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    The Daily Troll: Obama honors Bonney Lake native. A surprising Amazon patent. Murray offers Metro plan.

    Sudden sinking feeling at Sea-Tac. Seeing red on Seattle streets.

    Medal of Honor awarded

    3:30 p.m. President Barack Obama today gave the Medal of Honor to former Army Sgt. Kyle White, a native of Bonney Lake. White, who graduated from Sumner Senior High School, was honored for helping injured comrades during a 2007 ambush in Afghanistan, according to The News Tribune. White is now an investment analyst at a bank in North Carolina. — J.C.

    Questions over Amazon photography patent

    2:55 p.m. Amazon has invented a new method of taking photographs: using a clean white background in a studio to highlight the specific features of a product. OK, maybe that’s not so inventive, but the company managed to win a patent today giving it exclusive rights to photograph against a white background in a studio using several rather technical steps. The particular method eliminates the need for post processing, the Puget Sound Business Journal reports, which could translate to reduced labor costs and better efficiency. It’s unclear how this will affect the thousands of photographers who use white backgrounds in studios every day. — M.L.

    Transit rescue?

    Mayor Ed Murray unveiled a proposal  on Tuesday intended to stave off King County Metro Transit bus cuts in Seattle. The proposal would impose a $60 vehicle licensing fee on Seattle residents and an additional 0.1 percent sales tax within the city. Murray said that given existing vehicle license fees and expiring county fees, the total "car tab" price for Seattleites would be $80 a year. The bulk of the tax and fee revenue would pay for the city bus routes that Metro Transit has put on the chopping block due to a budget shortfall. Without additional funding, the service cuts would begin this fall and continue into 2015.

    “We must preserve bus service in this city," Murray said. "We know this is what Seattle wants.”

    The Mayor's Office estimated that the plan would generate $45 million in revenue annually. Of this money, approximately $40 million would go toward preserving service. As much as $3 million would be funneled into a "Regional Partnership" matching fund designed to encourage investments from nearby cities and employers. The money in the fund would help pay for regional commuter routes. Another $2 million would be used to fund a vehicle license fee rebate program and reduced bus fares for low income residents.

    Murray's plan is similar to Proposition 1, which would have imposed a similar fee and tax, but on a countywide level, through a new transportation benefit district. Voters rejected the Prop. 1 ballot measure in April, but it received strong support within Seattle's city limits. The mayor's proposal will next be considered by Seattle's nearly four-year-old Transportation Benefit District. Seattle City Council members act as the board for the district. The council will have until Aug. 5 to decide whether to put the proposal on the November ballot. Several councilmembers were on hand when the mayor announced the plan on Tuesday, including Tom Rasmussen, Tim Burgess, Sally Bagshaw and Sally Clark. — B.L.

    Sea-Tac jetway drops  

    A jetway at Sea-Tac Airport dropped about six feet this morning, according to airport officials. No one was hurt. KOMO said the accident occurred shortly after a Southwest Airlines plane pulled up to Gate B14.

    Red lanes on Seattle streets

    The Seattle Department of Transportation is going to experiment with painting some bus lanes red, according to Seattle Transit Blog. The experiment will start with three short stretches of street near the Montlake Bridge on Pacific Avenue, in Belltown on Wall and Battery streets east of Third Avenue, and in Wallingford on N. Midvale Place between 45th and 46th streets. SDOT hopes the clearer markings will cut down on the number of regular vehicles using the bus lanes. After all, nothing says "no" like the color red.  — J.C. 

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    Posted Mon, May 19, 11:13 a.m. Inappropriate

    The Red Lanes will be no more effective than the signs unless cameras are also placed on the streets to record violations.


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