Other items: Stab victim airlifted; 6 units evacuated; Robbery charges filed in Eastside holdups; Mental-health funds spared for 6 months

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Fort Lewis

The U.S. Department of Defense last night identified a Fort Lewis soldier killed by an apparent car bomb in Mosul, Iraq, Wednesday.

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U.S. Army Pfc. Oscar Sanchez, 19, from Modesto, Calif., died when a “vehicle-borne improved explosive device” struck his observation post, according to a government news release.

Sanchez was a member of the Stryker Brigade Combat team and was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 24th Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade, 25th Infantry Division.


Stab victim airlifted; 6 units evacuated

A man was airlifted to Harborview Medical Center yesterday after he was stabbed three times, police say. The victim was unconscious when police found him on a sidewalk in the 700 block of A Avenue. Investigators say they believe the man was stabbed in a nearby apartment. Police found him about 3:30 p.m., said Snohomish Police Deputy Chief Rick Johnson.

Six apartments in the complex were evacuated last night as a county SWAT team prepared to enter the unit where a possible suspect was thought to be hiding, Johnson said. Officers entered that man’s apartment at 9 p.m., but he wasn’t there.


Robbery charges filed in Eastside holdups

A 30-year-old Bellevue man was charged yesterday with six counts of second-degree robbery for allegedly holding up several Eastside stores and ice-cream shops to get money to buy Christmas presents.

Prosecutors say they found the clothing worn in the robberies in the car and home of Jason Knuth, whose arraignment on the charges is set for Thursday in King County Superior Court. Knuth remained in King County Jail.

During the heists, Knuth, an unemployed truck driver, would make a small purchase, then imply he had a gun and demand money, according to charging documents. Prosecution documents allege Knuth was desperate for cash to buy gifts.


Mental-health funds spared for 6 months

A planned $41 million reduction in federal mental-health funding for Washington has been delayed by six months to give the Legislature time to decide how to replace the money.

The money represents what the state typically has left over after providing treatment for Medicaid patients. Until now, that money was used to pay for mental-health services for people who make too much money for Medicaid but not enough to afford mental-health insurance.

The federal government decided last April that it would no longer allow payments for non-Medicaid patients with Medicaid money. Originally scheduled for Jan. 1, the cut has now been pushed back to June 30.

Rep. Brian Baird, D-Wash., himself a clinical psychologist, asked for an extension several months ago, and the state Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) followed with its own requests.

In a letter Tuesday to DSHS Secretary Dennis Braddock, the federal Centers for Medicaid & Medicare said the government wanted to give Washington sufficient time to come up with an alternate funding plan.

Mount Vernon

Apartment shooting claims 27-year-old

A Bellingham man was shot and killed here Wednesday, apparently as he tried to break into an apartment where a former girlfriend lived.

The shooting occurred about 3:20 a.m. when the 27-year-old Bellingham man apparently broke the windows of an apartment where a 55-year-old man and his 30-year-old daughter lived, police said.

Police arrested the 55-year-old man on suspicion of homicide, Lt. Ken Bergsma said.

The man who was killed and the woman who lived in the apartment had dated at one time, Bergsma said.

The names of those involved were not immediately available.

Kodiak, Alaska

Tanner-crab fishery’s prospects promising

State biologists are predicting a bountiful future for Kodiak’s Tanner-crab fishery, though they have alerted fishermen about the slim potential for parasite-infected crustaceans in the coming season.

With stocks rebuilding, the 2005 harvest level has more than doubled from the 2004 season.

The southwest section of the Kodiak District, which opens for the first time since 1993, will add 450,000 pounds to the total harvest.

The reopening of the section prompted an advisory from the state Department of Fish and Game about bitter-crab syndrome in crab caught in that area. Bitter-crab syndrome is a parasitic disease that imparts a bitter taste and chalky texture to the meat of infected North Pacific Tanner crabs.

“It is less of a problem now than it has been in the past. The disease is cyclic,” said Nick Sagalkin, a state shellfish biologist.


$10,000 bequest to parks honors son

A late Bothell man’s love of parks and open space has translated into the largest-ever cash donation for King County’s Parks Division: a $10,000 bequest for park maintenance and operations.

Former Boeing engineer Brian Cook visited Kirkland’s Big Finn Hill Park nearly every day with his dog, Teddy. After his death in September, his mother, Suzanne Cook of Muskegon, Mich., honored her son with the financial donation.

The parks division also will install a park bench with a plaque honoring Brian Cook at Big Finn Hill Park.

The county, which owns about 25,000 acres of parkland, has increasingly relied on donations and bequests to keep parks open. If interested, call Tom Teigen at 206-263-6230.

Times staff and news services