520 Floating Bridge
8:00 am
Thu January 6, 2011

Tolls coming to Lake Washington's SR-520, with unintended impacts

The 520 Floating Bridge, spanning Lake Washington between Seattle and the Eastside, June 12, 2010.
Flickr/Marc_Smith

Tolls costing $7 for a peak-period round-trip are coming to the highway-520 floating bridge across Lake Washington.  The tolls, approved Wednesday night, will pay for a new, wider bridge – although that bridge won’t open until 2014, at the earliest.   

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Law
7:54 am
Thu January 6, 2011

Traffic court getting tougher for speeders?

If you challenge a speeding ticket in traffic court, you’ve had a good chance of getting it thrown out in recent years.  That’s because prosecutors in western Washington have been cutting their budgets and prioritizing for bigger crimes. 

Prosecutors have been absent from traffic court for at least five years, according to The Seattle Times.  At the urging of presiding King County District Court judge Barbara Linde, that's changing. 

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News Roundup
6:48 am
Thu January 6, 2011

Thursday morning's headlines

Making headlines this morning:

  • Flap Over Govenor's Education Proposal Intensifies
  • Domestic violence victims face system "failures"
  • Governors meet to discuss Columbia River coal-shipping terminal

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Business
6:46 am
Thu January 6, 2011

Home sales send mixed message

Home sales bumped up in December, in King County.  Analysts disagree over whether it’s sign of an important trend or not.  The Seattle Times calls it the biggest month for home sales since a federal tax credit expired last summer. 

But the Seattle P-I quotes Glenn Crellin of Washington State University as saying the real estate market is likely to stay sluggish for several months or longer:

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Education
6:00 am
Thu January 6, 2011

Superintendent fumes over Gregoire’s education plan

Washington voters elected him state superintendent of public schools. Now Governor Chris Gregoire wants to takeover his portfolio. Randy Dorn is fuming over the Governor’s proposal to create a cabinet-level Department of Education.

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Record Bin Roulette
3:50 am
Thu January 6, 2011

Singing about the birds

This is just one of the bird 'stars' featured on this week's Record Bin Roulette. John Maynard and John Kessler comb through racks of old vinly to bring us a flock of memories: a review of songs about birds.
Flickr/Alan LIght

With birds falling out of the sky lately, Record Bin Roulette turns attention to songs about our feathered friends.

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K-12 Education
4:00 pm
Wed January 5, 2011

Seattle school officials proposing changes to enrollment plan

Some high school freshman could get new assignments for the 2011-2012 school year
Seattle Office for Education

Now that Seattle schoolchildren have settled in to the new student assignment plan, some changes are on the way.  The effort to place kids at neighborhood schools this year has hit a few bumps. 

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Endangered Species Act
2:22 pm
Wed January 5, 2011

Habitat protection plan for Pacific smelt

This photo provided by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife Tuesday, March 16, 2010 shows Pacific Smelt. The small silvery fish that was a staple of Northwest tribes when the Lewis and Clark expedition arrived, is getting federal protection.
AP/Oregon Fish & Wildlife

NOAA Fisheries Service is proposing habitat protection for the threatened Pacific smelt. The proposal released Wednesday would designate about 292 miles of freshwater creeks, rivers and estuaries in Washington, Oregon and California as critical habitat areas.

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Climate Change
1:39 pm
Wed January 5, 2011

King tide photo initiative

High tide in downtown Olympia, 12/28/10
Johanna Ofner, Climate Policy Group

The Washington Department of Ecology is asking for your photos of high tides through the month of February. Extreme high tides, known as king tides, occur once or twice a year when the gravitational pull of the sun and moon reinforce each other. 

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Street lights
12:37 pm
Wed January 5, 2011

Saying goodbye to decorative street lights?

Decorative streetlight in Belltown in downtown Seattle.
Paula Wissel

Those quaint streetlights that grace some neighborhood business districts in Seattle may be history.  Seattle City Light wants to limit the installation of decorative streetlights in the future.  This comes in the wake of the city’s ongoing inspection of light poles, some of which have been emitting dangerous levels of electricity.

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Journalism
11:47 am
Wed January 5, 2011

Where are former Seattle PI reporters now?

This PI paper box stands empty following the death of the paper's print edition, in March 2009.
KPLU

Reporter Ruth Teichroeb has been keeping tabs on her former Seattle PI co-workers since she and 140 colleagues lost their jobs after the Hearst Corporation shuttered print operations.  Did they find new work? If so, were those journalism jobs?

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News Roundup
7:50 am
Wed January 5, 2011

Wednesday morning's headlines

Caribou feed in Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, or ANWR. The terrain is likely to become a political hot topic once again, as the new Republican chair of the House Natural Resources committee says ANWR should be opened to oil and gas exploration
AP

Making headlines today:

  • Republicans give powerful post to Congressman Hastings
  • Former Sen. Gorton to help redraw political boundaries
  • Tacoma group wants to buy Rainiers
  • One state Mega Millions Winner

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2011 Legislative Session
7:45 am
Wed January 5, 2011

Lawmakers face budget blues in 2011 session

Washington lawmakers are singing the blues over the state’s budget woes. The legislature convenes Monday for a 105-day session. Once again, majority Democrats are confronted with a multi-billion dollar budget shortfall.

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Food for Thought
7:24 am
Wed January 5, 2011

Making mochi to ring in the year

Formed mochi rounds, up close.
Nancy Leson

It's the first Food for Thought of 2011, so Nancy and Dick put the spotlight on a little morsel associated with the start of a new year from the Japanese tradition: Mochi making.  

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Street lights
1:50 am
Wed January 5, 2011

More bad light poles in Seattle

More problems have been discovered with Seattle City Light poles and sidewalk plates
Gary Davis

Seattle’s ongoing inspection of streetlights has turned up more dangerous structures.  But city officials insist the potential harm to people and pets is minimal. 

Seattle City Light began testing all 30 thousand metal lights and sidewalk covers after a dog was electrocuted on Queen Anne Hill in November.  The metal plate the dog stepped on was emitting 90 volts of electricity.  Frayed wires were the problem.  

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