Seattle Schools Superintendent Josè Banda isn't letting students get off to holiday break without letting their families know that the district is updating its safety procedures in the wake of the Connecticut school massacre. In a letter to staff and families, Banda expressed gratitude for additional support from the Seattle Police Department and wrote that the department and district are forming a new working group.
He writes: "As more information becomes available from Connecticut and as our nation continues to have discussions about school safety, this working group will review recommendations from the Department of Education and law enforcement."
In Everett, pot is officially a nuisance
President Obama may not be fazed by the state's legalization of marijuana, but the Everett City Council has taken note of the apparently dire situation. The Herald reports that the council has passed a multi-pronged ordinance that, among other things, declares marijuana dispensaries and smoking pot in public to be public nuisances. The council did put an 18-month sunset on the ordinance, because state regulations under the new voter-approved law may require a change in approach.
The city ordinance appears to envision civil measures to deal with any nuisance, such as having the city attorney block opening of a medical marijuana shop or shut down medical marijuana gardens that exceed size and location limits laid out in the new measure.
Well, many Everett people once feared what a U.S. Navy base could do to tarnish the town's sterling — I guess — civic atmosphere.
Covering an avalanche
The New York Times has done a literally spectacular job of presenting its in-depth story on the February avalanche in the Cascades that killed three people near Stevens Pass. The story by John Branch, gathered over months of reporting, is powerful, but so are the graphics, photos, slideshows, video, computer animations and the use of a full-array of online tools. It's here, and it's worth some time.
A bipartisan task force produced no clear route for the state Legislature to comply with a court order that it provide adequate funding for public schools. Apparently, the state Supreme Court, which ordered action, can recognize political paralysis and game-playing when it sees it.
A court ruling today, reported by AP in a story carried by The News Tribune, told lawmakers to show more progress by the end of the next session. An order signed by Chief Justice Barbara Madsen has a nice touch: comparing the need for demonstrable progress on funding to the demands that students (not to mention teachers and schools) make annual progress on academic benchmarks. The order, a dissent and a load of background material on the McCleary case about education can all be found here.
Much of the country will be hoping for a white Christmas. Here in Seattle, we can probably settle for tracking how much further we go above normal annual rainfall (the current Tuesday forecast says, "Rain likely. Mostly cloudy with a high near 43). But if you haven’t had enough, here’s a newly posted chance to, uh, luxuriate in local weather.
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