Other News

Interesting news stories from around the Pacific Northwest.

Twitpic/PeterM_KOMO

Floods and mudslides follow heavy rains, commuters can expect delays, and Seattle counts the landslides.

KOMO TV via YouTube

Record rainfall in the Pacific Northwest has triggered mudslides and caused record flooding along some Western Washington rivers.  As many rivers recede this morning, some are still cresting, including the Snohomish River, where water levels are expected to remain above flood stage through Tuesday.

The Herald of Everett reports the Snohomish is being fed by the flooding Snoqualmie and Tolt rivers:

Solid Ground says kids and families benefit from gift cards for the holidays
Solid Ground

With the holiday shopping season in full swing, local non-profits want to make sure needy families are on your list.  Several charities are collecting toys and clothes for people who can’t afford presents, but a few Adopt-a-Family programs ask donors to give something more than stuff. 

Flickr/Life As Art

The decision about what will replace the Fun Forest at Seattle Center is still up in the air. This fall, a review panel recommended converting it into an exhibition space celebrating local glass artist Dale Chihuly.

That proposal promises millions in much-needed revenue. But the backers of several other ideas haven’t given up hope.

It was short and bittersweet. Washington lawmakers convened Saturday in a rare, lame duck special session. Their job: take a bite out of the billion dollar hole in the current two-year budget. Lawmakers passed three pieces of legislation. 

WSDOT

The Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) is preparing for the next snowstorm in the Puget Sound Region with the addition of eight new "mini-sander" pickup trucks.  The trucks are being turned into sanders with the addition of hoppers and equipment mounted on the tailgates.

AP

The Seattle Mariners will hold a “Public Celebration of Life” for late broadcaster Dave Niehaus tomorrow.  Scheduled start is just after 1 p.m. Saturday at Safeco Field. 

Family, players and close associates will pay tribute to Niehaus, the only play-by-play announcer the team has ever had.  He died of a heart attack last month at the age of 75. 

AP

A futuristic Ferris Wheel is causing a flap in Seattle. 

The Seattle Center has announced  it is planning to install an extra-tall "observation wheel" reminiscent of the British capital's London Eye.  It will go up in April and remain for 18 months on the site of the Fun Forest for the Center's 50th anniversary, commemorating the 1962 World's Fair. 

AP

Was it justified when Amazon.com and the big credit card companies pulled the plug on Wikileaks?  Did it hurt the free flow of information, or advance important dialogue about world affairs? A discussion in Seattle this evening will dive into those questions. 

AP

There are certain songs and films that are so ubiquitous they just scream the holidays are here. Some feature a legendary Washington native, Bing Crosby. The Christmases he used to know were in Spokane. This weekend the city hosts the Bing Crosby Film Festival, featuring “White Christmas” and “Road to Morocco.” But an equally strong draw is the promise of long-lost footage showing other dimensions of the Hollywood star.

AP

Rains expected to cause flooding, high-speed rail in Washington gets a windfall, lawmakers convene for a day. 

Washington's lawmakers will meet in special session on Saturday to start chopping away at a billion-dollar budget shortfall. The governor and legislative leaders emerged from a closed door meeting yesterday with a budget deal. 

The plan is for a one-day special session. Legislative leaders from both parties and Governor Chris Gregoire have agreed to an immediate round of fresh cuts. The goal is to reduce the current $1.1 billion budget shortfall by about half. 

Courtesy WSDOT

State transportation officials have announced the likely winner in the competition to build a tunnel to replace Seattle's aging Alaskan Way Viaduct.  The proposal comes from a consortium known as Seattle Tunnel Partners.  It has a slightly higher price, but offers other benefits. 

Flickr?ManuelW

King County says it now has a glut of jail space and must consider cutting the rate it charges to cities to house offenders.  That comes after years of dire warnings about jail over-crowding.  Cities in south King County are building a new jail (which opens next year) for $56 million in Des Moines. 

USS Nimitz
United States Navy

When the Everett-based aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln leaves the city in fiscal year 2012, it'll be replaced by another carrier, the USS Nimitz.  Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) has been urging the Navy to assign another carrier to Naval Station Everett and made the announcement today after receiving the news from Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus.

Courtest elksonbroadway.com

 Get ready for changes in health insurance for kids next week, a Tacoma historic preservation project takes shape, Bremerton welcomes the USS Nimitz, and a hospital lockdown in Mt. Vernon following a man's death.

AP

Thursday is a big day for the proposed deep-bore tunnel beneath downtown Seattle.  An underground highway is supposed to replace the elevated freeway along the waterfront. 

At 1 pm, Governor Chris Gregoire will unseal the dollar amounts attached to two bids submitted earlier this fall.  Then, Washington Department of Transportation staff will add up a total score, based on price and engineering details, and announce an apparent winner of the final construction contract. 

Lyn McCracken, Seattle City Light

A fallen tree knocked out power to Northgate Mall and 3,000 homes and business at noon today.    Power was restored to the mall and all but a handful of homes by 1 p.m.  You can track outages at City Light's system status website.

KING-TV

A man was shot by Seattle police near a bus stop at Third Avenue and Yesler Way around 10 p.m. Tuesday.  Police say the man, estimated to be in his late 30s, was about to grab a handgun out of his waistband when he was shot.  He's in serious condition in the intensive-care unit and is expected to survive, according to Harborview spokeswoman Susan Gregg-Hanson.

Washington State Parks mismanaged contracts resulting in a “gross waste of public funds.” That’s the conclusion of an investigation prompted by a whistleblower into a project at a state marine park on Puget Sound.

WSDOT

The state will investigate Seattle police actions; a faster 520 for commuters; and bridge toll plan under fire.

Canoeing at Stehekin
National Park Service

Looking for an opportunity to get away from it all?  The National Park Service is taking bids on the contract to manage a 21-room lodge, restaurant and general store in Stehekin.  When they say it's remote, they aren't kidding; located at the end of Lake Chelan, the area is reachable only by boat, floatplane or on foot.  There's no TV, no cell phone service and just one pay phone.  

As King County makes massive cuts to help balance its budget, the union representing King County sheriff’s deputies has, for months, refused to consider a wage freeze next year.  Even as other unions in the county have agreed to do so.  But deputies are voting on a proposal to reduce their upcoming pay increase. 

AP (Audrey McEvoy)

Local vets remember Pearl Harbor attack; guilty verdicts for some accused of helping Maurice Clemmons avoid police; vandalism punctures more than car tires in Bremerton; and questions remain over how a dog was electrocuted on a Seattle sidewalk. 

Washington Governor Chris Gregoire says she will call a special session of the legislature to address the ballooning budget crisis. The Democrat made the announcement Monday afternoon following a meeting with legislative leaders from both parties. 

AP

KPLU Staff update at 4:32 pm, Monday

The light are on again for more than 9,000 Orcas Power and Light customers in the San Juan Islands. A late morning outage was caused by a problem at a substation operated by the Bonneville Power Administration.

In a short statement from Orcas Power and Light's website:

 

Power has been restored to all members with the exception of scattered areas of San Juan Island. Outage was caused by equipment failure at the BPA transmission station. 

AP

Former Seattle Mariner general manager Pat Gillick has been elected to baseball's Hall of Fame. Gillick won three World Series titles during his 27 years as general manager of Toronto, Baltimore, Seattle and Philadelphia.

Eyes turn to Olympia on eve of budget talks, Bellevue takes a hit, Pierce County plans protections against nature's hits,  and the Huskies fight their way to a Holiday. 

Washington lawmakers return to Olympia this week, but not for a special session. They're getting organized for the regular session in January. That will bring out advocates who plan to stage protests over looming budget cuts.

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

Across the Northwest food banks are seeing more customers than ever. Now, Washington’s Department of Agriculture is asking farmers to increase their produce donations to aid the state’s hungry.

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