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News Briefs

OLYMPIA (AP) — People who have had trouble enrolling for insurance or using their benefits because of billing problems with the state’s health exchange can try again during a special enrollment period announced by the insurance commissioner’s office.

The limited enrollment period will begin on Aug. 27 and run through Nov. 14. Only people who had problems under the previous enrollment period will be eligible, according to a press release issued Monday by the office of Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler. read more »


OLYMPIA (AP) — Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and his wife, Melinda, have donated $1 million to a Washington state campaign seeking to expand background checks on gun sales, bringing the total amount the campaign has brought in to nearly $6 million.

The donation to the Initiative 594 campaign was given Friday, but it was not made public until Monday, when it posted on the state’s Public Disclosure Commission website. read more »


The Washington State Department of Health has licensed Hospice of Kitsap County to begin providing private-duty home care under the name Peninsula Health Care. The 35-year-old nonprofit agency will begin providing home care services to current hospice patients immediately, with plans to offer services to the general public by the beginning of 2015. read more »


Tad Sooter, Kitsap Sun

Before Randy Jones became Kitsap County’s first legal recreational marijuana seller, he worked for eight years as a demolition worker.

It was a solid union career with a stable future, one Jones walked away from to test an industry where nothing is guaranteed, not even access to the product he’s selling. read more »


The 2014 Professional Rain Garden Workshop presented by WSU Kitsap Extension will be held in Bremerton in October for green industry professionals. The two-day workshop will cover the design and installation of rain gardens, including a wide range of topics such as benefits, regulations, site analysis, hydrologic modeling, materials specifications, maintenance and the latest on regulatory updates on these Low Impact Development (LID) features.  read more »


Tad Sooter, Kitsap Sun

A contract between Harrison Medical Center and Regence BlueShield terminated Thursday after the two sides were unable agree on a new deal.

Talks between the hospital, represented by parent company Franciscan Health System, and the insurance company failed after months of wrangling. The contract between Regence and Harrison was set to expire July 30 but the two sides agreed to extend it through Thursday. No agreement was reached in the past three weeks, and representatives for Harrison and Regence confirmed the contract will terminate. read more »


Pete Yost and
 Marcy Gordon, Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — The government has reached a $16.65 billion settlement with Bank of America over its role in the sale of mortgage-backed securities in the run-up to the financial crisis, the Justice Department announced Thursday.

The deal calls for the bank, the second-largest in the U.S., to pay a $5 billion cash penalty, another $4.6 billion in remediation payments and provide about $7 billion in relief to struggling homeowners. read more »


WASHINGTON (AP) — A fourth straight monthly increase in sales of existing homes provided the latest evidence Thursday that the U.S. housing market is rebounding from a weak start to the year.

Housing has been a drag on an otherwise strengthening economy, in part because a harsh winter delayed many sales. But Americans are stepping up purchases as more homes have been put up for sale. And low mortgage rates and moderating price gains have made homes more affordable. read more »


OLYMPIA (AP) — The state Supreme Court on Thursday unanimously upheld a lower court’s ruling that says damages to be paid to part-time state employees who were wrongfully denied health benefits must take into account more than actual out-of-pocket costs.

The high court’s ruling sided with a class-action group’s stance on such damages, and it rejected the Washington Health Care Authority’s argument that the state should only pay for actual costs paid by class members during the time they were denied benefits. read more »

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