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Why did they attack substations in Pierce County?: Today So Far

  • Why did two men attack four electrical substations in Pierce County over Christmas weekend?
  • There are a lot of changes to pay and employer rules in Washington state as of Jan. 1.
  • Another Seattle council member will not be running for reelection in 2023.

This post originally appeared in KUOW's Today So Far newsletter for January 4, 2023.

The FBI has arrested and charged two suspects for the attacks on four substations — Matthew Greenwood, 32, and Jeremy Crahan, 40, of Puyallup. They are accused of damaging Tacoma Power's Graham and Elk Plain substations and Puget Sound Energy's Kapowsin and Hemlock substations, causing millions in damage. Firearms were used in some of the incidents. The pair now faces potential sentences of up to 20 years in prison for the attacks on the energy grid, and 10 years for possession of an unregistered firearm (a sawed-off shotgun), if they are found guilty.

Why did these two men allegedly attack four electrical substations in Pierce County on Christmas? U.S. Attorney Nick Brown tells KUOW's Diana Opong that he won't speculate about potential motives. But one motive did come up in charging documents.

Greenwood allegedly made a statement to law enforcement following his arrest. Charging documents state, "Greenwood stated that Greenwood and Crahan have been planning to disrupt power to commit a burglary." Also, after the power was knocked out, Greenwood allegedly said they went to a local business, drilled out the lock and stole money from its cash register.

Seems like a lot of effort for some cash out of a register. More information is likely to emerge as the case moves along.

"These attacks here are incredibly serious," Brown said. "And we wanted to respond very quickly. We have seen, nationally, other attacks happen on power facilities and power substations, I think the most prominent of which was in North Carolina, which caused a really massive outage across that area. And we've seen other attacks, some small, but some more significant here in the Northwest, including in Western Washington."

"There have been so many attacks across the country, I would be surprised if all those are connected. Each case will stand on its own. And as the case develops, and we move forward, we might have further information, but as of now, it's just these two individuals charged with the conspiracy."

There are a lot of changes to pay and employer rules in Washington state as of Jan. 1. KUOW rounded up a few big ones, such as the state's $15 minimum wage, now the highest in the nation. Also, employers in Washington now have to be more transparent when advertising for a job, and list the pay range for the position. There will also be changes to rates for ride-share drivers and overtime rules for agricultural workers. Read more here.

There goes another one. Seattle Councilmember Alex Pedersen is now the third member to announce they will not be running for reelection in 2023. Lisa Herbold and Debora Juarez are also declining to run again. Unlike Herbold and Juarez, Petersen will be a one-term council member. In a statement, he said that his family needs him more right now than City Hall does. He plans to go into the private sector in 2024.

Seattle will have seven out of its nine council seats up for election in November. It seems that, so far, it will be open season for three of these seats. Read more here.

AS SEEN ON KUOW

caption: Ky Bak assesses the damage in his home after the Duwamish River flood on Wednesday, Dec. 28, 2022.
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Ky Bak assesses the damage in his home after the Duwamish River flood on Wednesday, Dec. 28, 2022.
Credit: KUOW Photo/ Casey Martin

Ky Bak assesses the damage in his home after the Duwamish River flood on Wednesday, Dec. 28, 2022. At the end of December, inches of water and debris covered some streets and sidewalks in Seattle’s South Park neighborhood after the Duwamish River flooded. Multiple families were displaced while they tried to clean and repair their water-damaged homes. (Casey Martin / KUOW)

DID YOU KNOW?

You may have heard folks, myself included, use the term "barcade" in conversation, referencing bars that are also arcades. There are many such establishments in our region. If you Google "barcade" you will get a range of results from Dorky's in Tacoma to the Ice Box in Seattle. You can also search for "barcade" on Yelp and you will get local results for Tacoma's Triple Knock or Renton's 8-Bit Arcade Bar. There are a lot around here.

However, "Barcade" is a trademarked term by a chain of Barcades with locations across the Northeast, as well as in Detroit and LA. They are very protective of the name. The company doesn't have any local locations, but if you use the word "barcade" in news copy, the company will likely contact you to make sure you are not referencing any business other than them with the term. This happened to me back in the day, when I was working at a Portland newspaper. I forget what the arts article was, but I do recall getting an email requesting that we remove the term "barcade" from articles referencing any local arcade bars.

I also recently quoted someone who said Seattle is fun because of all its "barcades" in a TSF newsletter, and I soon got another notice from the East Coast company. I opted not to change the quote (because it's a quote), but have since added a note in the copy that explains the distinction.

Thing is, there are terms in our everyday life that become colloquial. We are likely to say "band aid" when we want an adhesive bandage, yet "Band-Aid" is a brand name, not the actual title of the bandages. We also say "Tylenol" instead of saying "acetaminophen." And we also say "Spandex," "Q-Tip," "Post-It," "Kleenex," "Kitty Litter," "Chapstick," "Frisbee," and "Dumpster" — all of which are not the actual titles of the items we are referencing, but are trademarked brand names. So while we might not be writing "barcade" in too much news copy, feel free to keep using it in your everyday conversations, as per normal.


ALSO ON OUR MINDS

caption: House Minority leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., talks to the media at DMI Companies in Monongahela, Pa., Friday, Sept. 23, 2022. McCarthy joined with other House Republicans to unveil their "Commitment to America" agenda.
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House Minority leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., talks to the media at DMI Companies in Monongahela, Pa., Friday, Sept. 23, 2022. McCarthy joined with other House Republicans to unveil their "Commitment to America" agenda.
Credit: AP Photo/Barry Reeger

This was supposed to be Kevin McCarthy's moment. Instead, GOP chaos reigns

This was supposed to be Kevin McCarthy's moment, one he had contorted himself into political knots to get to. But Congress adjourned Tuesday without McCarthy — or anyone — as speaker after three ballots of voting, the first time the voting has gone beyond one round in 100 years. They are set to reconvene on Wednesday at noon, but there could be multiple rounds of ballots yet to come.

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