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NTK highlights

Alarming trend
Alarming trend: As fire protection costs rise, agencies rethink how it works
Get to know the Nimitz
Get to know the Nimitz: Everett's new aircraft carrier is at the head of its class
What Obama's visit cost
What Obama's visit cost: The tally of police, fire staff for the president's trip to Everett
The lost protectors
The lost protectors: 11 sworn officers in county have died on duty since 1902
 
March 23  |  By Scott North and Noah Haglund
We've been reporting since December that bills for Aaron Reardon's Snohomish County government cellphone detail long calls with the county social worker who claims the two had a years-long affair.

We've now confirmed that the county executive spent the equivalent of a full work day, and then some, in 2011 talking with Tami Dutton during business hours.

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March 18  |  By Scott North
What to make of the recent ruling by the state Supreme Court regarding traffic-enforcement cameras?

The court split 5-4 early this month to bar local initiatives that empower voters to decide whether red-light camera programs will continue to crop up in Washington cities and towns.

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March 17  |  

Budget lines



Spending gleaned from government consent agendas all over Snohomish County.

City of Arlington: $13,014 to LTI of Lynden for solid chloride for the wasterwater treatment plant.

City of Stanwood: $8,536 to Bonner Electric of Bellingham for electrical troubleshooting and repairs.

City of Monroe: $16,637 to Ogden, Murphy and Wallace of Seattle for legal services in January.

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March 15  |  Reported by Rikki King / Herald Writer
Fire protection agencies all over are struggling to pay the bills. Property taxes are the main source of income, and property values have dropped. Agencies in south Snohomish County are looking for new ways to work together, share resources and survive. Here are the ways it could shake out.

South Snohomish County now is served by two fire districts, plus city fire departments in Bothell, Lynnwood and Mukilteo.

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March 11  |  Text by Wikipedia and Herald staff data by U.S. Census Bureau
This is one of a series of looks at Snohomish and Island county communities based on data from the U.S. Census of 2010.

Lynnwood is the fourth-most-populous city in Snohomish County and 29th-largest in Washington. It's an urban-suburban small city, with a population more ethnically diverse than Snohomish County as a whole or the state.

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March 10  |  

Road trips



Government travel spending

Agency: City of Snohomish
Who: Paul Kaftanski, councilman
Destination: Lynnwood
Purpose: Northwest Elected Officials Essentials Workshop.
Dates: Jan. 13-14, 2012
Cost: $48.84 for fuel reimbursement.

Budget lines



Spending gleaned from government consent agendas all over Snohomish County.

Click to continue reading this blog post.
March 9  |  Reported by Chuck Taylor / Herald Writer
Today the USS Nimitz is to dock at Naval Station Everett and settle in as the base's resident aircraft carrier. It replaces the recently departed USS Abraham Lincoln, which is on deployment and then will be refueled on the East Coast and reassigned. The Nimitz is the namesake of a class of...

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March 7  |  By Scott North and Noah Haglund
We hear that detectives from the Washington State Patrol have been nosing around for signs that Aaron Reardon somehow used his position as Snohomish County executive to keep potentially embarrassing government records from seeing the light of day.

Are there good reasons to wonder whether Reardon and some of his crew might try to hold back documents relevant to his current imbroglio? Unfortunately, yes.

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March 5  |  By Rikki King
When President Barack Obama came to town on Feb. 17, local police and fire departments were asked to provide staff -- and lots of it.

Public safety for presidential visits is organized by the Secret Service. In the days leading up to Obama stepping on the tarmac at Paine Field, Snohomish County cops and firefighters were not allowed to say much about their involvement.

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March 4  |  Reported by Jerry Cornfield / Herald Writer
Beginning with the 2012 congressional election, Washington gets a 10th member of the House of Representatives, and the boundaries of the existing nine districts have been redrawn -- in some cases radically changing their geopolitics. One of the more interesting examples is the new 1st District, the territory for which spans remote mountain wilderness, flat farmland, struggling small towns and worldly affluent Seattle suburbs.

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February 29  |  By Scott North
Flags were to be at half-staff Thursday to honor Washington State Patrol trooper Tony Radulescu, who was fatally shot Feb. 23 during a Kitsap County traffic stop.

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February 28  |  By Scott North
When stories are killed in the news business, they are described as having been "spiked."

A similar fate awaits legislation that is placed in the "X files" for the rules committees in both chambers of the Washington Legislature. It is one place bills go to die.

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February 26  |  Text by Wikipedia and Herald staff , data by U.S. Census Bureau
This is one of a series of looks at Snohomish and Island county communities based on data from the U.S. Census of 2010.

The third-most-populous city in Snohomish County, after Everett and Marysville, is Edmonds, an upscale suburb that overlooks Puget Sound. Based on per-capita income, one of the more reliable measures of affluence, Edmonds ranks 37th of 522 areas in the state of Washington.

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February 25  |  

Budget lines



Spending gleaned from government consent agendas all over Snohomish County.

Snohomish County Superior Court: Up to $15,000 for a mitigation specialist for Byron Scherf, who is charged with aggravated murder and is facing the death penalty.

City of Everett: $4,319 to Snap On Tools for a rolling tool cabinet.

City of Everett: $73 to Safeway for veggies for critters.

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February 23  |  Reported by Rikki King / Herald Writer
Don't drink and drive. The newest generation of drivers was raised on this mantra. Yet impaired drivers bloat the county jail. In Snohomish County, drinking and driving is one of the most common crimes. It also claims the most lives.

Impaired driving is the leading cause of traffic deaths in the state, according to the Washington Traffic Safety Commission. Drugs or alcohol play a part in half of all fatal wrecks in Snohomish County.

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February 21  |  By Scott North
Social media have made it simpler to find like-minded folks willing to take a stand. The Arab Spring uprising demonstrated technology's power to spread the word and build networks of people aimed at pressing for positive change.

There's a dark side, too.

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February 20  |  

Budget lines



Spending gleaned from government consent agendas all over Snohomish County.

City of Arlington: $395 to the Rotary Club of Arlington for Fire Chief Bruce Stedman's dues.

City of Everett: $107,000 to Silverview Senior Housing for property rights compensation for road widening.

City of Everett: $1,579 to architects Botesch, Nash and Hall of Seattle for Culmback Building condition study.

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February 19  |  Reported by Amy Daybert / Herald Writer
If you're going to be a mayor in Snohomish County, you want to be mayor in Everett. That's because the job pulls down an annual salary of $154,956. Not to mention health care and a pension. And that makes sense: Everett is the biggest city in the county. But it doesn't pay to be the head honcho in every city. From town to town, the pay and benefits vary widely, as do duties and demands. Here's a look at how cities reimburse their top official, in order of...

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February 12  |  Text by Herald staff and Wikipedia Data from U.S. Census Bureau
This is one in a series of looks at Snohomish and Island county communities based on data from the U.S. Census of 2010.

Marysville's population more than doubled during the first decade of the 21st century. During that time, it leapfrogged the likes of Edmonds and Lynnwood to become Snohomish County's second-largest city.

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February 11  |  

Consultations



Who is being paid what, by whom and why.

Client: City of Lynnwood
Firm: Chavond-Barry Engineering
Assignment: Make sure a fluidizing bed-sludge incinerator at the Wastewater Treatment Plant is operated, maintained and upgraded correctly.
Cost: Up to $15,000 for two years

Road trips



Government travel spending.

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February 9  |  Reported by Julie Muhlstein / Herald Writer
Since 2005, Snohomish County and the Homeless Policy Task Force, a community group representing agencies working to prevent homelessness, have conducted an annual “Point in Time” homeless count. The effort is a federal requirement for federal and state funds coming to Snohomish County to fight homelessness. Methods of conducting the one-day tally have evolved. The numbers have fluctuated over eight years. What hasn't changed is that in every year of the Point in Time count, more...

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February 5  |  Reported by Debra Smith / Herald Writer
City leaders hoped Comcast Arena would revive a stagnant downtown when it opened in the fall of 2003. Originally known as the Everett Events Center, it's a public arena, community ice rink and conference space with towering twin masts and is now a recognizable symbol of Everett. It's brought big-name acts to the city such as Justin Bieber, Cher and Santana. Next month, the spotlight focuses on Everett when Comcast Arena hosts an
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February 3  |  By Scott North
Remember that cable television ad Aaron Reardon ran this fall, featuring a bald actor standing along a roadside waving his arms around and yelling at police?

Bald, angry guy was supposed to depict Mike Hope, the Republican state lawmaker and Seattle cop who then hoped to become the next Snohomish County executive.

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February 2  |  By Scott North
Here is a passage from a Washington law beloved by journalists and other public watchdogs:

"The people of this state do not yield their sovereignty to the agencies that serve them. The people, in delegating authority, do not give their public servants the right to decide what is good for the people to know and what is not good for them to know."

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January 29  |  Reported by Noah Haglund / Herald Writer
There's renewed talk of rebuilding Snohomish County's 45-year-old courthouse. It's old, it's ugly and, in some eyes, undignified. More to the point, the concrete box of a building might be dangerous. Safety concerns include the lack of separation of the public from in-custody prisoners, asbestos and ability to withstand an earthquake.

Courthouse usage



• 1,500 people pass through security on an average work day.
• 652 trials per year.

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January 28  |  Text by Wikipedia | Data by U.S. Census Bureau
This is the first in a series of looks at Snohomish and Island county communities based on data from the U.S. Census of 2010.

Everett is the county seat of and the largest city in Snohomish County. Named for Everett Colby, son of founder Charles L. Colby, it lies 25 miles north of Seattle. At the 2010 census, the city was the sixth-largest in the state.

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January 24  |  By Rikki King and Scott North
As we head into Red-Light-Camera Wars v.2012, we thought we could use some tunage.

For your enjoyment, we've created a YouTube playlist of songs revolving around themes of red lights, intersections, signs and cameras. We've vetted them for content, but don't look too deep into their lyrics for hidden meanings: This is supposed to be fun.

In these times, we all could use a little more fun.

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January 22  |  Reported by Eric Stevick / Herald Writer
The Monroe Correctional Complex is the state's largest prison, housing 2,385 inmates, with beds for 2,500. It is divided into units, with inmates sorted by length of sentence, the risk they are believed to pose to security, and behavior on the street and behind walls. Expect to hear more about how the prison operates this year as a former Monroe inmate heads to trial, facing a possible death sentence connected to
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January 18  |  By Scott North and Rikki King
Tim Eyman versus the red-light camera companies.

It's hard not to break into a smile imagining all the reporting fun we'll have this year if the Mukilteo initiative activist gets enough signatures to force a statewide vote on what he insists on calling "automatic ticketing cameras."

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January 15  |  By Chuck Taylor
Over the past decade, the population of nonwhite or mixed-race people in the United States increased from 24.9 percent to 27.6 percent. In this state, the increase was more pronounced — from 18.2 percent minorities in 2000 to 22.7 percent in 2010. Snohomish County saw an even greater increase, proportionally, from 14.4 percent in 2000 to 21.6 percent. Below are breakdowns for the county's cities, as well as total population numbers, based on data from the
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HeraldNet highlights

Blackmans stocked, waiting
Blackmans stocked, waiting: Snohomish County lake receives big plant of big trout
Soldiers' dog home in Everett
Soldiers' dog home in Everett: Many aided in shepherd's journey from Afghanistan
Top shots
Top shots: Take a look at some of the best photos from readers (gallery)
Is Sounder worth it?
Is Sounder worth it?: A private analysis says it costs taxpayers $57 per rider