Morning Brief is a newsletter from The Seattle Times delivered straight to your inbox every morning, Monday through Friday. Our editors choose the morning’s most important and entertaining items, and deliver them to you in short, easy-to-digest bites.

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For our newest citizens, the test begins the second they cross our border

Naturalization ceremonies happen often around here — two or three times a week in Tukwila, sometimes with as many as 100 new citizens. But that’s merely one stop on a long road to belonging for the newest Americans, who join a country struggling to address immigrants, refugees and undocumented residents. Osbaldo Hernandez of North Seattle shares his journey. Above, Mary Kinyanjui, originally from Kenya, has her portrait taken after a 2009 naturalization ceremony at Seattle Center.


Need to know

The hunt to replace retiring Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy begins “immediately,” President Donald Trump says, plunging into a fight that will reshape the court for decades and raise the stakes in this fall’s elections. Kennedy was a decisive voice on hot issues, including thetransformation of gay life in America. Now, the court may become the most conservative one since the 1930s. Here are some possible successors, and proof that one justice’s vote really matters.

How mean are the streets of Seattle? In many parts of the city, residents think crime is a lot worse than it really is, FYI Guy found when he took a neighborhood-by-neighborhood look at how the fears stack up against the crime rates. Chalk that up to “mean world syndrome” — the belief “that the world is a much more dangerous place than it actually is,” says a Seattle U professor who co-authored the survey on residents’ attitudes.

Unions in our state wield serious power when it comes to funding political campaigns and shaping public policy. But the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling yesterday that public employees can’t be forced to pay union fees is sure to escalate the fight here between unions and groups trying to erode their influence. Some of the most powerful organizations nationwide, including teachers unions, are bracing for an exodus of members and money.

You could soon be ordering your pills from Amazon. The retail giant shook up the drugstore world this morning with news that it’s buying online pharmacy PillPack. This gives Amazon an immediate nationwide drug network and threatens the big  chains. Amazon also is trying to get startup delivery companies rolling with branded vans, uniforms and work  delivering the retail giant’s packages.


Throwback Thursday

Families fled out their back doors for fear that their homes would topple into this giant, 200-foot-long, 60-feet-deep hole that swallowed part of Ravenna Boulevard in 1957. Check out the jaw-dropping photos and learn more about what happened. Gaping holes are still showing up across the nation, gulping at cars and even a semi.


What we’re talking about

Whew, that was a nail-biter: Take a look as a six-deck, 440-foot-long cruise ship squeaks through the Ballard Locks yesterday with a few feet to spare on each side. The Star Legend is believed to be the largest cruise ship to transit the locks and the century-old Ship Canal.

Seattle Storm stars Sue Bird and Breanna Stewart say being comfortable in their own skin was a major factor in agreeing to pose for ESPN magazine’s “Body Issue.” “This isn’t Playboy … It’s a celebration of athletes and their bodies,” said Bird, whose appearance with the Reign’s Megan Rapinoe makes this the first issue with a same-sex couple on the cover. (ICYMI, here’s a look at that photo shoot, and our recent story on Seattle sports’ newest power couple.)

Lawyers in hot water: The Port of Seattle has ousted its longtime general counsel after a workplace complaint led the Port to lose trust in him. He’s getting half-a-million dollars on his way out. In hotter waters, the former chief attorney for ICE in Seattle is facing prison time for stealing immigrants’ identities to defraud banks and credit-card companies.

ZOOOOOOOM. It could get much noisier on Whidbey Island, where the Navy announced a plan to increase practice landings nearly fourfold as it adds 36 EA-18G Growlers to prepare flight crews for landing on ships at sea. You can imagine what some of the neighbors are saying about that.


Worth a read

What will defensive lineman Frank Clark want from the Seahawks? The Minnesota Vikings’ recent signing might provide a clue about the big bucks he’ll be looking for in a contract extension.

In the garden: Here’s how to decide on the most useful herbs to grow, and how not to kill them. Also, Ciscoe Morris tells us about purely delightful, shade-loving woodland lilies, including a tiny munchkin that puts on a big show.

Wellness: What’s a whole grain, anyway? Our nutrition expert explains. Plus, the People’s Pharmacy advises on a surprising treatment for eczema, sleeping pills for older adults, and the neurological effects of low B-12 levels.



Western State Hospital’s loss of federal certification highlights the ongoing failures of leadership, internal governance and quality control that have persisted there under Gov. Jay Inslee’s watch, writes The Seattle Times editorial board.


Today’s weather

Cloudy. High 65. Low 55. Sunrise 5:13. Sunset 9:10.


Today in history

The new Marion Oliver McCaw Hall, home to the Pacific Northwest Ballet and the Seattle Opera, opens in 2003 with a gala party. McCaw Hall was once Seattle’s Civic Auditorium, built in 1928, and was rebuilt as the Opera House for the 1962 World’s Fair. The refurbished hall costs $127 million, with an increase in the number of women’s restroom stalls from 35 to 90 — a welcome relief.