Thursday 2 Apr, 2015 Councilmember Sally Clark to step down early. Murray, Expedia confirm move to Seattle. Iran nuke deal breakthrough. Highway 20 opens Friday. Mark Driscoll resurrects himself. Social media for the soul. City council announces process to fill vacated seat at 6:03pm by Amy Augustine City Council president Tim Burgess on Wednesday announced the process to fill the vacancy for exiting council member Sally Clark, who leaves the position April 13. In a statement, Burgess said he believes the council should appoint an experienced “caretaker” who will not to seek election to the council this year. The city charter states that a new member must be appointed within 20 days. “In this context, we need someone who can hit the ground running,” Burgess wrote. The filing period is April 2 through April 14. Finalists will be chosen April 20 ahead of a full council vote on April 27. Council member Clark’s last day is April 13. BNSF bites back against state's leak allegations at 6:00pm by Amy Augustine Railroad giant BNSF is criticizing the state’s claims that the company failed to report more than a dozen hazardous material spills, claiming it found inaccuracies of more than 90 percent of the alleged violations, the Bellingham Herald reported. The report, released by the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission on March 19, recommended over $700,000 in fines for the company, finding that between Nov. 1 and Feb. 24, there were 14 incidents of releasing hazardous materials not properly documented with the state. By law, spills must be reported to a state hotline within the required half hour of learning about them. In its report, the state claimed that in some cases BNSF did call the hotline, but not within the required 30 minutes. In other cases, it claimed BNSF did not call at all but submitted a copy of a federal report required within a month of any hazardous material spill. BNSF claims, however, that the company reported at least six of the other incidents to the hotline, and it has the reports to prove it, according to an email newsletter sent Monday. “We are disappointed we were not provided the opportunity to review the report and correct some of the misinformation before it was issued,” the BNSF newsletter reads. In the most severe of the allegations, which included up to 111 violations involving a tank car that leaked 1,600 gallons of crude oil, the state claimed it was not notified until nearly a month after the incident, when it got a report BNSF sent to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration. In its statement, BNSF said the leak was “discovered off BNSF property,” that the car was not in transit, and that it was not it in the company’s custody when the incident happened. Karina Shagren, spokeswoman for the state Emergency Management Division, told the Herald that BNSF had, in fact, reported the Dec. 7 and 8 incidents, but not within 30 minutes of when the spills were reported to have happened. Four other incidents on Dec. 9, Shagren said, were reported to the state by an employee from the National Response Center, the federal government’s 24-hour hotline for reporting spills of hazardous materials and oil. A copy of those reports shows that BNSF reported the spills to the NRC. Read Crosscut’s coverage of the spills here. A train carrying a class 3 flammable liquid (the category that crude oil falls into) passes a rail crossing on Lander Street in Sodo. Credit: Bill Lucia 147 killed in attack on Kenyan university at 1:01pm by Amy Augustine Nearly 150 sleeping college students were killed in a terrorist attack on a Kenyan university Thursday, the country’s worst attack in nearly two decades, the Washington Post is reporting. Militants stormed the university’s dormitories, fatally shooting two security guards and starting their bloody rampage. Nearly 500 people were rescued by Kenyan security forces; an unknown number of Christians were taken hostage and 79 injuries were reported. Terrorist group al-Shibab took responsibility for the attack. Al-Shabab considers Kenya an enemy because the country sent troops to Somalia in 2011 to fight the group, according to WaPo. “If you were a Christian, you were shot on the spot,” said Collins Wetangula, a student who was in a dormitory when gunmen burst in, opening doors and asking whether students were Muslim or Christian, according AP. “With each blast of the gun, I thought I was going to die.” Breakthrough in Iran nuke agreement at 12:02pm by Cody Olsen Photo credit: US Department of State The United States and Iran reached a framework agreement regarding Iran’s nuclear program early Thursday. The negotiating parties released a statement saying they had “reached solutions on key parameters of a joint comprehensive plan of action.” The text of the framework agreement can read here. Secretary of State John Kerry tweeted about the success. Big day: #EU, P5+1, and #Iran now have parameters to resolve major issues on nuclear program. Back to work soon on a final deal. — John Kerry (@JohnKerry) April 2, 2015 The P5 +1 Kerry references are, China, France, Russia, the UK, and the U.S., plus Germany. Between now and June 30th the negotiating parties will finalize the language of the draft and sign it, ending the negotiations. “In this deal, Iran has undertaken to carry out a 75 percent reduction in its uranium enrichment infrastructure, from 19,000 installed centrifuges to just over 5,000 in the Natanz enrichment plant,” wrote the Guardian, which breaks down other key elements of the deal, like the international community terminating all economic sanctions against Iran. The New York Times details the last-minute talks between President Obama and John Kerry late Tuesday, where the President instructed the Secretary of State to disregard the original March 31st deadline, and continue with the negotiations, so as to not let the self-imposed deadline prompt any major, last-minute concessions to Iran. Councilmember Sally Clark to step down April 12th at 11:49am by David Kroman Outgoing Seattle City Councilmember Sally Clark has found her next career: University of Washington’s director of regional and community relations. She’ll leave the council on Sunday, April 12th, and start her new job on May 18th. Clark announced last February she wouldn’t seek re-election, insisting that her decision had nothing to do with Seattle’s new district election system. Clark began a campaign for one of Seattle’s two city-wide seats then called it off, but said she wasn’t worried about her chances of winning. “I’ve done city-wide campaigns before,” she said at Wednesday’s Civic Cocktail. “It’s what I know.” According to the UW website, the Office of Regional & Community Relations “links the University with surrounding neighborhoods, civic groups and local government.” According to UW vice president of external affairs, Randy Hodgins, its new director “brings a wealth of leadership experience to the office, not only from her time on the Seattle City Council, but also in her neighborhood and economic development work.” No word yet on a replacement for Clark on the City Council. Can high schoolers turn Nickelsville into a state-of-the-art homeless camp? at 11:47am by Brian Hagenbuch What would the Nickelsville homeless encampment look like with state-of-the-art micro homes, composting latrines, solar panels to power LED lights and heat water and a communal kitchen for residents? Sawhorse Revolution, a non-profit carpentry program for high school students, hopes to show us by 2008. They have paired top-shelf designers, architects and builders with students in a program they call Impossible City. You can help make it possible here, through their Indiegogo campaign. North Cascades Highway set to open Friday at 11:36am by Amy Augustine The Everett Herald is reporting that the North Cascades Highway will reopen tomorrow in one of the fastest reopening efforts in the scenic byway’s 42-year history. It took just three weeks this year for crews to clear the roads, compared with six last year. If you don’t have time to cruise the full 400-mile loop, check out the Washington State Department of Transportation’s virtual drive online. North Cascades view in 1935. (Credit: Seattle Municipal Archives via Flickr) Murray, Expedia confirm travel company's move to Seattle at 11:35am by David Kroman Seattle Mayor Ed Murray and Expedia CEO Dara Khosrowshahi and CFO Mark Okerstrom confirmed the rumors Thursday morning: The online travel-booking company will be moving from Bellevue to Amgen’s spot on Seattle’s waterfront. “The view from the Amgen campus is beautiful,” said CEO Khoskowshahi. Expedia’s buying the 40-acre, 750,000 square feet campus for $228.9 million — in cash, of course — and taking possession at the beginning of 2016 after Amgen, the biotech firm that’s closing its Seattle office, fully vacates. Expedia plans to move its 3,000 workers to their new home in 2018. And its building an extra 200,000 square feet on site to accommodate a 1,500-worker expansion. (No timeline yet on that growth.) One big moving challenge: transportation. Khoskowshahi said 75 percent of his employees live on the Eastside. He figures their average commute will increase by 5-6 minutes. Hard to believe when you consider that those Eastsiders will be traveling straight down Mercer street and along the South Lake Union corridor, two of the most congested parts of town. Look for a more in-depth story on the ramifications of Expedia’s move on commuting and employee happiness. Local videographer captures planes struck in lightening storm at 11:15am by Amy Augustine Local videographer Owen Craft got a good show when he went out looking to film lightning strikes during the thunderstorm that moved through the regionWednesday night: As two jets approached Sea-Tac Airport, he filmed them getting struck by lightning. Planes are built to withstand lightning strikes; no injuries were reported. U.S. travelers can now rent homes in Cuba at 10:56am by Amy Augustine Home rental service Airbnb is now offering homes in Cuba following a recent Obama administration easement on some travel restrictions to the Caribbean island nation. According to BBC, there are over 1,000 properties that can be rented by U.S. travelers, some for as cheap as $42 a night. The San Fransisco-based company expects Cuba to become one of its biggest markets in Latin America. A man sells Cuban cigars in Havana (Credit: Les Haines via Flickr). Muslims to surpass number of Christians worldwide this century at 10:37am by Amy Augustine Islam is the world’s fastest-growing religion, according to a new report by the Pew Research Center, which also says that if current trends continue, the religion will nearly match Christianity by 2050 before eclipsing it by 2070. NPR says the main reason for the Muslim boom is location, location, location. “Muslim populations are concentrated in some of the fastest-growing parts of the world,” says Alan Cooperman, Pew’s director of religion research. The Masjid-i-Jahan Numa mosque of Old Delhi in India. (Credit: Shashwat Nagpal via Flickr.) Jerry Brown can thank dad for California water crisis at 10:00am by Mary Bruno The late California Gov. Pat Brown was the zealot behind “massive mid-century water projects in the Golden State,” says the Washington Post. His son is now paying for it. Pat Brown’s $1.8 billion California Water Project, brought enormous volumes from wet northern to parched southern California. “I wanted this to be a monument to me,” said Pat Brown back then. Fast forward 50 years: California governor and enviro, Jerry Brown was forced to imposed mandatory statewide restrictions on water use in the face of the state’s unprecedented drought and water shortage. “It’s a different world,” Jerry Brown told the Post. “We have to act differently. Germanwings' co-pilot researched suicide, cockpit door security at 9:00am by Mary Bruno After examining an iPad belonging to Andreas Lubitz, German prosecuted found that the Germanwings co-pilot had been searching for information on how to commit suicide and on cockpit door security in the days before he crashed the jet into the French Alps. The New York Times has all the details. Geekwire to Expedia: moving's a bitch. at 7:38am by Mary Bruno Moving is never easy, especially when you’re relocating an entire company. Bellevue-based Expedia surely knows a thing or two about travel. But Geekwire asked Glympse CEO Bryan Trussel, who moved his software startup across the lake three years ago, for some relo tips: Hardest part by far, said Trussel, was the toll on employees: “Almost the entire company went from a 5 minute commute, and free parking, to a 25-40 minute commute + Bridge Toll + Parking Fees.” Welcome to Seattle. Can this guy create a social network that combats depression? at 6:30am by Berit Anderson Robert Morris is a self-described researcher and inventor at MIT Media Lab. What he’s not, presumably, is a fan of Facebook trophy-stalking, the self-deprecating hours spent scrolling through an endless feed of others’ accomplishments, humblebrags and photos of their cats in boxes. And, according to a recent Wired article, he’s taking matters into his own hands. Starting with the desired effect of helping people deal with depression, he developed Panoply, a crowdsourced website for improving mental health. The site, which was the focus of his doctoral thesis at MIT Media Lab, trained users to reframe and reassess negative thoughts, embedding an established technique called cognitive behavioral therapy in an engaging, unthreatening interface. After a study confirmed the site’s effectiveness, Morris formed a company and is now working on turning the idea into a polished consumer app. He's baaack: Mark Driscoll resurrects himself in time for Easter at 6:18am by Berit Anderson Writes SeattlePI.com’s Joel Connelly, “The former senior pastor at Mars Hill Church has a new website name and an e-book out for Easter, as Mark Driscoll tries to resurrect his ministry more than five months since quitting the Seattle-based megachurch he co-founded.” VA breaks ground on $152 million mental-health expansion at 6:04am by Berit Anderson “For the first time in nearly three decades, Seattle’s Veterans Affairs (VA) hospital campus is poised to expand, with construction of a new mental-health and research building set to start later this month amid a booming veteran population seeking treatment,” writes Seattle Times staff reporter Lewis Kamb.