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Seattle/Western Wash. News Releases for Wed. Dec. 12 - 6:55 pm
Tue. 12/11/18
Annie Wright Upper School for Boys Aims to Break Waffle World Record (Photo)
Annie Wright Schools - 12/11/18 1:03 PM
Annie Wright Upper School boys practice stacking waffles and blocks to prepare for their world record attempt this Friday.
Annie Wright Upper School boys practice stacking waffles and blocks to prepare for their world record attempt this Friday.

Tacoma, Wash. – Annie Wright Upper School for Boys will attempt to break the Guinness Book of World Records for the Tallest Stack of Waffles this Friday, December 14, at their downtown campus on Broadway in Tacoma. Along with opportunities to make history and eat a tower of waffles, the boys are using this exercise to investigate what lends structures strength as they prepare to design and build a Tiny House this spring.


The waffle challenge culminates their unit “Architecture & Building: Feats of Strength!” in their Grade 9 Architecture & Design class. In this unit, students experimented with a range of modeling materials to see how tall they could build structures and how resistant those structures could be to a variety of forces. Last week, for example, they used a leaf blower to test how wind resistant their structures could be after learning about the structural crisis of New York’s CitiCorps Center in 1978.


The Tiny House project will be the second for the Upper School for Boys. Last year the finished product was delivered to a Tiny House community in Seattle.


Moving from steel, lumber and concrete, students are examining the structural properties of baking soda, flour, milk and eggs, and what combination of ingredients might give an (edible) waffle enough strength to break the current record (officially 51 cm/21 in, although a group out of Denver who created a 67 cm/26 in stack last summer is awaiting record confirmation from Guinness). The waffles themselves must be regulation size as set forth by the Guinness Book of World Record Committee, and the stack must stand unsupported for five seconds.


“I hope all my students make history in important ways,” said their Architecture & Design teacher Joe Romano, “but this Friday we’ll try to make history in a way that builds community, camaraderie and lasting memories.”


Annie Wright Schools opened their new program for high school boys last year, based on their college preparatory International Baccalaureate academic program for girls but designed as a separate and unique experience. While academic classes are separate, boys and girls have opportunities for intersection in arts, activities and social events. A new state-of-the-art academic building for the boys, currently under construction on the southeast corner of the main campus on North Tacoma Avenue, will open in August 2019, replacing the downtown campus.


The world record attempt will take place this Friday between 10:00 and 11:00 am at 936 Broadway in Tacoma.


Founded in Tacoma, Washington, in 1884, Annie Wright Schools serve students from age three through high school. Annie Wright Lower and Middle Schools offer co-ed programs in Preschool through Grade 8, while separate Upper Schools for boys and girls offer day and boarding options in Grades 9 through 12. Annie Wright is proud to be an International Baccalaureate World School. Learn more at www.aw.org.


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Photo caption: Annie Wright Upper School boys practice stacking waffles and blocks to prepare for their world record attempt this Friday.

Attached Media Files: PDF version of press release , Annie Wright Upper School boys practice stacking waffles and blocks to prepare for their world record attempt this Friday.

Thu. 12/06/18
BPA cuts costs in proposed rates for 2020 and 2021
Bonneville Power Administration - 12/06/18 9:46 AM

Portland, Ore. – The Bonneville Power Administration today released its initial wholesale power and transmission rates proposal for fiscal years 2020 and 2021. The rates proposal includes significant program cost reductions and supports a multi-year grid modernization initiative to maximize the capacity of the federal power and transmission systems and improve grid efficiency.

The proposed average wholesale power rate increase is 2.9 percent for the two-year rate period and the average transmission rate increase is 3.6 percent. The initial proposal kicks off the rate-setting process, which will end with final decisions in July 2019. The new rates will take effect on Oct. 1, 2019.

“This rates proposal demonstrates BPA’s commitment to disciplined cost-management while investing in the most valuable work, including grid modernization and strengthening our financial health,” said Administrator Elliot Mainzer. “The proposal is a result of the focus and determination of the BPA workforce, the hard work of our federal and nonfederal generation partners, and an effective collaboration with our customers, states, tribes and other constituents throughout the region.”

BPA worked diligently to lower program spending through the 2018 Integrated Program Review, where it found $66 million in annual program spending reductions compared to the current rate period.

“Our customers have clearly articulated their concerns about our cost structure and long-term competitiveness,” said Mainzer. “By fully absorbing inflation and further reducing costs, we have made real progress in bending the cost curve. But we are not stopping here. We must continue to lean in to find additional savings and new sources of revenues as we execute on our 2018-2023 Strategic Plan.”

The program cost reductions helped to offset significant upward power rate pressures from a continued decline in surplus power sales revenues, lower customer and direct-service industry

loads, and the financial result of a 2015 decision to fund energy efficiency through expense instead of capital.

The power rate proposal also supports investments in BPA’s financial health by ensuring adequate liquidity in the form of financial reserves during the next rate period. Additional savings from debt-management actions and lower transmission costs that are tied to a proposed transmission rates settlement contributed to BPA’s ability to offset most of the upward power rate pressure.

BPA has offered and expects to reach a settlement on transmission rates, as well as the associated ancillary and control area services rates, as part of its efforts to reach an agreement with customers about the terms and conditions of a new transmission tariff.  BPA is proposing the new tariff in a separate proceeding called TC-20. This settlement includes a 3.6 percent average transmission rate increase.

BPA is a nonprofit federal wholesale utility that receives no congressional appropriations and must recover its costs through rates. The new rates will affect local retail utilities differently depending on the amount of power and type of services they purchase from BPA. Local utilities ultimately determine the impact of BPA’s rates on individual businesses and residents.

About BPA

The Bonneville Power Administration, headquartered in Portland, Oregon, is a nonprofit federal power marketer that sells wholesale electricity from 31 federal dams and one nuclear plant to 143 electric utilities, serving millions of consumers and businesses in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, western Montana and parts of California, Nevada, Utah and Wyoming. BPA delivers power via more than 15,000 circuit miles of lines and 260 substations to 511 transmission customers. In all, BPA markets about a third of the electricity consumed in the Northwest and operates three-quarters of the region’s high-voltage transmission grid. BPA also funds one of the largest fish and wildlife programs in the world, and, with its partners, pursues cost-effective energy savings and operational solutions that help maintain affordable, reliable and carbon-free electric power for the Northwest. www.bpa.gov


BLM Proposes Increased Flexibility and Access in Sage-Grouse Plans
Bureau of Land Management Ore. & Wash. - 12/06/18 8:32 AM

Proposed amendments would align conservation efforts at state and federal levels

PORTLAND, Ore. – In keeping with Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke’s commitment to work closely with states to enhance conservation, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) today announced the availability of the Final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and proposed plan amendments addressing Greater Sage-Grouse conservation on public land in Oregon.

The proposed plan amendments aim to better align BLM resource management plans with state plans for conserving sage-grouse populations, strike a regulatory balance and build trust among neighboring interests in Western communities.  The proposed amendments and final EISs also addresses the issues remanded to the agency by a March 31, 2017, order by the U.S. District Court for the District of Nevada, which determined that the BLM had violated the National Environmental Policy Act when it finalized the 2015 Nevada plan.

“We have appreciated the opportunity to work with Governor Brown’s team on a carefully crafted amendment to the 2015 plan,” said Deputy Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt. “We know the successful conservation of the Greater Sage-Grouse requires the shared stewardship vision of the states, private citizens, landowners and federal land management agencies, including those within the Department of the Interior.

Bernhardt continued, “With today’s action we have leaned forward to address the various sates’ issues, while appropriately ensuring that we will continue to be focused on meaningfully addressing the threats to the Greater Sage-Grouse and making efforts to improve its habitat.”  

The BLM developed the plan changes in cooperation with Oregon Governor Kate Brown, state wildlife managers, and other concerned organizations and individuals, largely through the Western Governors Association’s Sage-Grouse Task Force. 

“Collaboration is hard work, and I appreciate the efforts by our stakeholders, state agencies and the Department of the Interior to craft an agreement to protect the sage grouse,” Gov. Brown said.  “Balancing sage grouse habitat protection and economic development requires mitigation of negative impacts.  This agreement is a critical step that marks a shift away from planning toward active conservation and landscape management to protect this iconic species. Oregon’s bounty is beautiful and worth continuing to protect and fight for.” 

“Throughout this process we've worked with Governor Brown and the affected counties in identifying a targeted plan amendment that simultaneously deals with threats to Greater Sage-Grouse and opens approximately 22,000 acres to livestock grazing,” said Chris McAlear, BLM Oregon/Washington Acting State Director.  

The proposed changes refine the previous management plans adopted in 2015.  Under the 1976 Federal Land Policy and Management Act (FLPMA), the BLM is required by law to work cooperatively with states on land-use plans and amendments.

In Oregon, the proposed amendments focus on continuing to make public lands designated as Research Natural Areas (RNA) available for livestock grazing.  Seventeen permittees currently use parts of 13 RNAs in southeast Oregon, with an estimated annual direct economic impact of $30,000 to the ranches.  The amendment process also offers an opportunity for the BLM to align its mitigation requirements under FLPMA with those established under Oregon law.

The BLM has also published Final EISs for lands it manages in Colorado, Idaho, Nevada and northeastern California, Utah and Wyoming. 

Publication of the Final EIS and proposed amendments in tomorrow’s Federal Register initiates a 30-day protest period, which will run through January 8, 2019.  The Oregon Governor also has 60 days to review the proposed amendments for consistency with state and local laws and regulations.  The process will conclude with a Record of Decision following resolution of any protests received during the 30-day review period. 

Approval of the Final EIS Proposed Plan Amendment would require amendments to eight current BLM resource management plans: Andrews, Baker, Brothers/LaPine, Lakeview, Southeastern Oregon, Steens, Three Rivers, and Upper Deschutes.

Anyone who participated in the process for the 2018 Oregon Greater Sage-Grouse EIS and who has an interest that is or may be adversely affected by the proposed land use plan amendments in the Final EIS will have the opportunity to protest the proposed plan amendments. 

The Final EIS is now available online at https://goo.gl/4CNtH8.  Instructions for filing a protest with the Director of the BLM regarding the Proposed RMPA/Final EIS are found online at https://www.blm.gov/programs/planning-and-nepa/public-participation/filing-a-plan-protest.  All protests must be in writing and mailed to the appropriate address or submitted electronically through the BLM ePlanning project website.  To submit a protest electronically, go to the ePlanning project webpage https://goo.gl/4CNtH8 and follow the instructions at the top of the home page.

If submitting a protest in hard copy, it must be mailed to one of the following addresses:

U.S. Postal Service Mail:  BLM Director (210), Attention: Protest Coordinator, WO-210, P.O Box 71383, Washington, D.C. 20024-1383

Overnight Delivery:  BLM Director (210), Attention: Protest Coordinator, WO-210,
20 M Street SE, Room 2134LM, Washington, D.C. 20003

Protests submitted electronically by any means other than the ePlanning project website will be invalid unless a protest is also submitted in hard copy.  Protests submitted by fax will also be invalid unless also submitted either through ePlanning project website protest section or in hard copy. 

Before including your address, phone number, email address, or other personally identifiable information in your comment, you should be aware that your entire comment – including your personally identifiable information – may be made publicly available at any time.  While you can ask the BLM in your comment to withhold your personally identifiable information from public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so.


The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land located primarily in 12 Western states, including Alaska. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. The agency’s mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of America’s public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations. Diverse activities authorized on these lands generated $96 billion in sales of goods and services throughout the American economy in fiscal year 2017. These activities supported more than 468,000 jobs.