Lightning’s striking again?
While cool weather is aiding firefighters in squashing the wildfires of north-central Washington, officials are worried about potential lightning strikes sparking new flames. A warning of bad weather is in effect until 11 p.m. Wednesday, spanning across southern Washington to the Idaho border and parts of northern Oregon, according to the National Weather Service.
On Tuesday morning, the Carlton Complex Fire was reportedly 16 percent contained, up 2 percent from Monday. The complex has charred 244,00 acres, making it the largest wildfire in state history — surpassing the 1902 Yacolt Burn that spread 238, 920 acres and killed 38 people. Only one death is tied to the Carlton Complex Fire: A 67-year old man died of a heart attack he suffered while attempting to protect his property. An estimated 150 to 200 homes have been destroyed so far, and around 3,600 households are without power in Okanogan County.
Another fire, dubbed the Bugg Road Fire, ignited near Tonasket on Monday, has spread over 1,100 acres, threatening several structures, according to the Washington Department of Natural Resources.
Meanwhile, donations from across the state are flooding into Pateros High School, where victims can find food, clothes and household goods, reports the Wenatchee World. Brewster High School is also offering shelter and hot meals. The Red Cross is collecting donations. — M.L.
Mary Jane, you’re famous now!
Mary Jane is officially joining the ranks of city history. The first person to purchase recreational marijuana legally in Seattle donated her pot to the Museum of History and Industry on South Lake Union today (as she had promised a Crosscut reporter). Sixty-five-year-old Deb Greene camped outside of Cannabis City the night before the grand opening on July 8, after deciding to partake in the historic moment on a whim. She was joined at the museum today with representatives of Cannabis City who donated scissors from cutting the red tape and other memorabilia.
A different letter from school
Dear Parents in Washington State: Your child’s school is probably labeled as failing under No Child Left Behind Laws, and here’s a letter letting you know you may be able to send your youngster to a better-performing school or obtain tutoring for your child. Don’t worry, we’ll foot the bill. (Certain conditions may apply.) Sincerely, Your School District.
That’s essentially the message that thousands of parents across the state will receive late this summer, since the U.S. Department of Education has denied the state’s requests to avoid sending out the letters. Until now, Washington hasn’t had to mail the letters because the state was exempt from No Child Left Behind — a waiver that it lost in May because the Legislature wouldn't update teacher evaluation standards to require some attention to students' testing performance. Superintendent of Public Instruction Randy Dorn had asked for an exemption from the letters, which he said “don’t serve any useful purpose.” But the Assistant Secretary of the Department of Education wrote in a memo that the notifications offer “valuable information” like “what the school is doing to address the problems of low achievement.”
Washington did get some leeway, however: School districts who are newly identified as failing or that appear to be on the trajectory toward meeting standards will have more time to send the letters. A spokesperson for the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction told Crosscut that school districts will manage the process of providing tutoring or transportation to another school children whose parent request it. More information on the issue will likely be available on August 27 when the state releases reports on school test scores. — M.L.
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