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Timber Theft
12:32 pm
Wed January 19, 2011

DNR nabs timber thieves on state land in Lewis County

The men who illegally cut this alder log in Lewis County were arrested by DNR Law Enforcement officers who had staked out the area. This and another log had been stripped of bark and cut into 10-foot lengths for sale to a wholesale wood dealer.
Courtesy DNR

State enforcement officers from the Department of Natural Resources have arrested two men for illegally cutting down large alder trees on state property.

The DNR blog Ear to the Ground reports that:

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Business Technology
8:04 am
Wed January 19, 2011

No cash, no card, no problem with Starbucks smartphone app

Customers across the country will soon be able to use smartphones to buy coffee and snacks at Starbucks.
Starbucks

Technology-savvy consumers could soon be able to leave their wallets behind when picking up a cup of Joe at Starbucks.  

The Seattle retailer is expected to announce Wednesday that customers will be able to use smartphones to pay for goodies at 6,800 stores the company operates in the United States and 1,000 that are in Target stores, according to Claire Cain Miller of the New York Times. 

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MLK Parade Scare
7:25 am
Wed January 19, 2011

Spokane backpack bomb 'unusually sophisticated'

"FBI evidence photo of backpack found on a downtown Spokane street corner bench
FBI

The FBI says a backpack bomb found along the Martin Luther King Day parade route in Spokane could have hurt many people. A bomb disposal unit safely defused the device Monday. Now the federal government has enlisted a joint terrorism task force to track down the would-be bomber.

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Basic Health Plan Budget
7:12 am
Wed January 19, 2011

House Democrats unveil plan to save basic health

These are uneasy times for the 56,000 Washingtonians on the Basic Health Plan. The state-subsidized health insurance program is tentatively slated to end March 1st. But House Democrats presented a Hail Mary proposal to possibly save it.

Washington's current two-year budget is still $600,000,000 out of whack. Finding hundreds of millions of dollars in savings between now and the end of the fiscal cycle in June is no easy task.

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Public Safety
7:08 am
Wed January 19, 2011

Seattle City Light finds 56 streetlights with voltage issues

Street light near condos in the Belltown neighborhood of Seattle.
Paula Wissel

Seattle City Light has identified 56 streetlights in the Seattle area that could give off potentially dangerous voltage.  That’s the final tally from an inspection of nearly 37,000 metal streetlights for voltage issues.

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News Roundup
6:56 am
Wed January 19, 2011

Wednesday morning's headlines

Seattle's Old Federal Building, at First Avenue and Madison Street, is directly over the planned path of the Alaskan Way Viaduct replacement tunnel
Wikimedia Commons

Making headlines this morning:

  • Seattle Tunnel Project Hits Federal Snag
  • Audit Singes State Over Highway 18 Costs
  • 787 Delivery Plans Face More Questions
  • State's Newest Congresswoman Takes on Health Care Reform
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Food for Thought
4:52 am
Wed January 19, 2011

Supermarkets' trading on 'charade of intimacy'

Supermarkets are pretty familiar with what we buy. Nancy and Dick say they're getting a little too familiar overall
KPLU

Have you noticed your local grocery clerk asking you more personal questions of late? "Plastic or paper?" is giving way to "What are your weekend plans?"

This wicked turn toward what they call a 'charade of intimacy' doesn't sit well with Dick and Nancy. They've had it up to their squeaky shopping carts with faux familiarity!

And what about those frequent shopper cards that populate your wallet? Are they really 'saving' you money, as you're told at check out? 

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K-12 Education
4:54 pm
Tue January 18, 2011

Teach for America coming to Seattle this fall

Panel Discussion
4:15 pm
Tue January 18, 2011

Seattle confronts child prostitution problem after FBI sweeps

Part of an ad campaign against Village Voice and associated web sites that sell sex with children. Several women's and human rights groups say 100,000 children are sold for sex in the U.S. every year.
Photo courtesy of Women's Funding Alliance.

Two years ago, the city of Seattle got the results of a harrowing study: it estimated as many as 500 children in King County are involved in prostitution

More recently, FBI sweeps have found more girls victimized here than anywhere else in the country. Seattle is identified by the FBI as one of the top ten human trafficking centers in the country - due in part, perhaps, to more effective law enforcement.  

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Humanosphere
3:27 pm
Tue January 18, 2011

New website wants your failures (and for you to admit you've had them)

Alex E. Proimos Flickr photo

It's uncommon to hear dialog about failure in our society, including among the leaders and agencies who work in the field of global health and development. Those organizations rely on funders who are banking on success to further international missions, according to Humanosphere's Tom Paulson

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John T. Williams shooting
2:22 pm
Tue January 18, 2011

Woodcarver's brother testifies at inquest

Rick Williams, brother of the native woodcarver shot by a Seattle policeman last August, testifies at an inquest, January 18, 2011 in Seattle. This image is a screen grab from KING-TV video.
KING-TV

The brother of the woodcarver killed by a Seattle policeman testified today during the inquest into the shooting. Much of the testimony during the inquest has centered on whether John T. William’s knife was open or closed at the time he was shot by Seattle Police Officer Ian Birk, who has testified he feared the woodcarver was about to attack him.

On the stand today, John T. Williams older brother Rick told jurors he and his brother were taught by their father to close their knives when they talked to people. Linda Byron of KING 5 News writes:

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Tourism
1:32 pm
Tue January 18, 2011

The economy may be down, but tourism is up

Tourism sign at the vampire-infested town of Forks, May 29, 2009
debcha flickr.com

Tourists spent an estimated $15.2 billion last year in Washington. A new report by the state Commerce Department and Washington State Tourism says 2010 was the second best year on record, up 7.4% from 2009. But it's below last year's nation-wide increase of 8.5%.

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KPLU Studio Sessions
12:27 pm
Tue January 18, 2011

Martin Taylor's gypsy gene

Martin Taylor performs in the KPLU studios in Seattle on January 6, 2011.

Martin Taylor is widely considered to be one of today’s finest solo jazz guitarists. While still in his early 20’s, he was introduced to the world’s jazz audience as the guitarist with Stephane Grappelli, a gypsy-jazz violinist and co-founder (along with Django Reinhardt) of the Quintette du Hot Club de France. 

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Oil Spill Response
12:02 pm
Tue January 18, 2011

Is Washington ready to handle The Big Spill?

A boat with an oil boom tries to contain oil spilled from the explosion and collapse of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig.
AP

Some lawmakers in Olympia say “no.” They’re proposing a bill that would make the oil industry pay for a variety of precautions designed to protect Washington’s shorelines from an Exxon Valdez or Deepwater Horizon disaster.

(I wrote about the state of Washington's oil spill prevention and response while the Gulf spill was ongoing last spring ...)

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West Coast Fisheries
11:38 am
Tue January 18, 2011

A new way to divvy up the West Coast fish catch

The fishing fleets along the US west coast are impacted by changes to fishing catch shares, or quotas. This is the southern Oregon port of Brookings, in 2009.
AP

West Coast fishermen are faced with a new way of deciding who gets to catch how much of what kinds of fish. Federal fisheries managers -- and many fishermen -- say it’ll be good for business and for fish stocks. But others fear the impact on small fishing communities.

How has it been done up till now?

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