Other News

Interesting news stories from around the Pacific Northwest.

midorisyu / Flickr

Todd Bishop at TechFlash has discovered that Microsoft is into global health, in a weird way.

As Todd reports, Microsoft has applied for a patent for “Adapting Parasites to Combat Disease.”

melsil / YouTube.com

Seattle has a special connection to the Oscars this year. Anne Rosellini, a Mercer Island High School graduate and co-founder of the One Reel Film Festival at Bumbershoot,  received two nominations for "Winter's Bone,"  a film she produced and co-wrote, with director Debra Granik. Here's the trailer:

Making headlines this morning:

  • A Little Pot With Your Booze?
  • Boeing Announces 2011 Profit Projections
  • State Parks Facing Tough Budget

 

Should the state legalize marijuana sales?

The idea has the backing of some state legislators who filed legislation Tuesday. It would allow state liquor stores to sell pot. KING-TV reports the bill's chief backer is Seattle Democrat Mary Lou Dickerson:

dc.gov

Been having a hard time finding a space at park-and-ride lots? Sound Transit feels your pain.

The transit agency says it's started to crack down on drivers who violate parking rules at Sounder train stations and park-and-rides. Transit riders are complaining that it's getting harder to find parking spaces, at least in part because of other drivers parking inconsiderately.

Sound Transit began giving warnings last week, but starting this week, cars violating Sound transit parking rules will be immediately towed.

At risk? Vehicles that are ...

AMagill / Flickr

Today’s big global health news: An international fund that was created (with significant support from the Gates Foundation) to fight AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria in poor countries has identified episodes of fraud or at least misappropriation of funds amounting to tens millions of dollars.

Kirby Wilbur is the new Republican Party chairman in Washington, unseating former state lawmaker Luke Esser over the weekend in a party's leadership vote. The former KVI talk radio host beat Esser by a vote of 69 to 36, with seven votes for Puyallup Republican Bill Rennie, according to The Seattle Times' Jim Bruener.

Despite GOP gains in the state, Wilbur told the Times the party's advances should have been bigger

US Army

The US Army is phasing out the UH-1 "Huey" helicopter by October, 2012. The workhorse of the Vietnam war is one of the most widely recognized helicopters in the world. The Yakima Training Center Air Ambulance Detachment retires its Huey in a final flight ceremony at 10 a.m. this Wednesday, January 25. 

Every winter we hear about skiers and snow boarders at nearby ski resorts who end up in dangerous situations after wandering into areas marked “off limits."  That often triggers expensive search and rescue operations.

KCWTD / Flickr

Making headlines this morning:

  • Investigation Begins into Port Orchard Shootings
  • King County's 'Brightwater' Grinds Toward Completion
  • All Aboard: Amtrak Ridership Gains in Northwest

Courtesy Ray Garrido / WSDoE

Making headlines this morning:

  • Inquest of Woodcarver's Shooting Raises More Questions
  • Everett to WSU: Shall We Dance?
  • Here Come the High Tides
  • Huskies Zap Arizona for Pac 10 Lead

Oran Viriyincy / Flickr

Traffic congestion in the Seattle area is tied (with Atlanta) for tenth worst in the nation. 

A decade ago, traffic here made headlines for being second worst, in annual rankings by the Texas Transportation Institute.  But, researchers found more accurate ways of measuring congestion, and Seattle’s dubious ranking dropped, as Mike Lindstrom writes in The Seattle Times:

A diversion program intended to keep drug abusers and troubled mentally ill people out of hospitals and jails has run into opposition.  Neighbors of a proposed new facility in Seattle don’t want it.  They say the "Jackson Park" area between Rainier Valley and the Central District already has enough challenges and has become a dumping ground. 

Courtesy Laura James

Making headlines this morning:

  • Puget Sound Murky From Stormwater Runoff
  • More Heavy Rains Coming, with Potential Flooding
  • Tacoma Considers Closing a High School

FBI

The FBI says a backpack bomb found along the Martin Luther King Day parade route in Spokane could have hurt many people. A bomb disposal unit safely defused the device Monday. Now the federal government has enlisted a joint terrorism task force to track down the would-be bomber.

These are uneasy times for the 56,000 Washingtonians on the Basic Health Plan. The state-subsidized health insurance program is tentatively slated to end March 1st. But House Democrats presented a Hail Mary proposal to possibly save it.

Washington's current two-year budget is still $600,000,000 out of whack. Finding hundreds of millions of dollars in savings between now and the end of the fiscal cycle in June is no easy task.

Paula Wissel

Seattle City Light has identified 56 streetlights in the Seattle area that could give off potentially dangerous voltage.  That’s the final tally from an inspection of nearly 37,000 metal streetlights for voltage issues.

Wikimedia Commons

Making headlines this morning:

  • Seattle Tunnel Project Hits Federal Snag
  • Audit Singes State Over Highway 18 Costs
  • 787 Delivery Plans Face More Questions
  • State's Newest Congresswoman Takes on Health Care Reform

Photo courtesy of Women's Funding Alliance.

Two years ago, the city of Seattle got the results of a harrowing study: it estimated as many as 500 children in King County are involved in prostitution

More recently, FBI sweeps have found more girls victimized here than anywhere else in the country. Seattle is identified by the FBI as one of the top ten human trafficking centers in the country - due in part, perhaps, to more effective law enforcement.  

Alex E. Proimos / Flickr photo

It's uncommon to hear dialog about failure in our society, including among the leaders and agencies who work in the field of global health and development. Those organizations rely on funders who are banking on success to further international missions, according to Humanosphere's Tom Paulson

AP

Making headlines around western Washington this morning:

  • Another 787 Delay
  • A Break in Flooding
  • Potential Hits to K-12 and Community College Construction
  • Huskies Drop in Polls

A veteran Washington State Department of Transportation worker has died after being hit by a falling tree during Sunday night's rain storm.  Maintenance Superintendent Jim McBride said the worker was setting up safety cones to alert motorists to downed power lines when the tree fell on his truck and killed him on Highway 203 just south of Carnation. 

Department spokeswoman Kris Olsen identified the man as 66-year-old Billy Rhynalds, a 12-year veteran of the department.

AP

Snow flurries and a fired up Bears team proved too much for Seattle, as Chicago controlled the game through most of three quarters, and held on for a 35-24 NFC semifinal playoff win at Soldier Field.

The NFC North champs scored on their first possession, led by the steady arm of quarterback Jay Cutler, making his professional post-season debut. The Bears offensive line protected Cutler all afternoon, leading to a 28-0 margin in the 3rd quarter. 

By U.S. Information Agency / Wikimedia Commons

Many of us are happy to have a day off, whenever and wherever we can get it. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is no exception. But besides sleeping in and catching up on chores, there is an opportunity to spend part of the day celebrating the life and values of King, honored for his nonviolent activism in the civil rights movement.

Many of the celebrations take place over three days. And many of them are opportunities to participate in service activities such as EarthCorps' event to remove invasive plants. 

San Diego Shooter / Flickr

Have you ever seen an actual Seahawk? No, we're not talking about Matt Hasselbeck or Marshawn Lynch here, but the natural, feathered namesake of Seattle's NFL team.

The bird's proper name is the Steller's sea eagle and two of them now are now in residence at Seattle's Woodland Park Zoo. The pair, which arrived last month from the Los Angeles Zoo, have just emerged from a standard 30-day quarantine and can be seen in the zoo's Northern Trail section.

Legislators on both sides of the aisle are rejecting Governor Gregoire's proposal to fix the state ferry system's chronic deficit by making it into an independent taxing district. 

At a House Transportation Committee hearing yesterday, lawmakers nixed the idea, saying they don't think it has the votes to pass.  And as John Stang of the Kitsap Sun reports, the Chairwoman of the Senate Transportation Committee says she won't even give the proposal a hearing

Lauren Padgett / Bonney Lake-Sumner Patch.com

Rain continues to fall Friday, and forecasters say over the next few days some areas may get 9 inches or more. Combined with past days' heavy rain and warmer temperatures melting mountain snow, some areas King, Pierce and Snohomish counties report minor flooding and road-blocking mudslides.

The National Weather Service has issued a flood watch for most of western Washington. The statement lists areas of main flooding concern, including:

State lawmakers are considering tighter restrictions on political action committees, or PAC's. The proposal stems from the case of a Seattle-based Democratic political firm now being sued by the Attorney General for campaign finance violations. 

Photo courtesy / WA DOC

When the state of Washington gets sued, it’s the multi-million dollar payouts that make the headlines.

However, every year taxpayers are on the hook for thousands of dollars more in smaller property damage claims: Inmate TV sets, drowned cell phones, rock-chipped windows … even a cheesecake.

AP file photo

The US Coast Guard has released its 192-page report on the sinking of the fishing trawler Alaska Ranger in March of 2008. The 189-foot fish processing vessel took on water and sank about 130 miles west of Dutch Harbor, in Alaska's Aleutian Islands. Forty seven people were on board: all but five were rescued.

Near as could be determined, the Alaska Ranger sank when a leak around the rudder flooded into the engine room and other compartments, causing the boat to sink in about two hours.

The report, by the Coast Guard's marine board of investigations, found fault all around.

Washington's major political parties are indicating they'll press on with their battle to overturn the state's top-two primary. This despite yet another court ruling Tuesday upholding the voter-approved primary system.

A federal district judge in Seattle ruled voters are not confused when they see the words "prefers Republican party" or "prefers Democratic party" next to a candidate’s name on the ballot. 

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