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Lew Zirkle, a doctor in Richland, Washington, works with thousands of surgeons all over the world to treat injuries in poor or war-ravaged countries. He will receive the U.S. Department of Defense Medal for Distinguished Public Service—the highest honor the Defense department gives to a non-career civilian—by Secretary James Mattis later this month.

Lyft, Uber Drivers May Face Fingerprint Background Checks

Feb 2, 2018

Uber and Lyft drivers may soon have to undergo tougher background checks in Washington state. Lawmakers are considering a proposal that would require drivers to pass a fingerprint background check before being allowed to operate.

Musa Sesay completes paperwork while waiting to meet with an immigration expert at McCaw Hall in Seattle on January 23, 2017.
KUOW Photo/Lisa Wang

Immigrants and refugees can get some free legal services this Saturday at the Seattle Center. For the second year, the city is hosting what it calls a “mega workshop” that aims to help more than a thousand people with citizenship applications and other immigration issues.

LaDonna Horne, center, is surrounded by family and friends during a vigil honoring her son, DaShawn Horne, on Saturday, Feb. 3, 2018, at Harborview Park in Seattle.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Family members and friends are standing watch over a 26-year-old man who King County prosecutors say was the victim of an unprovoked racist attack last month.

DaShawn Horne remains in a medically induced coma at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle.

FILE - In this July 15, 2015 file photo, an Uber driver sits in his car near the San Francisco International Airport.
AP Photo/Jeff Chiu

Traffic congestion in Seattle is getting worse.

As traffic slows, more people are hailing rides from Uber and Lyft — and that’s adding to the trouble. Now, transit agencies that once fought to regulate car sharing services are thinking it may be time to make a new deal with them.

Pedestrians cross the street at Amazon headquarters in Seattle in September.
KUOW Photo / Megan Farmer

Carbon emissions by the tech giants that dominate cloud computing are surging, even as companies like Amazon and Microsoft take steps to tame their climate impact.

The Seattle-area competitors — two of the nation’s largest electricity consumers — take different approaches to their clouds' carbon problems. One favors sunshine; the other, secrecy. Internal documents obtained by KUOW break through that secrecy.

Portland City Council closed a major loophole in regulations protecting children from exposure to lead in paint.

In a unanimous decision Thursday, the council voted to require crews to limit the spread of lead dust and asbestos when they demolish homes built before 1978.

Lead-based paint in homes is the leading cause of lead poising in the nation.

Remodeling an old home can trigger federal requirements to prevent exposure to lead paint. 

KUOW PHOTO/MEGAN FARMER

State investigators say a farm near Bellingham is not to blame for the death a worker last summer. But the owners face steep fines for other violations.

Athletic talent runs in the family on the U.S. Olympic team headed to South Korea for the 2018 Winter Games. There are three sets of siblings on this year's Olympic cross-country skiing squad—two of which have Northwest roots.

Museum curators in the Northwest are now working to update exhibits that focus on the region’s indigenous people. They are trying to do that in a way that both modernizes stories of indigenous people and tells them more truthfully. 

Right next door to the current Burke Museum at the University of Washington in Seattle is a much larger building under construction. When it’s complete, it will serve as the new state Museum of Natural History and Culture.

Starting Thursday, residents who were evacuated for the Rattlesnake Ridge landslide near Yakima, Washington, can go back home. That’s after a new study by a geology firm hired by the state said the slide could take years—or even decades—to come down.

The whales off the West Coast depend on sound to communicate, navigate and find food. So, what happens to their health when we fill their habitat with noisy ship traffic?

Amazon employee Filomeno Saya packages items at an Amazon fulfillment center on Friday, November 3, 2017, in Kent.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Amazon is now contacting its shortlist of places for its next headquarters. The company told applicants who didn’t make the cut that they’ll be considered for future investments by the company.

But a new study from the Economic Policy Institute says places that have already received Amazon investments in warehouses don’t get the growth they bargained for.

Customers shop at Amazon Go on Monday, January 22, 2018, on 7th Ave., in Seattle.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Amazon is the place where you buy stuff and then it magically appears at your front door. Or, more recently, it's the place where you go to buy a sandwich in a store and walk out without having to interact with a cashier.

There's an invisible side of all this: the cloud.


Nowadays the vast fields of grain in eastern Washington and northeastern Oregon feed the world. But once upon a time—1825 to be exact—the first crop of wheat in the Northwest was planted at Fort Vancouver.

For the rest of the 19th century, many farmers grew wheat, oats, rye and barley west of Cascades. Now, foodies, farmers and others are collaborating to revitalize the historic grain production on the wet side.

School bus drivers with Teamsters Local 174 strike on Thursday, Feb. 1, 2018, outside of the First Student bus lot on Lake City Way Northeast in Seattle.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Seattle public school bus drivers began a strike Thursday morning, and it's unclear how long the picketing will last. 

The Washington state Senate has passed a measure that would expand health insurance plans to cover birth control, including abortion.

Washington health officials penned an uncommonly stern letter to the U.S. Department of Energy this week. It details concerns over the radioactive contamination spread at a Hanford demolition site.

The five-page letter highlights six main issues the state has with the management of the demolition at the Hanford Plutonium Finishing Plant. 

Brian Allen is up to his elbows in cold, black water. He’s hanging over the side of a small boat, trying to pull in a tangle of ropes.

They’re heavy and being dragged sideways by the current. He strains against them.

Allen is a researcher with the Puget Sound Restoration Fund. He’s working within a 2.5 acre plot of open water near the mouth of Hood Canal, west of Seattle.  The area is roped off on two ends, and inside dozens of buoys bob in the low chop.

Seattle folk singer and restaurateur Ivar Haglund
Courtesy of Ivar’s

Kim Malcolm gets advice from KUOW reporter David Hyde on what seafood to order to lower your carbon footprint as a part of our series "The Burning Question: What would a climate friendly Seattle actually look like?" 

Presidential candidate Donald Trump, pictured here 2013 Conservative Political Action Conference.
Flickr Photo/Gage Skidmore (CC BY SA 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/e41ELr

Kim Malcolm talks with University of Washington law professors Lisa Manheim and Kathryn Watts about their new book, "The Limits of Presidential Power: A Citizen's Guide to the Law."

The landslide on Rattlesnake Ridge near Yakima, Washington, is likely going to be a slow one—it could take years or decades to fully come down. That’s the upshot of a new independent geology report commissioned by the state.

Oregon State University researchers have a quandary. They have a nearly-80-foot-long blue whale carcass they want to turn into an educational display…but no funds. 

The blue whale is the largest animal in existence. And the carcass that washed up near Gold Beach in 2015, may be the first one that’s been found in Oregon since the Lewis and Clark era.  OSU has kept the bones in Yaquina Bay so critters can pick its bones clean.

Flickr Photo/Third Way Think Tank (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/WFNxkD

President Donald Trump talked a lot about immigration in his State of the Union address last night. He said the immigration package in Congress right now would give a path to citizenship for Dreamers, fully secure the border, end the visa lottery and “chain migration.”


Seattle City Hall
Flickr Photo/Daniel X. O'Neil (CC-BY-NC-ND)/http://bit.ly/1OGMTuh

The #MeToo movement has reached inside the City of Seattle, with city employees speaking out about sexism, discrimination and sexual harassment in the workplace.

As first reported by Crosscut, current and former city employees have formed a group called the Seattle Silence Breakers. Their purpose is to provide support to city employees and spur change.

Radioactive waste keeps spreading at a demolition site at Hanford. This week, officials have found more contamination on a worker’s boot, on a work trailer and a personal vehicle.

Now, a rental car that’s possibly contaminated has ended up in Spokane. It’s now on a trailer headed back to the Tri-Cities for testing. 


The Capitol Rotunda is seen with the statue of George Washington on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 30, 2018, ahead of the State of the Union address by President Donald Trump.
AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais

President Trump is delivering his State of the Union address to Congress, which will be followed by a response from the Democratic Party. Journalists across the NPR newsroom will be annotating those remarks, adding fact-checks and analysis in real time. 

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee is calling on state lawmakers to “step up” and pass a carbon tax this year. The Democrat made his comments Tuesday as the midpoint of the legislative session approaches.

Far more farmed salmon escaped from a collapsed net pen in Puget Sound than was first reported, according to a just-finished state investigation that lays much of the blame on the fish farm's operator.

On Tuesday, three Washington state agencies released their investigation into what happened when the Cooke Aquaculture salmon farm collapsed last August on Cypress Island north of Anacortes. The departments of Ecology, Natural Resources, and Fish and Wildlife conducted the investigation.

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