Inquest in police shooting
King County Executive Dow Constantine today ordered a jury inquest into a January fatal shooting by a Seattle police officer. The shooting claimed the life of 36-year-old Andrew Law, who was reportedly pointing a replica gun at passersby in the SoDo district on Jan. 20. Police said he pointed it at them after they arrived on the scene; police later determined he had a replica gun rather than an actual weapon. Constantine said the review is routine, with all shootings involving an officer subject to an inquest under a standing executive order. ""Inquests provide transparency into law enforcement actions so the public may have all the facts," according to a statement from his office. A King County District Court judge will empanel a six-person jury and conduct the inquest. — J.C.
Sen. Patty Murray blames our cost-cutting for VA troubles
Instead of pointing fingers at Veterans Administration Secretary Eric Shinseki over reports of secret waiting lists at VA hospitals across the nation, Sen. Patty Murray points to a political culture requiring cost-cutting. Murray told Yahoo News that the cost-cutting atmosphere has led VA leaders to consistently mislead themselves and the government about how much money they actually need to care for veterans. Murray suggests that the problem is not a flawed prediction of health services, but a “deliberate downsizing” of budget requests due to Congress’ austerity approaches. While pointing to the political culture, Murray also said she has told every VA secretary to give the Congress the truth about how much funding it needs. That might not be a good sign for Shinseki, who faces calls for his resignation from increasing numbers of senators and representatives in both parties. — J.B.
Manufacturing: Going up?
The Obama administration today selected the Puget Sound area as one of 12 centers where it hopes to increase production and exports by manufacturers with targeted federal support and opportunities to apply for federal grants. The main focus here will be in training for aerospace work and in identifying opportunities for aerospace supplies. Gov. Jay Inslee welcomed the designation, saying, “Aerospace provides one thing that fewer and fewer industries can offer: large numbers of high-paying manufacturing jobs." — J.C.
Congressional bill: happier oysters, healthier oceans?
First term Democratic Congressman Derek Kilmer’s solution to combatting ocean acidification drew co-sponsorship from Republican U.S. Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, according to The News Tribune. Kilmer has proposed that federal agencies devote existing dollars allocated to ocean acidification research to competitions for prizes, which he thinks will encourage investment of more private dollars toward solving the acidification problem. Kilmer estimates that the bill could generate four to 10 times more value than the amount of the prize, up to $50 million for a $5 million prize. The federal government currently spends about $30 million a year on conventional research grants.
Ocean acidification, a phenomenon caused by rising carbon dioxide emissions which scientists link to climate change, threatens many Pacific Ocean dwellers. Kilmer and Herrera Beutler have both pointed to the potential benefits for the local seafood industry from resolving problems stemming from acidification. — E.W.
Bodies recovered in plane crash
Ward Zimmerman, an 86-year-old Seattle man, sat beside his brother and fellow pilot Robert for many long-distance flights, reaching as far as South America. Ward Zimmerman and his 84-year-old brother, who was from Alabama, were still in their small plane's seats when their bodies were airlifted off a Wyoming mountain Tuesday, according to the Seattle Times. The brothers had embarked on a leisurely trip across the country for several weeks before crashing May 6 after taking off from Cody, Wyoming. The wreckage was found on May 12 but recovery efforts were postponed due to avalanche danger. — E.W.
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