PUBLIC TRANSIT TRIPS
Americans riding public transit in record numbers
LOS ANGELES (AP) - Americans are boarding public buses, trains and subways in greater numbers than any time since the suburbs began booming.
Nearly 10.7 billion trips in 2013, to be precise - the highest total since 1956.
The new numbers come from the American Public Transportation Association.
Transit ridership has now fully recovered from a dip caused by the Great Recession. With services restored following economy-driven cutbacks, the numbers appear set to continue what had been a steady increase.
Expanding bus and train networks help spur the growth, as does the nation's urban shift.
The sprawling city of Houston had a large ridership gain. So did Los Angeles, Seattle, Miami, Denver and San Diego.
The New York area's behemoth transit network saw the greatest gain, accounting for one in three trips nationally.
DETENTION CENTER HUNGER STRIKE
Immigration detainees continue hunger strike
TACOMA. Wash. (AP) - Immigration officials say a lockdown has been lifted at a Washington state detention center where many detainees are involved in a hunger strike to protest their treatment and call for an end to deportations.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement announced the lockdown earlier Sunday at the area of the Northwest Detention Center holding violent offenders as a precaution amid a continuing hunger strike.
ICE said late Sunday night the lockdown had been lifted, but it did not provide details.
Officials say about 330 detainees refused to eat Sunday lunch, while 750 wouldn't eat Saturday.
The lockdown of Level 1 offenders, those with violent criminal histories, meant supervision was more intensive and certain privileges were restricted, such as access to phone calls, ICE said. The agency said it couldn't provide a number of detainees affected by the lockdown but that they still have "controlled access" to medical and hygiene facilities.
KENNEWICK APARTMENT FIRE
Fire official: fire crews followed protocol
KENNEWICK, Wash. (AP) - Fire officials say Kennewick fire crews followed department protocol before they left the scene of an apartment fire last month that eventually rekindled.
The Tri-City Herald reports that the investigation into two fires Feb. 12 found firefighters made sure the first blaze was out before leaving.
No residents were injured. One firefighter was treated at a local hospital.
Kennewick Fire Chief Neil Hines says there were no breaches of fire department policy.
The first blaze started shortly before 8:45 p.m. The fire was under control within an hour and the last fire truck left the scene at 11:18 p.m.
Crews were called back around 3 a.m. as a second fire engulfed the building's roof.
Officials said the second fire started somewhere in the attic.
YAKIMA CLERGY ABUSE
Trial set Monday in Yakima alleged sex abuse case
YAKIMA, Wash. (AP) - A federal judge in Yakima is scheduled on Monday hear a case involving a man who sued the Catholic Diocese of Yakima over alleged clergy sexual abuse.
The Yakima Herald-Republic reports the man, known as John Doe, is suing for more than $3 million. He alleges that a deacon in the Yakima Diocese repeatedly raped him one night in 1999.
Police later learned the deacon had left his Zillah church the day after the alleged incident and eventually fled to Mexico.
Doe's attorneys argue that the deacon was under the Yakima Diocese's supervision and used his position and authority to molest the teenager.
The diocese says the version of events given by Doe is not an accurate account of that evening.
The trial is before Judge Edward Shea.
Rains send sewage into Port Angeles Harbor
PORT ANGELES, Wash. (AP) - Public health officials in Port Angeles are warning people away from waters of Port Angeles Harbor after heavy rains sent about 6 million gallons of combined rain and raw sewage into the harbor.
The Peninsula Daily News reports that last week's rainfall overwhelmed the stormwater system, forcing untreated sewage and stormwater into the harbor.
Officials say fecal bacteria in the sewage could result in skin rashes, respiratory infections and other illnesses.
The public health warning is in effect through Friday.
Bumps in rollout of cellphone alerts in Washington
TACOMA, Wash. (AP) - A system set up to send emergency alerts to thousands of cellphone users has experienced problems during its rollout in Washington state.
The News Tribune reports that the mobile notification system has helped authorities find at least two missing children as a result of Amber Alerts sent to cellphones in the state.
But it also mistakenly warned people in the lowlands of Western Washington of a blizzard that was happening in the Cascade Mountains, and it alerted others in Western Washington of potential flash floods thousands of miles away, in Puerto Rico.
Still, officials say, the weather warnings have saved countless people elsewhere in the country. They say the system is working despite problems.
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