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News briefs

Debit card for Social Security payments

This month, the United States Department of the Treasury will introduce a new debit card option for recipients of Social Security payments and other federal benefits. Information about the new payment option will be included with regular Social Security check payments this month.

The Treasury estimates that some 600,000 Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) check recipients in the Western states do not have bank accounts. This places the recipients at greater risk of check delivery delays due to poor weather, national or local emergencies, and other check-related problems such as lost or stolen checks. In Washington state, more than 124,000 paper checks are issued each month to Social Security and SSI recipients. With the debit card now available, check recipients have a new, safer choice when it comes to receiving their federal benefit payment.

Anyone receiving Social Security benefits may sign up for the card by calling the toll free number: 1-877-212-9991 or visiting USDirectExpress.com.

For more information, go to www.fms.treas.gov.

Town Center loses power on Monday morning

A power outage early on Monday morning slowed business in downtown Mercer Island for about an hour and 40 minutes, from QFC to Albertsons to Starbucks — where employees sat and waited for the power to return. The outage started at 8:20 a.m., and Puget Sound Energy crews were unable to determine what caused it.

“Our crews, for the better part of an hour, tried to find the cause. They could not find the cause of the outage, so they decided to re-energize the lines, and they held, which meant there wasn’t anything in the way to keep them from tripping,” said Dorothy Bracken of Puget Sound Energy.

1,200 customers were without power until it was restored just after 10 a.m.

Lane closures

on I-90

Crews were scheduled to close two lanes of westbound I-90 from West Mercer Way to the Mount Baker Tunnel beginning last night and continuing tonight. The first lane will close at 9 p.m. and the second lane will close at 11 p.m. Both lanes will reopen by 5 a.m., tomorrow. During the closure, crews will work on sign placement.

Westbound traffic will be also be detoured to the center roadway at East Mercer Way and will exit to the main highway lanes at Rainier Avenue South tomorrow night. Crews will be closing westbound I-90 again between East Mercer Way and Rainier Avenue South from 11 p.m., tomorrow, until 5 a.m., the following morning. Crews will perform additional sign work.

Visit the Washington DOT Web site for the complete construction update report at www.wsdot.wa.gov/northwest/king/construction. For more information about this project, visit www.wsdot.wa.gov/Projects/I90/TwoWayTransit.

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