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Archives Month is here! ?>

Archives Month is here!

If you’re into horse thievery, prison mug shots, bootlegging and finding out more about Washington’s rich and interesting history, this month is for you.

For the sixth straight year, the State Archives is celebrating Archives Month throughout October in Washington.

This year’s official theme is, “LAW & ORDER IN THE ARCHIVES: Crooks, Cops and Courts.”

There’s a cool new Archives Month poster that ties in with this year’s theme. The posters are available for pickup, thanks to a grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission. The posters will be available by the second week of October in the Office of Secretary of State, located on the second floor of the Legislative Building in Olympia, and at the State Archives Building, located at 1129 Washington St. SE in Olympia. The posters also will be found in the Regional Archives branches in Bellevue, Bellingham, Cheney and Ellensburg. Supplies are limited, so if you want one, don’t delay.

The State Archives and its branches throughout Washington are planning various workshops, open houses and other free events. Go here to learn more about these Archives Month events, and to view the Archives Month poster online.

And who are some of Washington’s more notable or famous criminals and events? (more…)

March is National Umbrella Month ?>

March is National Umbrella Month

Despite Washington’s notoriously long (okay, endless) rainy season, Washingtonians tend to be ambivalent about the use of umbrellas.  The following is a typical conversation in a Washington workplace…

Jill: “Ack, it’s pouring!  It wasn’t pouring two minutes ago when I was packing up for lunch.”

Jane: “Give it two minutes, and it’ll stop.”

Jill:  “What do you think?  Should I bring my umbrella?”

Jane:  “No.”

Jill:  “But I don’t want to ruin my suit.”

Jane:  “Fine, then take an umbrella.”

Jill:   “Okay…[looks for umbrella under desk]…um, I can’t find my umbrella.  May I borrow yours?”

Jane:  “I haven’t used an umbrella since 1976.  Check with Bob.  He’s from California.”

Jill:  “Okay.  Oh, look!  It stopped raining!” 

And scene. 

It is no wonder that our Archives staff had a tricky time digging up historic photographs of umbrellas in our records.  We did find a great picture of Sylvester Park in Olympia, circa 1900, replete with several umbrellas…on a very sunny day.  This was, undeniably, not a day in March.  Yet this month does serve as a good reminder that the umbrella truly is…sometimes…a useful invention…rain or shine…on occasion- even for us frontiering Washingtonians.

Photograph courtesy of Washington State Archives

‘Not in our House’ for new State Song? ?>

‘Not in our House’ for new State Song?

Dozens of initiatives are filed in Washington every year, ranging from the ultra-serious to the funny and frivolous conversation-starters.

Kristopher Brannon of Tacoma, the “Sonics Guy,”  has just filed little plan to change the official Washington State Song from “Washington My Home” to “Not in Our House” by Sir Mix-A-Lot, the Seattle-based artist.

His initiative says this use of the Sonics fight song would “honor the proud tradition of over 40 years of professional basketball in this state,” a reference to the recently departed Seattle SuperSonics, who won an NBA championship. The measure says if an NBA franchise team is landed for a Washington city, the state would revert to the original song.

To get on the ballot in November, an initiative sponsor needs to submit 241,153 valid signatures of registered Washington voters by July 8.

BTW, the “tapeworm” guy from last year is back with some other initiative proposals. James Vaughn of Orting has measures dealing with The Evergreen State College, de-funding “higher education freak shows”; obtaining signatures on the Internet, “protecting citizens from sexual predators,” by requiring sex offenders to wear an electronic device to warn others of his/her presence;  banning use of tax dollars to subsidize college for foreign citizens; and making it easier to recall public officials.

Didyaknow…? ?>

Didyaknow…?

Archives note cards 2

… Washington-themed note cards are being sold for bargain prices through the Secretary of State’s Office!?  The Archives Division recently slashed prices for three separate packages of note cards:

Early Statehood note cards are scanned images of Washington trademark designs from 1892 and 1895; this pack includes eight cards and envelopes for $3.

The Salmon Run note cards feature salmon trademark designs from1982 and 1897; eight cards and envelopes are being sold for $4.

And, the Asahel Curtis note cards display beautiful scenes of Washington landscapes taken in 1925. Twelve cards and envelopes for $5.

Proceeds go to fund Archives programs and services. To take advantage of these low prices by visiting the Secretary of State’s online store, stopping by the Archives building, or sending an email to Jennifer.Baga@sos.wa.gov

UPDATE: We’re a perfect 10 ?>

UPDATE: We’re a perfect 10

wamap_2Washington apparently is in line for a new 10th congressional district, according to analysts at Election Data Services.

The analysis, reflecting fresh population estimates from the Census Bureau on Wednesday, says if the numbers hold up in the 2010 Census, as expected, Washington will take the 435th of 435 House seats as a net gain.

The report says six other states, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Nevada, South Carolina and Utah, also would pick up a seat and Texas would gain three.  Eight states would lose single seats – Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania. Ohio is projected to lose two seats.

The analysis indicates that Washington’s gain may be Oregon’s loss. Oregon was on the bubble to get a new seat.  But Washington should gain that seat by just a hair – by a margin of less than 25,000 souls. “The additional seat appears to have gone to its northern neighbor, the state of Washington,” the report says.

So bottom line, it’s not official and could change in the final Census numbers next year, but for now, it looks like Washington will pick up a new congressional district.  We got the new 8th District after the 1980 Census and the new 9th District after the 1990 Census.

“This is very good news for Washington — a greater voice in the Other Washington,” said Secretary of State Sam Reed.

Lucky 13? WA population keeps on growing ?>

Lucky 13? WA population keeps on growing

Washington 13th in censusNew Census projections show that we’re on the move in Washington — people moving in from other states and folks having babies.  In the past decade, we’ve grown by 13 percent and are now the 13th largest state!  And it could be Lucky 13 if we wind up gaining a new congressional seat.

We’ve grown by nearly 100,000 during the last year and — drum roll please — our new statewide population number is nearly 6.7 million. It’s 6,664,195, up over 770,000 from the April, 2000, number of 5,894,143.

A decade ago, we were the 15th most populous state.

Is our population growth enough to pick up a 10th congressional seat? It’s too early to say for sure, especially since the new national Census of 2010 still awaits, to give us the official numbers.  A year ago, the analysts at Election Data Services put us in the small cluster of states that could vie for the 435th and final congressional seat.  Oregon is another possible winner.  Some states are losing population relative to the rest of the country and others are growing faster than most of the rest of the USA.

The rejiggering of the 435 districts among the states, to make representation more equitable, is called “reapportionment.”

Once we know for sure how many districts we have, the US and state constitutions require us to “redistrict,” meaning to redraw our districts (both congressional and legislative) so that they are of equal population.

In Washington, happily, a voter-approved constitutional amendment assigns that duty not to the Legislature, but to a bipartisan citizen commission — two Rs and two Ds are the voting members and they appoint a fifth person to serve as non-voting chair.  Maps must be agreed to by at least three commissioners, and the Legislature’s vote is basically up-or-down.  This process already is under way at the staff level at the state Elections Division, and commissioners will be picked in 2011.  New districts take effect in 2012.