Machinists reject Boeing 777X counteroffer
SEATTLE (AP) - A top national negotiator for the Machinists union says Washington state union members should get a chance to decide on a Boeing contract offer that would keep much of the work on a new 777X jet in the Puget Sound region. Local union leaders said earlier the price Boeing demanded was too high.
Rich Michalski told The Seattle Times late Thursday that, in his words, "We really need to hear from our members."
Tom Wroblewski (Rohb-LESS-kee) leads local Machinists District 751. He said earlier Thursday that Boeing's offer was contingent on union leadership recommending acceptance. He said the senior leadership team could not recommend acceptance since the new offer was "mostly unchanged" from an offer area machinists rejected last month. A spokesman for local Machinist leaders says they're trying to reach Michalski.
Boeing spokesman Doug Alder says the offer has not been withdrawn and it's up to the union to put it to a vote or not.
Boeing says it has received proposals from 22 states eager for the 777X jobs.
LESS DEADLY CATCH
New boat seeks safer fishing on deadly Bering Sea
ANACORTES, Wash. (AP) - A $35 million boat commissioned by a Washington state-based fishing company promises to make one of the most dangerous professions safer.
The key difference is a new vessel design: Fishermen won't be on the boat's deck weathering unforgiving Bering Sea waves as they reel in their catch. Instead, they'll be behind the protection of the boat's hull.
Currently under construction in Anacortes, Wash., the flagship vessel for Blue North Fisheries is the first of its kind for American commercial fishing - a similar model is already used by a Norwegian company.
Jennifer Lincoln, an injury epidemiologist with the National Institute for Occupational Safety Health, says the vessel's design represents an attempt to avoid the hazards faced by fishermen completely.
The 191-foot vessel is due to hit waters in late 2014.
Boeing to shift research jobs to South, Midwest
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Boeing is shifting hundreds of jobs to Alabama, Missouri and South Carolina as it restructures its research and technology operations.
The Chicago-based aerospace company said Thursday that it will decrease its research operations in Washington state and California as part of the change.
The announcement comes as those same states, and several others, compete to assemble Boeing's 777X passenger plane.
Boeing spokesman Daryl Stephenson says the restructuring of research operations is unrelated to the new airplane and was in the works long beforehand.
The company is adding 300-400 employees each in Alabama, Missouri and South Carolina. Research jobs are declining by 800-1,200 in Washington and by 200-300 in California.
Wenatchee, Wash., officer fatally shoots man
WENATCHEE, Wash. (AP) - Wenatchee police say a city police officer fatally shot a man in the parking lot of a fast-food restaurant during a controlled drug buy that went bad.
The Wenatchee World reports that Capt. Doug Jones says the patrol officer who shot the man Thursday afternoon was struck by the man's SUV in the parking lot of a Taco Bell.
Jones says the unidentified officer was taken to Central Washington Hospital.
Mayor Frank Kuntz says the officer was dragged a short distance and suffered bumps and bruises.
The police spokesman says the SUV driver who died at the scene was the suspect in the controlled drug buy being conducted by the Columbia River Task Force. The task force had called Wenatchee police for backup.
The dead man was not immediately identified.
The mayor says local State Patrol troopers are part of the drug task force so investigators from another State Patrol district were called to investigate the shooting.
Commercial truck dangles over I-90 embankment
SNOQUALMIE PASS, Wash. (AP) - The Washington State Patrol says a truck driver whose tractor-trailer rig spun out on Interstate 90 and crashed over a highway barrier was left hanging over a steep embankment near Snoqualmie Pass for more than an hour.
KOMO-TV reports the front half of the rig crashed over a jersey barrier on the eastbound shoulder of the highway. Trooper Darren Wright says the driver and truck cab were hanging over an embankment that dropped at least 40 feet.
Wright says emergency workers were able to free the driver in about an hour.
PORT ANGELES TROOPER CRASH
Trooper suspended for 4 days after traffic crash
PORT ANGELES, Wash. (AP) - The Washington State Patrol says a trooper has been suspended for four days and ordered to retrain after causing a three-vehicle crash east of Port Angeles last month.
The Peninsula Daily News reports that 39-year-old Trooper Travis Beebe will receive 40 hours of driver training at the State Patrol academy and complete a four-hour check ride with a driving instructor.
The State Patrol says the 17-year veteran caused the Nov. 29 crash while trying to overtake a speeding vehicle on U.S. Highway 101 on an "S'' curve.
Beebe's commander Capt. Chris Old said Thursday that the trooper "accepted responsibility for losing control of his car."
The patrol car was destroyed when it crossed the centerline and collided with a pickup truck and an SUV. The patrol says none of the 10 people in the three vehicles was seriously hurt.
GRANT COUNTY SHOOTING
Moses Lake man critically wounded
MOSES LAKE, Wash. (AP) - The Grant County sheriff's office says a Moses Lake man who was found shot Wednesday in a rural area remains in critical condition Thursday at a hospital.
The sheriff's office isn't naming the hospital for safety reasons.
Detectives believe the shooting of 28-year-old Dale Glenn Olmos was not random.
New data released on health exchange enrollees
OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) - State officials say that the number of people signing up for private insurance on the state's new health exchange have increased significantly since the health exchange went online in October.
According to data released Thursday by the Washington Health Benefit Exchange, enrollments in the private plans increased from 6,351 in October to 20,144 in November. An additional 53,000 people have completed their applications but need to finish enrolling by paying for their new health coverage that is set to begin in January.
Officials also say that most applications have come from one-person households and that nearly 20 percent of the enrollees buying private plans were in the 18-to-34-year-old category. About 40 percent are between the ages of 55 and 64.
Charter school proponents: Ruling won't stop plans
SEATTLE (AP) - A King County Superior Court Judge has found that provisions of the state's voter-approved charter school law violate the state constitution, but proponents said the ruling will not affect the implementation of the schools.
The first schools are scheduled to open in fall 2014.
Lisa Macfarlane of the Washington State Charter Schools Association said things will proceed as planned. Ultimately, questions of the constitutionality of the alternative schools will likely be answered by the state Supreme Court.
King County Judge Jean Rietschel found in a ruling issued Thursday that a charter school can't be defined as a "common school" because it's not under the control of voters in a school district. Under the Washington Constitution, schools have to be under the control of voters in their districts to be considered part of the state system and obtain state construction funding.
BORING SEATTLE TUNNEL
'De-watering wells' next at stalled Seattle tunnel
SEATTLE (AP) - The Transportation Department says crews are drilling "de-watering" wells Thursday to relieve pressure on a machine that has become stuck while boring a highway tunnel under downtown Seattle.
Spokeswoman KaDeena Yerkan says the wells should make it easier to identify what's blocking the machine known as Bertha. Then contractors will determine how to proceed.
The machine was halted Saturday by the mysterious obstruction. It may be a huge boulder.
The boring machine is 60 feet under the streets and about one-tenth of the way into the planned 1.7-mile tunnel that will carry Highway 99 traffic and replace the Alaskan Way Viaduct.
Final decision made on Hanford tanks
SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) - The U.S. Department of Energy this week will issue its final decision on how to deal with the nation's biggest collection of radioactive waste.
That's the waste held in 177 underground tanks at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation near Richland. The wastes are left over from the production of plutonium for nuclear weapons.
The Energy Department intends to retrieve 99 percent of the waste currently stored in the underground tanks and close up the older single-walled storage tanks. Some of those old tanks date back to World War II and have leaked.
The agency also intends to dismantle the above-ground portions of the closed Fast Flux Test Facility reactor.
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