News

Coal Train Impact
8:44 am
Mon September 16, 2013

Documents Reveal Army Corps’ Earlier Concerns About Coal Trains And Wetlands

The TransAlta Centralia Generation Plant has been burning coal since 1971. The coal burned there was mined on-site until 2006 when the Centralia mine closed and the power plant began bringing in Powder River Basin coal by train.
Pamela Gerber

Proposals to make the Northwest a major coal exporting region have made for a familiar debate over the potential impacts on people and the environment. Will it help the economy? What will coal dust do to the air we breathe? Will our rivers and marine waters be threatened?

Here’s another question: Will coal trains harm the wetlands of the Pacific Northwest?

So far, wetlands have not been a central part of the public debate over coal exports. But concern over these ecologically sensitive areas are familiar to the federal regulators who will decide whether to permit coal export terminals.

In fact, according to government documents obtained by EarthFix, the Army Corps of Engineers has already studied the issue. And in at least one instance, it’s reached a conclusion:

Coal trains are bad for wetlands.

Read more
Child Care As Economic Indicator
5:27 am
Mon September 16, 2013

Job Recovery From Small Town To Big City

Lyman day care provider Amber Rooks.
KUOW Photo/Liz Jones

The economic downturn attributed to the Great Recession tested the resilience of many workers and careers.

King County’s unemployment rate is more than 2 percent lower than the national rate. In fact, the Seattle area is seen as a bright spot in the recovery. But the farther you get from the big city, the more likely a  different picture emerges. In some rural areas, incomes and job security are lower, and this has made for a tougher recovery.

Read more
Federal Vs. State Law
5:18 pm
Fri September 13, 2013

Washington Amends Pot Regulations To Appease Feds

If someone sells drugs within 1,000 feet of a school, they can receive a stiffer sentence under federal law. In developing rules for legal marijuana, Washington state regulators tried to depart slightly from that federal rule. They allowed stores to count the 1,000 feet along sidewalks or roads, rather than “as the crow flies.”

The change would have created more legal locations for pot stores.  But now the state is backtracking.

Read more
777X or A350
5:07 pm
Fri September 13, 2013

Boeing Or Airbus: All Nippon To Decide Soon

A 787 Dreamliner destined for All Nippon Airways waits for delivery at Boeing Everett during the battery crisis that grounded the 787 fleet.
KUOW Photo/Carolyn Adolph

All Nippon Airways is preparing to announce a decision that could mark a turning point in the battle between Airbus and Boeing. The Japanese airline wants to buy 25 new planes worth an estimated $7 billion. It will choose between Boeing Co.’s 777X and Airbus SAS’s A350, both wide-body planes.

Read more
Corporal Punishment
7:12 am
Fri September 13, 2013

Hanging Up The Paddle: 20 Years Since Washington Banned Corporal Punishment In Public Schools

Credit Sarah Waller

Did you grow up in a school that allowed paddling?  Maybe you knew someone who was hit in school – or maybe the idea of corporal punishment seems as antiquated as ink wells.  This year marks the 20th anniversary of Washington’s state-wide ban on corporal punishment in public schools.

Read more
Fuel Emissions
4:09 pm
Thu September 12, 2013

Study: Alaska Airlines Pollutes Less Than Other US Airlines

Flickr Photo/InSapphoWeTrust

Mile for mile, Seattle-based Alaska Airlines pollutes less than any other US airline. That's one of the findings of a new study of fuel efficiency in the aviation sector from a nonprofit group.

Read more
Transportation
3:41 pm
Thu September 12, 2013

Eastside Light Rail Moves Forward After Court Challenge

Computer simulation of light rail trains on the Interstate 90 floating bridge over Lake Washington. The Eastside light rail project is expected to be completed by 2023.
Credit Sound Transit

A plan to build light rail tracks on the Interstate 90 floating bridge can move forward.

In a 7-2 opinion, the Washington State Supreme Court sided with Sound Transit and the Washington State Department of Transportation, and against Bellevue developer Kemper Freeman and others.

Read more
Inslee Issues Raises
10:05 am
Thu September 12, 2013

Washington Governor Boosts Salaries For Several Cabinet Positions

Cacophony Wikimedia

Originally published on Wed September 11, 2013 5:46 pm

Since taking office in January, Washington Governor Jay Inslee has raised the salaries for several cabinet level positions. In total, those raises add up to nearly $100,000 over the course of a year. The boost in salaries comes even as the state continues to recover financially.

The biggest pay hike went for the position of director of Department of Licensing. That’s the agency that handles driver licenses and license plates among other duties. The new director – Pat Kohler – earns $141,000 per year. That’s a 17 percent increase over her predecessor.

Read more
Company Halts Efforts
9:44 am
Thu September 12, 2013

Plug Pulled On Plans For Controversial Anacortes Bottling Plant

Water resevoir that could have been used to supply water for bottling plant.
Sara Lerner KUOW

Plans to build an enormous beverage bottling plant in Skagit County, Wash., have been halted. The company behind a proposed facility has backed out of the project.

Read more
Underwater Mortgages
9:19 am
Thu September 12, 2013

Foreclosure Crisis? Seattle's Numbers Don't Add Up

Distressed homeowners and housing advocates testify before the Seattle City Council.
KUOW Photo/Deborah Wang

A correction and  further information on the story 9/14/2013:

Read more
Pests
10:02 am
Wed September 11, 2013

Ouch! Yellow Jackets Having A 'Banner Year' In Northwest

Wikimedia

Originally published on Tue September 10, 2013 3:28 pm

Still smarting from a wasp sting this summer? Well, you're not alone. It's been a "banner year" for yellow jackets in the Northwest by many accounts.

Read more
State Budget
10:02 am
Wed September 11, 2013

Washington Governor Announces 'Soft Launch' Of Performance Indicators

Office of the Governor

Originally published on Tue September 10, 2013 4:15 pm

Washington Governor Jay Inslee wants to more than double the number of state-funded preschool slots by 2019. He also wants to decrease the number of SUVs purchased by the state.

Read more
Tieton River
9:50 am
Wed September 11, 2013

Fleeting River Run Lets Rafters Prove Their Mettle

Matt Martin Northwest News Network

Originally published on Wed September 11, 2013 8:14 am

Feels like summer is over, doesn’t it? Labor Day is long gone. School is up and running. But in Central Washington there is one last chance for a summer adventure. It’s called the "Flip-Flop" on the Tieton River.

Read more
Elections 2013
5:39 pm
Tue September 10, 2013

Monsanto Pours $4.6 Million Into Anti-GMO Labeling Campaign

With one major donation, Monsanto has become, by far, this year's largest campaign contributor in Washington state.
Monsanto logo

The Monsanto Co. has jumped into Washington state politics in a big way.

With a check for nearly $4.6 million, the St. Louis-based Fortune 500 company has more than doubled the money raised by opponents of Initiative 522, which would require labeling genetically modified foods.

The No on 522 campaign has now raised about $7.9 million, giving it a $3.5 million advantage over backers of the measure to label GMO foods.

Read more
Philanthropy News
4:15 pm
Tue September 10, 2013

Gates Foundation CEO Jeff Raikes Announces Retirement

Jeff Raikes administers polio drops to a child in the Fulani settlement, Mashakeri village, in Kebbi state on 27 September 2011.
Credit Flickr Photo/Gates Foundation

The head of the Seattle-based  Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation says he’s stepping down. Jeff Raikes made the announcement Tuesday morning.  He says he’ll stay on the job until a replacement is found.

Jeff Raikes talked to  KUOW’s Marcie Sillman about his top accomplishments over the past five years as the Foundation's chief.

Pages