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Db3's Chemist Eric Winterstein measures THC content in recreational marijuana. He has two dreams: bringing science to medical marijuana, and someday enjoying a legal drink made from this mixture of alcohol and THC, a byproduct of his lab.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray says all medical marijuana dispensaries in Seattle are illegal. So he wants to shut half of them down, starting with those that opened recently and haven’t been paying taxes. Those left standing, he plans to offer legitimacy through a city license. 

KUOW’s Joshua McNichols was at the announcement and filed this report.

Two branches of the federal government struck a deal Tuesday on when to clean up radioactive sludge near the Columbia River.

The Washington state Department of Corrections has contracted with The GEO Group, Inc, a Florida-based private prison company, to house up to 1,000 prisoners in Michigan to ease overcrowding.

The push for cleaner fuels in Oregon and Washington has led to proposals that would bring the region more crude oil and a new refinery along the Columbia River.

Riverside Energy, a subsidiary of Houston-based company Waterside Energy Inc., intends to build a refinery to process mostly crude oil and some biofuels that can meet a growing demand for low-carbon fuels in the Portland metro area, according to interviews and documents.

Officials Start Killing Columbia River Cormorants

May 27, 2015

Crews with the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Wildlife Services have started killing cormorants on an island in the Columbia River, according to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

The federal government has been telling Oregon for over a decade that its rules to protect threatened coastal salmon are not up to snuff. Now, the state is faced with a loss of federal dollars unless it gets with the program.

In response, the Oregon Board of Forestry is weighing whether to require timberland owners to leave more trees standing along streams to better protect fish habitat. And that’s got owners of small timber lands especially worried.

The Future is Now for Three Small Forests In Oregon

May 26, 2015

Some of Oregon’s forest owners are seeking innovative ways to make a living off their land without logging it hard. Oregon’s small forest landowners, those with 10 to 5,000 acres, are responsible for just 15 percent of the timber harvest on average even though they lay claim to 44 percent of the state’s privately owned timberland.

Here is a look at three forests where owners are purposely going light on the land:

Acres: About 1,000 acres in the northern Oregon Coast Range, Hyla Woods is about an hour’s drive west from Portland.

Can Carbon Markets Help Oregon's Small Forests?

May 26, 2015

When cancer comes calling, what if owners of small forest plots had another choice but to sell or to cut.

That’s the premise of a pilot program being launched in Washington and Columbia counties of northwest Oregon.

Anchored by the Pinchot Institute for Conservation and an $820,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Forest Health/Human Health Initiative envisions what planners call an “A-Tree-M” card for forest owners who are threatened by medical bills but don’t want to cut or sell.

Go Undercover With Northwest Shellfish Detectives

May 26, 2015
Detective Wendy Willette of Washington's Department of Fish and Wildlife in the police van. Willette heads an operation to unravel a shellfish black market that has sprung up in South Puget Sound.
EarthFix Photo/Katie Campbell

OLYMPIA, Wash. – A man and woman drive a blue pickup to the back of a Chinese restaurant.

A man approaches them with a scale as the woman pulls a bag heavy with clams from the back of the truck.

The transaction is quick and casual, as though they’ve done this before. And they have. But this time, a hidden camera has captured their transaction. 

Poaching 100-Year-Old Geoducks For Big Money

May 26, 2015
Officer Natalie Vorous unpacks boxes of geoduck at Sea-Tac searching for evidence they were harvested legally. These were not. They were confiscated.
EarthFix Photo/Katie Campbell

Of all the shellfish that sell on the black market, one clam is above the rest -- the geoduck.

Pronounced gooey-duck, these hefty clams bury themselves in sand where they stay for 100 years, doing little more than stretching their meter-long, fleshy siphon up to feed on phytoplankton.

First Hill Streetcar on display in March, 2015.
Flickr Photo/Atomic Taco (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Testing of Seattle's new streetcar project is underway. The multi-million dollar project is more than year behind schedule.

The sound of one of the new streetcars chugging was heard along at low speed on the new two and a half mile route this week.

Col. Kenneth Trzepkowski, chief of palliative care at Madigan Army Medical Center, unfolds one of the handmade quilts donated to the hospital for the palliative care patients.
KUOW Photo/Patricia Murphy

Caring for the nation's veterans at the end of their lives can be a complex task. Service members — especially combat veterans — can struggle with guilt, abandonment and regret.

The Army and the Department of Veterans Affairs are working to help them. At one Army hospital in Tacoma, its mission is to make those last days meaningful.

Not Your Mother's Pot Brownie

May 25, 2015

Twenty-three states now allow marijuana for medical use and several others are considering doing the same. Two states including Colorado now allow recreational use of the drug as well.

For people who are sick and use pot to relieve symptoms related to pain, seizures or depression, smoking is often not an option.

The so-called edible market is becoming big business in Colorado, where patients can buy cannabis-infused brownies, truffles and ice cream at their neighborhood dispensary.

Kris Kalberer, right, told daughter Erika: "You are an extremely bright young woman. And you can go to college. And you will go to college."
StoryCorps

About a decade ago, Kris Kalberer left her job as a retail manager to raise her kids and care for her elderly mother.

The family lived a comfortable life on her husband's income … until he lost his job.

StoryCorps

Tony Tansey is a single father with a 4-year-old daughter, Kylie. Early in 2013, Tony was furloughed from his job as a cabinetmaker.

As a result, he was unable to pay his rent. Father and daughter moved to a motel, but after Tony was laid off from his job altogether, he quickly ran out of options.

Here he talks to Rev. Jan Bolerjack, the pastor of Riverton United Methodist Church in Tukwila about how he and Kylie came to live in her church.

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