Wednesday 19 Nov, 2014 The Zoo going elephant-free. 11 firms perfect on LGBT rankings. Buying police service. No more elephants for Seattle at 4:25pm by Cambria Roth Seattle kids and adults will miss out on an elephant exhibit in 2015. After a long elephant tenure — filled in recent years with criticisms, bad reviews and elephant deaths — the Woodland Park Zoo announced today that it is eliminating its elephant program.The zoo will send its two female Asian elephants—47-year-old Bamboo and 35-year-old Chai— elsewhere, seattlepi.com notes. The zoo went under fire a year ago when a zoo task force told the zoo it needed to make improvements to the way it cared for its then-three elephants. They suggested enlarging the facility, reducing choke points in the barn and expanding the enrichment program."After several months of working to implement the recommendations of the elephant task force, we have found that adding to the herd of our two aging elephants is not realistic in the foreseeable future. It is in the best interest of Bamboo and Chai to live in a social, multi-animal herd in a healthy environment," Woodland Park Zoo's President and CEO Deborah Jensen said in a statement. "We will ensure Bamboo and Chai will be relocated together to an Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA) facility that shares our commitment to animal health and welfare and conservation through education, and provides viewing access to the animals.”The zoo was left with only two elephants when Watoto, a fixture at the zoo for 43 years, was euthanized recently. (An in-depth report Crosscut's Eric Scigliano wrote at the time is here. His article on the Zoo's announcement today is here.) — C.R. 11 companies in Washington are LGBT-friendly at 4:25pm by David Kroman Washington State had 11 companies score a perfect 100 in the 2015 Corporate Equality Index, an annual report assessing lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) inclusion. There were 781 companies ranked nationally in the report and 365 of those companies earned a perfect 100.The Puget Sound Business Journal reports the Washington State companies earning 100 scores include: Alaska Air Group Inc; Davis Wright Tremaine LLP; Group Health Cooperative; Microsoft Corp.; Nordstrom Inc.; Perkins Coie LLP; Razorfish; REI; Slalom Consulting; Starbucks Corp.; and T-Mobile USA Inc. Scoring a 90 were Amazon.com Inc., Costco Wholesale Corp., Expedia Inc. and Outerwall Inc. The lowest scoring of Washington companies was Corbis Corp., with a score of 50. Here is a link to the report.—C.R. A Tale of 2 Cities at 4:25pm by Cambria Roth “A tale of 2 cities” was the appropriate headline of Danny Westneat’s latest Seattle Times column. Westneat outlined a new approach by wealthy Seattle neighborhoods who hire their own cops. It all began with the Laurelhurst neighborhood. Now, many more neighborhood groups are meeting this week to figure out how to combat Washington’s soaring property-crime rate. For $200 per family per year, Laurelhurst residents pay off-duty cops to patrol the neighborhood six nights/days a week for five hours each shift. They are in uniform, carry police radios as well as their police firearms and drive unmarked personal vehicles. They monitor incoming 911 calls and respond to any Laurelhurst calls.Westneat pointed out the divide between poor and rich neighborhoods in Seattle: “The public-transit system may stink, but Microsoft and Amazon have their own private shuttle services. The school district may be dysfunctional, pulling teachers from classrooms midyear, but some parents can hire their own at 90 grand apiece. In the Amazon jungle, the transportation system may be jammed, but privately paid, off-duty police flaggers are there to stop traffic on public streets so the tech overlords can get out of their parking garages.” Does it have to be this way? — C.R Gates Foundation pledges money to fight Ebola at 4:25pm by David Kroman In the U.S., Ebola is seen in two lights: as the invasion of a vicious disease with a high mortality rate or as overblown and difficult to catch. The media has swung back and forth between stoking and calming fears, many arguing that the hysteria surrounding the disease is more dangerous than the virus itself.While it may indeed be overblown here, the consequences of the virus in West Africa are grave — despite reports of progress in fighting the epidemic. A new Gates Foundation pledge of $5.7 million is a sign there’s still much to be done. The Puget Sound Business Journal reports The foundation pledged the money "to scale up the production and evaluation of convalescent plasma and other convalescent blood products as potential therapies for people infected with the Ebola virus." This is the latest in a string of pledges from high profile donors like Mark Zuckerberg and Steve Ballmer, and the Gates Foundation's announcement points to a long list of partners in the plasma effort. — D.K. Report: Washington state not the best at everything at 4:25pm by David Kroman Washington state is number one (at least in the hearts of Washingtonians) in so many things: marijuana, wine, apples, seafood, tech, aviation. Seattle has the highest rate of adults with a college degree. Sea-Tac set the bar with a $15 minimum wage. And Washington has more glaciers than all other contiguous states combined. It’s safe to say we like being number one.With that in mind, Washington received a huge blow to its winning reputation today — our beloved state ranked as the 12th most miserable place to have Thanksgiving. That’s right: According to the Estately blog, there are 38 states that are better for Thanksgiving. The ranking was based on:1. Likelihood of food poisoning (5th)2. Likelihood of relatives binge drinking (20th)3. Likelihood of political arguments at dinner (23rd)4. Dietary restrictions impacting meal quality (30th)5. Likelihood of favorite NFL team losing on Thanksgiving (3rd)6. Likelihood of guests/cooks abandoning meal for Black Friday sale (46th)Actually when you look at, we’re pretty average in most categories. And we can be proud of our Black Friday ranking — no stampeding for this state. But we are exceedingly more likely to have the day ruined if the Seahawks lose (which seems unfair because 44 states have 0 football teams even playing on Thanksgiving). And apparently we all need to make sure that our raw turkey is far from our spinach salad. Use a separate cutting board please!—- D.K.