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Many legislators voluntarily cut pay

The state House and Senate have reported that 23 senators and 46 representatives are still cutting their pay voluntarily in 2012.

Most lawmakers voted for a bill last year that, in effect, ratified 3 percent cuts in pay and hours worked for most state employees. Senate Bill 5860 also encouraged elected officials to follow suit voluntarily.

But only four lawmakers waived pay until The Olympian reported on the new law in late July.

Rank-and-file lawmakers earn $42,106 a year and top Senate and House leaders earn $50,106, so the voluntary pay cuts are clearly more symbolic than substantive in reducing government outlays. But many legislators said they needed to lead by example or show they were sharing in the sacrifice of budget cuts that helped close a $5 billion budget gap in 2011.

When lawmakers return to town Monday for a 60-day regular session, they face a new gap of $1.5 billion.

La Push, Clallam County

Officer advises no crash charges

Charges against the sole survivor of a deadly 2010 Coast Guard helicopter crash should be dismissed, an investigating officer has determined.

Capt. Andrew Norris said he doesn’t conclude that Lt. Lance Leone was faultless during the flight. But Norris said the charges against him — negligent homicide, dereliction of duty and destroying military property — focus on alleged navigational failures by Leone and tie those to the destruction of a helicopter and the death of two crew members.

“It is in this focus, and in making this tie, that I believe the charged offenses fail,” he wrote.

Norris’ recommendations will be reviewed by the Coast Guard commander in Alaska, Rear Admiral Thomas Ostebo. He is not bound by them.

Leone was co-pilot of the MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter flying from Astoria, Ore., to the crew’s base in Sitka, Alaska, when it hit an unmarked span of low-hanging wires and crashed off La Push, Clallam County, in July 2010, killing three.

The negligent-homicide charges were related to the deaths of crew members Brett Banks and Adam C. Hoke. Leone did not face a charge in the death of the pilot, Lt. Sean Krueger.

Cheney, Spokane County

EWU to build new dormitory

For the first time in 40 years, Eastern Washington University is planning to build a new dormitory for students.

The Daily Journal of Commerce reports that plans call for a five-story, 352-bed dormitory to open in fall 2013. Construction is slated to start in April.

The new building, on the north side of the university, will cost $25 million, not including the land.


Police arrest man in child-porn case

Police have arrested a 39-year-old man in a child sexual-abuse and pornography case that has stunned authorities in Snohomish.

The Everett Herald reports that police arrested the man on Thursday on investigation of accusations that he forced two sisters — ages 5 and 8 — to perform sex acts and pose naked.

Police also seized 30 computers and 60 external hard drives that they suspect may have pictures of other minors.

Authorities fear that the man posed as a photographer in the community to lure girls. Detectives have identified at least four other girls who were victimized.

The man is being held on $1 million bail.

Seattle Times staff and news services