Seattle

Reporter's Notebook
5:02 pm
Thu February 10, 2011

Local Egyptian reacts to news in Cairo's Tahrir Square

Anti-government protesters react with anger and sadness to Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak's televised statement to his nation in Tahrir Square in downtown Cairo, Egypt, Thurs., Feb. 10, 2011. Mubarak says he's handing some power to VP Omar Suleiman.
AP

Like so many of us, I am on the edge of my seat as I watch the news unfold in Egypt. Dramatic moments such as these are the stuff a news journalist's dreams are made of. But there's so much more at stake for people who have friends and families in Cairo. Microsoft software salesman Alaa Badr is one of them. I reached him this afternoon right after Mubarak's speech.

"I'm just extremely upset and frustrated and resentful about Mubarek -- even more so now than ever before," Badr says. 

Badr and his compatriots have been calling for Mubarak's resignation for more than two weeks. 

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Homelessness
9:02 am
Mon February 7, 2011

Poet in Seattle's Tent City

A watercolor from Mimi Allen's 'Song of Tent City' blog, a poet's experience in the Seattle homeless camp.
A.K. Mimi Allin

Is there poetry in homelessness? Poet A.K. Mimi Allin is exploring that question while she lives with Seattle's Ten City homeless encampment this winter.

Allin is in the last few weeks of  her three-month experiment.  In December, she joined about 80 people  who make up Tent City's  current digs in the parking lot of Maple Leaf Lutheran Church in northeast Seattle. 

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Public Space
11:11 am
Mon January 31, 2011

What should happen to Seattle's community centers?

Dancers face off in a competition at Southwest Community Center. Seattle officials say the centers aren't sustainable and want public input on changes.
Seattle Parks and Recreation

If you care about youth sports, neighborhood gatherings or activities for seniors, you might rely on community centers. In Seattle, some big changes to the facilities could be on the way. Officials say they’re too expensive as the city struggles with shrinking revenue. So they're asking anyone who's interested in community centers to help decide their fate.

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Egypt Protests
4:11 pm
Fri January 28, 2011

Rally Saturday in Seattle to support demonstrations in Egypt

An Egyptian Army soldier riding in an armored vehicle is surrounded by anti-government protesters near Tahrir square in Cairo, Egypt, Fri., Jan. 28, 2011. Seattle is one of a few US cities with weekend rallies supporting the protests.
Ben Curtis AP

A rally in support of the anti-government protests in Egypt will begin at noon Saturday in downtown Seattle's Westlake Park.  

One of the organizers is Alaa Badr, an Egyptian American who has been in the United States for 17 years. He works for Microsoft and lives in Issaquah with his wife and three children. Lately, he says, they've been staying up till one in the morning watching Al Jazeera.

"But then we get up again at 5 a.m., just to see what's happened, because of the time difference," he says.  

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Culture
10:53 am
Fri January 28, 2011

Lunar New Year celebrations kick off this weekend

In the Chinese zodiac, 2011 is the 'Year of the Rabbit.' This photo from last year's celebration shows the Lion and Dragon Dance along King Street in Seattle's International District.
Wonderlane Flickr

The weekend brings the first of many planned Lunar New Year celebrations around the region. Many Asian cultures mark the event with colorful festivals, parades and performances, including the Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, Tibetan and Mongolian communities, among others.

The Chinese celebrations often include the dramatic Lion and Dragon dances. Many of the region's events are centered around children and family activities:

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Transportation
4:47 pm
Thu January 27, 2011

Seattle responds to criticism, adjusts scheduled parking rate increases

Seattle parking rates are going up in 4 neighborhoods, down in 11 neighborhoods and will stay the same in 7 others. Seattle Transportation Department spokesman Rick Sheridan says the upshot is that 73% of the city’s paid parking spaces will either stay the same or get a rate reduction. But several areas still face big hikes and community leaders are worried.

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Sports
2:30 pm
Thu January 6, 2011

Mayor McGinn bets on Seahawks victory

Salmon sit on ice at Pike Place Market. If the Saints win, Mayor Mike McGinn will be sending one pound of smoked salmon to New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu.
Elaine Thompson AP Photo

When the Seahawks take on the Saints in Saturday's NFL playoff game, more than pride is at stake:  Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn stands to gain some gumbo...or lose some salmon! McGinn and New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu have a friendly wager on the outcome.

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Real Estate Q&A
7:06 am
Tue January 4, 2011

Seattle Landslides: Slip Slidin' Away

A past landslide in West Seattle, near Hamilton/Viewpoint Park.
Courtesy USGS

In Seattle, there's a lot of potentially dangerous places where the soil could give way any moment. This is especially true in neighborhoods with good views. 

The City of Seattle publishes a landslide map that makes this abundantly clear.  On the map, landslide-prone areas are marked in red. And, boy, is there a lot of red!

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Alaskan Way Viaduct
1:34 pm
Mon January 3, 2011

Seattle street closes tonight as Viaduct replacement work begins

WSDOT has created an interactive overhead map of the S. Holgate to S. King street reconstruction portion of the Alaskan Way Viaduct road project. The web address is: http://wsdot.wa.gov/projects/viaduct/simulations
WSDOT

The first major street closure in the work to replace Seattle's Alaskan Way Viaduct happens Monday night.

The state Department of Transportation says it's closing First Avenue South next to Qwest Field from 7 p.m. to 5 a.m. Tuesday to allow crews to set up space for the huge construction job.

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Other News
10:02 am
Thu December 30, 2010

Seattle plans higher parking rates for busiest times

Brian Teutsch Flickr

Seattle drivers who've been accustomed to paying the same curbside parking rates at all times of day could soon be faced with variable parking prices based on market factors, with rates higher at busier times. The Seattle Times reports city officials hope variable fees will mean quicker turnover of scarce parking spaces and reduce congestion caused by people who circle blocks looking for an opening. Market-based  parking rates are already in place in several U. S. cities including San Francisco, Los Angeles and Washington, D. C.

"It helps reduce the traffic congestion, of people finding a spot", said Mary Catherine Snyder, a parking strategist for the Seattle Department of Transportation.

The Seattle Department of Transportation will publish data from its study on parking trends in mid-January, then take several weeks to to reprogram meters to reflect new neighborhood-level rates. Parking meter rates in Seattle will increase this spring to as high as $4.  Included in the City Council's budget is a proposal to require paid parking to a later hour, from the current 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

By 2012, the city would be able to customize rates block by block and alter parking rates by time of day.

Business
6:21 am
Mon December 20, 2010

Schedule set for vote on Seattle skyscraper signs

An artist's redering shows the sign Russell Investments (at center) wants to put at the top of its new address, the former WaMu Tower. A proposed city ordinance would limit its size and scope, but is cause for concern among many architects and others.
Courtesy City of Seattle

A controversial proposal that would allow major employers in Seattle to put signs at the tops of their skyscrapers will be decided in March.  City Council President Richard Conlin says he delayed the vote to give the city time to respond to a number of concerns.

Russell Investments requested the change, to help them re-brand their tower, which is the former home of Washington Mutual Bank.  The company moved to their new 2nd Avenue address from Tacoma this fall.

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Winter Weather
3:16 pm
Tue November 9, 2010

Seattle Lays Out Snow Removal Plans

A rider waits for a Metro bus on 4th Avenue last week. Metro buses were unable to navigate through the snowstorms of 2008, a situation which played a role in voters rejecting a third term for Mayor Greg Nickels.
Gary Davis/KPLU photo.

 Seattle says it can handle the snow this time around.  In 2008, the city was paralyzed by a series of storms.  Buses didn’t run, sidewalks were caked with ice and streets weren’t passable for more than a week.

Reports after the fact showed the city was unprepared. Snow routes weren’t plowed.  There was a communication breakdown between Seattle Department of Transportation and Metro Transit officials.

The city’s poor response to the snow storm is often credited with the defeat of former Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels.

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Election 2010
1:13 pm
Thu October 21, 2010

He Even Brought Doughnuts: Obama Campaigns in Seattle

The President speaks Thursday morning in a Wedgwood neighborhood backyard in northeast Seattle. The conversation: women, jobs and the economy - and the Top Pot Doughnuts Mr. Obama brought with him.
AP photo

When you're involved in political campaigns, doughnuts and cupcakes are often close at hand.  President Obama made sure both were available during his Seattle stopover to support Senator Patty Murray's campaign.  On his way to a Seattle couple's home for a backyard 'event' the President made a surprise stop at Top Pot Doughnut's 5th Avenue store, and brought two boxes to his hosts, Cynnie and Erik Foss.  When you're a guest you bring a little something.

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Education
12:31 pm
Wed September 15, 2010

Tentative Contract for Seattle Teachers

Janine Knapp leads her second graders at Laurelhurst Elementary in a vote on an art project.
Gary Davis/KPLU photo

     Seattle School officials and leaders of the district’s teacher’s union say they’re putting the finishing touches on a tentative contract.  In brief statements issued Monday evening, both sides say they hope to disclose details of the proposal Tuesday (this) afternoon. Until then, the sides agreed not to discuss information that’s been hammered out at the negotiating table over the past two weeks.

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