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Friday 17 Apr, 2015

Is that a petition in your pocket? West Coast beaches overrun with blue jellyfish. The world according to Jeb.

Drivers beware: I-90 Westbound lane closures

at 3:54pm by Cody Olsen

For anyone trying to get into Seattle this weekend to support the Mariners, or partake in some other springtime activity, fair warning: Westbound I-90 will likely be a nightmare. From 11 p.m. Friday to 5 a.m. Monday all I-90 westbound traffic between Bellevue Way SE to Rainier Ave S. will be diverted to the two express lanes, allowing WSDOT contractors to work inside the Mercer Tunnel and Mount Baker Tunnel.

If you find yourself stuck in the construction-induced traffic this weekend, take solace — if you can — that these delays are to allow crews to improve the traffic flow on I-90 for the future, by adding HOV lanes to the outer general purpose lanes, and also prepare the center roadway for Sound Transit’s light rail extension. For more info check out WSDOT’s project summary.

Green protesters greet Shell oil rig in Port Angeles

at 2:48pm by Marissa Brent-Tookey

KING 5 News reports that the Blue Marlin, toting a Shell oil rig bound for the Arctic, has reached Port Angeles. Next stop: Seattle. As it headed into Port Angeles today, the ship was met by protesters in kayaks, who wielded a “SHELLNO.ORG” banner. As Martha Baskin’s story for Crosscut from earlier this week reports, more protests are expected when the rig, scheduled to work in the Arctic this summer, arrives in Seattle.

Mayor Murray plans 100-bed shelter for homeless

at 2:41pm by David Kroman

Following a recommendation from his Task Force on Unsheltered Homelessness, Mayor Ed Murray is announcing plans to partner with Downtown Emergency Services Centers to establish a new 100-bed homeless shelter at a City-owned property.

According to a statement from the mayor’s office, the project will cost $350,000. “The City,” the statement says, “is working with the Human Services Department and Finance and Administrative Services Department to identify a City-owned property that is appropriate for temporary housing.”

The announcement comes as advocates and city officials grapple with what to do with the region’s growing homeless population — up 21 percent in 2014, according to King County’s One Night Count — despite Seattle spending more on services than any U.S. city but New York and Los Angeles.

In the background of the city’s efforts to bring down the number of homeless is the question of what to do about “public disorder,” or low-level crimes committed in busy parts of downtown. In the Seattle Times today, the two issues seem to be equated, if not explicitly, in a report on the extent of the county’s prosecution  of drug charges. And as a ban on smoking in parks is considered, some wonder if this is not also a clean-up effort aimed at Seattle’s homeless.

Regardless, this announcement caps a busy week of action from the mayor’s office on homelessness. On Wednesday, Murray unveiled five new youth shelter beds and on Thursday, he announced $620,000 in funding for more rapid re-housing programs.


Kickstarting Seattle

at 2:32pm by Marissa Brent-Tookey

Seattle is fifth on the list of most Kickstarter projects launched among major U.S. cities. Seattle loves crowdfunding, and it seems that crowdfunding loves Seattle. PSBJ finds that Seattle-based projects on Kickstarter have a 33 percent higher success rate than the global average, with 51.3 percent of funding goals reached. The city’s top project types include publishing, arts and games.

Sean Kemp reigns on OKC's misery

at 11:34am by Joe Copeland

Former Sonic superstar Sean Kemp cemented himself a little deeper in the city’s heart by holding a party on Thursday night to celebrate a flop: The Oklahoma City Thunder failed to make the NBA playoffs. (With the league’s bloated post-season formula, that’s some feat, even with the unfortunate injury to the Thunder’s classy superstar, Kevin Durant.) Maybe the best part of Kemp’s party: It made news in Oklahoma City — where we’re guessing the not-so-classy owners of the Thunder keep up with what’s reported locally about their team.

Inslee turns up the heat on Kelley

at 11:32am by Mark Matassa

More pressure this morning on State Auditor Troy Kelley to resign immediately. In what the Seattle Times calls an “unsubtle letter” to the auditor, Gov. Jay Inslee said it’s time to go. The “grand jury indictment makes it clear that you can no longer serve the citizens of Washington as state auditor,” reads the letter, adding later: “But you have now been indicted for the very type of conduct that your office is tasked with regulating; in turn, you have lost the public’s trust.”

Kelley maintains his innocence.

Meet Dan Price, CEO who cut his pay to raise workers'

at 8:03am by Mary Bruno

The recent news of Price’s decision to draw from his own $1 million salary so that all his Gravity Payments’ employees would make a minimum $70,000 per year went viral. Naturally, Price took a spin on the talk show circuit, with appearances on NBC’s Today Show and E!Online. But long before his 15 minutes of fame, GeekWire reminds us, Dan Price was a guest at this year’s GeekWire Startup Day. Here’s what he had to say back then:

Whooping cough spiking in WA State

at 8:00am by Mary Bruno

The state Department of Health currently reports 319 cases of whooping cough. Last year at this time, there were 49. Health officials tell The Seattle Times that vaccinating pregnant women, kids and teenagers is the best way to contain the spread.

Pot industry in Washington about to change

at 7:33am by Robert LeCompte

credit: Laurie Avocado
Credit: Laurie Avocado

A bill that just passed both the State House and Senate would close practically all Washington’s medical marijuana dispensaries, reports The Stranger. Medical marijuana would instead be sold through recreational pot outlets that have been authorized to sell the medical product as well. These stores would employ people trained in the medicinal qualities of different pot varieties; stores would also have to abide by rules and regulations governing the sale of medicinal marijuana, something dispensaries are not now required to do. A few medical marijuana stores may be allowed to survive. Priority will be given to dispensaries that have already applied to make the change.

The bill will also affect patients. They can choose to sign up for a registry, which would let them to buy three ounces of marijuana at a time (considerably less than the current 24-ounce limit). The registry also qualifies patients to grow up to six marijuana plants, instead of the current 15. The downside? The federal government has been known to prosecute people for purchasing marijuana, which is still a federal offense.


Truck rolls on I-5 releasing load of honeybees

at 7:25am by Mary Bruno

A truck load of honeybees were freed when the semi hauling them rolled over at the I-5, I-405 interchange near Lynnwood. The Seattle Times reports that beekeepers are on the scene trying to round up the free bees. (Yeah, good luck with that.) “Everybody’s been stung,” Sgt. Ben Lewis of the State Patrol told the Times.


West Coast beaches overrun with blue jellyfish

at 5:30am by Mark Matassa


The coolest science story of the week was the report of thousands — millions, even billions in some accounts — of jellyfish-like creatures called Velella velella washing ashore in Oregon, Washington and California. The creatures normally float atop the ocean in huge groups, but their distinctive blue-jelly fin acts like a sail. Occasionally, including this week, a strong wind will push entire squadrons of them onto the beach, where they die, reports The Oregonian.

The world according to Jeb

at 5:25am by Mark Matassa

Over the years, many Republican activists and strategists have described Jeb Bush as more moderate and, frankly, sharper than his famous brother, President George W. Bush. But now that Jeb is exploring a presidential run next year, his positions and even his speech sound pretty familiar, says the Washington Post. One example, he promises to root out “barbarians” and “evildoers” around the globe.

‘Can you hear the boos, Fernando?’

at 5:20am by Mark Matassa

The Mariners had the day off Thursday, but that’s no reason for the apparently growing throng of Fernando Rodney critics to rest too. Rodney’s the team’s always gut-wrenching “closer”— entering the game in the ninth inning, shutting down opponents, protecting the Mariners’ lead and sealing the win with a save. So far this season, not so much. On the other hand, he hasn’t had to break out his annoying trademark move, pretending to take an arrow out of a quiver and firing it into the sky when he saves a game.

A couple of fans have rewritten new lyrics for the old ABBA song “Fernando,” reports The Seattle Times. Check it out.

State auditor vows to fight tax-fraud indictment

at 5:17am by Mark Matassa

In a late follow-up to yesterday’s news that he was indicted on 10 counts, Troy Kelley declared his innocence and said his actions have been “squarely in line with industry practices” He’ll take a leave of absence but Gov. Jay Inslee and other leaders called on Kelley to resign. The Seattle Times has an updated story with a video of Kelley’s comments.

Is that a petition in your pocket?

at 5:02am by Mark Matassa

In the political equivalent of a tough guy flashing a pistol in his waistband, gun advocates in Oregon are staring down gun-control supporters in the Legislature with recall petitions. It’s a tactic that could spread, says The Oregonian.

Thursday 16 Apr, 2015

No magic feather for Seattle elephants; Hillary Clinton, yes on quac; Is it time to end the 'Fernando Rodney Experience?'

New oil refinery on the West Coast?

at 3:55pm by Cody Olsen

Riverside Energy Inc. is looking at a variety of locations in Washington and Oregon for a site to put a crude oil refinery. KUOW reports that it would be the first such refinery on the West Coast in 25 years. The plans were brought to light by Columbia Riverkeeper, an environmental group, which made a public records request. They discovered an unsigned agreement between Riverside Energy Inc. and the Port of Longview in July 2014.

The energy company predicts the proposed job would employ 400 construction workers, and 150 permanent employees once everything is up and running.

State auditor pleads innocent, resists calls for resignation

at 3:53pm by Joe Copeland

In a U.S. District Court appearance this afternoon, state Auditor Troy Kelley pleaded innocent to a 10-count indictment of charges that include obstructing an IRS investigation, lying to IRS agents and stealing at least $1.4 million while at a previous business, money that was allegedly owed to real-estate borrowers.

Gov. Jay Inslee, a host of other Democrats and a number of Republican legislators called for the auditor, a Democrat, to resign immediately to restore public confidence in state government. Kelley resisted, saying — in a statement issued through a PR firm that boasts of its crisis communications services — that will take a leave of absence but won’t resign. “I fully intend to resume my duties after I put these legal matters to rest,” he said.

For a full story, click here.


Microsoft partners with Cyanogen

at 3:08pm by Robert LeCompte

Microsoft has officially partnered up with Cyanogen, the small Seattle-based mobile operating system (OS for short) company. The two companies, according to Puget Sound Business Journal, plan to integrate Microsoft apps like Bing and Word into Cyanogen’s OS. A potential win-win for Microsoft if the partnership helps its own OS (Microsoft Phone) and apps gain more traction in the mobile arena.

The new deal is just the latest bit of attention — read that: money — that giants like Microsoft have been showering on Cyanogen lately. The local startup recently raised $80 million from Twitter, Qualcomm, even Rupert Murdoch. This could be the young company’s shift from producer of hobbyist software to major player in the mobile OS market.

Boeing adding on in Everett

at 1:56pm by Robert LeCompte

Boeing's Everett Factory credit: Jeremy Elson
Boeing’s Everett Factory. Credit: Jeremy Elson

Boeing is expanding its plant in Everett, reports Puget Sound Business Journal. The company is adding a 115,000 square-foot structure that near the Everett Delivery Center and a 39,758 square-foot hangar near the Everett Modification Center. “This construction activity supports the continued Boeing investment in Everett that will provide the infrastructure for future airplane production,” said Paul Bergman, a Boeing spokesperson. The larger of the two buildings should be done in early 2016. No word yet on when the new hangar will be open for business.

Insurance companies under scrutiny over contraceptives

at 1:17pm by Cody Olsen

A survey conducted by Northwest Health Law Advocates and NARAL Pro-Choice Washington found that insurers were giving out false or incomplete information regarding contraceptive coverage under Washington’s health exchange. Under the Affordable Care Act all federally approved contraceptives must be offered without a co-pay, yet volunteer “secret shoppers” calling the insurers were often told certain contraceptive methods had co-pays.

Washington Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler said he convened a meeting between the women’s health advocates and the insurers. He said the eight insurers agreed to revamp the information given to consumers, and they will meet again in the fall to discuss their progress.

What's the highest-paying company?

at 1:04pm by Cody Olsen

Glassdoor, a website where employees and former employees can review their company anonymously, has compiled a list of America’s 15 highest-paying companies. The No. 1 spot actually belongs to law firm Skadden Arps, where the median base salary is $182,000 (with that name, maybe the firm has to pay extra to get recruits’ attention). But streaming giant Netflix came in just below at No. 2, with a median base salary of $180,000.

Google was also present on the list, taking No. 13, with a median base of $116,000. Seattlepi.com notes that that only three industries show up on the list: tech, law and consulting.

Steinbrueck withdraws application for council seat

at 12:55pm by David Kroman

Former Councilmember Peter Steinbrueck was all in on Sally Clark’s vacant seat … until he wasn’t. He informed the current council members Thursday by e-mail that he was withdrawing his application. He told Crosscut today that he had never really made up his mind, submitting an application as place holder while he weighed the pros and cons. In considering his personal and career goals and what he felt was best for the city, the cons won out. Visit here for the whole story.

Digital dollars at Real Change

at 12:40pm by Cody Olsen

Real Change, a weekly non-profit newspaper in Seattle, is going digital. The newspaper, typically sold by low-income street vendors, has until now been cash only, but a new app developed by a volunteer staff of Google employees makes an all-digital transaction possible. Vendors’ ID will include tags that have a barcode and buyers need only scan the barcode with their smartphone to purchase the $2 newspaper (or $2.99 for a digital version).

Before the official unveiling in Occidental Park near Real Change’s Pioneer Square offices, Jill Woelfer, one of the Google volunteers working on the project for the past two years, talked about her passion for the app. “The real excitement is doing something for the social good.” Woelfer said. The hope is that not needing cash on hand to purchase the paper will open up the market considerably.

“I hope so. I support it,” said vendor Lisa Sawyer. She notes that despite a lot of support from the public, she has “every so often” customers who pass on the paper because they don’t have cash with them.


U.S. now more in debt to Japan than to China

at 12:29pm by Robert LeCompte

credit: Japanexperterna.se
credit: Japanexperterna.se

The U.S. Treasury Department announced on Wednesday that Japan has officially overtaken China as the top holder of U.S. debt. China’s holdings, reports ABC News, fell 1.2 percent to $1.22 trillion. Japan — the largest holder of U.S. debt before the financial crisis — again holds the most U.S. Treasury bonds, although by only $700 million more than what China does. This is likely because China’s economy has been slowing down as of late, leaving them less money to invest abroad, while Japanese investors have been putting their money into dollar holdings due to the higher rate of return.

Clinton's "everyday Iowans" not so everyday

at 11:16am by Robert LeCompte

Hillary Clinton has been in Iowa lately to speak with what she calls “everyday Iowans,” in order to drum up support in the important swing state. But the Daily Mail is reporting (in its usual somewhat-breathless style) that a supposedly impromptu conversation with a few people at an Iowa coffee shop was not so spontaneous. Several people sitting around her were all driven in from surrounding areas and had ties to the local Democratic Party, and the local mayor was there promising that “she has my vote.”

Worst job: Newspaper reporter

at 9:59am by David Kroman

According to Careercast.com, everyone at Crosscut has made a terrible, terrible choice. Out of the 200 careers the website ranked, “newspaper reporter” was the worst job of 2015. Based on industry growth outlook, income and job stress (how do you quantify stress?), reporting the news is apparently worse than cutting down trees, driving a cab, fighting fires and going to war. Yup, reporting is risky business. (Just ask John Stang.) One more reason to support Crosscut: We report the news, so you don’t have to.

D.C. court hears coal-related challenges to Clean Air Act

at 9:42am by Mary Bruno

Today (Thursday) two related climate change cases will be argued in the U.S. Court of Appeals in D.C. America’s two biggest coal companies, along with 14 coal-producing states are challenging the proposed EPA regulation that would limit carbon emissions from coal-fired power plants. EPA officials are relying on the authority of the Clean Air Act to make their carbon-curbing case. “If put in effect as E.P.A. officials have proposed,” says the The New York Times, the rule would “fundamentally transform the nation’s power sector, shuttering hundreds of coal plants and expanding renewable energy sources such as wind and solar.” That’s an outcome the Obama administration is championing and the coal industry is ready to fight tooth and nail.

Gyrocoptering for campaign finance reform

at 9:06am by Mary Bruno

You have to hand it to Doug Hughes, the 61-year-old Florida mailman, seen here (thank you, ABCNEWS) landing his gyrocopter on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol Building in D.C. According to the Washington Post, the ardent advocate for campaign finance reform was trying to deliver letters to Congress demanding reform. Hughes publicized his so-named “Kitty Hawk Project” both online and in his hometown paper. Score another point for Capitol security, which arrested Hughes shortly after he touched down. No word on what happened to the letters.

GOP hits pause button on state budget talks

at 7:30am by Mary Bruno

The clock is ticking, loudly, on budget negotiations in Olympia — the legislative session officially ends on April 26. So imagine the surprise of House Democratic leaders when, according to The Seattle Times, they showed up for Wednesday’s scheduled midday negotiating session with Senate Republicans only to learn that the session had been cancelled. Budget talks are apparently being held hostage until the House votes on capital-gains and business tax increases. Those taxes are in the House budget proposal — emphasis on proposal — but GOP leaders want proof that they’ll actually pass. Absent that certainty, it appears that budget talks are stalled. “It was an ultimatum,” House Majority Leader Pat Sullivan told The Times. “I was stunned.”

Read Crosscut’s scouting report on the legislator’s four point men on budget talk.

M’s lose again. Is it time to end the ‘Fernando Rodney Experience?’

at 6:00am by Mark Matassa

The Seattle Mariners, who may already have misplaced the pre-season predictions of their awesomeness, lost for the third day in a row to the Los Angeles Dodgers. In this one they trailed all the way, but the superb Seattle Times sports columnist Larry Stone says it’s not too early to start thinking about the future of the team’s bullpen closer, Fernando Rodney, who has been less than stellar so far this year.

Earl’s rescuer found

at 5:44am by Mark Matassa

Kind of a heartwarming follow-up story in The Oregonian to its feature earlier this week about a local man who was rescued as a 5-year-old boy in the Vanport flood of 1948. Vanport was Oregon’s second largest city at the time, then was washed away by the raging Columbia River. The newspaper ran an old black-and-white photo of 5-year-old Earl Woods, being carried through the floodwaters by an unidentified man in a fedora and white shirt. After seeing the picture in the paper, an 82-year-old Kalama, Wash., woman identified the mystery rescuer as her late father, Roy Ludwig. Good feelings ensued.

Hillary Clinton, yes on guac

at 5:29am by Mark Matassa

Starting with her Chipotle order outside of Toledo, The New Yorker examines the candidate’s early campaign moves and its digital operation, which the magazine reports is planned to be three times the size of President Obama’s in 2012. “Clinton’s success over the next several months (not to mention the next nineteen) will hinge less on her plans for Yemen than on her ability to persuade people not to roll their eyes at the mention of another President Clinton,” the magazine says.

Troll likes this funny spoof of the Chipotle moment, also in The New Yorker.


No magic feather for Seattle elephants

at 5:05am by Mark Matassa

Despite nearly a decade of protests by animal-welfare activists, Woodland Park Zoo’s two elephants were trucked off Wednesday evening to the Oklahoma City Zoo, where the Seattle zoo’s CEO said they would have a better life. The move was cleared earlier Wednesday by a federal court decision.

Wednesday 15 Apr, 2015

Congress takes piece of Iran negotiations. UW Law School program boost for minorities. Early campaign coverage, from policy to props. Free ice cream.

Murray adds youth shelter beds

at 3:54pm by David Kroman

It’s a small but — for five homeless young people a night — significant move: Mayor Ed Murray today is announcing $152,000 for Peace for the Street by Kids from the Streets (PSKS) to expand the shelter from 15 beds to 20. The money comes on the recommendation of Murray’s Emergency Task Force on Unsheltered Homelessness.

PSKS operates out of Mt. Zion Baptist Church and is open five nights a week.

Tackling homelessness has proven to be a stubborn problem for Seattle and King County. Despite spending more than $40 million on services over the last 12 months (third most nationally, behind New York and L.A.) the number of unsheltered people jumped by 21 percent in 2014. King County’s Count Us In survey showed the number of homeless and unstably housed youth and young adults holding steady at around 800.

PSKS Executive Director Susan Fox calls the shelter a “last resort for many of the youth we serve as many have pet companions, identify as LGBTQ, and are dealing with difficult life circumstances.”

In-flight internet opens door for hackers

at 1:15pm by Marissa Brent-Tookey

With service upgrades, new planes and more international routes on the way, homegrown Alaska Air remains the dominant Northwest carrier.
Credit: Flickr user Aero Icarus

A report published yesterday by the US Government Accountability Office examined weak links inherent in in-flight internet setups, according to the BBC. Increasingly interconnected computer systems provide satellite navigation and air traffic communication, as a part of the Federal Aviation Administration’s NextGen modernization program. The GAO says that “new networking technologies … expose these systems to new cybersecurity risks.” Rep. Peter DeFazio of Oregon, a member of the House Subcommittee on Aviation, gets right to the point: the FAA needs to step up its security plan to “prevent a terrorist with a laptop in the cabin or on the ground from taking control of an airplane through the passenger wi-fi system.”

Could Hugo Awards crash and burn in Spokane?

at 12:55pm by Marissa Brent-Tookey

Hugo Award rocket trophy
Hugo’s rocket trophy. Credit: Flickr user Cory Doctorow

This year’s voting for the Hugo Awards is more political than merit-based, argues GeekWire’s Frank Catalano. Two fan groups, Sad Puppies and Rabid Puppies, appear to have an iron grip on all the sci-fi categories. And both groups promote conservative agendas that have sparked controversy.

Bloc voting is not new to the Hugos, but in past competitions it hasn’t had much effect on the outcome. It’s a different story this year, says Catalano, when “we’ve seen a reduced reliance on “quality” gatekeepers …”

New UW Law School program to give minorities a boost

at 11:51am by Marissa Brent-Tookey

Washington State Governor, Christine Gregoire
Christine Gregoire

Only 12 percent of Washington State Bar Association members were minorities in 2012, and studies have shown that the imbalance is worsening. But this fall, according to The Seattle Times, nine minority students at the UW School of Law will receive grants, mentoring and practical experience through the new Gregoire Fellows program.

The program is a collaboration between UW Law School dean, Kellye Testy, and Brad Smith, Microsoft’s VP of legal affairs. The two hope their Fellows initiative, named for former Washington governor and attorney general Christine Gregoire, will encourage applicants from more diverse backgrounds. Gregoire herself will act as a mentor. “Lawyers have a unique role in democracy — to make sure people’s rights are protected,” says Smith. The lack of diversity threatens the protection of those rights.

The Gregoire Fellows program already has the support of high-profile local companies and law firms, including Amazon, Starbucks and Foster Pepper. Their contributions cover not only law school scholarships, but some of the costs associated with obtaining a license, such as a bar-preparation course, which can run around $5000.

Surprise stowaways: Asian fish found in boat keel off Oregon coast

at 10:58am by Marissa Brent-Tookey

Debris from the 2011 Japanese tsunami is rarely examined at sea. It often reaches shore before scientists get a look at it. Over the past week, however, marine biologists and invasion ecologists have been studying 21 organisms that survived a trans-Pacific journey in the bow of a boat found drifting off the Oregon coast.

According to The Oregonian’s Beth Nakamura, the stowaways include yellowtail jack fish and an Asian striped knifejaw from Japan, and a few species that most likely came from an entirely different, and more tropical part of the Pacific.

This “rudimentary fish tank” presents a unique opportunity, says Caren Braby Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. “It gives us insight into the types of species that have more flexibility and more plasticity in the environments they can live in.” Useful intel in this age of global climate change.


Tax day = buzz kill for pot business owners

at 10:23am by Mary Bruno

Most businesses benefit from a whole barrel of federal tax deductions come April 15th. But not Washington’s marijuana growers and retailers, who say they can’t write off a darn thing, even if they’re duly licensed. No surprise, they want to change things. “We don’t want special favors,” Nick Cihlar, co-owner of Ferndale pot grower Subdued Excitement Inc. told McClatchy reporter Rob Hotakainen. “We just want to be treated like businesspeople.”

EU v. Google antitrust battle heats up

at 8:11am by Mary Bruno

As expected, says TechCrunch, the European Union has formally accused Google of stifling competition by abusing its superior web search capabilities. Margrethe Vestager, the European Union competition commissioner, has filed an official Statement of Objections, the latest volley in the EU’s five-year long antitrust investigation of Google. The EU’s gripe involves Google’s alleged habit of displaying its own search results more prominently than those of its competitors. If suspicions prove true, said Vestager, “Google would face legal consequences and change the way it does business in Europe.” Google has 10 weeks to respond.

Legislature meshes medical and recreational pot systems

at 7:00am by John Stang

The Washington Senate passed a bill on Tuesday to merge the state’s medical and recreational marijuana systems. The vote was 41-8. The bill, sponsored by Sen. Ann Rivers, R-La Center, was significantly modified in the House. The Senate accepted the House changes, and now the legislation goes to Gov. Jay Inslee for his signature.

Since Washingtonians voted to legalize recreational pot in 2012, the Legislature along with the Washington Liquor Control Board, which administers the regulatory system, has been working on how to control the two markets for pot. The goal in both the House and Senate was to bring medical marijuana regulations to the same strict standards as the recreational industry.

The newly passed bill would create a prioritization system for people applying for retail licenses. It would require the Liquor Control Board to increase both the amount of real estate for marijuana production and the number of stores. House revisions prevent the proposed registry for medical patients from being used to arrest people.

The bill would also limit the ability of any city or county to ban marijuana businesses, making a public initiative the only route. If such a ban is imposed, it must stay in place for at least two years.

Early campaign coverage, from policy to props

at 5:53am by Mark Matassa

The Washington Post is tracking Hillary Clinton’s early campaign stops in Iowa, a state that, it says, “threw her last effort forever off course.” No big speeches or policy statements yet, the paper says, just some small pop-in meetings with folks in restaurants and coffee shops.

2016 logos

Another Post piece has politicos and design experts grading the campaign logos of the four declared candidates: Clinton, and Republicans Rand Paul, Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio. Early consensus: None is great.

Free ice cream cone day

at 5:44am by Mark Matassa

ben and jerry
Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream, with a rare line around the building in Northwest Portland

It wasn’t that long ago — 30 years or so — that Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream was the groovy upstart, taking on plain-vanilla brands with cool new flavors and names, like Cherry Garcia and Chunky Monkey. As a promotion it started celebrating the anniversary of the company’s founding with a national free ice cream day, when anybody could walk into a B&J store and score a free cone or cup.

salt and straw
Salt & Straw ice cream shop, in Northwest Portland

These days, at least in Portland, the hipster upstart with the wacky flavors is Salt & Straw, whose Northwest 23rd Avenue store has lines out the door and around the block – every day, even in the rain. People love the crazy combinations with olive oil, black pepper, blue cheese and more.

But yesterday, on Ben & Jerry’s anniversary, there was no line at Salt & Straw. The dessert lovers were three blocks away, lining up for a free treat.

On Medicare changes, Congress and the White House unexpectedly agree

at 5:40am by Mark Matassa

The legislation changes the way doctors are paid, and lifts the immediate threat of a 21 percent reduction in fees, reports the Los Angeles Times. President Obama said he would be proud to sign the bill, calling it “a milestone for physicians, and for the seniors and people with disabilities who rely on Medicare for their healthcare needs.”

Going the other way, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, the all-but-declared Republican candidate for president, called for cuts in Medicare and Social Security.

Congress takes piece of Iran nuclear negotiations

at 5:34am by Mark Matassa

After opposing congressional involvement in the nuclear negotiations, President Obama ceded ground Tuesday, saying he won’t block legislation that would give Congress a final review of treaty details, after all. The New York Times supplies a news overview …

… While the Times editorial board immediately disses the change. “Congress has formally muscled its way into President Obama’s negotiations with Iran,” the editorial says, “creating new and potentially dangerous uncertainties for an agreement that offers the best chance of restraining that country’s nuclear program.”

Tuesday 14 Apr, 2015

Beware climate blob. Martin Pang's retirement clock. CEO cuts salary to give Seattle workers big wage hike. UW researchers cure colorblindness.

Canada sending troops to Ukraine to train soldiers

at 3:21pm by Robert LeCompte

Canada will send 200 service personnel to Ukraine to train Ukrainian soldiers, the National Post reports. The commitment of troops Tuesday is in response to continued Russian moves in Ukraine, including the annexation of Crimea last year and open support of pro-Russian rebels in Eastern Ukraine. “Canada continues to stand with the people of Ukraine in the face of the Putin regime’s ongoing aggression,” says Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper. The training will begin  this summer and run through March 2017.

Ukrainian Soldiers
Ukrainian troops in Poland for 2013 training exercises Credit: U.S. Army Europe


(Un)Equal Pay Day

at 3:13pm by Cody Olsen

Today, notes the Labor Department, is Equal Pay Day in the United States, a holiday symbolizing how far into this year the average woman would have to work to make the same amount as her male counterparts did last year. GeekWire highlighted a report from the National Partnership for Women and Families, saying that as of April 2015, women make “just 78 cents for every dollar” that a man does. However, while most will agree workplace pay equality still has a ways to go, not everyone agrees with those numbers put out by the report.

The Pew Research Center, a non-partisan think-tank tracking public opinion, says, its estimate, “which is based on hourly earnings of both full- and part-time workers, finds women earn 84 percent of what men earn.” Pew also notes that women are more likely than men to have career interruptions, a contributing factor in pay inequality.

The 6 percent disparity between their findings is interesting, and starts to make one understand why there can be so much disagreement among Americans regarding what to believe about gender pay inequality: Even the organizations that agree there’s a problem can’t agree on what exactly it is.

Seattle City Council member Jean Godden, a passionate advocate for equal pay in the workforce, said she isn’t less worried about the number disparities between the two studies. “A gap is a gap,” she says. Seattle City Council recently commissioned a study on gender pay inequity, finding that in Seattle proper the typical earning for a woman is 89 cents on the dollar, better than the national average, but the larger metropolitan area didn’t fare as well, coming in around 73 cents on the dollar.

New warning about tsunamis for coastal communities

at 2:11pm by Marissa Brent-Tookey

A new report from a team of West Coast geologists, including Dr. Nathan Wood of the U.S. Geological Survey, reveals a gap in the infrastructure and training to support tsunami evacuation. The researchers analyzed demographics, geography and systems in place from Northern California to Northern Washington. They concluded that “all coastal communities in the U.S. Pacific Northwest are vulnerable to varying degrees,” and that Washington coast communities should work to build vertical evacuation shelters.

For more details, read the full report published in the science journal PNAS.



UW scientists develop cure for colorblindness

at 1:51pm by Robert LeCompte

Jay and Maureen Neitz, professors of ophthalmology at the University of Washington, have teamed with a California biotech firm to produce a cure for colorblindness. That cure, reports The Seattle Times, comes in the form of an injection, delivered into each eye. That’s how researchers insert the genes that replace missing proteins in the cones of the eye, which process color. “I don’t think there’s any question that it will work,” said Maureen Neitz, who used surgery to correct the condition in colorblind squirrel monkeys back in 2009. Since then, the Neitz’s have worked to develop the cure that does not involve surgery.

"There's nobody with a black-and-white TV who, if you said 'Would you like a color TV,' wouldn't trade it" _ Jay Neitz, (photo credit: Paul Townsend)
“There’s nobody with a black-and-white TV who, if you said ‘Would you like a color TV,’ wouldn’t trade it” – Jay Neitz, (Credit: Paul Townsend)

Seattle releases report on homeless spending

at 12:00pm by Mary Bruno

Mayor Ed Murray made public the Seattle Human Services Department’s (HSD) Homeless Investment Analysis. The report “provides an in depth look at the City’s current and historical investments to prevent and end homelessness.” Authors also make recommendations about how to distribute that very investment in more effective ways.

In 2014, Seattle spent more than $40 million — for 183 contracts with 60 agencies — on services for the city’s homeless. That figure, up 102 percent since 2005, is “one of the highest commitments in the nation,” according to the report. Yet, based on January’s One Night Count, the city’s homeless population grew 21 percent in the last year.

Support for homeless services comes straight out of the city’s general fund. To get the most bang for the buck, the report encourages streamlining the city’s sprawling, “fractured” system of services, investing more in prevention and developing a strategic vision. Amen to that.

CEO cuts salary to give Seattle workers big wage hike

at 11:57am by Cody Olsen

CEO Dan Price is raising the base salary for workers at his Seattle-based company to $70,000 over the next three years. Price’s firm, Gravity Payments, processes credit card payments. Last year price he was named “Entrepreneur of 2014” by Entrepreneur Magazine.

His latest move is already causing a huge stir.  The New York Times reports the drastic move comes after Price read a study from Nobel prize winner Daniel Dahneman and Angus Deaton about the connection between happiness and money. The long and short of the study: Money doesn’t buy happiness, but a lack of money for basics like such things as rent and medical bills can sure make your life miserable.

Price wanted to raise salaries without raising prices or cutting customer services, so to make the wage hike possible he’s cutting his almost $1 million annual salary to $70,000 and raiding 75-80 percent of the company’s anticipated $2.2 million in profits.

Sea-Tac agent wakes up in cargo hold, mid-flight

at 11:26am by Robert LeCompte

The cargo hold: a bad place for naps
The cargo hold: a bad place for naps

An Alaska Airlines flight bound for Los Angeles returned to Sea-Tac for an emergency landing on Monday afternoon after passengers heard banging and screaming coming from somewhere beneath their feet. Turns out, reports the Seattle Times, it was a Sea-Tac ramp agent who had fallen asleep in the 737’s cargo hold before take off and didn’t wake up until he was halfway to LA. The pilots immediately turned back to Sea-Tac. Lucky for the ramp agent, the 737’s cargo hold is temperature-controlled and pressurized. He was rescued, unharmed.

Seattle woman champions human composting

at 10:00am by Mary Bruno

Cremation releases greenhouse gases. But Seattle’s Katrina Spade,  37, has an alternative to that alternative method of burial: Spade wants to compost dead people. And scientists and environmentalists are listening up. “Composting makes people think of banana peels and coffee grounds,” Spade told The New York Times. But “our bodies have nutrients. What if we could grow new life after we’ve died?” All it takes is some wood chips, a little water and some time.

Post-announcement chatter on Rubio, Clinton

at 9:00am by Mary Bruno

After their back-to-back declarations this week, the political world is abuzz with analyses and comparisons of a May-December clash between potential presidential contenders Marco Rubio and Hillary Clinton. Republican Sen. Rubio is 43,  the son of Cuban immigrants and, in his fourth year in the Senate, a relative rookie. Clinton, 67, a former FLOTUS, U.S. Senator and Secretary of State is a political pro. Are you getting that deja vu feeling here?

Not surprisingly, said The Washington Post, Rubio is casting himself as the Moses who will lead us into “the new American century” — assuming, that is, he doesn’t get run over by the Jeb Bush fundraising juggernaut. “Yesterday is over,” Rubio told the crowd gathered for his announcement in Miami on Monday, “and we’re never going back.”

For Clinton, yesterday is loaded with land mines, from Whitewater to Benghazi to the recent email scandal from her State Department tenure. But Clinton’s latest liability, suggests The Atlantic, is her glossy, anodyne, politically correct campaign video. “If the War on Terrorism or global economic competition requires the next president of the United States to identify some cheerful, clean-cut, ethnically diverse Americans with winning smiles and glowing complexions, Hillary Clinton is up to the task,” writes The Atlantic’s Conor Friedersdorf. “Her team even made sure to include both dog and cat owners… Every sentence could’ve been uttered by any politician.”


4 Blackwater guards sentenced

at 8:00am by Mary Bruno

The former Blackwater Worldwide guards killed 14 unarmed Iraqi civilians at a Baghdad traffic circle in 2007. In the aftermath, Blackwater came to represent the unaccountable abuse of power by U.S. forces. The Washington Post reports that Nicholas A. Slatten, 31, received a life sentence for firing the shots that started the massacre. The three other defendants — Paul A. Slough, 35; Evan S. Liberty, 32; and Dustin L. Heard, 33 — will serve 30-year sentences for manslaughter and attempted manslaughter. The guards insist they acted in self-defense.

Seward Park, through the years

at 5:21am by Mark Matassa

Nice photo gallery in the P-I, documenting changes in the Seattle neighborhood.


Repayment clock still ticking for Martin Pang

at 5:08am by Mark Matassa

Twenty years ago, Martin Pang burned down his parents’ International District warehouse, hoping to score a big insurance payout. He was convicted of arson and is serving a 20-year sentence. As the Seattle Times reports, a state Court of Appeals judge ruled Monday that despite Pang’s argument that time has expired on the financial repayment judgment, he still owes $1 million in restitution and fines. Pang’s scheduled to get out of the state pen in Walla Walla in 2018.

No President Rodham, this time

at 5:06am by Mark Matassa

Following the back-to-back presidential campaign announcements by Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Sen. Marco Rubio, NPR notes that Clinton, the former first lady and secretary of state, won’t be using her maiden/middle name Rodham this time around.



Beware climate blob

at 5:02am by Mark Matassa

Forget the global warming or climate change debates, the Seattle Times’ Sandi Doughton reports on research by Seattle scientists that blames “a gargantuan blob of water” parked off the West Coast for droughts in the West and blizzards in New England. Without acknowledging the blob, The New York Times says the “mighty Rio Grande” is now a trickle under siege. And another Times story argues that California’s cycles of drought historically have lasted much, much longer than the current one.


Monday 13 Apr, 2015

West Seattle store, Ballard house go national. Rubio to run for president. Salish Sea documentary. City workers get 4 weeks of parental leave

City workers get four weeks of parental leave

at 4:22pm by David Kroman

If you’ve worked for the City of Seattle for more than six months and are planning on having a kid, here’s some good news: You now qualify for four weeks of paid parental leave. The legislation, spearheaded by Councilmember Jean Godden, passed unanimously Monday at a Seattle City Council meeting.

The measure will provide mothers, fathers and foster parents with, as a statement from the city reads, “critical bonding time for employees of the City to have with their children.” In allotting fathers time-off, the statement argues, the measure will also challenge the notion that women should be the primary caretakers of a family’s children.

Only the United States, Liberia, Swaziland and Papua New Guinea have no national parental leave law. By contrast France allows four months for paid maternity leave; Ireland, six months.

The King County Council is currently considering a 12-week parental leave law that would dwarf Seattle’s. When asked in March if there was some one-upmanship going, Councilmember Godden said no, showing support for King County’s efforts. Four weeks, she said, is only the first step.

Mayor Ed Murray will sign the ordinance Friday.

Marco Rubio jumps into 2016 presidential race

at 3:45pm by Mary Bruno

“Yesterday is over,” the 43-year-old U.S. Senator told a crowd of supporters in his hometown of Miami, “and we’re never going back.”

When celebrating, timing is key

at 3:11pm by Cody Olsen

One athlete from the University of Oregon learned a hard lesson about humility, and the proper time for a victory celebration this past weekend (hint: it’s after the victory has actually been achieved).

Participants from Washington, Kentucky and Oregon were competing at the Pepsi Team Invitational in Eugene, Oregon, and during the last moments of the 3,000 meter steeplechase event, the would-be victor, Tanguy Pepiot, slowed down, waving his arms in a “let’s hear some noise” type gesture. The runner just behind him, Meron Simon from UW, was tearing along, and overtook him at the finish line.

A friend of the UW runner posted the video on YouTube, and it’s as cringe-worthy, and hilarious, as you might expect. Seattlepi.com ran the original story. Nice gesture: After winning, Simon goes over to Pepiot, helps him off the ground and embraces him.

'The Unknown Sea' (the Salish) has its moment in the spotlight

at 3:05pm by Marissa Brent-Tookey

The Salish Sea is the focus of a documentary premiering Tuesday at Everett Community College. Collaborators Joe Gaydos, Audrey Benedict and Kevin Campion all have a deep-seated love for the Salish Sea and its ecosystem. Their film, The Unknown Sea, is intended to “portray the many ways that the sea and its watersheds are part of an interconnected web of life.”

The three also co-authored The Salish Sea: Jewel of the Pacific Northwest. In The Herald, Sharon Wootton describes the contents of the book as “bizarre and beautiful, alien shapes and streamlined bodies, the invisible and obvious.” The free premiere of The Unknown Sea will take place at 6:30 p.m. in the Jackson Center Wilderness Auditorium at Everett Community College.

The Unknown Sea: A Voyage on the Salish from Deep Green Wilderness on Vimeo.

House approves study of aircraft carrier bridge

at 1:47pm by Marissa Brent-Tookey

Republican state Rep. Jesse Young’s plans for creating a bridge between Bremerton and Port Orchard out of two decommissioned aircraft carriers (reported by Crosscut in February) is a step further along. A transportation bill passed last week by the House includes $90,000 for a feasibility study of Young’s project. The Gig Harbor representative told the Northwest News Network that “people from around the world would come to drive across the deck of an aircraft carrier bridge.” A Navy spokesperson suggested there is little likelihood of providing any used carriers for the project, but Young said he’s not discouraged.

1 dead in SR 410 construction accident

at 12:33pm by Cody Olsen

A temporary sidewalk on the 410 overpass near Bonney Lake collapsed onto Angeline Road, crushing a truck and killing its driver. As MyNorthwest reports, firefighters are on the scene.

Basement classroom for Des Moines kindergartners

at 12:14pm by Marissa Brent-Tookey

des_moines_elementaryWashington state law will mandate full-day kindergarten in a few years, but Highline School District is getting a head start. There’s one problem: Voters recently nixed bond proposals that would have provided construction funds, so schools like Des Moines Elementary are resorting to extremes in an effort to fulfill requirements. KOMO News reports that the school has converted a frequently flooded basement storage room into a kindergarten classroom. Other districts around the state are also struggling to meet the 2018 regulations, which include a student-teacher ratio of 17-to-one.


Who's the geekiest of them all? Not Seattle.

at 11:47am by Cody Olsen

Tech companies like Microsoft and Google along with Seattle’s growing startup market has made Seattle a city ripe with geekiness, but just how geeky are we?

GeekWire reported on a list, compiled by predictive marketing firm Mintigo, that puts Seattle No. 8, just below Dallas — and Atlanta (6), Houston (4) and Chicago (2). Go figure. New York takes the top spot.

B.C. worrying about pot use among teens

at 11:45am by Marissa Brent-Tookey

Parents and the public are increasingly nonchalant about marijuana, to the detriment of teens’ developing brains, claims Dr. Siavash Jafari in Vancouver, British Columbia. He says the city’s growing number of medical marijuana dispensaries helps to normalize marijuana usage in the general population and within the home.

Harvard Medical School research recently suggested a link between cannabis consumption at an early age and brain damage. Joy Johnson, of Simon Fraser University, tells The Vancouver Sun that pot naysayers have “lost [their] credibility because young people go home and see their parents smoking it.”

cbc vancouver medical marijuana

A play inside of a corrections center

at 11:29am by Cody Olsen

Out of all the venues for theater performances — some intimate some grand — the gymnasium of a women’s correction center isn’t usually what one’s mind conjures up. But the Washington Corrections Center for Women is holding performances of an inmate play, Truth Flows Like Water: Transformations in Perdition. The play was written in tandem with Freehold’s Engaged Theater Program, and on April 7 had its world premiere in front of 200 prisoners.

The Stranger was present at a performance the next day, this time for visitors. The paper describes the play as “goggling between the metaphorical town, stories from the prisoners’ lives, fantasies about the future (one woman dreams of reuniting with her dad over dinner at the Space Needle), and snippets of social commentary, like a living newspaper.”

Amazon hires Spike Lee to direct its first feature film

at 11:22am by Marissa Brent-Tookey

Amazon Studios, which until now has only produced television shows (including award-winning Transparent), is branching out. Puget Sound Business Journal reports that Amazon’s first feature film, Chiraq, is in the hands of big-name director Spike Lee. PSBJ’s Emily Parkhurst says the studio’s 12-films-per-year plan will apparently use in-depth data analysis to optimize sales and distribution.

Cuban and U.S. leaders make history

at 10:17am by Cody Olsen

When Barack Obama shook hands with Cuban president Raul Castro on Saturday, he became the first American leader in more than 50 years to meet, face-to-face, with Cuban representatives. The meeting took place in Panama at the Summit of the Americas where the American and Cuban presidents joined other leaders from the Latin American region in two days of diplomatic talks.

Obama and Castro discussed re-opening diplomatic ties between the two countries in the near future. Alluding to the half-century of frosty relations between the two countries, Obama allowed that “… it was time to try something new.” (KUOW has a full report.)

Novelist Guenter Grass dies

at 8:30am by Mary Bruno

The Nobel Prize-winning German novelist and social critic died on Monday at age 87. Grass, reports The New York Times, “whom many called his country’s moral conscience … stunned Europe when he revealed in 2006 that he had been a member of the Waffen-SS during World War II.”

Kayakers killed in Dungeness Bay

at 8:00am by Mark Matassa

 The Seattle Times reports this morning on the sudden storm that killed two kayakers and injured another in the bay near Sequim.


Hillary again, naturally - Rubio later today

at 7:40am by Mark Matassa

To the surprise of no one Hillary Clinton announced her 2016 presidential campaign on Sunday, as rumored. “Everyday Americans need a champion,” said Clinton in her announcement video, “and I want to be that champion.”

Much of the coverage felt, if not supportive, then at least a little bandwagony. A welcome exception was New Republic’s sharp but respectful take, which concluded, skeptically, “There’s Nothing Inevitable About Hillary.”

Would-be Clinton challenger Marco Rubio plans to announce his own candidacy later today in Miami.


Catching ‘Up’ with Edith Macefield’s house

at 7:37am by Mark Matassa

On Saturday, The New York Times put Ballard’s famous “Up” house on the front page, with a sweet kiss of a story that sought to update the status of the late Edith Macefield’s bungalow, which she refused to sell to developers. “She stood her ground,” says one visitor. “She created this gouge in the infrastructure.” The Oregonian filed its own version this morning’s edition. But neither captures the nuance or legend-puncturing of Crosscut’s report last week, by Brian Hagenbuch:” The real story behind Ballard’s ‘anti-development icon.’”

Meanwhile, the Guardian glorified China’s version of this phenomenon (“nail houses”) in a terrific photo gallery.


Traitor Joe’s?

at 7:32am by Mark Matassa

First, the CBS television story, which wasn’t about the West Seattle Trader Joe’s, but did start there in an interesting tale of a Vancouver, B.C., man who shops in huge quantities then takes the goods back across the border … where he sells them at a markup at his store, Pirate Joe’s. TJ’s wants him to stop, has taken him to court and has banned him from its stores. Mike Hallatt, of Pirate Joe’s, says he’s filling a vacuum (there are no Trader Joe’s in Canada) and will close his store only if TJ’s opens one in Vancouver. Read more in the West Seattle Blog.


Friday 10 Apr, 2015

New office to help homeless youth. Crowds visit threatened historic home. New deal for Bellevue on Light Rail.

Legislature wants new office to help homeless youth

at 3:02pm by John Stang

By a 71-to-26 margin, the Washington House passed a bill Friday to create a state Office of Homeless Youth Prevention and Protection Program by Jan. 1. The Senate earlier passed the bill by Sen. Steve O’Ban, R-Tacoma, 48-1.

The bill would establish a small office responsible for coordinating a variety of policies and activities related to how homeless youth find housing, obtain education and employment, and reconcile with their families.

The measure is headed to Gov. Jay Inslee, who is expected to sign it into law. His staff testified in support of the final version of the bill.

“Homeless” students fall into several different categories in Washington, and the population fluctuates. Estimates of Washington’s homeless student population range from roughly 30,000 to roughly 42,000. One state figure, from the 2012-2013 school year, was 30,609. That included 1,254 students who had no shelter at all.


Spring member drive wrapping up

at 2:36pm by Tamara Power-Drutis

In the past few weeks, reader support has made it possible for our writers to report on stories such as “Seattle Interagency Academy rocked by 6 student deaths in 6 months,” “The dark side of Expedia’s move to Seattle,” and “Meet the young leaders campaigning for City Council.”

None of this coverage would have been possible without support from readers like you, and with only hours left in our Spring Member Drive, we need your help to maintain that momentum.

Will you help us continue bringing you the information and insight you need to intelligently take part in civic dialogue? Make a gift today to sustain in-depth, reader-supported news of the great nearby!

Capitol Hill Art Invasion attracts hundreds to threatened historic home

at 2:22pm by Alyssa Campbell

Credit: Mike Hines

Last night, hundreds of strangers gathered to roam the rooms of an old Capitol Hill house slated for demolition as part of the Capitol Hill Art Invasion, the Capitol Hill Blog reports. The one-night only art show was organized by the home’s long-time resident and artist Damien Puggelli, along with local group Space 4 Art. The house, which will soon be replaced with a high-density apartment building, has provided work space for Seattle artists over the years, and the work of 40 locals — from paintings to costumes to a loving wooden hand — filled every corner of the three-story 1920’s home.

Puggelli wanted to showcase the Capitol Hill arts community, which is as threatened as his house because of the recent, rampant development in the neighborhood. “I’m against the total wholesale destruction of the history of the city,” he said. The City of Seattle has tried to mitigate the destruction through its Capitol Hill Arts District initiative, but that program hasn’t done much for independent local artists.

Forest Service eyes yellow cedar for protected status

at 2:21pm by Amy Augustine

The iconic yellow cedar tree is being considered for endangered status due to the effects of climate change, the AP is reporting.

“We’re losing yellow cedar rapidly to climate change, and if we don’t start addressing our greenhouse gas emissions, we’re going to lose yellow cedars,” Rebecca Noblin, an attorney in Anchorage for the Center for Biological Diversity, told the AP.

Range of the Yellow Alaskan Cedar. (Credit: U.S. Department of Agriculture via Wikimedia)
Range of the Yellow Alaskan Cedar. (Credit: U.S. Department of Agriculture via Wikimedia)

KEXP's new home nearly left out of Senate budget

at 2:07pm by Marissa Brent-Tookey

KEXP_gathering_spaceLocal station KEXP has had a new Seattle Center space in development for years, but with its current lease up at the end of 2015, time is running out on getting that new space built.

Between our Republican-controlled Senate and Democratic House, there was bound to be some disagreement over which organizations got Building for the Arts fund money. But, says the Slog,  KEXP, which had the second-highest priority project, never expected to be kicked off the legislature’s list entirely. Which, according to The Stranger’s Heidi Groover, is exactly what just happened when the Senate compiled its capital budget on Wednesday.

Two million dollars of the renovation’s $15 million total was supposed to come from state grants. The station has raised $8.63 million on its own. When word spread that KEXP had been dropped from the budget, last-minute appeals by supporters convinced Democratic Sen. Karen Keiser to add money back in — but only $1 million. It’s half of the expected amount, but better than nothing.


Bellevue gets new deal on East Link light rail

at 1:47pm by Alyssa Campbell

Bellevue has finalized negotiations with Sound Transit for the East Link light-rail extension that should leave the city with a little more cash and curb appeal. As the Seattle Times reports, when Sound Transit decided last year on putting a light-rail maintenance yard adjacent to the city’s multibillion dollar Spring District development, Bellevue city officials were less than pleased.

Now, after months of debate, Sound Transit has agreed to make the maintenance yard smaller and allow 1.6 million square feet of commercial and residential development on the edge of the Spring District, enhancing the site. The City of Bellevue will also get a $60 million break on its contributions to the cost of a rail tunnel.  Bellevue will grant the agency permission to start construction on the Eastside light-rail corridor as soon as next year to begin service in 2023.

It’s all subject to final approval by the Bellevue City Council, which will likely hold a vote late this month.

Iran deal: 3 local Democrats pretty happy

at 12:51pm by Cody Olsen

Speaking at a World Affairs Council gathering in Seattle Thursday, three Democratic members of Congress from Western Washington expressed general satisfaction with the Iran nuclear deal.

“It’s a good first step,” according to U.S. Rep. Suzan DelBene, adding that the final details will be key. Those include verification procedures and how easily the sanctions could be put back in place if Iran reneges.

Rep. Jim McDermott is frustrated at the lack of Congressional support for the deal, which he views as historic. “The president has been tasked to do this. And we should let him do it,” he said. Panel moderator C.R. Douglas of Q13 Fox pointed out that McDermott is the one who originally sponsored the bill to levy sanctions against Iran. McDermott said the sanctions against Iran always have had provisions for them to be easily jettisoned when the president felt the time was right.

Asked by Douglas about former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger’s reservations, U.S. Rep. Adam Smith said, “He’s flat out wrong.” Smith noted that a chief opponent of the deal, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, predicted in 2005 that Iran would have the bomb in six months.



Bellevue's new Bitcoin doc

at 12:02pm by Marissa Brent-Tookey

KOMO News reports that Dr. Jason Attaman, a pain management specialist based in Bellevue, is likely the first physician in the state to accept Bitcoin. Despite its volatility (Bitcoin’s dollar value dropped from $666 to $245 over the past year), Attaman values the privacy of the virtual transactions. Banks and credit card companies have no business butting into the doctor-patient relationship, he says, and besides, it’s “a lot simpler than a credit card.”

Sabra recalls hummus

at 11:50am by Alyssa Campbell

The company has issued a recall on more than 30,000 tubs of hummus after several tested positive for the food-borne bacteria listeria, the New York Times reports. Three deaths and five illnesses have recently been linked to the bacterium.

NW farmers brace for low water year

at 10:00am by Mary Bruno

Blame drought and a truly shallow snowpack, says KPLU’s Anna King. “Some farmers in the Yakima Valley will get just 60 percent of their normal water. They’re facing questions like: Let the hay field and veggies go fallow to save the cherry trees? Buy expensive water from a neighbor? Or maybe switch to costly drip irrigation?” No good answers here. Farmers are hoping state lawmakers will grant a request for $9 million in drought relief.

Amazon gets FAA nod to test newer drones

at 9:23am by Mary Bruno

Amazon droneFirst, the background: In March, after dragging its feet (according to Amazon), the Federal Aviation Administration finally gave Amazon permission to air test drones for its new drone delivery system. Good news, except that by then, said Amazon, its drone fleet had become obsolete. Fast forward to Wednesday when, reports GeekWire, the FAA granted Amazon permission to air test its newest prototype, putting the company one giant step closer to the seemingly fantastical prediction made by CEO Jeff Bezos on 6o Minutes in 2013. Drone delivery, here we come.

Panama Hotel declared "national treasure"

at 9:00am by Mary Bruno

Panama Hotel_Paul Sableman_Flickr
Credit: Flickr user Paul Sableman

The National Trust for Historic Preservation made the announcement on Thursday, making the 104-year-old Panama Hotel the first Seattle building to be so honored. Peering through the glass viewing portals in the floor of the Panama’s tearoom, you can see the suitcases and other belongings of local Japanese-Americans who were sent to internment camps during World War II. The Puget Sound Business Journal celebrates the news with a slideshow.


Fire near Fauntleroy ferry terminal

at 8:53am by Mary Bruno

The two-alarm blaze in a house just north of the ferry terminal sent one person to the hospital. The West Seattle Blog, as usual, has details and is tracking developments.

Valve moving to Seattle?

at 8:10am by Mary Bruno

The Bellevue-based gaming giant that gave us Half Life and Portal is eying a Seattle address, according to the Puget Sound Business Journal. Real estate sources tell PSBJ that the 19-year-old company is also looking in Bellevue. The goal is more space. Lots more space to accommodate projected growth. “Currently, Valve is in 110,000 square feet in downtown Bellevue’s Skyline Tower,” writes PSBJ, “and could expand to approximately 200,000 square feet.” If Valve does choose Seattle it would become the second big employer (remember: Expedia’s coming in 2018) to make the move across the lake.

Comcast service is back

at 7:33am by Mary Bruno

That severed fiber-optic line in South Lake Union that sent 30,000 Comcast customers off-line on Thursday has been repaired. The widespread service blackout, which included some 911 service, ended at about 7 p.m. last night for 90 percent of the affected (and angry) customers, according to The Seattle Times.

“The outage,” noted The Times, “benefited at least one Capitol Hill business, though: Porchlight Coffee had an increase in customers who wanted to use the coffee shop’s Internet, provided by Century­Link, according to barista Nikki Buckley.”

Hillary to announce this weekend

at 7:23am by Robert LeCompte

After months of waiting, the inevitable is about to happen: Three insiders tell The Washington Post that Hillary Clinton will finally announce her candidacy for president on Sunday, making her the first — and only, so far — Democratic contender for the White House. Look for word to arrive via social media and a video, according to the Post sources. Once she commits, Hillary will out to Iowa to whip up some support in that critical caucus state. Of course, these details were shared on background; nothing’s final yet. Except those Hillary 2016 buttons.

Olympia to honor deceased local musicians

at 5:30am by Robert LeCompte

Kurt Cobain is among those musicians likely to be featured in the mosaic
Kurt Cobain (Credit; Marcela Arancibia/Flickr)

Officials in the state capital are asking people to nominate dead musicians who helped to grow the Olympia music scene, Thurston Talk reports. The city will honor three finalists with mosaics on three different downtown sidewalks. But that’s not all: The city is planning live performances this summer at each of the three mosaics, which will also incorporate the work of other local artists. Send submissions to sjohnso1@ci.olympia.wa.us by April 30.

Giant twister tears through Illinois

at 5:15am by Mary Bruno

Multiple tornadoes descended on Illinois on Thursday evening. At least one massive funnel cloud touched down near the town of Rochelle, according to The Huffington Post, and there were reports of damage in nearby Fairdale, Kirkland and Ashton. One person is reported dead and at least seven others injured.

Which pot gets pot revenue?

at 5:03am by Mary Bruno

Lawmakers in Olympia are looking to change the way marijuana tax revenue gets spent. The GOP-led Senate wants to dedicate the bulk of the new money to education. The Democratic House prefers sticking to the letter of the voter-passed initiative, which means spending pot money on prevention, treatment and low-income health-care programs. Remember: At this stage, no one knows for sure exactly how much revenue the sale of now-legal recreational marijuana will actually generate.

Thursday 9 Apr, 2015

State to do more for homeless youth. I-5 road rage incident. Comcast Capitol Hill outtage outrages customers. Michael Pollan kicks off UW's Weight and Wellness series.

Candid moments at Diplomacy summit

at 8:04pm by Cody Olsen

“Corporate Culture in America values shareholders, executives, and customers, but it does not give a rip about the employees,” said U.S. Rep. Adam Smith on Thursday. Smith was onstage in Seattle for the Diplomacy Begins Here summit, hosted by the World Affairs Council. He was joined by fellow U.S. Representatives — and Democrats — Jim McDermott and Suzanne DelBene. The 90-minute panel, moderated by Q-13 Fox’s C.R. Douglas, covered a variety of topics, including the proposed Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP).

Sporting crutches due to his recent hip surgery, Smith addressed the apprehensiveness about the Trans Pacific deal, saying Corporate America “has failed spectacularly” to make employees feel like their company’s success will benefit workers too. “Boeing, I know you’re probably represented here…” he said, eliciting laughs and a few hoots from the audience. “Why can’t the machinists make, for example, $120,000 and the executives make $3 million instead of four million?”

Jim McDermott echoed Smith’s concerns about who benefits from the Trans Pacific Partnership, wondering “Exactly how is it going to produce more jobs?” The stock market is booming even as the middle class keeps shrinking. That’s not the kind of effect Smith and McDermott want the TPP to produce.


Amazon sues fake review sites

at 3:45pm by Robert LeCompte

For the first time ever, says GeekWire, Amazon is filing lawsuits against websites that the company believes are selling fake reviews of products on Amazon.  The suits charge trademark violations, unfair competition and deceptive acts. The owner of one of the sites named in the suit, buyamazonreviews.com, claims that his company requires clients to send in products so that employees at buyamazonreviews.com can write fair reviews. But GeekWire reported that the FAQ section of buyamazonreviews.com says something a little different, advising that “you can either provide your own reviews or we can write them for you.” (The FAQ language is different now, and concludes with a Happy Face emoticon.)


Road rage incident kills one, injures three on I-5

at 3:22pm by Amy Augustine

A 23-year-old woman was killed and three were injured in a road rage incident that closed down I-5 for over five hours on Wednesday night, KING5.com reported.

Andrea Dickey, 23, of Centralia was a passenger in one of the vehicles. She was pronounced dead at the scene.

The three-car crash occurred shortly after 10:30 p.m. near Michigan Street. The Washington State Patrol said that the incident started when a Dodge Neon and Chevrolet HHR merged I-5 southbound from Interstate 90 when the Chevy flashed its lights at the Neon for driving slowly.

The drivers are believed to have antagonized one another for another three miles until the Chevy suddenly hit its brakes and the Neon slammed into the back of it. A third, unrelated car then struck the Chevy.

The Patrol also said that they are checking for possible impaired driving.


Putin and K-Pop star top TIME 100 Reader's Poll

at 3:00pm by Robert LeCompte

This year’s TIME 100 Readers Poll includes Barack Obama and Pope Francis, as well as music mega-stars Lady Gaga and Beyonce. But leading the list is Russian president Vladimir Putin and Korean pop star Lee Chae-rin (aka CL of the group 2NE1). Putin and the pop star are trending at 6.2 percent and 6.1 percent, respectively (as of Thursday afternoon). You can view the poll and cast your vote at TIME.

Author Michael Pollan kicks off UW's Weight and Wellness series

at 3:00pm by Cambria Roth

Best-selling food writer Michael Pollan, author of The Omnivore’s Dilemma, last night kicked off the the UW Graduate School’s “Weight and Wellness” Speakers Series. Each year members of the community nominate speakers for the graduate school’s lectures, and recommendations this year focused on weight, wellness and health.

Pollan’s lecture, “Our National Eating Disorder,” where he discussed the causes of America’s public health crisis, and how it isn’t just a personal health problem but a political and public one. “Because of unhealthy diets, one hundred years of progress and improved public health has been reversed,” Pollan said.

He focused on three main areas for concern — agriculture policy, food marketing and food ideology. One proverb he recited carried particular punch: “The whiter the bread, the sooner you’ll be dead.”

Oregon teens sue over climate change

at 3:00pm by Robert LeCompte

Kelsey Juliana, 18, and Olivia Chernaik, 14, filed suit against former Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber over the state’s alleged failure to meet carbon emission reduction goals established eight years ago. According to Oregon Live, the Eugene teens claim that air is a part of the public trust and as such should be protected by the government, something both the governor and state have failed to do. “Kids don’t get to vote yet and we don’t have money to donate to campaigns,” said Juliana, “but we, as a generation, have the most at stake and the most to gain from taking action.”

OR. Gove John Kitzhaber

Comcast outage in Capitol Hill outrages customers

at 2:50pm by Amy Augustine

Comcast bore the brunt of angry — sometimes irrationally so — Twitter users, presumably tweeting with their cell phones after damage to a fiber optic line left many on Capitol Hill without web or cable services Thursday morning. The Capitol Hill Seattle blog first reported the outage about 9 a.m. Comcast spokesman Steve Kipp told the blog that a construction crew unaffiliated with Comcast damaged the line that primarily feeds the Madison Park neighborhood.

Customers said Comcast told them that service would be up again by noon, but an Xfinity app said not to expect the return of internet service until at least 9 p.m. As the afternoon wore on, people became angrier, with many calling for a municipal broadband service.

May we suggest to CenturyLink that it might be time to offer a Blackout Special? 


Mary Kay Latournueau on Barbara Walters

at 2:00pm by Mary Bruno

Mary Kay Latournuea Fualaau and her husband celebrated their 10th wedding anniversary with an exclusive Barbara Walters interview. Latourneau Fualaau, a former Seattle school teacher, became a tabloid sensation back in 1997 when she had an affair and got pregnant with the child of Vili Fualaau, her then-13-year-old student.

Seattle home prices up almost 19 percent from 2014

at 1:15pm by Robert LeCompte

Home prices rise in SeattleSince last March, as the Seattle Times reports, the average price of homes in Seattle have risen from $450,000 to $535,000, an 18.9 percent increase. One factor driving prices up: The number of available homes for sale has fallen by 23 percent in the same one-year period. J. Lennox Scott, CEO of John L. Scott Real Estate, said, “We are selling more homes than new listings come on the market.”

Ninkasi Brewing used outer space yeast for latest beer

at 1:00pm by Robert LeCompte

For a few years now, says KGW.com, the folks at Eugene’s Ninkasi Brewing Company have had this burning desire: to brew a beer made with ingredients from outer space. And now they have. The Oregon brewery is about to release a brew made with yeast that they actually launched into space on their own homemade rocket. Ground Control, a stout, will be available in select stores April 13, just in time for this summer’s big sci-fi blockbusters.

Ground Control to Major Stout
Ground Control to Major Stout

Tacoma going after world hopscotch record

at 12:01pm by Cody Olsen

The city of Tacoma, in partnership with the University of Puget Sound, will try to set a new world record for … hopscotch. That’s right hopscotch. UPS students Brandon Johnson and Graham Robinson created Puget Sound Hopscotch as a way to bring the community together, raise funds for youth programs and blow the previous world hopscotch record (yes, there is one) out of the water. In that order, of course.

Sunday May 3rd, from 10 am to 1pm, Tacomans are invited to hop a 3.5 mile course, surpassing the current 3.42 mile record set in 2011 near Toronto, Canada. The suggested donation ($5-10) goes to the UPS Center for Intercultural & Civic Engagement youth programs which connects “Puget Sound college students with Tacoma youth for mentoring and tutoring.”

Hopping is not for everyone, but fret not: to make the record official only Johnson and Robinson have to actually complete the course, which they estimate will take a few hours. “It sounds wacky, and it’s harder than people think — 3.5 miles of hopping,” said Johnson. “But it’s a great way to bring together the community.” Hoppers can register at 9 am the day of the event, or online here.

Sawant talks to Greenpeace activists, sort of

at 11:58am by David Kroman

Greenpeace volunteers before boarding a Shell ship
Greenpeace volunteers before boarding a Shell ship

Seattle City Councilmember Kshama Sawant set up a conference call Thursday to speak with and show support for the activists from Greenpeace who are currently aboard (without invitation) the ship carrying Shell’s arctic exploration equipment to Seattle. But, because they are on a ship in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, the call connection was at best spotty.

The activists boarded the ship on Monday near Hawaii along its route from Malaysia to Seattle. Quickly thereafter, Shell filed a lawsuit in federal court to kick them off the ship.

Seattlepi.com broke the news early this year that the Port of Seattle had agreed to host Shell’s equipment at Terminal 5 on the waterfront. The two-year lease has set off a firestorm of opposition among local environmental groups.

Sawant Thursday asked the activists why they’re aboard the ship. The response was difficult to hear:”We’re hear because Shell … environment … earth … trying to go back out there and do it again…stay out of the Arctic.”

Because Q and A proved difficult, Sawant took the opportunity to rail against Shell, praise the activists for the their efforts and encourage them to join in rallies —if and when they arrive in Seattle.

In a moment of clear telephone connection, the activists pledged to continue fighting against Shell as long as was necessary. but said they had no plans for when they arrive in Seattle.

Hiking the Pacific Crest Trail — in selfies

at 11:51am by Amy Augustine

Andy Davidhazy hiked the entire Pacific Crest Trail, from Mexico to Canada, over 2,660 miles. He captured his journey by taking a selfie at every mile over the five-month trek then created a time-lapse video. PBS Newshour chatted with Davidhazy, who lost 50 pounds during his hike.

Late-season snow to hit mountains this weekend

at 11:20am by Amy Augustine

A large storm is on its way to Puget Sound this weekend and it could bring drenching rain and hail, as well as much-needed snow to mountain areas, KOMO is reporting. The forecast is calling for 6-11 inches around Stevens Pass and 3-5 inches in Snoqualmie Pass from Friday night into Saturday, with some locations getting up to a foot of now.

Plan those weekend trips accordingly.

Snow is predicted to hit Stevens pass this weekend.
Snow is predicted to hit Stevens pass this weekend.



Can Judy Clarke save Dzhokhar Tsarnaev?

at 11:04am by Amy Augustine

Anti-death penalty attorney Judy Clarke has defended some of the most egregious felons of our times: The Unabomber, Susan Smith, and Jared Loughner, successfully sparing them from capital punishment. Clarke is now battling to save Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, who was convicted by a federal jury this week on 30 counts stacked against him. Vanity Fair has an excellent in-depth portrait of her unusual career.

Today’s Boston Globe editorial offers a to-the-point argument against the death penalty, on both legal and moral grounds. “Tsarnaev was 19 at the time of the bombing; he was apparently a heavy drug user; he had no prior criminal record. By themselves, none of these would seem like a particularly good reason to spare him, but taken as a whole, and alongside evidence of his brother’s dominant role, they should plant seeds of doubt.”

Back-to-back political suicides stun Missouri

at 10:37am by Mary Bruno

Tom Schweich
Tom Schweich

In February, Missouri’s auditor Tom Schweich shot and killed himself. In March, Schweich’s press secretary, Spence Jackson, did the same. The twin tragedies, reports National Public Radio, “have sparked fresh scrutiny of Missouri’s increasingly bruising political system.” Bruising is an understatement.

Schweich was a leading Republican candidate for Missouri governor, and an outspoken critic of the party, launching his gubernatorial campaign with what NPR calls “a scathing broadside” against the state’s GOP establishment. “They’ve tried to buy the courts. They’ve tried to buy the media,” said Schweich. “It’s deception and it’s fraud and it’s influence peddling. And it’s the kind of thing that worries me about the future of the Republican party in Missouri. And I thought we needed a voice that says ‘no.’ ” Now, Schweich’s voice and that of his press secretary are silent and Missourians are asking why.

Did GOP smear campaigns drive the two men to their deaths? Or was it something more sinister? Jack Danforth, a former U.S. Senator and fellow Republican, delivered the eulogy at Schweich’s funeral. “Tom Schweich publicly attacked what he thought was corruption in state government, and within a month of that he was dead,” said Danforth. “Spence Jackson publicly called for the resignation of [Missouri’s GOP Party Chair] John Hancock, and within a month of doing so he was dead.”

Bill to end distracted driving dies in Olympia

at 10:11am by Robert LeCompte

It is still legal to check twitter while you're driving
It’s still legal to tweet and drive.

Washington has banned texting and talking (on your cell phone) while driving since 2007. Senate Bill 5656, as The Seattle Times reports, would have broadened that ban to include web surfing and typing into your GPS. Emphasis on would have. SB 5656 just got voted down in the state’s House of Representatives. The bill had sailed through the Senate (35 – 14) and enjoyed support of Washington State Patrol officers who, in 2013 alone, ticketed more than 1,200 drivers for texting or talking on cell phones. So, what does the death of 5656 mean for Washington drivers? Texting and chatting on cell phones while at the wheel is still illegal, but feel free to browse the web, update Facebook or watch YouTube videos to your heart’s content.

UW students shut down regents dinner over wage dispute

at 8:01am by Mary Bruno

Workers all across Seattle got a raise on April 1 as the city began phasing in its new $15 minimum wage law. No so for student employees at the University of Washington — and they are hopping mad.

Because of its status as a public entity, UW officials say they aren’t sure the city’s minimum wage law applies on campus. The university’s reluctance to bump the comp prompted student activists to storm the University of Washington Club on Wednesday night, effectively shutting down a UW regents dinner. According to The Seattle Times, the regents retreated to a downstairs dining room, “leaving plates of uneaten appetizers on the table.”

“If every other employer in Seattle can pay $15 an hour by 2017, surely the UW, a $6 billion a year institution, can pay at least $15 dollars an hour to all workers on campus,” Garrett Strain, a grad student at the Evans School of Public Affairs and member of the UW Academic Workers for a Democratic University, told The Daily. Strain was not among the students who crashed the regents dinner.

Michael Bloomberg's data-driven war on coal

at 8:00am by Mary Bruno

“Before Michael Bloomberg would commit tens of millions of dollars to the Sierra Club’s campaign to shut down coal plants all over the United States, he wanted something: more data specifying where his money would go,” writes Andrew Restuccia in Politico. “… Among other requests, Bloomberg wanted the group to create better ways of gauging the success of its efforts, including maps of every coal-fired power plant and details on their pollution controls.”

Powered by his $30 million donation, the Sierra Club got to work. Bloomberg’s data-fueled obsession is credited with the closure or re-purposing of 188 coal plants around the country since 2010. And that makes the erstwhile New York City mayor the coal industry’s Number One enemy.

State looking to do more for homeless youth

at 5:30am by John Stang

The House Appropriations Committee has recommended 18-to-14 along party lines that the full House pass a bill that would create a state Office of Homeless Youth Prevention & Protection Program by Jan. 1, 2016.

The Senate already passed the bill by Sen. Steve O’Ban, R-Tacoma, 48-1 and the House Early Learning & Human Services Committee recently gave it a thumbs up.

The bill would create a small office to coordinate efforts to help homeless youth find housing, obtain education and employment, and reconcile with their families.

Estimates of Washington’s homeless student population range from roughly 30,000 to roughly 42,000.

Wednesday 8 Apr, 2015

Every Seattle voter with $100 to donate? Canada ups the Arctic ante. Toll roads spreading.

Seattle one of America's 10 most walkable cities

at 3:57pm by Alyssa Campbell

Credit: Jon Madison

According to a ranking recently released by Walk Score, Seattle is the eighth most walkable city in the US (scoring 70.8 out of 100). Urban trends such as transit-oriented development and dense multi-family housing, both of which are on the rise in Seattle, tend to increase walkability as people move in closer to their work and are able to carry out their shopping on foot.

The Walk Score ranking’s methodology includes variables such as pedestrian friendliness, number of walking routes and population. Not surprisingly, the population dense New York City tops the list, followed by San Francisco. While Seattle used to be named among the few truly “walkable” American cities, our relative ranking has dropped two places since 2011 as other cities like Miami have been developing with pedestrians in mind.

Judge fines Forks' dog shelter

at 3:52pm by Mary Bruno

Clallam County Superior Court judge George Wood ruled Friday that the Forks charity that raised $360,000 for a dog shelter violated the state’s Charitable Solicitations Act. According to the Attorney General’s office, Judge Wood found that the Olympic Animal Sanctuary committed 48 violations when it failed to register with the Secretary of State and could not produce records of how the donations were spent.

The attorney general’s office is seeking fines of $2,000 per violation, or a total of $96,000, plus an extra $20,000 in costs and fees. Former executive director Stephen Markwell no longer operates the Sanctuary and has surrendered the dogs to a shelter in Arizona.

Tsarnaev guilty on all counts in Boston Marathon bombing

at 1:26pm by Marissa Brent-Tookey

Alleged Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhor Tsarnaev

CNN reports that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has been found guilty of all 30 charges filed against him in the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing. Three people were killed and 250 injured by the explosives Tsarnaev and his brother planted in the crowd near the finish line.

Selig to develop another Belltown high-rise

at 12:29pm by Alyssa Campbell

As the PSBJ reports, Martin Selig Real Estate announced plans to develop a 440-foot office and apartment tower on the corner of Third Avenue and Virginia Street. The building  will be go up across the street from Bed Bath and Beyond on property acquired for a combined $14 million. it will join the slew of other condo/office tower developments that are rising at lightning speed across Belltown. Selig’s company is behind a host of other developments that are changing the face of Seattle, including office projects in the works in Ballard and Lower Queen Anne.

Washington farmers plan for drought

at 11:53am by Marissa Brent-Tookey

The state’s farmers and the Department of Ecology are already looking for ways to stop the ongoing dry conditions from wreaking havoc on agricultural production. In March, Gov. Jay Inslee declared a drought in three regions (including much of the Olympic Peninsula). The reason: a below-average snow pack. Last week, Dan Partridge of the Department of Ecology blogged that snow pack levels were 20 percent below average for this time of the year.

According to Northwest News Network, Department of Ecology officials are considering purchasing water from landowners in the mountains. Even so, Yakima Valley farmers could face tough decisions about which crops to water in the event of extreme shortages.

Swinomish Indian tribe sues to ban Bakken oil trains

at 11:36am by Alyssa Campbell

An oil tanker car went off the tracks in Seattle last year. Credit: Bill Lucia

The Swinomish filed suit suit in U.S. District Court in Seattle to permanently ban BNSF Railways from moving Bakken crude oil by rail across tribal land. As the Seattle Times reports, the tribe claims that, by sending 100-car oil trains across reservation lands without asking permission, BNSF is violating a 1991 agreement that allows only a very limited number of cars to transit Swinomish land each day.

The tribal land transit is vital for BNSF, connecting its trains to the Tesoro refinery in Anacortes. But the safety of the oil trains is drawing increased scrutiny.  “It’s unacceptable for BNSF to put our people and our way of life at risk without regard to the agreement we established in good faith,” said Swinomish Chairman Brian Cladoosby in a statement.

The Swinomish-BNSF legal battle is only part of a larger, nationwide discussion about what precautions (and legislation) should be adopted to protect the public from more oil train explosions, one of which killed 47 people in Quebec last year. The National Transportation Safety Board has urged new route planning measures to avoid sending oil trains through large population centers. Vice News producer Spencer Chumbley’s new documentary on oil trains features a segment on the effects of an oil-train explosion in downtown Seattle.

Smart stove knobs

at 9:05am by Mary Bruno

Meld, a startup from Amazon, Pinterest and RichRelevance refugees, just launched a Kickstarter campaign for its new “stovetop temperature control system,” reports GeekWire. Think smart knobs that can be attached to an existing range and come complete with a temp-sensing “clip that sits in boiling water, oil, or any liquid in a pot on the stove.” Wait, there’s more: That clever clip communicates with a recipe app so when you fire up the burner the Meld app and clip, in perfect software harmony, adjust the knobs to maintain the proper temp. Here’s a video:

Canada to protect 'Arctic sovereignty' with new satellite system

at 7:30am by Amy Augustine

Canada is ramping up its claim to the Arctic with active military exercises some speculate are aimed at Russia, as well as upgrading its satellite observation program, VICE Canada is reporting.

Stephen Harper’s government is soliciting bids for $17 million worth of development toNorthwest Territories’ Inuvik satellite station. The current station is used for “mapping, weather, surveillance, and other purposes.”

Judge calls zoo's plan troubling but will let it ship out elephants

at 7:00am by Joe Copeland

U.S. District Judge John C. Coughenour will let the Woodland Park Zoo ship its two remaining elephants, Chai and Bamboo, to Oklahoma City. But Coughenour, a highly respected federal judge, said in his decision that the court was “deeply troubled” by the zoo’s action in sending the elephants someplace poorly suited to meet their needs in terms of adequate space and climate, according to the Seattle Times. In part, the zoo won because Coughenour found conditions for the elephants at Woodland Park “at least equally unsuited” to the elephants as what they will face in OKC. The Times posted the full decision here.

South Carolina cop charged with murder

at 7:00am by Mary Bruno

A white police officer was charged with murder on Tuesday in the shooting of an unarmed black man in Charleston, South Carolina. Charleston’s Post and Courier reports that officer Michael T. Slager, 33, was arrested after a video surfaced of him shooting 50-year-old Walter Scott in the back as Scott fled. The footage, given to The Post and Courier by an anonymous source, captures the conclusion of a confrontation between Slager and Scott that began when Scott ran from the officer after a traffic stop on Saturday.

Every Seattle voter with $100 to spend

at 6:45am by Cody Olsen

Citizens group Honest Elections Seattle has filed an initiative aimed at reducing the influence of money and special interests in Seattle politics. The Stranger highlighted the initiative’s main components, chief among them giving all registered voters a $100 voucher they can donate to candidates running for city council, mayor or city attorney. Candidates could opt into the system, thus collecting campaign dough from a swath of voters who otherwise wouldn’t be able to contribute.

The initiative also features a “cooling off” period, which would require a mayor, city council member, city attorney or any of their top aides  to wait three years after leaving office before taking up a career as a lobbyist. (A similar cooling off measure for some state offices was defeated in the Legislature earlier the current legislative session.)

So where would the money foe voter-vouchers come from? That would be a 10-year, $30 million dollar property tax. Honest Elections Seattle is gathering signatures now; the initiative needs 31,000 to get on the ballot.

A chance to support Crosscut's broader journalism approach

at 6:30am by David Kroman

Membership thermometer

No straight path to journalism for me: Out of college, I worked in a school for children with autism, spent a mere month making sandwiches at Whole Foods, worked in Russia briefly, followed the wine harvest as a cellar hand and eventually applied for an internship with Crosscut. I always wrote when I had time between jobs, but I hadn’t received formal training in journalism.

The internship program at Crosscut was that training.

When the City Reporter position opened at Crosscut, I applied, but sheepishly. My winding path to journalism would have worked against me at most news publications. But at Crosscut, it was an opportunity to cast a broader net and bring new and important viewpoints into the conversation.

If you believe, like I do, that news shouldn’t always go from A to B, but should examine C and D and X along the way, please consider becoming a member. And thank you.

David Kroman  picture
David Kroman


Toll roads spreading like scotch broom

at 5:30am by Joe Copeland

The Brookings Institution says that toll roads have been spreading across the nation over the past decade. And in the past few years, the miles of toll roads have grown at a much faster pace than that of highways generally. Some 350 miles of toll roads have been added since 2011 alone. The institution says, “Amidst federal dysfunction, every financing option appears to be on the table to repair the country’s infrastructure, and tolls are likely to be one of many possibilities attracting attention in the months to come.” Speaking of the months to come: The Washington State Department of Transportation is close to finishing up work on widening and adding new toll lanes to I-405 between Bellevue and the I-5 merge in Snohomish County. The first tolling is expected late this year.

Tuesday 7 Apr, 2015

Rand Paul announces. Pot equity firm raises $75 million. Starbucks ups the tuition offer.

Rand Paul announces candidacy for president

at 3:15pm by Amy Augustine

UPDATE: It seems that Rand Paul forgot to get permission to use the song “Shuttin’ Down Detroit” by John Rich and now, as the Washington Post reports, the video announcing his candidacy for president has been blocked by Warner Music Group.

YouTube’s content ID system automatically matches any video that’s uploaded against other copyrighted material and allows the owner of the material to block the video.

—         —         —       —        —      —

Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul this morning joined the herd and announced his candidacy for president via his website. His objective? “To DEFEAT the Washington machine and UNLEASH the American dream.”

Whether he stands a chance is another matter: The most recent Washington Post/ABC News poll shows 42 percent of those surveyed found him unfavorable.


Marijuana equity firm raises $75 million

at 2:05pm by Robert LeCompte

A marijuana Plant

Privateer Holdings, which specializes in providing capital for marijuana businesses, raised $75 million in its second round of funding from investors. So says GeekWire. Privateer will use the money to grow its three marijuana-centric brands: Leafly (a Yelp-like marijuana app), Tilray (a Vancouver, B.C. medical marijuana distributor) and Marley Natural (a marijuana products company created with the help of Bob Marley’s daughter).

Privateer has made great strides since raising its first $7 million in 2013. This latest cash infusion “positions us to build a family of global brands over the coming years,” CEO Brendan Kennedy told GeekWire.

Starbucks offers full tuition ride for its employees

at 1:38pm by Amy Augustine

Starbucks on Tuesday updated its college plan to offers employees full coverage of tuition through Arizona State University’s online program, the Seattle Times is reporting.

The company, which hopes to graduate 25,000 employees over the next decade, had previously paid two years of tuition for those in their last two years of college. Though the university offers a significant discount for the employees, Starbucks says the the program may cost something to the tune of $250 million.

Starbucks store in Pike Place Market, 1977 (Credit: Seattle Municipal Archives via Flickr)
Starbucks store in Pike Place Market, 1977 (Credit: Seattle Municipal Archives via Flickr)

Seattle's boom, mapped out

at 1:14pm by Amy Augustine

Want to get a visual sense of how quickly Seattle is changing? Check out Seattle In Progress by Ethan Phelps-Goodman, a software engineer who believes that the tech industry urgently needs to make housing for everyone a top priority The site shows every large-scale development project, application through construction, and plots them on the map. You can click on any landmark to see what the project is, see when its being proposed, or find out which single family homes that will be torn down to make way for the projects.

Sea-Tac Airport upgrading Wi-Fi service

at 12:03pm by Robert LeCompte

Sea-Tac Airport will soon be making a $9.8 million upgrade to its Wi-Fi, replacing a 10-year-old system.

GeekWire reports the money will go toward installing two high performance Wi-Fi access ports in the terminal to speed up Internet connectivity and accommodate more users, as well as adding three access points near the parked aircraft for use by airport personnel.

“In the Seattle area, with Microsoft, Amazon, and other tech companies, our passengers demand we have a robust Wi-Fi,” SEA-TAC’s chief aviation technologist told GeekWire.

Need a job?

at 12:02pm by Cody Olsen

The Olympian reports on an upcoming job fair at Capitol Mall, April 16th in west Olympia. The mall’s website lists dozens of companies coming to the job fair including Costco, Port of Olympia, Lowe’s, Washington State DSHS. The fair is free, and the mall’s ad reminds participants to “Bring Your Resumes & Dress for Success!”

Providence medical clinic moving to bigger Olympia space

at 11:54am by Robert LeCompte

Olympia’s Providence West Olympia Family Medicine clinic will be moving down the street into the old Office Depot building at 1620 Cooper Point Road. Once construction is complete, Providence staff will be practicing in a brand new, 25,000 square-foot space. The new clinic is expected to open later this year, possibly as early as July. You can read more at The Olympian.

Tech workers lament lack of family time

at 11:23am by Amy Augustine

Working for a tech company may have its cushy perks – unless you’re a parent. For a country that prioritizes work over family, the advantages for big companies are obvious in reduced costs and increased production. But the absence of social policies that provide paid parental leave and child care puts significant strain on tech workers, the New York Times reports, and workers within the tech sector, which attracts some of the country’s brightest, have a lot of bargaining power.

Expert panel says tunnel not likely to need additional money

at 11:13am by David Kroman

The panel tasked with assessing the finances, management, schedule and safety of the Alaskan Way Viaduct Replacement Program  — known as the Expert Review Panel (ERP) — released a new report Tuesday.

Crosscut will have a full story later today, but here are some of the major points:

  • The panel believes the project will be completed without needing additional state or local funds outside of the project’s $3.1 billion budget.
  • Although the report says the relationship between Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) and Seattle Tunnel Partners, the project contractor, is good, it questions the dual authority of the state department and the contractor, saying that most megaprojects have a more defined management arrangement.
  • From the report: “Communication protocols between WSDOT and the City are not clearly identified as would be expected at this point during a megaproject of this size and this level of complex stakeholder involvement.”
  • The need for formalizing agreements for post-tunnel projects between WSDOT and the City is “urgent.”
  • Perhaps reacting to the move of WSDOT’s program director, Matt Preedy, to Sound Transit, the report recommends “WSDOT should retain the entire current Program Management Team. Turnover in the Program leadership would be harmful to the Program, as the tunnel project continues to be in a critical phase.”

After trash talk, real budget haggling in Olympia

at 8:07am by Mary Bruno

Leaders from both parties will huddle behind closed doors this week in an effort to hammer out a budget for the 2015-2017 biennium. State lawmakers need to reach agreement about how many dollars to spend and on what and Jerry Cornfield of The Everett Herald is not feeling optimistic given the differences between the parties on taxes, spending, pay raises for state workers, social service cuts (we could go on) and the looming end-of-session (April 26) deadline: “There are fewer than 20 days to reach a deal and avoid a special session of the Legislature,” writes Cornfield, “and a deal doesn’t seem probable given the differences in partisan budgets passed by House Democrats and Senate Republicans and the volleys of criticism exchanged by their authors.” Gulp.

Home prices in Seattle jump 19 percent

at 7:51am by Mary Bruno

Affordable living takes another hit as The Seattle Times reports that the median price for a single-family home in Seattle rose 19 percent last month to $535,000. That impressive gain is three times higher than for King County as a whole, where the median home price rose 6.1 percent. Eastside real estate is cool by comparison, with home prices inching up a mere 5.4 percent (to $632,554).

Bellevue chief promises integrity

at 5:45am by Joe Copeland

Bellevue’s new police chief, Stephen Mylett, promises that he and his command staff “will epitomize integrity,” according to the Seattle Times. But he called incidents that drew attention to the police force, including a confrontation between off-duty Bellevue officers and Seattle police working a Seahawks game, isolated incidents that do not represent Bellevue. A veteran of police forces in Corpus Christi, Texas, and an affluent Dallas-Fort Worth suburb, Mylett also promised to increase the diversity of Bellevue’s force.

Tradition in the NCAA: Duke wins. Next: Which women's power?

at 5:30am by Joe Copeland

The experts seemed to think the men’s national championship in college basketball would go to longtime power house Kentucky — until it got beat by upstart Wisconsin. But Wisconsin couldn’t quite hold off Duke, another national power, in Monday night’s championship. Still to be decided: the women’s championship. Notre Dame, seeking its second national title, is in the championship for the fourth time in five years. But, as the Washington Post notes, it faces an even more established program in the University of Connecticut, holders of nine national championships.

Reader Photo

at 5:15am by Joe Copeland

Thin Blue Line. Copyright: Jeffry N. Curtis/Squalicum Images.
Thin Blue Line. Copyright: Jeffry N. Curtis/Squalicum Images.

Sprucing up the journalism landscape

at 5:00am by Jordan Royer

For years, we’ve watched the changing landscape of journalism transform the way we get and understand information. Too often now,  we seek out those we agree with and don’t engage with those who think differently.

That’s where Crosscut comes in. The Crosscut Idea is to provide analysis and integration of information and hopefully, if we’re all doing our jobs, provide a space for solutions and unique ideas.

By supporting Crosscut you are taking a stand for good government, respectful and productive dialogue and a search for solutions. It’s why I joined Crosscut in the very beginning. Are we there yet? No. But we can’t do it without you.

As a writer and now a Crosscut board member, I am urging you to help us continue this effort. There will be many opportunities ahead for your involvement in helping us find solutions to some of our most pressing problems.

Monday 6 Apr, 2015

No clear voter direction on state budget. NY Times credits Inslee climate proposal. Rolling Stone retracts UVA rape story.

Let the games begin: 4-1 win for M's

at 3:49pm by Cody Olsen

The Mariners are beginning the season the way they wanted: with a win, behind the pitching of Felix Hernandez. Today’s win over the Los Angeles Angels was at Safeco Field, the first at-home opening for the M’s since 2008, ESPN Seattle notes.

Art Thiel has a good look at the confidence of Manager Lloyd McClendon, who has predicted the approach of a “golden era” for the franchise. And while fans are eager to see how their team does this year, there are some whose job it is to worry about their performance off the field. My Northwest interviews Mariners spokesperson Rebecca Hale, who is mindful of the potential impacts the players can have with social media posts. “We ask them to be smart.” Hale said. Her aim is to make them aware of what might get them into trouble, saying if there’s something they wouldn’t want a relative to see, it’s probably best not to publish it.


Voters on budget: No clear direction

at 3:38pm by Joe Copeland

A new Elway Poll shows that Washington voters are essentially split on how to meet the prime mandate for this year’s budget: Increase spending on public education. The poll found 48 percent favor doing so within existing tax revenues even if other programs must be cut; and 43 percent favor increasing the spending on public education even if it means taxes must be raised. The poll has a margin of error of 4.5 percent. As pollster Stuart Elway reports, “When it comes to funding public education and balancing the state government budget, voters seem to be just as divided as their representatives in the legislature.”

Greenpeace boards Shell ship headed for Seattle

at 2:55pm by Joe Copeland

Greenpeace activists have boarded a Shell oil rig crossing the Pacific on its way to Seattle, Joel Connelly of seattlepi.com reports. The crux of the issue is that Shell intends to send the rig, the Polar Pioneer, to Alaska for oil exploration in the Arctic later this year if the company can get permits from the U.S. Department of the Interior. Shell issued a statement saying that it values dialogue with opponents of the drilling but that the protesters’ actions were illegal and jeopardize their safety and that of the crew of the Polar Pioneer. Is the Port of Seattle still hoping the controversy about its contract allowing Shell oil exploration vessels here will just go away?

Carbon tax initiative collecting signatures

at 2:00pm by Cody Olsen

Carbon Washington is collecting signatures for Initiative 732, a measure aimed at reducing carbon emissions in Washington State. The initiative is meant to be an alternative to Gov. Jay Inslee’s cap-and-trade proposal, a batter on deck of sorts, if the governor’s attempt at carbon reduction is defeated in the Legislature.

The initiative was filed on March 20, 2015, and needs 325,000 signatures to go before the Legislature. If supporters gather enough signatures, the 2016 Legislature would then have a chance to enact the measure. If the Legislature didn’t act, the initiative would go on the 2016 ballot. KUOW highlights the details of the initiative, which involve phasing in a $25 per ton tax on carbon emissions by large firms, starting in July 2017, the proceeds of which would go toward reducing the state sales tax (by 1 percent) and the businesses and occupation tax on manufacturing. When the tax is fully phased in, gas prices at the pump would go up 25 cents per gallon; rebates would be provided to thousands of lower-income families to minimize the effect the tax has on the consumer.

Carbon Washington’s initiative is based off a system already in place in British Columbia, which EarthFix provided coverage for. However some environmentalists are unsure if this plan is the right approach, KUOW spoke to Ross Macfarlane of Climate Solutions, a group that supports Gov. Inslee’s cap and trade proposal but is wary of Carbon Washington’s initiative: “We’re excited that people care so much about climate that they’re looking at ways to pass an initiative. But we’re concerned that Carbon Washington’s proposal is premature and … is building their strategy around a particular policy and hoping that it results in a winning strategy.”

Boeing patents an 'upright-sleep' chair

at 1:05pm by Cody Olsen

The “transport vehicle upright sleep support system” might be a mind-numbingly boring name, but the patent from Boeing could make air travel a little cozier.

The video from PatentYogi, run by GeekWire this morning, shows how the device would work,  allowing the user to lean forward a bit to sleep. What’s interesting is that it seems to negate the loss of space associated with economy-section airline seats, giving someone the ability to sleep comfortably on a plane despite the crowding. Anyone else eager to try it out?

Boeing, Delta fight over Export-Import Bank

at 11:57am by Cody Olsen

The New York Times reports today on the long-running battle between Boeing and Delta Airlines about the existence of the Export-Import Bank, a government agency that gives loan guarantees to, among others, overseas airlines so they can purchase Boeing jets. Last week Delta, suffered a serious legal defeat, as a federal judge tossed out the airline’s claims that the Export-Import Bank hurts its ability to compete with foreign airlines. But, the Times points out that the real fight is political. The bank, first created in 1934, is up for renewal from Congress, otherwise it will cease to exist on July 1.

Both Boeing and Delta have put considerable resources into the fight, with Delta spending nearly $10 million to kill the Export-Import Bank, and Boeing spending over $69 million to protect it. Highlighting Boeing’s stake in the outcome, the Times said, “The purchase of Boeing’s big jets can run to the hundreds of millions of dollars, and even wealthy state-run airlines like the Persian Gulf’s Emirates Air might demand a United States government guarantee to help them get private loans that large.” The paper also notes that Boeing is the bank’s biggest beneficiary, which has helped fuel arguments that the government agency is looking out for the best interests of corporate America rather than the interests of taxpayers.

Developer Martin Selig buys former Federal Reserve Bank building

at 9:50am by Mary Bruno

The U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) auctioned off its Federal Reserve bank building (1015 Second Avenue) in downtown Seattle and Seattle developer Martin Selig walked away with the prize, according to The Puget Sound Business Journal. The $16 million pricetag was too high for the Seattle School District, which had considered the federal Building for a downtown school. The structure was “where cash was counted and distributed among banks in the region,” reports PSBJ. Which means Martin Selig bought himself an atomic bomb-proof building. Seriously.

Cruz + Cano + pitching = World Series?

at 8:19am by Mary Bruno

With the acquisition of former slugger Yankee Robinson Cano, the Mariners added much needed pop to the batting order. But Cano always said he couldn’t do it alone. “The No. 1 priority was to try to find a middle-of-the-lineup hitter,” GM Jack Zduriencik told The Tacoma News Tribune. “Someone who would bat behind Cano, and someone who would be a force.” So the Ms wooed Nelson Cruz, Major League Baseball’s 2014 homerun king (with 40). With Cruz, Cano and one of the best starting rotations in the majors, 2015 could be the season for the Mariners. It all starts Monday at 1:10 p.m. at Safeco. Don’t miss Art Thiel’s preview here.

Microsoft at 40

at 8:10am by Mary Bruno

Bill Gates.
Bill Gates. (Wikimedia Commons)

Microsoft turned 40 on Saturday, April 4. Geekwire’s Todd Bishop took a look at how the software giant has changed, and stayed the same since that fateful day in 1975. In a memo to employees, wrote Bishop, Bill Gates shared the original vision that he and co-founder Paul Allen had for their new enterprise: “A computer on every desk and in every home, running Microsoft software.” And look what happened.

GOP lawmaker revives debate over tab for Alaskan Way tunnel delays

at 7:44am by Mary Bruno

Rep. Ed Orcutt, R-Kalama, told The Seattle Times that he opposes a proposal to pay an extra $17 million for transit buses during the delayed construction of the Alaskan Way tunnel project. “The project is taking longer than it should have,” Orcutt told the Times. “Should that cost be borne on the state taxpayers’ dime? Or should it be borne by the city of Seattle or by the contractors?” In Orcutt’s view, the latter two options are the way to go.

His objections stem from a clause in the original 2009 tunnel legislation, which stated: “Any costs in excess of two billion eight hundred million dollars shall be borne by property owners in the Seattle area who benefit from replacement of the existing viaduct with the deep bore tunnel.”


NY Times gives nod to Inslee climate change proposal

at 5:30am by Mary Bruno

Jay Inslee at the final meeting of his climate change task force.
Credit: John Stang

On Sunday, The New York Times spotlighted Gov. Jay Inslee’s efforts to tackle the hairy environmental threat of climate change. Inslee claims that his proposal to tax the carbon emitted by the state’s oil refineries, power plants and other industries will raise an estimated $1.3 billion in its first year. He’d spend those extra dollars, not on climate change-related efforts, but on transportation fixes and to comply with the State Supreme Court’s mandate to fully fund K-12 education. “By linking the money to broadly popular bread-and-butter programs,” writes The Times, the governor “hopes to build support for an antipollution policy that faces stiff opposition from Republicans and some industry groups.”

The future of the governor’s plan remains iffy. It went missing from budget proposals that both the state House and Senate submitted last week.

Rolling Stone retracts story about UVA rape

at 5:10am by Mary Bruno

Following the release on Sunday of a Rolling Stone-commissioned report from the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism, Rolling Stone retracted its article about a brutal gang rape at a University of Virginia frat party. According to The New York Times, the Columbia J School investigators said the magazine had failed to engage in “basic, even routine journalistic practice.”

Also on Sunday, the story’s author, veteran journalist Sabrina Rubin Erdely, issued a public apology, saying: “I hope that my mistakes in reporting this story do not silence the voices of victims that need to be heard.”

Indulge Mossback Knute Berger. Donate to Crosscut today.

at 5:05am by Knute Berger

Popup 34kAs a writer, I can become a bit self-absorbed. I am grateful to Crosscut for indulging that side of me. I’ve been writing for the website since Day One in 2007, getting to explore the city and region, our politics and heritage. It’s been a gift from smart and tolerant editors, made possible by generous support from all our patrons, especially our readers and members. Like you, I’m a Crosscut consumer — and I don’t want to be without it. I hope you’ll join me in supporting the good work being done here by making a donation today. Please help get reach our fundraising goal.”

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