Other News

Interesting news stories from around the Pacific Northwest.

WSDOT

The first major street closure in the work to replace Seattle's Alaskan Way Viaduct happens Monday night.

The state Department of Transportation says it's closing First Avenue South next to Qwest Field from 7 p.m. to 5 a.m. Tuesday to allow crews to set up space for the huge construction job.

Washington State Coalition for Mental Health Reporting

Mental health advocates say news stories of social service budge cuts are unfairly stereotyping people who suffer from mental illness.

They say a case in point is a recent cover of The Stranger, which included the headline "How a decimated state budget equals more unmedicated loons with hatchets."

AP (John Froschauer)

Washington looks for better ways to fund higher education, the Seahawks claim the NFC West title and a playoff berth, and Mercer Island High's band prances through London's New Year's parade.

INScape

As 2010 winds to a close, the KPLU News reporting team has been looking back at the stories they covered this year, and have chosen some favorites. 

The reports they selected aren't necessarily the 'biggest' news stories of the year, or necessarily on the reporter's beat. They are the ones that for each were memorable because of they exemplify the art, beauty and impact of the aural medium, the joy of radio storytelling.

newyearseattle.org

It’s that time of year again. The time where we reflect on the past 12 months and ask: what would we change about ourselves in 2011? 

AP

Coach Steve Sarkisian told ESPN it "a big win for the Husky Nation" after his Washington team beat daunting odds to defeat the 18th-ranked Nebraska Cornhuskers in Thursday's Holiday Bowl in San Diego. The UW dominated on defense and offense for a 19-7 victory.

Brian Teutsch / Flickr

Seattle drivers who've been accustomed to paying the same curbside parking rates at all times of day could soon be faced with variable parking prices based on market factors, with rates higher at busier times. The Seattle Times reports city officials hope variable fees will mean quicker turnover of scarce parking spaces and reduce congestion caused by people who circle blocks looking for an opening. Market-based  parking rates are already in place in several U. S. cities including San Francisco, Los Angeles and Washington, D. C.

"It helps reduce the traffic congestion, of people finding a spot", said Mary Catherine Snyder, a parking strategist for the Seattle Department of Transportation.

The Seattle Department of Transportation will publish data from its study on parking trends in mid-January, then take several weeks to to reprogram meters to reflect new neighborhood-level rates. Parking meter rates in Seattle will increase this spring to as high as $4.  Included in the City Council's budget is a proposal to require paid parking to a later hour, from the current 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

By 2012, the city would be able to customize rates block by block and alter parking rates by time of day.

WSDOT

Snow greeted some Puget Sound communities this morning, making for a slippery commute.  Buses in Snohomish County skidded on freeway ramps, according to The Seattle Times.

At least two Community Transit buses were stuck along Interstate 5 entrance ramps south of Everett about 7 a.m. Wednesday as snow slickened road surfaces, according to the State Patrol.

artisticconcretellc.com

Your Christmas tree can take on new life as wood chips or compost.  In Seattle and Tacoma, you can recycle your tree for free. 

Gary Davis/KPLU

Here’s some holiday cheer: Consumer spending is up since last year. The increase is a small one, at about 2%. The National Retail Federation expects that number to rise to 3% by the end of the season. Why the increase?

King County Executive Dow Constantine says the escalation of global interest in a bus placard critical of Israel introduces significant security concerns and makes Metro buses vulnerable to disruption. 

Because of this, he’s approved an interim policy that calls for a halt to the acceptance of any new non-commercial advertising on King County buses.

Metro expects to complete work on a permanent transit ad policy by the end of January.

Remains found in an Auburn ravine earlier this week are those of a likely Green River serial killer victim.

The King County Sheriff's Office says dental records positively identified the victim as Rebecca "Becky" Marrero. The 20-year-old was last seen on Dec. 3, 1982, leaving a motel room on Pacific Highway South.

WSDOT

When you visit the Washington State Ferries website in 2011, you'll find something new:  banner advertising.   It's a one year pilot project.  The state is looking for new ways to increase revenue, and that could include advertising on its websites.

AP

The UW boosts its political voice in Olympia; ferry rate increases get the AG's go-ahead; and Thurston County puts the brakes on wood energy projects.

UW Seeks to Raise Political Voice Ahead of Session

The University of Washington is hoping to flex more political muscle with state lawmakers. The school's alumni group is hiring top lobbyists from both parties to advocate for higher education when the legislative session begins next month. 

AEHI

Rezone plans for a commercial nuclear plant near the Oregon-Idaho border are on hold. Payette County, Idaho Commissioners took the action after the plant’s developer was accused of running a stock scam.

Tom Banse / N3

Idaho’s Tamarack Resort is once again alive with skiers and snowboarders. But the happy scene didn’t come easy.

Tamarack is one of the most glaring casualties in the region from the bursting of the real estate bubble. Homeowners at the bankrupt resort are bootstrapping the once heralded ski area back into business.

Paula Wissel/KPLU

Local Air Force nurse attends signing of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" repeal; a bus ad controversy heats up in Seattle;  speculation grows about who'll get the state's newest Congressional district; and the Pacific claims another Grayland home.

There for the Signing

She's been asking for her job back, and soon Maj. Margaret Witt will get her wish. The Air Force flight nurse, a  lesbian, is anxious to rejoin the Air Force Reserves soon, now that President Obama has signed the repeal of the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy. 

US Census

There were celebrations in Olympia when news broke Tuesday that Washington state will get an additional member of Congress as a result of the 2010 Census. 

http://www.619western.com

The deep bore tunnel that will replace the Alaskan Way Viaduct along Seattle's waterfront could be bad news for the century-old Western Building in Pioneer Square.  

The six story building sits on top of fill dirt and rotted pilings, and the Washington Transportation Department says it could settle a few inches during construction.  

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:

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