What's happening with schools, snow, and... pickleball? We've got you covered
Bill Radke reviews the week's news with Stranger editor Chase Burns, Fox13 reporter Jennifer Lee, Northwest News Network and KUOW correspondent Anna King.
Substantial staffing shortages are affecting classrooms across the region. Three high schools in the Lake Washington School District are now temporarily moving to a remote learning model until next Tuesday, Jan. 18. On Monday, the district announced Redmond High School and Juanita High School will move to a remote learning model between Jan. 11-19 due to staffing challenges. In a letter to families, the district said Lake Washington High School’s transition to remote was "due to substantial staffing shortages that are the result of COVID-related quarantines, general illnesses, and other absences." How are students, teachers and parents feeling about this?
State senators are considering naming Washington’s state sport. And that sport would be… pickleball. Three Washington men are credited with inventing the sport on Bainbridge Island in 1965 - Bill Bell, Barney McCallum, and Joel Pritchard. On Wednesday ten people testified in favor of making pickleball the state sport. But is it worthy of the mantle of state sport?
A massive storm closed Stevens Pass and leveled the town of Leavenworth with several feet of snow. The mayor of Leavenworth declared a state of emergency and the national guard was called in to help out the town of about 2,000 residents. They even had to hire contractors to haul the snow away because they were running out of places to put it. How are Leavenworth and other locations near the Pass doing now?
The heavy snowfall certainly didn’t help truck drivers get their deliveries to grocery stores from one side of the state to the other. In anticipation of the storm, many store shelves had already been picked clean. And there’s a good chance that we’ll continue to see shortages into the spring and summer, as Washington farmers struggle to find farmworkers. What do these shortages mean for Washingtonians long term?
At the top of Olympia's upcoming 2022 legislative session, Rep. Marcus Riccelli (D-3rd LD) says he will sponsor a bill to increase funding of the state's Motion Picture Competitiveness Program (MPCP) from $3.5 million to $20 million annually. The main gist is that the program offers funding assistance to qualifying film and episodic series productions that spend a certain amount of money in-state. In addition to going toward financial reimbursements, the proposed funding increase would also go to diversity and inclusion programs for filmmakers from underrepresented backgrounds. We do already have one film about to be released that was filmed in Seattle. Steven Soderbergh’s film KIMI for HBO was shot around downtown and Capitol Hill this spring. And not everyone had great things to say about the experience. Is having more movies filmed here actually beneficial to the people that live here?
Speaking of the arts, Bumbershoot has already been canceled this year, but after a three month search, the music festival has a new producer. And going forward, Bumbershoot won’t be confined to Labor Day, with various year-round events — anything from waterfront concerts to interactive art installations — at Seattle Center and beyond. In recent years the three-day event’s lineups have more closely resembled mainstream music fests in the vein of Coachella or Lollapalooza, with ticket prices to match. The new producers want to create a more affordable event less dependent on big-name headliners, while elevating other artforms and potentially utilizing unexpected spaces around Seattle Center’s campus. Who is this new group that’s starting this? What will it Bumbershoot be like if not Coachella?