Jury trials begin again, carefully
PORTLAND, Ore. — On a drizzly spring day in mid-May, potential grand jurors lined up 6 feet apart outside the Multnomah County Courthouse.Raincoats and umbrellas dripping, they filed one by one into the courthouse and through a metal detector, all the while maintaining appropriate social distance from court employees. Most visitors wore masks, which the court encouraged and made available for free but did not require. Nearly all court employees wore face coverings.Oregon Gov. Kate Brown, a Democrat, had issued a stay-at-home order to slow the spread of COVID-19 nearly two months before, and it...
Washington state aims to regulate water temperature at federal dams, wading into controversy
SEATTLE — The Columbia is the great river of the West, winding from the north to meet its largest tributary, the Snake in Eastern Washington, then dividing the states of Oregon and Washington on its push to the sea. Big and powerful, its wild energy has been tamed to engineered stair steps controlled by locks and dams.But what has worked well for navigation and carbon-free hydropower production has been a killer for salmon, as its now-lazy reservoirs heat up in summer. When the water gets hot enough for long enough, salmon stop migrating, and even die of stress and disease.Today Columbia and S...
The Seattle Times
Editorial: Passengers, wear masks. Airlines, keep it clean. Then we'll fly again
Not many people would choose to ride out the coronavirus pandemic in a crowded tin box. That’s why passenger demand for air travel has fallen as much as 90%. Of course, there’s also little reason to book a flight right now.Slowly, the window for flying will reopen, presuming rates of COVID-19 infection continue to decline. Some people will have important personal or professional reasons to board aircraft in the next few months, even without much of a summer vacation season.They’ll fly, if they feel safe.Do airlines understand this imperative? They do if they agree with Paul Griffiths, chief ex...
US state Oregon calls for stay-it-local Memorial Day weekend amid COVID-19
SAN FRANCISCO - Oregon's Governor Kate Brown on Thursday was joined by 26 mayors from across the US state in urging residents to keep it local this Memorial Day weekend in order to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic."Together we are asking all Oregonians to please keep it local this Memorial Day. Be good neighbors this weekend -- stay local and stay safe," Brown said in a jointly-signed statement.The statement suggested a backyard barbecue or a small family gathering as the best way to stay healthy during the holiday weekend. "If you want to get outdoors, find a place to hike or bike ...
China Daily US edition
Don't hug or kiss birds in your backyard. A 28-state salmonella outbreak is sickening kids
MIAMI — An unusual salmonella outbreak has hit 28 states, running coast-to-coast with no true center, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.The outbreak doesn’t involve food, but backyard birds such as chicks and ducklings. Of the 44 sickened people interviewed so far, the CDC said, 38 have had contact with such feathery animals.That’s not as unusual or perhaps as concerning as the unusually high percentage of the ill people, 30%, being under the age of 5. Children under 5 and senior citizens tend to get the worst of salmonella infections, which hospitalizes 26,500 with b...
Trump threatens to stop funding for Michigan if absentee ballot forms sent to voters
WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump on Wednesday threatened funding for Michigan amid a global health pandemic if state officials move ahead with plans to send absentee ballot applications to every state voter.Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson on Tuesday morning said, in a story first reported in the Detroit Free Press, she and local clerks will send absentee ballot applications to all of the state’s 7.7 million voters so they can, if they choose to do so, take part in the Aug. 4 and Nov. 3 elections without going to polling places.Doing so, she said, would allow voters to avoid the p...
Detroit Free Press
FAA response to 737 MAX crash report preserves Boeing's big role in certifying its own planes
SEATTLE — The Federal Aviation Administration on Tuesday said it plans changes to how new airplane models are certified, but will preserve Boeing’s central role in that process — despite criticism that Boeing mistakes in certifying the 737 MAX allowed design flaws that killed 346 people in two crashes.In a report released Tuesday, the FAA responded to recommendations made in January by an advisory committee set up by U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, who oversees the FAA.In a statement, the FAA said those recommendations confirmed that its existing safety protocols are “sound,” though...
The Seattle Times
Could the coronavirus reset society? Questions we should be asking about postpandemic life
SEATTLE — Hotel rooms for the homeless. Food-chain and sanitation workers hailed as national heroes. A Republican-led federal government flooding the country with easy money. Governors putting the brakes on evictions. A new national obsession with hand-washing and the finer points of epidemiology.The coronavirus pandemic has even reduced air pollution in cities across the globe, including Seattle, as cars and trucks stay off the road — though not enough to make a dent in climate-change projections.Few political analysts, social workers or doctors would have dared such dreams just four months a...
The Seattle Times
9 states sue EPA for 'blanket waiver' as nation fights pandemic
Nine states have sued the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for curtailing enforcement of rules on air and water pollution during the COVID-19 pandemic, saying the pullback puts the public at even greater risk.The states accuse the federal regulator of overstepping its authority when it created a “blanket waiver” in March that they say “gives regulated parties free rein to self-determine when compliance with federal environmental laws is not practical because of COVID-19.”That could tempt companies to stop reporting chemical spills or refrain from tracking emissions of hazardous air polluta...
Star Tribune (Minneapolis)
Get ready for the summer of the RV
Some folks, well, some folks just like taking matters into their own hands.And putting them on the steering wheel.As the coronavirus continues to wreak havoc on the industry, the demand for travel is slowly — slowly — creeping back up again. But many remain wary of getting on a plane, a train or a cruise ship and being packed tightly in with strangers, never knowing if everybody is going to be wearing a mask, never knowing if somebody is unknowingly carrying the virus, never knowing if a flight is going to be empty enough for social distancing — or perhaps not.Welcome to what could be the year...