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ABC EXCLUSIVE: Alan Gross: Cuba Releases Him After Five Years in Prison


Alex Wong/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — Held for five years in Cuba, 65-year-old American contractor Alan Gross has been released from prison and is en route to U.S. soil, ABC News has learned exclusively.In a landmark humanitarian prisoner exchange to be announced by President Obama shortly at the White House, the agreement was reached following more than a year of secret back channel talks at the highest levels of both governments.Wednesday’s release of Gross, who is said to be in poor physical condition, represents a first step toward normal

Barack the Deejay: Obamas Reveal Intimate White House Dance Party


Taylor Hill/WireImage(WASHINGTON) — It's played host to royalty, presidential family Christmases, and first lady summits. At one time it served as FDR's personal study. Now, President Obama says the Yellow Oval Room in the upstairs residence of the White House has also served as his personal dance floor.In an interview with People magazine for release Friday, Obama reveals that he, the first lady and close friends spent a recent Friday evening grooving to soul tunes in the privacy of their official Washington home."Friday night. In the Yellow Oval

Obamas on Race: We've Been Treated Like the Help


ABC(NEW YORK) — President and Michelle Obama personally identify with everyday experiences of racial bias in America that have underpinned recent protests across the country, they told People magazine in an interview to be released Friday.“Barack Obama was a black man that lived on the South Side of Chicago, who had his share of troubles catching cabs," Michelle Obama told the magazine.On one occasion, she said, her husband “was wearing a tuxedo at a black-tie dinner, and somebody asked him to get coffee.”President Obama said he'

Jeb Bush Will 'Actively Explore the Possibility of Running for President'


Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call(WASHINGTON) -- Jeb Bush announced Tuesday morning that he will "actively explore the possibility of running for president of the United States."“In January, I also plan to establish a Leadership PAC that will help me facilitate conversations with citizens across America to discuss the most critical challenges facing our exceptional nation. The PAC’s purpose will be to support leaders, ideas and policies that will expand opportunity and prosperity for all Americans,” Bush said in a Facebook message Tuesday. &ld

Dozens of Students Reported Killed as Pakistani Taliban Attacks School in Peshaw


iStock/Thinkstock(PESHAWAR, Pakistan) — The Pakistani Taliban launched its most devastating attack in months by raiding a public school in Peshawar Tuesday, leaving scores of students dead and allegedly taking hundreds of children and adults hostage.There are still conflicting reports about casualties and a possible hostage situation as the Pakistani military has moved in to retake the school.In the latest update, a high-ranking Pakistani official said that at least 126 people were killed, most of them students. The official also claimed that the

Retired Detective Says 'Toxic Stress' May Have Contributed to His Cancer


Benny Andujar(NEW YORK) — When 54-year old Benny Andujar went in for a routine checkup shortly after retiring from the New York City police force a few years ago, doctors found abnormalities in the cells close to his stomach, a condition called Barrett’s esophagus. Several months later he was diagnosed with cancer.Andujar said he didn’t realize how much of a toll all the years he’d spent investigating some of city’s most notorious gangs and drug cartels had taken on his body. But he’s convinced all the pressure he was

UN Spreads Blame for Torture, Indiscriminate Killings in Eastern Ukraine


iStock/Thinkstock(UNITED NATIONS) — A blistering United Nations human rights report on the ongoing conflict in eastern Ukraine alleges both sides have indiscriminately killed civilians and used torture.The U.N. puts the death toll at over 4,630 but believes the actually number of casualties is much higher. More than 10,230 people have also been wounded in the fighting between government forces and rebel factions backed by Russia.Adding to the misery, the report says, are more than 5.2 million residents in the east caught in the midst of violence w

Amazon Headquarters Evacuated Due to Threatening Note, Threat Not Deemed Credibl


Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images(SEATTLE) -- Amazon.com's headquarters in Seattle was evacuated on Monday morning as police investigated a threatening letter found on campus."Out of an abundance of caution," police said the complex was evacuated. Officers from the Seattle Police Department and Amazon security searched the area after a threatening note was found in a bathroom on the campus early Monday. Arson and Bomb Squads were at the scene to investigate, but police said later Monday that there was no indication that the threat was credible.Follow

State funds projects to tee up large-scale development opportunities in Spokane


April 3, 2014

Advanced Planning Grant Program enabled by 777X incentive legislation

OLYMPIA, WA – The Washington State Department of Commerce today announced the award of two grants totaling $725,000 to the City of Spokane and Snohomish County’s Paine Field to advance environmental permitting efforts and help prepare sites for large-scale manufacturing development.

Paine Field will receive $400,000 to conduct environmental review for the approximately 840,000-square-foot Aerospace Business Park planned for the west side of the airport. While no specific tenants have been identified, the phased development proposes a number of large buildings ranging in size from 100,000 to 250,000 square feet available to aerospace suppliers that would benefit from being in close proximity to The Boeing Company’s Everett assembly site.

The City of Spokane will receive $350,000 to continue work in environmental pre-planning for an area known as the West Plains. A consortium known as AIR Spokane, that includes the city of Spokane, Spokane County, Spokane International Airport, Avista Corp., community colleges of Spokane and Greater Spokane Incorporated, has been working since 2011 to position more than 6,500 acres of developable land, for aerospace and other manufacturing activities. The city of Spokane recently developed a sub-area plan for the West Plains and is using that effort as a springboard. Through this grant, Spokane will identify critical mitigation needs for future industrial employers locating in the West Plains and develop plans to mitigate those impacts.

“The land around Paine Field and Spokane International Airport provides some of the greatest opportunities in Washington for large-scale aerospace manufacturing,” said Brian Bonlender, director of the Washington State Department of Commerce. “This funding will help get these properties ready to go so companies can hit the ground running when they choose to establish new or expanded operations on either side of our state. Promoting broad-based, geographically diverse job growth is core to Governor Inslee’s economic development strategy for a working Washington.”

The Advanced Planning Grant Program was created by the Washington State Legislature in November 2013 during the special legislative session called to help the state win the Boeing 777X program. The Legislature appropriated $2 million in the current biennium to help local jurisdictions advance environmental review and permitting in and around large manufacturing sites. The Spokane and Everett projects are the first two to be awarded grants under the program. Another $1.1 million will be available for additional projects in Fiscal Year 2015.
“We appreciate the enthusiastic support of Governor Inslee and the Washington State Department of Commerce for Paine Field and our planned Aerospace Business Park,” said Snohomish County Executive John Lovick. “Not only did they recognize it as a Project of Statewide Significance last summer, they have now provided us a $400,000 grant that will help us position the airport as a premier location for aerospace companies looking to expand or build new facilities. We’re confident that these investments will bring new family-wage jobs to Snohomish County.”

“Spokane’s West Plains is one of the fastest growing industrial areas in eastern Washington,” said Spokane Mayor David Condon. “It is already home to three major aerospace suppliers and Fairchild Air Force Base, eastern Washington’s largest employer. This grant will help us work through complex permitting issues, such as stormwater and transportation impacts, and will further our efforts to bring new jobs to the Spokane region. At the same time, these plans will ensure that new employment opportunities are consistent with the viability and competitiveness of the existing engines of job creation on the West Plains, including Fairchild Air Force Base.”

“This is an incredibly exciting time for the aerospace industry in Washington,” said Alex Pietsch, director of the state’s Office of Aerospace. “Following the decision to build the 777X and its carbon fiber wing in Washington, we know that companies from around the world want to be here. Yet, competition for these developments and the jobs that come with them is intense. Having large, ready-to-build sites in strategic locations around the state opens up options that make us that much more competitive.”
 

PUD Awards Students in Art & Photo Contests


Everett, WA — Snohomish County PUD today announced the names of 17 local students who won awards in the utility’s 2014 art and photography competitions. The contests engage students in energy topics.
 
Art Contest Winners
The art contest challenged students to create posters that teach people ways to be safe around electricity.
 
Diego Garcia Gonzalez           Kindergarten               Garfield Elementary, Everett 
Sadie Rose Alford                  Grade 2                       English Crossing Elementary, Lakewood
Juliana Gogun                         Grade 3                       Garfield Elementary, Everett 
Madeline Cho                         Grade 5                       Mukilteo Elementary
Cindy Liang                            Grade 5                       Mukilteo Elementary
Anna Ren                                Grade 6                       Homeschool
Aldair  Sanchez                       Grade 6                       Totem Middle School, Marysville
Aria Thompson                       Grade 6                       Totem Middle School, Marysville
Kailey  Kovach                        Grade 8                       Stillaguamish Valley School,  Arlington        
Chloe   Keehan                        Grade 9                       Sultan High School
Megan Sorn                             Grade 9                       Glacier Peak High School, Snohomish          
Logan  Weaver                        Grade 9                       Glacier Peak High School, Snohomish          
 
Photography Contest
For the PUD photography contest, high school students were challenged to capture the theme of “Energy in Action” in a photograph. Five students won awards, as follows:
 
Sarah Campo                           Grade 11                     Lake Stevens High School
Ingrid  Pelletier                       Grade 11                     Stanwood High School
Nikky Wyeth                          Grade 11                     Lake Stevens High School
Taylor  Albrecht                      Grade 12                     Glacier Peak High School, Snohomish          
Easton Lemos                         Grade 12                     Snohomish High School
 
The winners of the competitions will be recognized at the April 15, 2014, PUD Board of Commissioners meeting. The art and photography contest winners’ entries will be on display April 7-18, 2014, in the lobby of the PUD’s Everett headquarters.  They also are posted on the PUD website at www.snopud.com (click on Education/Contests & Camps).
 

Oso Mudslide Relief Information; For Victims and Families


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