Thursday 5 Mar, 2015

Reader photo: Meadowbrook Pond.

Senate bill would expand vaccination information

at 3:50pm by John Stang

The state Department of Health would have to provide information on childhood vaccinations for couples expecting a child, under a bill sponsored by Sen. Randi Becker, R-Eatonville.

The Washington Senate unanimously passed the measure Thursday. The bill now goes to the House.

The Health Department already is required to communicate with parents about vaccinations before their children enter school.

Although children are supposed to be vaccinated or show immunity to 11 diseases before entering school, parents can obtain exemptions for medical, religious and philosophical reasons. In the wake of recent measles outbreaks, legislators have been looking at ways to encourage more families to have their vaccinated.

 

Urban League CEO to challenge Sawant in council bid

at 3:50pm by Amy Augustine

KING-5 reports that the president and CEO of the Urban League of Metropolitan Seattle says she run against incumbent Kshama Sawant for a seat on the city council.

Pamela Banks announced on Thursday she will take a leave of absence to run for the newly-created District 3. Sawant has also filed to fill the seat, along with activists Morgan Beach and Rod Hearne.

Thirty-seven people have filed to run for the nine positions up for election in the fall. The redistricting of the city was approved by voters in 2013.

Banks tells KING that she has hired a prominent political strategist, Christian Sinderman.

Thousands flee battle scene in Tikrit

at 3:40pm by Amy Augustine

The BBC is reporting that a military operation to retake the Iraqi city of Tikrit from Islamic State fighters has forced nearly 30,000 people to flee their homes, the UN says.

Victims testify at trial of Boston Marathon bombing suspect

at 1:59pm by Amy Augustine

The trial for alleged Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev kicked off this week, bringing an emotional day of testimony from the victims of the attack. See the Boston Globe’s coverage here. For an intimate, in-depth profile of the Tsarnaev family, check out the Globe’s 2013 package that ran shortly after the bombings.

This 2013 image provided by the Boston Regional Intelligence Center shows Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, one of the suspects in the Boston Marathon bombings. (Credit: Boston Regional Intelligence Center)
This 2013 image provided by the Boston Regional Intelligence Center shows Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, one of the suspects in the Boston Marathon bombings. (Credit: Boston Regional Intelligence Center)

Inslee: I'll open up private emails

at 1:40pm by John Stang

Gov. Jay Inslee said Thursday he occasionally uses his personal email account for official business, sending notes to staff members. He said those emails will be opened to the public and archived in state records.

Inslee said those emails can be tracked down via his staff member’s government accounts.

A television reporter asked Inslee about the subject at a Thursday press availability. The question referred to revelations of potential presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s use of personal emails for government purposes while she was secretary of state.

Department of Justice upholds Ferguson verdict, but condemns police tactics

at 1:05pm by Cody Olsen

The Department of Justice’s criticisms of police in Ferguson show some very basic problems. Yahoo! News drew some damning specifics from the DOJ’s report, “Between 2012 and 2014, black drivers were more than twice as likely as others to be searched during routine traffic stops, but 26 percent less likely to be carrying contraband.” The Department of Justice also highlighted the lack of racial diversity on the police force, where only four of 54 active police officers are black, as eroding community trust.

“It is not difficult to imagine how a single tragic incident set off the city of Ferguson like a powder keg,” Attorney General Eric Holder said.

 

Calling 211

at 10:39am by Cody Olsen

Lesser known than the 911 line, King County 211 is a line anyone can call when they are in need of emergency shelter or social services. KUOW reports there’s such a high volume of these calls the wait time can be long, and delivering that information is never fun.

Clinton emails at center of House subpoena inquest

at 9:43am by Amy Augustine

A congressional committee issued subpoenas on Wednesday seeking information about Hillary Rodham Clinton’s use of a private e-mail account for official business while she was secretary of state, the Washington Post reports.

Micro-housing: All good?

at 6:00am by Joe Copeland

The Seattle Times has taken one of its Pacific Magazine stories and posted it online. Message: Micro-housing may be one of the great innovations of recent years. But it’s an extremely well-done look at the people behind the trend and the dwellers who love their tiny places.

MLS won't strike (in case you were worried)

at 5:45am by Joe Copeland

ESPN had the news first and network folks were so excited about the big news for soccer fans that they ranked the story ninth in a home page headline box — after such items as Russell Westbrook of the stolen Oklahoma City franchise being on a Michael Jordan-worthy tear, Peyton Manning taking a pay cut and (would we make up stuff?) a cricket match.

Screen Shot 2015-03-04 at 10.00.59 PM

 

Weather through the weekend: Spokane, Portland and Seattle

at 5:15am by Joe Copeland

Here’s what the National Weather Service is forecasting.

Spokane

Screen Shot 2015-03-04 at 9.52.35 PM

Portland

Screen Shot 2015-03-04 at 9.49.48 PM

Seattle

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Reader photo: Meadowbrook Pond

at 5:00am by Joe Copeland

"Meadowbrook Pond" Copyright Rick Barry/Flickr
“Meadowbrook Pond” Copyright Rick Barry/Flickr

Wednesday 4 Mar, 2015

Convention center has $1B plan afoot.

Bank of Canada warns people to stop drawing Spock on their money

at 5:06pm by Berit Anderson

We disagree.

spocknote-1

Business Insider has the full story.

KING-TV to become neighbors with Safeco Field

at 4:06pm by Alyssa Campbell

The broadcasting company confirmed plans to move its headquarters to an office building across the street from Safeco Field in Seattle’s Stadium District.

67,000 protest Navy's supersonic warplanes over Olympic National Park

at 1:57pm by Alyssa Campbell

Enjoy your peaceful weekend hikes in the Olympics while you can! A petition protesting the U.S Navy’s plan to conduct warfare training over Olympic National Park and National Forest has gained more than 67,000 signatures, according to a press release from the petitioning corporation Care2. If the petition is unsuccessful, however, the Navy’s plan to fly supersonic warplanes above the Olympics will begin in September 2015 – up to 16 hours per day.

The petition was created by Aaron Viles, a Seattle native, who argues that the Navy’s plan “is a horrible idea for both humans and wildlife” because of the noise pollution the Navy’s jets will create in one of the “quietest spots in the country.” Even more harmful, according to the press release, are the microwave and electromagnetic radiation the planes will emit.

Bob Barker to Mayor Murray: Save Seattle's elephants!

at 1:00pm by Alyssa Campbell

Game show host turned elephant-rights activist Bob Barker is demanding that Seattle Mayor Ed Murray and the Seattle City Council step in to save Woodland Park Zoo’s elephants, Chai and Bamboo. Working with the animal protection organization Zoocheck, Barker is demanding that the two elephants be sent to an adequate facility where they can retire peacefully instead of being transferred to a zoo in Oklahoma.

In a press release this morning, Barker calls the Zoo’s plan to relocate the elephants “irresponsible and cruel.”

Barker is particularly concerned about the fact that the elephants will be moved during the winter, recalling the 2005 death of an elephant named Wankie who died under such conditions. Barker notes that if sent to Oklahoma, Chai and Bamboo may actually be worse off than here in Seattle as a result of the region’s harsh winters and tornadoes.

The case of Chai and Bamboo is especially worrisome following the death of Seattle elephant Watoto last year. For Barker, if the elephants were relocated to the PAWS sanctuary in California, a “paradise for elephants,” the price would be more than right.

 

Bertha's ready for repairs

at 11:42am by David Kroman

Bertha, the tunnel boring machine beneath Alaskan Way, is in position for crews to begin repairs, says WSDOT. After sitting motionless for more than a year, Bertha began inching through 20 feet of concrete on February 17th into an access pit near Main Street. After breaking through the wall on February 19th, Bertha has since moved forward 37 more feet — enough for the massive red crane to lift out the 2,000 ton cutterhead, turn it horizontally, and repair the broken seals. Crews will also replace the main bearing that rotates the cutterhead, mostly as a precaution as it is unclear whether the bearing is in fact broken. Those hoping for instant gratification will have to wait: thousands of hoses and cables must be carefully disconnected before Bertha’s head can be removed. Full repairs will take weeks. WSDOT expects to resume tunneling late this summer.

Washington snow worryingly below normal levels

at 10:42am by Alyssa Campbell

While Seattleites have been outside enjoying a generally sunny and warm winter, such a lucky spell of weather is not necessarily good news. As the Bellingham Herald reports, snowpack in Washington state has been 29 percent below its normal level for winter, while snowpacks in the North Cascades have been at a staggering 40 percent below normal levels.

Low snowpack means low water supply later in the season — more than half of which typically comes from melting snow. According to Scott Pattee, water supply specialist for the Natural Resources Conservation Service, all of this is engendering worries of a drought this summer and fall.

Washington State Convention Center has $1B plan afoot

at 6:20am by Berit Anderson

Capitol Hill Seattle reports that the Convention Center started the public process Tuesday night on a $1B, 1,230,000 square foot expansion.

“Powered by its bonding authority, the WSCC has already acquired $56.5 million worth of land between 9th and Boren, and Howell and Olive Way that is today home to a Honda dealership. King County’s transit center block is also on the WSCC’s acquisition target list.”

Apparently, the project is slated to break ground in 2017.

Tuesday 3 Mar, 2015

Pioneering woman journalist dies. Car2go, Uber have bigger Seattle plans. The kids want the recess time back.

Traveling to D.C.? Leave the selfie stick behind

at 5:52pm by Amy Augustine

The Smithsonian Institute on Tuesday banned the use of selfie sticks within all of its museums throughout the Washington, D.C. metro area, PBS Newshour reports.

Worker's death at meat plant spurs $5 million suit

at 5:30pm by Amy Augustine

The family of a man who was killed while cleaning an industrial meat blender in Oregon is suing the company that owns the machine, The Oregonian reports.

The lawsuit claims that Interstate Meat Distributors did not follow standard safety procedures ensuring the machine was properly shut off when it killed 41-year-old Hugo Avalos-Chanon of Portland. Avalos-Chanon worked for contractor DCS Sanitation Management, which Interstate Meat hired to do work at its plant in Clackamas.

Avalos-Chanon was using a garden hose to spray hot water on the meat-blending machine when he fell in. There were no witnesses to his death in 2013, but the suit says fellow workers heard his screams for help.

 

Pioneering woman journalist Adele Ferguson dies

at 5:04pm by Joe Copeland

The Kitsap Sun reports that Adele Ferguson, the first woman journalist to cover Washington’s state government, has died at age 90. The Sun’s David Nelson writes, “Stories from the Sun newsroom include those of elected officials lining up outside her office for a chance to talk with Ferguson.”

She was that influential, both as a reporter and a columnist of conservative leaning who pulled no punches. In an email to media members, David Ammons, director of communications for the Washington Secretary of State’s Office, recalled working with her while he was an Associated Press correspondent,  “I had the privilege of working as a colleague for many years, and can attest to her reporting skills, her great ‘real people’ writing ability and her adeptness [at] cussing, drinking and telling great stories. She will be missed.”

Her career at The Sun lasted nearly five decades. She continued writing commentaries that were published in papers around the state well into her 80s. Tim Eyman thanked her for the passage of a 2007 tax limitation initiative of his.

In a book for the Secretary of State’s Legacy Project, John Hughes wrote of a time when the U.S. Navy refused to take Ferguson aboard a submarine because she was a woman. In what became an award-winning article, Ferguson skewered the Navy so effectively and humorously that AP sent the story around the world. The Navy got her on a later ride. The full book can be read here.

Uber, car2go plan expansions in Seattle

at 3:43pm by Amy Augustine

Car-sharing services car2go and Uber are in the news today for different reasons, but both are expanding in Seattle.

Car2go will add 250 cars to its fleet after the City Council authorized up to 3,000 car-sharing vehicles to operate in the city. The move has raised concerns about the city’s already-stretched parking system, KOMO News reports.

Car2go, which pays the city $1,730 per car each year for access to any public spot in the city for free, will now have 750 vehicles to rent out. In addition it will expand its area of operation into South Seattle.

A car2go car in Austin, Texas. (Credit: Denis Bocquet, Flickr)
A car2go car in Austin, Texas. (Credit: Denis Bocquet, Flickr)

Meanwhile, GeekWire is reporting that Uber is opening an engineering office here and plans to hire 50 people or more this year.

The office will be started up by Tim Prouty, a UW Computer Science & Engineering alum and director of engineering at EMC’s Isilon Storage Division.

Uber, which operates in 250 cities worldwide, has a large majority of its engineers in San Francisco, and a few others scattered among New York City, Lithuania, and Bulgaria, according to GeekWire.

The company joins the growing list of tech giants that have established engineering outposts in the area, including Google, Facebook, Dropbox, Salesforce and Twitter.

Former Seahawks wide receiver will donate brain to science

at 3:28pm by Amy Augustine

Former Seattle Seahawks player Sidney Rice will eventually donate his brain to science to study the impact of repeated concussions on the brain, the wide receiver said Tuesday.

The story was first reported locally by seattlepi.com. Rice appeared on“Fox and Friends” with New York Giants punter Steve Weatherford to talk about the issue. Rice, 28, estimated he has suffered between eight and ten concussions, the first sustained when he was a child.

“I think the first one was when I was 8 years old, going around the edge, hit a kid head-on,” Rice said. “It was the first time I ever saw stars, aside from the cartoon shows.”

Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Sidney Rice reels in a catch during pregame warmups of the Seahawks game against the Atlanta Falcons on January 13, 2013 at the Georgia Dome. (Credit: Mark Runyon, Pro Football Schedules/Flickr)
Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Sidney Rice reels in a catch during pregame warmups of the Seahawks game against the Atlanta Falcons on January 13, 2013 at the Georgia Dome. (Credit: Mark Runyon, Pro Football Schedules/Flickr)

Rice missed the Seahawks’ 2014 Super Bowl victory over Denver because of a leg injury. Although he had been resigned for the 2014 season, he retired last summer because of extensive injuries sustained from playing the game.

The NFL last year settled a lawsuit from more than 4,500 former players claiming damages from concussion-related injuries.

In the interview, Rice described why he kept playing as long as he did despite the concussions.

“It’s just the way we’re brought up. I guess it’s the culture,” Rice said. “You feel like you have to be out there on the field. It’s the competition that’s instilled in you. You love it, you want to be out there, but it’s very important that you pay attention to what goes on when you get a concussion.”

Department of Homeland Security receives funding

at 2:51pm by Cody Olsen

The LA Times reports House Speaker John Boehner halted the GOP’s strategy of trying to restrict Obama’s immigration plan through the Department of Homeland Security funding. After temporary funding was passed last week, DHS will once again run out of money Friday at midnight. Democrats in the Senate managed to successfully block a funding bill that would have put restrictions on Obama’s plan to protect some immigrants from deportation, leaving the Republicans with the option of another protracted fight, or to accept defeat and fund the agency in whole.

3rd graders get behind more lunch, recess time

at 2:40pm by Amy Augustine

They’re mad as heck, and they aren’t going to take it anymore.

KING 5 is reporting that third graders at Seattle’s Whittier Heights Elementary are preparing for a battle to regain lost lunch and recess time after administrators trimmed each. That was a response to the school falling behind in state-mandated instructional hours.

The “Recess Army,” as the students have dubbed themselves, wants leisure time restored, garnering over over 100 signatures on a petition to do so. Individual principals set their own schedules to meet the mandated instructional time and because Whittier Heights fell behind, the school cut lunch and recess from 20 minutes for each to 15.

Leading the charge is 9-year-old Alex Armstrong. Among his grievances? “Well, we don’t have enough time to get our energy out, so we’re always hyperactive in class, plus I never get to finish my lunch,” Alex told KING. “I always have to finish it at home.”

Peter Daniels, spokesman for Seattle Public Schools, said that while losing lunch and recess time is a major bummer, it’s important for the school to look at the big picture. “It’s not just lunch-recess. It’s what other activities are incorporated,” he said. “P.E. is a huge one here in Seattle and it should be, because we want kids to be physically active.”

We’re not sure the Recess Army is ready to buy the adults-know-best position.

Netanyahu addresses Congress, but not McDermott

at 2:25pm by Cody Olsen

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gave his speech before Congress Tuesday morning, stressing unity between Israel and the United States while decrying the continuing nuclear talks with Iran. “The alliance between Israel and the United States has always been above politics, and must remain above politics,” he said.

Netanyahu was invited to address Congress by Speaker of the House John Boehner, in a move some see as offering a way to hear all sides of the Iran nuclear deal and others see as an attempt to undermine Obama’s ability to conduct foreign policy. Netanyahu played down the tensions between himself and Obama, who did not greet him during his stay here, but warned Congress against the nuclear deal.

“This is a bad deal — a very bad deal,” Netanyahu said. “We’re better off without it.” (NPR has a rundown of key quotes. )

Netanyahu said the deal won’t stop Iran from gaining nuclear weapons because it leaves their nuclear infrastructure intact. The deal President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry are seeking involves easing economics sanctions against Iran in exchange for strict inspections to control Iran’s ability to enrich weapons-grade uranium.

Some Democrats in Congress chose not to attend the speech, including Seattle’s Rep. Jim McDermott.  “I have listened thoughtfully and respectfully to Prime Minister Netanyahu’s opposition to on-going nuclear negotiations with Iran on countless occasions,” he said in a press release. “I chose not to attend today’s speech because as expected, he once again mischaracterized both the intent and the goals of what could be an historic nuclear deal.” Secretary of State John Kerry and Vice President Joe Biden are — perhaps conveniently — traveling and could not greet Netanyahu.

Many in Iran were also curious to see how Netanyahu’s speech would play out. The New York Times reported that those in Iran eager to see a deal come to fruition, like President Hassan Rouhani, hope that Netanyahu’s blunt approach will drive the United States further from their ally in the Middle East.

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Read the first-ever issue of Time magazine

at 2:06pm by Amy Augustine

The first issue of Time was published 92 years ago on Tuesday and the magazine is offering free online access of the issue today. Don’t expect flashy art but do expect great archival ads (for a razor company, the slogan “the he-man’s razor with the he-man blades”), imaginary interviews with the likes of Mussolini, and news of the first successful helicopter flight.

Time magazine, March 3, 1923 (Credit: Time website image)
Time magazine, March 3, 1923 (Credit: Time website image)

After 10-year plan Seattle still has homelessness

at 12:30pm by Cody Olsen

Ten years ago King County implemented a plan to end homelessness over the course of the following decade. Unfortunately it hasn’t happened, despite a decline in homelessness state-wide. KUOW reports the homeless population of Seattle has actually gone up, and examines why.

Hungry? Here's what school lunches look like around the world

at 11:18am by Amy Augustine

File this under “What are we thinking?” Food and Wine Magazine, in conjunction with an East Coast restaurant chain, recently published what school lunches look like in nine countries around the world. While other countries offer colorful, nutrient-balanced plates, in America, we’re serving up frozen chicken nuggets, fruit in syrup and cookies.

 A pile of McDonalds Chicken McNuggets, as bought in America. (Source: Evan-Amos/Creative Commons
A pile of McDonalds Chicken McNuggets, as bought in America. (Source: Evan-Amos/Creative Commons

While the plates aren’t meant to be exact representations of the meals, they “are meant to portray different types of foods found in cafeterias around the world,” the company, SweetGreen, wrote. “To create this series, we evaluated government standards for school lunch programs, regional cuisine and food culture, and photos that real students had taken of their meals and shared online.”

Volcano erupts in southern Chile

at 10:32am by Amy Augustine

More than 3,000 people were evacuated from homes after the Villarrica volcano sent lava and ash high into sky over the tourist resort of Pucón. The Guardian has a video of the eruption.

Racist? Who, me? Seattle's liberal race guilt

at 6:40am by Berit Anderson

Author/scholar/activist Sharon Chang has a piece in the Seattle Globalist this week that points out something polite Seattle hates acknowledging: Progressives can be racist too.

“Statements pushing Seattle’s diversity and ‘leftyism’ mask the reality that despite being a liberal city, Seattle’s racial outcomes are perhaps no better than anywhere else,” writes Chang.

“Racism is not a problem that ‘other’ people need to deal with. It’s our problem too; something we all need to acknowledge, address and undo.

Wake up Seattle and shake off your ‘progressive mystique.’ We still have a lot of work to do.”

Bellevue weather: Sunny, cold and clear

at 6:00am by Berit Anderson

Credit: The Weather Channel
Credit: The Weather Channel

Monday 2 Mar, 2015

First Hill streetcar desire. Stanford calculates CO2's crippling economic costs. Meh weather.

Mourning for L.A. police shooting victim

at 7:30pm by Joe Copeland

People who knew the homeless man shot by Los Angeles police say he was gentle and helpful, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Video: Netanyahu could save world from bad Iran deal

at 6:00pm by Joe Copeland

Washington Post opinion writer Jennifer Rubin says the Israeli prime minister can become a hero by galvanizing Congress against a deal that President Obama may reach with Iran.

Air service at Paine Field approved

at 3:58pm by Joe Copeland

The Snohomish County Council voted 3-to-2 to approve a lease for a company that hopes to create a terminal for regular commercial air service at Paine Field, according to The Herald. Neighbors in Mukilteo, who have long fought any service there, could go to court or contest environmental approvals. No timeline for actual service is expected until next year. But, still, the vote means that the 20th century idea of using outlying airports for some of a metro area’s air traffic could be here before the mid-21st century.

'Revenge porn' bill wins big in House

at 3:55pm by John Stang

The Washington House unanimously passed a “revenge-porn” bill Monday that would allow a victim to seek damages in civil court for posting intimate images without a person’s consent.

The measure, sponsored by Rep. Tina Orwall, D-Des Moines, would allow a maximum of $10,000 or actual damages proven by the victim, whichever is greater. The bill now goes to the Senate.

King County Metro increases bus routes

at 3:34pm by Cody Olsen

The public voted for it, and now it’s time: King County Metro is increasing its bus service in Seattle. Last fall Seattle voted to bolster our sometimes-lacking bus system by 10 percent, paid for by hikes in the sales tax and vehicle licensing fees. KUOW reported that Metro is hiring 240 more drivers, some of whom will start in July, to help with overcrowded bus routes, and the rest will begin in September.

A 25 cent increase in bus fare also went into effect over the weekend. Buses are now accepting ORCA LIFT cards, offering a reduced fare to individuals who qualify under low-income guidelines.

Kevin Desmond, head of King County Metro, tells KUOW that finding bus drivers isn’t an issue: “So every single day, five days a week, there are people coming down here, filling out applications.” The challenge, he says, will be selecting and training drivers.

 

Bellevue announces new police chief

at 1:46pm by Alyssa Campbell

After an intensive recruitment process, The City of Bellevue announced this morning Stephen Mylett as the next police chief of the Bellevue Police Department. City Manager Brad Miyake described Mylett as “the best” candidate of those interviewed for the job in King County’s second largest city (122,334 people in the 2010 U.S. Census).

Mylett will be coming to Bellevue all the way from Southlake, Texas where he currently serves as the police chief for the city of just 26,000 people. Still, Bellevue may feel somewhat familiar to Mylett: Southlake is described on Wikipedia as “an affluent suburban city” in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

Assuming everything falls into place with the conditional agreement, Mylett will take over his new position as police chief at the beginning of April. Mylett expressed his dedication to the new position, stating “Together, we will continue to partner with the community to move the city [of Bellevue] forward as one of the safest in the state and country.”

 

Nasdaq index booming

at 12:29pm by Cody Olsen

For the first time since the year 2000, the dot-com boom era, the Nasdaq index rose above 5,000 points early Monday. Important to note is that this uptick was slow and steady, compared to the relatively sudden increase seen in the d0t-com boom.

Nick Hanauer adds another former Stranger writer to his collection

at 11:09am by Cody Olsen

Last week “Seattle’s only newspaper” lost another of its most prolific writers, Paul Constant, who was known for his book and movie reviews. Fellow Stranger alum Goldy announced Monday on his blog that Constant will join him in working for Seattle entrepreneur Nick Hanauer. 

Stanford scientists: Economic damage of climate change 6X what we thought

at 6:30am by Berit Anderson

Stanford reports, “The economic damage caused by a ton of carbon dioxide emissions – often referred to as the ‘social cost’ of carbon – could actually be six times higher than the value that the United States now uses to guide current energy regulations, and possibly future mitigation policies, Stanford scientists say.”

First Hill streetcar may finally get moving

at 6:15am by Berit Anderson

In hopes of getting the long-delayed First Hill streetcar line running this summer, SDOT director Scott Kubly signed a change order on Friday for a contract with Czech train supplier Inekon.

The Seattle Times’ Mike Lindblom reports that the new contract waives “$150,000 in late-delivery penalties, while promising stiffer penalties if Inekon lapses in June.”

The line was originally slated to begin running in early 2014, but delays by the train manufacturer have left Seattleites desiring a streetcar.

This week's weather: Meh ...

at 5:30am by Berit Anderson

A preeettty typical looking week ahead in Seattle. Some sun, some showers, some clouds. Enjoy.

Image Credit: The Weather Channel
Image Credit: The Weather Channel

 

Sunday 1 Mar, 2015

Leg ignoring popular transportation opinions. Public school facilities off-limits. Tacoma loses beloved priest.

Lawmaker takes on 6,000+ untested rape kits

at 1:06pm by Berit Anderson

There are more than 6,000 untested rape kits in the state, shelved in evidence rooms across Washington. The Bellingham Herald’s Samantha Wohlfeil reports that may be changing.

“House Bill 1068, sponsored by Rep. Tina Orwall, D-Des Moines, would require law enforcement agencies to ask state labs to test all rape kits they receive, provided victims have given their consent to have them tested,” she writes.

Locking up public school play fields: Public disservice?

at 11:00am by Berit Anderson

The after-hours security of public school tracks and play fields has been ignored in the rush to add metal detectors and armed security personnel to public school campuses, but the Herald of Everett reports that, in Snohomish County, schools are increasingly locking up public facilities.

Writer Kari Bray sums up the problem:

When bond measures go before voters, seeking millions of dollars to build or update athletic complexes, districts often sell voters on new features that can be used by everyone.

School districts around Snohomish County have a responsibility to protect tracks, tennis courts and practice fields from vandalism, graffiti or filth. However, locking out the problems also means locking out responsible users, many of whom pay taxes that build and maintain the campuses and equipment.

Tacoma priest, longtime weapons activist dead at 86

at 9:45am by Berit Anderson

The Rev. Bill Bichsel, who spent nearly 40 years protesting military weaponry and policies, died Saturday in Tacoma.

“I’m so glad for the action we took,” Bichsel said at a 2011 sentencing after he and a group of others broke into the Bangor Navy base protest nuclear weapons. “I think the only law that we tried to carry in our own hands is God’s law.”

The Tacoma News Tribune‘s Steve Maynard has the full story.

Westneat: Senate ignoring us on carbon tax

at 9:33am by Berit Anderson

The Seattle Times’ Danny Westneat has a prescient column this week about Senate Republicans’ dismissal of Gov. Jay Inslee’s proposed carbon tax. He writes,

Lawmakers often call the state Capitol in Olympia “the people’s house,” where they do the people’s business. But increasingly what they seem to be doing is business’s business.

Prime example: There’s one idea for how to pay for big transportation projects this year that the public really seems to like. It also happens to be the one that key lawmakers say they have no intention of considering.

 

Saturday 28 Feb, 2015

Pay-to-play records requests. House passes Homeland Security extension.

Leonard Nimoy's last stand: The full-figured woman

at 1:03pm by Berit Anderson

The Star Trek star, who died Friday at age 83, published The Full Body Project, a photography book featuring plus-sized female nudes, after one full-figured fan asked if he would consider taking pictures of her and her friends.

“It really disturbed him that women who considered themselves overweight had this terrible feeling about themselves,” Natalie Angier, the author of the book’s introduction, told Mashable. “He wanted to show the world that there’s beauty to be found in different body types.”

A Goldman-Sachs oil trader turned investigative journalist is Ore.'s take-down king

at 11:00am by Berit Anderson

The Willamette Week’s Nigel Jaquiss used to be an oil trader with Goldman-Sachs. Now the muckraker, who trades in secrets and scoops, has brought down former Governor John Kitzhaber, the latest in a string of blue state pols.

House passes one-week Homeland Security extension

at 8:54am by Berit Anderson

“Republicans vowing to govern effectively as a congressional majority failed a fundamental test Friday, when House leaders only narrowly managed to avert a partial shutdown of the Department of Homeland Security after an embarrassing defeat earlier in the day,” writes Ashley Parker of the New York Times.

Bill would make public records requests pay to play

at 8:31am by Berit Anderson

“On Friday, the House Appropriations Committee approved House Bill 1684 allowing state agencies and local governments to charge a fee based on the size of an electronic file containing records,” writes the Herald of Everett’s Jerry Cornfield.

The move, championed by a coalition of cities, counties, schools and special districts, is an attempt to deal with large digital records requests, which can swamp the staffs of smaller public entities.

 

The company that supplies Seattle's best restaurants

at 7:00am by Berit Anderson

“Merlino’s — that’s what most people call it — is the kind of place where they still, courteously, print things out. They also still take half their orders over the phone, and they’re proud that when a customer calls, a human answers — one who’ll probably know which of their 22 kinds of mozzarella that particular customer wants,” writes Bethany Jean Clement in the Seattle Times.

Friday 27 Feb, 2015

Expedia might move. Reader photo. Today's weather.

U.S. House fails to pass Department of Homeland Security funding

at 3:35pm by David Kroman

After a bill to fund the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) cleared the Senate, The New York Times reported that House Republicans tried to pass their own bill which would have funded DHS for only three weeks. It did not pass. Now the House is scrambling to pass something before midnight to keep DHS funded.

Tweet round-up from Seattle's street corners

at 2:12pm by Cambria Roth

 

Baby boom hits Southern Resident orca population

at 1:45pm by David Kroman

For months, it seemed like we were hearing nothing but bad news for the orcas. But, as seattlepi.com’s Joel Connelly reports, the third baby orca born in the last two months has been spotted.

As Samantha Larson wrote for Crosscut in January, the populations of the local J, K and L pods hit a 30 year-low in 2014 after four died. Even more puzzling to oceanographers was that there had been only one pregnancy since 2012. That calf, born in December, disappeared within a month. Around the same time, a pregnant female was found dead. It seemed the orcas were going through a real life Children of Men scenario.

Most experts suspect the whales’ slow disappearance has to do with them not getting enough food. Some hypothesize northern whale populations are snatching up the good chinook salmon. Others wonder if boat noise (whale watching is a popular pursuit) is decreasing the orcas’ ability to hunt.

The newest baby, given the beautiful name L-94, was first spotted off Cape Lookout on Oregon’s central coast. The new births increase the endangered orcas’ population to 80.

Woodland Park Zoo sending elephants to Oklahoma City Zoo

at 1:27pm by David Kroman

The Woodland Park Zoo announced Friday they would send their two elephants, Bamboo and Chai, to a zoo in Oklahoma. Many animal rights activists wanted them sent to a sanctuary facility in California, but Woodland Park Zoo board chair Laurie Stewart said the two elephants currently at the sanctuary have tuberculosis, so Bamboo and Chai would need to be isolated. “It didn’t meet our criteria,” she said in a press conference Friday.

The Oklahoma City Zoo already has five elephants, as well as 3.95 acres of space for the elephants. Woodland Park Zoo has only 1.1 acres for elephants. According to officials, it will cost between $50,000 and $100,000 to move the animals.

Makes you wonder: What will be the next Seattle institution to move to Oklahoma City?

Dept. of Homeland Security funding through the Senate

at 12:54pm by David Kroman

A clean bill to fund the Department of Homeland Security — one without any measures to repeal President Obama’s immigration executive action — has made it through the U.S. Senate. But will it clear the House? Here are Washington State Representative Adam Smith’s harsh word to House Republicans:

“House Republicans are yet again manufacturing a crisis to force their extreme agenda upon the American people. In December, Republicans funded DHS only through February with the intent to hold its funding hostage to jam through their extreme immigration policies.  This dangerous strategy has failed, and once again we’re at the brink of shutting down the agency that protects our national security and the livelihood of the men and women that protect us.  The Senate recognizes the importance of DHS and has come together in a bipartisan way to pass a clean funding bill.  I urge House Republican leadership to do the same.”

King County Council one-ups Seattle on parental leave

at 12:15pm by David Kroman

Mayor Ed Murray announced Tuesday that he would send a bill to the Seattle City Council authorizing four weeks paid parental leave to all city employees. Thursday night, the King County Council one-upped the city of Seattle, with councilmember Rob Dembowski introducing a bill that would provide 12 weeks of paid parental leave to all county employees.

The mayor’s announcement was hailed by advocates of paid parental leave as a step in the right direction. Councilmember Jean Godden, who really got the ball rolling on the issue, asked at Monday’s announcement, “Is this benefit enough?” Her answer was a resounding no, but she called it a “welcome start.”

According to the Mayor, the bill would cost an estimated $1.35 million.

The King County council’s three months for new moms and dads, on the other hand, more closely resembles larger, benefit friendly companies like Microsoft or Google. Below are two graphs from Mother Jones that compare the policies of major tech companies.

Paid Paternal

Paid Maternal

 

 

 

 

The King County Council’s announcement did not come with any price tag, which is certainly a concern. The measure would provide 100 percent pay to the county’s 14,000 employees. Of course, not all of them will take advantage, but it will definitely cost more than $1.3 million dollars. Considering the county’s funding issues, it will be interesting to see how this all plays out.

Is there really a competition between the two? Councilmember Godden says no. “I’m just really, really happy to see the concept taking off.”

 

 

Proof that climate change isn't real...

at 11:19am by David Kroman

…according to Senator Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma. From Grist:

From KIRO: Bomb threat at Mount Rainier HS

at 9:59am by David Kroman

Leonard Nimoy dies at 83

at 9:46am by David Kroman

New York Times: The man made famous by his role as Spock, died at age 83 of obstructive pulmonary disease.

Net neutrality battle to continue

at 6:30am by Joe Copeland

For everyone celebrating Thursday’s FCC decision favoring net neutrality: There could be a fly in the ointment. According to the Washington Post, the big Internet providers — and congressional Republicans — took it badly. Expect lawsuits and maybe new legislation to try to overturn the Federal Communications Commission decision.

Expedia looking for its own travel deal?

at 5:45am by Joe Copeland

The online travel giant Expedia has acknowledged that it may move its headquarters out of Bellevue, but it will stay in the Puget Sound region, according to the Puget Sound Business Journal. Real-estate folks tell the Journal’s reporters that Expedia is looking at a number of spots, including at least one spot in Bellevue where a twin-tower is proposed. The former Amgen headquarters on the Seattle waterfront also could be under consideration.

Oops: Pension problem will bring down Chris Christie

at 5:30am by Joe Copeland

New York Times columnist Gail Collins says pension reform is a boring issue, but the New Jersey governor is toast as a presidential candidate because he failed to deliver on his promises at home.

Reader Photo of the Day

at 5:00am by Joe Copeland

Alfred Hitchcock ... fishes. Photo: Copyright, all rights reserved Mr_Bull_/Flickr
Alfred Hitchcock … fishes. Photo: Copyright, all rights reserved Mr_Bull_/Flickr

Thursday 26 Feb, 2015

Differences on Pasco shooting autopsies. Protests for minority rights on UW campuses. Amazon hires ex-White House press secretary.

City pushes zoo on sanctuary for elephants

at 4:15pm by Amy Augustine

City officials are putting pressure on Woodland Park Zoo officials to send two Asian elephants to a sanctuary instead of sending them to another zoo, according to documents obtained by KUOW.

In November, the zoo announced it would close its elephant exhibit shortly after Watoto, a 45-year-old African elephant, died after failing to stand up. A necropsy found that the animal had joint disease, though it is unclear whether she fell or lay down. Zoo officials plan to announce where the remaining elephants, Chai and Bamboo, will be placed early next month.

The documents show the city, including several city council members and Mayor Ed Murray, have pushed zoo officials to pursue the sanctuary option, going as far as involving the city attorney’s office. Separately, the city attorney’s office considered filing civil or criminal charges against the zoo in the wake of Watoto’s death, the documents reveal.

The zoo is located on city land and receives about a third of its funding from the city and county. It is managed independently though a 20-year agreement. Attorneys for the city found that while the city cannot legally pressure the zoo by withholding funds, it could condition any future funds on what happens with the elephants.

The city has asked the zoo to report back before making a final decision on where to send the elephants.

Zoo officials responded to KUOW’s story with a statement: “We very much appreciate all of the interest and concern by the Mayor and members of the City Council about our evaluation process and the strict criteria we are following to make this important relocation decision. . . . As we move closer to the relocation decision, we are doing our best to keep the City, our zoo family, members and the public informed of what it takes to ensure the best interests of Chai and Bamboo are our top priority.”

Transportation package gets go-ahead; gas tax remains sticking point

at 3:57pm by John Stang

The Senate Rules Committee green lighted an 11-bill transportation package on Thursday. The bills can now show up for full floor votes­­ as a group or individually.

The GOP controls the rules committee, so the Majority Coalition Caucus – made up of 25 Republicans and one Democrat – is confident it can get most or all of the package passed. A fundamental rule of the Legislature is that the majority party never allows a bill on to the floor until it has the votes to pass it.

On Thursday, Senate Majority Leader Mark Schoesler declined to say if 25 votes are lined up yet for passing the package­­, parts of which are controversial. “We’ll move when we feel comfortable,” he said.

Senate floor sessions are scheduled for Friday and for every day next week.

The two biggest controversies in the package are an 11.7­ cent-per-gallon gas tax hike and the so-­called “poison pill,” a provision that would shift much of the package’s transit, pedestrian and bike-path money to road projects if Gov. Jay Inslee installs low­-carbon fuel standards.

Democrats are against the poison pill plank but are powerless against it, except if the GOP needs Democratic votes to pass the gas tax. Some Republicans don’t like the gas tax increase, which has kept the entire package from being a GOP slam dunk.

Differences emerge on Pasco shooting autopsies

at 2:50pm by Amy Augustine

Results from an independent autopsy of the man shot and killed by police officers in Pasco this month differ from what investigators have said, according to an attorney for the slain man’s wife, the AP reports.

The independent autopsy this week from a Seattle pathologist found that 35-year-old Antonio Zambrano-Montes was shot seven times, with at least two entrance wounds on the back of his body.

That differs from what a spokesman for the special unit investigating the shooting has suggested. The spokesman said Wednesday that the preliminary results of the official autopsy showed the victim was struck by five or six bullets, none from behind.

Efforts gear up on grizzly restoration in North Cascades

at 2:44pm by Amy Augustine

Forty years after grizzly bears were listed under the Endangered Species Act, efforts are under way to boost their numbers in the North Cascades. The Herald took a look today at the work of the National Park Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service with local agencies to bring the bears back to the area — part of their natural range. That includes many of Snohomish County’s popular hiking peaks.

Returning grizzlies to the area would help restore the natural ecosystem of the North Cascades, Chris Servheen, coordinator for grizzly bear recovery for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, told the Herald. Federal dollars to study the environmental effects of returning the bears to the area recently became available. The study is expected to take about three years with a $550,000 price tag.

The last biologist-confirmed grizzly bear sighting in North Cascades was in Snohomish County in 1996, south of Glacier Peak. The grizzly in 1980 was listed as an endangered species in the state of Washington, which boasts nearly 10,000 square miles of potential habitat for the bear in the North Cascades ecosystem; British Columbia’s North Cascades hold about 3,800 square miles of grizzly habitat. There are six areas of potential habitat outlined in the federal grizzly bear recovery plan for the North Cascades.

Starting next month, state and federal agencies will hear public feedback in six cities around the state.

Credit: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Credit: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

FCC allows state-owned broadband

at 2:43pm by Cody Olsen

In a day full of FCC news, the agency also overruled a North Carolina law blocking municipal broadband companies from expanding to offer a viable alternative to private companies.

Grounded: Bad weather cancels 7,000 flights nationwide

at 2:41pm by Amy Augustine

It’s been a bad week for American air travelers, with more than 7,000 flights grounded thanks to inclement weather, according to USA Today. As of Thursday afternoon, nearly 1,300 flights had been canceled nationwide and another 3,700 delayed.

A Southwest Airlines 737 is de-iced before takeoff in Manchester, N.H. (Credit: James Lee, Flickr)
A Southwest Airlines 737 is de-iced before takeoff in Manchester, N.H. (Credit: James Lee, Flickr)

 

 

 

New residential buildings downtown

at 2:13pm by Cody Olsen

According to the Seattle Business Journal, 56 new buildings are planned or under construction in the downtown area. This comes in a time when the Seattle economy is booming, but rent prices are sky high in many areas due to a lack of living spaces for Seattle’s workforce.

Astronomers discover supermassive black hole

at 1:58pm by Amy Augustine

An international team of astronomers has discovered a black hole as massive as 12 billion suns that formed some 900 million years after the Big Bang, NPR reported on Thursday. The finding may help scientists better understand the universe when it was young.

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech illustration
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech illustration

Study finds world is becoming more hostile toward Jews

at 1:23pm by Amy Augustine

Though worldwide social hostilities involving religion are declining, a new report finds a seven-year high in the percentage of countries where Jews face harassment from governments or society — particularly in Europe. The Atlantic looks at the numbers here.

Adam Baker/Flickr
Credit: Adam Baker/Flickr

Chicago detainees speak out

at 12:50pm by Cody Olsen

On the heels of The Guardian’s expose on Chicago’s detention facilities, another detainee is stepping forward and telling her story.

Retirement by way of Airbnb

at 12:30pm by Cody Olsen

One Seattle couple has ditched their town house and sailboat for a less traditional retirement. The New York Times today profiles the travels and travails of Debbie and Michael Campbell, 58 and 69, who were staring down retirement when their daughter suggested something slightly novel: World travel, made affordable through Airbnb, a service that lets homeowners rent out their unused space, usually at lower price than traditional hotels.

After some serious number-crunching, the Campbells took their daughter’s advice. They have now been traveling across Europe for over a year and a half and have no immediate plans (or plane tickets) to bring them home.

“We’re not retiring in the traditional sense,” Mr. Campbell told the Times.

“Most of the fun comes from opening the door and not knowing what’s on the other side,” Ms. Campbell said.

Protests for minority rights on UW campuses

at 12:08pm by Amy Augustine

Hundreds of students on three UW campuses walked out of classes on Wednesday to protest what they call a “state of emergency” for minority students within the university system, KIRO reported.

The protests, in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement, took place on UW’s Seattle, Bothell and Tacoma campuses, where marchers delivered demands specific to each location. The demands addressed issues of inequity for blacks and other underrepresented communities and included a demand that the administration work to repeal Initiative 200, which The Daily describes as “a 1998 piece of legislation that prohibits the state from either discriminating or giving preferential treatment on the basis of race, gender, ethnicity, or national origin within public employment, contracting, and education.”

In addition to the UW protests, hundreds of Seattle University students and faculty walked out to demand changes for adjunct professors, as part of National Adjunct Walkout Day.

Click below to see a video covering the protests from The Daily, UW’s student newspaper:

 

 

Amazon hires former White House press secretary

at 11:47am by Amy Augustine

Politico is reporting that former White House press secretary Jay Carney has joined the upper ranks at Amazon as senior vice president for Worldwide Corporate Affairs.

Jay_Carney_on_April_5,_2011
Former White House press secretary Jay Carney. (Credit: Pete Souza, whitehouse.gov)

In the new position, Carney will report directly to CEO Jeff Bezos, splitting his time between the Seattle headquarters and Washington D.C., where Amazon veteran Paul Misener will continue to run the company’s lobbying efforts. No word yet on whether Carney will commute via drone.

The new position brings the e-commerce giant’s worldwide public relations and public policy shops into one department. Misener and PR chief Craig Berman will now report to Carney, who will forfeit his position as a senior political analyst on CNN for the new gig.

FCC upholds net neutrality

at 11:29am by Cody Olsen

The FCC finally did something cool today. As expected, The New York Times reports that the FCC just voted this morning to reclassify the internet as a public utility under the Telecommunications Act of 1934. The 3-2 vote along party lines bars Internet service providers from charging media companies like Netflix a premium to serve their content faster and ensures that no content will be blocked. The ruling also includes mobile data.

Over the last year, an abundance of public comments, partially inspired by John Oliver’s call to action last year on Last Week Tonight, as well as support for the measure from tech giants like Amazon, Microsoft, and Yahoo, had put pressure on the FCC to pass net neutrality regulations.

Gov. Jay Inslee released a statement praising the decision,”This is a big win for Washingtonians who create, innovate or communicate on the internet.”

It's official: Direct evidence shows humans are causing global warming

at 11:22am by Amy Augustine

File this under “not really news:” A study published in the journal Nature shows a direct correlation between human-produced concentrations of CO2 and the greenhouse effect. Study author Daniel Feldman of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory told the AP that researchers saw “the fingerprint of carbon dioxide” trapping heat in the data, which spanned over ten years. The scientists observed that carbon dioxide from the burning of coal, oil and gas is the chief cause of global warming.

shutterstock_179942231
(Credit: Tatiana Grozetskaya/Shutterstock)

 

 

 

Now is the time to pay attention to the net neutrality saga

at 10:15am by Amy Augustine

The Federal Communications Commission makes its long-anticipated vote Thursday on regulation of the Internet, and according to the media gurus at the Poynter Institute, now is the time to pay attention to the long-unfolding saga. Here are seven things you should know about the vote.

PR lessons from Mars Hill

at 6:00am by Joe Copeland

Joel Connelly of seattlepi.com notes that a former spokesperson for the now-imploded Mars Hill mega church is trying to share some lessons for other congregations that might face troubles enough to get them in the media spotlight. It’s pretty good, straightforward stuff about honesty and preparation. Of course, it would be even better to avoid the kind of problem that would a church in need of such advice (for what not to do, check back to our most read story of 2014, “Inside Mars Hill’s massive meltdown“). As former Mars Hill spokesperson Justin Dean advises, don’t put the PR person in a position of trying to defend the indefensible.

Obama promises to use veto to protect immigrants

at 5:40am by Joe Copeland

Visiting in Miami, the man with the suddenly hot veto pen said he will block any bill that would undo his executive action, the Miami Herald reports.

Weather: Good chance of rain

at 5:17am by Joe Copeland

The weather around the Puget Sound region looks pretty normal for the next few days. Nothing great in the way of snow for skiers.

Screen Shot 2015-02-25 at 9.26.00 PM

 

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Reader photo

at 5:15am by Joe Copeland

Downtown Seattle Sunday Afternoon Crowd
Downtown Seattle Sunday Afternoon Crowd/Credit Joe Wolf/Flickr

Wednesday 25 Feb, 2015

Changes for I-90. Mass vaccination for U of O. Saving the heart of the CD.

We wouldn't want health insurance to get boring or anything

at 5:19pm by David Kroman

Everybody remembers the disastrous rollout of the Affordable Care Act website. Over time, things smoothed out enough that Obamacare’s tech problems don’t often make the front page anymore.

But now, KOMO reports the Washington Health Benefit Exchange is keeping things interesting by mistakenly overcharging about 13,000 customers. The glitch led to those insurance holders getting charged three times their normal monthly rates recently, which for some could mean upward of $800 extra on top of what they already pay.

Michael Marchand, communications director of the benefit exchange, promised quick action, expecting reversals of the withdrawals within 48 hours. Still, for many an extra $800 could lead to overdraft fees and other complications. Most customers were notified by phone or e-mail.

 

House oil train bill advances

at 5:13pm by John Stang

Split along party lines, the House Finance Committee recommended 9-to-7 Wednesday that the full House pass an oil train safety bill.

“Just in the last two weeks, we’ve seen two serious explosions,” said Rep. Joe Fitzgibbon, D-Burien.

A Feb. 14 oil train derailment in Ontario injured no one, but fires took almost a week to burn out in the sub-zero temperatures. On Feb. 16, 27 cars on a 109-car oil train derailed in West Virginia, causing fire-balling explosions. And on July 24, three oil cars on a 100-tanker-car train derailed under Seattle’s Magnolia Bridge, but no injuries nor fire occurred.

“The derailment in my legislative district was extremely upsetting to my constituents and is a symbolic representation of the risks,” said committee chair Rep. Reuven Carlyle, D-Seattle.

The committee’s Republicans said they wanted to support the House oil transportation bill, but lost on three attempts to amend it. Two attempts were to lighten proposed regulations on tug boats working with oil-tanker ships. The third defeated attempt was to eliminate a proposed six cents tax increase on each 42-gallon barrel. The money would manage the state’s expanded oil safety programs. The current tax is four cents a barrel.

“A 250 percent tax increase is unwarranted. … Creating a huge slush fund is unacceptable,” argued Rep. Cary Condotta, R-East Wenatchee. Fitzgibbon countered that the tax increase would ensure that the oil safety program won’t have to raid other funds for money in the future.

This oil transportation bill was introduced by Rep. Jessyn Farrell, D-Seattle. The House Environment Committee has already recommended — along party lines — that the House pass the bill. If the House passes Farrell’s bill, it will likely run into a bill sponsored by Sen. Doug Ericksen, R-Ferndale, that is working its way through the Senate.

Farrell’s bill covers a long list of oil transportation safety matters — including spill-related emergency training and responses, tugboat regulations regarding oil shipping in Washington’s waters, information to be provided to emergency agencies. Ericksen’s bill is similar, but has no public disclosure requirements about planned shipments, as does the Farrell’s bill. And it addresses only oil transportation by rail.

Local leaders fight to save hub of African-American business in the Central District

at 4:00pm by Alyssa Campbell

The intersection of 23rd and Union has historically been the heart of the Central District’s African-American community. It was the breeding ground for Seattle’s Civil Rights Movement and is now home to the Northwest African American Museum and the Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute. However, as gentrification has taken hold in the Central District since the 1990s with new developers investing in the area, African-American owned businesses have increasingly been replaced by condo developments. As The Stranger reports, 23rd & Union has seen redevelopment on all of its corners, except at one very important property:

The MidTown center, a 106,000 square-foot commercial property home to several African-American owned businesses, is one of the last properties at the intersection that has yet to experience redevelopment. However, this will soon change as the building’s owners seek out potential buyers. Local stakeholders, concerned over the future of the MidTown center, held a neighborhood meeting last weekend to discuss a plan of action on how to ensure the property will remain in community hands.

The meeting saw the coming together of residents, local activists and business leaders. The Union Street Business Association (USBA), a group protecting the business interests of the local African-American community, is now trying to raise money to buy the property. However, they might not be able to act fast enough. So far every interested buyer has been white.

Tom Bangasser, whose family has owned the building since 1941, is well-aware of his property’s importance to the future development of the area, noting that it has the power to “set the tone of what this whole area will become.”

University of Oregon to vaccinate en masse

at 2:35pm by David Kroman

Twenty-one of 50 states require freshman entering state schools to get vaccinated for meningitis before beginning their education. Oregon is not one of them (nor is Washington).

According to The Daily Emerald, four University of Oregon students have developed menogococcemia since Jan. 17. One student, freshman gymnast Lauren Jones, died. As a response, the university will vaccinate upward of 22,000 students to try to contain the bacteria. They also distributed pre-emptive antibiotics to all the students living on Jones’ floor.

Although they are from the same bacteria, menogococcemia is not quite the same as meningitis. However, menogococcemia infection is still potentially contagious and very dangerous.

The CDC identifies three strains of the meningococcal bacteria that circulate and cause disease: B,C and Y. The B strain, which is not prevented with the standard vaccination, causes about 50 percent of all infections. Officials believe the U of O outbreak is this strain, although that is not confirmed.

Beginning Monday, the U of O will administer primarily a vaccine that protects against the B strain, a shot that was approved by the FDA just last October. The Lund Report, which covers Oregon health issues in depth, says the bill could run to $7 million and will involve a “monumental logistical effort.”

The university is taking its response example from Providence College in Rhode Island and Princeton University in New Jersey, two schools that have also had recent outbreaks. The Seattle Times reports that officials at Washington State University and the University of Washington are watching the Oregon situation carefully.

I-90 Express Lanes to Close By 2017

at 2:00pm by Alyssa Campbell

The I-90 express lanes now used by cars and buses will be off-limits to cars by 2017, as KIRO Radio Reporter Chris Sullivan explains. The express lanes will ultimately be reserved exclusively for the new Sound Transit Link light rail line from Bellevue to Seattle.

The number of lanes designated for cars, however, will not shrink as more HOV lanes are added to the exterior. Construction of these HOV lanes will begin this week, marking the beginning of a series of 28-weekend closures on I-90 Eastbound. Traffic, get ready.

Sound Transit plans to have the light rail line fully opened and in ready for use by passengers from Seattle all the way out to Redmond by 2023.

Amnesty International: 2014 was 'catastrophic,' 2015 will be 'bleak' for human rights

at 12:30pm by Alyssa Campbell

The 424-page report released by Amnesty International outlines human rights abuses around the world, from Boko Haram in Nigeria to those in our own country. The report calls 2014 a “catastrophic” year as “the world’s politicians miserably failed to protect those in need.”

US Supreme Court likely to defend ability to wear headscarf

at 10:37am by Alyssa Campbell

In yet another labor lawsuit against Abercrombie & Fitch for failure to embrace diversity, a young woman claims that she was not hired because her headscarf ruined the company’s preppy “East Coast” style.

Ukraine cease fire takes hold, for now

at 9:15am by David Kroman

According to Reuters, the Ukrainian military said none of its troops had been killed in the past 24 hours —  for the first time in several weeks.

Watch a spacewalk live!

at 8:41am by David Kroman

NASA astronauts take a 6 and 1/2 hour stroll outside of the International Space Station. Watch them here.

Southwest grounds 128 Boeing 737s

at 6:00am by Joe Copeland

According to Associated Press, Southwest failed to inspect the backup systems that control the rudder in case the main system fails.

Journalism loses diversity champion

at 5:30am by Joe Copeland

Dori J. Maynard, who led the Oakland-based Robert C. Maynard Institute for Journalism Education, has died at age 56. Journalism blogger Richard Prince has a roundup of reactions. The Oakland-based institute has been a leader in training young people of color.

A weather turn for the worse

at 5:15am by Joe Copeland

The weather is turning, on both sides of the state.

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Reader photo

at 4:30am by Joe Copeland

Lunar New Year
Lunar New Year/Copyright: Mike Waller (Flickr)

Tuesday 24 Feb, 2015

Gates calls for more energy research. Cancer Care Alliance expanding in SLU. Props for Capitol Hill restaurants.

U.S. won't prosecute George Zimmerman in death of unarmed teen

at 2:29pm by Amy Augustine

The Justice Department closed its investigation into the 2012 killing of Florida teen Trayvon Martin by George Zimmerman, saying it did not meet the standard for a hate crime. His family told The Guardian that they are heartbroken by the news.

The US doesn't put enough into energy research

at 2:10pm by Cody Olsen

Bill Gates is one of six executives calling for the United States government and private companies to make alternative energy research a national priority, the New York Times reports.

Flickr user Sparky
Flickr user Sparky

 

Seattle Cancer Care Alliance expanding in SLU

at 1:06pm by Amy Augustine

The Seattle Cancer Care Alliance forked over $20.5 million for an acre of land and an empty office building near its South Lake Union headquarters, the Puget Sound Business Journal reported on Tuesday.

The acquisition of the empty 25-year-old office building, at 1213 Valley St., “”will provide needed space for SCCA staff, freeing up space in our current 825 Eastlake clinic to treat more cancer patients,” facilities director Kristie Logan said in a statement.

The seller, I-5 Limited Liability Co., previously applied to the city for a permit to build on the property. That permit application was cancelled last month, the PSBJ reported.

SCCA, a coalition of doctors and researchers from Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, UW Medicine, and Seattle Children’s, has no immediate plans to develop the property, a spokesperson told the PSBJ.

 

 

2 reasons Crosscut's staff can't stop smiling

at 12:53pm by Berit Anderson

photo (1)There are two reasons the Crosscut staff are grinning ear-to-ear this morning.

1. Sunshine.

2. The programs for the Community Idea Lab just arrived at the office! Aren’t they shiny?

How can we make K-12 classrooms more student-focused, individualized and community-rooted?

That’s the question we asked all of you this winter as part of the Community Idea Lab, a new kind of community problem-solving journalism invented by Crosscut last spring. More than 70 of you submitted ideas.

Tonight, our five finalists will pitch their ideas to the audience at MOHAI. Learn more about the finalists and their ideas here. 

David Harris, the winner of our first Community Idea Lab, will MC and our killer panel of judges, including Lyon Terry, Washington’s 2015 Teacher of the Year; Elham Kazemi, UW Geda and Phil Condit Professor in Science & Math Education; Kim Mead, President of the Washington Education Association; and Chirag Vedullapalli, an 8th Grade Student at Chief Kanim Middle School, will give feedback on each idea.

Then the audience will vote on the winner. We hope you’re one of them.

There’s just one hour left to buy your tickets, so don’t delay!

Obama vetoes Keystone XL pipeline bill

at 12:51pm by Amy Augustine

President Obama on Tuesday delivered an anticipated veto against the highly controversial Keystone XL pipeline bill, retaining his authority to make the final judgement over the project, which would deliver up to 800,000 daily barrels of petroleum from Alberta to the Gulf Coast.

The veto, the first major strike-down of his presidency, is a demonstration of political strength directed at Republicans controlling both chambers of Congress, the New York Times reports. Administration officials say the president will make a final decision when the environmental and regulatory reviews are complete.

Northern Lights make an appearance in Washington

at 12:09pm by Amy Augustine

A muted but visible aurora borealis showed its colors over western Washington on Monday night, KOMO news reports. Resident Liem Bahneman captured the celestial phenomenon while waiting for the Mukilteo ferry dock in 15 second exposures and created the following time lapse:

A little fuzzy on what the Northern Lights are, exactly? Check out this video for an excellent explanation of how particles from deep inside the sun’s core create the spectacular light show here on Earth.

TVW picks former legislator as new president

at 11:37am by John Stang

A former state legislator has been named president of TVW, Washington’s version of  C-Span. Renee Radcliff Sinclair, will replace Greg Lane as president March 2. She was a state representative from Snohomish County from 1995 to 2001, earning a strong reputation as a middle-of-the-road Republican. Most recently, she was in charge of Apple’s education policies for the Pacific Northwest. She has also served stints as president of the Everett Area Chamber of Commerce and in congressional and public affairs for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Repurposing Bertha?

at 11:10am by Joe Copeland

Some folks with both some good ideas and a great sense of humor have put up a real-looking “Notice of Proposed Land Use Action” in Pioneer Square.
Born Again Bertha

Just in case the tunneling machine never gets un-stuck, they propose a “Born Again Bertha,” with — among other highlights — the Apollo Ohn-O sports center, a skate park in the abandoned tunnel, and the Mike McGinn elementary and middle schools. You can see it virtually here or on Occidental Avenue just south of Occidental Park.

Capitol Hill restaurant gets nod from GQ magazine

at 11:04am by Amy Augustine

Trove restaurant, a noodle and BBQ joint on Capitol Hill, ranks among the top 25 restaurants in America, according to GQ magazine. It came in at number 22.  Salivate over Trove’s menu here.

trove
Trove restaurant. Source: foodhipster206.com

 

Clinton tackles gender - in softer, subtle tones

at 10:40am by Amy Augustine

Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign isn’t shying away from issues of gender, the New York Times reports, but this time around she’s straying from the assertive, feminist tone she’s known for and highlighting her experience as a mother and grandmother.

Eugene Robinson: The GOP's derangement

at 6:00am by Joe Copeland

Speaking as someone who overcame Bush Derangement Syndrome, the Washington Post columnist suggests that Republican presidential candidates need to spend some of their massive bucks on curing their own Obama Derangement Syndrome.

Council dropouts mean more power for the mayor

at 5:30am by Joe Copeland

Ellis Conklin of the Seattle Weekly takes a smart look at the impact of city council changes on Ed Murray’s power. Hint: He’s the one watching out for the whole city.

Nuclear limits on Iran: For how long?

at 5:20am by Joe Copeland

The New York Times reports that negotiators are trying to find a middle ground on how long Iran should face limits on its ability to produce nuclear material.

What's shaking with the Washington National Guard?

at 5:10am by Joe Copeland

The News Tribune conducted a wide-ranging interview with the head of the state National Guard: He talks about last year’s Oso landslide and the Big One he worries about.

Weather outlook

at 5:05am by Joe Copeland

It’s still mostly sunny around the region today, according to the National Weather Service. But a change is on its way.

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Reader photo of the day

at 4:51am by Joe Copeland

Otters at Nisqually
Otters at Nisqually by Jim Culp/Flickr (from the Crosscut group on Flickr)

 

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