Daily Troll: Zoo talk. Don't drink to that. Elliott Bay rescue. Gastineau leaves KJR.

The outlines of a zoo defense may be emerging. Drink or its promotion costs a job or two. And a sports commentator looks for other options.

By Joe Copeland

December 04, 2012.

Zoo talk

Seattle Times reporter Michael Berens did a live chat online with readers of his dynamite series on the problems of zoo elephants. One takeaway was in reponse to a question about whether Woodland Park Zoo's elephant exhibit could be expanded.

Berens replied:

Woodland Park officials have told us that they hope to some day expand the elephant exhibit to house up to 6 elephants. They have indicated that they have funding to accommodate this expansion. But we have not seen the details and are not sure how this expansion would really take place.

That sounds like a position that would buy a lot of time for the zoo to fend off pressure to release its elephants (as 22 other cities have done, according to the series) for a more-room-to-roam life in sanctuaries.

Rude on company sign

A sign for a relatively new drinking spot in Ballard got the location some publicity, of the unenviable kind. On Sunday, a sidewalk A-board for the Ballard Station Public House read, "We have more specials than a retarded playground," according to the Ballard News-Tribune, which reported this afternoon that an employee has been fired. 

Being rude on a sign apparently gets you the same reward as being rude on company time: The story by Zachariah Bryan reported that the Public House posted on its Facebook page this afternoon that an employee had been fired.

Pretty nice message from the management, too:

We are very saddened to say that it has been determined that an employee did write on the sign. We took action immediately and suspended the employee while the investigation occurred. When it was determined he was responsible for the sign he was fired. We apologize to the community of Ballard and everyone who was effected. This sign does not represent the beliefs or culture of the Ballard Station Public House. Thank you for your patience while we took the time to investigate.

Judge retires

Speaking of alcohol: It's usually the customer that's the problem, especially when he or she hits the road. The latest high-profile evidence came late in morning in Snohomish County, where a long-serving district judge announced he would retire — months after escaping prosecution for suspected drunk-driving.

The Herald reports that Snohomish County District Judge Timothy Ryan has "sent brief letters notifying the County Council and County Executive Aaron Reardon that he plans to step down effective Dec. 31."

Ryan had already been considering retirement before an uproar earlier in the year around his arrest by Washington State Patrol officers and a subsequent decision that there wasn't enough evidence to go to trial.. But he apparently won't be tooling around the roads during his first year of retirement. The paper's Noah Haglund reports, "Ryan faces a mandatory one-year license suspension stemming from his refusal to take a breath test after the stop. It's set to begin Dec. 27."

Stormy night rescue

On the brighter side, Seattle Police tell of an early morning rescue of man from Elliott Bay by an Elliott Bay Marina worker and three SPD officers.

The employee was making his rounds shortly after midnight when he heard a call for help. He managed to summon officers by 911, give instructions on how they could (barely) force their way through a secure door, and keep  the man's head above the water line until officers got there.

Then, the report said:

Once inside, the officers ran to the end of the dock where they found the employee struggling to keep the victim’s head above water. The four of them then pulled the victim out of the water. The man was unresponsive, and they immediately began to administer first aid for hypothermia. They noticed he had a 3″ gash to his upper right forehead. Officers used blankets and a sleeping bag to keep the man warm until the Seattle Fire Department arrived. While SFD was enroute, officers were able to talk to the victim about what happened. Although he was slipping in and out of consciouness, he was able to tell officers that he believes he slipped and fell as he was attempting to step onto his boat. He believes he hit his head on the dock as he fell backward into the water.

The 67-year-old man is expected to recover fully. The full post is worth a nice, quick read.

Broadcast departures

A day after the big loss for intelligent public affairs discussion with Robert Mak's departure from KING5, Seattle sports radio is losing an  insightful observer and commentator with Mike Gastineau's departure from KJR-AM. The Times has a story that reported  he wants to look at "other creative options"; Gastineau made an announcement on his Twitter account. Since the early 1990s, he has been a Seattle presence whose big heart and deep conscience have been impossible to miss.

Seattle street musician

In Seattle, the weather doesn't stop street commerce (with maybe some exceptions). So in the spirit of enjoying street life even in winter, here's a new-this-week (Monday) YouTube video of a "mulit-tasking street musician" down at Pike Place and Stewart Street in the market area.

Decent combination of strumming and hula-hooping. But the performer caps it with some nice balancing of his guitar at the end. 

Hokey? Well, it's not Manhattan. And, of course, at the end YouTube offers some selections of other street musicians — New York, Seattle, wherever.

Joe Copeland is political editor for Crosscut. You can reach him at

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Printed on January 25, 2015