News

Election 2012
9:10 am
Tue November 20, 2012

Philosophical Control Of Washington State Senate Hangs In Balance

Republican state Senator Don Benton (L) and Democratic challenger Tim Probst are separated by only 105 votes.

Originally published on Tue November 20, 2012 1:28 pm

OLYMPIA, Wash. – Two southwest Washington legislative races are headed for hand recounts. They are that close. One of them could hand control of the Washington state senate to a coalition of Republicans and conservative Democrats.

One hundred and five votes. That’s all that separates incumbent Republican state Senator Don Benton from his trailing Democratic challenger Tim Probst. The two men are battling it out to represent the Vancouver area in the Washington legislature.

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Weather
6:27 am
Tue November 20, 2012

Record Rain Falls On Seattle, Brings Snow To Mountains

Meghann Kelley helps a group of wet elementary school kids board a bus for a field trip.
KUOW/Deborah Wang

Western Washington is bracing for more precipitation after record heavy rains snarled traffic and caused localized flooding on Monday.

According to the National Weather Service, 2.03 inches of rain fell at Sea-Tac Airport between midnight and 5:00 p.m. Monday. That breaks the previous record for the day of 1.23 inches set in 1962.

The National Weather Service says a second storm is expected to hit the region Tuesday, and an even stronger weather system will move in on Wednesday, bringing high winds to the coast.

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Weather
3:23 pm
Mon November 19, 2012

Record Rainfall Impacts Transportation, Increases Mudslide Risk

Puget Sound's wet November has arrived.
Credit Instagram photo/ John Tseng

This story is developing and will be updated as details emerge.

National Weather Service is reporting a record-breaking 2.16 inches of rainfall in the last 24 hours, and has issued winter storm advisories and flood warnings for parts of the Puget Sound region. Heavy rains in the area are posing a number of potential hazards, from mudslides to highway closures.

Commuters are being urged to check their routes as rain continues to fall.  Sound Transit's northbound Sounder service from Seattle to Everett has been canceled for Monday evening. North Cascades Highway is temporarily closed due to heavy snow and avalanche danger.

Deborah Wang spoke Sarah Miller with Seattle Public Utilities on Monday afternoon about the emerging problem of standing drainage water.

"With 80,000 drains in the city of Seattle, we can't be everywhere. We do clean the drains regularly," Miller explained. "However, when the trees drop their leaves, that happens in a relatively compressed period of time. Much as we get out there to clean the drains throughout the year this problem is exacerbated because the leaves drop at the beginning of November and then plug those drainage outlets."

Miller has been urging Seattle residents to adopt their local drains, to clear them of leaves and debris.

UPDATE at 5:00 p.m. on November 19:

Amtrak's Cascades passenger train service between Seattle and Vancouver, British Columbia, has been temporarily canceled. A 48-hour moratorium due to mudslide danger was issued Monday afternoon and may be lifted by Wednesday. Amtrak Cascades announces cancelations and disruptions through their Twitter feed.

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Politics
10:17 am
Mon November 19, 2012

Phone Companies Say Reception For Regulator Unrelated To Proposed Fee

Originally published on Fri November 16, 2012 5:03 pm

OLYMPIA, Wash. – You know all those fees and charges listed on your home or wireless phone bill? Well, rural telephone companies in Washington want to add one more: a state Universal Service Fee. Recently they co-sponsored a wine and beer reception for a key state regulator.

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City Budget
7:57 am
Mon November 19, 2012

Seattle City Council Expects To Approve Budget After Clash On Youth Programs

Alrick Hollingsworth picks cover art for his upcoming book as part of a Seattle-funded program..
Amy Radil

Members of the Young Urban Authors program meet twice a week in a small storefront near 23rd and Jackson in Seattle. The program is one of many funded by Seattle’s Youth Violence Prevention Initiative. In this program, the teenagers spend months writing and editing their own books — fiction or non-fiction — which are then printed in paperback form.

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Military
7:38 am
Mon November 19, 2012

Army's I Corps Role Will Shift To Pacific Rim

Lt. Gen. Robert Brown, I Corps commander
Photo courtesy of I Corps

This month Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta laid out plans for the future of the US military. And as troops return from Afghanistan, that strategy includes shifting security operations to the Pacific Rim. Soldiers from Joint Base Lewis-McChord (JBLM) will play a major role in that plan.

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Public Housing
3:44 pm
Fri November 16, 2012

The Radical Roots Of Yesler Terrace

Jesse Epstein (left) examining slum housing.

Yesler Terrace is Seattle's oldest public housing project. It was revolutionary when it was completed in 1940. In the near future, though, it will be completely demolished.

In its place will sprout a series of high rise towers with a limited number of low-income housing units alongside up to 4,000 market-rate private housing units, offices, retail and commercial spaces. The ultimate goal, says the Seattle Housing Authority, is to create a sustainable, healthy, mixed-income neighborhood.

It's a radical plan, controversial, and every bit as transformational as that which gave rise to Yesler Terrace in 1940.

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Economy
9:04 am
Fri November 16, 2012

Wash. Ready To Hang Up On Mandatory Delivery Of White Pages

Phone books left om the street for recycling. Photo by Lulu Vision via Flickr

Originally published on Thu November 15, 2012 5:16 pm

OLYMPIA, Wash. - Utility regulators are on the verge of ending the automatic delivery of White Pages phone books to Washington households. Legislation to do the same in Oregon hasn't gone anywhere.

In Washington and Oregon, state law requires the local phone company to deliver a phone book to each landline customer. But telecom companies contend most consumers no longer want a printed copy of the White Pages dropped on their doorsteps.

Frontier Communications government affairs manager Carl Gipson made that case to state regulators in Olympia.

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Education
7:41 am
Fri November 16, 2012

Seattle Releases First Teacher Ratings Based On Student Performance

Many teachers in Seattle Public Schools will learn today how they rank on a new scale based on student performance. They’ll be rated by how their students’ test scores changed from one year to the next. Teachers with high ratings may qualify for bonuses or promotions. Teachers with low ratings will get closer oversight.

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Health
5:50 pm
Thu November 15, 2012

Next Question For Washington Health Exchange: How To Pay For It

Next fall Washington’s health exchange is expected to be up and running.  The exchange is an online market for health plans, mandated by the federal Affordable Care Act.  Right now the state's Health Exchange Board is trying to figure out how to pay for itself. 

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Government
5:22 pm
Thu November 15, 2012

At Stroke Of Midnight, Gay Couples To Get Marriage Licenses

Darcyandkat Flickr

King County plans to pull an all-nighter on the first day marriage licenses are available to same-sex couples under Washington state law. On Thursday, Dec. 6, at 12:01 a.m., the county is scheduled to open its licensing office in downtown Seattle.

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Obituary
1:46 pm
Thu November 15, 2012

Seattle Theater Artist Andrea Allen Dies Of Cancer

Andrea Allen was a force to be reckoned with. For more than two decades she ran Seattle Repertory Theatre's Education Program, but her passion for theater and for kids transcended the Rep. Allen shared her expertise with other Seattle arts groups. She was involved with teen writing programs.  And she was involved in arts advocacy at the state level, as a leader of Arts Ed Washington.

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Dance
12:06 pm
Thu November 15, 2012

Dance Theatre Of Harlem Includes Seattle On Revival Tour

Taurean Green and Ashley Murphy of Dance Theatre of Harlem.
Rachel Neville Dance Theatre of Harlem

When Dance Theatre of Harlem was forced to close its professional company in 2004, it was a blow to dance lovers around the country and to fans in the Pacific Northwest.  Seattle had been a frequent stop during the company's 35-year history, attracting raves for its productions of classical ballets as well as contemporary work influenced by African and African-American cultural traditions.  So it seems fitting that after Dance Theatre of Harlem re-started its company two years ago, then mounted its first national tour in 2012, Seattle would be on the itinerary.

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Food
7:53 am
Thu November 15, 2012

A Plumaged Pilgrimage: How Wild Turkeys Came To The Northwest

Male turkeys are known as “toms.” Photo by John Hafner/National Wild Turkey Federation

Originally published on Wed November 14, 2012 5:00 pm

The turkey is a quintessentially American bird, exported from the New World like corn and potatoes. But the turkey is not native to the Pacific Northwest. The wild turkeys you may have seen here are part of the bird’s comeback story.

The Northwest's wild turkeys are out-of-state newcomers. In fact, you might have lived here longer than turkeys have. A few were introduced in the 1960s, and then, “In the 1980s and 1990s, wild turkeys were brought into the Pacific Northwest," says This is Mikal Moore, a biologist with the National Wild Turkey Federation.

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Environment
7:51 am
Thu November 15, 2012

Hanford Managers Mull Solutions For Leaky Tanks

Workers empty a radioactive waste tank at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation. Photo courtesy of Hanford contractor Washington River Protection Solutions

Originally published on Wed November 14, 2012 5:31 pm

RICHLAND, Wash. – Some of the decisions made over the last 40 years at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation are coming back to haunt the site’s current managers. A new report out this week examined why a double-hulled tank of radioactive waste recently sprung a leak in its inner shell. That has raised the possibility of having to pump out the waste from the tank.

The tank is called AY-102. And it’s about the size of a house. It’s buried in the sandy soil north of Richland.

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