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The Daily Troll: Pot at Kmart. Chatty Cathy lawmakers. Should gun crimes = sex offenses?

Sorry, shoppers, we gave it to the cops. More surprising expenses from state lawmakers. Should we treat gun felons like sex offenders?
The Daily Troll: News for your evening commute.

The Daily Troll: News for your evening commute. Art work by Noel Franklin

A very special delivery

Workers at the Kmart on North Aurora Avenue got a surprise package delivery this week: 10 pounds of pot. Seattle police say the package never made it to its final destination, but instead would up at Kmart, the return address on the package. Clever. Police blog writer Jonah Spangethal-Lee (a viral folk hero for his post-election legal marijuana guide) headlined his posting: "Today’s Blue Light Special: 10 Pounds of Weed." The Aurora Kmart is set to close on March 17. The seattlepi.com recently reported that nostalgic customers have been thronging there, apparently wanting one last hit of that Kmart vibe. Or just to be surprised.

Chatty lawmakers

Washington state legislators apparently spend more time talking on the phone than the average chatty Cathy. As the Associated Press reports, one lawmaker's phone bill hit more than $300 per month. Right-wing Sen. Don Benton (recently profiled by Crosscut's John Stang) has introduced legislation to limit the number of phones and tech devices that state agencies can hand out to their employees. But he told AP that the bill wouldn't affect legislators since they get reimbursements for use, not devices. Benton personally bills the state $150 each month for his cellphone. Sweet deal. For him — and his service provider. 

Amazon brown out

Amazon's main web site — yes, the one where it sells stuff — went down for about an hour this morning, according to The Seattle Times' Brier Dudley. He noted that even after the site came back up, the company's stock did not. Amazon remained down about $8.50 a share. We trust no one working at South Lake Union lunch spots saw a commensurate drop in tips.

Scrutinizing firearms violators

A new bill would subject firearms violators to controls similar to those imposed on sex offenders, Northwest Cable News Network reports. Rep. Mike Hope's proposal would require anyone convicted of gun-related felonies to register their addresses and submit to random searches.

Hope's bill might actually be taken seriously: As a Seattle police officer, Hope has cred on crime issues and the Snohomish County Republican has Democratic co-sponsors. At a time when everybody is worried about mentally ill people with guns, Hope's registration requirement includes those found innocent by reason of insanity. And the bill (HB 1612) would fit well into a larger package of practical gun control steps, such as tougher penalties for juvenile gun offenders and closing the gun-show loophole.

That is, if lawmakers and Gov. Jay Inslee can address public safety in bipartisan fashion. Big if, to be sure.

Street life - and death

Another homeless person has died outdoors. The Ballard News-Tribune reports that 47-year-old Byron Barnes was found dead in a Ballard parking lot on Jan. 20. The report also identifies Kathryn Ann Blair, 60, as the woman whose body was discovered during last week's homeless count. The advocacy group Women’s Housing, Equality and Enhancement League (WHEEL) will hold one of its Women in Black remembrances for Blair and Barnes at noon Wednesday outside the Seattle Justice Center (at 5th and Cherry).

Leroy Hood award

Biomedical pioneer Dr. Leroy Hood of the Seattle-based Institute for Systems Biology will receive his National Science Medal at a White House ceremony at 11 a.m. PST Friday. Check back tomorrow morning, when Crosscut will host a live feed of President Barack Obama's presentation of the 2013 medals for science and technology. Some 20 individuals and teams will be honored. The much-honored Hood came to Seattle in 1992 to found the University of Washington's Department of Molecular Biotechnology. Some of his prior awards include the Lasker Prize for studies on immune diversity, the Kyoto Prize for technological advancements and the Lemelson-MIT award for developing the DNA sequencer.


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