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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Meet Benny, Washington state’s newest weapon against wildlife trafficking

With his paws perched against towering stacks of furniture, Benny forces his snout between two sofas and finds a piece of elephant ivory. Smugglers trafficking in the ivory — one of the most common illegal animal products in Washington — are no match for Benny, the state’s first wildlife-detection dog. The 2-year-old Labrador retriever can also detect bear gallbladder, shark fin, firearms and spent casings. Check out his workday.


Need to know

Driving anywhere this weekend? Good luck. Five major road projects in King and Snohomish counties will snarl traffic and close lanes. Plan ahead before you hop in the car, and check traffic here.

“America is better than this”: With confusion swirling for immigrant families and the agents who are detaining them, Washington will lead nearly a dozen states that are suing over the family separations and President Donald Trump’s new order meant to replace that policy. Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan yesterday joined other mayors at the southern border to protest Trump’s handling of the crisis. More:

Sheri Collins was almost 40 when the bottom fell out of her life. For the past seven years, she’s lived in her car. Watch as she tells the story of how she’s survived. And what do you want to understand about homelessness? We’re launching “Ask Project Homeless,” a new forum. You can ask your question here.


Power Couple

“It’s nice to be going through the same thing.” Ever since Sue Bird revealed last summer that she was dating Megan Rapinoe, the two Seattle sports stars have been an iconic couple. From interviews with Bird, Rapinoe and those closest to them, here’s a glimpse at how this superstar pairing came to be and what their life together is like, from their role in the LGBT community to their battles for space to store all those sneakers.


What we’re talking about

Secret Ichiro! The new team executive sneaked into the Mariners’ dugout in disguise yesterday, clad in a bushy fake mustache, shades and a hoodie. What was he up to, skulking around like that? (Alas, he wasn’t lifting the M’s.)

The rainbow of merchandise at pride events and beyond has retailers seeing green. But some big-name chains are manufacturing those items in places where being gay is illegal. Is that a way of making inroads on human rights, or a troublesome choice?

WSU football coach Mike Leach has much more to say, days after tweeting a doctored video clip of former President Obama. Leach answered our questions in a way only he would, and after he said that one of his critics, USA Today sports columnist Dan Wolken, would be “selling Big Gulps in a couple years,” Wolken chatted with us about this.

Boeing jet’s deadly explosion: “The industry has taken a step back,” an FAA spokesman said as the agency ordered a safety review of engine cowlings after the deadly blowout on a 737 flown by Southwest Airlines in April. “It appears something is occurring we had not anticipated.”

Our famous, then forgotten, poet: You may not have heard of Ella Rhoads Higginson, our state’s first Poet Laureate, who was at one point world famous. Then she was forgotten, even before her death. A Western Washington University professor is working to recover her legacy.


Worth a read

“Koko touched the lives of millions as an ambassador for all gorillas.” The 46-year-old celebrity ape, who learned to communicate with humans and then stole their hearts, died in her sleep at a Northern California preserve. Koko built relationships with Mister Rogers, Betty White and Robin Williams, and loved baby dolls and kittens.

Seattle pet-insurance company Trupanion is buying its Georgetown headquarters, where every day is Take Your Pet to Work Day. Here’s why the fast-growing company’s big purchase is something to bark about in the local real-estate market.

Weekend fun: Celebrate Pride at events all weekend, go on a biking getaway, taste some burgers, watch the World Cup at one of these bars or bask in the Seattle summer, both day and night, with help from our Summer Guide and nightlife highlights.

My oh my, we have some silly things to tell you about on this fine Friday:



The Magnolia Bridge doesn’t serve just its namesake neighborhood. It is part of a critical transportation system that serves Magnolia, Interbay and the Fisherman’s Terminal industrial area. Seattle should find a way to replace it, not abandon rebuilding plans more than a decade in the making, writes The Seattle Times editorial board.


Today’s weather

Mostly cloudy. High 68. Low 55. Sunrise 5:11. Sunset 9:10.


Today in history

After a Mercer Island resident sees a bear near his land in 1873, he gives chase. The bear “took to the lake,” and G. Proctor follows in a skiff. Proctor kills the bear with his rifle and tows the animal ashore. He gives the bear’s foot, 8 inches long and 4 inches wide, to the Puget Sound Dispatch editor. The hunter calls it “the largest black bear ever seen in this section.”


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