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Worm: Pizza cutters, lane slimmers, hidden gems and balls of fire

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Young inventor: Washington Elementary School fifth-grader Elliott Posenjack may have a bright future as an inventor. Elliott’s invention of a pizza cutter won the Best of Show award for creative inventions by fifth- through eighth-graders at the 2014 Invent Washington state competition held at Gonzaga University May 17. The competition brings together highly capable students from all over the state. Judges said Elliott’s Quick Cut pizza cutter was so impressive that he should quickly patent the idea. Eight other Wenatchee School District fourth- and fifth-graders won awards at the competition.

Shrinking highway lanes: It’s just an illusion in some areas, not so much in others, but some state highways seem to be slimming down. Jeff Adamson, spokesman for the North Central regional Department of Transportation office, confirmed that optical speed bars have been strategically placed on Highway 20, east of Loup Loup Pass, and on the Blewett Pass portion of Highway 97, near Ruby Creek, to make the road appear as it is getting more narrow to traffic coming into sharp turns. The optical speed bars — stripes painted on the road — have been used for about two years to slow traffic — especially motorcycles — in areas where there’s been a history of accidents. The DOT and Washington State Patrol are studying the matter to see if the strategy has been effective at slowing traffic and reducing the number of accidents.

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