The new governor reaches out to Oregon for a transportation secretary. Judge to Medina woman: You flee, you lose the rings. Hand-sanitizer suspected in fire.
Mastro ring appeal
A federal judge today refused to return two rings to Linda Mastro, the wife of bankrupt local real-estate mogul Michael R. Mastro. According to the Seattle Times reported, the judge said Linda Mastro lost her right to appeal when she fled the country in 2011. That was after a bankruptcy court ordered her to give up the $1.4 million rings. The Mastros, longtime Clyde Hill and Medina residents, are in France, resisting extradition. The rings are back in Seattle in the custody of that noted art connoisseur: the FBI. Free travel advice: Take nothing worth more than $1 million on hurried trips abroad.
Inslee's transporation shakeup
Gov. Jay Inslee will bring in Lynn Peterson, an Oregon transportation expert, as his new Secretary of Transportation. The appointment will be politically popular with Inslee's Democratic and environmental base, because she's the current sustainability and transportation advisor to Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber. Peterson's professional background is as a transportation planner and she has undergraduate and graduate degrees in engineering, as well as a graduate degree in transportation planning, so she should have no trouble talking shop with the transportation engineers in her new office. One potential question certain to arise though: Does Peterson have the management experience to lead such a sprawling transportation organization? She did serve as a Clackmas County commissioner. Even so, some transportation advocates wanted Inslee to keep Paula Hammond.
Mayor Mike McGinn's State of the City speech ended on a note of togetherness as he stressed advances in job creation, environmental protection and the city's quality of life during his first term: "Let us renew our commitment to build ... And let us resolve to go further together." Two of the council members present, Bruce Harrell and Tim Burgess, are part of the growing field of opponents seeking to unseat McGinn in his re-election bid this year. Crosscut's Knute Berger is preparing a report on the Mayor's State of the City speech.
Pam Roach: Good enough for God
Sen Pam Roach had her audience alternately chuckling and groaning on Tuesday as she argued for her own bill requiring state employees to tell the truth. Crosscut's Tom James reports:
A Senate committee staff counsel noted that many state employees are already required by their oaths of office to tell the truth. But Roach said she wanted to be sure the concept was explicitly enshrined in state law. The Bible, Roach said, commands Christians "to not bear false witness." She said the requirement to tell the truth should be fine for state employees "if it is good enough for God."
Roach's biggest disappointment, it seemed, was that no one showed up to argue with her. A representative of the ACLU had signed up to oppose the bill, but he declined to testify. Still Roach repeatedly asked where the ACLU was. To a smattering of chuckles, Roach said she wanted to question the organization that would "object to telling the truth."
Boeing union: to strike or not to strike
Members of Boeing's engineering union are wrapping up the final vote on whether to a) accept the company's contract offer or b) strike. Voting ends at 5 p.m. The Herald says to expect a quick announcement of results.
Two Seattle restaurants, Shanik and The Whale Wins, are semi-finalists for Best New Restaurant in the 2013 James Beard Foundation Awards. And Maria Hines of Tilth is one of the 20-some contenders for Outstanding Chef nationally.
Other Puget Sound area nominees for national citations include: William Leaman, Bakery Nouveau, Outstanding Pastry Chef; Canlis, Outstanding Restaurant; John Howie, Bellevue, Outstanding Restaurateur; Café Juanita, Outstanding Service; Chris Weber, The Herbfarm, Woodinville, Blaine Wetzel of The Willows Inn on Lummi Island and Mark Bodinet of Copperleaf Restaurant at Cedarbrook Lodge (in the Sea-Tac area), Rising Star Chef of the Year; Canon, Outstanding Bar Program.
The nomination lists will be trimmed to finalists in advance of the awards in the spring. The full list is here.
Hand sanitizer fire
Authorities reportedly have fingered hand sanitizer as the likely cause of the fire that left an Oregon girl with serious burns. The hand sanitizer in her room at Portland's Doernbecher Children's Hospital contained alcohol; the girl's father tells The Oregonian that fire marshals believe the alcohol is the only possible source of the fire. Static electricity has occasionally reacted with the alcohol in some hand sanitizers to spark fires. Eleven-year-old Ireland Lane is expected to recover, but she is undergoing skin grafts and may face plastic surgery. Her dad, Stephen Lane, tells the paper: "As readily available as hand sanitizer is nowadays, and how everybody sends it to school with their kids, it makes me much more worried."
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