NPS carries out grim recovery on Mount Rainier
Operating in a heavily crevassed area near a 3,600-foot wall of crumbling rock and ice, National Park rangers and a private helicopter crew recovered three bodies from Mount Rainier on Tuesday. The recovery operation involved using a remote control claw on a 100-foot line to pick the bodies from a debris field on the Carbon Glacier, which sits at around 9,500 feet, beneath the ominous Willis Wall. A team of two climbing guides and four clients disappeared from the mountain's iconic Liberty Ridge during the final week of May.
One theory about the accident is that an avalanche swept them from the ridge, 3,300 feet down the mountainside, into the area where Tuesday's recovery took place. The bodies are presumed to be members of the missing party, but the Pierce County Medical Examiner's Office will provide the final identification, according to a National Parks Service news release. Recovery workers did not see evidence of any additional remains in the area. — B.L.
Ruling: Hanford whistleblower wrongly terminated
The U.S. Department of Labor has determined that a Hanford whistleblower was wrongly terminated for raising safety concerns at the Eastern Washington site in 2011. The decision addressed the case of Shelly Doss, an environmental compliance specialist for Washington River Protection Solutions. The company is a subsidiary of URS, which manages the 177 underground tanks filled with 56 million gallons of highly radioactive wastes in central Hanford. Washington River Protection Solutions told The Tri-City Herald it has not decided whether to appeal the ruling. The company has 30 days to appeal the ruling.
In a news release, Tom Carpenter, executive director of Hanford Challenge, and Doss’s attorney, said: “She properly reported and documented numerous environmental violations in a professional manner, and suggested ways to resolve those issues. Instead of praising her, WRPS management vilified her, ruined her career, and illegally fired her from her position.” He added, “Unhappily, this case is not an anomaly, but a way of life at WRPS." The company says its philosophy is to empower employees, who are encouraged to speak up about safety. — J.S.
How many bucks per vote in parks campaign?
As was noted leading up to the Aug. 5 election, the campaigns for and against the recently approved Seattle parks district ballot initiative received lopsidedly different contributions. The pro-district campaign, Seattle Parks For All, raked in $408,773, according to Seattle Ethics and Elections Commission records from Aug. 20, while the no-campaign, Our Parks Forever, accrued just $38,778. With the election results now certified, how much did supporters and opponents contribute per vote? It seems that pro-parks donors ponied up roughly $5.63 for each of the 72,549 votes in favor of the initiative, while the measure's opponents chipped in about $0.61 for each of the 63,438 no-votes. The yes side received 53.3 percent of the vote; the difference in votes was 9,111. — B.L. (This item has been corrected; an earlier version had a math mistake that led to understatiung the differential between the two campaigns' contributions per vote totals.)
Chart: Bill Lucia
Tacoma Stands Up: Pro-protest and pro-police
A grassroots organization called Tacoma Stands Up organized a rally Tuesday evening in Tacoma to express solidarity with protesters in Ferguson, Missouri, and call for justice in the shooting of Michael Brown., which took place in downtown Tacoma on Tuesday. On a Facebook page, Tacoma Stands Up also said, “We recognize the disproportionate rate at which people of color, particularly Black men, become victims of gun violence at the hands of law enforcement.”
According to The News Tribune, more than 100 people joined the protest. The gathering remained peaceful throughout the evening, even soliciting car honks of approval from passersby. Tacoma Stands Up later posted on Facebook that they are “not anti-police,” and they said that they felt “grateful for those [police officers] who have acted as allies to citizens peacefully assembling in Ferguson and beyond.” — K.H.
Like what you just read? Support high quality local journalism. Become a member of Crosscut today!