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Environment
3:57 pm
Wed February 15, 2012

City by city, plastic bag bans gaining momentum

A plastic bag ban ordinance modeled after the ones already passed in Bellingham and Seattle is on the agenda of two suburban Puget Sound cities this week.

Bainbridge Island’s council is holding a public hearing on the issue tonight (Wednesday, 5:30 pm.) The hearing can be monitored via webcast.

And a committee at the City of Issaquah takes up the issue Thursday evening.

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Guest post from Geekwire
3:24 pm
Wed February 15, 2012

Ben Huh on why we need to protect 'our greatest creation' - the Internet

Cheezburger CEO Ben Huh at In NW in Seattle
Geekwire

By John Cook at Geekwire

Cheezburger CEO Ben Huh appeared today at the In NW social media conference in Seattle, offering an impassioned plea on the importance of protecting the Internet. Or, as the Internet entrepreneur dubs it: “The greatest thing that mankind has ever created.”

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Budget crisis
2:43 pm
Wed February 15, 2012

Legislature edges closer to budget solution for Washington

OLYMPIA, Wash. — Republicans and Democrats are merging closer on tax policy as they begin to formulate solutions on the state's budget shortfall.

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Fighting prostitution
1:37 pm
Wed February 15, 2012

Higher fines on Johns, pimps would benefit anti-prostitution programs

A volunteer shows a girl around the Genesis Project's facility.
Courtesy of the Genesis Project

SEATAC, Wash. – Critics of backpage.com have accused the classifieds website of promoting child prostitution. The company has defended its policies but lawmakers in Olympia are considering new requirements for the site.

They are also considering more funding for anti-prostitution programs. And they plan to get the extra money from the Johns and pimps themselves.

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Humanosphere
12:38 pm
Wed February 15, 2012

WHO's afraid of chicken? Some want mutant bird flu strain kept top secret

No laughing matter: Some worry a mutant strain of bird flu could turn this chicken into a weapon of mass destruction.
4blueyes Flickr

Seems silly to talk about weaponized chickens, but that’s exactly the kind of talk world leaders have become afraid of.

The latest debate raging among scientists is whether to publish the results of recent experiments done on the bird flu virus. Those experiments have created a super deadly version of the H5N1 virus that could potentially be loosed by chickens (or other birds) and kill many tens of millions of people.

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Crime
10:58 am
Wed February 15, 2012

Drunk drivers who kill could face stiffer sentences

Drunk drivers who cause deadly accidents in Washington rarely spend more than two years in prison. A bill working its way through the state legislature would increase the maximum sentence to eight years.

Prosecutors and people who've lost loved ones to accidents caused by drunk drivers say it's about time.

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Other News
4:50 am
Wed February 15, 2012

Southern vocal music comes to Mercer Island

For Sacred Harp singing, the Pacific Northwest is home to a small but dedicated following. The unique vocal style comes from the south, originating in rural parts of Georgia and Alabama. This weekend, singers from around the northwest will be gathering on Mercer Island.

Stanley Smith, from Ozark Alabama, says the music grabbed him at a young age.

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Food for Thought
4:00 am
Wed February 15, 2012

Hard-blogging food writer Nancy Leson becomes lady of leisure

Yo Madame Pompadour! What's fer lunch?
Wikipedia/Photoshopping by Justin Steyer Wikipedia

When my Food for Thought pard Nancy Leson confided to me that she was taking a six-month leave of absence from The Times I predicted that she'd be climbing the walls within a month.  How wrong I was.

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Port of Seattle
4:55 pm
Tue February 14, 2012

Short-haul truckers heading back to work after two-weeks out

Community members show their support of the truckers at a rally on Monday.
Bellamy Pailthorp KPLU

The two-week work stoppage by several hundred drayage drivers at the Port of Seattle ended this afternoon at a hastily-called press conference. The truckers who haul cargo containers from port terminals to distribution centers and rail yards walked off the job Jan. 30.

Demeke Meconnan, one of the first drivers to walk, said they're headed back to work, but their campaign isn't over.

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Washington State Legislature
4:43 pm
Tue February 14, 2012

Penn State scandal spurring changes in Washington

Joe Paterno was fired for a scandal state lawmakers hope to avoid here.
The Associated Press

OLYMPIA, Wash. — The sex abuse scandal at Penn State University is spurring changes in Washington state.

Washington senators voted unanimously Tuesday to advance a plan that requires officials at higher education institutions to report suspected child abuse to authorities or to state's social services agency.

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Crime
12:20 pm
Tue February 14, 2012

Prosecutors target Amanda Knox again; family not worried

Amanda Knox is surrounded by family members shortly after her arrival at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport in October in Seattle.
Associated Press

Amanda Knox and her family say they're not worried about a decision by Italian prosecutors to appeal her acquittal on charges of killing her roommate in 2007.

Earlier today, Italian prosecutors appealed to Italy's highest criminal court to reinstate the murder convictions of Seattleite Amanda Knox and her former boyfriend in the brutal slaying of a British student.

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Humanosphere
11:31 am
Tue February 14, 2012

USAID story renews fears over mixing aid with foreign policy

Is it foreign aid or covert aid?
johanoomen Flickr

Remember when the CIA did that fake vaccination scheme in Pakistan, the one that many predicted (correctly) would undermine confidence in American health assistance and other aid programs?

Well, there’s another ongoing saga that illustrates the cost of mixing up foreign aid with foreign policy, especially when we use covert means to achieve foreign policy goals.

Read more on Humanosphere.

Valentine's Day
9:42 am
Tue February 14, 2012

Tacoma zoo's tiger looking for a little love; Seattle octopuses find it

Ready for Valentine's Day during today's Octopus Blind Date at the Seattle Aquarium.
Seattle Aquarium

The Point Defiance Zoo is welcoming a visitor tomorrow for a special post-Valentine's Day tryst with Jaya – a Sumatran tiger named Malosi.

“We’re very excited about Malosi’s arrival and the pair’s potential to produce cubs,” said general curator Karen Goodrowe Beck. “The Sumatran tiger is critically endangered and we are working hard to protect and boost the population of this extraordinary species.”

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Washington's Poet
7:39 am
Tue February 14, 2012

Kathleen Flenniken named Washington's Poet Laureate

Kathleen Flenniken reads from her newest collection of poems "Plume" in this image taken from a video exploring the influences behind the collection.

Kathleen Flenniken has been named Washington State’s Poet Laureate. (Click the listen button to hear her read a poem from her most recent collection).

“This is a dream job — speaking in support of the arts and humanities, and of poetry in particular, getting the chance to organize poetry events around the state, visit schools, reach kids and teachers and remote communities,” said Flenniken.

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Killer Whales
7:18 am
Tue February 14, 2012

Mystery surrounds bruised and bloody killer whale carcass

Necropsy team including personnel from Portland State University, Seaside Aquarium, Cascadia Research, Seattle Seal Sitters and WDFW.
Dyanna Lambourn WDFW

The bruised and bloody carcass of an endangered killer whale washed ashore at Long Beach, Wash., this weekend. An initial necropsy did not pinpoint a cause of death.

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