Sightline Daily top picks 07/08/2009

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Sightline Daily | Northwest News That Matters

Top Picks of the Day

1. WA traffic jams down, commutes speeding up

Andrea Martin of Everett used to drive to work every day before she lost her job recently: “No money, no gas, no car,” she said. The economy and gas prices are two reasons people are driving less than they did a year or two ago. Both in WA state and nationwide, commute times are down and people are spending less time sitting in rush-hour traffic, according to two studies. Everett Herald 07/08/2009
2. Portland drivers get a break at rush hour

Portland-area drivers may be a little less frustrated than a few years ago, as higher gas prices, tighter development and growing mass-transit use have reduced the time they sit in traffic. In 2007, congestion added 37 hours behind the wheel to motorists’ rush-hour trips, a decline of one hour from the 2006 rate. Oregonian 07/08/2009
3. Iconic Ballard home headed skyward

The Ballard cottage once owned by Edith Macefield, an elderly woman who turned down an offer of $1 million to sell her home to developers, has been sold to a company run by a motivational speaker who says he intends to raise the home into the air – both literally and philosophically. Seattle Times 07/07/2009
4. Which comes first – the electric charger or car?

Vancouver BC’s city council will soon decide whether to force developers to install electric car-charging stations in at least 10 per cent of all new condo parking lots – a proposal that’s creating a chicken-or-the-egg debate. Vancouver Sun 07/07/2009
5. The many uses of manure

The rear ends of Dan DeRuyter’s 4,500 dairy cows are powering hundreds of homes in Central Washington. Across the state, dairy farms are putting in digesters, creating methane to power electrical generators. One problem: hydropower in the Northwest is so cheap that farmers can’t make money selling their kilowatts. Crosscut 07/08/2009
6. Salmon run’s future rests on 45 fish

They caught 81 smolts. Thirty-six of those juvenile chinook died. There are 45 fish left. If the fish are of the right strain and if tribal biologists can keep each fish alive for at least three years in a high-tech environment, there may be a chance for the genetically unique Stillaguamish River’s south fork chinook strain to survive. Everett Herald 07/08/2009
7. WA halts Maury Island gravel mine

The company hoping to build a 305-foot dock on Maury Island as part of a controversial gravel-mining operation has been told to halt construction until it shows WA state how it intends to protect Puget Sound. The state said plans to protect sensitive eelgrass beds and herring spawning are “vague, ill-defined, and in some cases nonexistent.” Seattle Times 07/07/2009
8. Forests: carbon sinks or fire hazards

Forests in the Pacific Northwest have a huge potential to store more carbon to combat global warming, but not if they are heavily thinned to prevent wildfire, two new studies show. That poses quite a dilemma for the U.S. Forest Service. Seattle Times 07/07/2009
9. Stimulus filling hungry bellies

Clipping chard in an Olympia school garden, Heather Davis is helping small farmers and growers donate surplus produce to food banks. She’s one of 400 new Americorps workers that the federal stimulus package has brought to WA state, in a domestic equivalent of the Peace Corps. KUOW 07/07/2009

10. Views: Don’t fool ourselves on ‘walkability’
Walkable neighborhoods take more than density and sidewalks. You have to create conditions where small stores can survive. New West 07/07/2009

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