Bellingham college on strike
Teachers at a state community college, Bellingham Technical College, went on strike over pay today, forcing cancellation of the first day of classes for the fall quarter. The Bellingham Herald reports that a court commissioner this morning refused to order faculty back to work. The college advised students that they could register and pay for classes, but added this sad note: "Unfortunately, we cannot award financial aid until after classes are in session (this is a federal requirement). There may be a one-day delay on releasing funds after classes begin." Given the financial pressures on many community college students, all you can say is "Ouch." We've got calls out trying to figure out when a community college last went on strike here.
Retraining for Border Patrol
U.S. attorneys and plaintiffs today settled a suit over the Border Patrol's involvement in racially profiled traffic stops, well away from any border crossing. The settlement includes an agreement to retrain officers and provide data on traffic stops to the ACLU of Washington and the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project for a full 18 months. The suit had three plaintiffs, one a former Forks High student body president with a Hispanic surname, who had been questioned without apparent legal cause. The two others were corrections officers, including an African-American man who was wearing his uniform at the time he was pulled over and questioned at gunpoint.
NWIRP attorney Jorge Baron told Crosscut the plaintiffs wanted a settlement that would make a real difference in the future. He expressed hope that the Border Patrol will pay attention to what happened here and improve practices nationally. In a statement, Jenny Durkan, U.S. Attorney for Western Washington, said the "settlement moves us forward."
Fewer doing The Puyallup?
This year's first edition of the Washington State Fair — rebranded from the Puyallup — left some vendors dissatisfied with business and visitor traffic, according to a News Tribune report. The Fair didn't announce attendance, but the weather didn't seem to be a problem: One food booth worker told reporter Kari Plog that the weather was about as good as she has seen in 15 years there.
Was the rebranding the issue? Well, the change had to be made sometime if Washington was ever going to get a state fair. And, as at least Minnesota and Texas continue to prove, a state fair remains far from an anachronism. Maybe letting fairgoers stroll around with a Washington craft brew, a popular Minnesota fair feature, would up attendance next year.
About the lack of attendance figures, Fair spokeswoman Karen LaFlamme tells us: "This is a trend taking shape in the fair industry right now. The good news is that many vendors had very good sales, the concerts were a success, guests had a great time, and we collected 212,000 pounds of food for the Puyallup Food Bank on opening day."
A longlasting sports record
The Snohomish County Sports Hall of Fame is about to induct ex-Husky track and field star Vicki Borsheim (Now, Vicki Beskind), a competitor for the national team and a school record-holding high jumper featured in The Herald today. She told writer Rich Myhre that she cried the first time she put on a U.S. national team uniform. Beskind's 6 foot 2 and three-quarters inch jump has stood as the UW school record since 1987 — more than 25 years. More remarkably, no Husky woman has cleared 6' since then. Quick, somebody recruit a high jumper for the Dawgs.
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