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    The Daily Troll: Speed may have led to I-5 slowdown. Pedometers for healthier kids. Burning money in coal election.

    Wallingford: Where at least one cat speaks French.

    I-5 mess blamed on speed

    The State Patrol says that one driver's following another vehicle too closely at a high rate of speed appears to have been the triggering factor in a series of accidents and a huge pileup on I-5 near Boeing Field during the morning commute. One of the 20 injured people suffered a serious injury to the head, MyNorthwest.com reports. Backups on northbound I-5 extended 14 miles at one point. So, if the patrol is correct, one person hurrying resulted in 20 injuries and still-uncounted medical and repair bills. Not to mention a massive slowdown.

    Healthier kids through technology

    Nearly 7,000 students in school districts across most of Snohomish County are about to receive pedometer-like devices to measure their levels of physical activity. The hope, according to Herald health writer Sharon Salyer, is that the feedback will encourage the fifth-graders using the devices to become more active. And the chief county health officer, Dr. Gary Goldbaum, says studies show that such information does change behavior. The devices are worn on the wrist. A nudge in the right direction.

    Burning money in coal fight

    More than $1 million has gone into four races for control of the Whatcom County Council, mainly because the county will have a huge say in whether a coal port is built north of Bellingham, The Seattle Times reports. The total was closer to $800,000 last week, when Crosscut's Floyd McKay reported on the big fight.

    Coal data

    Speaking of coal: On Nov. 4, University of Washington Bothell Professor Dan Jaffe will release the preliminary results of what is billed as the first look at the diesel emissions and coal dust from trains crossing the state. Jaffe used online crowd-funding to help finance the research. He promised strict neutrality, telling KUOW in May: "I have no interest in skewing the data to come to a predetermined conclusion because, you know, reputation in science is a lot like virginity. You can only lose it once." Jaffe is a widely respected scientist, having served on a number of National Academy of Sciences review panels. And he obviously knows how to give a reporter a good quote.

    Wallingford, where the cats parlais

    Will Braden, a Wallingford resident, is the creator of a very popular series of YouTube videos about "Henri, Le Chat Noir," according to the neighborhood Wallyhood blog. One of the videos of the French-speaking black cat has more than 1.2 million views. Here's Henri's latest, a promotion for a benefit, with a touch of his philosophical musings (which come complete with English sub-titles).

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    Joe Copeland is political editor for Crosscut. You can reach him at Joe.Copeland@crosscut.com.

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