Eye on Boise
By Betsy Z. Russell
Dec. 23 – State hearing officer Merlyn Clark confirmed that the decision on ITD permits for ConocoPhillips’ four proposed megaloads on U.S. Highway 12 won’t be out before Christmas as earlier planned, and instead likely will be out before the New Year holiday. Clark is weighing two days of arguments, plus briefing from all sides, submitted as part of a contested-case hearing on the plan.
By Rich Landers
Dec. 22 – Most people visiting Mount Spokane this month are focused on frolicking in the snow, whether it’s on skis, snowshoes, inner tubes or snowmobiles.
But there’s a lot more life in the winter mountain forest than most visitors realize – unless you head up with a serious birdwatcher, such as Terry Little.
“I took my wife cross-country skiing this morning on Mount Spokane,” he reported by e-mail. “She skied; I drove. But I did have a little time to do some high-mountain birding.
“As usual, one has to be patient and persistent when birding in the mountains, especially in the winter. But here is what I found (mostly about 1/2 mile past the parking lot for the snowmobilers on the way to ski lodges):
Sharp-shinned hawk, northern pygmy owl, hairy woodpecker, common raven, gray jay (2), chestnut-backed chickadee, mountain chickadee, red-breasted nuthatch, pine grosbeak (15), Cassin’s finch (1), red crossbill (2), pine siskins (10).”
By Jim Camden
Dec. 21 – Washington gets a new congressional district, upping its population in the U.S. House of Representatives from nine to 10, Census Bureau officials announced Dec. 21.
Politicians all over the state, from Gov. Chris Gregoire, a Democrat, to Luke Esser, state Republican Party chairman, are thrilled. And why not? It will create a whole new congressional race in 2012.
“At a critical time in our nation’s history, not only do I welcome the additional representation in our nation’s Capitol, I am pleased Washington state’s share of federal funding to support critical programs like Medicaid and education will also increase,” Gregoire said.
Esser had a slightly different take: “An additional congressional seat gives our state the opportunity to send another voice to Congress to advocate for limited and fiscally conservative federal government.”