News

Deductible Deadline
9:04 am
Thu December 27, 2012

Patients Rush To Have Surgery Before New Year Resets Clock

Jessica Robinson Northwest News Network

Originally published on Mon December 24, 2012 2:19 pm

One of the busiest places to be this time of year is the operating room. But it's not because of holiday accidents. Huge numbers of patients have surgery in December by choice.

Dr. Tim Smith is a sinus surgeon at Oregon Health and Science University. The week before Christmas this year, he performed 10 surgeries in three days.

“We joke with one another that people think it's busy at the mall this time of year, they ought to check out their outpatient surgery centers.”

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Cost Of Living
2:26 pm
Mon December 24, 2012

Making Ends Meet On Minimum Wage

Credit Liz Jones / KUOW

People who earn minimum wage in Washington state are about to get a small raise.  On New Year’s Day, the hourly rate increases by 15 cents to total $9.19.

Washington’s minimum wage is higher than any other state. But studies show it’s still far below the minimum cost of living here.

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Homelessness
8:59 am
Mon December 24, 2012

Compass Post Office Provides Mailing Address For 3,500 Homeless In Seattle

The crowded mailroom at Compass Housing Alliance.
Amy Radil

The holidays often bring extra presents and messages from loved ones. But to receive those messages, you have to have an address.

Anyone who needs a mailing address can have the mail sent to 77 South Washington St. in Seattle's Pioneer Square. That’s the post office run by the Compass Housing Alliance. Most of the 3,500 people in Seattle who use that address are homeless or in temporary housing.

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School District Lawsuit
8:41 am
Mon December 24, 2012

Seattle Schools Settles $750,000 Employment Discrimination Case

Denise Frisino
Courtesy Photo

Seattle Public Schools is paying $750,000 to settle a lawsuit filed by a teacher who was fired for refusing to work in a building she says made her sick. 

Former teacher Denise Frisino says when she worked at Nathan Hale High School seven years ago, the mold was so bad that she had a hard time breathing and a terrible cough. "It was to the point where I could not be inside the building for long. It was not a minor thing. It was a severe reaction," she says. 

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Gun Restrictions Demanded
7:19 am
Fri December 21, 2012

Religious Leaders Call For Assault Weapons Ban

Tripat Singh, a representative from Gurudwara Singh Sabha of Washington, based in Renton.
Credit KUOW photo/Derek Wang

A group of religious leaders from numerous different faiths called on Washington state lawmakers Thursday to change the state’s gun laws. The new group spans several different religions, including Christianity, Islam, Judaism and Sikhism. It represents a new voice joining the chorus that’s calling for more gun restrictions following the Connecticut school shootings.  

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Mental Illness
6:31 am
Fri December 21, 2012

Violence And Mental Illness: Is There A Link?

Is there any correlation between mental illness and acts of violence?
Credit Flickr illustration/madamepsychosis

Tragic and unexplainable acts of violence are often attributed to mental illness. In the aftermath of terrible tragedies, like the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, anecdotal and unconfirmed stories of mental illness begin to circulate.

Dr. Jennifer Stuber from UW’s School of Social Work visited Weekday to discuss the link between violence and mental illness and particularly how the media plays a part in the dissemination of misinformation. Below are highlights from her interview.

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Death Penalty Decision
9:12 am
Thu December 20, 2012

Bales Defense Team Calls Army's Decision 'Disappointing'

High Desert Warrior

Originally published on Wed December 19, 2012 4:01 pm

The top forces commander at Washington’s Joint Base Lewis-McChord has decided to seek the death penalty against Staff Sgt. Robert Bales. He’s the 39-year old soldier accused of murdering 16 Afghan civilians earlier this year.

Bales is accused of conducting two predawn raids on villages in southern Afghanistan. The victims were mostly women and children and the Army says some of the bodies were burned. Prosecutors had asked for a death penalty trial and top commanders at Lewis-McChord agreed.

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Emergency Prepardness
9:08 am
Thu December 20, 2012

Five Ways To Recover Faster From 'The Big One'

IFRC

Originally published on Fri December 14, 2012 4:11 pm

OLYMPIA, Wash. - Chances are, you've heard the public service announcements that say "It's up to you to be ready. Get a kit. Make a plan..."

For years, emergency managers have urged people to stockpile enough food, water and supplies to last 72 hours after a disaster. In the Northwest, basic assumptions like that are now under scrutiny, especially when it comes to the risk from a big earthquake. Two committees in Oregon and Washington have been working for more than a year to come up with wide-ranging recommendations to improve the region's disaster resilience.

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Mental Health Funding Gap
7:26 am
Thu December 20, 2012

Newtown Shooting Raises Questions About Mental Health Funding

Washington state has cut funding for mental health services by more than 15 percent since 2009.
Credit Flickr Photo/Alan Cordova

Little information is available yet to conclude whether the shooter in Newtown, Conn., was diagnosed with, or treated for, mental illness. But last week’s incident has raised questions around the country about mental health and funding for treatment and services. 

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Urban Planning
4:55 pm
Wed December 19, 2012

City Builds More Low-Income Housing In Downtown Seattle

A new affordable apartment building is planned for this corner in Seattle's International District
King County Department of Assessments

Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn and Seattle City Councilmember Nick Licata announced Wednesday the city will spend $19.5 million for construction and renovation of 570 new low-income housing units. It's part of an effort to ease the trend of low-income families moving out of the city.

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Elections 2013
1:49 pm
Wed December 19, 2012

Peter Steinbrueck Joins Crowded Field For Mayor

Peter Steinbrueck announces his run for Seattle mayor at Pike Place Market.
Credit KUOW photo/Derek Wang

It’s almost a year before the 2013 general election, but the race for Seattle mayor continues to draw a crowd. Former Seattle City Councilman Peter Steinbrueck held a press conference Wednesday morning to formally announce his candidacy.

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'Tis the Season
12:55 pm
Wed December 19, 2012

A Cross-Country Holiday Tradition

Former Seattle resident, Barry Ford, sells Christmas trees in the Central District.
Credit Liz Jones / KUOW

To many people, the holidays are about family tradition. Tradition is what brings Barry Ford and his wife, Shirley Babilya, to Seattle every December. They drive their RV across country from Iowa to do a job they love in the town where Ford grew up.

This year, the couple is 1,849 miles apart. Shirley is home in Iowa recovering from a heart attack and Barry is on his own in Seattle this season. When some Seattle neighbors found out, they stepped in to help fill the void.

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Hanford Nuclear Reservation
11:54 am
Wed December 19, 2012

Gregoire’s Relationship With Hanford Long And Complex

State of Washington

Originally published on Mon December 17, 2012 5:23 pm

When Governor Chris Gregoire leaves office in January, she’ll take with her nearly a quarter-century’s worth of expertise on one of the most contaminated places on earth. Cleanup of the Hanford Nuclear Reservation has been one of her top priorities. Before Gregoire was governor, she worked on Hanford issues as the state’s attorney general and before that as ecology director.

Gregoire knows cleaning up Hanford is no easy task. She’s been involved longer than many of the top federal site managers. And despite all of the problems and complexities she’s still optimistic.

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Death Penalty
11:51 am
Wed December 19, 2012

Army Orders Sgt. Bales To Capital Court Martial

High Desert Warrior

Originally published on Wed December 19, 2012 3:56 pm

The U.S. Army announced Wednesday that Staff Sgt. Robert Bales will face a general court-martial on 16 counts of premeditated murder and other charges. If convicted, the maximum penalty is death. The decision follows a pretrial hearing last month.

An attorney for  Bales says she's "disappointed" by the Army's decision to seek the death penalty against the Washington-based soldier accused of massacring Afghan villagers in March.

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Wildlife
11:48 am
Wed December 19, 2012

Feds To Review Endangered Status Of Northwest's Reindeer

US Fish

Originally published on Tue December 18, 2012 5:37 pm

COEUR D’ALENE, Idaho - The protected status of a small population of reindeer in the Northwest is getting a second look. Snowmobilers and an Idaho county that depends on winter snow sports petitioned the government to delist the animal.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service agreed to do a status review on woodland caribou in the Selkirk Mountains of Idaho and Washington. They’re part of a larger herd from Canada.

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