A special VIP tour was presented this week to city and county leaders, local business owners, as well as local media. Of course, the 55, square foot church is a tad smaller in scale than those places, but the vibe was there, and everyone could feel it. The excitement of being there after all these months of waiting was one thing, but there was a genuine "wow" factor when you're looking at the stage surrounded by all the stained glass and exposed brick. And that's just the "still under construction" phase.
There is also the building's rich history, and the fact it is being restored in such a cool way that will mean a lot to those who grew up attending Sunday services there. Speaking of the stage, Thursday's tour couldn't be complete without breaking it in with some live music, and Blair wanted the first ever band featured on The Mulehouse stage to be something special, as well as local. Country duo High Valley, whom many might remember from the Night of Light tree lighting on the downtown square last year, were given that honor by performing a short acoustic set.
The set was also a personal tribute to the friendship and history between Blair and the band. Before becoming Columbia residents, High Valley was making its way around the country trying to make a name for itself, and Blair was the first person to play the band's music on U. High Valley has since gone on to garner multiple CMA and Juno awards, as well as more than million streams of the band's music. Being the one who helped give High Valley its first real start in the pursuit of a lifelong dream, Blair felt it was only fitting they return the favor by being the first band to help him pursue his.
They are also a group he highly respects based on the values they share, which are the same values he sees among the Columbia community. That has been the common thread through all of this," Blair said. This is full circle for us, in a way. To cap it off, High Valley was also presented with gold-certified awards for their single "She's With Me. The stage and concert hall, however, is only the beginning of what The Mulehouse has in store when it is complete. The next phases of construction will include a bar, a restaurant and a boutique hotel.
The idea is to create a central destination hub for locals and tourists, as well as providing event spaces for things like weddings. What that will allow us to do is bring in overnighters who will stay here and spend their money in Maury County. Touring artists will also be given the rock star treatment when they visit, including their own private greenroom space that includes a kitchen and bar area, a washer and dryer and a "classic vinyl" room.
Washington does not impose a tax on intangible assets such as bank accounts , stocks , or bonds. Neither does the state assess any tax on retirement income earned and received from another state. Washington does not collect inheritance taxes. However, the estate tax is de-coupled from the federal estate tax laws, and therefore, the state imposes its own estate tax. Washington state has the 18th highest per capita effective tax rate in the United States , as of This leads to border economic anomalies in the Portland-Vancouver metropolitan area.
Washington is a leading agricultural state. Washington also ranked second in the nation in production of fall potatoes a quarter of the nation's production , nectarines , apricots , asparagus, all raspberries, grapes all varieties taken together , sweet corn for processing a quarter of the nation's production , and summer onions a fifth of the nation's production. Washington also ranked third in the nation in production of dried peas, lentil, onions, and peppermint oil.
The apple industry is of particular importance to Washington. Because of the favorable climate of dry, warm summers and cold winters of central Washington, the state has led the U. Washington ranks second in the United States in the production of wine, behind only California. By , that number had grown to wineries. Viticulture in the state is also influenced by long sunlight hours on average, two more hours a day than in California during the growing season and consistent temperatures.
Washington's state transportation system comprises several modes that are maintained by various government entities. The state highway system, called State Routes , includes over 7, miles 11, km of roads and the Washington State Ferries system, the largest of its kind in the nation  and the third largest in the world. There are also 57, miles 92, km of local roads maintained by cities and counties, as well as several ferries operated by local governments. There are extensive waterways around Washington's largest cities, including Seattle, Bellevue , Tacoma and Olympia.
The state highways incorporate an extensive network of bridges and the largest ferry system in the United States to serve transportation needs in the Puget Sound area. Washington's marine highway constitutes a fleet of twenty-eight ferries that navigate Puget Sound and its inland waterways to 20 different ports of call, completing close to , sailings each year.
Washington is home to four of the five longest floating bridges in the world: the Evergreen Point Floating Bridge , Lacey V. Murrow Memorial Bridge and Homer M. Among its most famous bridges is the Tacoma Narrows Bridge , which collapsed in and was rebuilt. Washington has 75 port districts,  including several major seaports on the Pacific Ocean.
The Cascade Mountain Range also impedes transportation. Washington operates and maintains roads over seven [ vague ] major mountain passes and eight minor passes. During winter months some of these passes are plowed, sanded, and kept safe with avalanche control. Not all stay open through the winter. The Cayuse and Chinook passes east of Mount Rainier also close in winter. Washington is crossed by a number of freight railroads , and Amtrak's passenger Cascade route between Eugene, Oregon and Vancouver, BC is the eighth busiest Amtrak service in the U.
The Sounder commuter rail service operates in Seattle and its surrounding cities, between Everett and Lakewood. Sound Transit Link light rail currently operates in the Seattle area at a length of 20 miles 32 km , and in Tacoma at a length of 1.
The entire system has a funded expansion plan that will expand light rail to a total of miles by Seattle also has a 3. Hanford Nuclear Reservation is currently the most contaminated nuclear site in the United States  and is the focus of the nation's largest environmental cleanup. In , Washington became the first state in the nation to target all forms of highly toxic brominated flame retardants known as PBDEs for elimination from the many common household products in which they are used.
Three recent studies by the Washington State Department of Ecology showed toxic chemicals banned decades ago linger in the environment and concentrate in the food chain. In one of the studies, state government scientists found unacceptable levels of toxic substances in 93 samples of freshwater fish from 45 sites. As a result of the study, the department will investigate the sources of PCBs in the Wenatchee River, where unhealthy levels of PCBs were found in mountain whitefish.
Based on the information and a previous Ecology study, the Washington State Department of Health advises the public not to eat mountain whitefish from the Wenatchee River from Leavenworth downstream to where the river joins the Columbia, due to unhealthy levels of PCBs. Study results also showed high levels of contaminants in fish tissue that scientists collected from Lake Washington and the Spokane River, where fish consumption advisories are already in effect.
This bill would limit phosphorus content in dishwashing detergents statewide to 0. Though the ban would be effective statewide in , it would take place in Whatcom County , Spokane County , and Clark County in An invasive amount of algae in bodies of water would lead to a variety of excess ecological and technological issues. Washington's executive branch is headed by a governor elected for a four-year term.
The current statewide elected officials are:. The bicameral Washington State Legislature is the state's legislative branch. The state legislature is composed of a lower House of Representatives and an upper State Senate. The state is divided into 49 legislative districts of equal population, each of which elects two representatives and one senator.
Representatives serve two-year terms, while senators serve for four years. There are no term limits. The Democratic Party has a majority in the House and Senate. The Washington Supreme Court is the highest court in the state. Nine justices serve on the bench and are elected statewide. Murray has represented the state since , while Cantwell was first elected in The state is one of four with two female senators. Due to Congressional redistricting as a result of the Census , Washington gained one seat in the United States House of Representatives.
With the extra seat, Washington also gained one electoral vote, raising its total to The state is typically thought of as politically divided by the Cascade Mountains, with Western Washington being liberal particularly the I-5 Corridor and Eastern Washington being conservative. Washington has voted for the Democratic presidential nominee in every election since Although the Eastern half of the state votes heavily Republican , the overwhelming Democratic dominance in the Seattle metropolitan area has turned Washington into a reliably blue state.
Michael Dukakis narrowly won Washington in , and Democrats have won the state in every presidential election since, and by safe margins since Washington was considered a key swing state in , and it was the only western state to give its electoral votes to Democratic nominee Hubert Humphrey over his Republican opponent Richard Nixon.
Washington was considered a part of the Republican Revolution , and had the biggest pick-up in the house for Republicans, who picked up seven of Washington's nine House seats. The governorship is held by Democrat Jay Inslee , who was elected to his first term in the gubernatorial election and, after the election, became the first incumbent in more than 40 years to be elected for a third term.
The state senate was under Republican control, due to two Democrats' joining Republicans to form the Majority Coalition Caucus. After the elections, the Democrats retained control of the House, while Republicans took a majority in the Senate without the need for a coalition.
In November , a special election gave Democrats a one-seat majority in the Senate and complete control over state government. Since then, in the election, the Democrats have only expanded their majorities. No state has gone longer without a Republican governor than Washington. Democrats have controlled the Washington Governor's Mansion for 37 years; the last Republican Governor was John Spellman , who left office in Washington has not voted for a Republican senator, governor, or presidential candidate since , tying Delaware for the longest streak in the country.
Washington uses the non-partisan blanket primary system after the approval of Initiative in This has resulted in several same-party general election match-ups. In a study, Washington was ranked as the second easiest state for citizens to vote in. Washington is one of the ten states to have legalized assisted suicide. In the Washington Death with Dignity Act ballot initiative passed and became law.
In November , Washington voters approved full domestic partnerships via Referendum 71 , marking the first time voters in any state expanded recognition of same-sex relationships at the ballot box. Three years later, in November , same-sex marriage was affirmed via Referendum 74 , making Washington one of only three states to have approved same-sex marriage by popular vote.
Also in November , Washington was one of the first two states to approve the legal sale and possession of cannabis for both recreational and medical use with Initiative Although marijuana is still illegal under U. In November , voters approved Initiative , which among other things requires employers to guarantee paid sick leave to most workers.
On January 1, , the law went into effect, with Washington becoming the seventh state with paid sick leave requirements. With the passage of Initiative in the elections, Washington adopted stricter gun laws. Washington enacted a measure in May in favor of sanctuary cities , similar to California and Oregon laws which are among the strongest statewide mandates in the nation. In the legislature passed the Clean Energy Transformation Act, which requires all electricity sales to be from zero-carbon sources by and net-zero by As of the — school year, 1,, students were enrolled in elementary and secondary schools in Washington, with 67, teachers employed to educate them.
High school juniors and seniors in Washington have the option of using the state's Running Start program. Begun by the state legislature in , it allows students to attend institutions of higher education at public expense, simultaneously earning high school and college credit. There are more than 40 institutions of higher education in Washington. The state has major research universities, technical schools, religious schools, and private career colleges.
The top two health insurers as of were Premera Blue Cross , with 24 percent market share, followed by Kaiser Permanente at 21 percent. The state of Washington reformed its health care system in through the Washington Health Services Act. The legislation required individuals to obtain health insurance or face penalties, and required employers to provide insurance to employees. In addition, health insurance companies were required to sell policies to all individuals, regardless of pre-existing conditions, and cover basic benefits.
Hospitals exist across the state, but many of Washington's best-known medical facilities are located in and around Seattle. Joseph Medical Center. Pickleball , a racquet sport invented on Bainbridge Island in , was designated as the official state sport in In addition, the U. Previous ships had held that name in honor of George Washington. Conover of Seattle.
The name proved popular as the forests were full of evergreen trees and the abundance of rain keeps the shrubbery and grasses green throughout the year. The state song is " Washington, My Home ", the state bird is the American goldfinch , the state fruit is the apple, and the state vegetable is the Walla Walla sweet onion. The state tree is the western hemlock. The state flower is the coast rhododendron. The state fish is the steelhead. The unofficial, but popularly accepted, state rock song is Louie Louie.
The state insect is the green darner dragonfly. The state gem is petrified wood. The state fossil is the Columbian mammoth. The state marine mammal is the orca. The state land mammal is the Olympic marmot. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. For the proposed statehood of Washington, D.
For the university, see Washington State University. For other uses, see Washington State disambiguation. State in the United States. Al-ki or Alki, "by and by" in Chinook Jargon. Mount Rainier. Main article: History of Washington state. Main articles: Oregon Country and Columbia District. Main article: Oregon pioneer history. Main article: eruption of Mount St. See also: Geology of the Pacific Northwest. Mount Baker. Glacier Peak. Mount St. Mount Adams. See also: Climate change in Washington.
Main article: Rain shadow. Retrieved July 27, Source 2: "Comparative Data for the Western States". Archived from the original on July 29, See also: List of flora of Washington state , List of fauna of Washington state , and List of federal lands in Washington state. Main articles: List of counties in Washington and List of municipalities in Washington.
Largest cities or towns in Washington Source: . For the demographics of Washington, D. Religion in Washington as of [update]  Religion Percent Protestant. Main article: Economy of Washington state. See also: List of Washington locations by per capita income and List of Washington state companies. Main article: Washington wine. This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it.
December This section needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. November Learn how and when to remove this template message. Washington passenger rail stations.
Cascades to Vancouver, British Columbia. Empire Builder to Chicago. Coast Starlight to Los Angeles. Main article: Government of the State of Washington. See also: United States congressional delegations from Washington. See also: Political party strength in Washington state. Education in Washington. School districts Educational service districts Rural school districts.
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