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SecWyman talks election with Comcast Newsmakers

by Brian Zylstra | September 25th, 2014 2:55 pm | No Comments


Kim Comcast inteview

With the General Election just weeks away, the public and media are casting their eyes on the key races, measures and dates before voters cast their ballots.

As the chief elections official in Washington, Secretary of State Kim Wyman is being interviewed more and more leading up to the fall election. Wyman recently sat down for an interview with Comcast Newsmakers host Sabrina Register to talk about what is on the ballot  (all 10 congressional seats, all of the state House and half of the state Senate, four State Supreme Court seats and three initiatives). Key voter registration deadlines, she noted, are Oct. 6 for online or mail-in registration or registration updates and Oct. 27 for in-person new registrations at your county elections office).

You can watch the Comcast interview here. Or you can catch it on CNN Headline News over the next few weeks.

If you haven’t registered and want to vote this fall, make sure to do it before one of those deadlines!

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WTBBL exhibit showcases blind community

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(Images courtesy of WTBBL)

The widely acclaimed Washington Talking Book & Braille Library is known for providing audiobooks and other services to thousands of patrons across the state who can’t read standard-print material. Now, until early December, it’s hosting a great new photo exhibit that focuses on the people who benefit from the library’s services and programs.

The exhibit, called “Innocent Eyes,” is produced by Stephanie Jarstad, a Seattle-based professional photographer. The 32-photo exhibit features stunning portraits of eight blind people, as well as three photos taken by each. A free reception for the exhibit’s opening is planned for Friday from 7 to 9 p.m. at WTBBL. A Q&A forum takes place at 7:30 p.m.

WTBBL is located at the corner of 9th Avenue and Lenora Street (2021 9th Ave.) in downtown Seattle — a repurposed architectural gem, and once home for an auto dealership/showroom.

Jarstad said the photo exhibit, which ends Dec. 1, allows its eight subjects to capture images that they want the rest of us to see and consider.

“Through this body of work, I photographed and interviewed members of the blind community,” Jarstad said. “Some have lived without sight since the day they were born; others have lost sight later in life. A few have degenerative sight. I gave each person a disposable camera, as a tool to capture what they find uniquely significant. These images are displayed alongside the portraits I created of them. The camera becomes their eyes for us to see into their world.”

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Jarstad said some of the photographers had a sighted partner help them aim the camera at what they wanted to shoot. Others just went out of their senses, she explained.

“This project is concerned with the inner significance of beauty, not simply the exterior. These eight individuals teach great lessons of how to appreciate the parts of this world we no longer seem to notice. As master painter Edgar Degas states, ‘Art is not what you see, but what you make others see,’” Jarstad added.

WTBBL Program Manager Danielle Miller said her library staff looks forward to hosting the exhibit.

“WTBBL is all about community,” Miller said. “Being able to bring in an exhibit that highlights people who are blind and the work that they do is wonderful and expands what we can offer to our patrons.”

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WA Election 2014 under way; 62% turnout forecast

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Washington’s General Election is under way.  About 65,000 military and overseas ballots were going out by Saturday, Sept. 20, many of them sent electronically, and those voters are able to begin voting as soon as they receive their ballots.

The other 3.8 million registered voters will be getting ballots and Voters’ Pamphlets by this time next month. The 18-day voting period kicks off Oct. 17.

Ballots can be voted any time after they are received. They may be returned by mail, in person, or by using a county-supplied dropbox.  Postmark deadline is Election Day, Nov. 4; dropboxes may be used until 8 p.m. Election Day.  Results will be available online and via smart-phone apps after 8 p.m. Election Night.

Deadline for online and mail-in voter registration is Oct. 6.

Secretary of State Kim Wyman is forecasting a 62 percent voter participation for the mid-term election, or roughly double the turnout in this year’s primary.  The 62 percent figure is lower than the turnout for the two previous midterm elections (71 percent in 2010 and 65 percent in 2006), primarily because this year we have no U.S. Senate

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Wyman, county auditors reach out to potential voters

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Are you a Washington resident who is eligible to vote but hasn’t registered yet? Expect a postcard in the mail soon that encourages you to register in time for this fall’s General Election.

That’s the word from state Elections Division officials, who are joining Washington’s 39 county auditors to mail voter registration information to 210,000 eligible residents who haven’t registered yet. About one-third of the recipients are 18-year-olds and 60 percent are under 30. The postcards are being mailed through Sept. 24.

“We hope that citizens receiving the postcard will realize how easy it is to register online to vote here in Washington,” said Secretary of State Kim Wyman. “Registering is that key step that will allow them to speak through their ballot on the important races and measures facing voters this fall.”

The eye-catching postcard will contain information on how to register to vote, including eligibility requirements, the web address for online registration and a toll-free number if the recipient wants to request a paper form or has questions about the postcard.

Oct. 6 is the deadline for online or mail-in voter registrations and updates before this fall’s General Election ending Nov. 4. Oct. 27 is the last day for persons currently not registered to apply in person at their county elections office. continue reading

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Happy Constitution Day!

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(Photos courtesy of Washington State Archives)

It doesn’t receive nearly as much attention as Independence Day. It doesn’t offer an excuse to have a barbecue and shoot off fireworks. But Sept. 17 is a very important date in American history. It’s the date when the United States Constitution was signed by 39 delegates to the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia in 1787.

Go here to learn more about the U.S. Constitution, including a closer look at the delegates and the issues involved in creating and ratifying the Constitution and the new government it established.

Here in Washington, our state constitution is kept safe in our State Archives. When we celebrate Washington’s 125th birthday as a state on Nov. 11 at the Capitol, the original copy of the Washington Constitution will make a rare public appearance at the debut of a new Legacy Washington history exhibit in the lobby of the Secretary of State’s Office.  The two photos from the State Archives’ Ben Helle should whet your civic appetite.

Secretary of State Kim Wyman urged students and indeed all Washington residents to familiarize themselves with the state and federal constitutions, calling them “our foundational documents so important to our self-government and protection of our liberties.”

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Golfers in CFD tourney help veterans charity

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CFD Program Manager Philip Kerrigan (left) and Special Programs Director Stephanie Horn (second from right) with the winning four-man team (left to right): John Pazer, Andrew Brown, Thomas Bishop and Rob Hannigen. (Photo courtesy of Heather Lucas)

They came. They played golf. And they helped veterans.

Not a bad way to spend a Saturday for 92 linksters who took part in the second-annual Golf for Veterans Tournament run by the Washington State Combined Fund Drive. The tourney last weekend was held at Eagles Pride Golf Course, located at Joint Base Lewis-McChord and voted one of the top 10 military golf courses by Travel and Leisure magazine.

Participants and donors contributed $13,489 for the Wounded Warrior Project, about double what was raised in last year’s tourney.

The CFD staff thanks all of the supporting donors and individuals who helped make the event run smoothly.

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Check out new edition of Simply Washington!

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Several years ago, we unveiled a fun, colorful booklet called Simply Washington, which highlights and explains many aspects of our great state.

Not being ones to sit still, we decided it was time to create a whole different look and feel to this publication, which is popular with teachers, students and tourists. We’re pleased to unveil the new and improved Simply Washington online! It’s available online here for free!

For the revamped edition, we’ve gone with slightly smaller dimensions than the previous SW, while adding more pages to make it a 56-page book.

Like its predecessor, this online book focuses on many facets of WA, from our history going back to pre-territorial days, to profiles on key figures in our state government, the basics of voting, and how laws are passed. We also have fun sections on our internationally renowned companies, agricultural and tech industries, plus sports, arts and entertainment, outdoor recreation and much more.

The new Simply Washington edition was designed and produced by Janet Lee, a recent graduate of the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Design, who volunteered her time and talent to create this wonderful new book.

Simply Washington is a great civics resources for students, WA residents and out-of-state visitors. All of the information is in the public domain, so it’s available for you and others to use as you wish! You can even print it out directly from our homepage.

We will be fundraising to produce a print version for schools.

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Drivers beware: I-5 will be mess in Olympia next 2 weekends

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This part of Interstate 5 in Olympia will face lane and ramp closures during the weekends of Sept. 12 and Sept. 19. Very long backups are expected. (Photos courtesy of Washington State Department of Transportation) 

We normally love to encourage people to come visit Olympia, especially our beautiful Capitol Campus. But if you’re driving on Interstate 5 during the next two weekends, make sure to avoid using the freeway in our state capital during that time.

That’s the word from the Washington State Department of Transportation. The busy I-5/US 101 interchange near Capitol Lake will undergo some much-needed bridge repair work those two weekends. Crews will replace a 171-foot-long bridge expansion joint that spans the width of the roadway. The concrete surrounding the 28-year-old joint has deteriorated where I-5 and 101 merge. The photo below shows how the concrete has become damaged.

Here is how motorists will be impacted this weekend:
• I-5 will be reduced to one lane in each direction between 10 p.m. and 8 a.m. Friday through Sunday.
• During daytime hours on Saturday and Sunday, I-5 will be open to only two lanes in each direction.
• The Deschutes Parkway Southwest on-ramp to northbound I-5 will close from 10 p.m. Thursday to 5 p.m. Monday.
• The Henderson Avenue/14th Avenue Southeast on-ramp to southbound I-5 also will be closed from 10 p.m. Friday to 5 a.m. Monday.
• The US 101 on-ramp to northbound I-5 will be reduced to one lane from 10 p.m. Friday to 5 a.m. Monday.

Go here to learn more about the maintenance project and how it will affect motorists.

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According to WSDOT, more than 276,000 vehicles use this stretch of I-5 on a typical weekend. About 190,000 vehicles travel on US 101 approaching I-5. WSDOT warns of backups as long as 14 miles on I-5 during these two weekends, so if you can avoid I-5 in and near Olympia during these weekends, do it!

WSDOT encourages people traveling between Seattle and Portland to consider taking an Amtrak Cascades train. Amtrak Cascades offers four round trips per day between those two cities.

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From Digital Archives: Classic Rainier climbing photos

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(Photos courtesy of Digital Archives)

As the tallest peak in the Pacific Northwest and one that offers both challenging and comparatively easy routes, Mount Rainier is a magnet for mountain climbers near and far, novice or expert. During the summer, it’s common to see groups of climbers trudging up the mountain from Paradise in hopes of reaching the 14,411-foot summit and earning an amazing view of the surrounding mountains, steep valleys and lowlands below.

Our Digital Archives has some classic 1940-era photos of climbers on Rainier. The top photo shows a group of climbers near deep crevasses on Emmons Glacier, located on Rainier’s northeast slopes. The bottom photo features climbers near the foot of a glacier overlooking the Cascades toward Yakima Park.  The photos, both taken by Bert W. Huntoon, are found in the Progress Commission Photographs, 1937-1945.

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Historian to share story behind Capsule Keepers

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Secretary of State Ralph Munro (left) and Gov. Booth Gardner with several of the Capsule Keepers during the Centennial Celebration in Olympia on Nov. 11, 1989. Standing behind Gardner is Knute Berger, who will give a talk Monday about  the history of the Capsule Keepers. (Photo courtesy of Washington State Archives)

Journalist and historian Knute “Skip” Berger is speaking in Olympia Monday (Sept. 8) at noon about the history and role of the Capsule Keepers, the group tasked with maintaining the state time capsule. The first group of Capsule Keepers was chosen in 1989 at age 10. Now, 25 years later, a new group will take on the responsibility during the celebration of Washington’s 125th anniversary on Nov. 11.

Berger’s talk, which also will cover how the new Keepers are being recruited, takes place at the State Capital Museum, 211 – 21st Ave. SW. The event is free, with a $2 suggested donation.

Our Capitol, now and way back then

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The Legislative Building as it currently stands. (Photo courtesy of Katy Payne)

Washington’s Capitol, known as the Legislative Building, is well known for its grandeur and magnificence. As you stand on one of the 42 steps (the significance being because Washington was the 42nd state) leading to one of the massive 2,000-pound bronze front doors and look up, it might astound you how much larger the building is in person than it seems in photographs. Rising to 287 feet, it is the fifth tallest masonry dome in the world, and the tallest in North America.

The buildings on the Capitol Campus were designed in the early 1900s by Walter Wilder and Harry White, a pair of young, talented and inexperienced architects – the Olympia job was their first major commission. The impressive 54-acre landscape was a masterpiece of the Olmsted Brothers, landscape designers of various parks, universities and capitol grounds throughout the country.

The Legislative Building was completed in 1928 after six years of construction and $7,385,768.21 spent. To reconstruct the same building today using the same materials, it would cost over $1 billion – 135 times more money than was spent before!

Fun facts about the building:

-It would take 136 Olympic-sized swimming pools or 28 average-sized water towers to fill the Legislative Building completely with water.

-It would take just over 14 adult male giraffes, stacked on top of one another, to reach the top of the dome.

-The Legislative Building weighs 188,500,000 pounds, which is 10 times as much as Seattle’s Space Needle.

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Legislative Building construction on September 3, 1924. (Photo courtesy of State Archives)

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Legislative Building’s progress two years later, in 1926. Photo courtesy of State Archives)

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Dome construction in 1926. (Photo courtesy of State Archives)

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The Washington Office of the Secretary of State’s blog provides from-the-source information about important state news and public services. This space acts as a bridge between the public and Secretary Kim Wyman and her staff, and we invite you to contribute often to the conversation here.

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