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Thursday, February 15, 2001 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Here and Now

Show me the money

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The coins are golden. But they're not gold. That's why the U.S. Mint is encouraging the public to freely spend - not stash away - the new Golden Dollar coins. More than 700 million of the coins have gone into circulation in the past year, but they're circulating slowly, leading the Mint to speculate that people are holding onto them or are hesitant to accept them as change. Starting today, area Safeway stores are teaming up with the Mint in a campaign to dispense Golden Dollars as change, and customers can exchange other U.S. currency and coins for Golden Dollars. The Mint also is pushing the coins at 225,000 stores nationwide, besides Safeway. To celebrate the Golden Dollar's one-year anniversary, U.S. Mint director Jay Johnson and others will serve up Golden Dollar coin cake after a 10 a.m. ceremony today at the Ballard Safeway store on Northwest Market Street.

Fact of the day

Here's how to recognize the new Golden Dollar coins: One side bears the image of Sacagawea, a young Shoshone Indian woman who, with her 2-month-old son strapped to her back, traveled with the Lewis and Clark Expedition serving as an interpreter. The other side has an American bald eagle encircled by 17 stars, representing the states of the union at the time of the 1804 expedition. By the way, the Golden Dollar is made of an alloy material not worth its weight in gold. For more information about the Golden Dollar, visit the Mint's Web site, www.usmint.gov.

Quick hits

  • The South King County Breast Cancer Support Group meets at 7 p.m. on the first and third Thursday of each month at the Good Neighbor Center, 305 S. 43rd St., (across the street from Valley Medical Center) in Renton. On tonight's agenda is a group discussion.
  • The Wallingford Library will be closed tomorrow and Saturday for minor upgrades. Meanwhile, the closest open branches are the Green Lake Library, the Fremont Library, or the University Library. Regular hours at Wallingford resume Tuesday.
  • Dr. Jerri Nielsen will read from her book "Ice Bound: A Doctor's Incredible Battle for Survival at the South Pole" at 7 tonight in Kane Hall 130 at the University of Washington. Tickets are required and available free from University Book Store.

Today's energy tip

Open south-facing drapes and blinds during the day to let in heat. Cover all windows at night in winter.

Traffic watch

First Hill, Seattle: Crews will be paving Ninth Avenue between Pike and Pine streets between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. today and tomorrow One lane will be open today, but all lanes will be closed tomorrow.

Alaskan Way, Seattle: One southbound lane directly south of Pier 52 will be available for exiting south from Colman Dock from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. weekdays until about March 9, during seawall repairs, which started yesterday. Expect delays and off-loading through the north exit throughout the day.

On this date in history

1952: The Museum of History & Industry (MOHAI) opened its doors to the public in Seattle's Montlake neighborhood to collect, preserve, interpret and share the history of the people of Seattle, King County and the Pacific Northwest. In honor of the start of MOHAI'S 50th year, there'll be speeches and refreshments at 2 p.m. today. MOHAI is at 2700 24th Ave. East. For information: call 206-324-1126 or check www.seattlehistory.org.

Contact us: Here & now is compiled by Seattle Times staff reporter Charles E. Brown and Suesan Whitney. To submit an item or suggest an energy tip, e-mail herenow@seattletimes.com or call 206-464-2226.

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