Other News

Interesting news stories from around the Pacific Northwest.

Office of Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn

Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn has given his approval for a Dale Chihuly glass-art exhibit to replace the Fun Forest at the Seattle Center, plus a new home for radio station KEXP and a children’s playground.  

Murray Morgan Bridge
Potjie at flickr.com

The Murray Morgan bridge spanning Tacoma's Thea Foss Waterway can no longer be raised to allow tall ships to pass beneath it.  City of Tacoma spokesman Rob McNair-Huff says copper wire thieves broke into the bridge's mechanical room and ripped out the wires from the power and control panel.  They also damaged the motors and controls.

Leavenworth Area Promotions

Tourism promoters in Leavenworth say they have a hit with a sexy YouTube video showing dancing girls, a Nutracker figure and scenes from the Bavarian-themed North Cascades town.

The Wenatchee World reports the hip-hop spoof cost the Leavenworth Area Promotions board $11,000, and it has already been viewed nearly 85,000 times as of Wednesday:

Governor to announce $5 billion budget cut plan, war claims a soldier from Yelm, and Seattle Center's big announcement today.

Governor Chris Gregoire is proposing to consolidate 12 state agencies and in the process eliminate 125 jobs. It’s part of her plan to reduce the size and, what she calls, “complexity” of Washington state government. The state faces  a $4.6 billion gap between anticipated revenues and spending in the next two year budget.

If your home has smoke detectors, that’s an important safety step.  Starting in January, new homes, and existing homes that are sold, also need to have a carbon monoxide detector.   A new state law requires the sensors to prevent accidental poisonings. 

Gary Davis/KPLU

Washington gets a top grade for being ready to handle disasters. A new study ranks the state among the most adept a wide variety of public health threats, from flood response, handling disease outbreak, and reacting to chemical spills, among other emergencies. But the report warns gains in emergency preparedness could be lost to budget cuts. 

Twitpic/KING5unit9

Overnight storm knocks out power to tens of thousands, flooding rivers are receding, video of a water rescue near Everett, and rail commuters get a reprieve.

Gary Davis/KPLU

You may be drying out from the weekend rain storms. But city officials in Seattle are thinking about snow.  They’re learning lessons from the snowstorm in November that turned roads into ice rinks and made for paralyzing commutes.

Courtesy WSDOT

The Seattle Mayor is continuing to question plans to replace the Alaskan Way Viaduct with a tunnel.  This follows last week’s announcement from the state that the contractor could finish the project under budget and ahead of schedule. 

About 90,000 Washington state retirees have been getting annual cost of living increases during the great recession. Now Governor Chris Gregoire says it’s time to halt to those automatic raises. The proposal is already generating an angry response. 

Twitpic/JonRepp

The heavy rains dumped by the Pineapple Express have caused so many landslides, the state is asking your help in keeping track of them. 

The National Weather Service reports 29 major landslides since Friday. 

Washington's Department of Natural Resources reports the slides have damaged roads, houses, and power lines across western Washington, and portions of the Burke-Gilman trail in Seattle. 

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.

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