SeaTac wage measure on ballot
Update: 4:40 p.m. King County Elections Division is putting a measure to raise the minimum wage to $15 on the SeaTac city ballot for this fall’s general election. The Elections Division said a state Court of Appeals ruling late today, in effect, required the action. The measure, which has grown out of a dispute over wages for some workers at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, had been the focus of a legal dispute over whether an adequate number of petition signatures had been collected to put it on the ballot. — J.C.
Leavenworth: a planned detour
If you’re craving bratwurst or Bavarian bric-a-brac be warned: the Washington State Department of Transportation is shutting down Highway 2 about 10 miles west of Leavenworth, for six days, starting at 8 p.m. on Sunday, to replace the Drury Canyon Creek Bridge. Don’t get your lederhosen in too much of a twist; there will be a signed detour around the closure, which will add about 15 minutes to the trip from Seattle to the Pacific Northwest’s biggest and best faux-German enclave. The detour uses State Route 207 and the Chumstick Highway. What (besides a community in Chelan County) is a Chumstick anyway? — B.L.
Big Brothers Big Sisters
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northwest Washington announced in a press release today that it is closing, effective September 30, 2013. The group, which has served about 6,000 children since 1976 in both Whatcom and Skagit Counties, writes that they have been struggling financially for several months. "Unfortunately, our recent efforts — an appeal to the community, aggressively applying for grants and an added [fundraising] event — have not been enough."
Executive Director Colleen Haggerty told Crosscut that the organization has already terminated their services for mentors and mentees, but that about 90 percent of matches plan to continue seeing each other (a fact first reported yesterday in the Bellingham Herald). "That really is a testament to how well we matched them," Haggerty says of the adult-youth relationship. Still, though some after-school programs will be provided through programs like Communities in Schools, the Boys and Girls Club of Whatcom County and Compass to Campus, Haggerty points out that BBBS was the only one-to-one mentoring service in Whatcom and Skagit counties. "We are saddened the next generation of Whatcom County children will not have the opportunity to have a mentor through Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northwest Washington,” she wrote in today's press release. So are we, Colleen. So are we. Any energetic young folks want to start a new program? — B.A.
Rise of the “Phablet”
A purported leak of Microsoft’s next Windows Phone, the Nokia Lumia 1520, arrived via Twitter this morning. At 6 inches long, it is being hailed by GeekWire as the next “phablet” — the, uh, technical term for blurring the lines between a giant smartphone and a pared-down tablet. Whether the larger phone will generate big money for Microsoft’s newly acquired Nokia smartphone business will be hard to tell until the unveiling later this year. Bigger doesn't always mean better, although Docker’s seems to think so with its recent boasts of pockets big enough for smartphone growth.
Right on Microsoft’s heels this morning, the Wall Street Journal reports, everyone’s favorite smartphone, the iPhone, will be going bigger, too. Diversification of product is a natural process in any aging tech market, but are consumers really going to buy into this Battle of the Bulge arms race? — C.M.
And more highway trouble
Transportation agencies were planning a busy weekend of highway construction (the dry weather for paving and the like won't be here much longer, right?) when the rain struck, postponing at least one of the projects, but creating some unplanned work as well. Both the Highway 410 and Highway 20 passes over the Cascades were closed by mudslides. WSDOT says Highway 20 will be closed "at least through the weekend." There's no estimate on 410, but the state says that repairs as well as cleanup will be needed before it can reopen. So, no holding your breath. You can track all the state's traffic alerts here.
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