News

State Law
10:09 am
Fri March 1, 2013

Defiance And Praise As Washington High Court Makes Tax Hikes Easier

Austin Jenkins Northwest News Network

Originally published on Thu February 28, 2013 5:45 pm

OLYMPIA, Wash. – Raising taxes in Washington just got a whole lot easier. The state Supreme Court Thursday threw out the requirement that tax increases muster a two-thirds vote of the legislature. Democrats say the ruling will allow more options as lawmakers grapple with ongoing budget woes. But Republicans vow to uphold the will of voters who have repeatedly supported a high bar for tax hikes.

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Supreme Court Tax Ruling
9:31 am
Fri March 1, 2013

Supermajority Ruling Is Personal Defeat For Fiery Initiative Activist

Austin Jenkins Northwest News Network

Originally published on Thu February 28, 2013 5:00 pm

OLYMPIA, Wash. – The Washington Supreme Court’s decision to strike down the two-thirds requirement for tax hikes is a personal defeat for initiative activist Tim Eyman. Over the years, he sponsored three of the five ballot measures that enacted the supermajority rule.

Outside the Capitol after the ruling, reporters noted that Eyman seemed more subdued than defiant.

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The Two-Way
9:19 am
Fri March 1, 2013

Decrying 'Dumb, Arbitrary Cuts,' Obama Says 'We Will Get Through This'

Originally published on Fri March 1, 2013 11:23 am

"Washington sure isn't making it easy" for the American people and the American economy, President Obama told reporters late Friday morning as he and other lawmakers failed to reach a deal to avert $85 billion worth of automatic "sequester" spending cuts due to start at the end of the day.

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Small Businesses
5:07 pm
Thu February 28, 2013

Green Lake Pitch ‘N Putt Golf Course: The 30-Year-Old Family Business That Almost Died

Dione Taitch grew up on this tiny golf course. She climbed the trees and made forts in the bushes. Now, she runs it with her mom.
Credit KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

Friday, March 1, is opening day at the Green Lake Pitch ‘n Putt Golf Course. The course has nine holes. The clubhouse isn’t much bigger than a roadside fruit stand. Admission is less than $10. For the thirtieth year in a row, the Taitch family will be running the place. But last year, the family almost called it quits.

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College Savings
12:26 pm
Thu February 28, 2013

For Families And Lawmakers, Washington's Tuition Savings Plan Is A Costly Bargain

Cary and Julie Westerbeck with their latest member of the GET savings plan: daughter Leah
KUOW Photo/Carolyn Adolph

Halfway through the enrollment season for Washington's Guaranteed Tuition Savings program, the number of new enrollments is lagging compared to the last two years. Consumer confidence in the program is slipping, at least for now, even as state lawmakers express their concerns about the $600 million shortfall in the program.  

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Crime fighting tool
9:42 am
Thu February 28, 2013

Seattle Police Using Data-Driven Program To Prevent Property Crime

In this photo taken June 29, 2012, UCLA anthropology professor Jeff Brantingham displays computer generated predictive policing zones at the Los Angeles Police Department Unified Command Post.
AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes

The Seattle Police Department is using a new software program designed to help predict where crimes are most likely to occur in the city.

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Ethics Fine
9:28 am
Thu February 28, 2013

Former DOC Communications Director Fined For Ethics Violations

A state ethics board has fined the former state Department of Corrections communications director for violations. The board determined that Belinda Stewart used state time and resources to run corrections oriented nonprofits.

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Museum Quality Memorabilia
9:27 am
Thu February 28, 2013

Cracking Open The Sonics’ Treasure Chest

MOHAI Registrar Kristin Halunen and Executive Director Leonard Garfield with a Sonics' 1978-79 championship banner
KUOW Photo/Deborah Wang

    

Correction: audio for this story differs from its original broadcast, which incorrectly identified Nate McMillan as a member of the Sonics championship team from 1979. We have also clarified the story to indicate that the two conference trophies in MOHAI's warehouse are not the only two won by the Sonics.

When the owners of the Seattle Sonics moved the team to Oklahoma City in 2008, basketball fans in Seattle were crushed. But they got one consolation prize: The team’s owners agreed to leave behind the Sonics’ cache of memorabilia.

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Caps A Year Of Mishaps
4:52 pm
Wed February 27, 2013

Shell Cancels Arctic Drilling For 2013

The Shell's Kulluk oil rig, with three tugboats and an escort ship, on its way from Kodiak Island to Dutch Harbor, Alaska.
U.S. Coast Guard Photo/Petty Officer 1st Class Sara Francis

Shell Oil Co. has put Arctic drilling on hold. The company announced Wednesday that it will not attempt to drill for oil in the Arctic Ocean this year. The announcement comes after a year of accidents and setbacks for Shell’s Arctic drilling efforts.

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Initiative 1240
4:40 pm
Wed February 27, 2013

Union-Led Group Calls For Challenge To Washington Charter School Law

A group that includes Washington’s largest teachers’ union has formally asked state Attorney General Bob Ferguson to challenge the constitutionality of the state’s new charter school law.

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Surprise Release Date
12:54 pm
Wed February 27, 2013

Sequester Frees Immigrants From Tacoma Detention Center

Holding cell at Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma.
Credit Flickr/Common Language Project

Sequestration has apparently led to a “get out of jail free” card for some detainees at an immigration lockup in Tacoma.

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Megaproject Pontoon Problems
7:11 am
Wed February 27, 2013

WSDOT Admits 520 Bridge Problems Result Of Design Flaw

The first new bridge pontoon on its way to Lake Washington in 2012.
Flickr photo/WSDOT

Washington Secretary of Transportation Paula Hammond said Tuesday that cracks in the pontoons for the state Route 520 floating bridge project were largely the result of a flawed design by the state.

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Super Tchotchkes
6:37 pm
Tue February 26, 2013

The Five Best Sonics Souvenirs Ever

Coming in at number five, a photo of a photo of the Wheedle and his buddies.
KUOW Photo/Deborah Wang

At least, the best pieces of memorabilia we’ve ever seen. Because the Museum of History and Industry let KUOW’s Deborah Wang peek at the stash that came into their hands as part of a settlement between the city of Seattle and Clay Bennett.

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Radioactive Waste Update
8:53 am
Tue February 26, 2013

DOE: Hanford Tanks Leaking Less Than 3 Gallons Per Day

Department of Energy

Originally published on Mon February 25, 2013 7:15 pm

RICHLAND, Wash. – A new detail has emerged on the leaking tanks at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation. The federal Energy Department acknowledged last week that six single-shelled tanks are holding less radioactive waste than they used to. Monday the agency said those tanks are losing less than three gallons a day.

Worst case: Three gallons per day adds up to 1,095 gallons of radioactive waste per year. The Department of Energy says it doesn’t know yet how long these tanks might have been seeping waste.

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Federal Budget Cuts
8:47 am
Tue February 26, 2013

Universities Say Research Funding Cuts May Bring Job Cuts

Jimmy Emerson Flickr

Originally published on Mon February 25, 2013 4:59 pm

The Northwest's public universities pull in massive amounts of federal research dollars. It totaled $1 billion last year at the University of Washington. Oregon State University won close to $200 million in federal research funds. The University of Idaho is counting on $100 million this year. So it's no surprise that university administrators are hanging on every scrap of news about imminent automatic federal budget cuts.

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