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Tyre Nichols’s Parents to Attend State of the Union Address
Author: Mark Walker
“It’s important for them to be here in the gallery that night to listen to the president,” said the chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, who invited them.

Columbian Newspaper

Washington Democrats choose Shasti Conrad as party chair
Author: The Columbian

SEATTLE — The Washington State Democratic Party has chosen Shasti Conrad, the former leader of King County Democrats, as its new chair.

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3 Canada lynx ready for visitors at Seattle zoo
Author: Paige Cornwell, The Seattle Times

SEATTLE — Zoogoers can now view the three Canada lynx who arrived in Seattle last year.

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Name of Seattle officer in crash that killed woman released
Author: Associated Press

SEATTLE — Police have released the name of a Seattle police officer who was responding to a medical call when his patrol SUV hit and killed a 23-year-old Jaahnavi Kandula last week in a city crosswalk.

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‘Father of Peeps’ marshmallow candies Bob Born dies at 98
Author: DEE-ANN DURBIN, Associated Press

Ira “Bob” Born, a candy company executive known as the “Father of Peeps” for mechanizing the process to make marshmallow chicks, has died. He was 98.

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Camas woman claims self-defense in husband’s death
Author: Becca Robbins

A Camas woman’s murder trial opened Monday with her attorney claiming she acted in self-defense when she shot her husband, whom she had confronted over having an extramarital affair.

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2 Cuban sisters’ 4,200-mile journey to the U.S. and a new life
Author: MEGAN JANETSKY, Associated Press

HAVANA (AP) — The Rolo González sisters walked out of Nicaragua’s main airport and peered out onto a sea of young men.

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The Chronicle - Centralia

Hundreds Take Part in Thurston County Vigil for Family Killed in House Fire

A house fire near Capitol Forest that killed five members of the Cox family earlier this month spurred hundreds to attend a vigil at Tumwater High School Sunday evening.

One organizer said they had brought enough food for 1,000 people, and nearly that many attended, almost filling the upper portion of the high school stadium that overlooks Sid Otton field.

About 6:30 a.m. Jan. 21, firefighters were dispatched to Sherman Valley Ranch near Capitol Forest and found the home completely engulfed in flames.

Inside were Steven Cox, 36; Destiny Cox, 34; Kaleah Cox, 13; and two boys, Kaiden Cox, 11, and Jackson Moore, 10, according to the Coroner's Office.

The Thurston County Coroner said Monday that all died of "inhalation of combustible materials, and thermal injuries."

The couple's eldest child, 14, was not at home at the time of the fire. Another girl, a friend who had been staying with the family, escaped the fire.

Investigators continue to look into the cause of the fire, but have ruled out arson, The Olympian reported.

Dawn Baich, Destiny's mother, told The Olympian that she was amazed at Sunday's turnout.

"It's wonderful to see all the support and how many lives that they have touched. It's just overwhelmingly amazing."

Asked how she was doing, Baich said she was in "survival mode."

"It's not real yet," said Baich, who lives in Florida, but is from Tumwater.

Baich did not address the crowd. In fact, no family members did. Instead, vigil emcee Jared Burbidge read statements from a series of people close to the family, including a brother-in-law and an uncle.

Hayley Bogart read a statement for the Cox family.

"With all of your support we will be able to get through this horrific event," said Bogart on behalf of the family. "This has affected our entire community, and if there's anything we can learn from this, it's love one another and hug and kiss our babies. We are all in this world together so let's help one another, love one another and give a helping hand."

Perhaps the most moving moment of the vigil came from Chelsea Hornback, the mother of the girl who escaped the deadly fire. Hornback read a statement that her daughter wanted to share.

Hornback said that her daughter, Kinsley, was in attendance, which generated a round of applause.

"It's not been easy on me or the family," Kinsley's mother read from her daughter's statement. "That morning may forever haunt me, but I want you to know it won't ruin my wonderful memories."

Part of Kinsley's message was directed at her best friend, Kaleah, who died in the fire.

"I see her in my dreams at night and I hear her words say that everything is going to be OK," said Kinsley in her message. "I miss her so much that my heart physically hurts, and I love her more than life and beyond."

After the statements were read, the crowd filed out of the stadium to hold battery-powered candles and other illuminated objects behind the stadium.

One of the last to exit was Jeff Leitch of Tumwater, who works for Steven Cox's uncle, Don.

"It was amazing, incredible," he said about the gathering. "I wasn't expecting it to be that big, that large. It was awesome, it was beautiful."

'Unacceptable' Death Threats Allegedly Sent Over Tenino Sex Offender Home, Sheriff Says

State officials and a residential care services company have allegedly received death threats in response to a planned sex offender housing facility near Tenino, Thurston County Sheriff Derek Sanders said.

In a letter released Monday, Sanders called the threats unacceptable. He said the threats have been delivered over the phone to officials at the Washington State Department of Corrections and the Department of Social and Health Services as well as Supreme Living LLC.

"I empathize with the frustrations of our community; however, threats of violence will not be tolerated and are subject to criminal enforcement," Sanders said.

DSHS and DOC officials previously backed out of a town hall organized by Sanders which occurred Sunday at Tenino High School. At the time, state officials cited unspecified threats for their absence. In response, Sanders said he felt "infuriated and embarrassed" by their decision.

Supreme Living LLC had planned to open the facility on a 15-acre property at 2813 140th Ave. Southwest by Feb. 1. This facility, which is officially called a Less Restrictive Alternative community home, will house up to five clients of DSHS, including sex offenders released from McNeil Island Special Commitment Center.

Locals have protested the planned the facility due to their own safety concerns and called on local government to help them, The Olympian reported.

Thurston County officials are seeking to delay the opening of the facility by enforcing certain code and permitting requirements. Meanwhile, some state legislators have drafted legislation aimed at regulating the placement of such facilities.

In his letter, Sanders said violent threats would be detrimental to the work of local county officials who aim to address residents' concerns.

"Threats to kill, property destruction or any other criminal acts will not solve the issue at hand," Sanders said. "As a community, we have the opportunity to systematically change the current legislation put forth through legal and morally acceptable avenues."

Sanders asked local residents to conduct their opposition in a constructive manner that respects human life and property rights. He added he would share more information on this topic as he receives it.

Rather than attend the Tenino town hall, state officials have opted to host a community webinar on Wednesday from 6-7 p.m. People who wish to attend can register online.

Questions for DSHS and DOC officials may be submitted in advance by emailing SCCQuestions@dshs.wa.gov.

The webinar will be recorded and be available on demand within 48 hours of the session, according to the registration webpage.

The Olympian has asked DSHS to comment on the threats and share additional information about the webinar.

Metro News

Public notice: Opportunity to comment on pending amendment to the Metropolitan Transportation Improvement Plan

Metro is in receipt of proposed MTIP formal amendments. To share your views, comment by 5 p.m. on Wednesday, March. 1. A final notice will not be published.

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