The Daily Troll: Voters like gun initiatives. Evergreen State to lose president. Pot in vending machines?

Darrington's Green Mountain Lookout: Safe, but access-challenged.

Gun measures: Contradictory results?

A majority of voters support two conflicting initiatives related to firearm sale background checks. This according to an Elway Poll released on Tuesday. Results show that 55 percent of respondents were inclined to vote for I-591, known as the “Protect Our Gun Rights Act,” which would make it unlawful to require background checks on gun sales that are stricter than those required under federal law. Meanwhile, 72 percent of respondents favored I-594, which would require background checks for all firearm sales and transfers, including gun show and online purchases. The poll also found that 40 percent of those interviewed were inclined to vote for both measures. The initiatives are slated for November’s ballot. If both pass, it could setup a messy legal situation. Washington’s constitution does not specify what to do if two conflicting ballot measures pass in the same election.— B.L.

Evergreen State College's loss

The highly regarded president of The Evergreen State College, Thomas L. "Les" Purce, will retire in August 2015. That leaves plenty of time for a national search to replace him. Purce, already the longest-serving among the presidents of the state's four-year public colleges, will have served 15 years by then. Keith Keller, chair of Evergreen's board of trustees, said, “Les has made an enormous contribution not just to The Evergreen State College, but to higher education in this state and across the nation.” Go, Geoducks! — J.C.

Pot, pop, candy, oh my

Vending machine operator Zazzz hopes cannabis-dispensing vending machines will be available in Washington State soon — at legal pot dispensaries, of course. Zazzz will place its vending machines in Colorado medical marijuana dispensaries in the coming month, and Chief Operating Officer Stephen Shearin tells MyNorthwest.com that Washington could be next. The machines require buyers to swipe their driver's licenses before purchasing pot with bitcoin, cash, pre-loaded cards or, if enabling regulations pass, credit cards. If Washington's Liquor Control Board approves the idea, companies selling sweets will be lining up to have a pot vending machine nearby. — H.W.

Green Mountain: Helping Darrington?

President Barack Obama has signed legislation to preserve the Green Mountain Lookout near mudslide-hit Darrington. But, as Joel Connelly of seattlepi.com points out, the welcome federal help for the tourist-  and hiker-magnet landmark raises another question: How are people going to get there? Connelly notes that the best road route to the Lookout (no motor access allowed; it's in a wilderness area) has been gated off since a washout in ... 2003. That cuts off 10 miles of roadway to the trailhead, turning what should be an eight-mile roundtrip hike into a 28-mile slog. Road work — partly delayed by an environmental lawsuit — is tentatively set to resume this summer, according to Connelly. Can the president or Congress fast track that work? — J.C.

UW ups the planets to check for life

Research by University of Washington astronomers has dramatically expanded the number of planets which may be hospitable to life. The research involves so-called "tilt-a-world" planets whose positions fluctuate somewhat because of the changing gravitational pull of close-by companion planets. The fluctuations periodically expose polar ice caps to the planets' suns, meaning more water in liquid form. The lead author on the new paper is a UW graduate, John Armstrong of Weber State University. UW co-authors include Rory Barnes, Victoria Meadows, Thomas Quinn and Jonathan Breiner. — J.C.  

Eclipse-deprived?

A lot of people headed outside around midnight lasi night to watch the blood red lunar eclipse, Seattle-style: through the clouds. Southern California residents had no such viewing difficulties. Here's a time lapse recorded at L.A.'s Griffith Observatory for all you frustrated fans of the blood red lunar eclipse. — J.C. 



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

Bill Lucia writes about Seattle City Hall and politics for Crosscut. He can be reached at bill.lucia@crosscut.com and you can follow him on Twitter @bill_lucia.

Hailey Way is a Crosscut Editorial Intern and a graduate from the University of Washington’s school of journalism, where she wrote for The Daily and various hyper local blogs around Seattle. Previously a classical company dancer of Whidbey Island Dance Theatre, she enjoys writing on similar topics in the arts and culture beat.


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