Diversions
10:50 am
Wed July 4, 2012

'Festival of Speed' brings skateboarding couple to southeast Wash.

Racers jostle and draft for position in the first turns of Maryhill Loop Road in the Columbia River Gorge. Photo by Anna King

Originally published on Tue July 3, 2012 5:54 pm

GOLDENDALE, Wash. – Each year on a long, steep stretch of looping highway in southeast Washington, hundreds of skateboarders test their grit. A helmet, a leather body suit and wicked skill are all that stand between glory and a face full of asphalt. It’s called the Maryhill Festival of Speed near Goldendale.

Maryhill Loop Road is 22 turns and 2.2 miles. And on a skateboard it’s just a fleeting few minutes to the bottom of the Columbia River Gorge.

Nearly 300 young men and just 11 women showed up recently to take on this twisted ribbon of pavement.

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News
10:49 am
Wed July 4, 2012

Northwest firefighters play waiting game amid cooler weather

A helitack crew employed by the state of Washington attended a training in Ellensberg last month. Photo courtesy of Washington Department of Natural Resources

Originally published on Tue July 3, 2012 5:00 pm

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano visited Boise Tuesday . They toured the center that coordinates national wildfire response efforts.

Some firefighters from the Northwest have been sent to blazes across the West. But the firefighters still at home are playing the waiting game.

In Colorado, crews are approaching two weeks of battling the Waldo Canyon Fire. Meanwhile, the Northwest has been so wet, some fire managers dubbed last month “June-uary.”

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Business
9:06 am
Wed July 4, 2012

Amazon.com helps sponsor Lake Union fireworks, blunting criticism

sea turtle

Amazon.com says it’s helping sponsor the fireworks display at Seattle’s Lake Union. It’s a first for the company, which drew criticism in a Seattle Times article for a lack of philanthropy around the city.

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Food for Thought
4:30 am
Wed July 4, 2012

The best-ever way to slice a hot dog!

Easy to do and fun to eat, the spiral cut hot dog is a real weiner.
Huffington Post

"How could I  not have known about this?"  My Food for Thought pard Nancy Leson echoed the very words I had thought when I discovered the Spiral Cut hot-dog.   It's not only cool,  it's so easy to do. 

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Science
3:24 am
Wed July 4, 2012

Video: 'We've got the Higgs,' UW and CERN scientist declares

Screen grab from the video of Gordon Watts, University of Washington physics professor who helped announce to the world that the 'God particle' has likely been found.

In this video, shot just after results of the Large Hadron Collider at the European Organization for Nuclear Research or CERN were announced, University of Washington physics scientist Gordon Watts declares – "We've got the Higgs."

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Search for the God Particle
12:01 am
Wed July 4, 2012

CERN finds Higgs-like (God) particle; UW scientists, up late, celebrate discovery

Gordon Watts, a physics professor at UW, shared the news of the likely discovery of the Higgs boson announced in the evidence presented by CERN tonight.
Jake Ellison KPLU

A University of Washington physics professor with connection to the experiments at the CERN Large Hadron Collider said a Higgs-like particle has been discovered.

"We have discovered something ... and quite frankly I can't see how it can be anything other than the Higgs but  we need scientific proof to close that door," said Gordon Watts, a physics professor at UW, at a tavern-based seminar tonight in lower Queen Anne with nearly 150 colleagues and science aficionados. "We just do not have the data yet to determine what the flavor of Higgs it is that we see.

"I am positive. My gut tells me that is what this is."

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Coal Exports
5:03 pm
Tue July 3, 2012

Coal Spill Raises Questions About Boosting Exports

A train accident in Eastern Washington has raised questions about proposed increased train shipments of coal through the nearby Columbia River Gorge. Photo by Courtney Flatt/ EarthFix

Originally published on Thu July 5, 2012 6:53 am

RICHLAND, Wash. - This week crews are cleaning up about 30 train cars full of coal that overturned near Mesa , in Eastern Washington. The accident has raised questions about proposed increased train shipments of coal through the nearby Columbia River Gorge.

Huge machinery had to be trucked in from the Tri-Cities to clean up the black dusty mess in the rural burg east of Yakima. Car loads of coal overturned and damaged the tracks there.

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Health
5:00 pm
Tue July 3, 2012

Methadone deaths down, but cause could be shift to other drugs

Originally published on Thu July 5, 2012 9:58 am

Tuesday. The Northwest has one of the highest Methadone prescription rates in the country.

You’ve probably heard of Methadone in the context of treatment for heroin addiction. But it’s also a painkiller in the same league as Vicodin and OxyContin.

According to the CDC, Methadone prescriptions and overdose deaths peaked in 2007. It’s a trend borne out by drug death numbers from the Seattle area and Oregon. The CDC credits public awareness campaigns and better prescription drug monitoring programs.

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Japanese Tsunami debris
4:20 pm
Tue July 3, 2012

Tsunami costs mounting; Gregoire releases $500,000 for cleanup

While the Japanese dock that showed up on an Oregon beach is the largest single piece of tsunami debris so far, many tons of small debris are washing ashore daily.
The Associated Press

OLYMPIA, Wash. — Gov. Chris Gregoire is releasing $500,000 from her emergency fund to address costs associated with potential debris washing up on the state's beaches from the Japanese tsunami.

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Business
3:17 pm
Tue July 3, 2012

Boeing expects Asian demand to propel growth

clidstrom

Boeing says the world will need 34,000 new airplanes over the next 20 years, mostly driven by increasing demand from Asia.

Boeing has to plan 20 years down the line in an industry where designing and building a plane can take almost a decade. The company says it expects airlines will want even more single-aisle airplanes, like its 737s, which are made in Renton.

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wildfires
2:08 pm
Tue July 3, 2012

Guns blamed for starting wildfires in parched West

Fires like the Waldo Canyon wildfire, photographed on Tuesday, are being started by guns, say fire officials.
The Associated Press

SPOKANE, Wash. — In the tinder-dry West, campfires, fireworks and even lit cigarettes are banned across public lands. Another fire-starting culprit, however, remains free of most restrictions: guns.

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Humanosphere
1:50 pm
Tue July 3, 2012

'ChangeMaker' uses business enterprise to promote public health

Erin Larsen-Cooper, 29, is a program associate withVillageReach, and a graduate of the University of Washington and Western Washington University.

By Lisa Stiffler, Humanosphere correspondent

In wealthy countries, it’s no problem for an organization to provide a single, narrowly defined service. In a poor community, it won’t always work to focus on singular goal, ignoring the existing challenges that can doom even the most well-intentioned projects.

Enter Erin Larsen-Cooper, a recent graduate of the University of Washington. She's hopeful that programs that are more holistic, that work with existing health programs and employ members of the community that they’re aiming to help, will get us closer to solving some of the problems in global health and poverty.

Read more on Humanosphere.

Education
1:33 pm
Tue July 3, 2012

Gov. Gregoire writes to complain about WWU raises

Gov. Chris Gregoire isn't happy about Western Washington University's new faculty contract.

She wrote a letter last week to Western President Bruce Shepard expressing "grave concerns" about the raises faculty members are getting.

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NPR diversions
1:04 pm
Tue July 3, 2012

Sure it's sunny there, but great white sharks seen off Atlantic, Pacific beaches

It's eerie when thinking of "Jaws" which is about a killer great white shark off Long Island, New York (although the film was shot in Massachusetts) around the Fourth of July.
The Associated Press

Maybe you're planning your summer vacation and want something totally impractical to worry about (just to keep your mind off of real problems ... like money, say). And, we've still got more than a month to go to Discovery Channel's 'Shark Week', but ...

Great white sharks have been seen off the coast of Cape Cod, Mass; and on e off the coast near San Diego.

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Seattle Seawall
10:08 am
Tue July 3, 2012

$290 million levy for Seattle waterfront seawall

The Seattle City Council votes next week whether to put a $290 million levy on the Nov. 6 ballot to pay for a new seawall along Elliott Bay.

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