Jazz news
1:45 pm
Mon March 7, 2011

Herman (Roscoe) Ernest III, famed New Orleans drummer, dies

Herman Ernest III, musical director and drummer for Dr. John, died Sunday.
123people.com

Herman Ernest III, the beloved drummer and musical director for Dr. John lost his nearly 3-year-long battle with cancer on Sunday morning.  

A funeral service will be held in New Orleans on Saturday, March 12 at First Pilgrim Baptist Church, 1228 Arts Street, preceded by a viewing at the church starting at 8 a.m. Burial will follow at St. Louis No. 3, 3421 Esplanade Avenue.

Endangered Species
8:39 am
Mon March 7, 2011

Iconic killer whale is missing

The last known photo of the killer whale known as J-1, foraging at Constance Bank near Victoria, B.C. on November 21, 2010.
Mark Malleson Courtesy of orcanetwork.org

The oldest and perhaps most-recognizable of the local killer whales is missing and researchers fear he may have died over the winter.

The orca known to researchers as J-1 was last seen on November 21st near Victoria, B.C. Also known as “Ruffles,” for the wavy edge to his distinctive six-foot-tall dorsal fin, J-1 was believed to be about 60 years old. He was one of the first individual orcas to be identified by researchers in the early 19-70s.

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News Roundup
8:15 am
Mon March 7, 2011

Monday morning's headlines

Jennifer Mendelson begins to fill her car's gas tank at a station near downtown Seattle.
Elaine Thompson AP Photo

Making headlines around the Northwest this morning:

  • Accused Monroe Killer Was Known Threat
  • Northwest Gas Prices Spike
  • Union Claims Seattle School Board Knew About Troubles
  • Pac 10 Tourney Pits UW vs. WSU
     

Scherf Was Long Considered Risk to Prison Staff

Byron Scherf, who confessed to murdering Monroe prison guard Jaime Biendl, was known to corrections officials as a possible threat to staff for years, according to The Herald of Everett:

"Staff are concerned that his next victim could be a staff person," one corrections worker wrote June 1, 2001, in the running log state prison officials have kept on Scherf's behavior since the mid-1990s. 

Other observations made about the same time point out that Scherf:

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Unemployment
7:53 am
Mon March 7, 2011

Worker retraining programs run dry at community colleges

David Puki, left, helps inspect a drum brake with Hal Glade, at South Seattle Community College. Puki, a laid-off Boeing worker, is studying to be an auto mechanic.
Ralph Radford AP Photo

Unemployed workers are facing yet another obstacle as they try to get back on their feet. A lot of community colleges have run out of money to retrain them for in-demand jobs. 

It’s hard enough for most people to find work right now, let alone those whose fields have been pummeled by the recession. Changes in the job market have driven more workers than ever to take advantage of grants for retraining. So many, that even though the state spent $17.6 million to train an extra 3,784 people this year, it hasn’t been enough.

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Cleaner Energy
7:50 am
Mon March 7, 2011

Northwest’s largest coal-fired power plant agrees to shut down by 2025

The owner of the largest coal-fired power plant in the Northwest has agreed to phase out coal-burning by the end of 2025.

Washington’s governor and environmental groups announced an agreement with TransAlta Corporation Saturday. Within hours, the Washington State Senate passed a bill to turn the deal into law.

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Artscape
9:27 am
Sun March 6, 2011

A horse, a donkey and Seattle Opera's "Don Quixote"

Millie as Dapple and her human co-star Richard Bernstein in Seattle Opera's production of "Don Quixote."
Photo by Rozarii Lynch

Seattle Opera’s latest production is “Don Quixote.” The show is a spectacle, featuring sets that look like humongous books; computer-animated windmills; and flamenco dancers.

The cast also features a memorable pair from Bothell who is making its operatic debut: Millie, a donkey, and Desperado, a horse.

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Light Rail
6:14 pm
Fri March 4, 2011

Sound Transit's giant tunnel machine nearly finished

This tunnel boring machine, under assembly in Tacoma, will dig Sound Transit's tunnel through Capitol Hill in Seattle.
Keith Seinfeld KPLU

The giant digging machines that will bore twin tunnels from Husky Stadium to Seattle’s Capitol Hill are being assembled at the Port of Tacoma. They're called Tunnel Boring Machines, and they vaguely resemble Apollo-era rockets, lying on their sides. 

And with their current paint-jobs, sporting Sound Transit's green and blue colors, they might be Lego toys, inflated to a surreal scale.

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Science
2:36 pm
Fri March 4, 2011

Will Seattle get a space shuttle?

Space shuttle Atlantis in orbit over San Diego 10/30/05
NASA

April 12 is the day we'll learn if the Puget Sound region will become home to one of NASA's retiring space shuttles. There are 27 institutions vying for the three orbiters, and Seattle's Museum of Flight is one of the contenders.

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Defense
2:23 pm
Fri March 4, 2011

EADS won't challenge Boeing tanker contract

The outdated KC-10 refueling planes, like this one (left), will be replaced under Boeing's new contract.
AP

Boeing's chief rival for the lucrative Air Force tanker refueling contract ended a decade-long fight for over the work today, announcing it will not challenge the Defense Department's award for the project. 

The Herald of Everett's Michelle Dunlop reports EADS, the European parent company of Airbus, decided a challenge could not be mounted:

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Sports with Art Thiel
9:21 am
Fri March 4, 2011

NFL labor talks extended; Hasselbeck likely free agent

Love 'em or leave 'em: Matt Hasselbeck hugs coach Pete Carroll after the Seahawks beat the Saints in the NFC Wildcard playoff game Jan. 8, 2011. Art Thiel says Hasselbeck will be a free agent whenever NFL players get a new contract.
Robert Sorbo REUTERS

NFL labor talks have gone into overtime.  Owners and players have now agreed to a seven-day extension to come up with a new collective bargaining agreement with the players' union.

For Seahawks fans, this means quarterback Matt Hasselbeck will likely become a free agent.

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Civility in Politics
9:01 am
Fri March 4, 2011

Does political incivility go hand-in-hand with change?

Richard Butler lead the Aryan Nations from a 20-acre compound in North Idaho and was considered a major leader in the U.S. Neo-Nazi movement until his death in 2004.
Southern Poverty Law Center

A national conference in Spokane focuses on something a lot of people fear is dying out: civility in American politics. Many see the January shooting in Tuscon as just one sign that the nation's civic discourse has been replaced with mudslinging, threats, and even violence.

Spokane itself was shaken by backpack bomb discovered along the route of a Martin Luther King Day parade.

But consider this: Incivility can sometimes play a positive role in democracy, at least according to some experts.

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Washington State Legislature
8:15 am
Fri March 4, 2011

Audit on K-12 health benefits runs afoul of unions

Majority Democrats in the Washington Legislature are working to close a multi-billion dollar budget gap. But they're not likely to implement a change the State Auditor says could save $180 million over the two-year budget cycle, as the idea runs afoul of the powerful teacher's union.

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Real Estate
7:22 am
Fri March 4, 2011

King County home prices down 7% compared to last year

A jogger and dog run past a house posted with a new price in Seattle.
Elaine Thompson AP Photo

Foreclosures and uncertainty are clogging up the real estate market, and one local expert says prices won't go up again before next year.

The median price of a home in King County  is down nearly 7% compared to a year ago.  That's one of many tidbits in the mass of numbers released this month by the Northwest Multiple Listing Service. 

Sales data for February show the median sales price in Washington's most populous county down 7 percent compared to last year. The median price of a home in King County has dropped to $320-thousand dollars. That's about $23,000 dollars less than in February of last year. 

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News Roundup
7:19 am
Fri March 4, 2011

Friday morning's headlines

Seattle's July 4th fireworks extravaganza, known as the Family 4th, produced by the nonprofit One Reel, will take place again this year, after enough funding was secured. Still, the agency is short of its budget.
Joshua Trujillo AP Photo/Seattlepi.com

Making headlines around the Northwest this morning:

  • Pierce County Deputy Dies
  • Boeing Rival Expected to Concede Tanker Fight
  • Seattle's Big Fireworks Show Will Return

 

Shock at Pierce County Sheriff's Office

Pierce County's law enforcement officers are "in shock" today after the sudden death of sheriff's deputy. Shandon Wright died at home yesterday evening, a day after undergoing surgery for a shoulder injury that happened on the job last year.

Fifty off-duty officers responded to his South Hill home upon hearing the news, according to the News Tribune's Stacia Glenn. The exact cause of Wright's death is being investigated.

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Law & Justice
2:16 am
Fri March 4, 2011

Pierce County deputy dies after being treated for on-duty injuries

A Pierce County sheriff's spokesman says a 29-year-old deputy has died less than 24 hours after undergoing
surgery for an injury he suffered in an on-duty assault last year.

Spokesman Ed Troyer called Shandon Wright's death Thursday night "a duty-related death" and said fellow officers were shocked.

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