Monthly Archives: December 2009

Dallas is Nice This Time of Year

We got an old-fashioned, on-letterhead letter the here at work the other day regarding a story I had written about Kitsap Transit donating its surplus vans to good homes. It was from a child development center in Dallas. I sent it over to the transit folks, though for some reason it was directed at the newspaper.

Though I think most of their vans have been grabbed up, and they were meant to stay local, this Dallas proposition sounds too good to pass up.

The school’s founding director says she can send a crew to Washington to pick up the vans. Four or five of them would be about right. Then she invites “your officers” to Dallas for a week of fun and entertainment. She said she’d work to get us a key to the city. And if that wasn’t enough, she’d name a large conference room after a person of our choice.

Ed Friedrich Conference Room has a nice ring to it. Say it with a drawl.

Some Good Comes From Bad Economy

The National Safety Council says we’re headed for the lowest annual rate of traffic deaths ever recorded. It attributes that to people not being able to drive as much because of the lousy economy.

From January through October, about 29,450 people were killed in motor vehicles, down 10 percent from the same time last year. That’s a rate of 11.5 deaths per 100,000 people, also down 10 percent.

Miles traveled will be about the same as in 2008 because the economy was just as bad then, so that can’t be the only explanation for fewer deaths. The Council also says improved safety features in cars, and greater visibility and enforcement of traffic safety laws likely had something to do with it.

WSDOT Wins Communication Honor

Washington State Department of Transportation won the Francis B. Francois Award for Innovation for its social networking efforts. Secretary of Transportation Paula Hammond picked up the award during the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials’ annual meeting recently in Palm Desert, Calif. The award, from CH2M Hill, comes with a $10,000 scholarship.

Under communications director Lloyd Brown, WSDOT initiated the agency’s first blog in November 2006. Since then it has used a variety of social networking sites to hear from the public and provide real-time information to the community. The department now uses the blog, Flickr, Twitter, YouTube, Facebook and SlideShare to communicate with the public and the media.

‘Squi qui’ Suggested as Ferry Name

Now that Port Townsend/Jefferson County has named one of the new 64-car ferries, it’s Whidbey Island’s turn.

The state Transportation Commission approved the name “Chetzemoka” for the first ferry for the first new ferry. It’s being built at Todd Pacific Shipyards in Seattle and will join the Port Townsend-Keystone route next summer.

Chetzemoka was a Klallam chief and was recommended by the Jefferson County Historical Society. Now the Island County Historical Society and Swinomish Tribe are touting Squi qui, says Jeff Chew of the Peninsula Daily News. Squi qui was a key figure in the Lower Skagit Tribe that occupied central Whidbey Island in the mid-1800s.

I love these names. Even if they weren’t historically significant, they’re fun to say. Try is. Cet-ze-mo-ka. Swin-o-mish. Squi-qui. I can’t wait to see what they come up with for the third boat. That one will run between Point Defiance and southern Vashon, so it’ll probably be some historic Indian from down there.

Chew says the Keystone Ferry Advisory Committee gathered some other possible names for the second boat. One is “Mary Margaret Haugen” the state senator from Camano Island who was so influential in getting the ferries built. Here are some others:

Snakelum, after Coupeville’s Chief Snakelum

Calista, after a steamer once operated by Coupeville sea captain Howard Lovejoy

Skookumchuck, the Chinook jargon word for rough, fast-moving waters

Leschi, after a ferry that served Kirkland and Seattle in the 1930s

Defiance, after Point Defiance

Haida, for the Haida Tribe

The Salish Sea

The state is also looking for a name of the class of 64-car boats. They’re based on the Island Home ferry that operates in Massachusetts, but they don’t want to keep that name. Other classes in Washingtoin State Ferries are Issaquah, Super, Jumbo and Jumbo Mark II, for example.

At the governor’s suggestion, WSF is having a contest with fourth-grade students from Chimacum, Port Townsend and Whidbey Island to name the new ferry class. Fourth-graders were chosen because they’re studying Washington state history. Submissions are due in mid-December. A panel from the governor’s office, Department of Transportation and the communities will select a winner by mid-January.