THAT'S MARTIN LUTHER KING COUNTY
At the May 25 kick-off for his re-election campaign, County Councilman Larry Gossett made a most delightful and obscure campaign promise: to change the logo of King County to the image of Martin Luther King, Jr. In 1986, the county council passed a measure, introduced by Ron Sims, to name the jurisdiction after the civil rights leader. The county had previously gone by the pithy name of William Rufus De Van King county. Sims and others were irked that the county's namesake, who briefly served as Vice President under Franklin Pierce, had been a slave owner. But the only public acknowledgment of the name change was a plaque in the downtown courthouse. The county's current logo, which appears on stationery, buildings, and associated paraphernalia, is a non-descript crown that invokes neither the slave-owning King nor the revolutionary King. At his kick-off, Gossett pointed out that the state of Washington seal has George Washington's face on it, and the city of Seattle has Chief Seattle's face. His aide, Akilah Stewart, says, "As far as we know this is the only jurisdiction named after Martin Luther King in the country. We thought it would be important that not only people in King County know, but everyone who deals with us know." There are no immediate plans to turn the proposal to change the logo over to committee. --Samantha M. Shapiro
LIQUOR BOARD BABE
At a time when the Washington State Liquor Control Board is besieged with audits, investigations, and lawsuits calling their existence into question, there's actually some news worth flaunting. Diana Deshaye, a supervisor for the liquor board, was selected as a finalist in a model search sponsored by Mode, a fashion magazine for women over size 10. The national contest was the first-ever search for "plus-size" or "full-figured" models. There were over 20,000 applicants and 30 finalists. Deshaye, a Kent resident, was one of three winners in the 22-29 age group. In this month's issue of Mode magazine, she appears sexily sprawled on the floor, and proclaims her next career move, an unlikely choice for a liquor board employee: "I'd like to become a spokeswoman for girls who aren't a size 6, and who really enjoy their lives and their bodies and are free with their spirits." --Samantha M. Shapiro
I DON'T FEEL SO GOOD
An outbreak of Hepatitis A among homeless youth and intravenous drug users has caught the attention of health officials in King County. 23 cases have been reported in June--a 187 percent jump over the eight per month average of the previous five months. "These 23 cases are a clear increase," says Janice Boase, assistant chief at the Seattle-King County Department of Public Health's communicable disease control office. "We're concerned." The virus, which is associated with bad heinie hygiene and IV drug use--seems to be hitting the U-District the hardest. "Several of the cases list their address as the U-District," Boase says. "And if they don't list an address, they say they've been through there." Her office has stepped up efforts to publicize free immunizations at clinics like the 45th Street Clinic.
According to health care workers at the U-District Youth Center--who funnel cases to the immunization clinics--the number may be higher than 23. "People don't go in for care," says one worker. Boase isn't surprised. "Drug users aren't necessarily comfortable coming to the state for help." They may, however, be less comfortable going without the care. Symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and fatigue.--Josh Feit
In addition to the 45th Street Clinic, homeless youth and young adults can get free care at the Pike Market Clinic, the Downtown Public Health Clinic, and the University of Washington Medical Center. Call the Public Health Department at 206-296-4774 for more info.