Work on Bertha is apparently going about as expected. Crews are just about done with the concrete pilings for the access pit that will allow them to work on the ever-so-stuck tunnel-boring machine. That's what the Washington State Department of Transportation said today. The building of the walls for the pit sounds like it should be done by the weekend, which makes it pretty much on schedule.
The state also posted a video with Chris Dixon, who's managing the project for contractor Seattle Tunnel Partners. The video offers lots of details and some neat animations showing how some of the work will be done. Toward the end (at the 6:09 mark), Dixon gets to the reassuring bottom-line: "The project is very, very important. We are going to complete the project." He goes on to remind us that "The tunneling industry is watching this project very closely." No doubt: Potential clients (if they're still interested) must be asking a lot of questions. Bertha's woes could be very bad for the tunneling biz. — J.C.
Police: Leaders know we are at risk
In a new legal filing, police officers say their bosses, union leaders and city officials privately acknowledge that new use-of-force guidelines put officers at risk. The Seattle Times' Steve Miletich characterizes the new filings as a sign of "open revolt" against federally-mandated reforms within a significant portion of the Seattle PD. City officials have noted that the federal judge overseeing their reform settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice has already ruled the guidelines constitutional. The officers who brought the suit call the guidelines so complicated that officers are overly hesitant and even paralyzed when it comes time to make life-or-death decisions. And that, they say, puts police at undue risk. — J.C.
Summer by the minute(s)
Seattle has been enjoying a lot of real summer weather: Meteorologist Scott Sistek reports on Komonews.com that the city (based on measurements made at the UW) has had just under 10,000 minutes this summer where the temp was 80 degrees or higher. We're at 9,979 minutes (or 166-plus hours; 6.9 days), and there's a good chance we will top 10K. Sistek came up with his fun idea of charting the minutes during chilly, rainy 2011, when we entered August with less than a full hour of 80-degree temps. — J.C.
Tony Soprano: NOT dead
When author and entertainment critic Martha P. Nochimson popped the question to Sopranos creator David Chase recently — you know, the question millions of fans around the world have been arguing about since the controversial black-screen finale of Chase’s award-winning HBO mob opera — the laconic auteur reportedly shook his head and said (wait for it): “No, he isn’t.” Here's a clip of that last scene for refresher purposes, but forget any dreams of a Sopranos sequel. Tony may be alive and well in David Chase’s dark imagination, but James Gandolfini, the actor who was and always will be Tony, isn’t. — M.B.
Holiday weekend: Troll back Tuesday
Rushing to beat the holiday crowd to the door, The Daily Troll will be off Friday. (Back on Tuesday.) While we're away, don't forget that Crosscut's Knute Berger and other journalists will join KUOW host Bill Radke on Friday morning at 10 a.m. The group will be discussing (what else?) the week's news. Think bikeshare, bad drivers, Amazon's latest acquisition and Weyerhaeuser's move to Pioneer Square. (Regarding Weyerhaeuser: No Tacoma jokes, please. It deserves better. ) — J.C.
Wrapping up the week
There were a couple busy days, so we never got a chance to note the upcoming closure of a great bit of Seattle Weird: Wallingford's Erotic Bakery (first reported on the SLOG, under the headline: "OH NO! The Erotic Bakery is closing"). A good follow-up by KIRO Radio's Rachel Belle quotes owner Kimmie Barnett on a typical phone call:
Erotic Bakery: "Hello, Erotic Bakery."
Customer: "Well, this is going to sound like an unusual question..."
EB: "Probably not."
Will Seattle now become a bit more like, hmm, Kansas City? Probably not. In fact, a web search suggests that K.C. and a lot of other spots around the country with their own similarly-themed bakeries have become more like Seattle. — J.C.
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