Tuesday morning's headlines

Jun 7, 2011

Chance of rain or drizzle this morning, possibly increasing to showers this afternoon. Forecast here.

Making headlines around the Northwest:

  • Regents at WSU hike tuition 16 percent
  • Aurora Bridge earthquake work has to be redone
  • Amazon staffers among the most stressed
  • Bellevue City Council probe narrowed to one
  • Seattle reassigns police to promote nightlife safety

WSU Regents hike tuition 16 percent

The Regents of Washington State University have approved a sixteen percent increase in in-state undergraduate tuition on the same day that Gov. Chris Gregoire signed into law legislation giving Washington state’s four-year universities authority to set their own tuition.

Saying they felt they had no choice in current economic circumstances, the Regents on Monday approved the sixteen percent jump in in-state undergraduate tuition, effective for the coming fall semester. For in- state students, that means a tuition bill increase of just under $1300 for the year.

This tuition increase is expected to bring in about $69 million in revenue for the university in the new fiscal year, leaving the university still $40 million short of what it needs. That means more budget cuts are coming at Washington State University.

Copyright 2011 Northwest Public Radio

Aurora Bridge earthquake work has to be redone

Expansion joints repaired on Seattle's Aurora Bridge just seven years ago need to be fix because of poor design. The work will completed while crews strengthen other parts of the bridge agaisnt earthquakes.

The Seattlepi.com reports that the joints, located in the Highway 99 roadway on top of the bridge, were each lined on one side with polyester concrete designed by state engineers and consultants to collapse in a major earthquake, or if extreme heat caused bridge sections to expand that far. But that concrete didn't last long enough to be tested in those extreme circumstances. Carl Boone, a state bridge engineer, said it began crumbling shortly after it was installed in 2004.

So as part of a $5.7 million contract to finish a seismic upgrade of the bridge, crews will remove what's left of the polyester concrete and replace it with a normal grade, which engineers now think will hold up better.

Facebook, Amazon most stressed; Google, Microsoft best paid

Amazon.com has many perks such as dogs in the office and bus passes, but it is still among the most stressful big companies to work at in high-tech, according to findings from Payscale’s Technology Company Salary and Job Satisfaction Report. Facebook too was among the most stressful high-tech workplaces, though employees of the social networking powerhouse reported being the most satisfied in their jobs.

Google and Microsoft offered the best pay. The median pay for mid-career workers at Google was $141,000. That compared to $110,000 at Amazon.com and $127,000 at Microsoft. H-P paid the worst, with the report indicating that workers at the computer maker earn 15 percent less than similar workers at other big tech companies. H-P workers also were the least satisfied.

Seattle's Geekwire has the story.

Bellevue City Council probe narrowed to one

Two members of the Bellevue City Council have been absolved of violations related to a proposed Sound Transit light-rail route, but the investigator hired by Bellevue told the council Monday night that he will continue investigating Councilman Kevin Wallace's business dealings.

The Seattle Times reports that Wallace's lawyer has promised to deliver documents to Attorney Jeffrey B. Coopersmith this week.

Wallace, a Bellevue-based developer, said on Monday he has "been working very diligently" to pull together documents requested three weeks ago. "I have a day job, and I don't have 120 lawyers and paralegals working for me," he said.

Coopersmith said he had not reached any conclusion on whether Wallace violated any laws in failing to disclose his business negotiations with a short-haul freight hauler that wanted to use the same abandoned rail corridor Wallace has prodded Sound Transit to use for light rail.

Seattle reassigns police to promote nightlife safety

Riding on the success of last year's nightlife summer safety plan, which added 20 Seattle police officers to crowd-heavy areas of downtown until on weekend nights, Mayor Mike McGinn and Police Chief John Diaz announced last night that the summer safety plan would be expanded upon and relaunched, starting this weekend.

"It's about increasing police officer visibility and making people feel safe," said McGinn. "And it's cost effective. We're putting more officers on the street without costing the city money."

The plan won't take patrol officers from their scheduled neighborhood beats or bring more officers in to work overtime. Instead, SPD will redeploy up to 25 officers from the department's anti-crime, traffic, and SWAT units to foot and bike patrols in crowded parts of Seattle. The officers will be out on the streets until 4:00 a.m.