Free parks admissions
Washington State Parks are offering free admission on Saturday and Sunday: No need for those $10 daily/$30 annual passes. It used to be that state parks admission was always free. But that was before the legislature slashed the parks budget by 50 percent in the first year and almost entirely the next. Still, the department is providing up to a dozen free days each year (the next one is Aug. 4), but if you have a good time and can afford it, you might want to buy a pass anyways. The department needs all the help it can get. This one was timed in conjunction with National Get Outdoors Day celebrations, a news release says. C'mon, Parks Department, drop the aw-shucks modesty and admit you had a clairvoyant sense that the weather would be pretty good around the state.
Criminal record? Job search about to get easier
Businesses are organizing a last-minute push to win two amendments to the Seattle City Council's plan to limit employers' ability to consider criminal records in hiring decisions. A council committee has approved a draft ordinance that would make businesses wait to ask about an applicant's criminal background until after an initial screening. It would also create potential financial penalties to employers for rejecting an otherwise-qualified employee unless the firm could show that the hiring would have hurt the company's business.
The Seattle Metro Chamber this afternoon urged members to support an amendment that would allow rejection of an employee when an employer has a reasonable concern about harm: Essentially, the employer would be able to reject someone on the basis that their criminal background might cause business trouble. The current language would require a belief that trouble is certain. The Chamber also hopes that businesses might win some additional compensation from the city for legal costs. The ordinance is on the council's agenda Monday.
Metro: So long, Kirkland!
Metro Transit is reducing service involving some Eastside and south King County locations as part of a series of otherwise routine schedule revisions going into effect Saturday. A state grant had been supporting enhanced Bellevue-Renton and Kirkland-Factoria service. Metro said it is continuing to plan for large-scale cuts that would be necessary next year if the state Legislature fails to renew local taxing authority. The bus agency is also revising downtown departure times for express buses on three routes to Ballard. Full details on the Metro changes are here; Sound Transit revisions are here.
Administration begs off at Hanford
The U.S. Department of Energy says it is likely to miss two major deadlines for cleanup of its massive nuclear pollution at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation. Gov. Jay Inslee said this afternoon that he had received word of likely delays on the clean-up of two tanks full of waste and on the construction of a new cleanup-related facility. In a statement, Inslee and state Attorney General Bob Ferguson called the delays "unacceptable" violations of a longstanding agreement. The two projects were supposed to have been finished next year.
Inslee and Ferguson, both Democrats, didn't offer any blame-it-on-Congress excuses for the Obama administration. Their statement said the Energy Department "has yet to provide justification for these delays or propose a new path forward."
I-5 weekend carmageddon
The city of Seattle warns that construction work will close the I-5 on- and off-ramps at Mercer Street, from 11 p.m. Friday to 5 a.m. Monday. There are also numerous weekend sports and cultural events, the Seattle Department of Transportation noted. The Washington State Department of Transportation is also working on a number of construction projects, including a big one on I-5 north of Portland: A weekend closure of I-5 at the I-205 interchange. One Portland TV station says it could be "Clark County Carmageddon."
Baby sea lion aboard
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