Weather report: It's snowing again as I type this final round-up for the year. (We're offline tomorrow, back on Monday.) Over here on my hill, we're getting the fat and chunky snowflakes, the kind you get when it's a little warmer than freezing. SDOT really wants you to shovel, by the way. (Them: "Please help by shoveling the sidewalks around your home or business – it isn’t just the law, it’s the right thing to do so that everyone can travel safely, particularly people who are blind, disabled, or have a harder time getting around.") Snoqualmie Pass closed earlier this morning due to shitty road conditions. It reopened, but then, this:
I-90 is closed in both directions from North Bend (MP 34) to Ellensburg (MP 106) due to a collision involving hazardous material. No estimated reopening. pic.twitter.com/OgUqW7ukfI
— Snoqualmie Pass (@SnoqualmiePass) December 30, 2021
What I've learned this week is: One snowflake and this city just gives up. You would think a city with a reputation for being snowflakes would put up more of a fight.
Before we get into the rest of the day's headlines: We want to thank you for spending time with us on Slog this year. Personally, I'm racing to forget everything that happened during these off-balanced twelve months, but there were, of course, some remarkable things in 2021. Like those first and second and third COVID-19 jabs, and also the jabs Slog commenters threw at us every day. Some of you are actually funny—even sweet, when you feel like it. The fact that you manage to navigate our outdated website every day suggests you're smart, too. To reward all of us for navigating this website for so many years, we're finally giving this rinky-dink website a face-lift next year. Very soon, actually! I've seen the mock-ups! They're hot! And the new website couldn't have happened without your support. If you've got any leftover money from Santa, consider sending us a few bucks. We're planning on hiring a new reporter and every bit helps. Thank you.
Congrats to Jeopardy!'s "winningest" woman: Last night, Amy Schneider won her 21st straight victory on the hit show, currently hosted by Mayim Bialik and Seattle's Ken Jennings. In 2014, Julia Collins set the "winningest" record with 20 straight wins, and Larissa Kelly held the record for the woman with the highest all-time earnings on the show ($655,930), which Schneider beat last week. As a trans woman, Schneider also breaks ground for queer representation on the show.
Thanks so much, I’m honored to be in your company, and I look forward to some day watching the woman who beats us both!
— Amy Schneider (@Jeopardamy) December 24, 2021
Seattle Public Schools just announced no school on Monday: Snow day? No. It's a COVID testing day:
We are happy to announce that we now have 60,000 rapid antigen tests available for staff and students, which were provided by the Washington State Department of Health. In light of the surge in COVID-19 transmission in our community due to the Omicron virus, we’ll be using these tests to support a healthy return to school.
Seattle Public Schools will offer voluntary, universal testing for SPS staff and students on January 3.
This means there will be no school for SPS students on Monday, January 3. School will resume in-person on Tuesday. There will be no athletic practices. We encourage families to contact their childcare provider to determine if they will be open on Monday.
Our goal in providing wide-scale testing is to minimize the transmission of the Omicron virus and reduce intermittent disruptions to in-person learning. Because 80% to 90% of positive cases are asymptomatic, identifying them before, and quickly after, classes resume will reduce the spread of the virus in our schools.
Still, don't rule out a snow day:
Potential exists for even more snow Monday morning—and it could be quite heavy.
Stay tuned. Winter 2021-22 may end up being one for the ages!
— Seattle Weather Blog (@KSeattleWeather) December 31, 2021
Mayor Jenny Durkan is out of here: Bruce Harrell will be mayor effective Saturday. He won't have a public ceremony due to COVID-19 concerns. His team says he was already sworn in last week at his home in private.
So long, Jenny: We'll remember you most for defending the cops as they gassed the shit out of us and our neighbors, your missing texts, your love for squashing business taxes, not responding to emails but then sending really weird emails when we didn't need them, killing the streetcar, socialist fearmongering, calling KEXP "KXAP," not putting enough resources toward any of Seattle's overlapping crises, and who could forget the time you threw tequila into an all-ages crowd. What a blast this has been. I know there's so much more to remember, but I already told you I'm not in a sentimental mood. 2022, I'm waiting!!!
Wait, wait, Jenny: Fix this on your way out.
Joe Rogan cancels himself: The prince of conspiracies had a sold-out 4/20 (nice) show in Vancouver, be he doesn't think he "can even get into the country" because he's not vaccinated. ("I’m not going to get vaccinated. I have antibodies, it doesn’t make any sense," he said on his show. He's wrong.) Since he's not going to Canada anytime soon, he's canceling his show. I guess we're stuck with him. KOMO News, of course, has the story.
Dave Chappelle's big blow-out NYE bash at the Climate Pledge Arena looks like it's still happening: Last I checked, you can pay over $800 to sit up close and center at this superspreader event, and a little over $100 to sit in the back. The dude seems to be doing just fine for a supposedly canceled person.
Meanwhile, the Space Needle wants you to stay home this New Year's Eve: Watch the fireworks from home. They're even shutting down the monorail at 10:30 PM. But if you're butthurt about it, you could, uh, take a last-minute trip to New York City. NYC Mayor Bill DeBlasio says the Times Square celebration is ON, BABY. They're ending the year by kissing DANGER right on the LIPS!!!
But good luck getting out of the airport: "For several days now, Sea-Tac has had the most cancellations of any airport in the world, according to FlightAware."
This doesn't bode well: UW Medicine is having a hard time keeping up with the surge in demand for coronavirus tests. The positivity rate at some of their locations is as high as 49%, and since positive tests have to undergo additional testing, "the recent surge in positive tests limits the total number of samples" they can handle, UW Medicine said in a statement today. They will temporarily close three testing locations in Sammamish, Seattle City Hall, and Ballard and start limiting COVID-19 testing appointments "to people who are experiencing symptoms of a respiratory illness or those who have a known positive exposure to the virus" at their other locations, reports KING 5.
Today, the state reported 6,888 new coronavirus cases, its highest daily case count in the history of the pandemic. The last high was 6,140 cases on Christmas Eve.
Considering the news: What are you doing for New Year's Eve?
My grandma: She didn't text back.
Index Newspapers’ President, Rob Crocker, sent out a New Year's Eve email to staff at The Stranger, The Portland Mercury, EverOut, Bold Type Tickets, and Index Media titled: "Happy Fucking New Year!" It began:
In the words of the mighty Counting Crows,
"It’s been a long December and there is reason to believe maybe this year will be better than the last."
So I feel it is appropriate to end here.