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5 things you need to know this Wednesday

State worker vaccination rates; Durkan's budget proposal; Utility disconnections; Toll rate increases; Addiction recovery journey.

State workers could lose jobs despite vaccine exemptions

The state employee vaccination rate has increased by almost 20% over the past two weeks, according to new data, as workers get their shots to comply with Gov. Jay Inslee's COVID-19 vaccine mandate.

State agencies have granted nearly 800 accommodations to state workers after their religious or medical exemptions from the mandate were approved. The accommodations allow workers to avoid getting fired for not being vaccinated and allow them to work in a role that does not put others at potential risk.

But more than 1,700 employees who were granted exemptions could lose their jobs because agencies cannot accommodate the employees with non-public positions, according to a spokesperson for the governor. Read more 

Mayor Durkan's proposed 2022 city budget for Seattle police draws controversy

Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan released her budget proposal for 2022 which would have a big impact on the Seattle Police Department.

But Seattle Police Officer Guild President Mike Solan says Durkan's budget doesn't address some of the city's most crucial problems.

As part of her proposed city budget, Durkan wants to steer millions of dollars toward public safety and policing. Read more

Utility disconnections can resume this week in Washington state

The statewide ban on disconnecting utility services expires Thursday, Sept. 30, despite the state’s eviction moratorium bridge being extended through October.

Those living in Seattle will not be affected by the lifting ban on utility disconnections because Mayor Jenny Durkan made it a part of her eviction moratorium extension, which now runs through mid-January.

Those not living in Seattle who owe money on their utility bills as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic can still act to stop disconnections. Read more

Seattle tunnel, Tacoma Narrows Bridge toll rates increase Friday

Drivers who use the State Route 99 tunnel under Seattle and the Tacoma Narrows Bridge will soon have to pay higher tolls.

Toll rates for the SR 99 tunnel will increase about 15% on October 1, and tolls for the Tacoma Narrows Bridge will increase by about 25-cents.

Starting Friday, toll rates for the SR 99 tunnel during the week will range from $1.15 to $2.60, depending on the time of day. Read more

Snohomish man's journey to recovery after addiction battle

September is National Addiction Recovery Month which seeks to educate Americans about addiction treatment, mental health services, and how these services can enable those with substance abuse problems to conquer their dependence.

This year marks the 23rd year of National Addiction Recovery Month, and the city of Snohomish celebrated the anniversary by highlighting a unique success story.

Billy McGarry is more than four years sober and celebrating a life he said he never imagined he would have when he hit rock bottom and the jackpot at the same time. Read more

Also see: Seattle local forecast

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