Inslee gets serious about Hanford
The Governor says he’ll be meeting with U.S.Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz in mid-March to discuss how best to tackle construction of Hanford's $12.7 billion waste-glassification plant, which is falling behind schedule — something that has happened several times over the past two decades. "We may have to pursue legal action," said the governor. "... The secretary knows we're about at the end of our patience in this regard." The plant's original start-up date was 1999. Now, a 2019 start looks iffy. The 25-year-old Hanford cleanup pact that Washington State shares with the U.S. Department of Energy and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has been modified several times. — J.S.
Homeless student numbers at an all-time high
New statistics out today show that the number of homeless students in Washington state is at an all-time high. According to the Office of Superintendent Public Instruction (OSPI), the 30,609 homeless students in the state represents an 11.8 percent increase since 2011-12, and a disturbing 47 percent rise since 2007. OSPI cites the unsteady job market and the lack of stable, affordable housing options as reasons for the increase. However unstable their housing situation, OSPI youth still have access to education; the federal McKinney-Vento act ensures that homeless students get “the same free, appropriate public education, including a public preschool education, as provided to other children and youths.” Washington State receives $950,000 in federal aid for homeless students. The money pays for instruction, materials and transportation to and from school. — H.W.
Care for a bitcoin?
Though a general lack of understanding and the fear of theft still hampers a mass acceptance of virtual currency, the Seattle business community seems to be warming up to the bitcoin. As the Seattle Times reported yesterday, Seahawk cornerback Richard Sherman has been accepting bitcoin in his online store since December, cheese-loving locals can empty their virtual wallets at Seattle's grilled cheese food truck Cheese Wizards, and Las Vegas-based Robocoin will open Seattle's first bitcoin ATM at the end of February. — K.H.
Sony store that no one knew about is set to close
Even a prime location in U. Village couldn't help Seattle's Sony store overcome the fact that the company makes very few desirable products — PlayStation aside. Citing competition from Apple and Microsoft, Sony says it's shutting down the majority of its stores — Consumerist has the full list — including the Seattle Sony, which has been holding down that space in U. Village for eight years.
Washington State defends privacy - again
In another win for individuals, the State Supreme Court ruled that citizens do have a reasonable right to privacy when it comes to text messaging. The decision overruled a questionable drug conviction in Cowlitz County that came as a result of police text-dropping; that is, snooping into a suspect's texts. The ruling comes just a few months after Gov. Inslee signed a bill that prevents your boss from asking for your Facebook password. Now if only someone could reign in the NSA.
Everyone loves Amazon and Starbucks
Two of Seattle's top employers — Amazon and Starbucks — got a big nod in "Fortune" this week when they were named two of the most admired companies in the country. Amazon came in an impressive number two; Starbucks ranked fifth. Puget Sound Business Journal points out that they are not the only local companies on the list. Nordstrom, Costco and even Microsoft all cracked the top 25. Weirdly, BP, Coke and Comcast did not make the list.
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