Law
5:07 pm
Mon August 1, 2011

3 Wash. initiatives qualify for fall ballot

OLYMPIA, Wash. — Washington voters will have three initiatives to decide this year.

The secretary of state's office said Monday that three proposals have qualified for the ballot. Officials completed certification Monday, finding that each had well more than the 241,000 valid signatures needed to qualify.

Environment
5:06 pm
Mon August 1, 2011

Study: 'Intensive' thinning needed to best cut wildfire risk

In the last ten years, the federal government and rural landowners have spent increasing sums of money thinning spindly trees and removing underbrush. The aim is to reduce risk from wildfire.

A new study by the Forest Service finds that tree stands need to be "intensively" thinned for that strategy to be effective.

Study co-author David Peterson of the Pacific Northwest Research Station in Seattle says a dense tinderbox forest before thinning could have more than a 1,000 trees per acre.

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Hanford Nuclear Reservation
4:57 pm
Mon August 1, 2011

Hanford layoffs not based just on seniority

RICHLAND, Wash. – Seniority won't be the only factor for determining layoffs at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation in southeast Washington. Pink slips are expected in six weeks by several Hanford contractors because federal stimulus money is tapering off.

CH2MHill and Mission Support Alliance are the federal contractors planning on the 1,600 lay-offs. The companies say union employees will lose their jobs based on seniority: those with the least experience going first.

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Woodland Park Zoo
4:39 pm
Mon August 1, 2011

Seattle zoo's grizzly bear brothers are back online

Woodland Park Zoo’s two grizzly bears are brothers named Keema and Denali and are 17 years old (2011).
Courtesy of Woodland Park Zoo

Woodland Park Zoo’s 17-year-old grizzly bear brothers Keema and Denali can be watched live online 24/7 through the zoo’s partnership with Ustream, an internet live streaming service.

(You can also watch the video inside)

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Humanosphere
2:26 pm
Mon August 1, 2011

Community, collaboration: The next phase for Seattle’s do-gooders

'In Seattle, we are already the Silicon Valley of sustainable, social and innovative development,' Hub Seattle's Brian Howe. 'But we are still very fragmented, many of us working inefficiently in isolation.'
Tom Paulson Humanosphere

Clearly, the explosion of do-gooders in Seattle represents a great opportunity – an opportunity to do more good, to maybe even “do well by doing good” or at least find a job.

But our region’s emerging humanitarian “sector” also poses some dangers: A plethora of good (and maybe not-so-good) causes competing for funding, of redundancy, lack of clarity, lack of criteria for measuring success (or failure) and, overall, of not making the most of this opportunity due to lack of collaboration, of community.

That’s where Hub Seattle hopes to play a role.

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Healthy living
11:17 am
Mon August 1, 2011

Follow-up: $800,000 ad campaign designed to help us choose healthy

Public health leaders have concluded that we struggle most when the healthier choices take more effort than the unhealthy ones.
Public Health Seattle & King County

Why spend $800,000 to advertise what seems like common knowledge?  That smoking is bad for you, that eating nutritious foods is better than a diet of fast-food and physical activity is a good idea?

Because too many of us have trouble following those golden rules.

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Unemployment
10:51 am
Mon August 1, 2011

Washington still issues unemployment benefits the old fashioned way

OLYMPIA, Wash. – In this era of plastic, Washington still issues unemployment benefits the old fashioned way: by check. That's a stark contrast to neighboring Oregon where jobless benefits are loaded on a debit card. So what are the trade-offs?

Currently in Washington about 180,000 people are receiving unemployment. Half of them are signed up for direct deposit.

The rest get a check in the mail. It costs the state 45 cents to issue each check – most of that is postage.

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Environment
10:43 am
Mon August 1, 2011

With defense money, scientists swap eggs to reverse lark's decline

A researcher bands an Oregon chick that successfully fledged from Washington nest.
Adrian Wolf

OLYMPIA, Wash. – Wildlife biologists are employing a little trickery to stop the downward spiral of a rare grassland bird in Western Washington. On Friday, biologists took eggs from healthier larks in Oregon and swapping them into western Washington nests, hoping the lark mothers don't notice.

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Hanford Nuclear Reservation
10:27 am
Mon August 1, 2011

New agency sought to find site for nation's nuclear waste

An aerial view of north end of the Yucca Mountain crest in February 1993.
Photo courtesy Dept. of Energy

The nation needs a new agency to site a federal nuclear waste dump. That's the recommendation issued Friday by a presidential commission.

The congressionally-chartered agency would decide where to store radioactive waste that's now sitting in aging underground tanks in southeast Washington.

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Hanford Nuclear Reservation
10:21 am
Mon August 1, 2011

NW could keep nuclear waste for 100 years under recommendation

The Northwest could end up keeping Hanford’s nuclear waste for 100 years or more under a recommendation issued Friday by a presidential commission. President Obama appointed the Blue Ribbon Commission to look into the question of where to store the nation’s worst nuclear waste.

The new report says one option may be to store the waste at regional centers for more than 100 years while the country looks for a suitable permanent repository. That concerns Susan Leckband, who chairs a board that advises managers at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation.

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