News

Education Reform
8:55 am
Thu February 7, 2013

District Grants Policy Waivers To Allow Seattle Schools More Flexibility

The Seattle School Board has approved "Creative Approach" policy waivers at six schools. The new system lets a school apply for waivers to district policies and the union contract so the school can be more flexible in how it operates.

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Big Law, Tiny Font
7:16 am
Thu February 7, 2013

Lesser-Known Washington Law Doubles Maternity Leave To 24 Weeks

Washington law says your employer must inform you of your labor rights with this poster. The tiny text in the red box (added) tells workers of their right to additional parental leave.
Phyllis Fletcher

A long-standing state law in Washington gives working mothers up to 24 weeks off when they have babies. If you didn’t know, you must not have read the poster in your break room at work. You know, the one everyone is always leaning over and squinting at to find out what their rights are.

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REI's Emissions Increasing
7:56 pm
Wed February 6, 2013

Obama Picks ‘Climate Expert’ CEO Of REI To Head Interior Department

President Barack Obama announcing Sally Jewell as his nominee for Secretary of Interior, with current Interior Secretary Ken Salazar looking on.
Whitehouse.gov

President Barack Obama has nominated Sally Jewell, the head of Kent, Wash.-based retail chain Recreational Equipment Inc., to lead the Interior Department. 

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Section 8 Lottery
7:44 pm
Wed February 6, 2013

Scam Websites Target Applicants To Seattle’s Low-Income Housing

Credit Seattle Housing Authority

Watch out for scammers. That’s Seattle Housing Authority’s warning to people who are going online this week to apply for the city’s Section 8 housing lottery.  Agency officials caution that some misleading sites have been set up to  trick people into submitting their personal information to the wrong place.

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Presidential Politics In The Northwest
9:07 am
Wed February 6, 2013

REI Executive Tapped For Interior; Geithner Joins Council On Foreign Relations

Sally Jewell, president and CEO of REI, who is in line to be the next secretary of interior.
Ron Sachs EPA /Landov

Originally published on Wed February 6, 2013 11:29 am

Update at 2:25 p.m. ET. It's Official:

Praising Sally Jewell as an executive who turned outdoors equipment retailer REI into one of the nation's most successful and environmentally conscious companies, President Obama just said he is nominating her to be his next interior secretary.

Noting that Jewell, who in a previous job worked as an engineer for Mobil, has also climbed mountains in Antarctica, the president joked about that being "just not something I think of doing."

Our original post:

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Farming Labor Shortage
9:03 am
Wed February 6, 2013

Northwest Farmers Plan To Bring More Mexican Guest Workers North

Washington Apple Commission

Originally published on Tue February 5, 2013 4:29 pm

RICHLAND, Wash. – A group of Northwest farmers plans to bring in thousands of legal Mexican guest workers to their fields and orchards this year. Last season many farmers were scrambling to pick their crops because of a worker shortage.

The federal H-2A guest worker program is so cumbersome and expensive, that most farmers haven’t wanted to use it. Employers have to pay for transportation, approved housing and usually more money than the going wage for workers already in the U.S.

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Standardized Test Boycott
7:32 am
Wed February 6, 2013

MAP Test Finally Given At Garfield High, But Few Students Show Up

Seattle Public Schools Superintendent José Banda directed administrators at Garfield High School to give the Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) test Tuesday despite a mass boycott by the school’s teachers.

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Financial Aid Eligibility
5:40 pm
Tue February 5, 2013

Legislators Consider College Aid For Undocumented Students

Credit wisetechcolleges / Flickr

On Wednesday, hundreds of immigrants and advocates plan to gather in Olympia to lay out their priorities for lawmakers. One top issue is called the Washington Dream Act, which state Senator Ed Murray, D-Seattle, introduced today. Under the measure, undocumented college students would become eligible for state financial aid.

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Side Effects Of Pot
9:05 am
Tue February 5, 2013

Washington Lawmakers Hear Concerns on 'Gray' Market For Marijuana

DEA

Originally published on Mon February 4, 2013 3:46 pm

OLYMPIA, Wash. – Card-holding medical marijuana patients would get protection from arrest under a proposal in the Washington legislature. But some industry insiders say it doesn’t go far enough. That was their message Monday at a state Senate hearing.

By the end of this year, the production and use of recreational marijuana in Washington will be regulated and taxed. That’s because of voter-approved Initiative 502. But medical marijuana – also voter-approved back in 1998 – is largely unregulated.

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Expanding Dental Care
7:27 am
Tue February 5, 2013

Washington State Lawmakers Consider Bill To Expand Dental Care

Many people who put off their dental problems often end up in the emergency room. A proposal to create midlevel dental practitioners hopes to expand dental access for low-income people.
Credit Flickr / watanyou intachai

There's no question that oral health is part of good overall health. But for many low-income people, getting dental care is not always within reach. A state House committee is considering a bill that would create two new kinds of midlevel dental professionals.

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Troops And Mental Health
12:02 pm
Mon February 4, 2013

Group Wants More Recognition For Soldiers With Post Traumatic Stress

Purple Heart medal
Photo courtesy US Marine Corp

Army Secretary John McHugh will be at Joint Base Lewis-McChord on Monday. He’ll be briefing reporters on the results of an Army-wide review of soldier behavioral health evaluations for post-traumatic stress disorder. The comprehensive review was the result of a smaller investigation that began after a forensic psychiatry team at Madigan Army Medical Center in Lakewood was found to have reversed some soldiers' PTSD diagnoses.

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Side Effects Of Pot
9:09 am
Mon February 4, 2013

'Grey' Market Concerns Grow As Washington Legalizes Pot

Austin Jenkins Northwest News Network

Originally published on Thu January 31, 2013 5:32 pm

As Washington moves to legalize marijuana, there are fresh concerns that a parallel market for pot will continue to flourish. It’s not quite a black market. Let’s call it a “grey” market – for medical marijuana. The question now: how will highly taxed and regulated pot compete with largely unregulated medical marijuana?

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787 Dreamliner Crisis
7:09 am
Mon February 4, 2013

Dreamliner Investigation Continues In Two Countries

In Seattle, NTSB investigators and Boeing engineers examine the type of lithium-ion battery involved in the battery fire in Boston last month.
courtesy National Transportation Safety Board

The hunt for a solution to the 787’s battery woes continues. Investigators are crisscrossing oceans looking for a cause to the battery overheating problems that have grounded the Dreamliner since January 16. Teams of investigators are fanning out and crossing paths.

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Provoking Seattle Arts
4:00 pm
Fri February 1, 2013

Randy Engstrom and Andy Fife, Seattle Art Instigators

Randy Engstrom and Andy Fife.
Credit Bettina Hansen / The Seattle Times

When Randy Engstrom and Andy Fife start talking about Seattle arts and culture you can almost feel the air around them vibrate. "It’s like a natural resource," enthuses Engstrom. Fife chimes in. "This is a place where nature is abundant and provides so much. Likewise culture."

You get the sense you’re face to face with the contemporary versions of Frederick Weyerhauser or Bill Boeing, adventurers who came West to seek their fortunes more than a century ago. Instead of harvesting trees, though, Fife and Engstrom plan to harness culture to expand Seattle’s economic vibrancy.

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Pay Checks & Balances
10:46 am
Fri February 1, 2013

Wash. Lawmakers Take Up "Wage Theft" Bill

A proposed bill in Olympia aims to crack down on employers who shortchange their workers. The measure would create harsher penalties for business that skimp on minimum wage, overtime pay, or just flat out fail to hand over a paycheck.

This type of  underpayment is often referred to as “wage theft.” Advocates of the bill, HB 1440, say the victims of wage theft tend to be low-income workers and undocumented immigrants.

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