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Tuesday 30 Jun, 2015

Supreme Court affirms death-penalty drug. How Martha Stewart lost her $2 billion empire. Grow you own in Oregon, and other new pot rules.

Judge delays police reform legislation

at 3:28pm by David Kroman

An agreement between the civilian Community Police Commission and the mayor’s office to put forward legislation codifying certain police reforms seems to have come to a halt. U.S. District Court Judge James Robart slammed the door on the efforts, saying any legislation pertaining to the police-reform settlement agreement between the City and the Department of Justice must first be vetted by the court. “You can’t take something that’s an instrument of the court,” he said, “and change it to your liking.” Read the full story here.

Reports of a drive-by shooting in the Central District

at 2:58pm by Harrison Lee

KOMO reports that early this morning, police arrived at the scene of an “apparent drive-by shooting” in the Central District.  Shortly before 2 a.m, officers received reports of gunshots being fired near 23rd Avenue and East Cherry Street. The victim, found in a nearby parking lot, told police that he had been fired on from a passing vehicle. Bullets struck his arm as well as grazed his abdomen. The man resides in Harborview Medical Center with non-life-threatening injuries.

NBC dumps Trump

at 2:57pm by Robert LeCompte

After his derogatory remarks about Mexican immigrants, NBC has officially announced that they will no longer have anything to do with the presidential hopeful. “Due to the recent derogatory statements by Donald Trump regarding immigrants, NBCUniversal is ending its business relationship with Mr. Trump. At NBC, respect and dignity for all people are cornerstones of our values,” reads the official statement. Though Trump had already announced that he will not be taking part in The Apprentice this season because of his presidential campaign, NBC will also not be airing the Trump-produced Miss USA and Miss Universe pageants, reports Variety. Trump has said that he is considering suing the network over the move.

Fans go nuts for peanut-free Mariners section

at 2:56pm by Nina Selipsky

Thanks to the peanut-free section offered four times a year, all Mariners fans can enjoy the game sans allergic reaction. The team began offering the peanut-free sections a few years ago after a heart-wrenching plea from a Tacoma dad desperate to take his son to a game, according to MyNorthwest. Before each peanut-free game, the section in the upper deck in the right field corner is made squeaky-clean as crews pressure-wash and scour every surface with towels. Friday, July 10 and Tuesday, August 11 mark the last two peanut-free games of the season.

Serbia unveils monument to Gavrilo Princip

at 2:07pm by Robert LeCompte

In commemoration of the 101st anniversary of the death of Archduke Franz Ferdinand over the weekend, Serbia unveiled a statue of his assassin, Gavrilo Princip, the Serbian assassin who effectively started World War I, reports Deutsche Welle. Princip’s assassination of the heir to the Austro-Hungarian Empire in 1914 set in motion a series of events that would lead to the outbreak of the first World War. Considering that after World War 1, Germany was saddled with huge reparations also paved the way for the rise of Adolf Hitler, it’s arguable that Princip is also indirectly responsible for World War I as well. Serbian and Bosnian Serb leaders held off any honors for Princip on the 100th anniversary of the war, Deutsche Welle says. But they apparently couldn’t resist this year.

Quasi Modo crowned World's Ugliest Dog

at 11:03am by Alex Cnossen

quasimotoThe votes are in, ugly dog lovers – and the results aren’t pretty. A 10 year-old mutt named Quasi Modo won top honors last Friday at the World’s Ugliest Dog competition, held in Petaluma, California. The dog and his owners took home a $1,500 prize. 27 other dogs competed.

“My appearance can be a little unsettling to some (I have had grown men jump on top of their cars to get away from me because they thought I was a hyena or Tasmanian devil) but once they get to know me I win them over with my bubbly personality,” her biography read.  The pit bull-Dutch shepard mix suffers from a spinal birth defect. A panel of judges scored the dogs based several catergories, including unusal attributes, personality and natural ugliness.

Apple Music launches today

at 10:27am by Amelia Havanec

Today Apple launched Apple Music, a new unlimited streaming service, featuring a $10 monthly subscription and 90 day free trial period. The move pits Apple directly against another $10 a month streaming service – Spotify – which has more than 15 million paying subscribers. Even with Taylor Swift on its side, Apple Music still has to compete with other music platforms before it can say iWin. Also vying for music-loving users is Google Play, Pandora, Rdio, and Tidal, a streaming service released by Jay-Z earlier this year. But today, the rapper must tack on Apple to his list of 99 problems.

CPC, Murray agree to work together on police reform

at 8:53am by David Kroman

Mayor Ed Murray After voting recently to introduce its own police reform legislation, the civilian Community Police Commission (CPC) agreed Monday to work with the mayor’s office. The final draft of an ordinance codifying many of the CPC’s recommendations — such as making the temporary civilian oversight body permanent — will be readied in the coming days to submit to the Public Safety, Civil Rights and Technology Committee in the Seattle City Council on July 15th.

The CPC threatened to bypass the mayor’s office after Ed Murray resisted several of its recommendations, including granting the CPC the power to hire and fire the director and auditor of the Office of Professional Accountability, the Seattle Police Department’s internal oversight body.  CPC co-chair Lisa Daugaard said commission members agreed to work with the mayor’s office when Murray included everything the CPC wanted in the legislation, not because they felt obligated. Murray communication director Viet Shelton denied that the mayor was motivated by the CPC’s bypass threat, saying this sort of negotiation is just how legislation gets made.

SPD investigates officers' de-escalation comments

at 7:42am by Mary Bruno

The Seattle Police Department’s internal investigations unit is reviewing the remarks made by two SPD officers in a de-escalation training session. The training is designed to help officer reduce, rather than inflame tensions in the interactions with civilians. The officers’ comments were captured in this New York Times video and don’t bode well for a kindler, gentler approach from Seattle police. One officer in the training session describes his approach to de-escalation this way: “I pulled my gun out and stuck it right in his nose and I go, ‘show me your hands now.’ He showed me his hands. I just de-escalated him from doing something.”

Grow your own in Oregon, and other new pot rules

at 6:00am by Mark Matassa

Marijuana.jpgWith Oregon’s new recreational marijuana law taking effect Wednesday, The Oregonian has put together a package of stories detailing how it works. Truthfully, all of the details aren’t set yet, and pot consumers won’t be able to walk into a store and buy legal weed until sometime next year. But until then it breaks down like this: It’s legal for those over 21 to grow four plants at home, and to possess eight ounces and other marijuana products like brownies. “Away from home, they can stash up to an ounce of pot – roughly 28 joints – in their pocket, purse or briefcase.” The Oregonian offers gardening tips, suggestions on staying within the law, and speculation on how legal weed will affect crime.

Maybe some helium balloons would help

at 5:43am by Mark Matassa

Credit: Flickr user drivebybiped
Credit: Flickr user drivebybiped

After fighting so long and so inspirationally to protect her little Ballard bungalow from development — and winning! — the late Edith Macefield surely would be sad about what’s happened since. After her death a developer took ownership of the place, which fans have called the “Up” house because it resembles the little-house-that-could in that Pixar movie. A new buyer emerged, hoping to leave the house in place and open a pie shop there, reports The Seattle Times. But that deal fell through, and Macefield’s home is now on the market for relocation bids. If nobody steps up to relocate it, it likely will be destroyed.


How Martha lost her $2 billion empire

at 5:35am by Mark Matassa

Credit: marthastewart.com
Credit: marthastewart.com

She was on top of the world for a while there, and then piece by piece — missteps in her publishing empire, her famous conviction and stint in jail for insider trading, and other problems — sent the Martha Stewart empire crumbling. Now, says The Washington Post, “one share of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia isn’t worth the price of a Martha Stewart-branded meat tenderizer … or even eight ounces of Martha Stewart garlic hot sauce on eBay.”

Supreme Court affirms death-penalty drug

at 5:01am by Mark Matassa

The Court ruled against death-row plaintiffs in three cases who argued that an execution drug, the sedative midazolam, causes undue pain and suffering. In the process of reaching Monday’s 5-4 decision, reports The New York Times, the justices broke into a larger argument about the death penalty itself. “Rather than try to patch up the death penalty’s legal wounds one at a time,” Justice Stephen Breyer wrote in dissent, “I would ask for full briefing on a more basic question: whether the death penalty violates the Constitution.”

Monday 29 Jun, 2015

Nothing much at stake but the future of Greece and Europe. When development protesters come on nuclear subs instead of kayaks. Patti Smith leads “Happy Birthday” refrain for Dalai Lama.

Texas abortion clinics kept open temporarily by Supreme Court

at 2:54pm by Marissa Brent-Tookey

The Washington Post reports that Texas abortion clinics will stay up and running until the court decides whether to hear an appeal of Texas legislature introducing more stringent rules. Most of the state’s 20 clinics would have faced closure Wednesday, but the 5-4 decision will temporarily block restrictions that require surgery-level staffing and equipment, and doctors with admitting privileges at local hospitals. The case may be up for review in the fall.

After much hype, Amazon's Treasure Truck delays first sale event

at 2:49pm by Amelia Havanec

Amazon’s Treasure Truck is playing hard to get. The truck, which sells a heavily discounted item to customers through the Amazon Mobile Shopping App, was supposed to greet Seattle shoppers over the weekend. Amazon postponed the inaugural event Saturday morning,  however, tweeting, “We are very sorry and are working hard to bring you treasure soon.” Local Seattle customers may be a little peeved they couldn’t get their hands on a $99 inflatable paddleboard, but a spokeswoman for the company wrote the treasure is now scheduled “for a later date.”

Seattle's former elephants adjusting to Oklahoma

at 1:29pm by Nina Selipsky

Former Woodland Park Zoo elephants Bamboo and Chai began mingling with Oklahoma City Zoo’s other elephants for the first time last week. The elephants were allowed to roam together in their yard for a few hours, and zookeepers will extend that time a bit each day until Bamboo and Chai are fully integrated into the Oklahoma herd.

The Associated Press reports that the Oklahoma City Zoo staff is on the lookout for behavioral markers – they hope that the elephants will sniff each other and touch trunks, and avoid pushing and shoving. For now there is a barrier in place to prevent any aggressive behavior. Staffers from the Seattle zoo have been on hand to help with introductions and decipher body language. Bamboo was apparently shy to rub trunks with the others at first, but slowly is growing accustomed to her new home.

SCOTUS nixes stricter limits on mercury emissions

at 11:51am by Marissa Brent-Tookey

Coal power plant Credit: Emilian Robert Vicol
Coal power plant Credit: Emilian Robert Vicol

The U.S. Supreme Court is forcing a do-over by the EPA on costly Clean Air Act regulations for power plants. According to NPR, industry representatives and 23 states argued against the current rules, which would cost $9.6 billion dollars a year. The benefits mainly consist of limiting the amount of mercury released into the air, which is then easily absorbed by fish and other animals low on the food chain, and then by humans. The EPA estimates that 7 percent of American women are exposed to dangerous amounts of the toxin, which is known to cause developmental issues in fetuses. The New York Times reports that the EPA will be allowed to enforce the current rules while it examines the costs and benefits and rewrites the regulations.


Lake City residents fight for public beach

at 11:08am by Nina Selipsky

A small piece of land in Lake City has triggered a huge dispute. The 60-foot-wide lot where Northeast 130th Street dead-ends into the Lake Washington shoreline was fenced off in March, declared private by the state Supreme Court. According to the Seattle Times, the ex-public beach was a place where nearby residents could walk their dogs, swim with their children, and enjoy the lake without having to own a waterfront property. Now neighbors are fighting against the court ruling, writing “GREED” and “PROPERTY THEFT” in chalk on the surrounding sidewalks, appearing before the Seattle City Council, and leading social media campaigns. A neighborhood petition now has 2,400 signatures. Mayor Ed Murray is actively exploring ways to improve access to public streets that end on waterfronts, including the use of eminent domain.

Property in Central District expected to fetch record-setting price

at 11:04am by Marissa Brent-Tookey

A two-acre parcel of land that’s called “one of the last remaining large developable sites,” in Seattle  is for sale. Realtor Kidder Mathews says they hope to sell the property for an unprecedented sum, with interest expressed by Wall Street and international buyers. According to Capitol Hill Seattle Blog, the current tenants – which include Smash Putt, a liquor store, and a post office – will vacate the 106,000-square-foot property by July 31st.

Aerial shot of the Midtown Center property at 23rd and Union
Aerial shot of the Midtown Center property at 23rd and Union

Wildfire takes Wenatchee

at 11:01am by Nina Selipsky

A wildfire fueled by high temperatures and strong winds has burned at least 28 structures and about 3,000 acres in the Sleepy Hollow neighborhood of Wenatchee. The fire began Sunday afternoon northwest of Wenatchee and then swept down a hillside, forcing over a thousand people to evacuate, according to KOMO. Chelan County Sheriff Brian Burnett says the fire has led to an “all hands on deck” situation– firefighters and law enforcement authorities have gone door to door to get people to safety, and several helicopters have been used to drop fire retardant. As of Sunday evening, the fire was estimated to cover about 2.6 square miles, and it is still growing. Another fire broke out in the city’s industrial district last night, but it is unclear if the two fires are connected.

Fire weather warning against fireworks in King County, other parts of state

at 10:59am by Marissa Brent-Tookey

With Fourth of July celebrations days away, King County is currently one of eight Washington counties with a “red flag” for fire potential, with warnings against firework use. The warning cites thunderstorms, gusty winds, and dryness, that could “cause any fire starts to spread rapidly.” The warnings center on today, but warm, dry conditions are expected to continue through the week. It might be prudent to reconsider your annual pyrotechnic traditions if you want to avoid encouraging what KING 5 calls “extreme fire behavior.”

Uber managers arrested in France

at 10:10am by Amelia Havanec

Uber’s on a bad Euro trip. Two Uber executives were detained in Paris today for operating an illegal taxi service, less than a week after the France taxi industry violently protested the ride sharing company. Uber has been driving in murky legal waters since French legislators required professional licenses for all taxi drivers – including Uber – and banned software that shows the locations of vehicles, which specifically targeted the company. As they have in many of the cities in which they’ve set up shop, Uber simply ignored these regulations and continued business as usual. UberPop (equivalent to UberX in the US) is still operating, so officials are still in a car chase with rogue UberPop drivers to take them off the streets.  Meanwhile in Asia, a Chinese Uber driver discovered a way to get paid by placing fake bookings. We’re betting CEO Travis Kalanick is wishing the holiday weekend would just get here already.

Court upholds state's approach to redistricting

at 8:33am by Joe Copeland

A U.S. Supreme Court decision today means Washington and about a dozen other states can continue to use independent commissions to draw up the districts for their legislatures and their congressional seats. The Republican-controlled Arizona Legislature contended that the state’s commission infringed on its powers, a view the justices rejected 5-to-4. Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson wrote a brief defending the practice that attorneys general in most of the other commission states supported. The Los Angeles Times notes that the four most conservative justices (Roberts, Scalia, Thomas and Alito) disagreed with the ruling.

After SpaceX flop, what's next hope for space station supplies?

at 8:13am by Joe Copeland

The explosion that destroyed a SpaceX mission from Florida on Sunday makes the next resupply mission for the International Space Station a critical one, according to ABC News. However the astronauts have several months of supplies. The next try is scheduled for this Friday by a Russian Progress spacecraft, one of which failed two months ago on a resupply flight. The Sunday trip was the seventh Space Station mission for SpaceX, which has a large office in Seattle. Among the less critical items lost, according to Forbes: Microsoft HoloLens holographic-image headsets to provide holographic computing opportunities for the astronauts (and countless promos for Microsoft, no doubt).

Mayor Murray to reveal new tent city locations

at 7:45am by David Kroman

Mayor Ed Murray is apparently set to announce six sites to house new city-approved homeless encampments Monday. The Seattle City Council approved up to three new “tent cities” last March, but with the caveat that they must move after a year. Three of the six sites will be occupied beginning next fall. Unless tent city managers request an extension, the encampments would relocate to the second three sites the following year.

Only two organizations, Share/Wheel and Nickelsville, have been approved to manage city-sanctioned homeless encampments. According to Jarvis Capucion of Share/Wheel, the Department of Planning and Development offered for next fall a 5,000 square foot property in Ballard and two 7,500 square foot properties in Interbay and SODO. (A full story is here.)

Patti Smith sings “Happy Birthday” to Dalai Lama

at 6:20am by Mark Matassa

In the awesome video of the day, the punk rock legend brought the exiled Tibetan leader onto the stage at southwest England’s Glastonbury music festival and led the huge crowd in a tribute on his 80th birthday, reports The New York Times. Said the Dalai Lama: “Those of you, singers and musicians, most of you, white hair. When I look at the hair, quite white, but their voice and physical action look very youthful, very forceful. That gives me encouragement. Myself now, 80 years old, but I should be like you, more active.”

When protesters come on nuclear subs instead of kayaks

at 5:44am by Mark Matassa

Credit: Seattle TImes
Credit: Seattle TImes

Through some excellent document reporting, The Seattle Times reveals the stealthy efforts of the U.S. Navy to lock up thousands of acres of Puget Sound shoreline within its “sphere of influence.” Tactics have included paying far less than assessed value for Hood Canal shoreline property in order to avoid government detections. “When issues arise and you are uncomfortable with a gray area,” one official wrote to subordinates, “I will write you a ‘get out of jail card free.’ ”


ISIS and the lonely young American

at 5:23am by Mark Matassa

In a riveting tale involving a young Washington state woman, The New York Times reports on the apparent efforts of a Muslim man who apparently groomed “Rachel” to become Muslim and support the Islamic state. It’s a story of youth, naïveté and literal by-the-book techniques to recruit someone to a foreign cause.

Nothing much at stake but the future of Greece and Europe

at 5:02am by Mark Matassa

Greece’s financial problems have been so consistently bad for so long that it has become almost easy to ignore them. But with a nationwide referendum coming next week, says New York Times “Upshot” commentator Neil Irwin, “These next few days are shaping up to become a transformational moment in the 60-year project of building a unified Europe. We just don’t yet know what sort of transformation it will be.” At stake is Greece’s inclusion in the European Union and a continuation of efforts to rescue the economy. In a separate article, the Times tracks the on-the-street moves of Greek citizens to withdraw cash and hoard essentials in the days before the referendum.

Friday 26 Jun, 2015

State population tops 7 million. Booming business on northern border. Dunce hat for drone flyer.

Legislators talk about court ruling

at 3:59pm by John Stang

Sens. Jamie Pedersen, D-Seattle, and Marko Liias, D-Mukilteo — two of Washington’s openly gay legislators — took to the Senate floor to praise the U.S. Supreme Court’s Friday ruling to legalize gay marriage nationwide. Pedersen, one of the driving forces in getting Washington’s gay marriage law passed in 2012, talked about being able to travel cross-country to Disneyland with his husband and four kids without worrying about his marriage’s legality from state to state.

Meanwhile, Sen. Mike Padden, R-Spokane Valley, stood up to to support Chief Justice John Roberts’ dissent in that ruling. Padden contended the ruling violated state rights, and that people opposed to gay marriage should have the right to act on those beliefs. He cited the recent Arlene’s Flowers case in Richland, where a florist denied service for a gay wedding. The state attorney general’s office stood up for the gay couple, and won a court case against the florist. The decision is under appeal.

Crosscut stories on today’s ruling are here and here.


Hatcheries: Looking for options

at 2:31pm by Marissa Brent-Tookey

KING 5 reports that millions of fish being raised by the state’s Department of Fish and Wildlife will be in danger if the government shuts down at the end of June. Hatchery employees will be furloughed, but someone will still need to monitor water conditions and feed the young salmon and other species. “It’s like going away on vacation and leaving your pet. Somebody has to take care of them,” says WDFW regional director Bob Everitt. One possible solution: recruiting volunteers during the shutdown. Crosscut’s John Stang will follow the attempts to avert a shutdown and reach a budget agreement with reports tonight and over the weekend.

Oregon trout released ahead of schedule

at 12:54pm by Alex Cnossen

More trouble from the drought in the Northwest: Rainbow trout in northwest Oregon were released ahead of schedule today due to decreasing water levels, the Statesman Journal reports. The trout were supposed to be released this September.

Wanted: Affordable housing in Bellevue

at 12:00pm by Marissa Brent-Tookey

Bellevue’s city council is using a multi-family tax exemption to encourage developers to build affordable housing units in certain neighborhoods, including downtown. According to the Puget Sound Business Journal, at least a fifth of the units built will need to be affordable for tenants making around $38,000 per year, in order to qualify for a 12-year property tax break. The incentive is estimated to support creation of 45 apartments annually.

Canines and cars win with TechCrunch pitches

at 11:40am by Marissa Brent-Tookey

At TechCrunch’s Meetup + Pitch Off yesterday, a car sharing service won first place and a high-tech dog training system was the audience favorite. GeekWire reports that Ian Maddox’s Joule is a service quite unlike Car2Go, as it specializes in long-term car shares with more options than a boxy two-seater. In his pitch, Maddox said, “you can check out a Prius from us on Monday, swap it out for a SUV on Wednesday and have a Tesla in time for a weekend.” But the audience really loved Erick Eidus’ PupPod. The “internet-connected learning system for dogs” uses sensors to determine when to dispense treats and reward certain behaviors.  It also allows owners to remotely monitor progress and watch their pet with a video camera.

Rowling plans a treat for Potter fans

at 11:37am by Alex Cnossen

Harry Potter fans, time to take off your reading glasses: J.K. Rowling is announcing some new material today. But it’s not a book — it’s a play titled, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. Premiering in the summer 2016, the performance will tell the “untold part” of the boy wizard’s life, including the lives of his murdered parents. It will run at the Palace Theatre in London beginning next summer. Ticket purchase details are still to come.

Why announce it today? Perhaps because it’s the 18th anniversary of Rowling’s first novel, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.

7 million strong

at 8:45am by Joe Copeland

Fueled by the fastest growth since the recession, Washington’s population has topped 7 million for the first time, according to the Associated Press. And the fastest growth is actually in two suburban counties, Snohomish and Clark — if you’re a real newcomer, those are, respectively, north of Seattle and just north of the Columbia River and Portland.

Supreme Court: Gay marriage legal nationwide

at 7:16am by Mary Bruno

In a landmark (and sure to be controversial) 5-4 decision, Supreme Court justices ruled on Friday that same-sex couples have a Constitutional right to marry and that all states must acknowledge that right. In question were four cases filed by gay and lesbian couples in Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and Tennessee. The court’s ruling acknowledges the seismic shift in public opinion on the issue, particularly among young people: A recent Washington Post-ABC poll showed a record high 61 percent of Americans supporting same-sex marriage. Go here for more Crosscut coverage. See The Guardian for a timeline of gay rights. The New York Times has highlights from the 5-4 decision. President Obama delivered these moving words from the Rose Garden:

Greenland shaken, not stirred by ice loss

at 7:00am by Joe Copeland

As its glaciers break up, Greenland is experiencing a new phenomenon: earthquakes caused by the massive movement of ice when icebergs fall into the sea. Many measure around 5.0 on the Richter scale. A scientist tells The Guardian that the quakes “are a marker of the fact that the ice sheet is getting smaller and retreating.”

Borders make for good-paying neighbors

at 6:30am by Joe Copeland

The town of Sumas is humming with business, thanks to Amazon and Canadian shoppers’ love of good deals, the Seattle Times reports. By shipping to a nearby address in Washington, shoppers from nearby Abbotsford (population 170,000) can avoid long waits for goods and steep shipping costs. When their goods arrive at one of the parcel services in Sumas or Blaine (on I-5 about 25 miles west of Sumas), the buyers can drive across the border — or even walk.

A neighborhood wealth gap

at 6:00am by Joe Copeland

Middle-income black families are much more likely to live in low-income neighborhoods than middle-income whites, a new study shows. The New York Times reports that part of it is choice but much of it comes from the greater overall family wealth of white families built up over generations, providing the ability to make larger down payments on housing. Other recent studies have shown that children from higher-income neighborhoods gain life-long advantages. One good point: Western cities see much less of the gap; Seattle ranks among the 25 with the smallest differences by race.

Dunce caps for drone operators

at 5:30am by Joe Copeland

A drone violating temporarily restricted air space is being blamed for diverting a tanker and two smaller planes trying to drop retardant on a Southern California wildfire. The Los Angeles Times reports that the fire in the San Bernadino mountains, leaving fire officials infuriated. When the two smaller planes returned to land, they spotted another drone flying far above the 400 foot maximum mandated by the Federal Aviation Administration.

Thursday 25 Jun, 2015

Stakes rising as Iran weapons deal nears deadline. A scooped step forward for Seattle tower. Can Edgar save the Mariners?

Paris is burning for Uber

at 3:41pm by Amelia Havanec

The French taxi industry is mad about Uber  — and not in a good way. Cabbies have been burning tires and overturning cars outside Paris airports to protest what they see as unfair competition. Professional taxi licenses are expensive and required for all chauffeurs, except for Uber drivers, who are stealing away an über amount of taxi driver income. The French government, says Reuters, is siding with the cabbies. Shielding its workers and industries from allegedly unfair competition is a deeply ingrained tradition in France. Through it all, Uber keeps chugging along. After just three years in France, the ride-sharing giant counts one million users. Vive la France!


Baby got hacked: U.S. data breach more severe than thought

at 1:15pm by Amelia Havanec

Recent digging into the data breach at the White House Office of Personnel Management underlines its severity: About 14 million more Americans were affected than officials initially reported. The Wall Street Journal suggests that the Obama administration initially played word games to make the breach appear smaller than it was. That means about 18 million U.S. government employees — past, present and potential — had data stolen, including social security numbers.

Officials are still pointing fingers at China. China is less than thrilled, pretty much responding, “wasn’t me.”

Murray pitches private-public partnership for downtown parks

at 1:02pm by David Kroman

The City of Seattle and the Downtown Seattle Association will share the duties of managing Westlake and, later this summer, Occidental parks, says Mayor Ed Murray. The partnership is an attempt to “revitalize” these parks and to encourage more people to spend time in the two spots. Is this sort of partnership the future of problem solving in downtown Seattle? We’ll have a story shortly.


Chris Christie to announce presidential campaign

at 12:55pm by Robert LeCompte

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie announce his long-predicted run for president this coming Tuesday at the high school in Livingston where he graduated and was once class president. Christie has been the governor of New Jersey since 2010 and there have been rumors of a presidential campaign ever since, notes NPR. No word on whether he plans to shut down the school parking lot if he doesn’t get a good start on his run for the White House.

Let the Seattle vs. Tukwila contest begin

at 12:09pm by Robert LeCompte

For the first time since 1999 the NHL will be accepting bids to open up new franchises in interested cities, with Seattle close to the top of the list. Also expressing interest are Las Vegas, Quebec City, Kansas City and Southern Ontario, reports SportsNet. The cost to start a new franchise? No less than $500 million. “We haven’t set a fee but based on the discussions I’ve had with ownership I don’t think there would be any appetite to expand if the number didn’t start with a five,” said  commissioner Gary Bettman. Bidding will start July 6, with the new teams expected to officially join the NHL in the 2017-2018 season.

On top of the fee to join, of course, is the cost of an arena. And then, for a bid here, there are the Seattle, Tukwila, wherever decisions to be made.



Rush to remove Confederate symbols

at 10:00am by Mary Bruno

John C. Calhoun, the 19th-century South Carolina statesman who said slavery was “indispensable to the peace and happiness” of Americans is immortalized by a portrait and a sculpture in the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. Each state, reports The New York Times, gets two statues in the Capitol. One week after the Charleston church shooting, lawmakers are racing to have Confederate statuary and symbols removed. Statues of Confederate president Jefferson Davis in Kentucky’s Capitol and Confederate general Kirby Smith in Tallahassee, Florida, and that “Southern Cross” in Mississippi’s state flag are just some of the controversial symbols on the chopping block.

Grim rise in Snohomish County youth suicides

at 8:22am by Mary Bruno

According to The Everett Herald, 13 young people in the county — two of them 12-year-olds — have taken their own lives since September 2014. That’s double the number of the previous year. It gets worse: When county health officials surveyed 12,000 high school and middle school students, nearly one in five said they had seriously considered killing themselves. “The fact that you’ve got all these young people who feel so isolated, who really feel … that the only resource is to kill themselves to me is just stunning,” Dr. Gary Goldbaum, of the Snohomish Health District told the Herald. “I don’t think there’s any other way to look at it than a kid who commits suicide is a real failing of society.”

Supreme Court upholds Obamacare

at 7:33am by Mary Bruno

US Supreme Court_Jeff Kubina_Flickr
Credit: Flickr user Jeff Kubina

By a 6-3 vote, Justices upheld a key provision of the Affordable Care Act, siding with the administration and blessing the  government subsidies that have made affordable health insurance available to millions of Americans. The court, wrote The Washington Post, “affirmed an Internal Revenue Service ruling that the subsidies should be available not only in states that have set up their own health insurance exchanges, but also in states where consumers rely on the federal government exchange.”

Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. wrote the majority opinion. Conservative Justices Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas and Samuel A. Alito Jr. dissented. Many of the ruling’s beneficiaries are white southerners from Republican states (Florida, Georgia, Louisiana and Texas, for example) whose leaders oppose the healthcare law.


Can Edgar save the Mariners?

at 6:23am by Mark Matassa

Edgar Martinez
Edgar Martinez

Not as a player, but as a coach? When even a relentlessly glass-half-full guy like Seattle Times sports columnist Larry Stone has doubts, a normal fan has to wonder. Mariners legend Edgar Martinez has joined the team as its new hitting coach, with much speculation that he’s there to help struggling star Robinson Cano. More likely, Stone says, Edgar’s first project will be weak-hitting catcher Mike Zunino. “The sky might not be falling,” Stone concludes, “but the storm clouds are gathering.”

A scooped step forward for 58-story downtown tower

at 6:00am by Mark Matassa

Credit: Wright Runstad
Credit: Wright Runstad

That giant tower proposed for downtown Seattle, which would be the city’s second tallest, won the approval of a review board Wednesday, with a few design changes. The $600 million Rainier Tower plan now will be resubmitted with a modified design to the city. Expectations are that construction will begin next year with an opening in late 2018.

‘Skinny jeans send women to hospital’

at 5:26am by Mark Matassa

Credit: Wikimedia
Credit: Wikimedia

It’s not really funny, but it is a headline too good to resist. According to an Associated Press report in the Seattle Times, a 35-year-old Australian woman spent four days in the hospital after helping a friend move while wearing tight pants. Turns out that several hours in a row of squatting to empty cupboards caused severe muscle damage, swilling and nerve blocking in her legs.

Stakes rising as Iran weapons deal nears deadline

at 5:03am by Mark Matassa

Credit: Wikimedia
Credit: Wikimedia

Less than a week now before the deadline to negotiate a nuclear arms deal with Iran there a signs of trouble. Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has seemed to pull back from some preliminary understandings, including inspections, and now, reports The New York Times, a group of former advisers to President Obama says the current version of the agreement may “fall short” of the administration’s standards.

The Times editorial board tries to put the pressure back on Khamenei, saying Iran’s leader faces a “fateful choice” that could threaten the region’s economic and military stability.

Wednesday 24 Jun, 2015

Big party to celebrate Oregon pot law. A new CEO for Boeing. 'Place in garden, lawn, to beautify landscape.'

Religious right calls for removal of pride flag

at 4:57pm by Jacob Nierenberg

The recent backlash against the Confederate flag won’t end centuries of American racism all on its own, but it is a step in the right direction. In a strange act of retaliation, far-right pundits are now calling for a ban of the gay pride flag. According to Breitbart editor John Nolte, the flag casts a shadow of “hate, oppression, and bigotry” wherever it flies. Nolte is somehow not alone in his stance, and he’s not above comparing gay people to Nazis. On the other side, Dan Savage  argues that the comparison between the pride flag and the Confederate flag is hypocritical and tone-deaf with regard to both sexuality and race. Somehow we don’t think these arguments will sway the Confederate flag fans making these comparisons.

Who needs Siri? Seattle-based Mona has your back

at 4:32pm by Marissa Brent-Tookey

The Seattle area continues to lead the way in 21st century shopping solutions. Today two former Amazon employees announced Mona, “the world’s smartest personal shopper.” The iPhone app is designed to learn users’ preferences, customize searches, and monitor prices. CEO and cofounder Orkun Atik, who was product manager of recommendations at Amazon, says he wants to “organize [Mona] around people,” rather than around products. 100 online shopping sites will be included in Mona’s search initially, including Nordstrom, Barney’s, and – naturally – Amazon.

Espionage Elysée: NSA spied on French leaders

at 3:59pm by Marissa Brent-Tookey

Wikileaks published documents this morning indicating that the NSA had been listening in on the phone calls of three successive French presidents. Current president Francois Hollande, whose cell phone number is on the list of tapped “selectors,” called an emergency meeting of his defense council and met with the U.S. ambassador, the Guardian reports. “We find it hard to understand or imagine what motivates an ally to spy on allies who are often on the same strategic positions in world affairs,” said government spokesman Stéphane Le Foll. And an even more irate statement came from the office of the president: “France will not tolerate actions that threaten its security and the protection of its interests.”

Murray's marijuana enforcement plan goes to council

at 3:50pm by David Kroman

Mayor Ed Murray recently introduced plans for a multi-pronged approach to stepping up enforcement of marijuana store licensing requirements, and today he handed over his full plan to the Seattle City Council. The proposed legislation is an attempt to simplify the handling of what have been the parallel medical and recreational marijuana industries. Any medical dispensary opened after January 2013 will likely close; those with a clean record opened before that date may apply for a special business license to remain open. The legislation would also tier enforcement priorities, ranking, for example, investigation of any selling to minors well over checking on the distribution of marijuana that hadn’t been tested for potency.

Wearable cameras for Seattle PD: getting serious?

at 3:39pm by Amelia Havanec

In his annual report released last week, police monitor Merrick J. Bobb said it was time for the Seattle Police to wear body cameras. Yesterday, the SPD hosted a body-cam video workshop that included fellow officers from Orlando, Louisville and Dallas to talk over the future of this program. As GeekWire reports in a smart, lengthy account, Seattle Mayor Ed Murray and Police Chief Kathleen O’Toole urged support for body-worn video cameras for all Seattle police — more than 600 patrol officers.

The event was something of a brain-dump for what to do with all that information. One thought was that, after an incident, it might be good to give everyone involved an access code so they could go and review the videos and associated police reports. Other discussions centered around quick redaction of video, potentially using facial recognition software to speed up the laborious process.

Boston Marathon bomber surprises the court

at 1:08pm by Nina Selipsky

After showing little emotion since his arrest, Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev this morning surprised a courtroom by apologizing for the first time. Associated Press reports that, with victims and their families present, Tsarnaev said,  “I am sorry for the lives that I’ve taken, for the suffering that I’ve caused you, for the damage that I’ve done — irreparable damage.” His statement came during a judge’s formal imposition of the death penalty, which had been decided already by jurors May 14.

Gmail adds "undo send" feature

at 1:00pm by Nina Selipsky

At last, a solution for that moment of panic we’ve all experienced when we accidentally hit “Reply all” — or just forget to attach the attachment. Yesterday, Google released its new “undo send” feature for Gmail. You can now choose to delay sending emails for 5 to 30 seconds, enough time to change your mind and avoid embarrassing or intemperate replies, according to The New York Times. To enable the feature, go to the “General” tab under “Settings.” Undo Send is about halfway down the page.

Preschoolers got sympathy

at 12:34pm by Marissa Brent-Tookey

A UK and German study published in Current Biology reveals that 3-year-olds understand injustice, and will act to fix it, according to NPR. When puppeteers acted out situations in which one puppet stole a cookie from another puppet, children would return the cookie to its rightful owner 60 percent of the time. (That’s in comparison to 80 percent of the time in which children would take back their own cookies that were stolen.)

The study also compared the reactions of 3-year-olds to the reactions of 5-year-olds, and found that the older children were more likely to dole out punishment to culprits. The younger age group focused on comforting victims and righting wrongs.



Lego says 'no' to plastic bricks, packaging

at 12:30pm by Alex Cnossen

Lego is about to get a bit more green. Time reports the toy company recently announced plans to invest $1 billion in an effort to reduce its carbon footprint over the next 15 years. Yes, that means Lego will work to replace the plastic products in its bricks and its packaging with materials that are better for the environment. It’s sounds like a tall order. The project and 100 new employees will be headquartered at a Lego sustainability center in Demark, which is slated to be finished by 2016.

Legally blind photographer shows real vision with Ms

at 11:55am by Nina Selipsky

Seattle photographer Robert Wright was just like any other fan at the game on Tuesday, taking pictures and cheering on the Ms. The difference? He is legally blind. According to KING 5, Wright was in a car accident when he was three weeks old, and is able to look out of both eyes but only one at a time. He uses an auto-focus camera that beeps to tell him when to take a picture. The Mariners are helping him to build his portfolio, and gave him field access yesterday to take photos of batting practice and the game against the Royals.

Bainbridge Island benches get surprise makeover

at 11:48am by Marissa Brent-Tookey

Bainbridge Island residents have varying opinions on the aesthetic appeal of what some are calling art and others vandalism. No one knows who painted several cement benches bright orange, or why they did it. “I think that’s a great idea,” says one KING 5 interviewee. City officials are calling for any information that might lead to the miscreant (or artist), and they don’t want anything else painted without a permit.

Amazon changes royalties rules on Kindle books

at 8:11am by Mary Bruno

Starting July 1, royalty payments to authors who publish with Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing platform will be based on the number of pages read. The way it works now, according to the Associated Press, authors get a share of total revenues generated from the approximately 800,000 books borrowed (and at least 10 percent read) through Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited and Kindle Owners Lending Library. Amazon credits the switch to author feedback. The new system will presumably advantage books that are longer and more well-read.

Layoff notices go out to state workers

at 7:54am by Mary Bruno

The official heads up came on Tuesday, to thousands of state employees. If state lawmakers don’t pass a budget by the close of their second special session (midnight Saturday) more than 26,000 state workers will be laid off.  No budget = government shutdown = layoffs. The clock is ticking.

Growth in the city means growth in city government

at 6:30am by Mark Matassa

Mayor Ed Murray said Tuesday he is creating a new city agency to manage Seattle’s construction and population boom. The new Office of Planning and Community Development will combine functions of several departments, including the Department of Planning and Development, reports The Seattle Times.

New CEO for Boeing

at 6:00am by Mark Matassa

Credit: Boeing Co.
Credit: Boeing Co.

Dennis Muilenburg, who has been Boeing’s president and chief operating officer, will succeed Jim McNerny as chief executive on July 1. The Puget Sound Business Journal says the appointment is not a surprise, as Muilenburg, 51, clearly has been preparing for the job, including taking a leading role in talking with analysts, and in Boeing’s cost-cutting efforts. After starting his career at Boeing as an intern, he will be the company’s 10th chief executive.

One thing Muilenburg will inherit is a lawsuit by four flight attendants who say fumes on a Boeing jet made them sick, reports The Seattle Times.

‘Place in garden, lawn, to beautify landscape’

at 5:33am by Mark Matassa

Those were the instructions in a 1950s Sears catalog for the use of a plastic pink flamingo, which sold for $2.76. The inventor of the now-kitsch yard decoration, Dan Featherstone, died Monday at 79, reports The New York Times.

Big party next week to celebrate Oregon pot law

at 5:03am by Mark Matassa

WeedThePeople_IIn Portland, they’re planning to mark the beginning of legal marijuana with a “Weed the People” festival, which The Oregonian describes as “a sharing and sampling party that all but guarantees to generate cloud thick plumes of smoke in celebration.” The event is July 3.

Meanwhile, the city government is preparing to announce new local regulations for the sale of recreational marijuana. Mayor Charlie Hales called on Portlanders to be neighborly. That means exploring ways “to minimize the odor of marijuana,” The Oregonian quotes his office as saying, so “community air is enjoyable for everyone in your neighborhood.”

Are you "truly American"?

at 12:00am by Mary Bruno

What makes an American graph_550Respondents to the latest survey from the Public Religion Research Institute say that being born in the U.S. (58 percent), speaking English (89 percent) and believing in the Christian God (69 percent) are essential to being “truly American.”

Tuesday 23 Jun, 2015

WTF Barack Obama. It's the guns, stupid. A massive Seattle development, and affordable housing too.

Another reason to obey the rules of the road

at 3:24pm by Amelia Havanec

If a police officer pulls you over, you might get something extraordinarily different from a ticket. In a quest for safer streets, the Seattle Department of Transportation and Seattle PD were seen last week handing out $5 Starbucks gift cards to those who abide by traffic laws. Merry Christmas during summer solstice, Seattle. This new venture is part of the city’s Vision Zero initiative, which launched in February to reduce traffic fatalities entirely by 2030. Gift cards were funded by a state grant aimed at pedestrian and bike safety. Over the past decade, there’s been a 30 percent drop in traffic deaths, and this means of positive reinforcement may make Seattle roads even safer.

26,000 state workers to receive furlough notices

at 3:22pm by Alex Cnossen

Thousands of government employees will receive furlough notices today due to extended negotiations surrounding that state budget. The Office of Financial Management estimates that more than 26,000 employees will receive the notices if a new state budget isn’t adopted by early next week. Most notices will be sent out via email, though some letters were sent by mail last Friday to employees who are currently on leave.Employees may not perform any work during the furlough. Officials from the governor’s budget office have released a contingency plan if a two-year state operating budget isn’t signed into law before midnight June 30.




UW students bring food recovery program to campus

at 3:15pm by Nina Selipsky

University of Washington student Diane Bolme recently launched an effort to tackle the issues of food waste and hunger in the Seattle area, starting a local chapter of Food Recovery Network on her campus. The program exists on 140 campuses across the U.S., and takes high-quality food from schools and surrounding areas that would otherwise go to waste and donates it to nearby shelters. Bolme works at Canlis, an iconic Seattle restaurant, and noticed a significant amount of food being thrown out as a result of people not finishing everything on their plates. UW students are now able to pick up food from restaurants like Canlis and Panera and deliver it to Seattle’s Union Gospel Mission and Angeline’s Women Shelter. The group hopes to begin working with UW to recover food from dining halls on campus.

Police don't appreciate alerting drivers to enforcement?

at 2:17pm by Nina Selipsky

A Seattle man was issued a $138 ticket for warning drivers of a police speed trap recently. Daniel Gehlke was standing on 14th Avenue S. and S. Washington Street — in the Central Area near Bailey Gatzert Elementary School — with a handmade sign written in black marker on a Rubbermaid top. The message read, “Cops Ahead! Stop at sign and light!” A police officer confronted Gehlke after about five minutes. Municipal law forbids using the word “stop” in signs along the roads, but, according to KOMO, Gehlke believes he was ticketed because of the content of the sign and not his crafting of the language. The law also covers signs with “slow,” leading Gehlke to wonder whether police would go after all those unofficial signs telling people, “Slow, children at play.” He plans to appeal.


Confused about your rights as a worker? A new non-profit has you covered

at 1:54pm by Robert LeCompte

Following the recent raising of the minimum wage in Seattle to $15 an hour, many employees in the Emerald City may be a little confused about their rights. The Fair Work Center, a non-profit, has launched and will partner with a law clinic at the University of Washington. “Seattle is fortunate to have a suite of newly adopted labor laws, including one of the highest minimum wages in the country,” said Fair Work Center’s Director Nicole Vallestero Keenan. The center will help workers make sense of their rights under city laws about paid sick leave, wage theft protections and other issues as well as the minimum wage. For more information, head on over to Fair Work Center’s website.

Rainbow sidewalks unveiled

at 12:19pm by Nina Selipsky

Earlier this morning, Mayor Ed Murray unveiled eleven new rainbow sidewalks around Seattle, including on Pine and Pike streets in the Capitol Hill neighborhood. This comes just in time for Seattle’s annual Pride Parade this Sunday, and the city is planning to make the new coat of paint permanent, according to KOMO. Local groups in the LGBTQ community have been campaigning for this symbolic effort for several years. The project was funded by new private developers on Capitol Hill.

One of the new intersections.
One of the newly painted intersections. Credit: Gordon Werner/Flickr


Video shows mysterious prison delivery

at 9:31am by Nina Selipsky

A video from the days following the New York state prison break has gone viral. It shows Fox News host Greta Van Susteren interviewing a reporter on the scene outside the prison’s white walls, but what has caught viewers’ attention is what is happening in the background. The video shows a person in civilian clothing climbing the steps under one of the guard towers and hoisting a red bag up the wall as a rope is lowered from the top. Huh? According to NPR, corrections officers and their families have suggested that this is a common practice for delivering lunches and other supplies to guards working long shifts. Two investigations are underway to evaluate the security at Clinton Correctional Facility.

Walmart, Sears stop carrying Confederate flags

at 8:14am by Mary Bruno

Walmart says no to Confederate flag.
Credit: Flickr user Mike Mozart

The nation’s two largest retailers won’t be selling the flag anymore, the latest in a cascade of disavowals. The flag, says CNN, has become “toxic” in the wake of last week’s fatal shooting at Charleston’s Emmanuel AME church. “We never want to offend anyone with the products that we offer,” Walmart spokesman Brian Nick told CNN. “We have taken steps to remove all items promoting the Confederate flag from our assortment.”

The decision by Walmart and Sears comes one day after South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley said it was time to remove the flag from the state Capitol grounds.

Olympic fire smoky and spreading

at 7:55am by Mary Bruno

An aerial photo of the Paradise Fire shows smoke rising near the Queets River Sunday June 21, 2015, in the Olympic National Park. Credit: United States Forest Servic (United States Forest Service / )
Credit: U.S. Forest Service

The Paradise fire in Olympic National Park is getting bigger (650 acres and growing), hotter and harder to contain, according to The Seattle Times. Port Angelenos can see the smoke, which is so thick that officials don’t know exactly how big the fire is. The Olympic Peninsula hasn’t been this dry since 1951, so don’t expect fire relief any time soon.

Feds kick in for Oso recovery

at 7:40am by Mary Bruno

Mangled car in Oso mudslide zoneSnohomish County can thank Senators Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell for the $7.6 million in federal largesse that will be coming its way in the next few years. (Murray and Cantwell, along with U.S. Reps. Suzan DelBene and Rick Larsen, responded quickly after the March 2014 mudslide that killed 43 people, and they remain involved.) According to the Everett Herald, the county spent roughly $8 million to clear debris from the mudslide zone. The federal grants, from FEMA, are expected to cover about $7.6 million of that cost.

You’re fat? Congratulations!

at 6:09am by Mark Matassa

Being “merely” overweight is becoming almost an accomplishment. For the first time, says a new report detailed in The Los Angeles Times, adults who are obese now outnumber those who are overweight. The report, in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine, says that 67.5 million Americans older than 25 are obese, with another 62.5 million overweight. It’s worse for women: two out of three American women are overweight, according to the study.

Massive development, and affordable housing too

at 5:45am by Mark Matassa

Rainier Square proposal. Credit: Wright Runstad
Credit: Wright Runstad

With the city of Seattle considering a tax on developers to help pay for affordable housing, some big builders are trying to get ahead of the debate. Wright Runstad, which is proposing this huge complex downtown at the site of Rainier Square, says its $600 million development would create $12.3 million for affordable housing and other public programs, reports the Puget Sound Business Journal.

It’s the guns, stupid

at 5:15am by Mark Matassa

The New Yorker’s Adam Gopnik doesn’t get overly bogged down in theory or politics. The reason we continue to have shootings like the one last week in Charleston, S.C., he says, is “we have too many guns. When gun massacres have happened elsewhere — as they sometimes have, in Canada and Scotland and Australia and elsewhere — the common-sense response has been to change the laws, and, almost always, after the laws are changed the massacres end. In the United States, they continue. It seems like a good bet that changing the law here would change that.”

WTF Barack Obama

at 5:02am by Mark Matassa

Credit: WhiteHouse.gov
Credit: WhiteHouse.gov

In an extraordinary meeting of national politics and new media, President Obama sat for an interview with Marc Maron, comedian and host of the popular “WTF” podcast. Moran, as is his way, focused less on politics or policy and more on Obama the man. Broadcasting from his Pasadena basement, Maron elicited interesting stories about Obama’s maturation as a college student just down the street from the interview site, and along the way scored some quotable insights from the president.

The New York Times, concentrating on the grabber quote of the interview, notes that it was the first time a president has publicly uttered the word “nigger” in generations.

And Terry Gross, host of NPR’s “Fresh Air” program, interviews Maron about the experience of interviewing the president. A lot of smart, thoughtful stuff.


Monday 22 Jun, 2015

Confederate flag and Republican leaders. U.S. Open: success or tragedy? 'To Apple, Love Taylor.'

S. Carolina governor: "It's time to move the flag."

at 6:10pm by Mary Bruno

When South Carolina’s Republican governor, Nikki Haley, said on Monday that it was time to remove the Confederate battle flag from the grounds of the State Capitol, she chose sides in a longstanding battle — and offered welcome cover to GOP presidential hopefuls on a sticky issue. The flag can keep flying on private property, said Haley, “but the State House is different, and the events of this past week call upon us to look at this in a different way. … We are not going to allow this symbol to divide us any longer.”

The bare mountains

at 3:50pm by Nina Selipsky

Mountain stations across Washington are reporting that there is currently no snowpack in the state due to the record-high temperatures this year. According to the Seattle Times, some basins where the snow typically lasts until late June have been empty since May. Forty percent of Washington’s rivers are at record lows, and thousands of Yakima basin farmers will have to carefully manage water this summer as a result, according to Jeff Marti of the state Department of Ecology. However, Seattle Public Utilities is sticking with its confidence that the snowpack drought should not cause issues for Seattle’s water supply, as rainwater filled the city’s reservoirs.

Diversity training now mandatory for all Microsoft employees

at 2:34pm by Amelia Havanec

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella is still making up for his faux pas last year, in which he said that women should not ask for raises, and instead depend on the good karma to get ahead. It used to be that only the top executives at Microsoft were required to take a class about diversity issues. The Puget Sound Business Journal, reports that such training is now mandatory for all Microsoft employees. The intention is to help identify diversity biases that individuals may unconsciously bring into the workplace — which is currently a little more than 75 percent male and 61 percent white, according to data from the company. Slow clap.

Earth in high definition

at 2:30pm by Marissa Brent-Tookey


NASA is providing this 4K Ultra HD footage taken at the International Space Station that shows what it calls “the most breathtaking views of planet Earth and space station activities ever acquired.”


Swastika worn on ferry, but Confederate flag could go

at 2:25pm by Jacob Nierenberg

Copyright © Jay Trinidad
Copyright © Jay Trinidad

Leave it to good ol’-fashioned Nazism to get the Seattle Weekly and The Stranger to see eye-to-eye. On Thursday night, as both report, professional photographer Jay Trinidad was headed home to Bainbridge Island when he saw a man dressed starkly in black, save for one bright red armband adorned with a swastika. Trinidad, a Filipino American, initially walked away before reconsidering and taking three deliberate pictures of the man. The photos are striking in a number of ways—how the man’s empty gaze gives nothing away, how the couple sitting next to him seems oblivious to the hateful symbol. The Weekly reports suggestions that the man in the picture was paid to wear the swastika and was perhaps even unaware of its meaning.
The encounter occurred the day after the shooting in Charleston, where another offensive symbol, the Confederate flag, where Republicans are finally calling for its removal,  according to CNN.


Body of missing Orting woman found

at 1:49pm by Jacob Nierenberg

The two-week search for a missing woman and mother of two from Orting ended in tragedy this weekend when the body of Nicole White, 28, was found in the woods surrounding Kapowsin. According to KOMO, authorities say that White was last seen on June 6 leaving the Jeepers Country Bar & Grill in Spanaway with a man she met on a dating website. The man in question is currently in Pierce County Jail on unrelated weapons charges, but remains a person of interest.

Seattleites insist on solo commuting

at 1:36pm by Marissa Brent-Tookey

The usual traffic clog in downtown Seattle. Credit: Oran Viriyincy/Flickr
The usual traffic clog in downtown Seattle. Credit: Oran Viriyincy/Flickr

Traffic may be terrible, yet are we willing to stop driving alone? The Seattle Times reports that the answer is an emphatic ‘no,’ according to a study by the Puget Sound Regional Council. Participants were allowed to choose from a variety of things that would get them to stop driving to work alone, and the single highest percentage said nothing would change their commute. In King County, this was the response from 40.5 percent. Even more Snohomish, Pierce, and Kitsap residents said the same.

Predictably, King County has the highest percentage of people (19.2) already taking public transportation or carpooling. Other possible answers included additional tolls, HOV lanes, and parking fees. Respondents in all counties tended to agree that gas prices over $5 and high-speed transit would be the encouragement they needed to change their commuting routine.

Ex-White House chef turns up dead on hiking trail

at 1:35pm by Marissa Brent-Tookey

The former White House Executive Chef under Bill Clinton and George W. Bush has been found dead on a mountain trail near Taos, New Mexico. According to NPR, Walter Scheib was last seen June 13, and was found by search teams Sunday. He apparently told no one where he was headed, but was unprepared for more than a one-day hike. After leaving the White House kitchen in 2005, Scheib wrote a memoir, competed on Iron Chef America, and worked as a food consultant.

Hawaii bill bans smokers under 21

at 1:25pm by Alex Cnossen

Hawaii is raising its legal smoking age to 21, making it the first U.S state to enact such a law, according to Associated Press. The law takes effect on Jan. 1, 2016 and will also ban the sale, purchase or use of electronic cigarettes or other tobacco products for those under the age of 21. Most states have minimum legal age of 18. Alabama, Alaska, New Jersey and Utah have raised the minimum age to 19. Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson has called for raising the minimum purchase age here to 21.

New lead in hunt for New York prison escapees

at 1:19pm by Nina Selipsky

Authorities are refocusing their hunt for New York prison escapees Richard Matt and David Sweat after finding DNA from the men on Saturday in a burglarized cabin about 20 miles from the site of their escape. According to NBC, the owner of the cabin saw someone fleeing from the woods, and law enforcement authorities promptly converged on the rural community with helicopters and military trucks. The forensic evidence showed that Matt and Sweat had been at the cabin within the last 48 hours, an official briefed on the investigation told The New York Times this morning. The lead has re-invigorated the two-week-old search for the men.

Three wildfires blazing in Washington

at 12:30pm by Marissa Brent-Tookey

The Olympic Peninsula is experiencing its driest year since 1951, making it difficult for firefighters to control a fire 13 miles north and northeast of Quinault. The lightning-sparked fire, is jumping between treetops, fueled by lichens. Olympic National Park Fire Management Officer Todd Rankin told KING 5 that “traditional suppression tactics do not work in this fuel type since the fire spread is occurring in the forest canopy, not on the ground.” The other two fires, in the Cascades and in Colville National Forest, were started by lightning and a helicopter crash, respectively, and are more contained.

Privacy rights group protests Uber's new policy

at 12:24pm by Alex Cnossen

A privacy rights group is filing a complaint against Uber, citing several concerns about the ride-sharing service’s new policy that gives it right to track users — even if they aren’t currently using the Uber app. The New York Times reports that complaint about the new policy could draw quick attention from regulators, because the policy is scheduled to take effect on July 15. Critics say the policy would allow Uber to collect precise location data about a customer’s smartphone — even, in many cases, if the app is running in the background or the GPS location finder is turned off. In its May 28 statement, Uber said that the changes “would allow Uber to launch new promotional features that use contacts — for example the ability to send special offers to riders’ friends or family.”

The Mariners lost a game and fans lost their wallets

at 12:16pm by Marissa Brent-Tookey

Several families returned to their cars in multiple lots after Sunday’s game at Safeco Field to find smashed windows. Among the items stolen were iPads, credit cards and purses (which turned up empty a few blocks away). Lee Keller, one of the victims, told KOMO News that she had paid $30 to park in a lot, assuming the attendant would keep it secure. But a police officer informed her that similar thefts occur at every game.

GOP candidates and the Confederate flag

at 9:00am by Mary Bruno

Credit: Creative Commons

The battle flag that, despite the recent massacre in Charleston, is still flapping — at full staff — on the grounds of South Carolina’s Capitol has put Republican presidential candidates in an awkward spot. How do they honor the dead without torpedoing their chances in the S. Carolina primary, where legions of conservative white voters worship the flag as part of their heritage? The New York Times reviews the history of the Confederate flag debate and rounds up candidate comments — largely anodyne variations on “we know South Carolina will do the right thing.”

Jeb Bush (in a Saturday statement) reminded us that as Florida’s governor he moved the Confederate flag fom the state Capitol to “to a museum where it belonged.” Florida Senator Marco Rubio was confident that S. Carolina would “make the right choice for the people of South Carolina.” Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is taking a pass on all flag questions until the nine victims of Wednesday’s shooting are buried.

Safeco biathlon: baseball and golf

at 8:10am by Mary Bruno

Thanks to a state-of-the-art golf simulator newly installed beneath Safeco’s centerfield bleachers, Mariners’ fans can now work on their swing between innings — or whenever. The 800-square foot “interactive center,” says GeekWire, comes courtesy of Bellevue’s Gregg Rogers’ Golf Performance Center, which signed a sponsorship deal with the Ms.

Carpoolers busted at some park and rides

at 7:58am by Mary Bruno

Rules governing who’s allowed to park at a park and ride vary depending on the park and ride. Turns out the South Everett Freeway Station (I-5 at 112th Street) is for transit-users only and security patrols there have been cracking down on surprised scofflaws, according to the Everett Herald. Sound Transit operates the popular Everett Freeway Station in Snohomish County. “The lots are only for transit users,” Sound Transit spokesperson Bruce Gray told the Herald. “That includes bus riders or those using transit-provided vanpool vehicles. … We periodically do ’emphasis patrols’ where our folks go to all of our facilities to monitor their usage and remind folks of the rules, which are also posted at all of our lots.” Scofflaws, beware!

‘To Apple, Love Taylor’

at 7:00am by Mark Matassa

Credit: Billboard.com
Credit: Billboard.com

In an incredibly effective one-day, one-person protest, Taylor Swift persuaded Apple to reverse its announced policy and pay royalties to musicians and others during its launch of a new streaming Apple Music service. Swift, an industry giant, used sugar, not a stick, to make her case, reports The Los Angeles Times. ”I realize that Apple is working towards a goal of paid streaming. I think that is beautiful progress,” Swift wrote. “We know how astronomically successful Apple has been and we know that this incredible company has the money to pay artists, writers and producers for the 3 month trial period …  even if it is free for the fans trying it out.” Less than 24 hours after Swift posted her letter, Apple announced it had reconsidered. Here is Swift’s letter.

The emergence of a new Northwest Indian leader

at 6:12am by Mark Matassa

A year after the death of legendary Nisqually Tribe leader Billy Frank, Swinomish leader Brian Cladoosby is becoming the region’s best known Native American voice, both here and nationally. The Seattle Times has a nice profile of the 56-year-old Cladoosby, who is now in his second year as president of the National Congress of American Indians. Like Frank, he fights for salmon and sovereignty, and he has also made the most of the Swinomish casino to generate millions of dollars a year for tribal developments and member benefits.

WSU’s ‘visionary' president dies at 59

at 6:00am by Mark Matassa

Elson Floyd, who fought for a medical school at Washington State University among other accomplishments, died over the weekend of cancer. The Seattle Times coverage says Floyd was “one of the most respected and admired educators in the country, and a giant in his field.” The above Times video captures him nicely.

U.S. Open: success or ‘tragedy’?

at 5:18am by Mark Matassa

Chambers Bay, the unusual and difficult links-style golf course in University Place, showed off the Pacific Northwest beautifully as host of the U.S. Open. But not everyone loved it. Gary Player, a nine-time major-tournament winner called the course a “tragedy” and “the worst golf course I might’ve ever seen in my 63 years as a pro golfer.” Jordan Spieth, with no such complaints, won the tournament by a stroke over Dustin Johnson, who missed eagle and birdie putts on the 18th green. The Seattle Times had nice coverage all weekend.

Friday 19 Jun, 2015

Suspect held as Charleston grieves. Chambers Bay takes early lead at U.S. Open. Trump can't rock in the free world.

No lighting up in great outdoors

at 3:59pm by Joe Copeland

King County’s fire marshal is making it official: The dry conditions are making it dangerous to have outdoor fires. A burn ban will go into effect for all of unincorporated King County on Monday, according to a statement just issued by County Executive Dow Constantine’s office. Exceptions are for small fires in established fire pits at campgrounds and on private property with the owner’s permission.

Nudity complaints get new welcome

at 3:21pm by Alex Cnossen

Google has a new policy today that will allow anyone to fill out a form requesting the removal of nude and sexual images of themselves that have been posted without their consent. Google is the latest tech company to add a reporting system for this kind of content. Reddit updated its policy in February; Twitter and Facebook banned nude and sexual images in March.

Experienced angler (age 10) gets her fish

at 3:17pm by Alex Cnossen

Lily Hornish, a 10-year-old Boise native, hooked a 330-pound halibut while fishing with her family in Alaska last Saturday, the Idaho Statesman reports. It took nearly an hour, and the help of everyone on the boat, to pull the fish on board. According to her dad, Bill Hornish, Lily has been an enthusiastic angler since she was 4 years old.

Juneteenth: Let's celebrate

at 2:30pm by Alex Cnossen

For South Seattle Emerald columnist Cindi Azevedo Laws, the Fourth of July doesn’t capture the full meaning of freedom. For her, the meaning became more with Juneteenth — today — a state holiday in Texas, honoring the freeing of American slaves there in 1865. Juneteenth, she writes. “deserves bigger and broader recognition since freedom, equality and representation continue to be elusive in this county.” Law suggests that the United States continues to allow exploitation of the poor and immigrants, but, by remembering Juneteenth, Americans could learn from history.


'Waterfront for all' incites trouble for all

at 12:01pm by Marissa Brent-Tookey

Leaders of the Friends of Waterfront Seattle are unhappy with supporters of Initiative 123, which proposes leaving a 400-foot section of the viaduct for redevelopment as an elevated park. As KING 5 explains, the groups have different visions: Friends of Waterfront Seattle is behind the city’s current plans, which involve tearing down the viaduct and creating bike lanes, beaches and plazas. Friends of Waterfront Seattle finds the campaign behind Initiative 123 misleading, but the biggest objection seems to be its use of “waterfront for all” as a catchphrase. Friends’ Charley Royer notes that is his group’s long-established phrasing. I-123 director, Kate Martin, insists that “there’s really no confusion. It’s literally a waterfront for all.”

High Line Park in New York, built on a disused railroad trestle Credit: Flickr user David Berkowitz
New York’s High Line Park, built on an old railroad trestle. Credit: Flickr user David Berkowitz

Death by gun super high in US

at 11:00am by Mary Bruno

US gun homicides550

Few countries can top the U.S. when it comes to gun homicides. The Washington Post shares this chart — based on data collected by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime and crunched by The Guardian. Our annual gun homicide rate (2.97 per 100,000 people) is three times the rate of most other wealthy nations; that is, members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. (The chart doesn’t include Latin American countries such as Mexico where political instability and the drug trade have elevated murder rates.)

Supremes to Texas: Keep Confederate flag on license plates

at 9:30am by Mary Bruno

confederate-flag-9How ironic, notes The New York Times, that before, during and after a white shooter — whose goal was to ignite a race war — gunned down nine African Americans in a Charleston church, the Confederate flag continued to flap over South Carolina’s state Capitol. Ironic still that on the day of the shootings, the U.S. Supreme Court told Texas it could continue to display the Confederate flag on the state’s license plates.

This flag flap is not new. “But,” writes The Times, “with a photo emerging of Dylann Storm Roof … posing in front of a car with Confederate plates, the debate has been reignited on social media and beyond about whether the flag should be displayed, and whether politicians should continue to defend the flag as a symbol of Southern heritage.”

Mapping the biggest companies

at 9:04am by Mary Bruno

Ever wonder which companies are the biggest in each state? Neither have we. But GeekWire unearthed this very interesting, “Largest Companies by Revenue” map of the U.S. Biggest business in Washington, you ask? Costco, baby.

Source: Broadviewnet

Seattle church mourns Charleston victims

at 8:53am by Mary Bruno

Seattle’s First African Methodist Episcopal Church held a prayer vigil on Thursday night to honor the Charleston shooting victims. First AME is the oldest and among the largest black churches in Seattle and some of its members knew some of the victims. Speakers, reports The Seattle Times, called for the local  community to address racism. Vigil attendee Julie Burrell said that First AME held its own service on Wednesday, the night of the Charleston shooting. “That could have been us,” she said.

Charleston shooter "almost didn't go through with it"

at 8:39am by Mary Bruno

NBC News is reporting that 21-year-old Dylann Roof confessed to shooting and killing nine people at Charleston’s historic church, and told investigators that he “almost didn’t go through with it because everyone was so nice.” Roof surrendered to police after being pulled over for a traffic violation in Shelby, South Carolina. He was charged with nine counts of murder. S. Carolina governor Nikki Haley is calling for the death penalty.

Trump can’t rock in the free world

at 6:48am by Mark Matassa

When The Donald announced his Republican presidential campaign this week he used Neil Young’s “Rockin’ in the Free World” as background music. Uncool, says Young. Trump did not have Young’s permission to use the song or even ask. And furthermore if he could vote in the U.S. (Young is a Canadian), he said, there’s no way he would support Trump. The Los Angeles Times has been all over this story.

Chambers Bay takes lead on first day of U.S. Open

at 6:00am by Mark Matassa

Credit: www.thewalkinggolfer.com
Credit: www.thewalkinggolfer.com

On a beautiful day to introduce one of the Northwest’s great golf courses to an international TV audience, golfers and analysts alike celebrated Chambers Bay’s long, rugged and difficult play. Seattle Times columnist Larry Stone finely captures the life, career and opening day of one of the tournament’s leaders, Dustin Johnson, who shot a 5-under-par 65. Tiger Woods, who hasn’t won a major since 2008, was 10 over par. More excellent coverage in the Times.

Climate change claiming first victims in Northwest

at 5:33am by Mark Matassa

Credit: Photo: Dan Hershman
Credit: Photo: Dan Hershman

The Oregonian reports that warner than usual water in the Willamette River is killing spring Chinook salmon as they swim upstream to spawn. Scientists say the state’s low snowpack is to blame, since that means shallower rivers, which tend to warm quickly. For that reason, as the summer progresses warmer weather will continue to kill off the fish.

Suspect held as Charleston grieves

at 5:02am by Mark Matassa

A day after the church massacre that rocked Charleston, S.C., and poked at the open wound that is U.S. race relations, The New York Times comes back with a strong coverage package. The Times details the arrest of the suspect, sets the scene of the crime, and nicely remembers the nine “spiritual mentors” gunned down at the church, among other offerings. The site also has President Obama’s remarks, above. “I’ve had to make statements like this too many times,” the president said.

Thursday 18 Jun, 2015

City settles suit with man shot in face. U.S. Open opens this morning at Chambers Bay. Woman will appear on $10 bill.

China, UW and Microsoft: together

at 4:00pm by Cody Olsen

The University of Washington and Tsinghua University in China are collaborating to open a new tech grad school in Bellevue. The Global Innovation Exchange (GIX) will open in the fall of 2016, in Bellevue’s Spring District, with $40 million in backing from Microsoft. GeekWire reports it will be the first time that a Chinese research institution has a location in the United States.

GIX will first offer a 15-month master’s degree in technology innovation for 30-35 students, but within a decade the project leaders envision a school with 3,000 students. Gov. Jay Inslee said, “We are going to celebrate the U.S. Open for about a week, and GIX for about 100 years.”

Housing angst: Got multiple answers?

at 2:30pm by Joe Copeland

A new poll suggests that Seattle residents may have little enthusiasm for rent control, Publicola reports. Respondents overwhelming leaned toward favoring a candidate who supports a variety of policies to create housing affordability as opposed to one “who supports strict rent control.” And — for all the talk about housing costs — the poll showed much greater concern about transportation among city residents. Maybe they just want to be able to get home, no matter how pricey their pad may be?

DNA says Kennewick Man was Native American

at 11:56am by Mary Bruno

A new book may answer some of the questions surrounding the mysterious Kennewick Man, but not all.
Credit: Brittney Titchnell/Smithsonian Institute

Since two college students first stumbled upon his remains in July 1996, Kennewick Man has been the subject of a custody battle: Native American tribes claimed the bones as an ancestor’s remains. Scientists disagreed and filed suit to keep Kennewick Man out of a Native American burial ground — and available for further study. Now, as The New York Times reports, new DNA evidence published in the journal Nature promises to award custody to the tribes. “It’s very clear that Kennewick Man is most closely related to contemporary Native Americans,” Eske Willerslev, a University of Copenhagen geneticist and the study’s lead author, told The Times. “In my view, it’s bone-solid.”

Obama on "heartbreaking" Charleston shooting

at 11:35am by Mary Bruno

“There is something particularly heartbreaking about death happening in a place in which we seek solace, in which we seek peace, in a place of worship,” said the president. “… This is a place of worship that was founded by African Americans seeking liberty. … When there were laws banning all-black church gatherings, they conducted services in secret. … Some of our brightest leaders spoke and led marches from this church’s steps. This is a sacred place in the history of Charleston and in the history of America. … We as a country will have to reckon with the fact that this type of mass violence does not happen in other advanced countries.”

2 Injured in Bellevue explosion

at 11:25am by Cody Olsen

Two workers were rushed to Harborview Medical Center after a gas line exploded at a Bellevue construction site  this morning. Both men suffered serious burns. A press release from Harborview says the victim in “serious condition” will be transferred to the intensive care unit; the other is in satisfactory condition. Lots of traffic disruptions: Komonews lists the bus routes being rerouted after the accident. Although leaking gas lines have been a concern in the Northwest at times, the early reports indicate that the workers, who were using soldering equipment, may have accidentally come upon a line that hadn’t been turned off.

Seattle settles largest ever police abuse suit

at 9:30am by Mary Bruno

In 2009, Seattle police officer Eugene Schubeck shot Nathaniel Caylor in the face. Police had responded to a call that Caylor was suicidal, high on drugs and alcohol and locked, with his 20-month-old son, inside his Greenwood apartment. Six years, 17 surgeries and a lot of legal maneuvering later, the City of Seattle settled Caylor’s excessive force lawsuit on Tuesday for $1.975 million. The total, reports The Seattle Times, is believed to be the largest police-abuse settlement in city history. It was a “business decision,” City Attorney Pete Holmes told The Times.


Huge leap in heroin, methamphetamine deaths

at 9:10am by Mary Bruno

Heroin overdoses jumped 58 percent in King County last year, according to a new report by the University of Washington’s Alcohol & Drug Abuse Institute, which found the rise in local drug-induced fatalities to be the sharpest in 17 years. “Distressing” is how Caleb Banta-Green, affiliate associate professor of health services with the UW School of Public Health, described the trend for The Seattle Times. “I knew it was going to go up,” he told The Times. “I didn’t know it was going to go up that much.” Deaths from methamphetamine soared by 59 percent.

Police capture Charleston shooter

at 8:29am by Mary Bruno

Dylann Storm Roof, the 21-year-old from Lexington, South Carolina was taken into custody on Thursday. Roof is suspected of gunning down nine parishioners Wednesday night at Charleston’s historic Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church. Witnesses say he sat for almost an hour at a prayer meeting before opening fire. Rev. Clementa C. Pinckney, church pastor and state senator, is one of the three men and six women known dead. According to The New York Times, the FBI, the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for South Carolina have opened a hate crime investigation.

Brian Williams expected to stay at NBC

at 6:46am by Mark Matassa

brian-williams-635x352The former evening news anchor, on leave since revelations that he exaggerated his role in an Iraq War mission, will return to the network, but in a downscaled role as “the face of MSNBC,” reports CNN. Interim anchor Lester Holt will become permanent in the role, making him the first solo black anchor of a weekday nightly news broadcast, CNN says.

Woman’s portrait will appear on the $10 bill

at 6:00am by Mark Matassa

For the first time, a woman will appear on U.S. paper currency, replacing Alexander Hamilton on the $10 bill. The New York Times says the woman has not been selected yet, but that the change will take place in 2020, the 100th anniversary of the 19th amendment, which gave women the right to vote.

U.S. Open opens this morning at Chambers Bay

at 5:15am by Mark Matassa

Chambers Bay #6TFor the first time, the Northwest will host the prestigious U.S. Open golf tournament. Golfers and tour officials are ecstatic, reports The Seattle Times, because of the unusual “links” course at Chambers Bay, just south of Tacoma, and the fact that the course is a public course, not a private club. The Times sets it up beautifully with several stories and a nifty virtual tour of the course.

City settles suit with Seattle man shot in the face by a cop

at 5:03am by Mark Matassa

Seattle’s nearly $2 million settlement with a man shot by a police officer is thought to be the city’s largest ever use-of-force payment. Nathaniel Caylor needed 17 surgeries after the 2009 shooting, which occurred when police were called because a relative thought Caylor was suicidal. The Seattle Times has the story.

Wednesday 17 Jun, 2015

Biggest ever algae bloom hits West Coast. Bush: 'The white Lebron.' Copyright infringement in the free world.

California: Uber drivers are employees

at 3:38pm by Amelia Havanec

Under a new ruling by an official at the California Labor Commission, Uber drivers are employees entitled to workers’ compensation. Uber, which will appeal, continues to say its drivers are independent contractors, allowing it to avoid certain business expenses that traditional taxi companies face. This decision stemmed from an Uber driver’s claim for costs inflicted to her personal car while driving customers. She is now due over $4,000 in reimbursement.

Uber said in a statement that the ruling, even if upheld on appeal, only pertains to one case. But the ruling could spur more claims by current and former Uber drivers in California — and perhaps beyond.


Unpaid caregivers work 1.2 billion hours a week

at 3:12pm by Marissa Brent-Tookey

Almost 1-in-3 Americans serve as informal, unpaid caregivers, and about 20 percent of those who care for the elderly are in their 70s and 80s themselves, according to a study published in Population and Development Review. UW Today says this is surprising, given assumptions that the burden of looking after both young children and the elderly falls on the “sandwich generation” of middle-aged parents. This study is unique for its attention to the variety of caregiving situations it examined, from watching a friend’s kids for a few hours to long-term spousal care.

King County cities ban fireworks

at 2:30pm by Alex Cnossen

King County residents from Seattle, Tacoma, Bellevue, Everett, Lynnwood and more will have to find a new way to celebrate Fourth of July this year. Though some cities allow approved fireworks on the Fourth of July only, 22 of 36 cities in King County now have a complete ban on fireworks.

Due to budget cuts, the state no longer has an accurate way to trace the number of injuries and fires caused by fireworks, KOMO reports. Authorities state that the majority of injuries still come from legal fireworks available through local firework stands. They also report that fire departments receive twice the number of calls on the Fourth of July.

Starbucks bids adieu to La Boulange shops

at 2:08pm by Marissa Brent-Tookey

A La Boulange breakfast Credit: Flickr user Sharon Rong
A La Boulange breakfast Credit: Flickr user Sharon Rong

Starbucks says in a press release that it is planning to close all 23 freestanding La Boulange cafes, which it bought in 2012, over half of which are in San Francisco. While Starbucks will continue serving up La Boulange food in its shops, that company said “ongoing evaluations” showed that the La Boulange stores didn’t fit with its long-term growth goals. The Puget Sound Business Journal notes that Starbucks stock price ($53 a share at last check) hasn’t fluctuated in response to the decision.

The deadliest animals

at 12:59pm by Marissa Brent-Tookey

A grimly fascinating infographic from The Washington Post shows that sharks, bears and alligators were responsible for one U.S. death apiece per year between 2001 and 2013. Cows, on the other hand, kill an average of 20 people each year, most of them farmhands. Bees, wasps and hornets lead the pack, responsible for 58 deaths a year. Overall, the annual number of deaths caused by animals is about 200 — tiny compared to the 33,000 vehicle fatalities. The takeaway? Instead of worrying about snakes in the desert and sharks in the ocean, avoid bees and stay off the highway.

It may be a "Free World," Mr. Trump, but you can still get sued

at 12:53pm by Marissa Brent-Tookey

Donald_Trump.jpgDonald Trump just joined the crowd of Republican presidential candidates, and simultaneously joined the misappropriation-of-music club, whose membership includes Ronald Reagan, Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich (British group The Heavy didn’t like Gingrich at all when he played its “How You Like Me Now” during his 2012 campaign).

Trump announced his candidacy accompanied by Neil Young’s “Rockin’ in the Free World” on repeat. According to NPR, The musician’s manager released a statement saying that Trump did not have permission to use the song. Besides, manager said, “Neil Young, a Canadian citizen, is a supporter of Bernie Sanders for President of the United States of America.” Trump just got trumped.

Civilian liaison connects Seattle police with East African community

at 12:44pm by Alex Cnossen

Habamu Abdi — the first ever civilian liaison between the Seattle Police Department and the city’s East African community — starts his new job today. Mayor Ed Murray called for the position to be created last year, saying that it was part of his public safety strategy and would serve as “a first step to reconnecting officers to the communities they serve,” KING 5 notes.

Abdi, who lost four friends to gun violence last year, sees this as a new beginning. “It is about me stepping in and seeing if there is a way to work with this department to stop this violence.”

Crosscut's transportation event of the year happens tonight

at 10:47am by Cambria Roth

Should we reduce the speed limit on all city roads down to a 30 mph max? Should the privately funded hockey and basketball stadium be located in SoDo or in Tukwila? Should residents in the suburbs have to pay for major transportation improvements in other parts of the metropolitan area?

Debate these topics and more at tonight’s Community Idea Lab, where you’ll be asked to cast the deciding vote. The event begins at 6 p.m. at Mercer Island Community Center. Tickets are available at the door, $5 for Crosscut members and $10 general admission.

Speaker CIL Transpo

After hearing from these dynamic speakers, you’ll join a “lab team” to debate one of the pressing and controversial transportation issues under consideration today, moderated by a transportation expert. You’ll move beyond the nuanced discussions to dig into frank, open dialogue about what you think, and how you would address this topic.

Transportation expert lab team moderators include:

  • Michael Hubner, Principal Planner, Puget Sound Regional Council
  • Brian Lagerberg, Director of Public Transportation, WSDOT
  • Mike Rimoin, Business Development Manager, Commute Seattle
  • Jeanne Acutanza, Director of Public Agency Services, Transpo Group
  • Anthony Auriemma, City Council staff for Tom Rasmussen
  • Andres Mantilla, Senior Vice President, CBE Strategic
  • Steve Gorcester, Regional Director, Transportation Improvement Board
  • Shefali Ranganathan, Director of Programs, Transportation Choices Coalition
  • Zach Shaner, Marketing and Outreach Coordinator, Commute Seattle
  • Dylan Counts, WSDOT Liaison to Sound Transit
  • Andrew Austin, Policy Director, Transportation Choices
  • Priya Singh, Associate, PRR
  • Burr Stewart, Principle, Burrst
  • Brett Houghton, Senior Associate, PRR
  • Kate Harloe, Crosscut Public Media
  • Hester Serebrin, Policy Analyst, Transportation Choices Coalition


Mark Penn, other top execs leave in Microsoft shakeup

at 8:52am by Mary Bruno

Satya Nadella continues to stir the pot in Redmond. The Microsoft CEO announced this morning that “we are aligning our structure to our strategy and the changes to our Senior Leadership Team.” Those leadership changes include the, um, dismissal, of four top execs: one-time Clinton political advisor Mark Penn, former Nokia CEO Stephen Elop, Eric Rudder and Kirill Tatarinov.

Penn, for one, has his post-Microsoft plans in place already: According to GeekWire, former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer — a fellow Harvard alum who brought Penn to Microsoft in 2012 — will become a “core investor” in Penn’s new investment advisory company, The Stagwell Group LLC, which has already amassed $250 million.

Don't make $72K? No home for you in Seattle

at 8:36am by Mary Bruno

Using fresh data from mortgage finance company HSH.com, the Puget Sound Business Journal reports that, yes, the tech boom is driving up the cost of housing. Seattle’s median home price is now $352,400, seventh highest in the country. If you want to buy one in Seattle, you need to be pulling down $71,702 a year, according to HSH.com. That’s nearly twice the national average for salary needed to afford a home. Silver lining: Seattle is still a lot cheaper than San Francisco where the median home price is $748,300 and aspirants need to earn $141,416 a year to nab one.

NYT debate: How fluid is racial identity?

at 8:09am by Mary Bruno

As discussion rages over whether Rachel Dolezal, recently resigned president of Spokane’s NAACP chapter, is guilty of “racial fraud,” The New York Times solicited a range of views on the issue. Among those debating:

Kevin Noble, African-American law professor at New York’s Syracuse University: “Racial separation — or even “purity” — is so ingrained in Americans that many multiracial people consider themselves monoracial … Even the most well-known multiracial person in the world, President Barack Obama, checked only one box on his census form.”

And Heidi W. Durrow, biracial author of the novel, The Girl Who Fell From the Sky: “My father was African-American and my mother is Danish. … because of the peculiar way that math and race work together in America, I was black. But those facts conflicted with my actual experience.”

NASA: World's largest aquifers being sucked dry

at 7:41am by Mary Bruno

Aquifer depletion_550_Water Resources Research

New satellite data from NASA shows that the world’s largest aquifers, which provide fresh water for the planet’s seven billion people, are being drained at “alarming rates,” according to the Washington Post. In 21 of the largest aquifers, researchers found that water was being harvested faster than it could be replaced — a serious problem that promises to get worse. “The situation is quite critical,” said NASA scientist Jay Famiglietti, a principal investigator of the University of California Irvine-led research.

‘Like hearing a black song from a white artist’

at 6:50am by Mark Matassa

That’s the take of one former acquaintance on the Rachel Dolezal story. After her national coming out Tuesday on “Today,” the former Spokane NAACP leader is attracting, if anything, even more comment and analysis. The New York Times offers the deepest profile yet of the white woman who has presented herself as black.

Jeb: ‘The White Lebron’

at 5:19am by Mark Matassa

Jeb Bush, the long-acknowledged but only recently announced Republican presidential candidate, is off to a rocky start in the media. Wired rips his “Jeb!” campaign logo as bush league. Says one designer: “It’s what I would expect if Jed! Clampett were running for mayor of Beverly Hills. This logo suggests nothing new, exciting or progressive, nor serious or highly educated. Good ole boy comes to mind; also SALE TODAY, painted on the side of a building.”

The New York Times takes on Bush’s “fashion statement,” noting that he announced his candidacy in shirtsleeves, without coat or tie. And “The Tonight Show,” with Bush himself as an accomplice, slyly mocked the candidate’s profile.

Biggest ever toxic algae bloom hits West Coast

at 5:03am by Mark Matassa

Bad news for Northwest shellfish lovers. An algae bloom has closed some fisheries and shellfish takes in Oregon and Washington, reports The Oregonian.

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