Northwest Digest

Posted: Tuesday, February 03, 2004

NOAA receives site prep bids for new center

JUNEAU - NOAA Fisheries has received bids for the new fisheries research center to be built on Lena Point.

Currently the agency's expanding research operations are crammed into a 45-year-old Auke Bay facility that doesn't have adequate capacity or equipment for research, said program manager John Gorman.

"As the years roll by here we find ourselves in a situation where science supporting our management actions becomes ever more critical. Every action we take here on the management side of fisheries here in Alaska requires science to back it up," Gorman said.

The new facility would house 100 scientists.

NOAA spokeswoman Sheela McLean said the agency has received several bids for site preparation and expects to award a contract in early March, with the actual site work to begin later that month.

Gorman said he expects the contract for construction of the facility to be awarded in about a year.

Three animals killed to prevent mad cow

YAKIMA, Wash. - Over the weekend, three cows related to the mad cow investigation were euthanized at a Mabton farm, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said Monday.

That farm has also been released from quarantine, the agency said.

The three killings on Saturday bring to 704 the number of cows that have been killed by the federal government at various farms in Washington, Oregon and Idaho in efforts to prevent the disease from spreading.

One cow at the Sunny Dene Ranch in Mabton was found shortly before Christmas to be infected with mad cow disease. Investigators have been searching for 80 cows that entered the country from an Alberta, Canada, farm with the sick cow in 2001.

The cows killed Saturday were euthanized at a second Mabton farm, which has not been identified.

The sick cow was slaughtered Dec. 9.

GOP's 'deep bench' eyes House race

OLYMPIA, Wash. - Washington's 8th Congressional District, suddenly up for grabs after Jennifer Dunn's surprise retirement announcement, has a "deep bench" of Republicans eying the race and Democrats sensing the possibility of a takeaway.

Early GOP speculation included radio talk show host John Carlson, the party's nominee for governor four years ago, and King County Sheriff Dave Reichert, whose department solved the Green River serial killer case.

Dunn, who announced last Friday that she'll leave politics after a 12-year tenure in Congress, rattled off a long list of potential successors, and said she has no worries about turning over the seat in Seattle's eastern suburbs to a Democrat.

"It's a Republican district," she said in an AP interview, adding that she felt free to leave the seat only because she's so certain it will stay in GOP hands.

Her retirement plans caught the party off guard, and two prominent Republicans frequently mentioned as eventual successors already have committed themselves to other races - Dino Rossi for governor and King County Councilman Rob McKenna for attorney general. King County Councilwoman Jane Hague also committed to run against U.S. Rep. Jay Inslee in the adjacent 1st District.

Justice wins second powerlifting title

OLYMPIA, Wash. - This buff justice gives new meaning to the words "bench press."

State Supreme Court Justice Faith Ireland won her second national powerlifting championship last weekend, grabbing a spot for herself on the USA Masters Team for world competition.

On Saturday, the 61-year-old justice broke the American squat record for her age and weight with a 198-pound lift. In the deadlift, Ireland set a personal record of 253 pounds.

She's proudest of her 133-pound bench press - not just because it set another national record, but because she achieved her long-standing personal goal of benching more than her 130-pound weight.

"That's kind of a mark among people who lift weights," the gym-savvy judge explained. "At my age, I'm happy to do it!"

Twenty years ago, Ireland was overweight, out-of-shape and nearly crippled by back pain from a car accident. She started lifting weights about four years ago as physical therapy for her back, and says it has transformed her life.

Now she weighs 30 pounds less, feels great and enjoys the confidence that comes from knowing she could lift many of her co-workers over her head.

David Knotek pleads guilty to murder

SOUTH BEND, Wash. - A Raymond man charged with his wife in a bizarre torture murder case has pleaded guilty to a lesser charge - second-degree murder - and agreed to cooperate with authorities.

David Knotek pleaded guilty in the death of his wife's teenage nephew, Shane Watson, in a plea agreement that reduced the charge from first-degree murder.

Knotek told Pacific County Superior Court last Friday that he shot and killed Watson and also buried the body of a 57-year-old boarder, Ron Woodworth, after Woodworth died.

Investigators had uncovered a body in the backyard of the couple's quaint Raymond farmhouse shortly after the two were arrested last August, following a tip that alleged murder and torture at the home.

In addition to the murder plea, Knotek entered a modified guilty plea to a rendering criminal assistance charge - maintaining his innocence on that count but conceding that he likely would have been convicted had his case gone to trial. He also pleaded guilty to improper disposal of human remains.

No sentencing date has been set, but both prosecution and defense agreed to recommend a combined sentence just short of 15 years.

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