Humanosphere
3:12 pm
Mon January 31, 2011

Bill Gates: Push polio into oblivion

A Nigerian child receives drops of polio vaccine at the Ore-Ofe nursery school in Lagos, Nigeria, in 2003.
AP

In case you missed it, Bill Gates thinks we should eradicate polio.

Not just him. You and me, too.

Bill and Melinda Gates have given a lot of money — about $1.3 billion — in support of the global campaign to eradicate polio. But, as Gates has been saying a lot the past week, it’s going to take a truly global effort to succeed:

“If eradication fails because of a lack of generosity on the part of donor countries it would be tragic. We are so close, but we have to finish the last leg of the journey,” says Gates in his annual letter released today.

Gates has been on the global media circuit for the past week or so stumping for polio eradication. He wants the public everywhere to push their governments to provide more funds for this big global project.

Gates made the case early last week when he announced his $50 million donation (matched by an Abu Dhabi crown prince) to boost the vaccination campaign in Pakistan and Afghanistan, two of the four countries (the others being India and Nigeria) where polio is still endemic.

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Crime
2:40 pm
Mon January 31, 2011

Gregoire orders investigation into murder of prison guard

Washington's governor has ordered an independent investigation into the killing of a prison guard at the Monroe Correctional Center on Saturday night.  Veteran officer Jayme Biendl was strangled at her post in the prison chapel. Her body was discovered after she failed to turn in her keys at the close of her shift.

An inmate who was missing during a routine count earlier Saturday evening, Byron Scherf, is considered the 'prime suspect' of Monroe Police, according to Seattlepi.com's Chris Grygiel:

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Derelict Vessels
12:10 pm
Mon January 31, 2011

That sinking feeling: Cleaning up abandoned boats

This adandoned boat sank in the Duwamish River in Tukwila about two months ago. DNR says the city is going through the required process of trying to notify the boat's owner. If the owner doesn't deal with the boat by mid-February, the city will take over.
Liam Moriarty KPLU News

So, you live near a marina -- or a river or lake -- and you notice that an old, possibly-abandoned boat is sinking.

Who you gonna call?

Your first thought might be to notify the local police or fire department. Bryan Flint says that might work, or it might not.

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Public Space
11:11 am
Mon January 31, 2011

What should happen to Seattle's community centers?

Dancers face off in a competition at Southwest Community Center. Seattle officials say the centers aren't sustainable and want public input on changes.
Seattle Parks and Recreation

If you care about youth sports, neighborhood gatherings or activities for seniors, you might rely on community centers. In Seattle, some big changes to the facilities could be on the way. Officials say they’re too expensive as the city struggles with shrinking revenue. So they're asking anyone who's interested in community centers to help decide their fate.

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Crime
7:37 am
Mon January 31, 2011

Monroe prison guard murdered over weekend

Correctional Officer Jayme Biendl
Wash. DOC

His “worst nightmare.” That's how Washington’s Secretary of Corrections is describing the murder this weekend of a female correctional officer. Prison officials say 34-year-old Jayme Biendl was strangled to death.

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Artscape
7:28 am
Mon January 31, 2011

The Highland bagpipe: "voice" of the local Scottish community

Alexander Schiele leads the Northwest Junior Pipe Band at the Pacific NW Highland Games in 2009
Photo by Weatherly Schiele

Go ahead and joke about the bagpipe: It sounds like a dying cat!

Just don't joke in front of 15-year-old Alexander Schiele. The Snohomish resident plays in two Northwest Highland pipe bands and commutes twice a week to Vancouver, B.C. just to learn from some of the world's best.

Nothing compares to playing the pipes, he says, while rehearsing with the Northwest Junior White Spot United Pipe Band in Shoreline on a recent Sunday night.

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News Roundup
6:59 am
Mon January 31, 2011

Monday morning's headlines

Making headlines this morning around the Northwest:

  • Prison guard death first in 30 years
  • Details on Anti-War Protester Spying 
  • Suicide Prevention Fence for Olympia I-5 Bridge

 

Monroe Guard's Death

Shock and sadness over the murder of a Monroe Reformatory guard dominate western Washington headlines.  Jayme Biendl was killed late Saturday night while on duty in the prison chapel. An inmate - three-strikes  lifer Byron Scherf - is the lone suspect. 

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Egypt Protests
4:11 pm
Fri January 28, 2011

Rally Saturday in Seattle to support demonstrations in Egypt

An Egyptian Army soldier riding in an armored vehicle is surrounded by anti-government protesters near Tahrir square in Cairo, Egypt, Fri., Jan. 28, 2011. Seattle is one of a few US cities with weekend rallies supporting the protests.
Ben Curtis AP

A rally in support of the anti-government protests in Egypt will begin at noon Saturday in downtown Seattle's Westlake Park.  

One of the organizers is Alaa Badr, an Egyptian American who has been in the United States for 17 years. He works for Microsoft and lives in Issaquah with his wife and three children. Lately, he says, they've been staying up till one in the morning watching Al Jazeera.

"But then we get up again at 5 a.m., just to see what's happened, because of the time difference," he says.  

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Smart Commuting
3:06 pm
Fri January 28, 2011

Mobile app for ridesharing could ease pain of 520 tolls

A new smart phone app is being piloted by the state to reduce SR 520 congestion and pollution.
WSDOT Flickr

Tolls on the 520 bridge are set to start this spring and they could be as high as $3.50 each way. 

Frustrated?  There's an app for that. 

An Irish company called Avego created a new smart phone app for "real-time ride sharing." Company leaders say it encourages more carpooling. 

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Humanosphere
2:05 pm
Fri January 28, 2011

Bill Gates gives, and gets, more money for polio eradication

A child receiving polio vaccine.
UNICEF

Bill and Melinda Gates are big believers in vaccines and in the benefit of eradicating, rather than simply controlling, those human diseases that have the potential for being completely wiped out.

Today, Gates and British Prime Minister David Cameron announced a combined new donation of $166 million in support of the global polio eradication campaign.

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Sports with Art Thiel
1:06 pm
Fri January 28, 2011

After Niehaus: How do you replace a legend?

Dave Niehaus was the legendary voice of the Seattle Mariner broadcasts for more than 30 years. His death last fall has left a void. How will the M's fill it?
AP

The sudden death of Mariners' Hall of Fame broadcaster Dave Niehaus last November left a huge void in the team's radio booth. It's a void that will be evident this weekend as fans flock to Safeco Field for Mariners FanFest - the annual meet-and-greet with players and team personnel.

Since there is no one voice that can replace Niehaus, the Mariners have decided to use five this season. 

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Culture
10:53 am
Fri January 28, 2011

Lunar New Year celebrations kick off this weekend

In the Chinese zodiac, 2011 is the 'Year of the Rabbit.' This photo from last year's celebration shows the Lion and Dragon Dance along King Street in Seattle's International District.
Wonderlane Flickr

The weekend brings the first of many planned Lunar New Year celebrations around the region. Many Asian cultures mark the event with colorful festivals, parades and performances, including the Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, Tibetan and Mongolian communities, among others.

The Chinese celebrations often include the dramatic Lion and Dragon dances. Many of the region's events are centered around children and family activities:

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Business
7:51 am
Fri January 28, 2011

Microsoft beats expectations for Q2 with strong sales of Xbox Kinect and Office 2010

Strong holiday sales of XBox 360 consoles with the new Kinect motion controller played a starring role in Microsoft's strong financial report.
PRNewsFoto Microsoft Corp.

Microsoft handily beat Wall Street's expectations, posting record revenue: nearly $20 billion in its second quarter.

The company says the strong financial report was fuelled by rebounding business demand, as well as swift sales of the Kinect motion controller for its Xbox 360 video games. 

Xbox sales booming

Microsoft says it sold 8 million Kinect motion controllers in just 60 days this past holiday season, far exceeding the company’s expectations, as well as Wall Street's.  

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News Roundup
6:49 am
Fri January 28, 2011

Friday morning's headlines

An impromptu street memorial for First Nations woodcarver John T. Williams, shot and killed by a Seattle policeman last August on Boren Avenue. Did police provide all pertinent documents to a Seattle Times disclosure request?
Gary Davis KPLU

Making headlines this morning:

  • Key Document Surfaces in Woodcarver Shooting
  • Education Department Idea Moves Forward in Olympia
  • Packed Hearing Backs Saving a Tacoma High School

 

Woodcarver's Shooting: Evidence Surfaces

A city councilman's email plea to Seattle Police Chief John Diaz for an independent investigation following the  fatal shooting of John T. Williams by a cop last August was omitted from a public disclosure request. 

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U.S. Military
5:06 pm
Thu January 27, 2011

Possible deal for soldier accused in Afghan War crimes

Spc. Jeremy Morlock.
US Army

There's been a significant development in the case of five Washington-based soldiers accused of killing unarmed Afghan civilians last year. The Washington Post reports a plea deal has been struck with one of the key defendants. But an Army spokesman cautions nothing's been finalized. 

The Post, citing an anonymous source, says Specialist Jeremy Morlock has agreed to a deal that would spare him the possibility of life in prison.

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