Midday scan: Wednesday's top stories around the region

Must-reads from other media: memorial to slain woodcarver; Tacoma test scores; Everett's fightin' school board; and why Vancouver, B.C., lost livability ranking.

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Riotous times in Vancouver.

Must-reads from other media: memorial to slain woodcarver; Tacoma test scores; Everett's fightin' school board; and why Vancouver, B.C., lost livability ranking.

John T. Williams, the Northwest woodcarver shot and killed by a Seattle police officer one year ago, lived a short, unquiet life. Williams's death was as violent as it was senseless, a galvanizing event for family and activists. It was also a defining moment for Seattle's new Police chief, John Diaz, who shouldered criticism of the department for a shooting that was ultimately ruled an unjustified use of force. Lynda Mapes of the Seattle Times first reported Monday on the memorial for Williams: a totem pole carved by his brother and nephew. (Tuesday's unveiling and blessing ceremony at Waterfront Park was covered by King 5 News and others). The memorial is one of those living testaments that seems to inhabit the spirit of its honoree. Where else in Seattle can you find something so emblematic? (Perhaps the Fisherman's Memorial at Fisherman's Terminal on the Ship Canal. It's rare).

Tacoma may have academic bragging rights over Portland. Sara Schilling of the News Tribune documents the rise in student math scores as well as a candid read from state Superintendent for Public Instruction Randy Dorn. Within the city of Tacoma, 10th-grade math scores still register below state averages. In Portland, the results are a little more sluggish, although writing skills have improved, as the Oregonian's Betsy Hammond reports. Call it a Tacoma-Portland draw for now.  

In Everett, the onus is on the school board, not the students. As Sharon Salyer writes in this morning's Everett Herald, community leaders sent a letter to members of the Everett School Board to express support but also to advance a spirit of reconciliation in the wake of a very public tussle. The discord, much of it revolving around questions of transparency, meeting ground rules, and the behavior of one school board member in particular, culminated in a full-on fight and series of 911 calls on Aug. 23. It's an embarrassment for a growing and well-regarded school district, although locals might take heart: Thankfully, it has yet to reach the level of the 2009 Korean Parliament brawl.       

For those of us who assumed that Vancouver, B.C., got elbowed from the top of the world's livability index because of those unfortunate hockey riots in June, well, we assumed wrong. According to the the Tyee, the drop kick was caused by "intermittent closures of the key Malahat Highway." (Seattle, please take note). Ironically, the Malahat is on Vancouver Island, not within the city itself. Next time Vancouver may have grounds for appeal, although the leagcy of the riots could complicate things.  

Lastly, the Anchorage Daily News editorial board weighs in on the mission of the supercommittee. The analysis is significant because it underscores something altogether rare: a bipartisan senate Republican, Lisa Murkowski, who ran as an independent and is not averse to tax reform. Now why wasn't she appointed to the committee?       

Link summary

The Seattle Times, "Blessing Ceremony Tuesday for pole honoring slain carver"

KING 5, "Hundreds gather for ceremony honoring John T. Williams"

The News Tribune, "Student math scores give some hope"

The Oregonian, "Test scores from Portland schools show gain in writing but too many seniors who can't write well"

The Herald of Everett, "Local leaders sign letter urging Everett School Board to reconcile"

The Tyee, "Vancouver no longer the most livable city in the world, thanks to distant road closure"

The Anchorage Daily News, "Our view: Grace of State"


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About the Authors & Contributors

Peter Jackson

Peter Jackson

Peter Jackson is the former editorial-page editor of the Everett Herald. Follow him on Twitter @phardinjackson