Washington

Landmark hearing scheduled for Ballard diner

Here's an update on the old Ballard Denny's, the historic Googie-style diner that is threatened by the wrecking ball and slated to be replaced by a large condo project. Earlier this fall, the Denny's closed. The building is boarded and vacant, awaiting its fate. That could be determined in a matter of weeks.

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The state defends a decision not to investigate the Times

Newly public e-mails show that the attorney general's office chose not to investigate the paper's management of a joint operating agreement with the Seattle P-I, despite knowing about a sworn allegation that the Times had secretly tried to shortchange the P-I. Former state Supreme Court Justice Phil Talmadge thinks that decision casts doubt on the integrity of AG Rob McKenna.

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More S.L.U.T.-y thoughts (then we'll stop)

Yesterday, I blogged about my friend and accountant who gave us a quick-shot, not-so-hot reaction to riding the streetcar for the first time. There, I called it a streetcar. I want to take it seriously, because I am their customer: the line connects near enough to my home and work to be an option and I intend to take it once the silly stuff dies down. (see silly stuff, below).

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Selling the Northwest's global genericism

One of the virtues of travel is that it gives you a chance to see how your part of the country is selling itself to the outside world. After flipping though a copy of Alaska Airlines magazine on a recent flight to San Francisco, I have to say that if Horace Greeley were shilling for regional real estate developers, he'd be saying "Go West in style, yuppie scum!" He'd take out a full-page, four-color ad to do it, too. Current real estate pitches emphasize wealth, urban amenities, and a let-them-eat cake luxury lifestyle that is the antithesis of anything remotely regional or rooted. Local color? No. Rain? What's that? Moss, mountains, a frontier spirit? Hmmm, call the valet to take out the trash.

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The insurance commissioner will make his case

Quick update about something we're keeping an eye on. Using the state's premier trauma center as his stage, Washington Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler on Wednesday, Dec. 12, will unveil a new report detailing costs taxpayers absorb to care for the uninsured and underinsured. With officials from Harborview Medical Center by his side, the commish will lay out a county-by-county breakdown showing a growing economic burden. The new report will add momentum, he hopes, to a universal health-care proposal Kreidler is drafting for the upcoming legislative session. Earlier this fall, Crosscut outlined the framework his plan to take care of more than 600,000 people who are without health insurance.

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A tree falls in Oregon

They might be dwarfed by architecture, but nothing we've built has transcended time the way big trees have. The "Klootchy Creek Giant" lived long and large. It took a record-setting windstorm to bring it down.

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West Coast growth industry: pushing initiatives

Is Washington state going to be rid of the spate of initiatives anytime soon? Not likely, for the simple reason that it's become a steady and lucrative business for initiative-pushers like Tim Eyman. On the other hand, few succeed in making much long-term change. California is the mother lode of the business. A fascinating run-down of the business in The New Republic reports that the initiative campaign business now runs about $300 million per election cycle. There are five signature-gathering companies, as well as an army of lawyers, fund-raisers, pollsters, media consultants specializing in the growth industry. It makes one grateful there is only one Tim Eyman Inc. in the state, so far.

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If not for television, a W for UW

Those of us who were present with two eyes ranged from the hoi polloi to the highest echelons of state public life: at least one former guv (Booth Gardner) and the University of Washington's omnipresent Mark Emmert, "one of the best [college] presidents in the whole damn country," according to UW regent Bill Gates Sr., borrowing from sports-programming parlance. It didn't matter, however, that the best and worst of us who were two-eyed witnesses Saturday at Hec Edmundson Pavilion thought Justin Dentmon's buzzer lay-up beat the clock. All that mattered was the judgment of a dispassionate cyclops: the television camera recording the event for Fox Sports Northwest. Even after the game refs allowed the scoreboard at the UW basketball court to read UW 76, Pittsburgh 75, the officiating crew members had another gander at the recorded last play. Then they had a few more.

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Washington

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The latest from news outlets and blogs around the Northwest and beyond, chosen by Crosscut editors.

Attorney general to fight Fife’s pot ban

The City of Fife is taking the unprecedented step to protect its pot ban by arguing that federal laws supersede state marijuana laws. Attorney General Bob Ferguson said Thursday he would fight “vigorously” to protect Washington I-502.

NEWS TRIBUNE (TACOMA)

Central Washington fire 90% contained

The Carlton Complex Fire, the largest wildfire in Washington state history, is now 90% contained, officials say.

KPLU-FM

Cost of wildfires exceeds $50M

The cost of fighting this summer's wildfires has gone beyond the $50 million mark.

SEATTLE TIMES

300 homes burned in wildfire

Approximately 300 homes have burned so far in the largest wildfire recorded in Washington state history.

SEATTLEPI.COM

Obama declares wildfire emergency in Washington

President Obama declared an emergency in Washington on Wednesday due to the widlfires.

NEWS TRIBUNE (TACOMA)

Better weather conditions help fight wildfires

Cooler weather and less wind has helped firefighters take on the Carlton Complex of fires in north-central Washington.

NEWS TRIBUNE (TACOMA)

Man dies trying to save home in Washington fire

A man in Okanogan County died from a heart attack while trying to fight a fire near his home.

SEATTLEPI.COM

Gusty winds fuel Washington fires

"A massive wildfire that has forced the evacuation of towns, destroyed numerous homes and blackened scenic hillsides in north-central Washington has been burning into new areas, fueled by dry conditions and gusty winds."

KOMO NEWS

Sheriff says up to 100 homes lost in Washignton fire

Sheriff estimates that up to 100 homes have been lost in Washington fire.

NEWS TRIBUNE (TACOMA)

State of emergency declared in Washington

State of emergency declared in 20 Eastern Washington counties due to multiple wildfires threatening several hundred homes.

SEATTLE TIMES
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