Thursday morning's headlines

Mar 3, 2011

Making headlines around the Northwest this morning:

  • Tacoma's Wood Smoke Problem
  • New Superintendent for Seattle
  • More Lye Leaks From Wrecked Railcar

Unusual Readings of Tacoma Pollutants

Wood smoke is a presenting a bigger pollution problem in Tacoma than experts have thought, according to a newly released study by the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency. The News Tribune's Rob Carson writes diesel and gas emissions remain the  dominant pollutants:

But in Tacoma, the risks from wood smoke were as much as seven times higher than is typical in other urban areas. Potential health effects include cancer, lung damage, heart disease and nerve damage.

The agency's Ryan Dicks tells the Trib more people may be heating with wood stoves because it's cheaper. The high wood smoke readings pushed Tacoma past federal clean air standards, the only area in the state to get such a mark. 


Seattle Wonders "Who is Susan Enfield?"

Seattle headlines are dominated this morning by the school board firing of Superintendent Maria Goodloe-Johnson and her top finance and operations manager, Don Kennedy, in the wake of a financial scandal. KPLU's Jennifer Wing was at last night's meeting, packed with angry parents and teachers who cheered the results.

This morning there's a new interim superintendent, Susan Enfield. Who is she? For the last 18 months, Enfield has been the district's chief academic officer. As the criminal investigation into alleged financial fraud continues, the focus is now on Enfield to pick up the pieces and build trust, according to The Seattle Times' Susan Kelleher and Linda Shaw:

A former high-school teacher, Enfield has a decade's worth of experience as an administrator. But she lacks financial experience at a time when the district is facing a $35 million budget shortfall and a money scandal born of lax oversight. But if Enfield, 42, lacks the financial chops, her admirers say she's smart and capable.

Enfield won the support of all but one of the board members last night, with most calling out her strong and "honest" communications style as the right person to lead the district forward. 


More Toxics Leak from Derailed Train

Another 100 gallons of lye spilled out of one of the damaged railcars that derailed south of Tacoma last weekend. The leak happened on ground above the tracks, which straddle the waterfront along the Chambers Bay golf course. Workers were righting the car at the time, according to the Associated Press. Fifty gallons were dumped Saturday night, but officials say none of it went into Puget Sound.