Read the full transcript of Merrick Garland’s comments on the F.B.I.’s search of Trump’s home.
Here is what the attorney general said on Thursday about the process that led up to the action at Mar-a-Lago.
Storm seek sweep of Lynx in Sylvia Fowles' farewell
It's been dubbed "Syl's Final Ride," an ode to Sylvia Fowles' final WNBA season and her love of bike riding. Fowles and the Minnesota Lynx are hopeful that Friday night's home game with the Seattle Storm isn't her final appearance at the Target Center in Minneapolis. At 14-20, Minnesota is one of four teams tied for the final two playoff spots with two games left. The Lynx held the seventh seed to begin the weekend, cou
Western Washington Man Accused of Murder in Fatal Beating With AR-15 Rifle, Prosecutors Say
King County prosecutors have charged an Auburn man with first-degree murder, alleging he beat a man to death with a rifle.
Francisco Ochoa-Prado, 31, is accused of entering Daniel Parkinson's Auburn home on the night of Aug. 1 and fatally beating him with the stock of an AR-15 rifle.
The King County Medical Examiner's Office ruled Parkinson's death a homicide due to severe blunt force trauma to his head.
Ochoa-Prado knew Parkinson owned an AR-15 rifle and kept it in his home, according to court documents. Ochoa-Prado told investigators he intended to use Parkinson's rifle to kill him, court documents say.
Ochoa-Prado entered Parkinson's home through sliding doors, found the AR-15 and entered Parkinson's room with the rifle, according to the documents. He then pointed the rifle at Parkinson, who was asleep, and twice tried pulled the trigger, the documents allege.
The gun did not fire, and Ochoa-Prado proceeded to beat Parkinson to death with the butt of the rifle, according to the documents.
Auburn police learned through interviews that Ochoa-Prado's girlfriend had just broken up with him that morning. His girlfriend lived in the same house as Parkinson, documents say, and Ochoa-Prado assumed the two were in a relationship.
She told police she ended her relationship with Ochoa-Prado because he was abusing drugs, according to court documents.
Ochoa-Prado is being held in the King County Jail as he awaits an Aug. 18 arraignment. His bail was set at $2 million.
Washington State Releases New COVID-19 School Rules
As the school year is just around the corner for Washington state, the Washington State Department of Health has released updated COVID-19 guidelines for schools and childcare facilities.
The new regulations come as Washington state is "entering a new stage of coexisting with COVID-19 in our communities, knowing that COVID-19 is here to stay for the foreseeable future," while the department "recognizes the importance of being able to maintain in-person learning for children, and the fundamental links between education and long-term health outcomes," a news release from the Department of Health states.
The COVID-19 Washington state requirements for schools and child care facilities include:
— All employees, volunteers and indoor contractors must be fully vaccinated or have an approved medical or religious exemption.
— If a staff member, student or child has symptoms of COVID-19, they must stay home and are recommended to test for illness and see a health care provider. If an individual begins to have symptoms at school, they must be sent home immediately and are encouraged to be tested.
— If an individual is symptomatic and waiting to leave school, they are required to be isolated and wear a mask if they are at least two years old. Anyone providing care or evaluation to the symptomatic person is required to wear personal protective equipment, such as a mask.
— A student, child or staff member who tests positive for COVID-19 must isolate themselves. The person can return to school after five full days of isolation if they are asymptomatic, if symptoms have improved and they have had no fever for the past 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medications.
— All staff, visitors, children and students at least two years of age are required to wear a mask in the nurse or health room and in isolation areas.
— Schools and child care facilities are required to have a system in place to contact students and families of a COVID-19 case or outbreak. Schools are also required to notify staff of exposures and cases.
— Kindergarten through 12th-grade schools are required to provide timely testing for COVID-19 for students and staff who desire to be tested.
— It is required by Washington state law for any and all COVID-19 cases, outbreaks and suspected outbreaks in a school or child care to be reported to the local health jurisdiction.
These new COVID-19 regulations do not require students and children to be vaccinated in order to attend schools or childcare.
For those wanting to vaccinate their children against COVID-19 before the school year begins, children ages six months and older can now be vaccinated, and those five years and older can receive booster doses, according to the health department.
Gov. Jay Inslee already required all Washington state school employees and childcare providers to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, along with all state employees, higher education, and most health and long-term care providers by October 2021, and for employers to verify the vaccination status of all employees.
Since 2014, all children in Washington state who are attending school or child care are also required by law to be fully vaccinated against chicken pox, mumps, diphtheria, German measles, measles, polio, pneumococcal disease, tetanus, whooping cough, hepatitis B and Haemophilus influenzae type b disease.
Other Views: Herrera Beutler Graceful in Face of Defeat
The ouster of Jaime Herrera Beutler as our congressional representative brings about something increasingly rare in modern politics: A gracious farewell.
Herrera Beutler, R-Battle Ground, on Tuesday conceded her race in the Aug. 2 primary. With few votes remaining to be counted, she stood in third place behind Democrat Marie Gluesenkamp Perez and Republican Joe Kent, who will advance to the November general election.
We congratulate the remaining candidates — and all those who run for public office. We also look forward to a robust campaign and will spend much time informing the public about the candidates and the issues. But for now there is cause for reflection on Herrera Beutler's service and on her concession. She has spent six two-year terms in Washington, D.C., and will remain in office until the end of the 117th Congress on Jan. 3.
"Thank you, Southwest Washington, for entrusting me six times with the privilege of representing you in Congress," Herrera Beutler said in a statement. "Ever since I was first elected to this seat, I have done my very best to serve my home region and our country. Though my campaign came up short this time, I'm proud of all we've accomplished together for the place where I was raised and still call home."
She mentioned efforts to help people find good jobs here, boost the health of rivers and fisheries, and focus on land management. She also wrote: "I'm incredibly proud of getting the ACE Kids Act signed into law that helps more low-income kids get life-saving specialty medical care in this country, as well as legislation to tackle the maternal mortality crisis plaguing moms in America."
While The Columbian's Editorial Board sometimes disagreed with Herrera Beutler on policy issues, she deserves credit for focusing on items of particular importance to our region. She largely avoided the culture wars that often drive national political discussions and kept her attention on Southwest Washington and issues that resonate here.
While Herrera Beutler typically avoided the national spotlight, that spotlight found her when she was one of 10 House Republicans to vote for President Donald Trump's second impeachment. The vote followed the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol, when Trump fueled an insurrection and then spent hours doing nothing to defuse it.
"I'm proud that I always told the truth, stuck to my principles, and did what I knew to be best for our country," Herrera Beutler said.
She did that again in conceding a close election, at a time when denying election results and fabricating tales of election fraud have become a badge of honor for many Republicans. Kent claims the 2020 election of Joe Biden as president was fraudulent — a claim that has no foundation in fact but earned him Trump's endorsement. In our state, the candidate who lost the 2020 gubernatorial election blames fraud — even though he lost by 500,000 votes.
Such claims have undermined our democracy. Even for those who do not believe them, the constant questioning of facts and erosion of the truth leads to doubt about the integrity of our election system.
Regardless of which candidate is elected to succeed Herrera Beutler, we hope they emulate her in two ways: Focusing on issues that matter here rather than distractions, and bolstering our election system rather than tearing it down.
The people of Southwest Washington should demand nothing less.
MultiCare Announces Breach That Could Impact Over 18,000 Patients' Health Data and Records
A hacker recently obtained unauthorized access to over 18,000 former MultiCare Health System patients' private information, according to a Wednesday press release.
Avamere Health Services, an Oregon-based health group and MultiCare business partner, announced on its website that it discovered a data breach last July. It said the unauthorized user gained access to and possibly deleted the information of patients who received services between September 2016 and November 2021. The website lists dozens of hospitals and health systems impacted by the hack, including MultiCare.
In MultiCare's release, spokesperson Lori Meyers wrote that as many as 18,615 MultiCare patients' medical conditions, service dates and provider names were at risk from the data breach. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), a federal regulation that protects individuals' health information, prohibits health care providers from sharing such information, and requires agencies like MultiCare and Avemere to protect it.
In an email to The News Tribune, Meyers wrote that the MultiCare patients impacted used the Connected Care Network, a subsidiary of the health system. The release states that if the health information of a patient was compromised, Avamere will reach out directly to affected patients.
Avamere's website said it will provide free credit monitoring services to anyone impacted by the hack, although it did not indicate financial data had been stolen in the incident.
MultiCare is one of the largest hospital systems in Pierce County. It maintains the two largest hospitals in the county: Tacoma General/Allenmore and Good Samaritan hospitals. It also runs Mary Bridge, the main children's hospital in the region, and Capital Medical Center, a major healthcare facility in Olympia.
New UW Study Shows How COVID Lockdowns Impacted Northwest Birds
While the unusual quiet of COVID's first months was hard on many people, it allowed birds in the Pacific Northwest to use a wider range of habitats, according to a newly published University of Washington study.
The study, published Thursday in Scientific Reports, found that in Pacific Northwest cities under lockdown, birds were just as likely to be found in highly developed urban areas as in less-developed green spaces.
"Our findings suggest that some birds may have been able to use more spaces in cities because our human footprint was a little lighter," said Olivia Sanderfoot, who completed the study as a doctoral researcher at the UW School of Environmental and Forest Sciences.
In the spring of 2020, Sanderfoot and colleagues recruited more than 900 community scientists in the Pacific Northwest to monitor sites of their choosing — mostly backyards and parks where they could safely comply with public health orders — and recorded the birds they observed over 10 minutes at least once a week.
Among the 35 species that showed the strongest changes in behavior during COVID lockdowns were some of the region's most iconic, including black-capped chickadees, great blue herons, downy woodpeckers and Wilson's warblers.
Listen to Wilson's warbler (Cardellina pusilla)
The researchers focused on 46 bird species, observed by the study volunteers during more than 6,000 individual surveys.
To compare the volunteers' bird observations to human activity, Sanderfoot and her colleagues used data from Google's Community Mobility Reports, which track the relative amount that people moved around at various points during the pandemic. While most people spent spring 2020 isolated in their homes, many began venturing out again throughout the study period.
Human mobility affected detection of 76% of the species studied, suggesting birds responded to the changes in human activity beginning shortly after initial lockdown restrictions were implemented.
As people returned to public spaces and human activity increased, the volunteers recorded an increase in sightings of birds in more heavily canopied and vegetated areas, such as parks and backyards, suggesting such green spaces are an important refuge for urban birds.
"The birds may have been elsewhere at the height of the lockdowns, because human activity wasn't as much of a disturbance, but then returned to those vegetated areas as the activity increased again," Sanderfoot said in an emailed statement. "This could tell us how important it is to build green spaces into our cities. That's the biggest takeaway for me."
Like countless others who discovered a new interest in birds and bird songs during the early, quiet of the pandemic, the volunteers told researchers the work was a welcome distraction.
"I am loving being a part of this!" said Nadine Santo Pietro, a study volunteer, in a written comment. " ... It's given me something positive to focus on during this strange time we are in right now."
The study was co-authored by Joel Kaufman, a professor in the UW Department of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences, and Beth Gardner, an associate professor in the UW School of Environmental and Forest Sciences.
The research was funded by the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program and the McIntire-Stennis Cooperative Forestry Research Program from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture.
Camas athletics gets ‘fresh set of eyes’
Camas School District’s new superintendent says the district — which found itself embroiled in two investigations into racist slurs allegedly directed toward visiting student-athletes during the 2021-22 school year — will have a “fresh set of eyes” on its athletics programs going into the new school year.
“We are not going to crucify anybody, because these are kids, but we will still hold people accountable,” CSD Superintendent John Anzalone told The Post-Record this week. “We want to make sure (visiting student-athletes) feel welcome and build trust, which will take some time.”
Anzalone, who worked as a building and district administrator for the 320,000-student Clark County School District in Las Vegas, Nevada, for 16 years before starting his new role as CSD’s superintendent on July 1, came to Camas on the heels of two investigations into racially charged incidents that occurred during Camas athletic events in December 2021 and April 2022.
A coach from Portland’s Benson High School alerted CSD officials to the first incident in late 2021, and said a young person sitting in the Camas student section had “hurled racial slurs, specifically the ‘N-word'” toward members of Benson’s junior varsity girls basketball team as they came onto the court and during the game. Benson parents who attended the game also told the coach they had heard the slurs and felt “it created a very hostile environment.”
An outside investigator concluded in January 2022, that Camas students likely directed “some sort of inappropriate language” toward members of the Benson team, but added that it was “not possible to reach a definitive conclusion that (Camas students used) racial slurs.”
The Camas School Board said in January 2022, the investigation into the Benson allegations “reinforce(d) the need to emphasize sportsmanship, decorum and respect for all within our schools” and added that “racism, bullying and harassment of any kind or scope are not tolerated in our schools.”
Three months later, in April 2022, the district again found itself enmeshed in accusations that Camas students had directed racist slurs toward members of a visiting athletic team. In this case, members of the Vancouver-based Skyview High School’s junior varsity baseball team and their coach said members of Camas’ junior varsity baseball team had engaged in racist behavior directed toward a Skyview player of color.
Then-Camas Athletic Director Rory Oster and then-Camas High Principal Tom Morris later said a weeklong investigation was “not able to confirm all allegations,” but that Camas leaders “do know (Camas student-athletes) engaged in racist behavior” during the April 20 junior varsity baseball game against Skyview and that “their actions and the inaction of the athletes who witnessed these acts clearly illustrate that a problem exists in our team.”
Parents said Camas School District allowed local students ‘to be vilified’
After the district canceled the remainder of Camas’ junior varsity baseball games, several Camas parents showed up at the Camas School Board’s May 23 meeting to rail against the district’s handling of the Benson and Skyview allegations and alleging that district officials had allowed Camas students to “be vilified.”
“This is not who they are. This is not who their families are. This is not who we are at all,” Kendall Thiemann, a former football coach and the parent of two Camas High graduates, told the school board on May 23. “The narrative that’s been put out … is not factual. We want the facts … but (you) have let Skyview control the narrative and they’ve thrown our kids under the bus.”
Another parent, Molly Sheffield, whose son was then a freshman on the Camas junior varsity baseball team, told board members during the May 23 meeting that her son had started his freshman year with “great expectations and optimism” but that the district’s handling of the Skyview allegations and the resulting cancellation of junior varsity baseball games had changed that.
“Now his and other players’ mental health has taken a dive,” Sheffield said, accusing the Camas School Board of “allowing the Skyview coach’s social media narrative to continue a false narrative. “The repercussions from a faulty narrative have been very severe. What safeguards will you build to protect students? Our students have a target on their back now and Camas has become, far and wide, an emblem (for racist behavior).”
Prem Manjooran, another parent whose son was a member of the Camas junior varsity baseball team in 2022, wrote to the Camas School Board on May 22, and said the district and the greater Camas community had “failed its children” in the handling of the Skyview allegations and the response to Skyview’s junior varsity baseball coach, who had gone public with the allegations on his social media sites.
“My heart goes out to the young man at Skyview, and his family, who, as guests, were made to feel unwelcome and targeted. There can be no excuse for that. Words, actions, and ‘micro-aggressions’ – whether intentional or not – have meaning, and consequences. As uncomfortable as it is, we need to accept that – as a team, as a school, as a community. We need to leave no stone unturned to make sure that the young man and his family understand how deeply sorry we are,” Manjooran stated. “That said, and I want to be just as clear: we as a community have failed our children. We have allowed a rash, irresponsible social media post … and the multitude (of) allegations — almost all of which have been disproved — cynically designed for impact, and to ‘shock and awe,’ to shape the narrative. Despite the facts – not the narrative – surrounding that unfortunate afternoon having been clearly established, we, as a school district, as a Board, and as an administration, intentionally chose to not engage with our families and our students, and instead, devolved to a hasty, questionably worded ‘apology,’ an explicit acceptance of the ‘labels’ that social media have already assigned the team and our community, and a vague promise of mediation and remediation at some point in the future.”
“It is absolutely inexcusable that the school district — with seemingly little or no input from the school administration and the coaches, and with absolutely zero input from the families or the community at large — has accepted and perpetuated a ‘label,’ publicly ‘shaming’ the team and the community, with no concern whatsoever for the facts, our students, their mental health, their sense of self-worth as young adults, and the reality that the ‘teaching moments’ for our boys have been lost,” Manjooran continued. “We failed the young man who was our guest. We failed our children. There must be some acknowledgment and accountability. This simply cannot happen again. We can, we must, do better.”
A ‘timely, more efficient’ approach to investigations
Anzalone, Camas’ new schools superintendent, said has “been listening to both sides of these issues,” and knows “how politicized these incidents can be.”
“I’ve heard loud and clear that this is a good place for families and for education,” Anzalone said. “I think, at the end of the day … there is a desire to find balance between accountability and (knowing) that kids are going to make mistakes.”
Anzalone said he wants the Camas community to know that they have “a new superintendent, a new Camas High School principal and a new athletic director who are coming in and looking at things from that balanced perspective.”
The district will follow the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association (WIAA)’s policy surrounding allegations of racist slurs or behavior during athletic events, which calls for game play to be halted after a report has been lodged.
“If a report is made, then the adults in a leadership capacity will agree that the game is stopped and open an investigation right away,” Anzalone explained. “What that means for us is that the game is second to any type of inappropropriate actions made by adults or kids on the court.”
Anzalone is also implementing a new policy on the Camas side, which calls for a “timely, more efficient” investigation at a local level.
The superintendent said he is counting on the district’s new athletic director, Stephen Baranowski, as well as the new Camas High School principal, Kelly O’Rourke — a veteran school administrator who worked with Anzalone in the Clark County School District in Nevada — to not only help ensure the prevention of these types of racially motivated incidents but also make sure any report of racist behavior from a member of the Camas School District community is addressed quickly and thoroughly.
“Those two are going to be really critical in looking at things with a new set of eyes and hitting these incidents in a timely manner so that parents, kids, staff and the community in general know what’s going to come of it,” Anzalone said. “(O’Rourke) comes from much more diverse and urban districts, so these are things she’s dealt with not only as a principal but also as a supervisor.”
Anzalone said he wants Baranowski — a 2006 Camas High graduate and former Papermakers baseball player who has worked as an educator, principal and dean of students at Liberty Middle School for the past decade — to help train Camas coaches on the importance of being an “upstander.”
“Coaches have to understand that they are upstanders and mandatory reporters,” Anzalone said. “They have to keep in mind … that the game needs to be stopped so we can investigate. And it’s important for families and students to be as upfront and honest as possible.”
Instead of immediately involving an independent investigator, Anzalone said the district will rely on a “more timely” internal investigation.
“We are counting on adults who have close relationships with the kids — because kids are more apt to share the truth with people they know and love and respect — rather than outside investigators.”
Asked if he was concerned that Camas students might be more likely to “close rank” and protect their teammates and friends in the absence of an impartial investigator, Anzalone said “that’s always a fear, but that’s why we have to establish this culture that, by hiding things or protecting one another, we’re not doing any good for our fellow peers.”
“It may take a little time to establish that, but if these relationships are made on the front end by our AD, our coaches and our students, my hope is that kids will want to do what’s right and what’s best and to do what’s maybe not best for them, but what will help the person who has been hurt.”
Baranowski bringing ‘HEART’ to Camsa coaches, teams
The district’s new athletic director, Stephen Baranowski, said he will discuss these issues when Camas coaches come together for a pre-school year “all coaches” meeting on Aug. 17.
“We have to talk about how we are preemptively going to have these conversations,” Baranowski said. “A lot of it is about establishing core values.”
The new athletic director said he wants coaches to work directly with student-athletes and to emphasize that Papermakers play with “HEART” — honor, excellence, accountability, respect and trust.
“We will be working with coaches and athletes to make sure everybody feels included in our programs, that every athlete is seen and served – and to make sure everybody we’re playing against feels they are welcomed,” Baranowski said.
Baranowski will be emphasizing “upstander training” when he meets with Camas coaches later this month.
“When you hear or see something on the field that doesn’t sit right with you, you have to push into those conversations,” Baranowski said. “We will be working with coaches — who will then work with players — on upstander training, so that they are interrupting those conversations that are inappropriate on the court … and we know it takes a lot of courage to stand up to a teammate.”
The new athletic director, who hails from Camas and its athletics programs, said he wants to help the school district build trust with the community and visiting teams.
“I come from Camas. I am a 2006 Camas High School graduate … and I have a love for Camas and for its athletics, which I think is one of the best avenues for character-building,” Baranowski said. “We have the opportunity to build a lot of trust this year — to tell the stories of the good things that are happening – and I look forward to doing that.”
Justice Department seeks to unseal search warrant of Trump home
WASHINGTON — The Justice Department has asked a court to unseal the search warrant the FBI received before searching the Florida estate of former President Donald Trump, Attorney General Merrick Garland said Thursday.
Garland cited the “substantial public interest in this matter” in announcing the request at a hastily scheduled Justice Department news conference.
Garland also said that he personally approved the search warrant, which was part of an ongoing Justice Department investigation into the discovery of classified White House records recovered from Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home in Palm Beach, Florida earlier this year.
It was not immediately clear if and when the unsealing request, filed in federal court in Miami, might be granted or when the documents could be released.
More on Donald Trump-related investigations: https://apnews.com/hub/donald-trump
CDC drops quarantine, screening recommendations for COVID-19
NEW YORK — The nation’s top public health agency on Thursday relaxed its COVID-19 guidelines, dropping the recommendation that Americans quarantine themselves if they come into close contact with an infected person.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also said people no longer need to stay at least 6 feet away from others.
The changes are driven by a recognition that — more than 2 1/2 years since the start of the pandemic — an estimated 95% of Americans 16 and older have acquired some level of immunity, either from being vaccinated or infected, agency officials said.
“The current conditions of this pandemic are very different from those of the last two years,” said the CDC’s Greta Massetti, an author of the guidelines.
The CDC recommendations apply to everyone in the U.S., but the changes could be particularly important for schools, which resume classes this month in many parts of the country.
Perhaps the biggest education-related change is the end of the recommendation that schools do routine daily testing, although that practice can be reinstated in certain situations during a surge in infections, officials said.
The CDC also dropped a “test-to-stay” recommendation, which said students exposed to COVID-19 could regularly test — instead of quarantining at home — to keep attending school. With no quarantine recommendation anymore, the testing option disappeared too.
Masks continue to be recommended only in areas where community transmission is deemed high, or if a person is considered at high risk of severe illness.
School districts across the U.S. have been scaling back their COVID-19 precautions in recent weeks even before the CDC relaxed its guidance.
Masks will be optional in most school districts when classes resume this fall, and some of the nation’s largest districts have dialed back or eliminated COVID-19 testing requirements.
Some have also been moving away from test-to-stay programs that became unmanageable during surges of the omicron variant last school year. With so many new infections among students and staff, many schools struggled to track and test their close contacts, leading to a temporary return to remote classes in some places.
The average numbers of reported COVID-19 cases and deaths have been relatively flat this summer, at around 100,000 cases a day and 300 to 400 deaths.
The CDC previously said that if people who are not up to date on their COVID-19 vaccinations come into close contact with a person who tests positive, they should stay home for at least five days. Now the agency says quarantining at home is not necessary, but it urges those people to wear a high-quality mask for 10 days and get tested after five.
The agency continues to say that people who test positive should isolate from others for at least five days, regardless of whether they were vaccinated. CDC officials advise that people can end isolation if they are fever-free for 24 hours without the use of medication and they are without symptoms or the symptoms are improving.