Despite the weirdness of this year, construction on light rail extension projects has continued at a solid clip and more trains, tracks, and stations are so close we can almost taste them. (Please do not attempt to actually taste them.) Over the next four years, Seattle will open 28 (!!!) new stations, some of them in less than a year, and they will completely transform the way you get around town.
In fact, theyll transform the way you get around multiple towns, because the new tendrils of the Link extensions will spread across Seattle to the east side and down to Kent and Tacoma, like the tentacles of a giant sexy hentai monster. Please, please, no matter how tempting it may seem, do not attempt to lick the trains.
So, just how close are we to a transformed transit experience? Im glad you askedpull up a chair, brew a cup of coffee, and try to keep your tongue in your mouth as we do a little year-end roundup of Sound Transits most seductive construction projects.
First up is the Northgate Extension, and good God is it tantalizingly close: It opens in September of 2021, just in time for classes to begin. Three new stations (U District, Roosevelt, Northgate) will connect thousands of people and businesses that were previously too distant from rail to rely on train service. Its going to be incredible to have fast access to the U Districtthere are so many great shops and venues up there that its hard to imagine an area better suited for light rail. Not to mention, everyone who lives and works around the school will have an 8-minute ride into the city, which means a flood of college kids shopping and playing and hanging out all over Seattle.
Read more: https://www.thestranger.com/slog/2020/11/27/52375763/dozens-of-new-light-rail-stations-are-about-to-open-and-so-are-my-legs
Washington Republicans and some Democrats who want to perform their willingness to "do something" keep pressuring Governor Jay Inslee to call a special session, ostensibly so lawmakers can hammer out some kind of woefully insufficient COVID-19 relief package.
This impulse sounds good and noble, but it's dumb for a couple reasons. First off, there is an outside chance Democrats will take control of the U.S. Senate in January, which would dramatically increase the chances of a federal bailout. If the legislature meets tomorrow, however, then lawmakers will have to assume no more money will come from the feds and then start filling budget holes by cutting programs people rely on. While making big cuts is a huge kink for Republicans, 2008 taught us that austerity budgeting will lead to a longer, slower, more painful economic recovery, and we should do everything we can to avoid making the same mistake again.
But a major mechanical issue also troubles the prospect of a special session: lawmakers haven't ironed out the process for passing bills remotely yet. So even if they could meet, the quality of the work they could even accomplish remains an open question.
At this point we've all come face-to-completely-frozen-face with the limitations of video conferencing in the workplace. And though the glitchy conferencing tools make remotely meeting in small groups and delivering presentations pretty painless, trying digitally to recreate a statehouse setting presents a big challenge. A lot of lawmaking is relational, and a lot of brisk business gets done in the hallways. And the actual business of debate and voting happens in a giant congregate setting. None of that easily translates to Zoom.
Read more: https://www.thestranger.com/slog/2020/11/25/52109917/washington-lawmakers-havent-figured-out-how-to-conduct-a-floor-debate-on-zoom-yet
Washington state has released a new 10-year update to to its forest plan, which charts ways it will manage forestland over the next decade.
The plan was released by the state Department of Natural Resources, and updates their 2010 plan. Forests in the state are threatened by a number of factors including disease, pests, drought, development and climate change.
For example, between 2015 and 2019, the number of acres affected by insects and disease nearly doubled, likely as a result of severe drought. Last year, there were at least 658,000 acres of forestland with tree mortality, defoliation or fungal disease, with the majority likely stemming from bark beetle damage.
This insect disease is likely due, in part, to the drought experienced that year. It was the ninth driest year on record, and the driest in the since 1985, according to the forest plan.
Read more: https://www.seattleweekly.com/news/washington-releases-new-forest-plan/
HONG KONG (AP) Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam on Tuesday urged residents to stay home as the city grapples with a resurgence of the coronavirus, which has infected more than 600 people in the last week.
Lam asked citizens to refrain from social gatherings and said that people, in particular the elderly, should remain at home.
The latest wave of the epidemic is rather severe. Every one of us should do our best and exercise a high level of discipline to fight the pandemic, she said at a regular news conference. The coming two weeks is a crucial period.
The city reported 82 new infections on Tuesday, 23 of which were unlinked to known clusters. Hong Kong has reported 6,397 infections since the pandemic began, with 109 deaths.
Read more: https://www.seattlepi.com/news/article/Hong-Kong-leader-urges-people-to-stay-home-as-15765056.php
Days after Washington Gov. Jay Inslee won a rare third term in office, the 69-year-old Democrat started appearing on lists of possible picks for President-elect Joe Bidens cabinet.
A New York Times article the week after the election mentioned Inslee as a possible contender to lead the U.S. Department of Energy, the Interior Department or the Environmental Protection Agency. A piece in Politico similarly talked about Inslee as a possible cabinet choice.
But what happens in Washington state if Inslee leaves to take a job in the nations capital?
While Inslee has said many times he plans to serve his full term as governor, many think it would be hard for him to turn down a job serving under a new Democratic president especially one that involves combating climate change, one of Inslees core issues.
Read more: https://www.inlander.com/spokane/what-happens-if-wa-gov-jay-inslee-takes-a-job-in-bidens-cabinet/Content?oid=20718656
RICHLAND, Benton County In May 2019, workers at the Perma-Fix Northwest plant pulled a hunk of radioactive waste from a powerful kiln heated to 2,100 degrees Fahrenheit hot enough to ensconce the material in glass for eventual burial.
The workers let it cool but not long enough before setting it on a pallet. The residual heat caused the wood to burn. A crew from the plant sprayed chemicals on the fire before Richland firefighters arrived to finish that job.
A Washington Department of Ecology inspector in a report noted that a fire alarm system was not operating that month and that the incident could have been catastrophic.
This was one of two fires at Perma-Fix in 2019 that were not publicly disclosed by the company or state regulators. It offers an unsettling example of how things can go wrong at the private facility that treats radioactive and hazardous materials trucked in from Hanford, the highly polluted federal site which produced plutonium for nuclear bombs, as well as waste from elsewhere in the U.S. and other countries.
Read more: https://www.spokesman.com/stories/2020/nov/27/new-investigative-report-documents-fires-violation/
A tiny home village in the Puyallup Valley soon will provide housing to dozens of Washingtons homeless veterans.
Next spring, 35 veterans will move into brand new tiny homes on the 181-acre campus of the Washington Soldiers Home in Orting.
A 2019 count of the people experiencing homelessness in Pierce County found that at least 9 percent, or about 134 people, were veterans
The project is lead by Quixote Communities, a nonprofit with a similar community in Olympia and another in the works in Shelton.
Read more: https://www.thenewstribune.com/news/local/article247461655.html
(Tacoma News Tribune)
The Washington State Department of Health on Monday reported 2,319 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 71 new deaths. The death count also covers the weekend, as the department no longer reports deaths on weekends.
Pierce County reported 166 new COVID-19 cases on Monday and four additional deaths. Pierce County had a total of 235 deaths likely caused by COVID-19 as of Monday, according to the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department.
Statewide totals from the illness caused by the coronavirus are at 165,019 cases and 2,774 deaths, up from 162,700 cases and 2,703 deaths on Sunday.
King County continues to have the highest numbers in Washington, with 44,348 cases and 881 deaths. Yakima County has 13,770 cases and 297 deaths. Pierce is second in cases with 17,164.
Read more: https://www.thenewstribune.com/news/coronavirus/article247516285.html
(Tacoma News Tribune)
OLYMPIA More than 200,000 people have already signed up for Washingtons COVID-19 notification phone app, Gov. Jay Inslee said Monday as he implored residents to sign up for it.
And in a news conference, Inslee said that if enough Washingtonians are comfortable signing up for it, the app could save a measurable number of people from getting infected or dying of the new coronavirus.
This is a pretty sweet deal for folks, said the governor, who described the app as free, private, easy to use and effective and can actually save lives.
Washington Exposure Notifications aims to let people know of possible COVID-19 exposures. The service uses Bluetooth technology developed by Apple and Google to detect proximity to other phones. If someone who has enabled these notifications tests positive, they can anonymously notify other users who have been within 6 feet of them.
Read more: https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/health/wa-notify-system-goes-live-with-covid-exposure-notifications-for-iphone-users-in-washington-state/
Kennewick, WA - A complaint has been filed accusing Benton County Sheriff Jerry Hatcher of improperly using county resources in his fight against being recalled from office.
County Prosecutor Andy Miller received the complaint about potential violations from the lawyer representing sheriffs Sgt. Jason Erickson. The sergeant, backed by 90% of the countys deputies and union officers, filed a petition last summer to have their boss ousted on claims of misuse of public funds and property and intimidating witnesses.
They are currently trying to collect 14,000 signatures to get the issue on the ballot.
The latest allegations claim Hatcher used his staff and county email to schedule a news conference to criticize a decision by the Washington state Supreme Court to allow the recall effort to move forward.
Read more: https://www.tri-cityherald.com/news/local/crime/article247434120.html
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