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Western Washington home tests positive for meth

A trio of college students on the West side are apartment hunting after health officials condemned their rental home, which tested positive for methamphetamine.

The whole story from The Associated Press, based on reporting from Seattle TV station KOMO News, follows:

BELLINGHAM, Wash. (AP) — A health official in Bellingham, Wash., says three college students who began to feel dizzy and lethargic after living for several months in a rental house have been told to find a new home after the house tested positive for methamphetamine. 
KOMO-TV reports (http://is.gd/5u36Oo ) that Whatcom County Health Department supervisor Jeff Hegedus says the Western Washington University students contacted the health department to ask that the home be tested. 
Hegedus said Friday that an initial health department test found meth contamination well above Whatcom County’s legal limit. A second test done by a decontamination contractor came back with an even higher meth reading. 
The health department official says the house was marked “unfit for occupancy” and the owners were told to hire a licensed decontamination contractor, which they did.

© Copyright 2013 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Tuesday Video: “First of all, I like trains,” says coal terminal advocate

Last week, I discussed the thousands of people who are showing up to statewide public meetings to comment on and protest building the nation's largest coal export terminal outside of Bellingham. It makes me wonder what Spokane's hearing on December 4th will look like

This awesome five-minute video might give us a hint. It's about the huge turnout in Bellingham, called Divided by Coal from How Loud Media. One of the best pro-coal terminal comments I've heard yet on camera:  "Instead of calling it coal, what if we called it ballet shoes? How would people feel about exporting ballet shoes? It's a legal commodity [and] coal's a legal commodity."

Once again, you can voice your opinion HERE. State and federal agencies are seeking public comment on the proposed terminal through January 21, 2013.

Video after the jump.

Friday Quote: “Would a Washington state coal port mean a damn thing to the environment?”

People who back the idea of a coal port in Whatcom County have added a sophisticated new argument to their arsenal: They're not just saying "jobs." And they're not just saying, "If we don't ship coal to China, someone else will." They're also saying, "If the Chinese don't burn our coal, they'll burn something worse."

Ken Oplinger, president/CEO of the Bellingham/Whatcom Chamber of Commerce & Industry, and Chris Johnson, vice president of the Northwest Washington Central Labor Council, argued recently in The Seattle Times: "Stopping the terminal will not stop China from using coal; the world has plenty. It will only stop China from using our cleaner coal, which has less mercury, sulfur and nitrogen oxides. Opponents say the coal China uses affects our air quality. So if they use our coal, our air will actually be cleaner."

Bellingham Mayor says no to coal trains

Bellingham’s Mayor, Dan Pike, announced that he will work to oppose the coal export terminal proposed by Peabody Energy and SSA Marine at Cherry Point. In this classic battle of economic growth vs the environment, he stated in his announcement, “I am clear today that I need to take a stand: a stand for protecting Bellingham, a stand for health, safety and quality of life, a stand for welcoming new businesses that provide clean jobs to our local communities.”

Not to say I’m against economic growth – just not the kind that is powered by coal energy. The plan is to ship tons of coal from the Powder River Basin in Wyoming to Bellingham where it is then exported to China. These shipments will enter Washington at Spokane (refueling near our aquifer), reach the Columbia River at Tri-Cities and move down the Columbia Gorge before turning north at Vancouver to run through Kalama, Kelso-Longview, Centralia, Tacoma, Seattle, Edmonds, Everett, and Mount Vernon.

These communities will receive the impact of the train traffic - but not the jobs and added taxes that would go to Whatcom County. And more pollution. It’s a big loser. We’re just the middleman between Wyoming’s coal and China’s power plants.

We can do better.
Check this Crosscut piece on the political impact of coal trains in Bellingham.  Pike’s full statement after the jump.

2 men charged in meth prison conspiracy

BELLINGHAM, Wash. (AP) — Two Bellingham men have been charged with conspiracy to mail papers soaked in methamphetamine to inmates in state prisons.

A complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Seattle alleges that 31-year-old Joseph L. Garcia supplied ounces of meth to 47-year-old Kirk L. Rishor, who soaked the drugs into high-quality, cotton-fiber paper.

The complaint says Rishor put the paper into manila envelopes flled with legal paperwork and mailed the package to the prison.

Rishor and Garcia were arrested in Bellingham on Nov. 12. When investigators searched Garcia’s home with a warrant, they found $28,000 in cash and almost 40 ounces of meth.

An inmate in the Washington State Penitentiary in Walla Walla, Victor Martinez, also has been charged.

Calling Spokane businesses

To get through the recession, businesses are coming together in various buy local campaigns. However, one network in Bellingham, Sustainable Connections, is taking a community minded economy to another level by focusing on green building, renewable energy and local agriculture.

Sustainable Connections has a membership of 600 local, independently owned businesses. They make sure members have the autonomy to “make any transformational change in their business that they can imagine” for a healthy environment. Their core values are to facilitate sustainable economic development by providing:

Education: Facilitating technical assistance for businesses and government that builds our community’s capacity to participate in the opportunities of a sustainable economy.

Connections: Connecting businesses to each other, and to the marketplace.

Market Development: Engaging in promotion and market development that opens opportunities for sustainable economy businesses.

Considering our own emerging Buy Local movement from Greater Spokane Incorporated, it might be wise for area businesses to model a similar endeavor after this high-profile network.