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Tuesday 10 Mar, 2015

Chief O'Toole replacing SPD management team. Starbucks expands mobile ordering.

Is nuclear an alternative energy source?

at 9:21pm by John Stang

The Washington Senate passed a bill Tuesday by Sen. Sharon Brown, R-Kennewick, to add nuclear power to the list of alternative power sources that certain utilities can offer to customers as “green” energy sources. The current list of alternative sources includes wind, solar, geothermal and biomass energy.

Twenty-three Senate majority coalition members and six minority Democrats voted for the bill. Three Republicans and 17 Democrats voted against it. The bill now goes to the House.

“Nuclear energy is a carbon-free resource,” said Brown in the floor debate. Sen. Christine Rolfes, D-Bainbridge Island, countered: “This is a bill that continues to unravel the renewable energy industry in our state.”

Study: Skyrocketing traffic on Seattle's I-5

at 3:59pm by Amy Augustine

A study by the Puget Sound Regional Council slated to be released on Thursday yields some news that’s not exactly surprising: Traffic on Interstate 5 in Seattle is terrible.

The issue, according to Rick Olson, communications director for the organization, has to do with regional growth that has outpaced infrastructure, KING 5 first reported. The PSRC, made up of regional leaders and stakeholders, has looked at the traffic issues for months.

About 144,000 people have moved to the region since 2010, a 3.9 percent increase. The study suggests delays on regional freeways have gone up more than 52 percent since 2010, with a 25 percent increase between 2013 and 2014 alone. The study suggests the worst pinch point is Interstate 5, between Fife and Everett, increasing 92 percent between 2010 and 2014.

Olson told KING 5 the biggest change has been on I-5 from the University District to Downtown Seattle, where delays have increased by 290 percent since 2010.

In related news, the PSRC released another study on Wednesday indicating that more people are using public transportation. Go figure.

Oregon scientist finds opportunity for cleaner drinking water

at 3:58pm by Cody Olsen

A Scientist at the University of Oregon may have found an easy way to lower arsenic levels in groundwater, making it safe to drink, reports KUOW. Oregon geology professor Qusheng Jin has discovered microbes in underground water working to transform toxic water-born arsenic into a gas that rises into the soil where it’s less of a problem. The hope is to use ethanol to speed up this process and ensure lower levels of arsenic in drinking water. Dealing with arsenic in the water is a fairly common problem in the Northwest, especially for smaller water systems.

Hacked by ISIS?

at 3:55pm by Cody Olsen

KUOW reports that over the weekend a group claiming to be the self-proclaimed Islamic State hacked a number of businesses, including Tacoma’s own South Sound Magazine. While a quaint magazine covering art, lifestyle and culture doesn’t exactly scream ‘ISIS target’ the magazine’s website read “Hacked by Islamic State” Saturday. With the message, “We are everywhere ;)” below. And yes, that is a winky-face at the end of the hackers’ message. South Sound Publisher Josh Dunn encouraged other business to examine their own security systems, while the FBI said it is investigating.

Doctor shortage leaves mentally ill detainees without beds

at 3:53pm by Amy Augustine

A clinician shortage at Lakewood’s Western State Hospital has forced the institution to deny beds to mentally ill patients for weeks, the News Tribune reported on Tuesday.

Since Feb. 19, the state psychiatric hospital has turned away 90-day involuntary commitments, one of its two main types of admissions, further stretching an already beleaguered mental health system. As of Friday, 41 people were waiting for beds, according to Victoria Roberts, deputy assistant secretary with the Department of Social and Health Services. Of the hospital’s 557 beds for involuntary commitment, 528 are full, she said.

Hiring and doctor retention have been a challenge, Roberts told the Tribune. Nine of 45 psychiatrist positions are vacant or about to be vacant at the hospital.

Roberts said that the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has “been recruiting our doctors very, very hard” with salaries up to $250,000.

The average salary for a U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs physician is $204,000, about 20 percent over the national average, according to governmentsalarydata.com.

State psychiatrists are paid up to $164,000, Roberts said, but the state last month approved a $459,000 measure to increase salaries for doctors at Western State and Eastern State hospitals by 15 percent. The state also won an agreement to hire contract doctors, while some staff doctors have agreed to work extra shifts. That should allow the hospital to again accept 90-day involuntary commitments, ideally this week.

O'Toole to name new assistants on Wednesday

at 3:30pm by Joe Copeland

Seattle Police Chief Kathleen O’Toole and Mayor Ed Murray will name new assistant chiefs and a new chief information officer on Wednesday morning, according to a press release sent by the mayor’s office. The Seattle Times reports that all four of her current assistant chiefs were passed over. The appointment of a new information officer likely means that O’Toole sees a need to deepen and speed the changes she has been pursuing in how the community sees the police.

Jake Locker retires from ... football

at 3:20pm by Joe Copeland

As Sportspress Northwest notes in calling the decision a stunner, the former Husky quarterback star is 26. He cites a loss of “burning desire” to play football. He does mention that he wants to pursue other interests. Baseball America points out that the Los Angeles Angels drafted him twice, in 2008 and 2009. And Baseball America’s writer parses Locker’s statement carefully, noting that he didn’t say he was retiring from sports, just pro football. Baseball teams looked at him as potential outfield standout, with both speed and power.

Iditarod racers reduced to slush puppies with lack of snow

at 3:06pm by Amy Augustine

Washington skiers aren’t the only ones hurting from a lack of snowpack this year. In Alaska, high temperatures forced organizers of the famed Iditarod sled dog race to truck in snow to kick off the annual thousand-mile competition. The PBS NewsHour has some footage of the slushy start:

Seahawks trade for Jimmy Graham ... Seriously.

at 3:03pm by David Kroman

ESPN reports that the Seahawks will deal center Max Unger and “multiple draft picks” to the Saints for superstar tight end, Jimmy Graham. It’s no surprise the Seahawks were in the market for a tight end: they released Zach Miller last week after he spent the majority of the season on injured reserve. Russell Wilson did not target a tight end once in the Super Bowl loss to the Patriots.

Historically, Graham has been among the most effective tight ends in the NFL — except against the Seahawks. And there was no love lost between him and the Legion of Boom, or the rest of the Hawks’ D. He underperformed last year as he battled a shoulder injury all season.

Unger only played six regular season games last year, dealing with recurring ankle and knee injuries. While the Hawks looked better with him in the lineup, they still managed a winning record in games he did not play.

Doug Baldwin took to Twitter to salute Unger and welcome Graham. Richard Sherman, who once got into a pre-game shouting match with Graham, retweeted the welcome.

This one is a hard pill to swallow. A great player, a great teammate and a great man. Thank you @MaxUnger60 for everything!

— Doug Baldwin Jr (@DougBaldwinJr) March 10, 2015

With that being said. 12s welcome @TheJimmyGraham to the PNW!

— Doug Baldwin Jr (@DougBaldwinJr) March 10, 2015

More to crow about

at 2:03pm by Amy Augustine

A crow is silhouetted in the moonlight. (Photo credit: Jyrki Salmi/Flickr)
A crow quietly plots world domination in the moonlight. (Photo credit: Jyrki Salmi/Flickr)

We recently ran an article about Gabi Mann, an 8-year-old Seattleite who’s become buddies with the crows that live around her house. The BBC, in response to the same article, heard from a number of readers about their special relationships with these highly intelligent creatures.

University expels students over racist chants

at 1:09pm by Amy Augustine

Officials at the University of Oklahoma on Tuesday expelled two students believed to have led a racist chant on a bus over the weekend that sparked national outrage, the New York Times reported.

Secret Service conducts clandestine drone testing over D.C.

at 12:53pm by Amy Augustine

Quoting an anonymous official, Associated Press reported on Tuesday that the Secret Service will practice secret drone-flying methods over the next several weeks to thwart potential civilian attacks on the White House.

Missouri Supreme Court takes over Ferguson cases

at 10:56am by Mary Bruno

In the wake of controversy surrounding the shooting of black teen Michael Brown and last week’s damning report from the federal Justice Department, Missouri’s highest court took the “extraordinary action” of handing off every Ferguson municipal court case to the state’s circuit court. That’s according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Ferguson municipal Judge Ronald J. Brockmeyer has also resigned.

UW med school ranked top in the nation for primary care

at 10:49am by Amy Augustine

The University of Washington has received top designations for its primary care and rural and family medicine specialities, besting other top graduate programs in the country, according to U.S. News & World Report’s Graduate School Rankings released Tuesday.

The school performed well in other disciplines, too: More than 50 of the UW’s graduate offerings ranked in the top 40 schools and specialty programs on the U.S. News lists.

Hillary breaks silence on private email kerfuffle

at 10:46am by Mary Bruno

Hillary Clinton, presumed presidential candidate — and controversy magnet — will finally address concerns over her use of a private email account to conduct business while she was serving as Secretary of State. The Washington Post reports that Clinton will come clean in a news conference on Tuesday, her first presser since 2012. Hillary is expected to announce (yay or nay) on her presidential intentions next month.

Big shakeup as SPD prepares to replace four assistant chiefs

at 10:32am by Amy Augustine

The Seattle Police Department is getting an anticipated facelift, according to The Seattle Times. SPD Chief Kathleen O’Toole will replace  assistant chiefs Robin Clark, of the detectives and investigations division; Paul McDonagh, who runs the Special Operations Bureau; Tag Gleason, who oversees federally mandated reforms; and the Field Support Bureau’s Mike Washburn, who handles the 911 call center and data-driven policing. All four were invited to apply for their current jobs, which they did, but O’Toole told each of them on Monday that they didn’t make the cut. According to The Times, two of the four new chiefs will come from outside the department, two from within.



Wikimedia adds ammo to lawsuit targeting government surveillance

at 10:28am by Amy Augustine

Wikimedia,the non-profit that hosts Wikipedia, is joining a lawsuit brought against the National Security Agency and the Department of Justice for the agencies’ longstanding assault on privacy. (Think citizen surveillance programs and interception of communications).  Slate reported the move on Tuesday. “Our aim in filing this suit,” said Wikimedia in a statement, “is to end this mass surveillance program in order to protect the rights of our users around the world.”

More Starbucks will have mobile ordering

at 10:22am by Mary Bruno

When you really need a mochachino you don’t want to wait in line. And that’s why Starbucks plans to extend its new mobile ordering service to 650 cafes across the Pacific Northwest. By next week. So says Geekwire.

Monday 9 Mar, 2015

Japan, China scramble jets daily. Reader photo. Weather.

GOP tells Iran: Watch out, we can undo any Obama deal

at 6:01pm by Joe Copeland

The warning could complicate the negotiations over a nuclear deal, CNN reports, but Republicans defended their letter to Iran.

Mike O'Brien and Ed Murray urge investigation into Port's housing of Shell

at 5:15pm by David Kroman

Seattlepi.com broke the news a while back; The Stranger, arguably, made it a hot button issue: The Port of Seattle, whose motto is “Where a sustainable world is headed,” is leasing space to the Royal Dutch Shell oil company to house its Arctic drilling fleet.

Now, City Councilmember Mike O’Brien is urging the whole council to stand against that deal. He passed around a letter in Monday’s council briefing that argued the permit issued in 1996 for Terminal 5, where the Arctic fleet sits, was meant for cargo only. With regards to Shell’s occupancy, he said, “That use may be inconsistent with the existing permit.” He concluded by hoping for an investigation.

On KUOW’s Week in Review last Friday, Crosscut’s Knute Berger pointed to this as an example of a deep-seated conflict within Seattle: The city relies on and supports blue collar industries like the Port and Boeing, but citizens are often wary of the work they do.

Some argue if Seattle doesn’t play host, someone else will. “The issue is whether we and Seattle enjoy the benefit of the jobs this will reap,” said Paul Stevens, CEO of Foss in a post on the West Seattle Blog. But K.C. Golden, policy director at Climate Solutions, said in seattlepi.com, “The model of fossil fuel development is not consistent with goals of this community. It is time to stand up to the fossil fuel industry.”

O’Brien appeared to have support from his council colleagues and, he says, from the mayor: “The mayor’s office is interested in signing on to this letter.”

Update 5:20 PM: As reported by the Stranger, Mayor Ed Murray asked the Seattle Department of Planning and Development to “conduct a thorough review of the Terminal 5 proposal” from the Port of Seattle so that all environmental and economic impacts of the lease are “sufficiently disclosed” to the public. The move by the mayor hopscotches over O’Brien’s letter, which was urging exactly this action.

Pontoon construction for 520 finished

at 5:06pm by Joe Copeland

The Washington State Department of Transportation says the last of 77 pontoons for the new Highway 520 floating bridge are ready to be floated Tuesday from a construction facility in Aberdeen. They will be inspected before their journey to the construction site. The new bridge is scheduled to open in the spring of next year.

Behind Amazon's choice to join forces with China's Alibaba

at 5:00pm by Alyssa Campbell

GeekWire explores Amazon’s recent decision to launch a storefront on their competitor’s e-commerce portal, largely a result of Alibaba’s widespread reach in China.

Apple's thin new Macbook: Neener-neener-boo-boo

at 3:19pm by Berit Anderson

Today Apple introduced the new Macbook, its thinnest yet. It also introduced the equivalent of a tech company sticking its tongue out at all of its customers, doing away with the right click and all ports on the machine. (You know, those holes in the side of your computer that you use for such conveniences as charging your phone and plugging in your external hard drive.)

“…hopefully you’re not one of those jerks that actually uses the ports on the side of your computer,” TechCrunch’s Matt Burns writes. “This MacBook only has a single USB-C and it does everything from charging, to sending video out and transporting data.”

What the hell is a USB-C? Video game news site IGN has a good explainer here. 


State Legislature rushes to meet deadline

at 1:08pm by Cody Olsen

KUOW reports that Washington’s Legislature is rushing to move bills out of their houses of origin. Any bill that doesn’t make the move by 5 p.m. Wednesday is out of the running for this legislative session.

Obama imposes sanctions on Venezuela

at 12:55pm by Cody Olsen

President Obama has issued an executive order imposing sanctions on key members of Venezuela’s intelligence and military community. NPR reports that Obama cited an “erosion of human rights guarantees” as reason for his sanctions, which will freeze the assets of seven high-ranking individuals.

Writes NPR’s Parallels blog, “President Nicolas Maduro accuses the U.S. of plotting a coup against him, and is expelling most U.S. diplomats from Venezuela. He is also demanding that Americans secure visas to enter the country.”

Venezuela has seen crackdowns on political dissent and a dramatic shift towards more authoritarian tendencies since President Nicolas Maduro assumed office in 2013 following the death of former President Hugo Chavez. Maduro, who doesn’t have the popular support or charisma Chavez did, has made many nervous about the state of human rights and political freedom in the Latin American country.

Turmoil around fraternity racism

at 12:02pm by Joe Copeland

University of Oklahoma President David Boren and football Coach Bob Stoops are joining other school staff and students in protesting the blatant racism seen in a video from a college fraternity, the Washington Post reports. Boren also is asking the campus community to address more subtle forms of discrimination. The Oklahoma chapter is already suspended, but as another Post story explores, the very exclusion at the heart of Greek life on campuses can be seen as a start or at least a temptation toward ethnic and religious bigotry.

Danny Westneat: Nick Hanauer's initiative plans

at 6:00am by Joe Copeland

The venture capitalist tells Seattle Times columnist Danny Westneat he is looking at a statewide initiative to raise the minimum wage — if legislators don’t act.

Japan scrambles jets daily in rewritten version of 'pacifism'

at 5:45am by Joe Copeland

Under conservative Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Japanese forces are aggressively confronting China’s claims to a group of islands, the New York Times reports. At least one analyst says time is on China’s side.

The weather: A little more sun

at 5:01am by Joe Copeland

The weekend’s glow looks to fade. The change is a little less pronounced east of the Cascades.

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Reader photo: Bikes and buses at Overlake

at 5:00am by Joe Copeland

Bikes and buses and Overlake Credit: WhenEliseSings/Flickr
Bikes and buses and Overlake Credit: WhenEliseSings/Flickr

Sunday 8 Mar, 2015

Visa loophole showing in Seattle. Women feel left out by church change. Big aims for Sounders.

China rounds up activists to prevent complaints about sexual harassment

at 5:32pm by Joe Copeland

For International Women’s Day, the activists had planned to call for an end to sexual harassment of women riding buses and subways, the New York Times reports. OK, so President Xi Jinping wants to be seen as favoring impunity for comrade-perverts?

Daylight savings may actually waste energy

at 4:26pm by Joe Copeland

Modern air-conditioning and heating systems have turned Ben Franklin’s  18th century calculations about saving on candle usage upside down, suggests the Wonkblog at the Washington Post.

New season, new GM: Sounders hope to get to the top

at 11:38am by Joe Copeland

Art Thiel of Sportspress Northwest writes that new General Manager Garth Lagerwey is ambitious, with an MLS championship only the first target for the team.

Catholic church change: For men only?

at 11:32am by Joe Copeland

Despite Pope Francis’ initiatives, many women feel marginalized, the New York Times reports.

Investment money meant for poor areas flooding into Seattle

at 11:30am by Joe Copeland

The money comes from a green card lottery for wealthy foreigners who put money into creating jobs in rural areas or high-unemployment cities, the Seattle Times’ Sanjay Bhatt reports.

Saturday 7 Mar, 2015

Selma celebrations start. Ready for Apple's watch? After snagging Lynch, Hawks look to Kearse.

Time change: Do we really have to keep doing this?

at 9:37am by Joe Copeland

Ben Franklin gets the credit or the blame, depending on your point of view. The Herald in Everett notes that several legislatures — including Washington’s — have been looking at giving up the practice of daylight savings time. For now, though, it’s a 2 a.m. switch Sunday. And, yes, it’s the dreaded spring forward.

How Hawks' big contract with Lynch works. And why they want to keep Kearse.

at 9:30am by Joe Copeland

There are advantages for the team in the structuring of the contract with Marshawn Lynch, reports The News Tribune. And the team is opening what could be a winning campaign to keep hometown favorite Jermaine Kearse, who could start talking to other teams but who has spoken positively about staying.

Apple's smart watch: Big, or not?

at 9:22am by Joe Copeland

With Apple set for a rollout press conference Monday, AP tech writer Brandon Bailey offers three reasons why it could be a game changer — and three reasons it might flop.

Obama, George W. Bush gather in Selma

at 9:18am by Joe Copeland

No congressional Republican leaders were planning to attend the anniversary of the great voting rights march, but a couple suddenly made plans, the New York Times reports. While the governor of Alabama said the occasion will mark great progress, others said things are going backward.

Friday 6 Mar, 2015

Beastmode scores contract. Town to run its own pot store. Seattle-bound plane lands safely.

Revenge porn could become a crime

at 8:27pm by John Stang

The Washington House voted 98-0 Friday to create the crime of disclosing intimate images — so-called “revenge porn” — without the picture subject’s consent. The bill now goes to the Senate. Rep. Vincent Buys, R- Lynden, sponsored the bill. “I hope this reduces the number of people doing this. When they see the penalty, they won’t do it,” Buys said. Thirteen states have similar bills. Buys’ bill makes this a Class C felony, with an exception for kids 18 and younger who distribute such images without malicious intent.

Friday’s bill passage followed the House unanimously passing a bill Thursday by Rep. Sharon Wylie, D-Vancouver, to make the distribution of intimate images without the subject’s consent a civil offense, with the victim able to seek actual damages or $10,000 — whichever sum is greater — from the perpetrator.



Bill would allow sealing of some juvenile records

at 7:19pm by John Stang

The Washington Senate passed a bill 48-to-1 Friday that would require a court to seal the record of a juvenile offender if the youth makes restitution of at least 80 percent. Offenders would also be allowed to have files sealed when they can show a good faith effort to make restitution. The restitution amount, which also may include court costs and other financial obligations, can be converted to hours of community service at minimum wage.

Law enforcement agencies investigating a new crime would still be able to gain access to the sealed records.

“This bill gives a youth a second chance. We all need a second chance in our lives,” said the bill’s sponsor Sen. Steve O’Ban, R-Tacoma.

The town that will operate its own pot store

at 4:19pm by Joe Copeland

Some cities have banned retail pot stores. But, as the Seattle Times reports, the Columbia River town of North Bonneville is going to open its own pot shop, Cannabis Corner, on Saturday.

Beast Mode 2015!

at 2:43pm by David Kroman

It’s looking good for fans of Beast Mode. ESPN just published the details of Marshawn Lynch’s new contract, a one-year deal, worth $11 million — a $1 million base salary, plus a $9 million signing bonus and a $1 million roster bonus. A beastly contract for a beastly man. Next up, Russell Wilson…

The Seattle Aquarium's octopus is going viral

at 2:00pm by David Kroman

The Seattle Aquarium’s resident octopus tried to make a break for it and there were many on hand to capture the action. Octopuses (I refuse to say octopi) are widely know for their intelligence and, apparently, refuse to be held down.

This isn’t the first time Seattle’s octopuses have been caught trying to pull some sneaky stuff. Remember that time when all the aquarium’s sharks were disappearing? If not, here’s your explanation:

NFL Insider: Marshawn Lynch will return to Seattle

at 1:45pm by Berit Anderson

Found on Flickr: The car-sized rock that fell on North Cascades Hwy

at 1:40pm by Berit Anderson

Wouldn’t want this bad boy landing on your North Cascades Hwy road trip.

Credit: Washington State Department of Transportation
Credit: Washington State Department of Transportation

“This large rock (18-feet long, 12-feet high, 12-feet long) tumbled down on to the North Cascades Highway on Saturday, June 5 [2010],” WSDOT writes on their Flickr page. “No one was injured and the road was reopened later that evening.”

Civic Cocktail: Ed Murray in full

at 12:46pm by Joe Copeland

Seattle Channel has posted the full video from Wednesday evening’s Civic Cocktail program with Mayor Ed Murray and a panel discussion of climate change. (Crosscut’s David Kroman posted a few highlight yesterday here.)

Trail Blazers lose a starter

at 12:41pm by Joe Copeland

The Portland Trail Blazers (of the league that steals teams from cities) have been on a nice roll lately, including a Wednesday night win over Steve Ballmer’s Los Angeles Clippers. But last night, starter Wesley Mathews tore his Achilles tendon in a win over Dallas and will be out for the season. The Oregonian reports that he told fans this morning that he was in tears this morning over being out for the season but thankful for an outpouring of support from Portland fans. Yup, Trail Blazers’ fans are pretty cool — something that’s easier to say while Seattle has no team.

Seattle-bound plane lands in London after mid-air emergency

at 8:58am by Joe Copeland

KOMO Radio reports that the British Airways plane just landed safely in London after declaring a mid-air emergency and dumping fuel. The Independent in Britain said 218 passengers were on the flight from Heathrow Airport. Some reports suggested there was a problem with oxygen in the cabin but an airline spokesman would only say that it was a technical problem.

He sings the city constructive

at 6:00am by Joe Copeland

A local poet is set to present a poem about Seattle and its construction boom on Friday. Ed Skoog tells KING 5 that, without his 2-year-old son to accompany him on walks, he might find the city’s rampant growth a nuisance. “I sort of want it to last forever,” he told KING. “I want the transitional period to keep going on.” Good for business, for sure.

Skoog’s Rough Day won the prestigious Washington State Book Award for Poetry last year. And, if he is feeling a little more positive about construction than some Seattle natives, maybe his view is helped by teaching at Everett Community College, a city where growth has a history of never quite pulling into the station.

Zoo has its way on elephants

at 5:30am by Joe Copeland

The Woodland Park Zoo won’t run into Seattle City Council opposition over moving its two remaining elephants to Oklahoma City’s zoo, even though the council’s lead on the issue, Sally Bagshaw, thinks the elephants should go to a sanctuary. The Seattle Times reports that Bagshaw hopes the Oklahoma zoo might free its herd and let them go to a sanctuary — eventually. With enough political change, she could be right.

Activists had urgently pointed out Thursday that the council has the legal right to prevent transfers of animals that violate council policy. But, after years of inaction — especially by earlier councils that seemed eager to be rid of any decision-making responsibility for the zoo on city property — it seemed virtually impossible for the council to come up with any reasonable policy just as the transfer was about to take effect. And the Zoo had made its OKC choice with knowledge of council concerns. How that bit of  disregard for the wishes of the Zoo’s ever-gracious patron plays out in the future could be interesting.

Weather outlook: Sun after some fog

at 5:00am by Joe Copeland

The coming days look like slow starters that brighten up nicely, according to the National Weather Service.

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Thursday 5 Mar, 2015

Another notch in Tom Douglas' restaurant belt. Bill seeks more vaccination education. More traffic woes on 99.

Another notch in Tom Douglas' restaurant belt

at 5:05pm by Berit Anderson

Tom Douglas has announced his latest downtown eatery: The Carlile Room at Ninth and Pine, across from the Paramount Theatre, will feature wine, cheese and rotisserie rib roast and is tentatively slated to open June 1. The eatery’s namesake? Brandi Carlile.

Writes Eater’s Allecia Vermillion, “Douglas isn’t shy about the fact that the singer was his naming inspiration. He has a soft spot for a certain type of ‘great crooner’ (he also name checked Annie Lennox, Bonnie Raitt, and Natalie Maines of the Dixie Chicks…the man needs his own Pandora channel) and he and Carlile both got their start in Pike Place Market.”

No word yet on how Brandi feels about Tom’s homage.

Feds: U.S. banks equipped to take heavy hit

at 4:43pm by Amy Augustine

For the first time since the Fed began conducting so-called stress tests on banks with an upward of $50 billion in capital, not one dipped below the Fed’s capital requirements, according to a report published on Thursday in USA TODAY. That’s a good sign the banks – 31 in all – are well positioned to handle a significant economic slump.


Senate hopes to expand vaccination information

at 4:38pm 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 children vaccinated.

Death's price tag in Washington? Not cheap.

at 4:16pm by Amy Augustine

Ever wonder how much it’s going to cost when you die? Well, maybe not. But today the SLOG had a little piece that got us thinking about it.

Prices for funeral services, cremations and burials are wildly variable. According to a report last year by the People’s Memorial Association, a Washington nonprofit that promotes consumer choice for end-of-life arrangements, cremation costs can vary by 700 percent and burial prices can vary over 400 percent.

RIP Santa (Credit: Steve Jurvetson/Flickr)
RIP Santa (Credit: Steve Jurvetson/Flickr)

A few key points from the report:


  • The average cost for direct cremation in the state is $1,173 and ranges from $490 to $3,390.
  • The average price of direct burial is $2,195, with prices ranging from $895 to $4,090.
  • A complete funeral service with embalming, viewing, services and basic casket averages $3,785, but can be as low as $1,900 and as high as $8,465.

Long-term closure ahead for SR 99/Aurora Ave

at 4:12pm by Cody Olsen

Highway 99 near Lake Union in Seattle will begin experiencing lengthy lane closures starting March 11, the Washington State Department of Transportation warns.

Construction crews will first work to straighten a curved portion of the road beginning March 9, with a full closure of northbound lanes overnight beginning at 10 p.m. and lasting to 6 a.m. On the night of the 10th, crews will begin blocking off lanes to protect construction workers during closures along SR 99 from Valley Street to the Aurora Bridge. A department press release says the closure will affect one northbound lane for approximately eight weeks, and one southbound lane for approximately 12 weeks. DOT warns of increased traffic congestions.

The release includes a list of suggestions for how best to navigate this, mostly boiling down to: Leave early, and maybe carpool.

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.

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Weather through the weekend: Spokane, Portland and Seattle

at 5:15am by Joe Copeland

Here’s what the National Weather Service is forecasting.


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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.


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.


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.


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