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    The Daily Troll: Ballmer gets his team. Scarecrow scares up plan to move forward. Melinda Gates in national eye.

    Deal in bitter grain dispute.
    The Daily Troll: News for your evening commute.

    The Daily Troll: News for your evening commute. Art work by Noel Franklin

    Ballmer gets his team


    3:45 p.m. The NBA today announced the completion of the sale of the Los Angeles Clippers to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer. This set off relief among the players who are freed from the bizarre former owner Donald Sterling. Sterling’s attorneys tell the Los Angeles Times they are examining his options — $2 billion maybe wasn’t a good enough sale price? The team, of course, will stay in Los Angeles. We almost hate to mention this to the Sonics fans who were rallying not long ago to return an NBA to Seattle, but Ballmer happily told the Los Angeles Times that he is putting on a rally in L.A. on Monday to celebrate. — J.C.  

    Scarecrow on a new course

    If at first you don't succeed, try, try again ... as a nonprofit. That's the plan for Scarecrow Video, anyway, which, as the Seattle Times reported today, is donating its beloved video rental selection to a group of employees, who plan to run it in the new form. Owners of the Seattle institution had seen a 40 percent decline in rentals over the last six years and last winter wrote customers a note that if they didn't start renting more, Scarecrow would have to close up shop.

    Luckily, employees Kate Barr and Joel Fisher came up with the plan to create the nonprofit, which will allow them to preserve the video collection, provide more educational opportunities for movie buffs and have more flexibility around donations and memberships. The Scarecrow Project, as the new nonprofit will be called, has already raised nearly $32,000 in funds on Kickstarter for the transition. And as a reformed for-profit ourselves (Crosscut made our transition to a nonprofit in 2009), we can't help but root for them. — B.A.

    Melinda Gates profiled nationally

    For those who find the Gates Foundation more philanthropy fortress than welcome wagon, Harpers Bazaar has a profile of "the savior in Seattle", foundation co-chair Melinda Gates, that gives readers a closer look at Seattle's royal family. (Disclosure: The Gates Foundation has funded Crosscut in the past.)

    Laura Brown reports on the foundation's latest missions (eradicating polio, ending extreme poverty, widespread cultural acceptance of contraceptives),  Bill and Melinda's approach to balancing philanthropy and family life (run both "like a business"), and how Melinda unwinds (kayaking, meditation, an upcoming "Sound of Music"-themed birthday party). 

    What we wouldn't give to see Bill and Melinda in lederhosen. — B.A.  

    Tentative deal in bitter labor fight

    The United Grain Corp. and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union Local No. 4 have reached a tentative agreement to end a bitter 17-month labor dispute in Vancouver, the Associated Press and Columbian newspaper reported this morning. Local No. 4 and United Grain began negotiating a new contract in August 2012; in February 2013, United Grain locked out its union workers, alleging one of them tried to sabotage machinery at the site. Since then, the facility has used non-union employees, while a nasty labor showdown erupted with the National Labor Relations Board alleging misconduct on both sides. — J.S. 

    Gov. Jay Inslee took some political heat from a Senate Republican leader over withdrawing the Washington State Patrol escorts Inslee had provided for state Department of Agriculture's grain inspectors visiting the facility. After eight months of providing the escorts while vainly hoping the two sides would resolve their differences, the governor called a halt in late June. Sen. Don Benton, R-Vancouver, filed an ethics complaint against Inslee, accusing him of taking sides against a business. A few days later, the state executive ethics board decided it had no jurisdiction on the matter, and dismissed Benton's complaint. Inslee today thanked the company and the union for reaching a deal before a new grain harvest season. — J.S. 

    John Stang covers state government for Crosscut. He can be reached by writing editor@crosscut.com.

    Berit Anderson is Managing Editor at Crosscut, where she follows tech, culture, environment, media and politics. Previously community manager of the Tribune Company’s Seattle blogging network, her work has also appeared in YES! Magazine and on the Huffington Post, Geekwire, Q13Fox.com and KBCS 91.3 radio. She served as Communications Director at Strategic News Service, a weekly newsletter that predicts global trends in tech and economics, and Future in Review, an annual tech conference which gathers C-level executives to solve global problems. You can find her on Twitter @Berit_Anderson or reach her at berit.anderson@crosscut.com.

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