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K-12 education
8:45 am
Thu January 13, 2011

Another Tacoma middle school joins list of low-performers

A new Baker Middle School is under construction next door to the old one in Tacoma's South End. This photo of the construction site was taken Thursday morning, Jan. 13, 2011. Will students have a new principal to go with a new school next year?
Via Tacoma Public Schools website

Half of Tacoma's middle schools now rank among the lowest-performing in the state. Baker Middle School is the fifth to land the dubious distinction.

The bright side? Low-scoring schools become eligible for federal grants intended to help turn things around. 

The News Tribune's Debbie Cafazzo reports Baker's student scores may reflect their challenges at home:

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Fishing Tragedy
1:32 am
Thu January 13, 2011

Poor maintenence, sloppy inspections contributed to sinking of the Alaska Ranger

Alaska Ranger is seen at port in Dutch Harbor, Jan. 2006.
AP file photo

The US Coast Guard has released its 192-page report on the sinking of the fishing trawler Alaska Ranger in March of 2008. The 189-foot fish processing vessel took on water and sank about 130 miles west of Dutch Harbor, in Alaska's Aleutian Islands. Forty seven people were on board: all but five were rescued.

Near as could be determined, the Alaska Ranger sank when a leak around the rudder flooded into the engine room and other compartments, causing the boat to sink in about two hours.

The report, by the Coast Guard's marine board of investigations, found fault all around.

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Record Bin Roulette
12:11 am
Thu January 13, 2011

Happy birthday baby (boomer)

dhdd.net

The first Baby Boomers are turning 65, and Record Bin Roulette is celebrating with a review of the choicest vinyl of a generation.  

We've done a little research, and discovered that one Kathleen Kirschling has the distinction of being the very first Boomer, born on Jan 1, 1946.

We follow the top music of her life, decade by decade, featuring Elvis, The Troggs, the Bangles, and a special appearance by Ricardo Montalban. 

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Crime
5:24 pm
Wed January 12, 2011

Arrest made in threats against Rep. McDermott

The FBI says a Palm Springs, Calif., man accused of making threatening, obscene phone calls to the office of U.S. Rep. Jim McDermott  last month told authorities he never intended to hurt anyone.

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Environment
1:21 pm
Wed January 12, 2011

The safe way to trash your TV

An E-Cycle collection event in Redmond
ecyclewashington.org

Washington's electronics recycling program has collected 78,000,000 pounds of e-waste in its first two years. Put in perspective, that's roughly the same weight as Maine's lobster catch or US black bean exports to Mexico! The state Department of Ecology says the amount of e-waste recycled each year amounts to 5.8 pounds per person.  Old TVs account for 61% of the waste.

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Politics
9:30 am
Wed January 12, 2011

Despite ruling, political parties continue fight against top-two primary

Washington's major political parties are indicating they'll press on with their battle to overturn the state's top-two primary. This despite yet another court ruling Tuesday upholding the voter-approved primary system.

A federal district judge in Seattle ruled voters are not confused when they see the words "prefers Republican party" or "prefers Democratic party" next to a candidate’s name on the ballot. 

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Haiti Earthquake
9:28 am
Wed January 12, 2011

UW Tacoma students build Haiti earthquake reminder on campus

UW Tacoma students practice setting up a simulation of a refugee shelter in Haiti. The students will put the replica dwellings and an aid tent in the middle of campus on the one-year anniversary of the earthquake.
Courtesy of Holly Wolfe

As people remember the earthquake that devastated Haiti last year, some Washington residents will get an up close look at the hardships survivors still face.  Today, anyone who walks through the middle of the UW Tacoma campus can see a refugee camp like those many Haitians live in.  

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Winter Weather
8:34 am
Wed January 12, 2011

Snow turns to slush around western Washington

Snow blanketed the region, creating scenes such as this Tuesday night on Seattle's First Hill, near downtown.
Gary Davis KPLU

Predicted snow fell across western Washington on Tuesday evening, largely sparing the evening commute. This morning people are waking up to rain, thick slush and closed or delayed schools.

A driver in Tukwila slid down a hill and onto the tracks of Sound Transit's Central Link light rail. The car landed on its roof. The driver received minor injuries, according to KING-TV.  Those tracks were closed for a time, with service resuming before midnight.

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State Government
6:16 am
Wed January 12, 2011

Gregoire urges lawmakers to bust status quo

State lawmakers must embrace change and "be bold." That was Governor Chris Gregoire's chief message Tuesday in her State of the State address to a joint session of the legislature. 

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Food for Thought
4:02 am
Wed January 12, 2011

Seattle's restless restaurant scene

Serious Pie is serious pizza, and chef Tom Douglas is expanding on his success. A second location opened in South Lake Union, one of three new Douglas kitchens.
Tom Douglas.com

The end (and the beginning!) of the year often marks change in business of all kinds, and the restaurant business is no exception. 

Nancy and Dick lay down the latest on some noteworthy Seattle restaurateurs who have opened - or are about to open - new kitchens. Other famous spots have new names, or new owners.  Nancy says look out for:

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State Budget Crisis
3:01 pm
Tue January 11, 2011

Can you balance the state budget? Give it a try.

State lawmakers must plug a $4.6-billion hole to balance the state budget
courtesy League of Education Voters

What would you do if you faced the tough choices state lawmakers are up against as they attempt to balance the budget?  You can give it a try yourself with a new online tool created by the League of Education Voters. 

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Environment
1:48 pm
Tue January 11, 2011

Goldmark promotes plan to make jet fuel from wood waste

Washington Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark says he'll propose legislation to promote making aviation fuel out of wood waste.

Goldmark told the Pacific West Biomass Conference in Seattle on Tuesday that he wants to start a pilot project to make jet fuel as part of the Department of Natural Resources' forest biomass program. 

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Money Matters
8:58 am
Tue January 11, 2011

2011 Market Outlook

pdclipart.org

All signs point to 2011 being a good year for the stock market. On this week's Money Matters, financial commentator Greg Heberlein tells KPLU's Dave Meyer this is a good time to invest.

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Politics
8:47 am
Tue January 11, 2011

State senator sworn in amidst controversy

The first day of the Washington Legislature included an intra-party drama on the floor of the state senate. It happened during opening ceremonies Monday when an incumbent Democratic Senator tried to block a new senator from being sworn in. 

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News Roundup
7:27 am
Tue January 11, 2011

Tuesday's headlines

Making headlines this morning:

  • Snow Threat Reduced
  • Protests Greet Lawmakers at Session Start
  • Eyman Files New Initiative
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