Ways to Connect

A new proposed ballot initiative in Spokane, Washington, could prohibit coal and oil companies from transporting their products through the city by rail. It comes after the city council rolled back a similar effort last month.

This time around, the proposal targets the owners of the rail cars and not the railroad companies tasked with transporting them.

Swan Lake Valley is a patchwork of farm fields and grazing land about 20 minutes from Klamath Falls. The slopes of the surrounding juniper-scattered hills rise sharply from the valley floor, brown against the green of hay and alfalfa below.

Kim Malcolm talks with Shankar Narayan about the use of surveillance technology by the Seattle Police Department.  ​The issue resurfaced recently after a report in The Stranger detailed how the police had purchased software that allows officers to monitor your social media posts.

Flickr user Nick Ares / Creative Commons

Campaign cash, often in six-figure chunks, is sloshing around the Washington elections as November draws near. 

If the figures reported by the Washington Public Disclosure Commission are any indicator, last week was a big one for the makers of oversized novelty checks. Last week saw 11 checks of $100,000 or more—including two of this year's biggest. 

Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson said he takes responsibility for his office’s failure to preserve emails related to the deadly 2014 Oso landslide. The Democrat issued a statement Tuesday after a judge vowed to impose a “significant monetary sanction” over the deleted emails.

Downtown Seattle on a stormy night.
Flickr Photo/Oran Viriyincy CC BY-SA 2.0

You have to get creative if you want to take a bus in Seattle late at night. Only 20 bus routes in King County run between 2 a.m. and 4 a.m. 

A new King County Metro plan would expand those bus options. According to Metro, it's not just late-night workers or bar-goers who benefit. So do homeless people.

Tu Tu – people from Burma don't have last names – at his cousin's two-bedroom apartment in Kent. His arrival upped the number of people living there to nine.
KUOW Photo/Liz Jones

Tu Tu is his full name, because Burmese people don’t use last names.

He is 20 when he arrives in Seattle. With his long bangs and torn jeans, he looks American.

It terrifies him that he can’t speak English. How will he get by if he can’t communicate? It’s a fear he pushes out of his mind. He’s not supposed to be a kid anymore.

Gov. Kate Brown's Natural Resource Policy Director Richard Whitman will be stepping in as the next interim director of the troubled Oregon Department of Environmental Quality.

The Oregon Environmental Quality Commission voted unanimously Tuesday to appoint Whitman as a replacement for interim director Pete Shepherd, who was appointed by the commission in April. Whitman will assume the position Oct. 15 and stay in the role until a permanent director is hired.

The Seattle International Film Festival's director and chief curator, Carl Spence, is stepping down after more than 20 years with SIFF.

Spence joined the organization in 1994 as an assistant to the festival founders.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee and Oregon Gov. Kate Brown discussed a potential new Interstate 5 bridge over the Columbia River during a phone call this week. Inslee mentioned his conversation with Governor Brown during an interview with the editorial board of the Columbian newspaper in Vancouver.

SPU reports that residents are confusing bags made out of recycled materials with bags that can be used for composting.
Courtesy of Seattle Public Utilities

Seattle will be the first city in the nation to take a citywide plastic bag ban to another level, and ban any plastic produce bags in the colors green or brown.  Seattle leaders want to help people who are composting wrong to finally get it right.

People have been throwing plastic produce bags in their compost, since they resemble the green/brown biodegradable bags meant for compost bins. Plastic bags jam up the city's composting machines, which are costly for the city to fix.

To prevent the problem, the City Council has unanimously approved a plan that requires grocery stores to limit what bags they give away. For produce, stores can either offer clear plastic bags, or green or brown compostable ones. The purpose is to tell shoppers: green and brown are compostable, other colors are not.

The city council measure alo makes the five-cent fee for paper bags permanent.

KUOW's Paige Browning asked shoppers on Capitol Hill: should Seattle offer compostable produce bags? Listen to what Seattle residents Sandra Wagner, Fatima Malik, Kevin Mason, and Anthony Hall had to say about it:

File photo of a panda.
Flickr Photo/Will Sowards (CC BY 2.0)

Large zoos in Washington are standing by while a private foundation tries to bring panda bears to the state.

Officials at the Washington Panda Foundation say they'll be attending a Chinese Panda Summit this month. The only other invitees? Zoos who host pandas.

The Chinese government charges $1 million a year for U.S. zoos to host panda bears and requires a minimum 10-year commitment to hosting.

Women's suffragists parade in New York City in 1917, carrying placards with signatures of more than a million women.
Wikimedia Commons

There was a time when voting wasn’t so boring.

History remembers those bygone voting days as a blast. Think the Suffrage movement, Civil Rights and pretty much all the 19th century (before women or people of color could vote, so not much of a party for them). But in the last decades, voting has become antiseptic and antisocial.

A pro-Trump Egyptian's thoughts on the US election

Oct 4, 2016
Photo by VectorOpenStock, Creative Commons.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi made headlines Wednesday when he declared that he has "no doubt" that Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump would make a strong leader. But how do regular Egyptians feel?

Sisi, who has been criticized for his authoritarian leanings, met with both Trump and Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton in New York on Monday.

Theodore Bundy mugs for the media after Leon County Sheriff Ken Katsaris informed him of his indictment on July 28, 1978.
AP Photo

Ted Bundy is one of the most notorious serial killers of all time.

He raped and murdered at least 30 women and girls, often luring them into his Volkswagen Beetle.