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Victims' families angry with Inslee death penalty decision

Victims' families angry with Inslee death penalty decision

Washington Govenor Jay Inslee's decision to suspend executions of death row inmates has prompted a new senate bill, introduced by State Senator Steve O'Ban of Tacoma that has gained the support of the families of murder victims whose killers are on death row.

Three of the nine men on death row are from Spokane: Byron Scherf, who killed prison guard Jayme Biendl, Spokane serial killer Robert Yates, who killed 13 people, and Dwayne Woods, who beat two Spokane women to death.

Families of their victims are joining O'Ban to show Inslee his decision is not in favor of the victims. The bill will require Inslee to gather input from the state clemency and pardons board before signing a reprieve that would halt executions.

"Everyone here sees a name, but they don't get faces. This is Telisha," Sherry Shaver said.

Shaver is Telisha Shaver's mother; Telisha was one of two women beaten to death in 1997 by Dwayne Woods. She addressed the Senate Law and Justice Committee pleading on behalf of her daughter.

Washtunca students pen bill for state waterfall

Washtunca students pen bill for state waterfall

At the Washtucna School, a civics lesson has taken on a life of its own and is inspiring the small school’s young students. The 30 students in grades 3 & 4 and 5 & 6 have introduced a bill in the legislature and are on a mission to have the Palouse Falls named the official water fall of Washington.


“We started thinking, how can we make this real for the kids,” said 5th & 6th grade teacher Janet Camp. “We started thinking, what do we have to offer?”

Local impact of the push to raise minimum wage

Local impact of the push to raise minimum wage

Minimum wage was a key topic in President Obama's State of the Union address Tuesday night. He wants to raise it from $7.25 an hour to $10.10 an hour for federally contracted workers.

"The cold, hard fact is that even in the midst of recovery, too many Americans are working more than ever just to get by, let alone get ahead. And too many still aren't working at all," President Obama said.

An Associated Press fact check shows it boost pay for about 200,000 employees. The president can issue the executive order, but would need congressional approval to raise minimum wage for all federal workers.

"Because if you cook our troops' meals or wash their dishes, you shouldn't have to live in poverty," President Obama said.

Some people we talked with agree.

"With what minimum wage is right now, a man cannot even pay his rent," taxi driver Larry Boyd said. "He must work a job and a half to do it."

"I think it gives you more incentive to work and it gives people a little more incentive to find those kind of jobs," Evander Cobbs said.

Patty Murray remembers JFK

Patty Murray remembers JFK

Senator Patty Murray released the following statement on the 50th anniversary of the President John F. Kennedy's death:

Like so many Americans I still vividly remember November 22nd, 1963. As an 8th grader in my small hometown of Bothell, Washington I still remember playing in our school’s marching band in front of a local elementary school when someone came in and whispered in the ear of our band director. He immediately stopped the song we were playing, asked us to pull out the music to God Bless America, and we began to play. Then there was an announcement that the President had been shot. It was stunning.

I also remember going home and seeing my mom do two things that she never did, watch TV all day and cry. For me, it was the day the world got bigger than the small town I lived in. And from that day on, the Kennedy legacy of service was talked about often in my house. Those conversations helped instill in all of my brothers and sisters the knowledge that we have to be part of the bigger world beyond our own home and that we should work where we could to make our school, our community, and the world a better place.

Nethercutt announces Citizenship Tournament

The George Nethercutt Foundation announced on Thursday that they will be holding a Citizenship Tournament in the fall of 2013.

 

The tournament will feature self-paced activities that test student's knowledge of U.S. history, current events, economics, government and foreign policy. It is open to students in grades four, eight and twelve.

 

“I wanted to have the input of young people in policy making,” explains George Nethercutt about why he started his foundation back in 1996. He goes on to say that this tournament is a great opportunity to show students what it's like to participate in the civic life.

 

Nethercutt describes the tournament challenges as being things that will encourage students to be “more immersed in government”. The first round tasks could include things like interviewing a veteran, attending a city council meeting or writing a letter to the editor or to their congressman to see what response they get.

Day of Action held for GMO labeling advocates

Day of Action held for GMO labeling advocates

 

Washington Food & Water Watch held a Day of Action today to mark their food-labeling initiative being added to November's ballot.

Initiative 522, also known as “The People's Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Act”, “would require most raw agricultural commodities, processed foods, seeds and seed stocks, if produced using genetic engineering as defined, to be labeled as genetically engineered when offered for retail sale,” according to a news release from Brian Zylstra, spokesman for secretary of state office.

Genetically-modified food initiative certified, Day of Action planned by proponents

Genetically-modified food initiative certified, Day of Action planned by proponents

 

Although turnout should be quite low, political action groups around Washington state are gearing up for a fight surrounding a food-labeling initiative slated to be on November's ballot.

Initiative 522, also known as “The People's Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Act”, “would require most raw agricultural commodities, processed foods, seeds and seed stocks, if produced using genetic engineering as defined, to be labeled as genetically engineered when offered for retail sale,” according to a news release from Brian Zylstra, spokesman for secretary of state office.

I-522 turned in 353,153 signatures with an error rate of 17.02 percent, which is “slightly less than the historic average.”

Now that the initiative has been certified and will be on the ballot, its campaign is organizing events to bring awareness to the community. Michelle Kim, field organizer for Food & Water Watch Spokane is inviting everyone to come to a Day of Action outside of Main Market Co-op (44 W. Main Ave.) to learn more about the initiative.