Thursday, April 25, 2013

4/25 'Lolita,' marine education, state budget, special session, Ecology office, GBH, Burien shores

Tokitae (Piotr Domaradzki/Wikimedia)
Animal-rights activists Wednesday won a round in the long-running fight over the fate of Lolita, a killer whale captured in Puget Sound and kept in the Miami Seaquarium for more than four decades. The federal government accepted a petition that calls for the captive orca to be protected under the Endangered Species Act. The move means the government will consider the activists’ arguments over the next nine months, before making a decision early next year, said Brian Gorman, spokesman for the National Marine Fisheries Service in Seattle. Sandi Doughton reports. In the battle to free an orca, activists secure a small victory

If you like to watch: Salmon Confidential is a new film on the government cover up of what is killing BC’s wild salmon. When biologist Alexandra Morton discovers BC’s wild salmon are testing positive for dangerous European salmon viruses associated with salmon farming worldwide, a chain of events is set off by government to suppress the findings. Tracking viruses, Morton moves from courtrooms, into British Columbia’s most remote rivers, Vancouver grocery stores and sushi restaurants. The film documents Morton’s journey as she attempts to overcome government and industry roadblocks thrown in her path and works to bring critical information to the public in time to save BC’s wild salmon. (1 hr 10 minutes) Salmon Confidential- the Documentary

A plan embraced by the Port Townsend School Board to use the area's seaside environment in public education was described to an audience of business and community members Wednesday.  School Superintendent David Engle and Northwest Maritime Center Executive Director Jake Beattie talked to about 70 people, tracing the path of the proposal from a theoretical discussion between the two directors to a point where it could change the scope of local education.... Students would learn subjects in the context of the sea and how knowledge is put into perspective by proximity to the water. Charlie Bermant reports. Maritime curriculum outlined for Port Townsend schools

Democrats in the Washington state House are moving ahead with a tax plan valued at $900 million over the next two years. The House narrowly approved a variety of tax changes Wednesday, including the permanent extension of business taxes to raise more than half a billion dollars. The plan would also repeal tax breaks for travel agents, bottled water and fuel. The House is now engaged in budget negotiations with the Senate, which approved a budget without the tax changes.  House Democrats approve Wash. tax package  

The Senate version of a proposed state budget for the next two years would eliminate funding for the Washington Department of Ecology's local field office, but Democrats and agency officials say shutting that office would cost more than it would save. The possible shutdown of Ecology's office in Fairhaven also attracted a protest letter from Merle Jefferson, executive director of natural resources at Lummi Nation.... But State Sen. Doug Ericksen, R-Ferndale, contends that Ecology is paying far too much for its office, and the budget proposal from the Republican-controlled Senate would fix that by deleting two years of rent, amounting to about $650,000 or $25,000 per month plus incidental costs..... "They (Republicans) are just sending a message that they don't like the Department of Ecology," (State Rep. Jeff) Morris, (D-Mount Vernon) said. "I think there were a lot of cuts in the Senate budget that weren't rational from a fiscal perspective, and this was one of them." John Stark reports.  Ecology Department's office in Bellingham threatened with closure

The Olympia City Council’s vote to buy private land on the city isthmus for a future park depends on $1 million in state funding. But with time running out on the legislative session Sunday, the funding request must get over a high hurdle – and only the House capital budget has any money for the land at this point.  But the City Council’s vote drew a chuckle – and no pledge of money – from the House capital budget writer Wednesday. “They voted for that deal assuming they’ll get $1 million from the state,” House Capital Budget chair Hans Dunshee, D-Snohomish, said in the House wings, noting he had read The Olympian news report about the vote. “That was amusing to me.” Brad Shannon and Matt Batcheldor report. State funding for isthmus not assured

No one walking the halls of Olympia is surprised Washington's 147 lawmakers and governor will need a special session to finish their work. When it will begin and how long it will run is anyone's guess. It's a good bet once the overtime period begins it will last for most or all of the 30 days allowed by law. Twenty-two times since 1980 legislators could not finish without at least one extra session and, on average, those ran 18 days.  Jerry Cornfield reports. Duration of special session is anyone's guess

NOTHING INVOKES PRIMEVAL times like the call of a great blue heron. The giant bird’s cry—a rasping, croaky wonk—is a haunting echo from an age when its dinosaur ancestors ruled the skies. “You’ll definitely hear them before you see them,” Dylan Schroeder, a seasonal guide at Chilliwack’s Great Blue Heron Nature Reserve, advised the Georgia Straight during a visit. “Herons emit a prehistoric sound, clucking and squealing like a stuck pig.” Jack Christie reports. Great blue herons nest and beguile in B.C.  

After five often-tortuous years, the Burien City Council is set to approve this month a shoreline master plan that will likely be approved by the state. The council will hold a public hearing May 6 on a compromise plan worked out by an ad hoc committee. The hearing will be held as part of the regular 7 p.m. council meeting in the City Hall/Library multipurpose room, 400 S.W. 152nd St. The largest controversy concerned setback requirements along the city’s Puget Sound shoreline. (Read the ‘compromise’ in the article.)  Eric Mathison reports.  Burien shoreline plan  

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA- 300 AM PDT THU APR 25 2013
TODAY
SW WIND 5 TO 15 KT...BECOMING W 10 TO 20 KT IN THE AFTERNOON. WIND WAVES 1 TO 3 FT. W SWELL 3 FT AT 8 SECONDS.
TONIGHT
W WIND 10 TO 20 KT...EASING TO 10 KT AFTER MIDNIGHT. WIND WAVES 1 TO 3 FT. NW SWELL 3 FT AT 7 SECONDS.

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