Other News

Interesting news stories from around the Pacific Northwest.

Solid Ground says kids and families benefit from gift cards for the holidays
Solid Ground

With the holiday shopping season in full swing, local non-profits want to make sure needy families are on your list.  Several charities are collecting toys and clothes for people who can’t afford presents, but a few Adopt-a-Family programs ask donors to give something more than stuff. 

Flickr/Life As Art

The decision about what will replace the Fun Forest at Seattle Center is still up in the air. This fall, a review panel recommended converting it into an exhibition space celebrating local glass artist Dale Chihuly.

That proposal promises millions in much-needed revenue. But the backers of several other ideas haven’t given up hope.

It was short and bittersweet. Washington lawmakers convened Saturday in a rare, lame duck special session. Their job: take a bite out of the billion dollar hole in the current two-year budget. Lawmakers passed three pieces of legislation. 

WSDOT

The Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) is preparing for the next snowstorm in the Puget Sound Region with the addition of eight new "mini-sander" pickup trucks.  The trucks are being turned into sanders with the addition of hoppers and equipment mounted on the tailgates.

AP

The Seattle Mariners will hold a “Public Celebration of Life” for late broadcaster Dave Niehaus tomorrow.  Scheduled start is just after 1 p.m. Saturday at Safeco Field. 

Family, players and close associates will pay tribute to Niehaus, the only play-by-play announcer the team has ever had.  He died of a heart attack last month at the age of 75. 

AP

A futuristic Ferris Wheel is causing a flap in Seattle. 

The Seattle Center has announced  it is planning to install an extra-tall "observation wheel" reminiscent of the British capital's London Eye.  It will go up in April and remain for 18 months on the site of the Fun Forest for the Center's 50th anniversary, commemorating the 1962 World's Fair. 

AP

Was it justified when Amazon.com and the big credit card companies pulled the plug on Wikileaks?  Did it hurt the free flow of information, or advance important dialogue about world affairs? A discussion in Seattle this evening will dive into those questions. 

AP

There are certain songs and films that are so ubiquitous they just scream the holidays are here. Some feature a legendary Washington native, Bing Crosby. The Christmases he used to know were in Spokane. This weekend the city hosts the Bing Crosby Film Festival, featuring “White Christmas” and “Road to Morocco.” But an equally strong draw is the promise of long-lost footage showing other dimensions of the Hollywood star.

AP

Rains expected to cause flooding, high-speed rail in Washington gets a windfall, lawmakers convene for a day. 

Washington's lawmakers will meet in special session on Saturday to start chopping away at a billion-dollar budget shortfall. The governor and legislative leaders emerged from a closed door meeting yesterday with a budget deal. 

The plan is for a one-day special session. Legislative leaders from both parties and Governor Chris Gregoire have agreed to an immediate round of fresh cuts. The goal is to reduce the current $1.1 billion budget shortfall by about half. 

Courtesy WSDOT

State transportation officials have announced the likely winner in the competition to build a tunnel to replace Seattle's aging Alaskan Way Viaduct.  The proposal comes from a consortium known as Seattle Tunnel Partners.  It has a slightly higher price, but offers other benefits. 

Flickr?ManuelW

King County says it now has a glut of jail space and must consider cutting the rate it charges to cities to house offenders.  That comes after years of dire warnings about jail over-crowding.  Cities in south King County are building a new jail (which opens next year) for $56 million in Des Moines. 

USS Nimitz
United States Navy

When the Everett-based aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln leaves the city in fiscal year 2012, it'll be replaced by another carrier, the USS Nimitz.  Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) has been urging the Navy to assign another carrier to Naval Station Everett and made the announcement today after receiving the news from Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus.

Courtest elksonbroadway.com

 Get ready for changes in health insurance for kids next week, a Tacoma historic preservation project takes shape, Bremerton welcomes the USS Nimitz, and a hospital lockdown in Mt. Vernon following a man's death.

AP

Thursday is a big day for the proposed deep-bore tunnel beneath downtown Seattle.  An underground highway is supposed to replace the elevated freeway along the waterfront. 

At 1 pm, Governor Chris Gregoire will unseal the dollar amounts attached to two bids submitted earlier this fall.  Then, Washington Department of Transportation staff will add up a total score, based on price and engineering details, and announce an apparent winner of the final construction contract. 

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