Seattle council approves $15 minimum wage
Seattle becomes the first major city to take effective action in addressing income inequality by adopting a $15 minimum wage. After Mayor Ed Murray signs the ordinance passed unanimously by the City Council, the action will go into effect April 1, 2015 with a minimum wage of $10 or $11 per hour depending on employer size. Washington state’s minimum wage is currently $9.32 per hour. Approximately 13.6 percent of Seattle’s community lives below the poverty level and 24 percent of Seattle’s hourly workers make $15 per hour or less. Seattle councilmembers applauded the historic move as a step towards progress in ending income inequality and giving minorities and women a fair chance to succeed. — J.B.
The enemy enters Microsoft
A Google executive is trading the multicolored logo of the California company, where he had recently worked, for yet another multicolored logo as he becomes Microsoft’s chief economist. Preston McAfee, who had been Google's director of strategic technologies, is taking the newly created economist position as part of the company's drive to better serve customers and the company's bottom line, according to a Microsoft blog posting this morning. The Microsoft statement stresses that McAfee had previously worked as "chief economist and research fellow for our search partner, Yahoo!, where he captured our attention by building a great team that became well known for doing interesting research while ensuring it was impacting current products." — E.W.
Inslee: Bring on the climate action
Gov. Jay Inslee praised the Obama administration's newly announced plan for reducing carbon emissions from power plants by 30 percent by 2030. "There have been no limits on carbon pollution — even though power plants are the single largest source of carbon pollution in the country," the governor said. "The approach announced by the President and EPA provides flexibility to states to create solutions that best fit their needs and spur innovation."
Washington has one coal-fired power plant — the privately operated TransAlta facility in Centralia -- which is scheduled to be phased out by 2025. Washington's legislative Democrats and Republicans have deadlocked so far on whether limits should be put on the state's carbon emissions, and on whether a cap-and-trade system should be installed. Inslee has set up an advisory group to look at these and other options in order to make recommendations late this year. Inslee is expected to make a big push on climate change in the 2015 legislative session, and he put in a plug for lawmakers to act, saying that the fires, shellfish problems and drought associated with warming will cost our state almost $10 billion per year after 2020, unless we take additional actions." — J.S.
4 climbers identified
Authorities have now identified four of the six climbers who died on Mount Rainier over the weekend, The News Tribune reported. On Monday afternoon, they released the name of Eitan Green, one of the Alpine Ascents International guides on the trip. The 28-year-old graduated in 2009 from Maine’s Colby College, where his senior honor’s thesis analyzed the global climbing community. Green was part of his college’s mountaineering club and a native of Massachusetts. Previously identified are Mark Mahaney of St. Paul, Minnesota, Alpine Ascents International guide Matt Hegeman and Microsoft employee John Mullally. Mahaney, 26, was an experienced climber and had climbed Mount Rainier previously. Hegeman, the lead guide, was a resident of Truckee, Calif. and described as philosophical with a good sense of humor. Mullally had been climbing for 20 years and before he left, he thanked his wife for the chance to climb Rainier's Liberty Ridge. — J.B.
The key to your child’s future, in 20 minutes
Turns out watching digital doodads doesn’t always rot your brain. University of Washington’s Institute for Learning & Brain Sciences has released free online videos that synthesize the institute’s latest research through demonstrations of playtime activities that can boost your little ones’ learning and development — before they apply to Harvard, or even enter pre-school. The institute released its first four online training modules in May and plans to create up to 60 over the next five years, according to a University of Washington press release. At 20 minutes a pop, the videos are the perfect length to fill time between carpools and nap times. (You can get directions for seeing their materials here.) — E.W.
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