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Originally published Wednesday, December 13, 2006 at 12:00 AM

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Local Digest

Man found dead in West Seattle after being shot

Seattle police found a man's body outside a West Seattle home Tuesday morning. They said he had been shot. Officers were called to a home...

Seattle police found a man's body outside a West Seattle home Tuesday morning. They said he had been shot.

Officers were called to a home in the 3500 block of Southwest 100th Street at 11:30 a.m. and found the body in the yard, said police spokesman Jeff Kappel. The man, whose identity hasn't been released, is believed to have lived at the home.

No arrests have been made.

Seattle

Whittier principal placed on leave

Parents at Whittier Elementary School in North Seattle learned late last week that the principal is on leave, but the Seattle School District won't say why.

Alex Coberly, 33, has been the principal at the school since 2002.

Seattle Public Schools spokeswoman Teresa Wippel said Coberly was placed on paid leave beginning last Thursday. Wippel declined to explain, saying only that students have not been harmed.

Wippel also wouldn't say whether Coberly's leave was tied to a particular incident, whether police are involved or whether anyone is investigating.

A letter sent to Whittier parents said "we are not certain when [Coberly] will be returning." An interim principal is in place at the school now.

Parent Teacher Association Vice President Shawn Severin said she didn't know why Coberly was placed on leave, but, she said, "He is an upstanding guy that we support."

Seattle

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Step in annexation of North Highline

After years of debate, the Seattle City Council has voted to designate all of North Highline as a potential annexation area.

The designation is a required first step in the annexation process for North Highline, which includes about 31,000 residents of White Center, Boulevard Park, Beverly Park, Salmon Creek, North Shorewood, Top Hat and the South Park Industrial Area.

The measure passed Monday by a vote of 6-3, with council members Jan Drago, Peter Steinbrueck and Tom Rasmussen casting the dissenting votes. Mayor Greg Nickels released a strong statement of support following the vote.

The city of Burien also has declared North Highline a potential annexation area. For many months, the two cities have been in discussions, along with King County, to see if there is a way to divide the area in a manner that benefits both Seattle and Burien, as well as the North Highline community.

Voters in North Highline would have to approve any annexation plan. Seattle City Councilmember Richard Conlin said the earliest possible vote on annexation to Seattle would come next fall.

Washington

Smith to lead subcommittee

U.S. Rep. Adam Smith, D-Tacoma, has landed a chairmanship on one of the House Armed Services subcommittees.

In the post-election reshuffling of committee assignments, Smith will chair the panel on Terrorism, Unconventional Threats and Capabilities.

Smith, who is entering his sixth term in Congress, will begin the new job when the House convenes in January.

The subcommittee oversees the Pentagon's counterproliferation program to contain nuclear weapons. It's also responsible for monitoring issues involving special-operations forces and one of the Pentagon's key contracting agencies, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.

The post is a major promotion at a crucial time for Smith, who has taken a strong stand against the war in Iraq. He has called for a phased withdrawal of U.S. troops.

Smith is the only Democrat now serving on both the House Armed Services and the International Relations committees.

Vashon Island

Board, contractor reach settlement

The Vashon Island School Board has reached a $2 million settlement with a contractor responsible for building an elementary school that later required serious repairs.

The School Board announced on Monday that it had reached the settlement with Wick Constructors Inc., the Seattle contractor responsible for building Chautauqua Elementary School more than a decade ago. The district recently received a $310,000 settlement payment from Seattle-based Bassetti Architects, which designed the building.

The district found water in the cavities of the walls and in the classrooms at Chautauqua in 2004. The school required an extensive project to remove mold and correct design defects. Chautauqua is the island's only elementary school.

The district sued the contractor and architect, and pending the results of the litigation, asked Vashon Island voters last November to approve a $4.9 million bond to pay off an emergency loan required to make those repairs. According to the district, the Wick settlement funds will save taxpayers up to $1 per $1,000 of assessed valuation, which will be reflected on the 2008 property tax bill.

Wenatchee

E. coli blamed for illness in 5 children

Tests show that E. coli 0157 bacteria likely caused severe diarrhea in five children in the Chelan-Manson area recently. Two of the children were hospitalized. The possible sources of contamination were under investigation.

A health department director said the only link among the five children is that they were all in the Chelan-Manson area for Thanksgiving.

Sam Thomas, 10, of Manson, remained in serious condition Tuesday in the intensive-care unit at Children's Hospital & Regional Medical Center in Seattle.

Anchorage, Alaska

Fish decline leads to lower catch quota

The quota for the Bering Sea pollock catch is smaller for 2007 because the population of bottom fish is declining, according to the North Pacific Fishery Management Council.

The council, meeting this week in Anchorage, set the pollock catch limit at 1.394 million metric tons, or nearly 3.1 billion pounds. That's a decrease from this year's limit of almost 6 percent.

But fishing-industry representatives and government regulators said next year's haul still will be huge in historic terms. Pollock is used mostly to make fish sticks, fish sandwiches and imitation crab. It is one of the world's largest commercial fisheries by weight, and ranks as Alaska's most valuable seafood harvest.

All told, Alaska pollock products were worth almost $1.3 billion last year.

The pollock fishery begins in mid-January and will run through much of the year.

Seattle Times staff and news services

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