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John Koster
(KUOW photo/Deborah Wang)

If Republican congressional candidate John Koster has a signature campaign issue, it’s the country’s ballooning national debt.

The website for his 1st Congressional District campaign features a national debt clock ticking away. The total now stands at more than $16 trillion.

“I think one of the greatest things that we could do for our constituents and our future generations is not hamstring them with huge debt and huge deficits that they will have to pay off,” he said.

In his two decades in politics, Koster has been a staunch advocate of limited government.

Members of the Seattle Symphony and Opera Players' Organization (SSOPO) voted October 15 to authorize a strike.  In a statement on its website, SSOPO representatives say the latest contract offers from both organizations call for 15 percent reductions in pay and benefits for the 2012-2013 season.  That's on top of concessions the musicians have already made.  The union says its membership can't take further cuts.  

Army Spc. Brittany Gordon
(Photo/7th Infantry Division Public Affairs Office)

The US Department of Defense issued a news release Monday afternoon about the death of Army Specialist Brittany Gordon. Gordon was assigned to the 572nd Military Intelligence Company, 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

The DoD says 24-year-old Gordon died from injuries caused by an improvised explosive device. Now multiple news reports say Gordon’s death may be the latest in a series of so-called insider attacks in Afghanistan.

Seattle Public Schools

Seattle Public Schools Superintendent Jose Banda says he’ll vote “no” on Initiative 1240, which would legalize charter schools in Washington state.

I-1240 would allow up to 40 charter schools in Washington state over five years. Proponents of I-1240 say it would give parents and students more school choice.

Mailer about Referendum 74
(Photo/Liz Jones)

Some senior citizens in Washington recently got a flyer in the mail from same-sex marriage supporters. It says approval of Referendum 74 will preserve domestic partnerships for seniors. Gay marriage opponents call the ad a misleading scare tactic.

The campaign backing same-sex marriage paid for the mailer. It’s targeting seniors because Referendum 74 touches on domestic partnerships between straight couples who are are 62 or older and living together.

King County Primary Ballot
(Flickr photo/Brian Daniel Eisenberg)

Washington state’s online voter registration system is vulnerable to hackers, according to The New York Times.  

The newspaper said it took less than three minutes to get the information it needed to access the registrations of some unnamed executives.

Sodo stadiums century link safeco
Flickr Photo/SDOT Photos (CC BY NC 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/bZhk8f

The King County Council and Seattle City Council both gave the go-ahead for an agreement to build a new professional basketball and hockey arena in Seattle.

The union that represents Longshore workers plans to file a lawsuit to stop it.

ACT's "Ramayana"
ACT Photo/Copyright LaRae Lobdell

“The Ramayana” is a sacred text for millions of Hindus.  Now Seattle’s ACT Theatre has adapted the epic saga of good and evil for the stage.  Playwrights Yussef El-Guindi and Stephanie Timm used an English translation of the original Sanskrit, and synthesized 24,000 verses into three hours of theater.

"The Blue Room"
Courtesy Centre Pompidou, Paris

Nobody would argue over the fact that women have made significant contributions to the art world.  But a major new exhibition at Seattle Art Museum not only highlights contemporary women artists; it puts them front and center. 

Basketball signed by the 2007 Sonics.
Justin Kraemer Photography

Story last updated by Patricia Murphy on October 15, 2012 at 3:13 p.m.

The Sodo arena plan has had a few twists and turns.  After first being unveiled in February, it was later altered by the Seattle City Council and more recently by the King County Council.

The latest iteration is scheduled to be voted on by the whole King County and Seattle City councils.

Here’s an outline of how it works:

Ballots go out in Washington and Oregon at the end of the week of October 15. Last minute money is pouring into the ballot fight over same–sex marriage in Washington. Those dollars are buying television ads on both sides of the issue. So what claims are the campaigns making? Olympia Correspondent Austin Jenkins takes a closer look.

Flickr/Bellevue Fine Art Repro

Applications are now available to serve on Seattle’s new, court-ordered Community Police Commission. This citizen oversight board is part of the city’s agreement with the Department of Justice about police reforms.

This is not exactly a new idea. Seattle’s created civilian panels in the past to monitor police and propose changes. But City Council Member Nick Licata says this new one has a key difference.

Oregon's pot law allows up to four pot plants per home.
AP Photo/Ted S. Warren

A new study by Marijuana Arrest Research Project says more than 240,000 people in Washington have been arrested for marijuana possession over the past 25 years, and that those arrested are disproportionally Black, Latino and Native American.

Hillsborough County Jail

Seattle Public Schools’ attorney says the district will likely only get a $280,000 insurance settlement after the $3.1 million financial scandal involving former district official Silas Potter.

(Photo/City of Kent)

The Mayor of Kent, Washington is proposing another round of layoffs and new taxes to bridge a $2 million budget shortfall. Mayor Suzette Cooke presented her 2013-2014 budget to the City Council Tuesday. In her opening speech, Mayor Cooke called her budget “as ugly as the economic times we face.”

Sodo stadiums century link safeco
Flickr Photo/SDOT Photos (CC BY NC 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/bZhk8f

The full King County Council is expected to vote on the latest Sodo arena plan next week, following some adjustments made by the council’s budget committee Tuesday.

Committee chairman Joe McDermott said the adjustments included that language that requires
improving pedestrian access to the new Sodo arena. “It could be anywhere from sidewalks to an overpass or underpass somewhere.  I want to underscore that those kinds of pedestrian improvement also assist in freight mobility,” he said.

Harriet Baskas, courtesy of Seattle Museum of Communications

The 1962 Seattle World's Fair introduced technological innovations that seemed out of reach at the time, but would eventually become a part of every day life.  Some of the ground breaking gadgets unveiled included a pager, a cordless phone and something called a computer.

Flickr photo/Washington Department of Natural Resources

Dryer than normal conditions prompted Washington Governor Chris Gregoire to declare a state of emergency and extend a ban on outdoor fires. Outdoor burning is banned in all counties until October 15. The state is experiencing a rare stretch of dry weather.

Wikipedia/public domain

The University of Washington is a respected institution of higher learning, serving more than 92,000 students on campuses in Seattle, Bothell and Tacoma. But it didn’t quite start out this way; in its first 25 years, the school went broke and even shut down for a brief time. It barely had enough students and faculty to fill a large room.

Randy Dorn
(AP Photo/John Froschauer, File)

Washington Superintendent of Public Instruction Randy Dorn has asked for an additional $4.1 billion for basic education in his biennial budget proposal, a 39 percent increase compared to the current budget. Dorn says that’s what it’ll take for the state Legislature to fulfill its constitutional duty to fully fund K-12 education.

KUOW Photo/Liz Jones

People who ride the bus around Seattle are adjusting to major service changes this week. One huge shift is the end of the ride-free zone downtown.

In its place, the city’s paying for a free shuttle to help low-income people get around.  It runs in a loop downtown Seattle to seven stops near services for homeless and low-income people.

Derek Mitchell got on after his appointment at the WorkSource employment office. “It’s convenient," he says. "It’s very comfortable — a little lightweight jazz in the background. I love it.”

City of Tacoma website

Tacoma officials are proposing slashing 217 city jobs over the next two years in order to bridge a looming budget gap of $63 million.

The police and fire departments would both lose 27 officers and two support staff. Other layoffs would result from the restructuring of several city departments.

Flickr Photo/Pylon757

Negotiators for the Boeing Company and its engineering and technical union are back at the negotiating table today. That’s after union members soundly rejected the company’s latest contract offer.

More than 21,000 members of SPEEA, the Society For Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace, voted by mail on the company’s contract proposal. When the votes were counted last night, 96 percent of engineers and 97 percent of technical workers had voted ‘no.’

Wikipedia photo/unknown

For most of the 20th century, luxury travel meant train travel. And if you were lucky enough to afford it, you spent the night in a private Pullman sleeping car.

Washington state is heading south in its quest to recover the largest ethics fine in state history. As KUOW reported this spring, a former Evergreen State College professor has evaded efforts to collect the $120,000 fine against him.

But the state hasn't given up just because Jorge Gilbert has moved to South America.

Religion Not A Factor In Latino Politics

Sep 28, 2012
Pablo Monroy
N3 Photo/Florangela Davila

Religion is one of the most defining characteristics of Latino culture. But pollsters say it plays virtually no role n how they vote. And for two Mexican–American siblings, faith shapes their lives but not their politics.

I learn a lot about Marielena Hernandez just by where she wants to meet for an interview.

Marielena is 21 years old and she greets me while holding her infant daughter Nicole at her childhood home, in Pasco, in Eastern Washington where her parents still live.

We head to Marielena’s favorite place – the kitchen – where her mom is cooking.

KUOW Photo/John Ryan

Editors' Note: This story contains graphic descriptions of suicide. If you or someone you know might be suicidal, visit the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline or call 800.273.8255 (800.273.TALK).

Western State Hospital in Lakewood is the largest psychiatric institution in the Pacific Northwest. Its mission statement says the hospital:

Megan Templeton sitting outside
Suzanne Kuhns

Editors' Note: This story contains graphic descriptions of suicide. If you or someone you know might be suicidal, visit the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline or call 800.273.8255 (800.273.TALK).

In the past decade, a dozen Western State Hospital patients have killed themselves. More than a hundred others have tried.  Megan Templeton was the most recent. In April, she hanged herself in her hospital room. She had turned 20 the day before.

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