Coal train help from the north?
Opponents of increased coal shipments on rails through Washington state could get some help from Canadian activists, who hope to focus on the issue this year. The Globe and Mail reports that environmental groups in British Columbia plan to step up their opposition to a coal export facility that would send U.S. coal to Asia for power plants. The coal would arrive from the Powder River Basin via BNSF lines running through Washington and along Puget Sound. Health authorities and environmentalists have scoffed at a preliminary Port Metro Vancouver assessment that a proposed coal export facility on Fraser River southeast of Vancouver would cause no significant problems.
Seattle arson investigators are looking for tips regarding an attempt to start a fire at the Neighbours nightclub on Broadway just before midnight New Years Eve as an estimated 750 people celebrated. Gasoline was poured on a rug and set on fire, but someone used a fire extinguisher to fight it and someone pulled a fire alarm, setting off sprinklers. The Seattle Times reported that no motive is known, but police are alert to the possibility that the club could have been targeted for a hate crime aimed at a largely gay clientele.
Sports license plates
A crowd of citizens stood in line for the doors to open at the Pierce County Auditor's Office — to buy the newly minted Seattle Seahawks vehicle license plates. The News Tribune reports that office staff dressed in Seahawks gear to greet the fans they expected to show up on the first day the plates became available. Special plates for the Seattle Sounders also debuted this morning, but, at least in Pierce County, no one had bought one in the first half hour of business.
Sen. Kline to retire
Update 4:12 p.m. Liberal stalwart Sen. Adam Kline says this will be his last session in the state Legislature. He took an unusal route to making the announcement, putting out the word in a newsletter to his constituents in Southeast Seattle's 37th Legislative District. He notes that he will turn 70 the week before the election this fall, when he would have had to seek re-election, and would rather spend time with his family. With a taste of his appealing frankness, he also makes it clear that he's none too happy with Republican domination of the Senate: "Last session will go down in history as the Season in Hell, an entire spring, sunny and warm, spent waiting for our Senate Republican majority to come to terms with the responsibilities that come with majority status: actually governing." Kline, an attorney, has been a leader in the Senate's Justice Committee on civil liberties.
Machinists vote Friday
Voting on Boeing's latest contract offer by local members of the Machinists Union begins at 5:30 a.m. Friday and will continue until 6 p.m. The proposal would promise key 777X airliner construction work to Puget Sound area workers in exchange for contract concessions, freezing existing pensions and trading new employee pensions for 401Ks. A previous offer was rejected by a 2-to-1 margin. KING5 reports speculation among some union members that it will pass because the company has sweetened the deal. But the local leadership refused to recommend passage.
Murray here, McGinn gone
The city is holding Ed Murray's official inauguration ceremony on Monday. As of Jan. 1, Mike McGinn is gone, but not forgotten: Seattlish.com had a retrospective Wednesday on how McGinn was treated. Its history is a bit one-sided (you might come away thinking then Gov. Chris Gregoire somehow started the fight with McGinn over the tunnel, for instance). But it makes a fair point: For whatever reason, people tend to forget that McGinn did a lot of good on transit, social services and equity, among other issues. Well, Knute Berger laid out a case for "missing Mike" here before the results were even finalized. Perhaps we'll see him next on the City Council ballot?
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