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Tuesday, August 5, 2003 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Local Digest

Old monorail beams can go

SEATTLE — It's official: the old Seattle Center monorail beams on Fifth Avenue can come down.

The Seattle City Council voted 7-2 yesterday to preserve only the Alweg trains, while allowing the columns and guideways from the historic 41-year-old line to be destroyed when construction begins on the new Green Line monorail in 2005.

Proponents sought to remove a layer of "process" and help the Green Line stay on schedule. Voting yes were Heidi Wills, Jim Compton, Jan Drago, Nick Licata, Richard Conlin, Judy Nicastro and Peter Steinbrueck, who said he was voting yes reluctantly.

Those against were Margaret Pageler and Richard McIver. Pageler said the new monorail was getting special favors instead of being subjected to additional historic-preservation hearings, as would be the case in other projects. The entire line was designated historic by a city landmarks board in April, but the 14-mile Green Line route replaces the one-mile stretch of existing monorail on Fifth.

Skerritt, choreographer Byrd named to arts commission

SEATTLE — Mayor Greg Nickels has appointed actor Tom Skerritt and choreographer Donald Byrd to the Seattle Arts Commission.

Skerritt is a veteran actor who has appeared in many films and TV shows, although he is probably best known for his work on the TV series "Picket Fences." He most recently appeared in "Tears of the Sun" with Bruce Willis.

Byrd is an internationally known choreographer who has created works for his own Donald Byrd/The Group dance company, and many other national companies as varied as Pacific Northwest Ballet, Alvin Ailey and New York City Opera. He recently took over the artistic directorship of local jazz-dance company Spectrum Dance Theatre.

The 15-member arts commission is the advisory panel to Seattle's Office of Arts & Cultural Affairs.

Fatal fire on reservation is considered an accident

MARYSVILLE — A fatal trailer fire on the Tulalip Reservation Saturday is being considered an accident, the Snohomish County Medical Examiner's Office said yesterday. The identity of the woman found in the trailer is being withheld pending positive identification and notification of next of kin, the office reported.

The woman was found dead early Saturday morning after a fire on 27th Avenue Northeast destroyed a travel trailer.

The Medical Examiner's Office attributed the death to asphyxia caused by smoke inhalation.

The woman was found inside a burned-out 20-foot trailer after fire and police agencies responded to a 911 call. The woman was believed to be a tribal member who was staying in the trailer.

Woman found dead near park is identified

SEATTLE — The woman found dead Sunday in some bushes near Seward Park was identified yesterday as Julie Ann Riggins, 46.

The King County Medical Examiner's Office is still conducting tests to determine the cause and manner of her death, a spokeswoman said.

Seattle Police Department homicide detectives are investigating.

Tours delayed after problems

are found with new boats

CRATER LAKE, Ore. — Boat tours of Crater Lake have been postponed because new boats purchased to replace the generations-old wooden ones aren't working, park officials said.

The boats, which were airlifted to the volcanic lake by helicopter on July 22, have specially muffled engines and sensors to keep fuel and other pollutants contained.

The new boats were expected to ease contamination concerns that arose in the 1990s, when researchers detected gasoline residue near docks on the lake's north shore. A federal investigation that concluded in 2000 found serious safety lapses in the operation of the vessels.

Xanterra Parks & Resorts, the lake's Denver-based concessionaire, spent about $600,000 on three new fiberglass boats, said Rick Burcham, its corporate director of projects.

Times staff and news services

Copyright © 2003 The Seattle Times Company

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