Alligator startles firefighters inside SunDome

When an electrical outlet inside Yakima’s SunDome started smoking, firefighters responded.
   That’s when they encountered an 8-foot alligator.
   The reptile was one of three brought in to spice up a home show that runs this weekend in the Dome. It lounged inside a tank placed in front of bleachers,...

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Loud Clallam booms remain unexplained

Authorities cannot explain loud booms that shook homes near Port Angeles on Wednesday.
   Residents reported floors and windows rattling from explosive sounds that seemed to come from the Strait of Juan de Fuca, but there were no U.S. Navy or Coast Guard activities to account for it. Canadian forces...

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Poll reveals bumper stickers anger some drivers

You might think twice about pasting a bumper sticker on your car, unless the message is bland and inoffensive.
   Our new PEMCO Poll reveals that although just 25% of Northwest drivers have bumper stickers or vanity plates on their cars, a sizable number say they react when they see a message they...

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Oregon bridges need repair, but lack funds

Oregon's DOT says the next big earthquake, or even just wear and tear from traffic, could doom more than 500 state bridges.
   Up to 138 bridges need replacing altogether, while 580 require retrofitting.
   The challenge: finding $5 billion to fund the effort. Oregon relies on state and federal gas...

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Closed drawspan evokes memories of ‘the bulge’

Motorists – if not boaters – celebrated the permanent end of Evergreen Point Bridge openings this week.
   Work crews floated pontoons into place Tuesday for the new floating bridge, blocking the SR 520 drawspan that since 1963 had periodically opened for boat traffic and halted cars. The new bridge...

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Beagle rules Westminster show sans howling

The winner didn't say much. She was all about that action.
   A quiet but happy, tail-wagging beagle named Miss P won best in show last night at the revered Westminster Kennel Club extravaganza at Madison Square Garden.
   Miss P, who lives 53 miles north of Kelowna in the British Columbia town of...

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Cafes, trucks square off in tech-land food fight

There’s a food fight underway just a few blocks from my office.
   South Lake Union has become a haven for food trucks that serve popular lunchtime fare to office workers from businesses like Amazon, Sellen Construction, and yes, PEMCO. Options abound.
   But longtime brick-and-mortar eateries say...

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Northwest ski areas closed until snow arrives

As a lifelong Northwest dweller, I’m stunned by Wednesday’s announcement that the Summit at Snoqualmie has shut down its four ski areas for the season unless late snowstorms arrive.
   Stunned, because unlike previous low-snow years (the winter of 2004-2005, for example), weather experts say...

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Proposed law would toughen smartphone ban

Lawmakers are targeting Washington drivers who exploit a legal loophole by using smartphones and evading tickets.
   That loophole will now close, if legislators get their way.
   State law bans drivers from sending text messages or holding a cell phone to their ears. But other uses, such as...

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Final thoughts on Seahawks, and Top-10 losses

Seahawks fans, let’s stop anguishing and focus on a bright future.
   And indulge me as I take a stab at Seattle’s 10 toughest sports losses.
   Picture this: It’s Feb. 7, 2016. The gritty, motivated Seahawks rebounded from 2015’s Super Bowl loss and pounded their way to a 13-3 record.
   Despite a...

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