Seattle: Gotta have a gondola?
The developers of the Seattle waterfront ferris wheel, the Great Wheel, on Tuesday unveiled what they hope is another can't-be-beat idea: An aerial gondola to connect the waterfront and downtown. It'd take about five minutes to go to the Washington State Convention Center with one stop at the Pike Place Market, according to MyNorthwest. No tax dollars would be needed, according to developer Kyle Griffith. The aim would be to have the gondola in operation by the time the waterfront tunnel is completed and the Alaskan Way Viaduct is demolished. Demolition of the Viaduct is scheduled to start in 2016, assuming Bertha gets moving on the tunnel job. — J.C.
Starbucks baristas: bank tellers?
The Seattle coffee empire has a powerful hold on customers, including through its “loyalty card” — a pre-paid card that acts much like a savings account for your coffee purchases. The card has Wired writer Marcus Wohlsen talking about Starbucks and its baristas as a threat to traditional banks. Other nonbank entities such as Wal-Mart, PayPal and Google Wallet already use a bank-like model to provide checking, savings and money transfers.
"As one of the world’s most admired brands, it’s not hard to imagine Starbucks capitalizing on that cachet to offer an expanded range of financial services centered on its cards," reports Wohlsen. In the U.S. alone, purchases made through Starbucks cards was approximately $2.5 billion last year. So, if your barista starts asking if you'd like to make a cash withdrawal anytime soon, remember you heard it here first. — H.W.
Ryan Lewis thrifts for a mansion
Macklemore’s musical right hand man, Ryan Lewis, just threw down on a mansion in Seattle's Magnolia neighborhood. At 7,610 square feet, the mansion spans approximately an acre, according to the Puget Sound Business Journal, overlooks Puget Sound and contains a wine cellar, library and jetted tub in the master bathroom. (PSBJ has a photo gallery of the property.)
After being on and off the market, according to reporter Marc Stiles, the mansion was sold to Lewis at a fraction of its original price. In 2005 it listed at $8.9 million; nine years later, its discount price sold for $3.3 million. Apparently, Lewis knows how to pop real-estate tags as well. — H.W.
UW's latest spin-off: Development
Michelangelo — a UW-developed computer program for fundraising — has received a U.S. patent for its innovative data collection processes, according to Xconomy. The tool, which connects disparate databases, supports the university's donor-alumni relations. UW Advancement's Chris Sorensen spearheaded the Michelangelo tool, which allows the university to sort and query its databases in order to send targeted invitations and requests to its community of donors and alumni. The UW hopes to start licensing the system as a development tool to other universities and organizations coordinating donors. — H.W.
Today in Olympia
- Legislators introduced two bills Monday in a last-minute attempt to head off the impending loss of $40 million in federal education aid. A recent Senate vote killed a bill that would have linked schools' teacher evaluations to student test scores; a move which threatens to disqualify Washington for certain requirements of No Child Left Behind funding. Rep. Pat Sullivan, D-Covington, and Sen. Andy Hill, R-Redmond, introduced similar bills Monday in the House and Senate. As of mid-afternoon Tuesday, neither had come up for action by the full House or Senate. — J.S.
Colbert mocks Obamacare claims
Political satirist Stephen Colbert held Republican Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers' recent criticisms of the Affordable Care Act up for national ridicule on Monday, seattlepi.com's Joel Connelly reports. In her January response to the president's State of the Union Address, McMorris Rodgers quoted "Bette in Spokane" as saying that her health insurance premiums had gone up $700 since the introduction of the Affordable Care Act. But a Spokesman-Review reporter found the woman, who told the paper, "I wouldn't go on that Obama website at all."
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