Other News

Interesting news stories from around the Pacific Northwest.

The new US Census data is out, and Washington is among eight states to add a seat in Congress. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke announced the 2010 data this morning. 

Rachel Solomon

The Mercer Island High School marching band weaves and dances through the streets. They’ve been practicing since 7 a.m.,even though it’s winter break, and a lot of their friends are sleeping in.

Twitpic/Reporter_Photo

The state Attorney General weighs in on transportation fees, as some Puget Sound communities prepare to fight proposed ferry service cuts; and sky watchers get a view of last night's total lunar eclipse.

Northwest soldiers are expressing mixed opinions over the repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell.” The U-S Senate voted over the weekend to end the 17-year old policy that allows gays to serve, but not openly. The bill now goes to the President.

A sign scheduled to run on Metro buses next week has King County officials debating the limits of free speech in transit advertising.

The ad features the words, “Israeli war crimes your tax dollars at work” next to a group of kids staring at a demolished building.

King County Councilman Peter von Reichbauer called for a re-evaluation of the proposed ads, set to roll out Dec. 27.  The date coincides with the two-year anniversary of Israeli military action in Gaza.

If you're traveling over the Cascades on I-90 this holiday season, the worst traffic will be on the day after Christmas and the day after New Year's.  The most congested hours will be between 3 p.m. and 6 p.m.  You can find better times to travel by checking the Washington Department of Transportation traffic volume charts.

AP

Washington Ready to Add a Congressional Seat, while two western Washington Congressmen prepare for leading defense roles, and gay and lesbian service members mark the end of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" 

Courtesy Washington Secretary of State's Office

On Tuesday, the U.S. Census releases the first numbers from the 2010 population count. The first round of data will be used to reallocate Congressional seats among the states.

Top line numbers will be released tomorrow for the nation as a whole and for individual states. That’s all the info you need to redistribute proportionally the 435 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives. 

Nissanusa.com

The debating and waiting can now take a back seat.  Here comes the real world test whether Northwest drivers will embrace electric vehicles.  Carmaker Nissan has made the first customer delivery in the region of its fully-electric Nissan Leaf model.

Satsop nuclear plant
Tom Banse / N3

Most drivers passing by the twin cooling towers looming over the forest near Elma, Washington probably don’t think to themselves, when can I move in?  But that was exactly the thought audio engineer Ron Sauro had.

The Defense Department is deploying about 700 soldiers from Joint Base Lewis-McChord to Afghanistan next summer to support combat operations.

The department said Friday the I (First) Corps Headquarters will serve as the International Security Assistance Force Joint Command Headquarters.

In a press release, Joint Base Lewis-McChord public affairs noted a historic aspect to the assignment:

Carolyn Kaster / AP Photo

Whether you’re going to a corner lot or snowshoeing into the backcountry – picking the perfect Christmas tree can be daunting. We tracked down a certified Christmas tree expert and have this primer on how to care for evergreen trees.

Wang family photo.

The state clemency board will recommend that Gov. Chris Gregoire not commute the sentence of a juvenile killer. Barry Massey was just 13 years old when he participated in a brutal murder. The board's 3-2 vote Thursday night reverses a previous clemency board recommendation that he should be let free.

AP Photo

King County deputies' pay-cut plan rejected, a car injures pedestrians at the Pike Place Market, the fight over proposed ferry service cuts heats up, and a popular Seattle language school closes.

Exec Says King County Deputies' Pay Plan Won't Fly

Dow Constantine says a union-offered plan to save taxpayers money would actually cost them more. 

AP

Washington's Board of Pharmacy has decided to not change a rule that prohibits pharmacies from refusing to dispense all legal drugs, including the morning-after contraceptive "Plan B."

The conflict continues over an upcoming pay raise for sheriff's deputies in King County.  Executive Dow Constantine has rejected a proposal from the Police Officers Guild to cut their pay temporarily.  He says their offer would have cost more than it saved. 

The governor "hates" her own budget plan, education leaders don't like it either, and Tacoma prepares for potential closure of landmark museum, and a  tree 'grows' in White Center.

Gregoire "Hates" Her Budget

The governor laid out her plans to cut $4 billion and balance the state budget, then told reporters she "hates" what she's had to do.

Ten-dollar gate fees at state parks and 100,000 more Washingtonians without health insurance. Those are just two examples of how Governor Christine Gregoire proposes to close a $4.6 billion budget shortfall with her budget released Wednesday.

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. 

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