Around the Northwest

One dollar offered for raising taxes on cigarettes

State Sen. Rodney Tom, D-Bellevue, has introduced legislation to raise the state cigarette tax by 1dollar per pack.
Tom joins the proposal of various taxes and fees being floated proposals this session, including Governor Chris Gregoire push forward half of the voter’s penny sales tax increase proposal, and state Rep. Ross Hunter, the reconstruction of the state tax system properties.
Tom called his proposal a public health measure.

“Smoking is a self-inflicted cost that we as a society can no longer continue to subsidize,” Tom said in a statement.
He noted that the state quit line was closed due to budget cuts and said part of the proposed tax will be used to restore the service.
Under state law, it would require two-thirds majority in the state House and Senate – which is unlikely – or voter approval of tax increases.
Currently, the tax charged 3.025 dollars per pack of 20 cigarettes.

2 suspects held in man’s slaying
A SWAT team arrested two suspects Monday morning in the murder of a 57-year-old man whose body was left outside a vacant house in Auburn over the weekend.
The suspects, 34 and 44, both of Des Moines, heard news about the shooting on television and returned to the scene Sunday, amazed by the fact that the body had been removed, said police Cmdr Auburn. Mike Hirman.

Police received a tip about the pair’s involvement and uncovered additional evidence about the shooting death, he said.
The two suspects were arrested by the Valley SWAT team without incident and transported to the King County Jail.
Hirman said the victim was shot several times in the head and shoulders during an argument as the three traveled in a car in the Des Moines area. His body was left outside the vacant house in the Lea Hill area of Auburn, Hirman said.

A contractor working next door was unloading equipment in the neighboring driveway when he discovered the body Saturday.
No identification was found on the victim, but police identified him through fingerprints Sunday, Hirman said. Police did not release the victim’s name.

Queen Anne Hill
Apartment fire traced to candles
Some automatic candle lit the fire that caused about 130,000 dollars in damages and more than 40 people were evacuated from the house of Queen Anne on Monday morning, officials said.

The fire started in a building next to the Queen Anne Avenue North and West Galer Street shortly before 4 am, Seattle Fire Representative Kyle Moore said.
Firefighters in response to the scene used a ladder to rescue the trapped woman from her second-floor unit, he said. It took about half an hour to knock down the fire, he added.

The evacuated residents waited in a Metro bus as firefighters fought the fire. At about 6:00 am, all but two of them were able to return to their homes. These two people, male and female, is currently assisting the Red Cross.
The fire of about 100,000 dollars in damage to the building and about 30,000 dollars in damage to its contents, Moore said. Fire investigators determined it was started by unattended candles.
Moore said that the fire should serve as a lesson about the dangers of candles on a day when many might use them to keep warm.
“These are things that can happen, unfortunately,” he said.

Firefighters were not significantly affected by the slick road conditions on the day following the first major snowstorm lowland year, Moore said. All fire trucks will work with the chains in the next couple of days, and they all have icing solution.

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