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A federal judge in Seattle has made it clear to the state that mentally ill jail inmates need to be evaluated within seven days to see if they’re competent to stand trial.

Portland teen Angela Wilcox poses with presidential candidate Rand Paul at a rally in Seattle.
Liz Jones/KUOW

Presidential hopeful Rand Paul continued his Western tour with campaign stops in Seattle and Spokane Wednesday.

At Seattle’s Town Hall, hundreds chanted “President Paul” as he took the stage. Afterward, many waited in a long line to get a photo with the candidate.

Q&A: The Wildfire-Climate-Change Connection

Aug 26, 2015

Wildfire season is in full swing, with more acres burned so far than in an average year.

Here in the Northwest, we’ve been hearing daily about all the wildfires burning. Many more communities are dealing with the smoke blowing in from those fires.

Scientists are studying the connections between climate change, drought and wildfire. And policymakers and fire managers are trying to keep pace with new demands on resources as firefighting costs continue to rise. Here are some of the big questions — and answers — about the connection between climate change and wildfires.

Killing Seabirds To Save Salmon On The Columbia

Aug 26, 2015

It's after 10 p.m. and I'm on a boat at the mouth of the Columbia River.

We're circling around East Sand Island, where thousands of seabirds are nesting in total darkness. I'm pretty sure the captain, Rob Gudgell, thinks I'm nuts.

"Why did you want to come out at night?" he asks.

Washington Lt. Governor Brad Owen traveled to China last year and touted a company that’s now at the center of a federal fraud investigation.

The 73 currently runs from north Seattle to downtown via the U-District. Under the new plan, riders will have to transfer to light rail to get downtown, which can't get snarled in traffic. Some buses will still go downtown during peak periods.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

It used to be if you wanted to take the bus across town in Seattle, you often had to ride all the way downtown first. But now light rail does some of that heavy lifting, getting people from north to south. And next spring two more light rail stations are opening at Capitol Hill and Husky Stadium.

Under its new plan for rebuilding the bus system in northeast Seattle, Metro isn't going to waste so much time now fighting traffic to get downtown.

A juvenile inmate crew from Naselle Youth Camp in Southwest Washington. There were 30 kids part of the fire effort until last week, when a 16-year-old broke free, assaulted one of his supervisors and stole a gun.
Courtesy of Juvenile Rehabilitation Adminstration

Crews of juvenile inmates have been sent to fight wildfires in Washington state since the 1960s.

Until a teen escaped last week, assaulted a supervisor and then shot himself, there were 20 youth working on the fire line at the Chelan Complex Fire in central Washington. Another crew of 10 made sandwiches and meals in Okanogan County.

Oregon taxpayers will get a boost on next year’s tax returns from the state’s first kicker rebate since 2007. So what does $402 million look like when you send it back to nearly 2 million taxpayers?

Unhealthy smoke continued to blanket large parts of central and eastern Washington state and north Idaho Wednesday. Some workers in north central Washington were sent home because the dense smoke was rated downright “hazardous.”

The incident command for Washington’s biggest wildfire requested a mental health team to help people in Okanogan County. A national nonprofit called Green Cross has responded to the call.

The inside of the elevators at Amazon headquarters in Seattle. People who work at Amazon refer to themselves as Amazonians.
Flickr File Photo/cheukiecfu CC BY-NC-ND: http://bit.ly/1MUXs0y

After a New York Times' expose on exacting worker conditions at Amazon, CEO Jeff Bezos said he was shocked -- and then asked for direct feedback from workers. 

Julia Cheiffetz, an executive editor at HarperCollins, took Bezos at his word. 

Firefighters line up to get gear out of the back of a fire truck as they get ready to head out onto a line Thursday, Aug. 20, 2015, in Twisp, Wash.
AP Photo/Elaine Thompson

The state of Washington is taking an extraordinary step to battle the wildfires ravaging the region: seeking volunteers to join the fight. And the response so far is overwhelming.

Firewise is the name of a long-running campaign to get homeowners in wildfire country to take steps to reduce risk. Outside Omak, Wash., John Belles didn't just do the simple things. He built a futuristic, thin-shelled concrete dome house. It's now an unscathed beacon amid acres of hillside blackened by the Okanogan fire, the largest in state history.

Oregonians will learn Wednesday whether they will get a tax rebate known as the kicker. The one-of-a-kind law returns money to taxpayers when revenues exceed projections by more than two percent.

Smoke 'Lumbers In Like A Wayward Drunk'

Aug 26, 2015
Don Nelson, the editor-owner of the Methow Valley News, with the Methow Valley in the background. The fires this season are the biggest on record in Washington state.
Courtesy of Don Nelson

Driving back to the cabin last night, I encountered almost no traffic on Highway 20 between Twisp and Winthrop. 

It is a Sunday night in August, the heart of what has been a record year for tourism here, Labor Day and the rodeo coming up, and the RVs, motorcycles and station wagons with fully laden bike racks are somewhere else that has not been evacuated or cut off from its main flow of visitors. Even Sheri’s Sweet Shoppe, which would usually be hopping with people loading up two – no, make that three – scoops of home-made ice cream onto a delicate waffle cone is closed and quiet.

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