The air still isn’t great. We’re at “moderate” air quality in Seattle today. Other areas of Washington are far smokier, including Chelan County where levels have reached “hazardous.” In La Pine, Oregon, the air quality reached levels that are worse than the current scale is capable of representing.

Congrats to Washington Judge Salvador Mendoza. He was confirmed to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals today. The first Latino judge to serve on the Eastern District of Washington, Mendoza's previous work includes pro-bono defense for people who could not afford counsel, as well as representing farmworkers in labor disputes.

Things are getting weird on Melrose. As part of the effort to make Melrose Avenue a little friendlier, SDOT is reconfiguring the streets and some intersections, which means drivers may need to detour temporarily in order to get onto I-5. When SDOT is done, the Melrose-Olive intersection will be a bit more complicated on the north side of East Olive Way. Pedestrians will be expected to cross two freeway on-ramps (one pictured below, another slightly further west). Meanwhile, a facelift for Pike and Pine will move ahead with robust protections for bike lanes.

Flying cars are still “coming soon.” A Tacoma-based startup says they’re working on a single-occupant flying vehicle. They expect to test it later this year, which is a sentence I have written about literally hundreds of other inventions that were never heard of again.

Neighbours has a new owner. Investor TJ Bruce is about to buy the Capitol Hill nightclub Neighbours, reports Capitol Hill Seattle, and while Bruce has no immediate plans to change the name, he hasn’t ruled it out. His other gay bar properties include Splash in Fresno and Badlands in Sacramento. 

The Justice Department wants more information from Trump allies. Thirty Trump-connected people have received subpoenas in recent days relating to the investigation into the January 6 insurrection. The subpoenas are unusually broad, according to some who have received them.

The city would like your thoughts on bike lanes. SDOT is currently gathering feedback about a segment of the RapidRide J project in Eastlake. Among the questions are various options regarding bike lanes at 11th Avenue Northeast and Northeast 43rd Street. You can read a full analysis here.

This isn’t going to be your last smoky summer. Here are a few tips for reducing your exposure to smoke. 

Bad news for NIMBYs. Up in Vancouver, the Squamish First Nation is building a huge housing development with room for 9,000 residents, and they’re coming up against the usual complaints about height, parking, and views. But because it's First Nations land and not subject to the usual Vancouver process, they can go right ahead with their plans.

We could be heading for a rail strike. The strike would only involve freight workers, but it could still disrupt passenger rail, according to Amtrak. Among the routes expected to feel an impact are Chicago to Seattle. Freight rail carries around 30 percent of the nation’s goods, so a strike could cause disruptions at stores as well.

More affordable housing is now open in Roosevelt. This weekend saw the grand opening celebration of Cedar Crossing, a new affordable housing project right next to the light rail station. 

American life expectancy is uniquely bad. We’ve been experiencing a drop in life expectancy since 2015, and the pandemic hasn’t helped. If we had universal health care, 335,000 lives could have been saved during the pandemic (so far) according to a Yale study. We would also have saved $105 billion. 

Book! Oh hey, I’ve got a book coming out next year! It’s called Hi Honey, I’m Homo! and it’s the true history of how queer comedy collided with the American sitcom, both on-screen and behind-the-scenes, from Bewitched to The Golden Girls to Modern Family. Pre-orders are now open! Available at all the usual places, and also your favorite local book shops like Third Place Books, Secret Garden, Elliott Bay, Ada’s, Queen Anne Book Co., and through UW’s bookstore. And you can also add it to your want-to-read list on Goodreads. I sure do hope you like it!