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Shopify Nips at Amazon With Hassle-Free Shipping for Small Firms

Yahoo Science News feed latest items - 12 hours 59 min ago

(Bloomberg) -- Same-day shipping is becoming the norm for online shoppers but for smaller merchants it can be a logistical nightmare. That’s where Shopify Inc. can step in, says Ric Kostick, chief executive officer of 100% PURE.The natural skincare company ships up to 5,000 orders a day from its own warehouse in San Jose, California. That works fine for customers on the West Coast but it can take up to a week to get its bamboo blur powder and coconut shower gel to the rest of the U.S. The company contemplated setting up an East Coast warehouse but the prospect was technically daunting.“The hardest thing is programming the technology to route the packages the right way and route the orders based on what a customer orders and what inventory is available at each site. Shopify has built the technology to calculate this,” says Kostick, who co-founded 100% PURE in 2004. “This is something I’ve wanted for years.”When Shopify said last month that it was moving into the fulfillment business -- essentially charging online merchants to store and ship their products -- the shares spiked and analysts began talking about the Canadian upstart as a potential competitor to Amazon.com Inc.It’s unlikely to become a serious threat to Amazon at this point. But many analysts believe the Ottawa-based company’s decision to add logistics to its range of online services is smart because it could help keep customers loyal, fend off competition and create an additional source of revenue. The move also could potentially pry small merchants from Amazon, which is focusing more on mega brands like Procter & Gamble Co.“A merchant is doing tens of millions of dollars in revenue but their fulfillment is a complete mess and that could prevent them from being successful,” says Taylor Sicard, a former Shopify employee who now runs a company that helps merchants set up e-commerce businesses. “It is a massive opportunity for Shopify.”Founded in 2006, Shopify had a simple pitch: pay us $29 a month and we’ll give you all the tools required to start an online business. Many Shopify customers fail, but the more successful they are, the more money Shopify makes through transaction fees and higher-priced subscription tiers. Its Shopify Plus premium service, which counts Kylie Jenner, The New York Times and 100% PURE as its customers, can cost at least $2,000 per month.Investors love the model. Shopify shares have soared more than 1,800% since the company went public in May 2015, making it one of Canada’s most successful startups. The stock has been hitting records almost daily and now has a market value of C$48.73 billion ($37 billion), bigger than two the country’s oldest financial heavyweights, Manulife Financial Corp. and Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce.But Shopify has struggled to make a profit and is poised to report a net loss of $35 million on sales of $320 million for the second quarter on Aug. 1, according to the average of analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg.As the company matures, meanwhile, it will be harder to sustain the average 74% year-over-year revenue growth rates it has managed over the past three years. There are also concerns that Shopify relies too heavily on a few, large merchants that use its premium services. Most of the company’s customers, which amounted to over 820,000 as of June, are smaller and tend to flame out on a regular basis, creating considerable churn.That’s where the fulfillment service comes in. The company has pledged to negotiate low rates with warehouses and shipping companies, then pass those savings on to its customers. In the future, Shopify could pool shipments from different merchants together, making shipping faster and cheaper and gaining some of the same advantages Amazon gets from its centralized fulfillment network.Initial PhaseIt’s partnered with logistics firms to offer the service to merchants shipping orders of 10 to 10,000 items in seven warehouses in states including Nevada, California, and Texas in the initial phase.“Right now it is really important that we invest in the right growth opportunities for the future and not necessarily take our foot off the gas,” says Harley Finkelstein, Shopify’s chief operating officer.Many merchants prefer using Shopify because they can create a brand on their own website, rather than being subsumed into an Amazon-style marketplace. The new fulfillment service will also let them slap their brand on the shipping cartons, something some fulfillment companies don’t offer.Kostick, who also sells his products on Amazon and uses its fulfillment network says the U.S. company provides access to one of the fastest-growing distribution channels for beauty products in the U.S., but Shopify offers more control.“You can customize your own website however you want,” he says. “Basically, you’re empowered.”Jennifer Harper, who also sells sustainable cosmetics through Shopify, says she will wait until Shopify sorts out any kinks before trying the fulfillment service. Others say it could be difficult and expensive to get out of existing contracts with standalone services in the short term.Happy MerchantsShopify says it could eventually build its own warehouses. While Shopify’s finance chief, Amy Shapero, has said that the company will be able to offset the cost with fees for the new service, some analysts say revenue will be limited at first because Shopify will need to offer discounts to lure merchants.Amazon may have little to fear from Canada’s most valuable tech company at this point. Still, Shopify offers a serious alternative to the Seattle leviathan.“Amazon is all about trying to satisfy the customer,” says Anurag Rana, a senior analyst at Bloomberg Intelligence. “They do whatever they can in their power to squeeze money out of the merchants to give it to customers. Shopify is the exact opposite. They will do whatever it takes to help the merchant and maximize their profit.”(Updates with share price and market cap in seventh paragraph)To contact the reporter on this story: Simran Jagdev in Toronto at sjagdev1@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Jacqueline Thorpe at jthorpe23@bloomberg.net, ;Jillian Ward at jward56@bloomberg.net, Robin AjelloFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.


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Man contracts flesh-eating disease while visiting Florida beach: 'I almost lost my leg or my life'

Yahoo Science News feed latest items - 13 hours 19 min ago

A Georgia man was hospitalized after contracting a flesh-eating bacteria while vacationing in Panama City, Fla., earlier this month.


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Buffett Lunch Winner’s Crypto Coin Tumbles After Meeting Delay

Yahoo Science News feed latest items - 13 hours 47 min ago

(Bloomberg) -- The digital token known as Tron tumbled as much as 16% after cryptocurrency entrepreneur Justin Sun postponed his charity lunch meeting with billionaire Warren Buffett citing a bout of kidney stones.Buffett and 29-year-old Sun agreed to reschedule, according to a tweet Monday from his Tron Foundation. The lunch had been set for Thursday in San Francisco.Sun bid a record $4.57 million this year to win the chance to dine with Buffett as part of his annual charity lunch auction. Sun, who launched Tronix in 2017, said in June that he was hoping to educate Buffett, a self-professed cryptocurrency critic, on the benefits of crypto and the underlying technology, blockchain.The postponement came only hours after Sun tweeted invitations to other crypto boosters to join him, spurring speculation there may be other reasons for the decision. Sun denied media reports that he was involved in illegal fundraising and money laundering, according to China’s state-run Global Times.\--With assistance from Belinda Cao.To contact the reporters on this story: Olga Kharif in Portland at okharif@bloomberg.net;Katherine Chiglinsky in New York at kchiglinsky@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Michael J. Moore at mmoore55@bloomberg.net, ;Jeremy Herron at jherron8@bloomberg.net, Dave Liedtka, Rita NazarethFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.


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Tiny shark species that squirts glow-in-the-dark liquid from its pockets discovered

Yahoo Science News feed latest items - 14 hours 32 min ago

Scientists from various universities and research groups identified the 5½-inch shark as the American Pocket Shark, or Mollisquama mississippiensis.


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Millions should stop taking aspirin every day to prevent heart attacks, study says

Yahoo Science News feed latest items - 15 hours 21 min ago

A Harvard study revealed that some 29 million who don't have heart disease were taking aspirin every day in 2017.


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Swedish teen Thunberg slams 'hate and threats' as visit divides French parliament

Yahoo Science News feed latest items - 15 hours 46 min ago

Swedish teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg on Tuesday lashed out at the abuse she receives for speaking out over global warming, after a visit to France's parliament provoked a backlash from right-wing deputies. Some right-wing MPs boycotted the impassioned speech at the National Assembly by Thunberg, whose school strikes protesting government inaction over climate change helped sparked a worldwide movement. "We become the bad guys who have to tell people these uncomfortable things because no one else wants to, or dares to," said Thunberg, speaking in English at one of the parliament's conference rooms.


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More evidence that following a plant-based diet can reduce diabetes risk

Yahoo Science News feed latest items - 15 hours 47 min ago

A new US analysis has found that those who stick to a plant-based diet appear to have a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes of those who follow the diet less closely. Carried out by researchers at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, the new meta-analysis looked at nine studies which included health data on 307,099 participants aged 18 and over and 23,544 cases of type 2 diabetes. The researchers analyzed participants' adherence to a predominantly plant-based diet -- which could include a mix of healthy plant-based foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, and legumes and also less healthy plant-based foods such as potatoes, white flour, and sugar, and small amounts of animal products -- as well as adherence to a "healthy" plant-based diet which emphasized the healthier plant-based foods and included a lower consumption of the unhealthier ones.


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Europe gears up for record-breaking heatwave

Yahoo Science News feed latest items - 15 hours 56 min ago

France and western Europe were Tuesday bracing for a new record-breaking heatwave that is forcing the temporary shutdown of a French nuclear power station and will test competitors in the legendary Tour de France cycle race. Forecasters predicted new temperatures highs in a string of countries, including Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands, where the mercury is set to reach 40 degrees Celsius (104 Fahrenheit) for the first time on Thursday. The same day could also see the all-time record temperature for the French capital Paris -- 40.4 degrees Celsius (104.7 degrees Fahrenheit) in 1947 -- beaten.


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Probe opened in France over radioactive water rumours

Yahoo Science News feed latest items - 15 hours 59 min ago

After the panic, the prosecution: investigators in Paris have opened an enquiry to track down the source of false reports last week that drinking water in the French capital had been contaminated. In a viral message spread on the WhatsApp messaging app last week, a woman presenting herself as a nurse from a hospital in Paris can be heard telling people not to drink water from the tap because of the presence of radioactive "titanium". Alarm reached such levels that hospitals and public health bodies were inundated with calls, while the water authority in Paris put out a public message on social media at the weekend reassuring Parisians that "drinking water poses no threat".


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Chris Kraft, NASA's first flight director who helped build Apollo, dies at 95

Yahoo Science News feed latest items - 16 hours 29 min ago

Christopher Kraft, a key architect behind several early NASA programs and the agency's first flight director, died 50 years after moon landing.


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Portugal's firefighters gain upper hand in forest blazes

Yahoo Science News feed latest items - 17 hours 56 min ago

Hundreds of Portuguese firefighters aided by overnight rain gained the upper hand against massive wildfires raging in a central region for four days and said they hoped to bring them under control on Tuesday. The blazes have ripped through the heavily forested Castelo Branco region, 200 kilometres (120 miles) north of Lisbon, scorching large areas and leaving a trail of blackened destruction. Let's see if we can finish the job this morning," commander Luis Belo Costa of Portugal's civil protection agency told a news conference.


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The bar that airs the dramatic, live fat bear cams

While the sleepy 1960s Western ballad "Sin City" wafted through Brooklyn's B61 Bar, a salmon squirmed beneath a bear's claws as the hungry omnivore chomped on the fish's fatty brains. At B61 Bar, named for the city bus line that frequently travels back and forth past the brick tavern, this was a normal late afternoon in July.Elijah Miller, B61's bartender on Wednesday and Thursday nights, has aired the live streamed explore.org bear cams for four years running. The webcams bring the unfettered wildness of Alaska's remote Katmai National Park -- which teems with brown bears and salmon -- to viewers across the globe. Miller, for his part, broadcasts the bear cams for, perhaps, the purest reason imaginable. "It just makes me really happy," said Miller, as he plopped a foamy lager on the bar. Observing the bears snatch fish from the river, fight, and mate, is a summer custom that Miller's midweek patrons have come to appreciate. Admittedly, it's a pleasing post-work activity. There's no incessant, streaming news ticker. No terrible environmental news. No appalling behavior from the powerful and politically connected. "We're just watching bears," said Miller. "I can't think of a better spot in the world to watch the bears than B61 -- the ultimate bear den," said Charlie Annenberg Weingarten, the founder of explore.org and director of the Annenberg Foundation, a philanthropy organization.The bears on TV.Image: Mark KaufmanIn mid-July, B61 visitors are in for a treat. It's the peak of the salmon run. Crowds of salmon leap from the river as they attempt to jump over a waterfall, on their dogged journey upriver. It's a feast for the bears, many of which are veteran, expert fishers. "People watch it for hours," said Miller, a Brooklyn musician. "Even the confused people get drawn in," he adds, noting that most folks stepping into a bar expect to see sports on TV, not bears gorging on 4,500-calorie salmon. Many B61 bear cam viewers are also, perhaps unwittingly, witnessing one of the greatest natural spectacles left on Earth. These webcams are located in the middle of Katmai National Park, which is itself a wild, protected land within the greater Bristol Bay area, a massive region in southeast Alaska and home to the richest run of sockeye salmon on the planet. Unlike watersheds in the Lower 48, Bristol Bay -- its rivers, headwaters, and forests -- are in relatively pristine condition. This is nature at its richest, unaffected by mining, agriculture, and industrial development. Bristol Bay is a world teeming with life and bounty, where salmon crowd the rivers, lynx dash through the woods, and bears grow profoundly plump on salmon. "Its potential is fully realized," Mike Fitz, a former park ranger at Katmai National Park and currently a resident naturalist for explore.org, said in March.B61 BarImage: Mark KaufmanThe bear cams show us a wild, untrammeled world from a time past, a wilderness that's largely gone, or forgotten in the places most of us live. "What we consider normal today is a degraded environment," Fitz said. "We just accept it because that's what we've grown up with."SEE ALSO: A big red reason not to dig a mine in Alaska's fat bear countryThat unparalleled wildness is all the more reason to protect the greater Bristol Bay area, argue ecologists, legal experts, and local residents. The Trump administration, however, has restarted plans to allow an unprecedented mine in Bristol Bay, a move that has baffled the environmentalists combating efforts to develop the land. "It is absolutely preposterous," noted Joel Reynolds in March, western director and senior attorney at the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). "How does helping this underfunded Canadian company make America great again?" Reynolds wondered, referring to the Canadian mining company, Northern Dynasty, that wants to excavate gold and copper from the region. Miller's advertisements for bear cam nights at the B61 Bar.Image: Mark KaufmanYet, thanks to farsighted conservation efforts and a state that keeps vigilant watch over the health and biology of Bristol Bay's salmon populations, the region's salmon numbers are vibrant today. And that means a sustained population of healthy, fat bears. You can live stream the bears anywhere these days. But there are few folks out there as enthusiastic about the bears as Miller, down at B61 Bar. With bears chowing down on the big screen, it's a unique environment to rest your elbows and unload after a long day. "It's meditative and adventurous at the same time," said Miller. The bears are live at B61 during Miller's shifts from 4 p.m. till 2 a.m. on Wednesdays and Thursdays, until it's time to close up shop and the last patrons quaff whatever's left in their glasses. Then, it's just Miller and some of the fattest bears on the planet, consuming copious amounts of salmon as they fatten up for winter's long, callous hibernation. "At the end of the night, around four or five in the morning, it's just me and the bears," he said.  WATCH: Ever wonder how the universe might end?


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Sri Lanka orders return of smuggled British garbage

Yahoo Science News feed latest items - 18 hours 12 min ago

Sri Lanka customs Tuesday ordered the return of container loads of hazardous mortuary and clinical waste illegally imported into the island from Britain under the cover of metal recycling. Customs officials said the racket dating back to 2017 was uncovered after the Colombo port complained last week that an importer had abandoned 111 containers which were emanating a huge stink. A total of 241 containers had been imported since 2017 and 130 of them had been taken to a free-trade zone ostensibly for recycling and re-export, customs spokesman Sunil Jayaratne told AFP.


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Center of Excellence for Natural Product Drug interaction Research (U54, Clinical Trial Required)

NIH Funding Opportunities - 19 hours 8 min ago
Funding Opportunity RFA-AT-20-002 from the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts. The purpose of this Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) is to solicit applications for a Center of Excellence for Natural Product Drug Interaction Research to provide leadership in the study of natural product drug interactions. The ultimate goals of this program are to 1) clearly establish the clinical relevance of pharmacokinetic interactions from a select number of natural products, and 2) provide guidance and leadership to the broader research community on how best to research metabolism mediated drug interactions involving complex natural products. The Center will 1) identify, prioritize, source and characterize three to five natural products with potential to exhibit clinically significant interactions with commonly used medications; 2) perform all necessary preclinical work to characterize the interaction potential of the natural products including identifying the key mediators of any pharmacokinetic interaction as well as the mechanism(s) and magnitude of that interaction; 3) if warranted based on preclinical work, conduct rigorously designed clinical studies of these natural products to provide definitive data regarding the magnitude of any interaction in humans; 4) develop and maintain a repository for the data and methodology resources generated by this project as well as data generated by other researchers (especially the R21 grants funded through the companion RFA AT-20-001) regarding pharmacokinetic interactions involving natural products; and 5) provide ongoing guidance and leadership to the relevant research communities regarding how best to conduct research on pharmacokinetic natural product drug interactions; thereby facilitating better design of future research and ultimately better decisions regarding the concomitant use of medications and natural products.
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Preclinical Screening for Natural Product Drug Interactions (Clinical Trial Not Allowed, R21)

NIH Funding Opportunities - 19 hours 8 min ago
Funding Opportunity RFA-AT-20-001 from the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts. The purpose of this Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) is to solicit applications that seek to identify natural products with the potential to inhibit or induce Phase I and Phase II drug metabolizing enzymes and drug transporters, thereby possibly contributing to pharmacokinetic interactions with other medications. These in vitro studies may include screening libraries of complex extracts and/or purified natural products in suitable medium to high throughput assays to identify potential interactions. They may also include isolation and identification of novel, or not commercially available, natural products within complex mixtures that exhibit pharmacokinetic interactions. This FOA is part of a larger investment from NCCIH that includes a U54 Center of Excellence for Natural Product Drug Interaction Research. It is expected that data generated in projects supported under this FOA will be uploaded and made publicly available through the data repository maintained by the U54 Center.
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The Stock Frenzy in China’s New Trading Venue Is Already Fading

Yahoo Science News feed latest items - 19 hours 58 min ago

(Bloomberg) -- Sign up for Next China, a weekly email on where the nation stands now and where it's going next.The frenzy that greeted China’s new Nasdaq-style stock board is already fading.All but four of the 25 new listings dropped Tuesday, with the market closing down an average 7.9% in Shanghai. China Railway Signal & Communication Corp. and Western Superconducting Technologies Co. were among the biggest decliners, while Espressif Systems Shanghai Co. bucked the trend with a 14% advance. The stocks are still higher than their listing prices, after they surged an average 140% on the first day.The so-called Star market opened to much fanfare Monday less than a year after President Xi Jinping first touted the project. Investors exchanged more than $7 billion worth of the shares, equivalent to about 13% of turnover in the rest of the market. Monday’s surge also created three new billionaires.Here’s a look back at the three billionaires created in the Star market.“We’ve never been in a market with no trading limits so it’s going to be a bit of a chaos in the early days of trading,” said Sun Jianbo, president of China Vision Capital Management in Beijing. “The high volumes suggest that many investors that won subscription in share offering have dumped shares.”The new venue is an attempt from China to avoid losing its fastest-growing companies to exchanges in New York or Hong Kong. Shares on the Star board have no daily price limits for the first five trading days, followed by a 20% cap in either direction. The Shanghai stock exchange will create an index tracking the firms about two weeks after the 30th listing starts trading. Analysts have said while it is important for China to try out new reforms on the tech board, the first-day gains looked overdone and valuations should come down to more reasonable levels. Before the shares stabilize, China Vision Capital’s Sun expects to see “a tug of war” between speculators on the new listings and investors locking in profits once prices exceed their expectations.Anji Microelectronics Technology (Shanghai) Co., which jumped as much as 521% on Monday, dropped 8.8% Tuesday. Advanced Micro-Fabrication Equipment Inc., which surged in its debut to a level of more than 730 times earnings, extended gains with a 2.8% advance.To contact Bloomberg News staff for this story: Amanda Wang in Shanghai at twang234@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Sofia Horta e Costa at shortaecosta@bloomberg.net, ;Richard Frost at rfrost4@bloomberg.net, Magdalene FungFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.


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Former NASA flight director Chris Kraft dies at 95

Yahoo Science News feed latest items - 20 hours 31 min ago

NASA's first flight director Chris Kraft, who played a critical role in the American space race, has died just days after 50th anniversary celebrations for the first Moon landing, the agency said. The 95-year-old joined NASA in 1958 and developed the planning and control processes needed for crewed space missions, creating the agency's Mission Control operations that were used to manage the first US manned spaceflight and the Apollo missions to the Moon. "America has truly lost a national treasure today with the passing of one of NASA's earliest pioneers," said agency chief Jim Bridenstine in a statement announcing Kraft's death on Monday.


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Survivors of deadly Laos dam collapse homeless a year on: report

Yahoo Science News feed latest items - Mon, 07/22/2019 - 23:24

Thousands are languishing in displacement camps in Laos a year after a dam break unleashed floodwaters and killed dozens of people in the impoverished state, a new report on the anniversary of the disaster said Tuesday. For the past decade, Laos has been on a dam-building spree to serve as the "battery of Asia", but experts have long warned about environmental dangers and the breakneck construction pace. An auxiliary dam at the Xe Pian Xe Namnoy hydroelectric project in southern Laos collapsed on July 23 last year under the pressure of rising monsoon waters, sending floods downstream and killing an estimated 71 people though the official toll is lower.


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Experts sound alarm over drug-resistant malaria strain

Yahoo Science News feed latest items - Mon, 07/22/2019 - 23:15

Multidrug-resistant forms of malaria-causing parasites are spreading across southeast Asia leading to "alarmingly high" treatment failure rates of widely used frontline medication, researchers warned Tuesday. In twin studies published in The Lancet Infectious Diseases journal, they revealed that in parts of Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia up to 80 percent of the most common malaria parasite were now resistant to the two most common antimalarial drugs. The Plasmodium falciparum parasites have also acquired resistance linked to the failure of treatment in half of cases to one of the newest and most potent frontline drug combinations, they said.


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One giant leap for preservation: Kent seeks landmark status for Boeing’s moon buggies

Yahoo Science News feed latest items - Mon, 07/22/2019 - 20:39

If city officials in Kent have their way, Washington state will have three landmarks that are out of this world. Literally. This week, the City of Kent will seek landmark designation from King County for the Boeing-built rovers that were left behind on the moon by the Apollo 15, 16 and 17 missions nearly a half-century ago. If the King County Landmarks Commission approves the city's request during a meeting to be held on Thursday at Kent City Hall, the next step will be to pursue state recognition as well. That would put the Evergreen State alongside California and New… Read More


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