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Sue Bird Announces Her Retirement from the WNBA in Her Farewell Game

Seattle Storm Basketball

After 21 years in the WNBA, Sue Bird has finally retired. The Seattle Storm’s season came to an end Tuesday when they lost 97–92 to the Las Vegas Aces in the Western Conference Finals. In her farewell game, Sue Bird told the Seattle crowd, “I hope I did everybody proud.”

With her retirement, she leaves the WNBA with the record for most assists in a single postseason. She contributed 46 assists and committed only six turnovers in six postseason games in 2022. In her last game on Tuesday, she scored eight points and sent out eight assists. On-court recognition for the 41-year-old guard was given by the Storm and the Aces, with cheers from the crowd.

Speaking to a reporter after the game, Bird said, “Obviously, I am quite grateful for my twenty years at this institution. That place holds so many wonderful memories for me, and I’m going to miss it terribly when I go. I’m not leaving, but I’m going to miss it. It’s been a privilege to suit up for this team and represent these supporters.”

Bird spent her entire professional basketball career with the Seattle club, where she helped lead the Storm to four WNBA championships. After the final game in 2021, the same supporters who chanted “One more year!” now greeted her with “Thank you, Sue!”

When questioned about what she would like to leave behind, Bird stated she wants the Storm to keep winning and playing at the high level they set during her tenure. She hoped the incoming point guard could continue the team’s winning ways and sustain its championship status for the sake of the fans.

At first, Bird followed her colleagues off the court, but then she changed her mind. After the game, she stayed on the floor to be embraced by the Aces’ entire squad and coaching staff. As Bird greeted the fans and made her way to the locker room, the spectators stayed on their feet.

“I genuinely did not wish to leave the court,” Bird said. “At first, I just followed since it seemed that was the direction everyone was heading. Still, I wanted to take a minute before leaving to express my gratitude and take it all in, as this is, after all, a positive development. When I think of what we’ve done, I feel a sense of pride. Yes, I’m disappointed, but I’m also glad that I got to share that moment with the fans and hear them chant in such an enthusiastic way. Even if it may not seem like it from the outside, there is a great deal of joy.”

Bird said it seemed “sort of surreal” to have played her last game in the WNBA. Her teammates, notably Breanna Stewart, still are getting used to the thought of life without Bird on the court. Stewart remarked, “As disappointing as it is that we won’t be able to compete for a title this year, I believe what’s more painful is that we won’t be sharing the court with Sue anymore.

We won’t be able to interact with her in any way before or during games, so she won’t even be present during practices. To have it become a reality so suddenly is really painful.” The entire team, however, wished the legendary Sue Bird all the best in her retirement.

Photo: “Seattle Storm victory rally, Westlake Plaza, Seattle, WA” by djwudi

Top 3 Candidates for the Seattle Police Chief Post Announced by Mayor Harrell

Seattle Police

Seattle’s hunt for a new police chief, which began over two years after the prior chief retired, has narrowed down to three contenders, two of whom are already employed by the department. Seattle Interim Police Chief Adrian Diaz, Seattle Deputy Chief Eric Greening, and Tucson Deputy Chief Kevin Hall were named as the three contenders for Seattle’s permanent Chief of Police by Mayor Bruce Harrell.

Chief Carmen Best stepped down in 2020 following a summer of demonstrations and criticism of the police force, and in the meanwhile, interim Chief Adrian Diaz has been in charge.

Out of 15 applicants provided to a search committee this spring, the three finalists—Diaz, Eric Greening, assistant chief of police in Seattle, and Kevin Hall, assistant chief of police in Tucson, Arizona—have been chosen.

While making the announcement, Mayor of Seattle Jim Harrell said, “Our national selection procedure has placed community voices at the center to discover what priorities and values Seattle citizens want to see in the new police chief.”

Following this thorough procedure, the committee identified three exceptional individuals who possess the experience, education, and character traits necessary to advance the One Seattle vision of a community in which every citizen has the right to feel secure.

“To ensure that our community’s expectations for candidates in terms of accountability, leadership that prioritizes the needs of the community, and creativity are met, our selection committee and evaluators have prioritized those traits in the candidates they have advanced. I am excited to interview and assess these potential hires,” said the city’s mayor.

The appointment of a permanent police chief is governed by a number of provisions in the City Charter. According to the Charter, the mayor must hold a competitive examination to determine the top three candidates for the position of police chief. The City Council must also approve the appointment of this official.

An outside agency was brought in back in April to help with the hunt for a permanent police head by scouring the country for qualified applicants. In order to choose the individuals who would go on to the testing phase, Mayor Harrell formed a search committee comprised of 14 prominent members of the community, including professionals in law enforcement, victim advocates, and others.

The search effort has been greatly aided by input and participation from the local community. In May, seven different language versions of a public poll were made available. The survey findings, from which over 1,300 locals participated, are shown below.

In addition, over the months of July and August, seven community dialogues were organized so that locals could have their say in the search. In July, the Empower Initiative encouraged talks with many communities, including the religious, corporate, immigration, and youth sectors. The Chief job attracted applications from fifteen qualified individuals. The search committee interviewed each candidate and then shortlisted a smaller group to take the exam.

The competitive examination mandated by the charter was given on September 6 and 7 and was overseen by four public safety specialists. All of the committee members agreed that the top three candidates should move on to the mayor’s office. There will be a series of interviews with the candidates, culminating in a question-and-answer session on September 15. The Seattle Channel will be broadcasting the evening event.

Photo by AdamCohn

Ex-Seattle Seahawks Linebacker Shaquem Griffin Has Decided to Retire from the NFL

Seattle Seahawks Football

The NFL’s “real inspiration,” veteran Seattle Seahawks linebacker Shaquem Griffin, said he is retiring from the league on Wednesday 25th August 2020.

Griffin is notably remembered as a player who lost his left hand just at age of four as a result of a congenital ailment and later rose through the ranks to become the first one-handed player in NFL history. He was an inspiration to many and a good example of fighting despite the odds life hands you.

Griffin announced this in a message posted to The Players’ Tribune. “It still seems a bit unbelievable, to be honest.

It’s almost unfathomable that, after everything I’ve gone through, after all the hard work and all the naysayers, I’m hanging it up and moving on from football”, Griffin said.

The Rise of Griffin

The league initially took notice of Griffin when he ran the 40-yard dash in 4.38 seconds at the 2018 NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, which was the fastest time for any linebacker at the event.

The Seattle Seahawks took the University of Central Florida to commit in the fifth round a year after selecting his brother Shaquill in the third round. After three years and 46 games in the NFL, free agent Griffin was released by the Miami Dolphins.

He went through multiple futile tryouts before telling his agent he was not interested in playing in the NFL unless he could join his brother on the Jacksonville Jaguars.

“Quite a few individuals won’t like that strategy, I know. So many men are out there putting up long hours and making sacrifices in the hopes of landing some kind of break, and I’m holding them back. In other words, I completely understand. But there’s something you have to know about me,” says Griffin.

So, What’s Next for Griffin?

The free agent, who is 27 years old, has said that he is ending his playing career but staying in the league. In fact, he has joined the NFL Legends Community, a league-run initiative where former players assist current and past players adjust to life after football.

Griffin described it as a place where athletes may get advice and assistance in anything they could be going through or attempting to accomplish, including help with community service projects.

“It’s go time for my backup plan. I am aware of the good I am doing for other people. I give talks on believing in oneself and following your passion wherever I go, from high schools and universities to football clubs and businesses around the country.

Many in the business world are eager to hear my insights, but I have much more to learn from them,” he said.

Many well-known names in football history paid tribute to Griffin. In a tweet, the Seattle Seahawks called Griffin: “A genuine motivation for his teammates” while his brother Shaquill proclaimed him a “true legend” online.

And the NFL said, “Shaquem Griffin proved at the 2018 NFL Combine that there are no limits to human potential. Definitely, someone to look up to. Best wishes for your retirement.”

Photo by “Seattle Seahawk signatures” by samantha.levang is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Seattle Records One of Its Hottest Nights

Hot Melting Ice Cream In Seattle

The National Weather Service reports that the temperature in Seattle was 14 degrees higher than usual between Wednesday night and Thursday 25th August 2022 morning, making it one of the city’s hottest nights on record.

The overnight high temperature was 71 degrees, making it one of just three nights in the city’s climatic record when the low temperature did not drop below 70. A typical December night in Seattle had lows of 57 degrees.

Research showed that by the end of the century, increasing nighttime temperatures in three Asian nations might raise the death rate by up to 60%.

The warm night in the Pacific Northwest metropolis follows this trend. The authors of this study claim to have conducted the first analysis of how warmer evenings caused by climate change can affect death rates.

Deaths attributed to abnormally warm overnight temperatures make up the bulk of that rate. The body’s natural cooling mechanisms at night may be disrupted by an increase in temperature, which can have a negative impact on sleep quality and, in turn, the immune system.

The authors of the research found that this may increase the risk of getting cardiovascular disease, chronic diseases, inflammation, and mental health difficulties.

So Why Do Some Neighborhoods Experience Higher Temperatures Than Others

It has been found that the less affluent residents in the Seattle region are disproportionately affected by the heat.

Like in most parts of the country, low-income communities are disproportionately concentrated in urban cores where there are fewer trees, more paved surfaces, towering buildings, vast industrial parks, and major highways.

Thursday is expected to be hot, with a high of 90 degrees at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, however, the heat will be dispersed over King County.

According to Edgar Frank, political director of the Burlington-based independent farmworker union Familias Unidas por la Justicia, income is a major determinant of who swelters in the Washington heat and who gets to enjoy mild summer days.

Workers in hot environments, such as those in agriculture and the fast food industry, are particularly vulnerable to heat problems. It’s more uncommon for low-income tenants to have air conditioning in the Pacific Northwest due to the region’s restricted access to residential cooling systems.

“This gets back to discrimination and who gets hit the hardest by climate and environment injustice,” Frank added. Maria Batayola, an environmental justice coordinator at Seattle-based charity El Centro de la Raza, noted that not everyone in Beacon Hill can afford to buy air conditioners and fans.

The Need for Long-term Climate Solutions

Batayola added that to keep cool for cheap, locals may do things like drape thick bed sheets or bright aluminum foil over their windows. Last year, Washington State increased its energy assistance program to cover the cost of air conditioning for low-income people.

More long-term climate resilience initiatives, including parks with plants and community halls with air conditioning, are necessary for marginalized populations that have been historically underinvested.

According to a study of 108 U.S. cities published in the scientific journal Climate in 2020, redlined regions consistently had higher average surface temperatures than non-redlined locations, sometimes by as much as 12 degrees Fahrenheit.

According to a 2019 NPR study of surface thermal data from NASA and U.S. Geological Survey satellite photography from summer days in the previous decade, the temperature gap between the city’s coolest and warmest districts in Seattle might reach as high as 14.5 degrees.

Heat and wealth in Seattle were shown to have a modest relationship, according to NPR. On the same day when Georgetown saw 98.1 degrees of heat, people in Magnolia, where the typical household income is roughly $217,900, endured about 84.4 degrees, NPR reported.

Photo by “Bombs Away! A melting Bomb Pop on a sidewalk means one thing….hot weather! And maybe also a crying child.” by Lorie Shaull is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

5 Fun Things to Do in Seattle This August

Seattle Things To Do

Summer in Seattle is the perfect time of year to visit or be in the Emerald City. You can enjoy outdoor activities in moderate weather at this time of the year.

Whether it is strolling around the city’s attractions and parks or traveling to nearby state and national parks or attending a food or music concert, Seattle has you covered.

To get you started, here are a few of the many fun things happening in Seattle this August!

  1. Attend the “Day In Day Out” Festival

Enjoy three days of funky music performances from prominent musicians at the Day In Day Out Festival. Throughout the event, artists will perform in unison on a single stage.

Keynote performers at the Fisher Pavilion will include The National, Mac DeMarco, Mitski, and Animal Collective among others. The festival runs from August 12 to 14 at the Seattle Center.

  • Aerial Shows at the Arlington SkyFest

Attend the Arlington SkyFest to see hundreds of drones synced in a breathtaking show of aerial acrobatics and aerobics.

Walk around and eat from food trucks or check out military equipment on exhibit well before light shows begin. Additionally, there will be a children’s area that includes play activities and simulations.

At the start of this three-day event on Friday night, campers will have access to the campsites, which include entertainment and activities.

Come enjoy a family-friendly movie, a historic car exhibition, and aerial displays of drones, balloons, and planes in the skies this coming Saturday! Free aircraft flights will be available for children ages 8 to 17 on Sunday throughout the afternoon festivities, including face painting.

No tickets will be given out at the door for this event. In order to make the most of your tailgating spot, you should bring lawn chairs with you when you buy tickets.

  • Gigantic Bicycle Festival in 2022

Gigantic Bicycle Festival has us rethinking our transportation options every summer. When your bike ride is over, you’ll be able to enjoy a variety of activities like music and art exhibits as well as outdoor movies and camping during the festival. You may also simply get behind the wheel.

Superchunk and Black Belt Eagle Scout will be among the artists performing in honor of the bicycle, the region’s most popular mode of public transportation. The Gigantic Bike Festival happens on August 12 and 13 at the Centennial Fields Park.

  • Emerald City Comic Con

Emerald City Comic Con, the largest local comic convention of the year, is where geeks from all over save their most creative costumes.

The four-day festival is packed to the brim with seminars, meetings, special events, parties, and a ton of visitors lounging out in the artist lane. It all happens from August 18 to 21st at the Seattle Convention Center.

  • Chomp!

The 2022 Chomp is happening on August 20 at Marymoor Park, Redmond. This free event will have a farmer’s market, educational seminars on the environment and sustainability an upcycled items market from local craftsmen, zucchini races, a petting zoo, and much more. It’s also worth noting that the Drive-By Truckers are coming.

There’s Everything for Everyone!

The cool summer weather may seem like it’s just getting started, but that’s exactly why you should make the best of its late arrival and the previous July heatwave. If you’re a music fan, a gamer, a wine enthusiast, a film fan, or a combination of the above, Seattle has something for you in August.

Why Are Seattle’s Public Parking Lots Now Dominated by Illegally Installed Concrete Blocks?

Georgetown Seattle Hats and Boots

A considerable amount of Georgetown’s public parking is now obstructed by enormous, 6-foot-long slabs of concrete.

The blocks, which are frequently referred to as “ecology” or “eco” blocks, have been unlawfully and anonymously erected by individuals who want to prohibit RVs from parking directly in front of their residences or businesses.

RV residents are concentrated in a handful of neighborhoods in Seattle since large RVs are not allowed to park overnight in areas designated for industrial use.

Following the suspension of parking enforcement by the city of Seattle during the pandemic, ecological blocks have increased in Georgetown, Sodo, and Ballard in the last two years.

Now that parking enforcement has returned, those living in their cars face penalties and the potential loss of their shelter. However, there is essentially little enforcement of the increasing number of eco-blocks.

Disproportionate Enforcement

Eco blocks cannot be placed on public roadways, walkways, or parking spots. As stated by the Seattle Department of Transportation, ecology blocks “create parking overflow onto nearby streets, obstruct utility access, and create other accessibility or transportation concerns.”

Since June 2021, 25 property and company owners in Seattle who hold hundreds of concrete slabs have been informed that they might face penalties. As stated by the city, the first fine is $250; the second is $500; the third is $1,000. There are no restrictions on how many penalties a person may get in a calendar year.

Some establishments have received second warnings from the government, but no citations have really been imposed. Transportation officials have said that they want to increase enforcement of the 72-hour limit on car parking on the same block.

4,000 tickets have been issued and 2,100 cars have been impounded by the Seattle Agency of Transportation since October. However, the department claims that it did not seize lived-in automobiles until mid-May.

Advocates for the homeless argue that it is unfair for the city to require vehicle dwellers to adhere to parking regulations while allowing companies to prohibit vehicle dwellers from obeying them by using public spaces.

The city reports that determining who is accountable for unlawful eco blocks has been the greatest obstacle in addressing complaints about them. It’s not always evident who paid for the blocks since they’re situated on public roadways and often in the proximity of various residences.

When it comes to ecological blocks, a typical one weighs 1 to 2 tons and costs $20 per unit, making them prohibitively expensive for the city to completely eliminate. The agency states that it only reacts to public complaints about ecological blocks and does not pay for workers to “continuously police the city in search of infractions” as it does for parking offenses.

Why People and Businesses Are Installing the Slabs

According to city officials, blocks were sometimes installed before the epidemic, but have grown over the last year as the city has failed to enforce the 72-hour parking restriction. During this period, RVs remained stationary, amassing garbage and rodents to the chagrin of residents.

RVers have found it increasingly difficult to find free parking due to blockage and a lack of parking signage, and as a result, they are less willing to leave until they are forced to.

Businesses in the Sodo Business Improvement Area are anxious about the safety of their workers or about losing their livelihood if the eco blocks are placed, says Erin Goodman, executive director of the organization.

She said that in many areas of Sodo, RV encampments may attract rodents that put food producers in danger of losing their licenses, and RV fires can harm surrounding structures.

Although the Sodo Company Improvement Area does not advocate breaking local ordinances, Goodman said that business owners are unhappy if they’re threatened with citations.

Measure to Secure Wildland Firefighting Workforce Passes House –Advocates Urge Senate to Act Without Delay to Address Wildland Firefighter Shortages

Wildland Firefighting Workforce Passes House

Washington D.C. – It’s the midpoint of what has proven to be another agonizing wildfire season for communities across the country affected by the ever-increasing frequency and intensity of wildfires. The Washington Post reported recently that a study found 1 in 6 Americans are now exposed to “significant” wildfire risk. Against the backdrop of an ongoing crisis, the passage of The Wildfire Response and Drought Resiliency Act (H.R. 5118) led by Representative Joe Neguse (D-CO) is a reason to hope. 

The measure that passed the U.S. House, mostly along party lines, would raise the minimum basic pay for federal wildland firefighters to that of a GS-6 ($17.71/hr) and allow for seven days of mental health leave annually. The legislation moves to the Senate, where advocates are urging members to act without delay. 

“Senators must know that wildland firefighters and constituents in their states need them to move this measure to a vote. Without raising the starting wage for wildland firefighters, we’ll continue to see an acceleration in attrition. Agencies will not be able to recruit quality people essential to do this complex and dangerous job. At a time when wildfires are increasing in frequency, intensity, and duration, causing greater destruction, we also need mental health support for the first responders tasked with the heavy burden of loss of life and property. Senators must assign this bill to committee and get it to the floor for debate. Your delay will signal to wildland firefighters that equitable pay is inconsequential said Kelly Martin, President of Grassroots Wildland Firefighters. 

The most destructive period of California’s wildfire season is now underway, and with about 25% fewer firefighters to respond to these emergencies, communities and firefighters brace themselves for the worst. As reported by the San Francisco Chronicle, that shortage translates to nearly 1,300 unfilled jobs. Meaning increased risk to the remaining first responders and decreased ability to protect life and property. 

For decades, federal wildland firefighters have been paid a fraction (think 50% or less) of what their state and municipal counterparts earn. They also battle work-related mental health issues like post-traumatic stress disorder, and the rate of death by suicide among firefighters is rising, outpacing line-of-duty deaths. Many of the reforms outlined in The Wildfire Response and Drought Resiliency Act (H.R. 5118)are components of the Tim Hart Pay Parity and Classification Act (H.R. 5631), considered by many wildland firefighters to be the most robust and comprehensive solution introduced into Congress to date. Advocates of this bill will continue to work with Congressional members like Representative Joe Neguse, who understand the scope and urgency of the issues at hand. Grassroots Wildland Firefighters beseech Congress to act on HR 5118 and Tim’s Act with the urgency with which firefighters defend our communities.

Photo by “Dragon’s Breath at Firefighter School” by Lance Cheung is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Seattle Residents Advised to Brace for an Imminent Heat Wave

Seattle Weather Heat Wave

In the next few weeks, Seattle and the surrounding areas of Western Washington will see the highest temperatures of the year. Temperatures in Puget Sound may soar into the 90s for four days in a row. Sadly most people in the affected areas do not have access to air conditioning, making the current heat wave a serious threat to their health.

Currently, the highs are in the middle 70s, so take advantage of the nice weather while we have it. The weather is expected to remain the same in the next few days. It will be mostly bright in Puget Sound on Monday morning since clouds will be confined to the inland areas and the coast. Weather forecasters predict that Seattle will reach the mid-80s in the coming days.

The Pacific Northwest will see stifling temperatures beginning on Tuesday. High pressure, a “thermal trough,” and north/northeasterly winds all combine to create searing temperatures. From Tuesday through Friday, highs might reach into the 90s, approaching record highs. This implies that sleeping conditions will be quite unpleasant, and on top of that, the danger of heat-related diseases will increase dramatically.

Be very careful with the young and the old; they are most susceptible to harm. Never leave anybody, including dogs, in a parked automobile while the sun is out. Remember that the water in local rivers, creeks, and lakes is still too cold to swim in.

Keeping Cool and Safe During a Heat Wave

The United States, Italy, Greece, and the United Kingdom are among the nations now experiencing severe heat waves. As Americans struggle with the heat, experts have shared their advice on how to stay cool and protect yourself and your loved ones without breaking the bank.

Here are a few points to keep in mind:

  • Seek Cover. A word of caution: don’t spend too much time outdoors. If you’re trying to beat the heat, getting inside a cool building is your best bet. More than 700 individuals every year lose their lives to what may be avoided heat-related ailments, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Dr. Eric Goldberg, medical director of NYU Langone Internal Medicine Associates, says that the body’s capacity to regulate heat is diminished by exposure to heat or high temperatures over an extended period of time. This has the potential to ultimately render sweating, the body’s principal cooling mechanism, useless.
  • Use Fans If You Can. However, A/C capacity should not be exceeded. Box fans or ceiling fans may give additional respite for homes that wish to preserve energy during hot days but do not want to utilize air conditioning. According to Hippo’s resident home care expert Chris Janiak, spinning ceiling fans counterclockwise may generate a cooler breeze by forcing air to the floor.
  • Dress in Light Airy Garments. The clothes you wear may make a big difference if your job requires you to spend time outdoors or in high temperatures. Although it goes against common sense, shedding extra layers when facing the sun won’t help you feel any cooler.
  • Keep Internal Doors Open. It is possible to reduce the amount of heat entering the house via the windows by closing the blinds and drapes. The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that by carefully controlling the amount of sunlight that enters a home via its windows, you may save heating and cooling costs by as much as 77 percent.
  • Hydrate Regularly. Staying hydrated is crucial for your health and safety in hot weather. Additionally, consume alcohol in moderation at this time.

There are cooling centers and other buildings in Seattle where you may get out of the heat and relax while your air conditioner is running if you don’t have one at home.

Remember to drink plenty of water. Extreme heat can be potentially lethal. Residents are urged to prioritize their health and that of their loved ones.

Photo: “water sprinkler” by Leonard J Matthews is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Conflict Over Technology and Art Leads to Cancellation of the Microsoft vs Amazon Exhibition in Seattle

Amazon VS Microsoft

The ‘Amazon vs. Microsoft’ display at a Seattle museum was canceled due to community outcry regarding the conflict between technology and the arts.

Because of criticism from Seattle’s artistic community and online commenters, organizers have scrapped plans for an exhibition including the work of Amazon and Microsoft workers.

The Museum of Museums (MoM) in Seattle’s First Hill neighborhood asked for contributions a few days ago for an upcoming exhibition titled “Amazon vs. Microsoft.” To promote the event, a picture was posted to Instagram that depicted Bill Gates (co-founder of Microsoft) and Jeff Bezos (co-founder of Amazon) trading blows while wearing boxing gloves.

Microsoft and Amazon employ nearly 1.5 million people, as stated in their Instagram posts. The two corporations have alternate and equally astonishing riches of creative skill to go along with the extraordinary wealth that has come to characterize them. Amazon versus. Microsoft is an exhibition that aims to “recalibrate the narrative surrounding what a tech worker is by showcasing the artists working in big tech.”

According to the museum, anybody working for either of the two computing giants anywhere in the globe was eligible to submit an item for display. The applications’ deadline was August 7, and the opening reception was scheduled for October 7.

However, the idea was met with immediate and negative backlash from Seattle residents, who seemed to be tapping into the widespread belief that the city’s art scene has been faltering in recent years due to the rise of big giants like Amazon and Microsoft.

On Monday, MoM director Greg Lundgren announced through Instagram that the museum had heard its patrons and would no longer be accepting proposals for the “Amazon vs. Microsoft” exhibit.

“A healthy environment for the arts is one that welcomes all types of participants”, Lundgren stated. “There are those with unusual views and those with common values as well as those who are poor and those with both. A vibrant cultural ecology in this city demands financial support, and plenty of it,” he said implying that Seattle is growing more costly by the day.

Lundgren said that he had received “loud and unambiguous” feedback that the show was not the appropriate venue for discussing “art, wealth, and the future cultural environment of our city” or that “giant tech should not be considered as the insurers of our long-term health and vitality.”

About the Museum of Museums in Seattle

The Museum of Museums was established in 2020 at a former medical facility on 900 Boylston Ave. There are permanent and temporary exhibition halls, theatrical performances, art lessons every week, temporary exhibitions, and a gift store.

The museum’s website states that it seeks “to enhance the artist community of Seattle and stimulate our local arts ecosystem via exhibition, education, and discourse about the responsibilities of the artist, benefactor, and collector.”

Microsoft and Amazon are not alone among IT giants in their predilection for decorating their offices with works of art. Since its inception in 1987, Microsoft has amassed a sizable art collection, which is now overseen by a group of fine art specialists.

Amazon’s “Artist in Residence” program promotes regional and up-and-coming artists and serves as a public service to the arts community. As the residency’s slogan states, artists are given the time and space to “dream large, inspire, and develop ambitious ideas”.

Photo: “Good and Evil Unicorns Battle For the Space Needle” by zoomar is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

‘It’s never too late to complete your college degree’

Studying WGU - Dena Royal

Senior citizen achieves three WGU degrees in less than three years

At 65 years old, Dena Royal is set to make a little history herself this coming weekend as she walks in Western Governors University’s (WGU) biggest Seattle commencement event in the school’s 25-year history. The former resident of both Whidbey Island and Friday Harbor will celebrate earning three degrees in just two and a half years.

Royal’s extraordinary accomplishments as an adult learner mirror WGU’s tradition of breaking traditions by creating more attainable pathways to education.  She started college in the 1970s but like so many others, life got in the way, and she never completed her degree. After raising her children as a single mom, Royal decided it was time to prioritize her education.

“After extensively researching universities, WGU became the obvious choice due to affordability and flexibility,” she said.

With WGU’s flat-rate tuition being about half that of most other online colleges, there is a built-in incentive for students like Royal to accelerate their learning to make it even more affordable to earn their degree. Because the tuition per term is fixed, it doesn’t matter how many courses students complete—they’ll still pay the same rate. Nearly half of WGU students can complete their degrees without taking on any new student debt and among those who do borrow, the average student debt at graduation is less than half the national average.

To celebrate its 25th anniversary, WGU is giving away $125,000 in scholarships to 25 people. (WGU 25th Anniversary Next Generation Scholarship) They will be awarded throughout 2022 and each is worth $5,000 in tuition.

The road to earning three degrees—one bachelor’s and two masters—came to fruition after Royal made some major life changes at 63 years old.  

“I sold my yarn shop on Whidbey Island and moved aboard a vintage houseboat in Friday Harbor, Washington. I began working part-time as a paraeducator at the local elementary school and decided it was time to check off the first item on my bucket list: completing my college degree,” she said.

Royal started in the Elementary Education program in 2019 and completed 91 CUs in less than six months. She was accepted for student teaching in the fall of 2020, but the school district cancelled Demonstration Teaching (DT) due to Covid and remote learning. Royal would not give up, though.

“I would not be deterred. I had worked too hard,” she said.
 
Royal persevered and achieved her BA in Educational Studies in October of 2020 and immediately started her Master’s in Learning and Technology. She graduated with her masters in May 2021 and then began her Master’s in Elementary Education on June 1, 2021.

“I only had six weeks to complete my DT prerequisites, but I did it! I completed my student teaching in November 2021, graduating with my teaching certification in December 2021,” she said.

But then life happened, again, and threw even more obstacles in Royal’s path.
 
On December 26, 2021, her beloved houseboat sank in a storm along with all her possessions.  Royal says she strongly believes that it was a sign from the Universe to try something new. So, she applied for remote teaching jobs in Alaska. In mid-March of this year, she was hired to teach in a remote, indigenous community in the Aleutian Islands. The school district asked her to finish out the school year, and she moved to Alaska with just five days’ notice.

“I absolutely love teaching a multi-grade classroom of K-5 students. WGU prepared me well in differentiated instruction and teaching in a culturally rich, diverse environment,” she said. “The superintendent wrote to me: ‘You have finished this year strong for our kids and community in a way I never thought we would!’”

Royal is back in her hometown on San Juan Island for the summer to visit family and attend the commencement for her three WGU degrees.  She’ll return to the Aleutians in August, and she’s already halfway through her fourth degree. That’s right: nearly four degrees, in four years.

“I highly recommend completing your college degree, no matter what your age, and WGU will be your partner and biggest cheerleader in reaching your goals. I’m proud to be a Night Owl!”

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