Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Endangered Pygmy Rabbits are Back Breeding in the Columbia Basin

That is not a baby rabbit I am holding in my hands. What it is is a Columbia Basin Pygmy Rabbit.

The Columbia Basin Pygmy Rabbits are an endangered species.

Until recently it had been 10 years since Columbia Basin Pygmy Rabbits reproduced in their native habitat.

This past spring, Pygmy Rabbits bred in the Oregon Zoo were moved back to their native habit, on a wildlife reserve near Ephrata, Washington.

Wildlife managers have confirmed several litters of Pygmy Rabbit babies in the 6 acre wildlife reserve. Baby Pygmy Rabbits are called kits.

Previous efforts to return Pygmy Rabbits to their native habitat have failed. Pygmy Rabbits have a tough time in the wild, existing pretty much at the bottom of the food chain.

And Pygmy Rabbit moms are not Mother Nature's best mothers. After giving birth in a burrow the Pygmy Rabbit mother back fills the burrow, then takes off, returning once a day to uncover the burrow, yanking the kits to the surface, nursing them, then putting the kits back in the burrow, then sealing it up again.

Until this spring's successful breeding in the wild it is believed there were no Columbia Basin Pygmy Rabbits left in the wild.

I wonder if Pygmy Rabbits make good pets?

USA Today & Rand McNally Decide Walla Walla Washington is the Friendliest Town in America

USA Today and map maker Rand McNally had what they called the "Best of the Road" contest where 5 teams of scouts were sent on road trips totalling 25,000 miles over the course of 3 weeks, looking for friendly people, stunning sights, terrific tastes, patriotism and fun.

After scouring America USA Today and Rand McNally decided Walla Walla, Washington was the friendliest town they visited.

Other towns checked out were places like Rapid City, South Dakota. Glenwood Springs, Colorado. Lafayette, Louisiana. Valdosta, Georgia. Woodward, Oklahoma. Nacogdoches, Texas. Lake Havasu City, Arizona and Mount Airy, North Carolina.

A total of 30 towns were visited.

While Walla Walla was the friendliest, Sandpoint, Idaho was the most scenic. Rapid City was the most patriotic. Lafayette had the best small town food. Glenwood Springs was the town with the most fun.

In the past 10 years Walla Walla has seen a big boom in wineries, with a growing reputation for producing some of the best American wines, turning Walla Walla into a destination for connoisseurs of wine. Several of the Walla Walla Wineries have earned top scores from various wine publications like The Wine Advocate, Wine & Spirits and Wine Spectator.

The Walla Walla Wineries include Woodward Canyon, L'Ecole 41, Leonetti Cellar, Walla Walla Village Winery, Spring Valley Vineyards, Cayuse Vineyards, Reininger Winery, Waterbrook Winery,  Forgeron Cellars, Tamarack Cellars, Walla Walla Vintners, Seven Hills Winery, Pepper Bridge Winery and Amavi Cellars.

Walla Walla is also known for its Walla Walla Sweet Onions. An excerpt from the Walla Walla Sweet Onions website...

"The story of the Walla Walla Sweet Onions began over a century ago on the Island of Corsica, off the west coast of Italy. It was there that a French soldier, Peter Pieri, found a sweet onion seed and brought it to the Walla Walla Valley. This sweet onion developed over generations through the process of carefully hand selecting onions from each year’s crop, ensuring exceptional sweetness, jumbo size, and round shape. Today’s growers realize they’re not just raising sweet onions, but cultivating a tradition."

Walla Walla is also known for being the location of the Washington State Penitentiary. This is the location of Washington's death row, where executions occur, by lethal injection. Or the condemned can choose to be hanged. Since 1921 the Washington State Penitentiary has been Washington's license plate factory, producing around 2,400,000 plates a year.

I am guessing the USA Today Rand McNally visitors focused more on the Walla Walla Wine and Walla Walla Sweet Onions, than the Washington State Penitentiary, when deciding Walla Walla was the friendliest town they visited.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Washington Has Almost Doubled Its Number of Obese Residents in the Past 15 Years

Somewhat surprising obesity news out of Washington today. That being that in the past 15 years Washington has almost doubled its obesity rate.

Washington's obesity rate was 13.9 % of the population in 1995, this increased to 26.4 % of Washingtonians being obese in 2011.

Washington is in an elite class of 10 states which had 90 % increases in obesity rates since 1995.

Washington is now the 28th most obese state, according to the latest data compiled by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In 1995 Washington was tied with California for the 32nd most obese spot.

Washington is now the most obese of the west coast states. Oregon's obesity rate is 25.4 %, California is even skinnier with a 24.8 % obesity rate.

Washington's neighbor to the east, Idaho has a 25.7 % obesity rate.

In 1998 I moved to one of America's most obese states, Texas. Since I arrived in Texas, the state has gotten less obese. I am fairly certain this shrinkage has nothing to do with my arrival in Texas.

I have noticed, when returning for visits to Washington, that many of my acquaintances. And relatives. Have grown fatter.

When I moved to Texas the entity in the photo above likely weighed around 250 pounds. The last time I saw her, in 2008, she had easily doubled, maybe tripled, in size. This entity could be the Poster Child, I mean, Adult, for Washington's obesity problem.

In Washington it is so easy to be active, outdoors, all year long. It is so easy to get fresh fruit, vegetables and seafood.

Washington needs to go on a diet, at once, and get skinnier than Oregon, California, Idaho and Texas.

Friday, July 1, 2011

The 4th of July in Western Washington

The 4th of July will be bursting out all over the Puget Sound region this extended weekend, with the 4th being on Monday.

My favorite 4th of July Parade is the Loggerodeo Parade in Sedro Woolley.

My favorite fireworks at Seattle's Family 4th on Lake Union, viewed from Gas Works Park.

Below is a list of many of the 4th of July events taking place through July 4 in Western Washington....

Aberdeen - Event: 4th of July "Splash" Fireworks Display Place: Morrison River Front Park Date: July 4th Time: 10:00 a.m. to late evening

Arlington - Event: Arlington Festival & Frontier Days Place: Arlington Boys and Girls Club, 59th Drive NE Date: July 4th Time: 7:00 p.m. to late evening.

Auburn - Event: Emerald Downs Fireworks Spectacular Place: 2300 Emerald Downs Drive Date: July 3rd Time: Noon to late evening

Bainbridge Island - Event: Grand Old Fourth of July Celebration. Place: Winslow Waterfront Park & Down town area Date: July 4th Time: Pancake Breakfast, Street Fair, 7:00 a.m. to late evening

Bellevue - Event: Bellevue Family Fourth Place: Bellevue Downtown Park Date: July 4th Time: 2:00 p.m. to late evening.

Blaine - Event: Old Fashioned 4th of July All day. Fireworks at dusk.

Bothell - Event: Lake Washington at Kenmore's Log Boom Park, off Bothell Way at 60th Pl. NE. Fireworks at 10 p.m.

Carnation -  Event: The Great Carnation 4th of July Celebration Place: Tolt McDonald Park Date: July 4th Time: Dusk

Centralia/Chehalis - Event: Summer Festival Borst Park Centralia Place: Fireworks Display at SW Washington Fair Grounds Date: July 4th Time: 7:00 a.m. - late evening

Eastsound - Event: Fireworks Display Place: Indian Island / East sound Waterfront Park Date: July 4th Time: Dusk/9:45 p.m.

Edmonds - Event: An Edmonds Kind of Fourth Place: Civic Stadium, 6th & Bell Date: July 4th Time: 7:30 p.m festivities, fireworks at 10:00 p.m.

Enumclaw - Event: Stars and Stripes 4th of July Celebration Place: King County Fairgrounds, Expo Center Date: July 4th Time: Parade at Noon Downtown, Fireworks at Dusk @ Expo Parking Lot

Everett - Event: Colors of Freedom Festival Place: Legion Park or Harborview Park Date: July 4th, Festivities throughout the day Time: Fireworks at Dusk, Approximately 10:20 p.m.

Everson - Event: Les Schwab/Hawley’s Fireworks Spectacular Place: Deming Speedway Date: July 2nd Time: Fireworks after the Races

Federal Way - Event: Red, White and Blues Festival - Fireworks Display & Celebrations Place: Celebration Park, 1095 S. 324th Date: July 4th Time: Fireworks Display at 10:15 p.m.

Fort Lewis - Event: Freedom Fest, Fireworks Display & Celebrations Place: Cowan Stadium Date: July 4th Time: 11:00 a.m. to late evening

Friday Harbor - Event: Picnic, Music, Parade and Fireworks Display Place: San Juan Historical Museum, 405 Price St. Date: July 4 Time: 11 a.m.-10:30 p.m.

Kenmore - Event: Fourth of July Fireworks Place: Lake Washington, Log Boom Park Date: July 4th Time: 10:00 p.m.

Kent - Event: 4th of July Splash, Fireworks Display Place: Lake Meridian Park Date: July 4th Time: noon - late evening fireworks at dusk

Kingston - Event: Kingston Fourth of July Celebration Place: Mike Wallace Park Date: July 4th Time: 10:30 a.m. - 9:30 p.m., fireworks at dusk

Kirkland - Event: Celebrate Kirkland Place: Marina Park Date: July 4th Time: 10:15 p.m.

Maple Valley - Event: Fourth of July Celebration Place: Lake Wilderness Park Date: July 4th Time: Dusk

Monroe - Event: Fireworks Display Place: Monroe Fairgrounds at the Speedway Date: July 4th Time: Immediately after Races

Mount Vernon - Event: Fireworks Display Place: Edgewater Park Date: July 4th Time: Approximately 10:00 p.m.

Newcastle - Event: Old Fashioned 4th of July Place: Lake Boren Park (13010 SE 84th Way) Date: July 4th Time: Dark

Orcas Island - Event: Eastsound Fireworks Display Place: Eastsound Waterfront Park Date: July 4th Time: 9:45 p.m.

Port Orchard - Event: Fathoms of Fun Festival Place: View from Port Orchard, Bremerton and Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, Date: July 4th Time: 10:30

Port Townsend - Event: Fireworks Display Place: Fort Worden State Park Date: July 4th Time: 10:00 p.m.

Poulsbo - Event: Third of July Celebration Place: over Liberty Bay—view from Anderson Parkway and Waterfront Park Date: July 3rd Time: Booths open at 5:00 p.m., fireworks at 10:15 p.m.

Puyallup - Event: City Blast Fireworks Show Place: Puyallup Fair Grand Stands Date: July 4th Time: 9:45 p.m.

Renton - Event: Fabulous Fourth of July Place: Gene Coulton Memorial Beach Park Date: July 4th Time: Events mid morning to 9:30 p.m. fireworks 10:00 p.m.

Sammamish - Event: Fourth on the Plateau Place: Sammamish Commons Park Date: July 4th Time: Approximately 10:00 p.m.

San Juan - Event: Fireworks Display Place: Friday Harbor Date: July 4th Time: After parade at approximately 10:00 p.m.

Seattle - Event: Family 4th at Lake Union Place: Gas Works Park Date: July 4th Time: Noon through late evening. The show will be simulcast on 97.3 KIRO FM and will be televised on KING 5 and streamed on KING5.com. Dennis Bounds, Meeghan Black and Jim Dever will bring you all the festivities - including a live post-fireworks concert by Seattle's own Dusty 45s.

Sekiu - Event: Clallam Bay Sekiu Fun Days Place: Fireworks Off of Olson’s Breakwater in Sekiu Date: July 9th-11th Time: Dusk

Silver Lake - Event: Fireworks Display Place: Silver Shores Resort, 4220 Spirit Lake Hwy Date: July 3rd Time: Dusk

Steilacoom - Event: Steilacoom Old Fashioned 4th of July - Fireworks Display & Celebrations Place: Lafayette Street, Down Town Date: July 4th Time: 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m.

Tacoma - Event: Freedom Fair and Fireworks Extravaganza Place: Rustin Way Waterfront Park Date: July 4th Time: 10:00 a.m. till late evening

Tumwater - Event: Tumwater Artesian Festival Place: Tumwater Valley Golf Course Date: July 4th Time: 11:00 a.m. parade, Festival 6:00 p.m., Fireworks at 10:30 p.m.

Whidbey Island - Event: Celebrate America Place: Freeland Park, 140 E. Main St., Freeland Date: July 3rd Time: 4:00-6:00, fireworks at dusk

Yarrow Point - Event: Yarrow Point Community 4th Place: Cozy Cove Date: July 4th Time: 10:00 p.m.