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“Get out now”: Spokane wildfire forces hundreds of evacuations

Residents of more than 700 homes were told to flee a fast-moving wildfire that engulfed several structures near Spokane last night. Air tankers were using river water to douse the flames. Across the West, severe drought is making this wildfire season especially worrisome, and an out-of-control blaze has laid a thick blanket of smoke over Yosemite National Park.

 

Need to know

Wait, what happened there? In the space of about 10 days, Carmen Best went from nixed to nominated as Seattle’s next police chief. After a torrent of outrage over her initial rejection, almost nobody was surprised by the time Mayor Jenny Durkan announced Best’s nomination yesterday, but citizens have “a lot of questions to be answered” about why this went the way it did. Read our profile of Best.

In another head-spinning reversal, President Donald Trump has walked back a sentence that touched off a national uproar Monday at a news conference with Vladimir Putin. Here’s what Trump now says he meant about Russian meddling in U.S. elections. Despite that explosive moment, he tweeted today that “people at the higher ends of intelligence loved my press conference performance.” Fact-checkers are buzzing about what he and Putin said there. The week’s swirl has bookmakers looking at record Trump impeachment odds, historians offering perspective, and columnist Danny Westneat asking: “GOP, are you a party, or a cult?”

Millions of Americans have learned about sex and consent through the stories on our screens, from “Sixteen Candles” to “Law & Order: SVU.” But the teacher is often unreliable. In the midst of the #MeToo movement, experts and Seattle Times readers explore how mass-media depictions form our views, and what responsibility creators have in representing healthy consensual encounters.

Tolls in the new Highway 99 tunnel would vary by time of day under a plan the state endorsed yesterday. The tunnel would be free for the first few months, but here’s a look at what drivers may end up paying after that.

Ahhhh, doesn’t this feel refreshing? Those of you who hide in the basement during sizzling weather can emerge now. After seven straight days of heat, we’re in for a cool spell — briefly.

 

Outsmart your technology

(Illustration by David Miller / The Seattle Times)
(Illustration by David Miller / The Seattle Times)

Most major government-espionage portals now offer consumer-friendly, always-on listening devices. Outraged by this encroachment on our privacy, most of us have responded by scrambling to self-install one in every single room — and that’s just the start of our tech troubles. Ron Judd’s Stupid Idiot’s Guide tackles 10 of our most-pressing plugged-in problems.

 

What we’re talking about

Take that, Virginia: Seattle police went “Downtown” with Macklemore,rapping in front of a vintage police car in answer to a lip-sync challenge from a very talented Virginia police department. And Mayor Jenny Durkan has a cameo. Take a peek with our behind-the-scenes footage and see the viral video that started it all.

King County’s rapidly growing population is becoming much more diverse. For the first time, people of Asian descent made up the majority of population growth, increasing in number by more than 19,000 in just a year. FYI Guy looks at the trends reshaping our population as it booms to nearly 2.19 million people.

Seattle is the tower-crane capital of America for the third year in a row — by far, with more cranes than at any point since the counting started. Bellevue is no slouch, either. Here’s what all of those cranes are building, and where.

Boeing is making a full-court press to firm up plans for its next new plane, unofficially dubbed the 797. Kevin McAllister, CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes, says demand is strong. So why has a launch decision been pushed out into next year? In other news from the Farnborough air show, Japan is fretting about its role with Boeing and looking at other ways to become a leader in the aerospace world,  maybe even creating “a Japanese version of Airbus.”

 

Worth a read

The agony and ecstasy of SoulCycle: What’s it really like at one of those spin classes? Writer Crystal Paul tried it out and found a “bewildering mash-up of gym, megachurch and rave.”

Mariners shortstop Jean Segura went from last-minute All-Star Game addition to seemingly the game’s MVP — his three-run homer giving the American League the lead in the eighth inning — only to see the trophy go flying away in the ninth. Columnist Larry Stone was there in D.C. to capture Seattle’s late-game highs and lows in the AL’s 8-6 victory.

Storm star Sue Bird set a WNBA record yesterday, getting voted to the league’s all-star game for the 11th time. She’s obviously still going strong at age 37, the oldest player in the league.

It’s never too late to study abroad. Local travel expert Rick Steves recommends some effective ways to go about it. And, in case you need some travel inspiration, here are some of his other columns about the many wonders around the world.

 

Editorial/opinion

The silver lining in Trump’s shocking performance in Europe is that voters have clarity about the most important issue they are deciding in this year’s federal elections, writes The Seattle Times editorial board.

 

Today’s weather

Clouds, then sun. High 78. Low 58. Sunrise 5:30. Sunset 9:00.

 

Today in history

The Wenatchee Daily World in 1918 reports on a proposal to dam the Columbia River to provide power and irrigation in the Columbia Basin region. It is the first public mention of what will become the Columbia Basin Reclamation Project, and marks the beginning of a three-decade effort to build Grand Coulee Dam and irrigation canals. The dam, at the time the world’s largest, opens in 1941, with irrigation water reaching Pasco in 1948.

 

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