Challenge affects voter registrations
King County Elections administrators say 155 of more than 1,900 voters who learned last week their right to vote was under challenge by the Republican Party have voluntarily changed the address on their registrations to make them legal. The Republican Party had objected to the registrations, saying the addresses were at mailboxes or storage units, and therefore invalid. State law says voters must give their residential address when registering to vote.
Election administrators said most of the 155 voters had either checked the wrong address box or lived on boats and used a post-office box. Many other voters contacted the elections office last week to say the challenges were unjustified, Elections Director Dean Logan said on Friday. The Elections Office was open Saturday to allow voters to change or defend the addresses on their registrations, and about 200 people people phoned or came in, Logan said Saturday.
Logan last week urged people whose registrations have been challenged to go ahead and vote in Tuesday's election and said their votes will be counted if their registrations are later found to be legal.
The Elections Office at 500 Fourth Ave., Seattle, is open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. weekdays. The office also has established a hotline — 206-205-5686 — to answer voters' questions.Fort Lewis
Stryker unit gets a new commander
A Stryker Brigade recently returned from Iraq has a new commander.
Col. John S. RisCassi assumed control of the 1st Brigade, 25th Infantry Division on Friday during a change-of-command ceremony. He replaces Col. Robert Brown, who is being reassigned to U.S. Pacific Command in Hawaii.
RisCassi joined the Army in 1984. His previous assignments include tours in Germany; on Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm, where he served as a company commander; and in the Pentagon as a Joint Chiefs of Staff intern until his attendance at Command and General Staff College, Fort Leavenworth, Kan.
At Fort Lewis, he commanded the 2nd Battalion, 3rd Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division during the transformation of the first Stryker Brigade.
RisCassi graduated from the National War College in 2004 and has served in the Office of the Chief of Staff of the Army.
Biologist named to state wildlife panel
Gov. Christine Gregoire has appointed Conrad Mahnken, a retired fisheries biologist from Bainbridge Island, to the state Fish and Wildlife Commission.
The governor has sought to recast the commission, which oversees hunting and fishing regulations and appoints the state fish and wildlife director. With the latest appointment Friday, she now has a majority of her own appointees on the nine-member panel.
Mahnken replaces Commissioner Clyde McBrayer of Olympia, who resigned in August. Mahnken will serve a term that expires at the end of 2010. State Senate confirmation is required.
"Connie Mahnken shares my strong commitment to the sustainable use of our natural resources," the governor said in announcing the appointment. "The direction set by FWC affects the economic stability of many important industries, as well as the environmental quality of our state.
"We depend on our commissioners to look out for the needs and assure the future of all of our natural heritage, as well as the species that we seek to conserve for long-term hunting and fishing opportunities."
The panel sets policy, including hunting and fishing seasons, for the state's fishing and wildlife management.
Mahnken retired last year after 40 years with the National Marine Fisheries Service and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. He was director of the NMFS Manchester Laboratory and was the NMFS national aquaculture coordinator.
He serves on the federally funded Hatchery Scientific Review Group, which hopes to improve Washington's salmon hatcheries.
Overturned semi shuts down I-90
Interstate 90 through Snoqualmie Pass was closed for 90 minutes Saturday morning to move a tractor-trailer that overturned around midnight after the driver lost control of his vehicle on the snowy road, Washington State Patrol reported.
The semi driver, who suffered minor injuries, was traveling eastbound, near the summit. The investigation is continuing.
Clinton pedestrian struck, killed
An 82-year old Clinton man was fatally hit Friday after he tried to walk across State Road 525 near Howard Road on Whidbey Island, the Washington State Highway Patrol reported.
Marion Alexander had parked his pickup truck on the right shoulder in the afternoon, and authorities reported that witnesses said he did not look for oncoming traffic before being hit by a car traveling northbound. The investigation is continuing.
Times staff and wire reports
Seattle Times transportation reporter Mike Lindblom describes some of the factors that may have led to the collapse of the I-5 bridge over the Skagit River in Mount Vernon on Thursday, May 23.