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This Morning's Headlines

State's Alcohol Energy Drink Ban May Move Feds

Washington is now the third state to ban the potent alcohol and caffeine beverages, including brands such as Four Loko.  The so-called 'energy' cocktails have come under fire after numerous incidents involving young adults treated for alcohol poisoning. 

Recently nine Central Washington University students were hospitalized after a party where Four Loko was served. Michigan and Oklahoma have also instituted bans.

Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) is turning up the heaton the Food and Drug Administration to rule on a year-long investigation on the safety of the drinks, in a story reported today by NPR. Meanwhile, the Seattle Weekly reports the makers of Four Loko have hired a powerful PR firm to bolster their case that consumers must act responsibly.


Remember Niehaus

Seattle Mariner fans are mourning the death of Dave Niehaus. The voice of the M's was silenced after a heart attack at his Bellevue home yesterday.  See our remembrance here, where you can leave your own.


Less Pit, More Park

Remember the controversy and protests over plans to expand a gravel mining operation on Maury Island's shorefront? The decade-plus battlefound resolution yesterday, when King County announced plans to purchase the site and preserve it as a marine sanctuary.  The deal totals $36 million. It's a major victory for Executive Dow Constantine and environmental activists who opposed pit expansion.

Mine owners CalPortlandtold the News Tribune:

“It’s a chance for both the county and ourselves to say, ‘This is a win-win,’ and go on to future things," said the company's Ron Summers.

In exchange for the 236-acre parcel, CalPortland will be able to mine gravel nearby, away from the shoreline. King County assembles the largest parcel of protected shoreline in Puget Sound, preserving more than 200 acres of forest.


Seattle City Council:  Restore Programs for Neighborhoods

The council opposes Mayor Mike McGinn's cuts to two neighborhood programs.  Publicola reports the council will keep popular community center spaces open for public drop-in use, rather than close them to save money.  Those actions affect the centers at Green Lake, Laurelhurst, Alki, Ballard, and Queen Anne, which had been slated to substantially reduce operating hours.  In addition, the council wants to keep ten full-timeneighborhood coordinatorson the job.


On Veteran's Day,  Honoring Taps

It bothers Ken Jacobsen that  so many military veterans are honored with a recorded version of "Taps" at their funerals.  The longtime Seattle legislatortells KPLU's Paula Wissel:

"In my mind, a human being should be paying respect to a human being who just departed," Jacobsen said.

After attending the funeral of a Vietnam vet friend, where the recorded version came out of a phony bugle, Jacobsen is working on a plan to make sure a live version is performed if the family requests it.  He failed to find state funding last year. Now he's working with others to raise private funds for the idea. 

"Taps" is a simple melody, but not easy to perform.  Supporters of Jacobsen's idea say a missed note can give the memorial a human element, as it did at President John F. Kennedy's memorial in 1963.