News

Turning To Public For Help
7:22 am
Thu May 23, 2013

Crowdfunding Coal Science In Pacific Northwest

Dan Jaffe, UW-Bothell professor, is using crowdfunding to raise money to study how passing coal trains impact air quality.
Katie Campbell Earthfix

Crowdfunding campaigns are popular ways to raise money for fledgling businesses and independent projects — and now scientific research. As state and federal agencies begin the environmental review process for the largest coal export terminals on the West Coast, some scientists are turning to the public for help with research of their own.

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Financial Oversight
6:20 pm
Wed May 22, 2013

State Auditors Find Seattle Schools Still Needs Tighter Internal Controls

After years of sloppy bookkeeping and at times lax financial oversight, Seattle Public Schools has improved its internal financial controls, but needs to strengthen them further, auditors from the Washington State Auditor's Office told the school board in a special meeting Wednesday.

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Tribe Challenges Ancestries
5:28 pm
Wed May 22, 2013

Nooksack Tribe Seeks To Cut 15 Percent Of Members

What’s considered the largest proposed disenrollment of tribal members in Washington state is still moving forward, following a tribal court’s ruling this week.  Leaders of the Nooksack Tribe near Bellingham aim to cut ties with 306 of its 2,000 members – that’s 15 percent of the tribe.

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Medical Mistakes
10:40 am
Wed May 22, 2013

Little Sign Of Washington Hospitals Becoming Less Error-Prone

Swedish Medical Center trumpets its safety record. Swedish's First Hill and Ballard locations received safety scores of "A" from the nonprofit Leapfrog Group in May. Swedish's Cherry Hill and Edmonds locations received "C" scores. The Leapfrog Group says hospitals pay it up to $12,500 for the right to advertise their safety designations.
Credit John Ryan / KUOW

US hospitals harm one out of every seven patients they aim to help. So-called “adverse events” inside hospitals are one of the leading causes of death in America.

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Rejecting The Mainstream
10:28 am
Wed May 22, 2013

Portland Voters Keep Fluoride Out Of Drinking Water

Dentist Jay Levy, organizer Kim Kaminski, and volunteers with Clean Water Portland, which opposed adding fluoride to Portland water.
Oregon Public Broadcasting Photo/April Baer

Voters in Portland, Oregon have decide not to add fluoride to their municipal drinking water. Seattle and most other large cities in the US added the chemical decades ago to prevent cavities in children.

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Undercover Law Enforcement
10:22 am
Wed May 22, 2013

Inslee Signs Law Allowing Fictitious Driver License Program To Continue

Austin Jenkins Northwest News Network

Originally published on Tue May 21, 2013 5:41 pm

Washington Governor Jay Inslee has signed a law that will allow the state’s fictitious driver license program to continue – but only for undercover law enforcement activities. At the bill signing Inslee backed away from a previous statement that he would apply a broad definition of the term “law enforcement.”

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Mental Health Crisis
10:02 am
Wed May 22, 2013

Pierce County Judge Says Boarding The Mentally Ill In ERs Violates State And Federal Law

A Pierce County Superior Court judge said Monday that temporarily boarding the mentally ill in hospital emergency rooms without treatment violates state and federal law. County and state attorneys have asked for the ruling to be put on hold while they appeal.

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Fight For Federal Recognition
6:21 pm
Tue May 21, 2013

Seattle's Fragmented Duwamish Tribe Struggles For Identity

Duwamish chairwoman Cecile Hansen hold her grandson, Maximus Pearson.
Liz Jones KUOW

On a rainy Saturday afternoon, a strong brew of native tea warms up the crowd at the Duwamish Longhouse in West Seattle. The tribe has hosted this casual tea party every spring since the longhouse opened three years ago, along the Duwamish River bank.

“Are you all happy to be here?” asks Cecile Hansen, chairwoman of the Duwamish Tribe.

Hansen thanks the 50 or so people for coming, then she enlists their help in the tribe’s fight for recognition. “I would send a really tough letter to our President just saying, ‘Okay, sign the status back to the Duwamish people’,” Hansen says.

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Tsunami Recovery
12:57 pm
Tue May 21, 2013

Japanese Officials Visit Hanford For Nuclear Cleanup Strategies

Mark Triplett Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

Originally published on Tue May 21, 2013 7:33 am

The people overseeing the cleanup of the Fukushima nuclear power plant disaster are learning some valuable lessons from the long-running cleanup at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation. A Japanese government delegation recently toured some of the southeast Washington site.

In Japan, workers in gloves and masks are grinding down sidewalks and roads, wiping down rooftops and bagging contaminated soil. Now, the problem is where to put all that radioactive waste from Fukushima.

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Swim Safety
12:55 pm
Tue May 21, 2013

School Brings Back Swim Requirement After Pool Tragedy

Devon Christopher Adams Flickr

Originally published on Fri July 12, 2013 7:32 am

A tragedy in Wenatchee, Wash., is prompting educators there to bring back a high school aquatics program. Starting this fall, high school freshmen in the central Washington city will have to demonstrate they know how to swim.

Formal swimming lessons in Wenatchee had gone by the wayside, as is frequently the case lately in public schools. But the Wenatchee school board is now reversing course.

In November 2011, a freshman named Antonio Reyes drowned in the high school swimming pool.

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Recognition Limbo
10:51 am
Tue May 21, 2013

Duwamish Fight For Federal Status Inches Forward

Totem pole on the Lummi reservation near Bellingham, Wash.
Liz Jones KUOW

Seattle’s native people, the Duwamish, will learn today about their next step in a decades-old legal battle.  The tribe has petitioned the US government for federal recognition, which would make the Duwamish eligible for certain benefits like health care, fishing rights and the chance to run a casino.

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The High Cost Of Lost Nets
9:06 am
Tue May 21, 2013

Vanquishing Zombie Fishing Nets In Puget Sound

Ghost nets keep capturing fish even after they're lost. These nets cost the dungeness crab industry hundreds of thousands in estimated lost revenue every year.
Ashley Ahearn Earthfix

Doug Monk has been a commercial diver on the Olympic Peninsula for some 20 years, harvesting shellfish and sea cucumbers. But for the past decade, he’s been after a different harvest: ghost nets.

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School Board Race
5:12 pm
Mon May 20, 2013

Two Seattle School Board Seats Up For Grabs In Primary

The current Seattle School Board
Seattle Public Schools

Six candidates are vying for two Seattle School Board seats in the August 6 primary election.

In Director District 5, which includes Capitol Hill, the Central Area, Beacon Hill and downtown, Kay Smith-Blum is stepping down from her board seat after one term.

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Seattle Mayor's Race
4:14 pm
Mon May 20, 2013

Mayor McGinn Appoints Rival’s Partner to City Advisory Committee

Mayoral hopeful Ed Murray and partner Michael Shiosaki
Courtesy Ed Murray For Mayor

Here’s one for the “Seattle is such a small world” file:

State Sen. Ed Murray has been hitting the campaign trail of late in his effort to oust Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn.

But McGinn has just recognized Murray’s long-time partner, Michael Shiosaki, with an executive appointment to the city’s Arboretum and Botanical Garden Committee.

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The Two-Way
1:33 pm
Mon May 20, 2013

Dozens Killed In Massive Tornado Near Oklahoma City

A woman carries her child through a field near the collapsed Plaza Towers Elementary School in Moore, Okla., on Monday A tornado as much as a mile wide with winds up to 200 mph roared through the Oklahoma City suburbs flattening entire neighborhoods, setting buildings on fire and landing a direct blow on an elementary school.
Sue Ogrocki AP

Originally published on Tue May 21, 2013 1:54 am

(This post was last updated at 11:45 p.m. ET.)

A massive tornado ripped through the southern suburbs of Oklahoma City, Monday afternoon, killing at least 51 people, according to the state medical examiner's office.

The death toll was expected to rise.

Helicopter images showed large tracts of Moore, Okla., completely leveled by what the National Weather Service says was at least an EF-4 tornado with winds in excess of 166 mph. The tornado stayed on the ground for 40 minutes and traveled 20 miles.

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