An update on the Seattle teachers situation: Last night, the Seattle Education Association met to vote on a three-year contract with Seattle Public Schools, reports the Seattle Times. The proposed contract grants 7% raises to certificated and classified staff. It also lowers student-staff ratios and caseloads. HoWeVeR, the union announced that it would not release nor certify the vote until 9 am this morning. This roundup goes live at 8:30 am, so we'll update this blurb once we know. Update, 9:14 am: The teachers voted to approve to contract. 

Did you hear? The pandemic is over: Well, that's at least what Biden said during a 60 Minutes interview on Sunday. Though he acknowledged "we still have a problem with COVID," he asserted that the pandemic was over and done with. Of course, that came as news to health officials in the White House, who had no idea the president would make such statements on TV. While the end may be in sight, 400 Americans are still dying every day from the virus, and his own administration is struggling to secure Congressional funding for vaccinations, testing, and research. There's still so much to be done.

Locally, our state's Department of Health reiterated to KOMO that "this is not the end of the Covid-19 response in Washington" as we "transition into recovery." Furthermore, Gov. Jay Inslee's office added that while his administration is winding down emergency measures, "[p]ublic health officials are clear that Covid-19 is still a deadly disease that people need to take precautions against." 

West Seattle is just getting all the attention: Yesterday, crews began to repair the damaged Fauntleroy ferry terminal, reports KIRO. If you'll remember, the Cathlamet ferry slammed into the dock back in July, causing damage to the boat, the dock piles, and at least two cars. Repair estimates for the terminal are in the hundreds of thousands of dollars range.

Weather update: It's looking smoky. Thanks to the Bolt Creek fire, our air quality is going to remain in the gutter until at least Thursday. 

Speaking of the Bolt Creek fire, a quick update: Firefighters have contained 79% of the blaze, which has burned around 10,220 acres, reports the Seattle Times. Between Index and Skykomish, Highway 2 remains closed to only local residents as crews are focused on preventing more east-west spread of the fire. 

Congrats to Columbia City's Off Alley and Eastsound's Matia! The two Washington restaurants made the New York Times' list of 50 restaurants in America they're most excited about. Good luck getting a reservation in the next six months!

The names of the stabbing victim and suspect who died in Montlake house fire released: Investigators identified the victim as 32-year-old Caitlin Savage and the suspect as 53-year-old John Fuentes, who died of smoke inhalation, reports CHS Blog. The medical examiner's office told the news site that more information would be released on the case soon.

The United Nations General Assembly meets for the first time in three years: According to the New York Times, U.N. Secretary General António Guterres gave some blunt opening remarks. "We cannot go on like this," he said. "We have a duty to act. And yet we are gridlocked in colossal global dysfunction." No shit! He could be referring to, like, 12 different crises, not limited to the Russo-Ukrainian war, COVID-19, climate change, Azerbaijan attacking Armenia, etc. Things are BAD. But Guterres highlighted three areas in particular where the world should come together: "peace and security, the climate crisis and addressing inequality in developing countries."

Hurricane Fiona has ravaged Puerto Rico: The storm completely knocked out the island's power grid and water system, leaving most Puerto Ricans with no power and no clean water, reports NPR. Puerto Rico is still recovering from 2017's Hurricane Maria, which left almost 3,000 dead and also knocked out power and water services, forcing people to rely solely on bottled water as the Trump administration bungled the response. As the rains and flooding continue, FEMA chief Deanne Criswell will travel to the island today to meet with leaders and assess the damage.

I have no faith that this investigation will bring true justice to the migrants: But Bexar County Sheriff Javier Salazar announced that he will investigate what transpired when state and federal officials lured 48 Venezuelan migrants from San Antonio to Martha's Vineyard under false pretenses. Fuck all the government officials involved in this cruel scheme.

Noses aren't plant-based: The COO of Beyond Meat Doug Ramsey was arrested this weekend on terroristic threatening and third-degree battery charges for allegedly ... biting a man's nose in a parking garage after a University of Arkansas football game, reports CNBC. All because allegedly the dude's Subaru "made contact" with Ramsey's front tire.

This has been a kinda slow news morning: HOWEVER, I saved the best story for last. Researchers pored over thousands of studies and calculated the Earth's ant population. 20,000,000,000,000,000, or 20,000 trillion or 20 quadrillion of these tiny creatures are ruining picnics across the globe, reports the Washington Post. Put another horrifying way, for every human on Earth there are around 2.5 million ants. Enough to fill Salvador Dalí's paintings hundreds of times over.

For your listening pleasure: Rochelle Jordan's "DANCING ELEPHANTS (DJ MINX Remix)."