, Planetary Resources hopes it will be in a crucial and lucrative position of not only boosting terrestrial industry, but also setting up a network of fuel depots that humanity will need to better explore the solar system and beyond.

"The Earth is feeling a resource pinch, and ultimately we will have the ability to turn that which is scarce into abundant," Diamandis, who co-founded Planetary Resources with Anderson in 2009 but generally kept mum about the project until this month, said at a press event in Seattle on Tuesday.

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Filed under: Energy • Space • Washington state
April 10th, 2012
02:54 PM ET

Student stops bus after driver slumps in seat

A Washington school district is hailing a middle-school student as a hero after he guided a school bus to a stop when the driver slumped in his seat.

The bus was taking a number of students to Surprise Lake Middle School in Milton, Washington, when the driver became incapacitated Monday morning, falling back into his seat and letting go of the wheel, surveillance video released by the school district shows.

The bus kept going, guided by no one for seconds, the video shows. Then seventh-grader Jeremy Wuitschick, two seats to the back and right of the driver, jumped into action.

“I was just sitting there when the bus driver, he looked funny. His eyes were bulging and he was sitting back, and his hands were kind of flapping around uselessly,” Jeremy told CNN affiliate KOMO.  “… I knew something was wrong.”

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Filed under: Education • Washington state
March 10th, 2012
05:53 PM ET

Suspect arrested after attack at Washington state courthouse

Authorities arrested Saturday a suspect who allegedly shot a female officer, stabbed a judge and fled a Washington state courthouse, said Undersheriff Rick Scott with the Grays Harbor County Sheriff's Department.

Steven D. Kravetz, 34, was arrested at his mother's home in Olympia without incident, Scott said. The mother called authorities to tell them where he was after hearing media reports about the incident, he said.

Authorities also recovered a gun taken from the officer during the confrontation, Scott said.

Scott said the man gave his name as Michael Thomas when the officer approached him shortly after noon Friday inside the Grays Harbor County Courthouse in Montesano. Authorities, however, later identified the suspect Kravetz on a poster seeking the public's help in finding him Saturday.

The poster said Kravetz could be with Roberta Dougherty, whom CNN affiliates in the Seattle area identified as Kravetz's mother.

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Filed under: Courts • Crime • Justice • Washington state
Feds consider killing barred owls to save another type
The barred owl (pictured, left) could be targeted by the U.S. government to help save the northern spotted owl (at right).
February 29th, 2012
08:02 PM ET

Feds consider killing barred owls to save another type

A large owl from the eastern United States might pay for its intrusion into the West Coast if the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has its way.

The service is considering an experiment in which it would kill or transfer some barred owls sometimes referred to as the hoot owl, thanks to its call as part of a plan to preserve the smaller northern spotted owl, the agency said in a report this week.

The U.S. government has listed the northern spotted owl, whose range includes British Columbia, Washington, Oregon and California, as a threatened species since 1990. Its population declined by 40%  in the last 25 years, not only because of shrinking habitat, but also because the barred owl moved into the area starting in the late 1950s, the service says.

“Larger, more aggressive and more adaptable than the northern spotted owl, barred owls are known to displace spotted owls, disrupt their nesting and compete with them for food,” the service says on the Interior Department’s website. "Researchers have also observed instances of barred owls interbreeding with or killing spotted owls."

The service is now proposing killing or capturing barred owls in limited areas of the other owl’s range to see whether the removals allow the other owl’s population to bounce back.

The service is calling for one to 11 experiment sites in areas including national parks and recreation areas. Depending on the number of sites, the service would kill or transfer 257 to nearly 8,960 barred owls, according to the service’s environmental impact statement on the plan.

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Filed under: Animals • California • Nature • Oregon • Owls • Washington state
February 20th, 2012
11:51 AM ET

Avalanche killed experienced backcountry skiers

Three skiers killed in a Washington state avalanche on Sunday were highly experienced at backcountry skiing, according to media reports, and one was the head judge of the Freeskiing World Tour, a competitive circuit for extreme skiers in the United States, Canada and South America.

The three, ski tour judge Jim Jack, Chris Rudolph and John Brenan, were among a group of a dozen or so skiers who were attempting to ski down a slope near the Stevens Pass ski area in the Cascade Mountains, about an 80-mile drive from Seattle. Among the group were staffers of both ESPN and Powder magazine, who identified the victims and gave accounts of the incident.

Powder magazine senior editor John Stifter said the avalanche was triggered by Jack, who was the seventh skier to head down the slope, which is outside the borders of the resort and its groomed ski runs. Jack triggered a “slab avalanche,” according to Stifter.

The U.S. Forest Service’s National Avalanche Center says dry slab avalanches are the most deadly form of avalanches.

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'Barefoot Bandit' gets 6.5 years on federal charges
January 27th, 2012
04:07 PM ET

'Barefoot Bandit' gets 6.5 years on federal charges

A judge in Washington state has sentenced Colton Harris-Moore, whom authorities dubbed the Barefoot Bandit, to six and a half years in prison on federal charges of stealing an airplane, piloting it without a license, burglarizing a bank and possessing a firearm as a fugitive.

The federal sentence will run concurrently with his state imprisonment of seven years and three months, the judge ruled.

Harris-Moore gained notoriety including 50,000 Facebook fans and a movie deal for leading authorities on a two-year manhunt while eluding capture in stolen boats, cars and planes, often while barefoot, authorities said. He once left chalk outlines of bare footprints at one crime scene and was finally arrested in July 2010 after he was captured in the Bahamas.

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Filed under: Courts • Crime • Justice • Washington state
January 19th, 2012
11:40 AM ET

As snow slows, roads get icy in Pacific Northwest

A day after heavy snowfall made Seattle streets look more like ski runs, freezing rain and accumulating ice shut runways at the city's airport Thursday and made travel even more treacherous.

The National Weather Service issued an ice storm warning for the Seattle-Tacoma metropolitan area, portions of the coastline and the state's southwest interior, including the capital, Olympia.

"An ice storm warning means severe winter weather conditions are imminent or occurring," the weather service said. "Significant amounts of ice accumulations will make travel dangerous or impossible. Travel is strongly discouraged."

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Filed under: Oregon • Washington state • Weather • Winter weather
January 18th, 2012
11:02 AM ET

Twin winter storms slam Pacific Northwest

Snow was pelting Seattle and accumulating on roads early Wednesday as the city was poised to see what could be one of its largest-ever snowfalls in more than 70 years.

The Seattle-Tacoma metropolitan area may see between 4 and 8 inches of snow as the second of twin storms moves across the Pacific Northwest, according to the National Weather Service.

The southwest interior of Washington state, including the capital, Olympia, could see 5 to 10 inches of snow, the weather service said.

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Filed under: Oregon • Portland • Washington state • Weather • Winter weather
Twin winter storms slamming Pacific Northwest
An earlier storm created treacherous driving conditions over the weekend in Oregon.
January 17th, 2012
10:28 AM ET

Twin winter storms slamming Pacific Northwest

Seattle could see one of its largest snowfalls since the 1940s as twin winter storms move over the Pacific Northwest during the next two days, according to the National Weather Service.

Between 5 and 9 inches of snow could hit the Seattle-Tacoma area Wednesday, with 6 to 10 inches falling before the storms pass early Thursday, said Dustin Guy, a meteorologist at the weather service's Seattle office.

Precipitation moving in from the south and west is combining with cold air moving south from Canada to create the heavy snowfall, Guy said. If snowfall amounts top 7 inches, the winter weather event will rank among Seattle's 10 worst since the early 1940s, he said.

iReport: Are you there? Share photos, video

Mountainous areas of the Pacific Northwest will see even more snow, with the largest accumulations on the eastern slopes of the Cascades, according to the weather service.

From late Tuesday through early Thursday, 2 feet to 3.5 feet of snow is forecast for the mountains east of Seattle, Guy said.

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Filed under: Oregon • Washington state • Weather • Winter weather
January 7th, 2012
06:54 PM ET

Mount Rainier park reopens after deadly shooting

Mount Rainier National Park reopened to the public Saturday for the first time since ranger Margaret Anderson was shot to death on New Year's Day.

All services at the park were available expect for "snowplay." Anderson was the direct supervisor of the rangers there, and many on that crew - and elsewhere in the park - needed more time before returning to work, said park spokesman Charles Beall.

"This tragedy has pretty much affected every employee at the park," he said.

Authorities believe Anderson, 34, was killed by Benjamin Colton Barnes, a former soldier whose body was found face down in a creek, not far from where he allegedly shot Anderson.

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Filed under: Crime • Washington state
Gotta Watch: Extreme sports
Winter windsurfers take to the ice in Montana.
January 7th, 2012
09:00 AM ET

Gotta Watch: Extreme sports

There are some people out there who operate on 100% pure adrenaline. Normal sports and activities aren't enough, so they take it to another level. These thrill seekers throw caution to the wind and take risks just to feel that rush. You've Gotta Watch these daredevils attempt the unthinkable. And like they say, do not try this at home!

Windsurfing on ice? — Windsurfing on water isn't anything new, and some people choose to windsurf on land. But what happens when temperatures drop below zero? Instead of taking up ice fishing, these self-proclaimed "crazy" people modified their own boards to glide across a frozen lake. Their rigs have reached 30 mph, but wait until you hear how fast some others have gone!

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Filed under: China • Gotta Watch • Montana • Sports • Washington state
Baylor, Washington smash offensive records in Alamo Bowl
Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III threw for nearly 300 yards Thursday, but the Bears' running game was more eye-popping.
December 30th, 2011
10:40 AM ET

Baylor, Washington smash offensive records in Alamo Bowl

If you ever wanted to see two skillful college football offenses make the presence of two defenses look fairly pointless, Thursday night’s Alamo Bowl was your chance.

No. 15 Baylor and Washington obliterated bowl records including those for combined points in a regulation bowl game and yards of total offense in Baylor’s 67-56 come-from-behind victory in San Antonio, Texas.

“I'll say the Valero Alamo Bowl and ESPN got what they were hoping for tonight,” Washington coach Steve Sarkisian said after the televised matchup. “What a game. ... (Baylor wasn’t) the No. 2 offense in the country just for a fluke.”

Baylor, helped by a typically fine night from Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Robert Griffin III, had a FBS bowl record 777 yards of total offense. But the most-eye popping output might have come from Baylor running backs Terrance Ganaway, Tevin Reese and Jarred Salubi, each of whom ran for more than 100 yards, sometimes untouched for dozens of yards at a time.

Ganaway alone ran for 200 yards and five touchdowns. Griffin threw for a touchdown and 295 yards, and ran for 55 more and another touchdown.

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Filed under: College football • Football • Sports • Texas • Washington state
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