$1 Million Bail Sought for Suspect in #MountVernon Officer’s Shooting


MOUNT VERNON, Wash.  KOMO Staff & Associated Press report: A man suspected of shooting a police officer in the back of the head was ordered held on $1 million bail Friday.

The suspect, identified in court documents as Ernesto Lee Rivas, 44, appeared in Skagit County Superior Court the day after the cold-blooded shooting.

Rivas, who has a lengthy criminal history, was arrested earlier Friday morning after a seven-hour standoff in Mount Vernon that began after a police officer was shot and critically wounded, the Washington State Patrol said.

The online roster for the Skagit County Jail shows Rivas was booked at 1:55 a.m. Friday following his arrest.

Court and State Patrol records show that Rivas has eight felonies on his record, including unlawful possession of a firearm in 2011 and unlawful imprisonment in 1998. He was subject to a domestic violence protection order last year after the mother of his child accused him of stalking her at work.

At Friday’s court hearing, prosecutors said the suspect is being held for investigation of attempted first-degree murder. It was not immediately clear if Rivas has obtained an attorney. Read the rest of this entry »

Police Officer Shot During Standoff in #MountVernon, Suspect Now in Custody


MOUNT VERNON, Wash. – The suspect who shot a Mount Vernon police officer Thursday night is now in custody, according to the Washington State Patrol.

Police and other law enforcement officers converged at the scene of the shooting, which has become a standoff with hostages. The suspect continued to fire shots at least as late as 10:00 p.m.

Mount Vernon Police officers initially responded to a domestic disturbance where a man was shot around 5:30 p.m. near Laventure Road and Fir Street, according to the State Patrol.

When they arrived they made contact with the suspected shooter, who then barricaded himself inside a home and began shooting at officers, said Sgt. Keith Leary.

A Mount Vernon police officer, 61, was shot in the head and taken to Skagit Valley Hospital. Sgt. Leary said the officer was conscious and alert . He was then airlifted to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle. The officer underwent surgery and was said to be in serious, but stable condition early Friday morning. Officials said he is a 30-year veteran of the force.

[Read the developing story here, at KOMO]

Police and other law enforcement officers converged at the scene of the shooting, which has become a standoff with hostages. The suspect continued to fire shots at least as late as 10:00 p.m.

“There was bang ban bang. I had the kids go in the floor and don’t really see much,” said Maria Zendejas, who lives nearby. “I’m just shaken up with everything that’s going on. Poor officer is down. You wouldn’t think there’s something going on especially just three, four houses down from mine.”

Sgt. Leary said they believed there were several hostages being held by the gunman inside the home.

The first man who was shot went to a neighbor’s house for help and was taken to a hospital.

Police arrived, and the officer was shot. The officer was described as being conscious and alert at the scene before being taken to a hospital.

Hostage negotiators have made some kind of contact with the home. Read the rest of this entry »

STONEWALL: Shutdown Theater at the National Parks


For NROJillian Kay Melchior reports:  The shutdown resulted in 7.88 million fewer visitors at national parks, costing the economy $414 million, according to a news release from the Department of Interior that reads more like an accusation than an apology.

“While the Department of the Interior was eager to broadcast the costs to the economy, it’s been much more sheepish about releasing public records regarding its shutdown behavior…”

Though you wouldn’t know it from the news release, the National Park Service made the shutdown vastly more painful than it needed to be. For example, in South Dakota, the federal government not only blocked the entrance to Mount Rushmore but also cordoned off roadside spots that might have offered tourists a nice view. It closed the World War II memorial to even visiting veterans. And the Park Service demanded state-run sites on federal lands close their doors to the public.

“…it would be extremely embarrassing if the Department of Interior were forced to admit it purposefully made things worse…”

Read the rest of this entry »

[VIDEO] George Washington’s Whiskey: From the History Books, to That Glass in Your Hand

Since President George Washington’s legacy whiskey is only available locally, we’re counting on Mary Katherine Ham to keep her promise, drink some, and report first-hand.


In the meantime, here’s the scoop, with a video from Reason TV, a 2013 edition of The Washington Post, for more, see M.K.Ham’s notes:

Reason TV visited Mt. Vernon to sit in on a demonstration of Washington’s Whiskey operation

The Washington Post covered their progress in 2013:

foundingspiritsbookIn the fall of 1799, George Washington wrote to his nephew: “Two hundred gallons of Whiskey will be ready this day for your call, and the sooner it is taken the better, as the demand for this article (in these parts) is brisk.”

[Order the book Founding Spirits: George Washington and the Beginnings of the American Whiskey Industry from Amazon]

The whiskey Washington spoke of was produced in his own distillery, at Mount Vernon, and the popularity of the spirit (in these parts) remains. Mount Vernon historians-turned-distillers have been busy making Washington’s unaged rye whiskey, following his recipe and manual methods, since early this month and will put 1,100 bottles up for sale in April.


The team, led by former Maker’s Mark master distiller Dave Pickerell, has perfected the craft since they began distilling at the old mill twice a year beginning in 2009. (A $2.1 million grant from the distilled spirits industry helped fund the project.) And the demand for their product has grown: The waiting list is more than 4,000 for this year’s batch.

Read the rest of this entry »