South Sound briefs


Official urges swift action on construction

Secretary of State Sam Reed on Thursday pressed state agencies to move quickly with $386 million in construction projects in Olympia, noting that costs of construction materials are rising.

The Legislature approved preliminary work on a $111 million Heritage Center that will hold some of the historical documents that Reed's office oversees, as well as a $75 million office building for the Capitol Campus' north side.

Before those buildings can be constructed, the state plans to build $200 million worth of new offices on the eastern side of the campus along Wheeler Avenue.

Department of Information Services Director Gary Robinson said his agency plans to construct the Wheeler Avenue buildings simultaneously to ensure they are completed by 2010.

But Director of the Department of General Administration Linda Villegas Bremmer said rising material costs might force some changes to the Heritage Center designs or require more funding from the Legislature.

Teen sentenced in shooting death

A judge has sentenced Dereck Belz, 14, to about a year in juvenile jail after his first-degree manslaughter conviction stemming from the shooting death of 13-year-old Eric Holmes last year, court papers state.

Belz was convicted during a jury trial earlier this month and was sentenced Wednesday.

The shooting occurred May 9, 2006, when Holmes, Belz and another teen were playing in the yard at Terry Howick's home on 83rd Court in Yelm, court records say. After Belz got a .380-caliber handgun from Howick and wore it on his hip, he and Holmes went inside a motor home in the yard, court records say.

The third teen, who stayed outside, heard a "bang," court records say.


Car stolen while talking on pay phone, man says

Thurston County sheriff's deputies seek two men suspected of stealing a vehicle in Yelm that was left unlocked and running while the driver was using a pay phone.

The incident occurred about 11 p.m. Wednesday on the 11500 block of Bald Hills Road Southeast in the Four Corners area. The victim told deputies that while he was at the phone, two men pulled up in a late-1990s red Ford pickup, Lt. Chris Mealy said Thursday.

One reportedly displayed a handgun and told the victim they were taking his white Mitsubishi Eclipse.

The suspect in the stolen vehicle was described as in his 30s and about 6 feet with a stocky build, short hair and a mustache. He was carrying a chrome semiautomatic handgun.

The second suspect was about 5 feet, 8 inches with a medium build and short, black hair.

The truck's license-plate number was not available. The number for the Eclipse was 100UCL.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Thurston County Crime Stoppers at 360-493-2222.