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Former Seattle P-I editor dies at 66

Compiled from wire reports The Spokesman-Review

Seattle J.D. Alexander, a former Seattle Post-Intelligencer editor and publisher who liked hard news, good writing and straight talk, has died at a hospital near his home in Saratoga Springs, N.Y.

Alexander, 66, suffered from pulmonary hypertension.

His family said he was under hospice care for six weeks before his death Tuesday.

“He was a tough and demanding leader who cared about community, cared about readers and felt that journalists owed those readers their very best efforts day in and day out,” said Ken Bunting, P-I executive editor.

Alexander served as executive editor at the P-I from 1986 to 1993, when he was named publisher and editor. He became a consultant for the Hearst Corp. in 2000.

His most famous one-liner at the P-I was: “Morale is highly overrated.” But he threw lavish holiday parties for his staff.

Bob Danzig, a former Hearst Newspapers president, said Alexander “breathed excellence, imagination and daring into any product he touched.”

Alexander, a native of North Carolina, completed a degree in English and history at Wake Forest University after four years as a writer for the U.S. Air Force. He began his newspaper career at the Winston-Salem Journal, moving to the Washington Post in 1967.

He was an assistant national editor at the Post when the Watergate scandal broke.

“One thing he always told me was how his name was in ‘All the President’s Men,’ ” said P-I columnist Robert Jamieson. “He could tell you exactly what page it was on.”

Alexander is survived by his wife, Carol Lee “Cadee” Alexander, a former systems analyst for The Boeing Co.; his son Jasper David Alexander III, a chef and restaurant owner; and his brothers David C. Alexander of Scottsdale, Ariz., and J. Neil Alexander of Atlanta.

The family plans a private service.

Work crew digs up American Indian skeleton

Oroville, Wash. A public works crew replacing a city water line in north-central Washington has unearthed the remains of an American Indian man.

The remains unearthed Monday were believed to be between 500 and 1,000 years old, said Joe Pakootas, chairman of the Colville Confederated Tribes. The remains were believed to be from a man 30 to 40 years old when he died.

Tribal archeologists called to the site also found a few artifacts, in addition to the grave. The remains will be reburied with the artifacts at an American Indian cemetery near Ellisforde, south of Oroville, Pakootas said.

The city crew had installed about 500 feet of pipe when one worker noticed a bone in the already-excavated dirt being used to refill the trench. Oroville police then secured the site and contacted the tribes.

Pakootas said Oroville is the aboriginal territory of the Okanogan band, one of the 12 bands that make up the Colville tribes.

He said there is little reason for scientists to interfere with reburial, since the bones are not unusually old.

The Colvilles are among four Indian tribes trying to stop scientific analysis of the Kennewick man, a 9,300-year-old skeleton discovered in 1996 on the Columbia River near Kennewick. The ancient remains have been the source of a nine-year battle to determine what happens to the bones.

Fire kills 17,000 chickens, destroys barn

Yelm, Wash. About 17,000 chickens were killed in a weekend fire that leveled a barn at a poultry farm here.

The blaze started at about 4 p.m. Saturday in a barn at Draper Valley Farms, said Chief Rita Hutcheson of the Southeast Thurston County fire district.

The barn was about the size of a football field, and the fire started in the middle, making it nearly impossible to stop, Hutcheson said. The wooden barn had a sawdust floor and was heated with propane, Hutcheson said.

Firefighters were able to save four surrounding barns, about 30 feet apart.

Firefighters from Rainier, Lacey, Tenino, McLane and East Olympia were called in to fight the blaze, she said.

The cause of the fire remained under investigation.

Painted buffalo stolen, found near interstate

Great Falls, Mont. A stolen buffalo was found Sunday surrounded by beer cans near an Interstate 15 exit, Cascade County sheriff’s deputies said.

The 120-pound “beast” was among 26 painted as part of a C.M. Russell Museum fund-raiser. They were positioned outside businesses that sponsored the artists.

“To have this happen in the first week of them being on the streets is very upsetting, and we hope that this does not happen again,” said Kitty Wright, the buffalo project’s co-chairwoman.

“Please everyone, don’t hurt or move our herd,” said Wright. “We want to share them – not lock them up” at night.

The culprits took the fiberglass “Buffalo Spring Tales,” painted by Mimi and Don Grant, from 3 Rivers Communications sometime Saturday night, sheriff’s Lt. Bryan Lockerby said.

It was not seriously damaged and was returned to the 3 Rivers office by Sunday afternoon.

“It was just migrating,” commented Deputy Bob Edwards.

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