City-contracted waste hauler, Recology CleanScapes, said Friday that it operated the truck involved in a First Hill pedestrian fatality, which occurred on Thursday afternoon. A woman, whose name has not yet been released, was the victim of the accident. Although the truck driver drove away from the scene he has not been arrested. The incident remains under investigation. Yesterday, the police department said they were not certain whether the driver knew that he had hit the woman. The accident took place on James Street near Eight Avenue.
Later Thursday evening, a suspected drug dealer, who was fleeing from police, ran a red light and a stop sign, hit a parked car and then careened his own vehicle onto a sidewalk near Sixth Avenue and Denny Way, striking a woman who was pushing a baby in a stroller. The mother and child were treated for minor injuries at Harborview Medical Center. Cops later arrested the suspect and booked him into King County Jail for drug charges and an outstanding warrant. Just before the accident he had escaped arrest near Fourth Avenue and Battery Street. Officers did not chase the suspect after he drove away because they did not want to endanger people in the area. — B.L.
Business has senator's back
Business interests are taking no chances regarding the possibility of state Sen. Tim Sheldon, D-Potlatch, coming in third in a three-way primary race. Only two candidates will survive next Tuesday's primary in the 35th Legislative District on the Olympic and Kitsap peninsulas. The Olympian newspaper reported that independent business-related political action committees have pumped roughly $161,000 into Sheldon's campaign against Democrat Irene Bowling and libertarian Republican Travis Couture. The PACs donated most of the money for Sheldon in the past week.
Although technically a Democrat, Sheldon mostly votes with the Senate Republicans. And his membership in the Republican-dominated Senate Majority Coalition Caucus gives the GOP control of that body. (For Crosscut’s expanded coverage of the politics of the 35th District race and its significance for the state, click here; a look at the ins and outs of the three-way race is here.) — J.S.
Victory for transgender rights
A state board voted unanimously on Thursday to offer insurance coverage for all transgender health services, The Olympian reports. Starting January 2015, employees will be covered for hormone therapy, office visits and mental health treatment. Coverage for sex reassignment surgeries will be available starting July 2015. The Public Employees Benefits Board estimates that the additional coverage for transgender care could cost $1 more per month per subscriber in the system serving approximately 350,000 state employees, family members and retirees. Other states, including California and Oregon, already cover these services for public employees, as do Seattle, King County and several major employers like Microsoft, Best Buy, Pepsico and Group Health Cooperative.
“Providing the full range of services to transgender individuals is literally a matter of life and death,” said Seth Kirby, board president of Pride Foundation. “PEBB’s decision sends a clear message to transgender individuals that they matter, and paves the way for other employers to follow suit.” — M.L.
Hutch: Birth control pills tied to breast cancer
A new study from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and University of Washington suggests that taking birth control pills could elevate the risk of breast cancer in women. Scientists analyzed pharmacy data to track oral contraception use by 1,102 women between the ages of 20-49. They discovered that women taking high-dose estrogen pills were 2.7 times more likely to have breast cancer, while the likelihood rose by 1.6 times in women using moderate-dose pills. Low-dose estrogen pills did not carry an increased risk.
But you may not need to rush to throw out the pills just yet. High-dose estrogen pills are typically only prescribed to people with medical conditions or those who don't tolerate side-effects of other contraceptions well, according to The Atlantic. And study author Elisabeth Beaber of Fred Hutch noted in the Puget Sound Business Journal, “It is important to remember that breast cancer is rare among young women and that there are other established health benefits associated with oral contraceptive use.” Those include decreased risks of ovarian and endometrial cancer. — M.L.
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