Washington State News

Falcons release DT Anthony Rush
The Atlanta Falcons released starting defensive tackle Anthony Rush on Thursday. Rush had seven tackles while playing 33.3 percent of the defensive snaps through four games. Atlanta didn't immediately announce a corresponding move. Rush, 26, has seen action in 30 games (10 starts) over four seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles (2019), Green Bay Packers (2020), Seattle Seahawks (2020), Tennessee Titans (2021) and Falcon

Portland Business News

Talking business: Christine Drazan, Betsy Johnson and Tina Kotek make their cases to Oregon voters
Author: Andy Giegerich
With weeks until election day, the candidates weigh in on tough topics.
Report: Intel lobbyists implore Oregon lawmakers for more incentives
Author: Andy Giegerich
The call comes just weeks after a broad semiconductor task force spelled out other state issues regarding land, among other challenges.

The Chronicle - Centralia

Loggers Beat Riverhawks in Low-Scoring Battle

One goal was all the Onalaska soccer team had in it against Toledo, but one goal was all the Loggers needed Wednesday evening at home, beating the Riverhawks 1-0 in Central 2B League play.

After a scoreless first half, Onalaska got the deciding goal in the 54th minute, when Brooklyn Sandridge swung a cross into the box to Jae Auman, who controlled it and laid the ball off to Randi Haight to deposit it into the back of the net.

Aside from the key difference on the board, the rest of the match played out as evenly as the scoreline suggested. Onalaska snapped off six shots on target, with Toledo goalkeeper Daphnie Bybee making five saves. For its part, Toledo managed five shots on net, all of which Logger keeper Hailee Brown was up to. 

In front of Brown, Kate Zandell led the Loggers’ back line, snuffing out more Toledo attacks before they could form into real chances.

Riding the momentum of a three-game winning streak, Onalaska is set for a high-stakes league showdown at Kalama next Monday, while Toledo will try to bounce back at home against Toutle Lake.

Ninety-two County Employees to Walk in Honor of Coworker Battling Breast Cancer 

Lewis County employees will participate in a lunch-time walk in honor of coworker Lori Pulver, who continues to fight breast cancer, according to a news release from the county. 

The walk will occur Friday and comes amid Breast Cancer Awareness Month. 

Donations collected as part of the event — which stand at $4,700 as of Thursday — will be given to the Susan G. Komen for the Cure organization for research, treatment and early detection of breast cancer.

The Lewis County Sheriff’s Association said in a news release that Pulver has been a strong supporter of Susan G. Komen for the Cure in the past, sponsoring and fundraising for Team Summer Sunshine for many years.

The public is invited to join county employees in either a 1- or 2-mile walk beginning outside of the Lewis County Law and Justice Center at 11 a.m. Friday.

Washington Governor's Office

West Coast Leaders Double Down on Bold Actions to Fight Climate Crisis

SAN FRANCISCO – In the latest of several climate agreements among Pacific Coast governments, California, Oregon, Washington and British Columbia signed a new partnership Thursday recommitting the region to climate action.

Columbian Newspaper

Federal agents looking at possible tax charges against Hunter Biden, report says
Author: Tim Balk, New York Daily News

After a multiyear probe, federal agents believe they have assembled a sufficient case for tax crime charges to be filed against Hunter Biden, the son of President Joe Biden, The Washington Post reported Thursday.

The U.S. attorney’s office in Delaware will make the call on whether to charge the younger Biden with tax crimes and a false statement connected to a gun purchase, according to the Post.

The Post, citing anonymous sources, reported that investigators in multiple agencies probed whether Biden, 52, had lied on gun purchase paperwork in 2018 and failed to fully report his income.

The U.S. attorney for Delaware is David Weiss, who was appointed by former President Donald Trump but has remained in his post as the probe into Biden churned on.

Weiss’ office declined to comment on the report, as did the FBI. The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

A lawyer for Hunter Biden, Chris Clark, did not immediately respond to a request for comment from the New York Daily News. But he said in a statement published by the Post that it is a “federal felony for a federal agent to leak information about a Grand Jury investigation such as this one.”

“Any agent you cite as a source in your article apparently has committed such a felony. We expect the Department of Justice will diligently investigate and prosecute such bad actors,” added the statement, according to the Post.

Falsehoods, harassment stress local election offices in U.S.
Author: JULIE CARR SMYTH, Associated Press

CARROLLTON, Ohio (AP) — With early voting less than three weeks away, Nicole Mickley was staring down a daunting to-do list: voting machines to test, poll workers to recruit, an onslaught of public records requests to examine.

And then, over a weekend, came word that the long-time county sheriff had died. To Mickley, director of elections in a small Ohio county, that added one more complication to an election season filled with them. It meant a new contest was needed to fill the position, so she and her small staff would have to remake the ballots for the fall election for the second time in a week.

“I feel like ever since we took office in ‘19, it’s just been a constant rollercoaster,” said Mickley, whose 36 months on the job qualify her as the senior member of her four-person staff in the Carroll County elections office.

The office Mickley oversees is tucked in a corner of the 137-year-old county courthouse in Carrollton, a close-knit town of 3,200 that sits amid the farm fields and fracking wells of eastern Ohio. She and Deputy Director Cheri Whipkey’s son graduated from high school together.

The director and her deputy seem an unlikely pair to be contending with the wrath of a nation.

Yet ever since former President Donald Trump began falsely claiming that the 2020 presidential election was stolen, Mickley, Whipkey and local election workers like them across the country have been inundated with conspiracy theories and election falsehoods, and hounded with harassment.

They’ve been targeted by threats, stressed by rising workloads and stretched budgets. The stress and vitriol have driven many workers away, creating shortages of election office staff and poll workers.

During Ohio’s second primary in August — an added burden for election officials stemming from partisan feuding over redistricting — Mickley’s two clerks darted around the county all day filling in for absent poll workers. Two staff members’ husbands were enlisted to help.

And then there’s the stream of misinformation falsely alleging that voting systems across the country are riddled with fraud. Unfounded conspiracy theories about voting machines, manipulation of elections by artificial intelligence or ballot fixing have found a wide audience among Republicans. The claims sometimes lead voters — usually friends and neighbors of the Carroll County election staff — to question them about voting equipment and election procedures, no longer clear what to believe about a system they’ve trusted all their lives.

The false claims about the 2020 presidential election also have led believers to inundate election offices around the country with public records requests related to voting processes or equipment, demands to retain the 2020 ballots instead of destroying them, and attempts to remove certain voters from the rolls.

Carroll County hasn’t been immune, even though it’s heavily Republican and voted for Trump by nearly 53 percentage points over President Joe Biden in 2020. The county of nearly 27,000 people was flooded over the summer with form-letter emails from self-proclaimed “aggrieved citizens.” They were protesting electronic voting machines, vowing to sue or demanding the county retain thousands of records from past elections.

Follow-up letters warned that election officials will “be met with the harshest possible criminal and civil repercussions available under the law” if they destroy any election records.

In response, a floor-to-ceiling locked cabinet in Mickley’s office is now jammed with boxes of ballots and other records from 2020, papers that normally would have been destroyed by now to make way for the records of the 2022 election.

“We’re already busting at the seams,” she said. “It’s a small office in the bottom basement of the courthouse that was built in the 1800s. Space is not our friend.”

Whipkey notes that none of the complaint letters are from local residents, so many of whom she knows personally after 16 years managing the local McDonald’s. She and Mickley both feel lucky they are only receiving letters — not the death threats experienced by some election officials around the country.

Still, the accusations sting. Whipkey said she hates being called a liar.

“If they wanted the answer, they would have come and asked us. We could give it to them,” she said. “But they don’t want the answer; they just want to harass.”

Mickley said attending national conferences has persuaded her that election workers across the U.S. are just as honest, hard-working and passionate as her staff is: “I’m starting to get defensive and angry for them, too.”

Behind a Plexiglas window in the front of the office, the other two election staffers answer calls and process voter registration forms and change-of-address and absentee ballot requests. They’re also preparing the precinct kits that will go to poll workers — positions the office is still trying to fill for the Nov. 8 election, when they expect heavy turnout partly because Ohio has one of the most closely watched U.S. Senate races in the country.

Clerks Sarah Dyck, a Democrat, and Deloris Kean, a Republican, keep their personal feelings about the movement spawned by Trump’s election lies out of the office. They don’t want to bring politics into their work helping run the county’s elections.

When she’s out in the community, Dyck said neighbors are mostly sympathetic about how stressful elections work has become in recent years.

“People all the time say, ‘I don’t know about this, but I know you guys are doing a good job,’” she said. “It’s like with congressmen, right? ‘Well, I don’t like Congress, but my congressman’s okay.’ The closer you are to it, you know the people, and so it’s about those relationships.”

That’s not always been the experience of members of the Carroll County Board of Elections.

The four members of the bipartisan panel — a retired railroad worker, a farmer, a facilities operator and the owner of a local yoga studio — hold their meetings at a table wedged between Mickley’s and Whipkey’s desks in the cramped office. A collection of whiskey bottles shaped like elephants and donkeys sits atop a metal filing cabinet nearby.

Some members said they must work constantly to dispel false information that is rampant in the Republican-dominated county.

Roger Thomas, one of the board’s two Republicans and the operator of a popular pumpkin stand, said he’s frustrated that many of his friends “are unwilling to get past what they think they know with the facts.”

“It doesn’t matter what you say to them, you can’t convince them,” he said. “I don’t know how we combat that. They don’t care if they gum up the works of these elections, and that’s the problem. If these elections go haywire, go south — as the elections go, so goes the country.”

Mickley said she is a perfectionist who would never tolerate the slightest interference with carrying out secure and accurate elections.

She chokes up when talking about how seriously she takes her job and how she and her staff long to ease the worries of skeptical voters. The widespread belief in election conspiracy theories and hostility toward front-line election workers leaves Mickley questioning the country’s future.

“I think about my kids,” she said, “and I think about what I want to leave for them and what I want to build now to make sure that they still have it in 20, 30 years. And I’m not alone in that.”

Three displaced in house fire near La Center
Author: Becca Robbins

Three people were displaced by an early-morning house fire Thursday near La Center.

Clark-Cowlitz Fire Rescue responded at about 12:30 a.m. to 3012 N.W. Eddy Rock Road. The 911 caller reported that the house was engulfed in flames, according to a news release.

Crews arrived to find a small, single-story house with fire extending through the roof, the fire department said. Firefighters prioritized protecting nearby buildings and motor homes.

All of the residents were outside of the house when crews arrived, the news release states.

Firefighters brought the fire under control at 1:26 a.m. The house was severely damaged, the fire department said. Nearby buildings and vehicles were damaged by the heat.

The Red Cross responded to help the three displaced residents. No one was injured, including a dog at the house, according to the news release.

The Clark County Fire Marshal’s Office is investigating the cause of the fire.

Cowlitz County Fire District 1, AMR and the Clark County Sheriff’s Office also responded. Three fire engines, three water tenders, one ladder truck, two chief officers, two fire investigators, one AMR ambulance and one deputy, for 21 total responders, were at the scene, according to the fire department.

Washington Wire

Lower bridge tolls in time for Election Day
Author: Paul Queary
The payoff of one of this year’s more entertaining election-year ploys happened this week when the price of driving a car across the Tacoma Narrows Bridge decreased by 75 cents. The reduction is the handiwork of Sen. Emily Randall, D-Bremerton, with a strong assist from Senate Transportation Chair Marko Liias and their colleagues in the