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A Powerball sign can't accommodate a figure larger than $999 million.
Flickr photo/Arturo Pardavila III on Flickr

Everybody’s dreaming about how they could spend all that money when they win that $1.5 billion Powerball jackpot – the biggest lottery prize ever in the U.S.

You might be thinking car, house, travel. But what if the city of Seattle won?

A photocopy of the Seattle Times' front page the day after 9-year-old George Weyerhaeuser returned home to Tacoma. A sports reporter found him in Issaquah and drove him home.
Seattle Public Library archives

It was the Northwest’s most notorious kidnapping case. Little George Weyerhaeuser had been snatched off the streets of Tacoma and held for $200,000 ransom.  

Eighty years later, Weyerhaeuser, the timber titan, told me he hadn’t read much news coverage about his kidnapping. 

He has a vivid memory of those eight days, he said, but he hadn’t dug through those old stories from 1935. He was 9 at the time, after all, and his parents wanted to leave the kidnapping in the past. They wanted him to grow up without this traumatic event hanging over his life.

Early this year, piles of deep snow drifted into Burns, Oregon, and so did the outsiders and their money. Gas stations, cafes and hotels are seeing packed crowds in normally sleepy winter.

For businesses, the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge occupation is a boom. After Christmas in Burns, some local businesses just shutter for months until spring. Others, like the America’s Best Value Inn usually lay off most of their staff.

Maid Liz Houer said she usually doesn’t have enough work this time of year to keep on.

U.S. oil dropped below $30 a barrel during trading Tuesday. That’s the lowest price since December 2003.

The dip in price happened on the same day Washington state held a public hearing about a proposed oil terminal at the Port of Vancouver.

Oil was more than $100 per barrel when the Vancouver Energy Project was first announced back in the summer of 2013.

Still, backers of the oil terminal said the joint venture, between oil company Tesoro Corp. and logistics firm Savage Industries, is insulated from current market conditions.

Washington Governor Jay Inslee used his State of the State speech to pledge accountability when government fails. The Democrat’s comments Tuesday follow the early release of more than 3,000 prison inmates because of a computer coding error.

Six Northwest state lawmakers made a weekend visit to Burns, Oregon, the site of an armed occupation by opponents of federal land policies.

At a community meeting Monday night, Harney County Sheriff David Ward once again called for the Bundy brothers and their group to depart in peace. He said more than a week’s occupation of the east Oregon’s Malheur National Wildlife Refuge needs to end now.

Some Democrats in the Washington House want the state to take a look at what it could do to cut back on light pollution.

Oregon is the only Northwest state that doesn't require businesses selling tobacco products to be licensed. One lawmaker is introducing a bill that would change that.

The Dick's Drive-In in Seattle's Wallingford neighborhood.
Flickr Photo/Matthew Rutledge (CC BY 2.0)

The man behind Seattle's beloved Dick's Drive-In has died.

Dick Spady passed away Sunday morning in Seattle at age 92, the family said.

When new signs go up on the Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge this year changing it to bear the name of Billy Frank Jr., he won't be there to see it.

But his son takes solace in knowing that lots of other people will.

"People will drive through the Nisqually area, a stone's throw from where my dad was raised, and see my dad's name for the rest of time," Willie Frank, Billy's son, said. "He's never going to be gone."

U District Station, 90 percent designed, shows conservative art referencing the neighborhood's architectural heritage.
Sound Transit

The public will have its last chance to weigh in on the design for the University District light rail station this Thursday. The project is 90 percent designed and shows a conservative approach to its public art.

At least, it's conservative compared to Capitol Hill Station. That station features two fighter jets, which appear to explode like brittle origami cranes in a jet kiss over the station platform. 

Jonathan Porretta was the only boy in his dance class in Totowa, New Jersey. Dance was his refuge, where he could shine. He ended up at School of American Ballet in New York City, where he was scouted by Kent Stowell of Pacific Northwest Ballet.
Courtesy Jane D'Annunzio

A dancer stands alone on the stage. He is dressed in black tights only; his bare chest is broad and muscular.

As the bassoonist plays the first plaintive notes of Igor Stravinsky’s “Rite of Spring,” the lights come up and the dancer’s body undulates like a stalk of wheat in the wind. Slowly, he lifts his shoulders, and his extended arms drift up like wings of a bird.

Just several miles from the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge headquarters, ranchers say they’re unafraid of the armed occupiers.

In the middle of the desert in Kenya, there's a place with a population the size of Minneapolis, called Dadaab.

It's no ordinary city. This is the largest refugee camp in the world, home to nearly half a million people. Most came from Somalia, escaping the civil war that began in the early 1990s.

Ben Rawlence spent years working in the camp — first with Human Rights Watch, then as a journalist. He just published a book called City of Thorns: Nine Lives in the World's Largest Refugee Camp.

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