Art work by Noel Franklin
Sally Jewell to Cabinet
President Obama is nominating REI CEO Sally Jewell as Secretary of Interior, according to reports out of D.C. Politico suggests that Beltway insiders are looking at the choice from various perspectives. Some welcome an outside perspective of someone who has grown REI's business significantly. Others speculate that the White House expects to be able to make the big decisions for a political newcomer. And in the case of at least one prominent Republican member of the House, Utah's Rob Bishop, complains that she pursued a "radical" agenda at REI. Translation: She supports open space. Imagine that for an Interior secretary.
Even though Seattle banned plastic bags more than a year ago, some shoppers are still receiving free plastic bags when they check out. Before you go about pointing fingers at your neighborhood grocer for defying the ban, check in with Goldy at The Stranger. He addresses the issue today: Stores can still use bags stocked — or stockpiled — before the ban went into effect. And that was back on Jan. 19, 2012. A year's worth of bags and counting for some stores.
Garfield can't shirk testing
Seattle Public Schools went ahead with student testing at Garfield High School, where teachers and staff have largely boycotted the district-mandated Measures of Academic Progress tests. Superintendent Jose Banda explained the district's action in a statement, another sign of his ability to take a position without retreating behind a high wall. The Seattle Times account mentions that some form of discipline is expected, but boycotting teachers won't be docked pay.
Banda notes that one reason for the testing is to provide information to the city of Seattle, which has pushed accountability for the millions in city special levies it dedicates to the school system. The boycott is occurring as voters finalize much more money in the sure-to-pass school levies. For a pro-boycott perspective, there's a parsing of Banda's message on the Save Seattle Schools blog.
The NFL's own best interest
Washington State University scientists are challenging the longstanding idea that no new neurons can be generated in the brain, according to GeekWire. WSU researcher Krysztof Czaja is leading a team dedicated to work on recovery from brain injuries, bolstered by a $100,000 donation from pro football's NFL Charities.
"Five years ago, Czaja and WSU colleagues discovered by accident that a nerve center just outside the brain can recover from damage by inducing developing stem cells to become functional nerve cells, or neurons. Now he is looking for the substances that get the process going," a recent WSU news release explained.
Seattle Opera and The Nature Conservancy have collaborated in an unusual way: They have created an opera series for kids focused on the environment. The performers include regular singers from the Opera, its Youth Chorus and the Seattle Youth Symphony. The groups are taking to Twitter to give away a few free tickets for Sunday's opening performance; details here.
Green Ribbon Commission
The Seattle City Council is looking for public input on its next-gen efforts to green Seattle. The city put together a powerhouse Green Ribbon Commission (including Denis Hayes of the Bullitt Foundation, Doris Koo of Enterprise Community Partners and K.C. Golden of Climate Solutions). The commission came out with a set of wide-ranging recommendations for a Climate Action Plan to green transportation, land-use and construction/retrofitting last December.
For all of Seattle's self-referential obsession with its own greenness, the media and the public haven't paid much attention so far. The first big chance to comment on transportation and land-use policies is Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. when Councilmember Mike O'Brien's Energy and Environment Committee will host a public forum in Council Chambers.
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