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The chief budget writer in the Washington state House of Representatives says it’s up to Democratic leaders whether he keeps his chairmanship following a rollover crash and his arrest for drunk driving last Saturday.

Now that the Winter Olympics have you pumped about snow sports, you might head into the hills for some real, live athletic feats. Conveniently, a ski area in north central Washington state has set up a luge sledding course.

Washington Department of Licensing
Washington Department of Licensing

Immigrant rights leaders in Washington state say it's time for Pat Kohler to resign as director of the state's Department of Licensing.

The DOL came under scrutiny in January for handing over people's personal and citizenship information to federal immigration authorities. That violated an executive order from Washington’s governor.

Downtown Seattle accounts for more than half the city's construction investments, according to DSA.
KUOW/Megan Farmer

This year Seattle was named the top investment and development market in the country by the Urban Land Institute. And investors have taken note.

In the next two years, according to the Downtown Seattle Association, the area will see 2,400 new hotel rooms, 8,000 new residential units and millions of square feet of new office space.  And even more is to come in 2020. 

ballot drop box ballot box
KUOW Photo/Liz Jones

Kim Malcolm talks with Washington Secretary of State Kim Wyman about the safeguards in place to prevent cyber attacks on Washington's election systems. In 2016, Russian hackers targeted Washington's voter registration system, but were unsuccessful.

This interview was inspired by a listener question. If you want to know something about the news in this region, just ask us.

The Washington House has voted to phase out farming of non-native fish in state waters, drawing the end of Atlantic salmon farming in Puget Sound one step closer.

The move comes one week after a similar vote by the state Senate.

Both bills let existing salmon farms keep operating only until their current leases run out, in the next four to seven years.

The House vote also comes six months after a poorly maintained fish farm collapsed near Anacortes, letting an estimated 250,000 Atlantic salmon escape into Puget Sound.

Seattle musician Yirim Seck was arrested for selling pot in the decade before it was legalized
KUOW Photos / Megan Farmer

KUOW listener Christine Bryant Cohen wants to know who's doing time for what she does for a living:  selling pot. 

Sketch by Peter Millett

Update 2/15/18, 12:30 p.m.

Raphael Sanchez pleaded guilty Thursday to charges of a wire fraud and aggravated identity theft scheme involving the stolen identities of numerous people. The plea recommends a four-year sentence and restitution paid to victims. A judge will decide sentencing in May.

KUOW PHOTO/MEGAN FARMER

The Washington House of Representatives has voted to phase out farming of non-native fish in state waters, drawing the end of Atlantic salmon farming in Puget Sound one step closer.

In a vote unprecedented in modern times in the state of Washington, the state Senate voted Wednesday to abolish the death penalty and instead impose life in prison without the possibility of parole for those convicted of aggravated first degree murder.

Seattle Public Radio Station KUOW Unionizes

Feb 14, 2018

For the first time since its founding 65 years ago, staff at KUOW-FM 94.9 in Seattle have unionized.

KUOW joins a list of public media organizations that have unionized under SAG-AFTRA over the years. SAG-AFTRA represents about 160,000 members nationwide, including public media professionals at National Public Radio, WNYC in New York and WBEZ in Chicago.

The new union affects somewhere between 50-60 employees at the station and includes announcers, hosts, producers, reporters and digital and engagement staff who want more say in the rapidly growing newsroom.

Students walk in front of Gerberding Hall on Thursday, November 16, 2017, on the University of Washington campus in Seattle.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Kim Malcolm talks with University of Washington associate professor Jennifer Stuber about suicide prevention on college campuses. Last week, the Washington state Senate passed a bill that would fund suicide prevention programs at colleges across the state.

Stuber is faculty director for Forefront Suicide Prevention at the UW.

Brettler Family Place, part of the complex at Sand Point Housing.
Solid Ground

A citizens group wants the city of Seattle to investigate management of the low-income housing complex where Charleena Lyles was shot.

2018 Orcas Island 100 Miler race.
KUOW Photo/Kara McDermott

Northwesterners have a reputation for loving the outdoors and tirelessly lapping urban lakes. There are a few who push the "active lifestyle" to a cold, dark extreme.

Over a February weekend, 69 runners survived macerated feet, busted knees and mild hypothermia to finish a 100-mile trail run on Orcas Island in less than 36 hours.

Scientists in the Northwest have detected a species of shrimp much farther north than it’s ever been found before.  Researchers at Oregon State University haven’t actually seen the snapping shrimp, instead, they heard them off the Oregon Coast.

Oregon State University scientist Joe Haxel recorded hours of underwater sound, tracking whales and boat noise.

Homes in Queen Anne are shown from the Space Needle in November in Seattle.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Happy Valentine’s Day? Your property tax — or your rent, probably — is going up to help pay for better schools.

If you're looking for an adrenaline-packed event to watch on TV during this year’s Winter Games, you’ll almost certainly be drawn to ski jumping. It’s a sport where the competitors speed down a ramp at nearly 60 mph before soaring hundreds of feet through the air.

It looks so extreme, you probably wonder how these athletes get their start.

John Kerry Visits Olympia To Support Inslee's Carbon Tax Proposal

Feb 13, 2018

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee has been pushing hard to pass a carbon tax proposal. Though it’s been unpopular with some businesses and Republicans, on Tuesday he brought out an important ally.

East of the Cascades in Washington and Oregon, it’s been about five to 10 degrees warmer than normal for most of the winter. Those unusually warm conditions have buds on fruit trees and grapevines starting to “push,” or emerge early.

And that has farmers worried.

Early this year, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee said no to a massive oil-by-rail terminal proposed in Vancouver, Washington.

The $210 million Vancouver Energy project, a joint venture from Tesoro and Savage, would have brought up to 360,000 gallons of crude oil a day on trains traveling along the Columbia River. The proposal would have been the largest oil-by-rail terminal in the country.

KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Congestion on regional roads is not expected to get better anytime soon, so more and more communities are considering a Puget Sound commuter ferry.

Agencies in Pierce, Thurston and Island counties are all looking into the possibility. But these agencies have a common problem: where to land on Seattle's crowded waterfront.

Polluted Stormwater Damages Fish's Ability to Survive

Feb 13, 2018

Each time it rained during an eight-week period in the winter of 2015, someone from Jenifer McIntyre’s team drove up to Seattle and collected stormwater near the Highway 520 bridge across Lake Washington.

It was a rainy stretch, so that meant 25 trips.

After each trip, McIntyre says, "we would bring the dirty runoff to the fish" — the larval fish the team was rearing in Indianola on the eastern side of Puget Sound  — "and expose them to that for 24 or 48 hours."

KUOW Photo/Carolyn Adolph

Last summer Kitsap Transit launched a fast ferry service with a single vessel. The Rich Passage I was the only low-wake boat it had to satisfy shore-erosion concerns along the passage from Bremerton to Seattle.

Since then, the Rich Passage I has missed 128 sailings, mostly because of mechanical failures. And though the vessel has been reliable since last October, Kitsap Transit’s problems aren’t over yet: In just over a month the vessel is due in drydock for the complete replacement of its engines.

Seattle Preschool Program teacher Hien Do, center, dances with her students on Wednesday, June 28, 2017, at the ReWA Early Learning Center at Beacon, in Seattle, Washington.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

When former Seattle Mayor Ed Murray pitched his $81 million subsidized preschool program to voters in 2014, this was his promise: high-quality, affordable early learning that would help bridge the opportunity gap between rich and poor, black and white.

NW Detention Center Resistance

Several detainees at the immigration jail in Tacoma say they are on hunger strike to push for better conditions. And they claim some guards are taking aggressive steps to stop them.

Reaction in the Pacific Northwest was swift to President Trump’s proposed cuts to the cleanup budget at the Hanford Site.

Sen. Ron Wyden, a Democrat from Oregon, called the proposed $230 million cut “downright dangerous for everyone who lives near the Columbia River.”

The Interior Department plans to expand energy development on public lands and offshore to pay for the National Park Service's maintenance backlog.

In the Pacific Northwest, the needs range from washed-out roads and trails at Mount Rainier National Park to repairing bridges and parking lots at the Olympic National Park.

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke says the parks’ maintenance backlog is $11.7 billion. The entire Interior Department’s backlog is $16 billion.

The Benson Trolleys, in storage
The Friends of the Benson Trolleys

Construction crews are busy relocating utilities for the new trolley line through downtown Seattle. The new line will integrate the shorter lines at either end of downtown into a larger system.

The trolley cars running on that line will have all the latest technology. But some civic leaders want to sprinkle some old, historic trolleys among the new trolleys.

Jimi Hendrix in Seattle, February 12, 1968
Ulvis Alberts / Museum of Pop Culture permanent collection

Poor, neglected, carrying around a broom as substitute for the guitar he didn't have.  These are images of Jimi Hendrix growing up in Seattle.

And Hendrix biographer Charles R. Cross says that even when Hendrix returned to the city as a superstar to play a concert 50 years ago, on Feb. 12, 1968, he was heckled by students at his old high school. Cross says Hendrix always had a complicated relationship with Seattle, but the city should use this anniversary to do more to honor him.


Master David F. Leong Dragon & Lion Group members perform during the Lunar New Year celebration on Sunday, Feb. 11, 2018, in the Chinatown-International District in Seattle.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Large crowds gathered in Seattle’s Chinatown-International District on Sunday to welcome the year of the dog during the Lunar New Year celebration. 

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