Tuskegee airman William Booker dead at 90
SEATTLE (AP) - William L. Booker, one of the black military aviators known as the Tuskegee Airmen, has died at the age of 90.
Booker's family says he died Nov. 30 at a Kirkland, Wash., nursing home after a long battle with Parkinson's disease.
Booker served as a navigator and flight engineer on B-25 bombers with the 477th Bombardment Group based at Godman Field, Ky. He flew with all-black crews with pilots trained in Alabama at Tuskegee Institute.
After World War II, he worked for Boeing for 34 years. He served 10 years as president of the local Tuskegee Airmen's chapter
Booker is survived by his wife of 45 years, Dolores, two sons, two daughters and grandchildren.
A memorial will be held Saturday at Mount Zion Baptist Church in Seattle.
WESTERN GOVERNORS-WILDLIFE HABITAT
AP Newsbreak: Western governors show wildlife maps
RENO, Nev. (AP) - Governors in 16 states are unveiling a high-tech wildlife habitat mapping project they hope will encourage economic development across the West while protecting the region's environmental treasures from Puget Sound to the Rocky Mountains.
Leaders of the Western Governors' Association tell The Associated Press they want to make it easier to chart paths across large landscapes where developers can expect the least regulatory resistance as they draft plans to build highways, dig mines or erect power lines.
Five years in the making, the database to be announced Thursday at the WGA's annual winter meeting in Las Vegas is called the Crucial Habitat Assessment Tool, or CHAT.
It will connect 16 western states with a first-of-its-kind online system of GIS maps displaying wildlife habitat, wetlands and other valuable natural resources.
Retired Wash. Supreme Court Justice Chambers dies
SEATTLE (AP) - Retired Washington state Supreme Court Justice Tom Chambers has died at his Issaquah, Wash., home.
His older daughter, Jolie Lofink, confirms that her father died Wednesday night of cancer. He was 70.
Elected to the state's high court in 2000, he retired last Dec. 31.
Chambers was born and raised in the Yakima Valley.
He is survived by Judy, his wife of 46 years; three children and six grandchildren.
MISSING MAN-ST HELENS
Wash. officers suspend search for Japanese hiker
LONGVIEW, Wash. (AP) - Sheriff's officers in two southwest Washington counties have suspended search efforts for a 26-year-old Japanese hiker last seen near Mount St. Helens.
Cowlitz County Undersheriff Marc Gilchrist said Wednesday that aerial and ground searches and investigations by Cowlitz and Skamania county officers have found no trace of Yosuke Onishi. Hikers in the area have not reported seeing him.
Gilchrist says the man's mother and sister flew to Portland, Ore., late last week from Japan and drove with an interpreter to Cougar, Wash., where they talked to deputies.
Onishi is from Saga Prefecture on the island of Kyushu.
Gilchrist says deputies would still like to locate a couple who gave Onishi a ride to where he was dropped off near the mountain. The owners of a Cougar deli say the couple drove a gray or light brown passenger car on the morning of Nov. 27. Onishi has not been seen since then.
2 Ore. men injured on icy Wash. trail
STEVENSON, Wash. (AP) - A Skamania County, Wash., sheriff's officer says two Oregon men who were injured when they slipped off an icy trail in the Columbia River Gorge have been rescued and taken to a hospital.
Undersheriff Dave Cox said 75-year-old James VanLente of Wilsonville, Ore., slipped Wednesday on an icy spot on the Cape Horn trail east of Washougal and fell over the edge about 20 to 30 feet until vine maple entangled his legs. Cox says 68-year-old Martin Schwartz of Portland tried to reach VanLente, also slipped on the ice and fell past the other man about 150 feet down an ice chute.
VanLente was able to get back to the trail and walked out to meet a sheriff's deputy. Volunteers and Skamania County rescuers strapped Schwartz into a litter and lifted him with ropes back up to the trail, then carried him to an ambulance.
Both men were taken to a hospital. Cox said he did not know the extent of their injuries.
He praised rescuers for their work in "freezing temperatures, high winds and icy conditions."
BORING SEATTLE TUNNEL
Mysterious object blocks Seattle tunnel drilling
SEATTLE (AP) - The project director for Seattle Tunnel Partners says it could take about two weeks to determine what has blocked a tunnel-boring machine working on a highway tunnel under downtown Seattle - and figure out what to do.
The Seattle Times reports that Chris Dixon told a Wednesday news conference that specially trained workers could be sent to the site next week. They would peek outside the tunnel machine's cutter head to see what's in the way.
The boring machine can retreat about 18 inches and compressed air would be forced into the small space in front of the cutter head to allow workers to get a look at the problem.
The leading theory is that the machine called Bertha hit a boulder last Friday. The machine was shut down Saturday about 1,000 feet into the 1.7 mile project and 60 feet below street level.
The 58-foot diameter tunnel is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2015, creating a four-lane route for Highway 99 traffic between South Lake Union and the area south of downtown.
Neighbor saves dogs blamed for starting house fire
JOYCE, Wash. (AP) - A couple in the Olympic Peninsula community of Joyce, Wash., say a neighbor helped save their home and their pets from a fire this week.
James Krieger says it's possible his dogs started the fire.
He and his wife, Sarah, left their home in an RV park Monday night to do some errands, leaving their two dogs inside.
The Peninsula Daily News reports that neighbor Evan Angenendt often dog-sits for the couple. He heard the noise from a fire alarm, entered the house and found flames shooting up from the stove.
Krieger says his dogs get rough when they wrestle. He says they must have hit the propane switch.
Inslee denies shorter sentence for Marriam Oliver
OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) - Gov. Jay Inslee has denied a recommendation from the state's clemency board to grant a shortened sentence to a woman who is in the midst of a 22-year sentence for her role in a deadly group attack on a 64-year-old man that occurred when she was 14.
Inslee's attorney, Nicholas Brown, sent Marriam Oliver's attorney a letter last week explaining his reasoning behind the decision. In September, the state's Clemency and Pardon's Board unanimously voted that Oliver, now 26, should be released in three years, as long as she doesn't have any infractions on her prison record during that time.
Oliver was one of five teens and an adult, Barbara Marie Opel, who either pleaded guilty or were convicted in the 2001 beating and stabbing death of Jerry Dean Heimann at his Everett home. Opel was hired by Heimann as a caregiver to his elderly mother, and recruited her own 13-year-old daughter and other teens, including Oliver, to kill him so she could get control of his bank account.
SEATTLE WINE HEIST
Seattle police find 2,500 stolen bottles of wine
SEATTLE (AP) - Police have recovered more than 2,500 bottles of wine stolen from a South Seattle wine shop last month, and they're probing a possible connection to an earlier heist in San Francisco.
The wine was taken over Thanksgiving at Esquin Wine Merchants, a wine shop that also has 450 privately rented, climate-controlled storage lockers. Prosecutors say the culprits broke in, painted over security cameras, cut through sheetrock to access the lockers, and tried to burn the building down.
Investigators say the stolen wine, valued at $648,000, was found Tuesday at a storage facility less than a mile from the wine shop.
They say the investigation indicated the suspects last spring sold a large amount of wine to a San Francisco dealer for $100,000 - soon after a break-in at a high-end San Francisco wine shop.
MISSING MOM-PLEA AGREEMENT
Co-defendant reaches plea deal in Anderson case
LEWISTON, Idaho (AP) - One of two men charged with first-degree murder in the 2010 disappearance of Rachael Anderson of Clarkston, Wash., has reached a plea agreement.
The Lewiston Tribune reports 50-year-old David C. Stone pleaded guilty to failure to notify law enforcement about a death during an appearance in Moscow's 2nd District Court Wednesday. Under the agreement, other charges including first-degree murder may be dropped later at the discretion of a 2nd District judge once a sentencing date has been set.
Stone and Anderson's estranged husband, 53-year-old Charles A. Capone, were both charged with first-degree murder, failure to notify a coroner or law enforcement officer about a death and conspiracy to commit both of those crimes.
Capone's trial is set for March 31.
Machinists give Boeing 777X proposal for Wash.
SEATTLE (AP) - Leaders of the Machinists Union say they have given the Boeing Co. a preliminary proposal for a contract that would mean much of the work on the company's new 777X jet would be done in the Puget Sound region.
The union statement came late Wednesday after a second day of talks between Boeing Commercial Airplanes officials and union leaders.
Tom Wroblewski (Robe-LESS-ky) is president of Machinists Union District Lodge 751. He says the union, in his words, "tried to craft a proposal that would meet the needs of our members, while also ensuring the long-term success of the Boeing Co. in Washington state." He disclosed no details but says he expects a Boeing response on Thursday.
Boeing spokesman Doug Alder did not immediately return an Associated Press call for comment. He declined to provide any details on negotiations to The Seattle Times.
The union says the two sides are not close to an agreement.
In mid-November, the union rejected a proposed eight-year contract for the 777X work.
Tuesday was Boeing's deadline for other states to submit proposals to build the new plane.
Burst pipe causes flooding at WSU
PULLMAN, Wash. (AP) - A burst water pipe in the IT building on the Washington State University campus caused major disruptions of computer service.
The burst pipe on Wednesday morning caused flooding that damaged a significant number of computer servers housed in the lower level of the building.
The university says the flooding occurred because recent cold temperatures damaged the building's water pipes, which released a torrent of water as temperatures increased.
The disruptions included an outage of the university's main website; the loss of online access to the student information system, loss of access to some online exams; and interruptions to wi-fi service in some dormitories.
The school says technicians are working to restore access to WSU online services.
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.