Northwest Digest

Posted: Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Judge overturns Greenpeace verdict

JUNEAU - A Ketchikan judge on Monday overturned a jury's guilty verdicts against Greenpeace and the captain of the Arctic Sunrise for sailing in Alaska waters without an oil spill prevention plan.

District Judge Kevin Miller cleared Greenpeace Inc. and Capt. Arne Sorensen of the misdemeanor charges. He wrote in his decision that the evidence did not show the environmental group and Sorensen acted with criminal negligence.

"The decision to remove these verdicts from the province of the jury is one that this court does not take lightly," Miller wrote.

The charges stemmed from a visit Greenpeace made to Southeast Alaska last year to conduct an anti-logging campaign in the Tongass National Forest.

A Ketchikan jury on May 9 found Greenpeace guilty of two counts of operating a ship without oil spill contingency plans on July 12 and July 14, 2004. The jury also found the organization innocent of operating without a certificate of financial responsibility for cleaning potential spills.

The jury found Sorensen guilty of two counts of operating without contingency plans on both dates. He also was found guilty of not having the financial responsibility certificate on July 12, but innocent of operating without the certificate on July 14.

Defense lawyers for Greenpeace and Sorensen said the convictions were inconsistent and asked Miller to reverse the jury's verdicts. The state opposed the motion, saying Alaska case law requires judges to review the evidence "in the light most favorable to upholding the jury's verdict."

Plane loses power, lands on highway

AUBURN, Wash. - A small, single-engine plane made an emergency landing on State Highway 18 Monday afternoon, just east of the Green River near this city southeast of Seattle.

The Cessna 210 apparently lost power for an undetermined reason and landed on the road about 4:15 p.m.

Nobody was hurt, no vehicles were struck and television footage showed no visible damage to the plane, which was towed off the highway.

The plane's owner and pilot, Gaylen M. Talley, of Renton, said he was able to find a "slot" in the highway's vehicle traffic to set down.

Experts discuss risk of future oil spills

SEATTLE - Panelists at a hearing Monday on the risk of oil spills in Washington state praised initiatives such as the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund but expressed concerns about liability caps, salvage efforts and cleanup methods.

"Spills are still continuing far too often," said Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., who arranged the field hearing. And cleanup costs work out to about $1,000 for every gallon of oil released, she said.

Cantwell heard from eight panelists representing government agencies, area tribes and organizations such as the Western States Petroleum Association.

The Pacific Northwest and the Puget Sound area have arguably the strongest safety net in the country, said Capt. Myles "Chip" Boothe, chief of the Marine Safety Division of the Seattle-based 13th Coast Guard District.

Miss Everett Teen enlists in the Army

EVERETT, Wash. - Miss Everett Teen USA 2004 is putting away her sash to put on a U.S. Army uniform.

Last summer, Jennifer Cabanayan appeared at community events, including the Mukilteo Lighthouse Festival and the National Night Out Against Crime, as Miss Everett Teen USA 2004. Now she has enlisted in the Army and will leave for boot camp at Fort Jackson, S.C., on Aug. 11.

The petite brunette says Army service has always been in the back of her mind.

"I'm capable, I'm healthy. This is the right thing to do," said Cabanayan, who attended Cascade and Marysville-Pilchuck high schools before earning her GED. "I cannot wait for that moment of putting on a uniform. It gives you that honor."

Paulene Saylor, Cabanayan's mother, said her daughter comes from a military family. Saylor's father, Otis Saylor of Stanwood, served two tours in Vietnam with an Army airborne unit.

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