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Burien Mayor Jimmy Matta on election night 2017, when he first was elected to City Council.
KUOW Photo/Liz Jones

The new mayor of Burien is a former farm-worker and labor organizer and will be the city's first Latino mayor. He was elevated to mayor by his City Council colleagues on Monday.

He won in a 4-1 vote (with two council members abstaining).

Seattle Mariners former designated hitter Edgar Martinez speaks at a news conference announcing the retirement by the team of his jersey number 11, Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2017, in Seattle.
AP Photo/Elaine Thompson

Kim Malcolm talks with Seattle Times columnist Larry Stone about whether Edgar Martinez is likely to be voted into Major League Baseball's Hall of Fame. Martinez played his entire 18-year career with the Seattle Mariners, retiring in 2004.

Yet another building with 400 offices, first-floor retail space, and underground parking is going up in Seattle’s South Lake Union.

One of the primary ingredients for the building is concrete. As each concrete truck empties its contents into the site, a new one pulls up: that’s a truckload of concrete every five minutes.

As the Pacific Northwest booms, it’s using a lot of concrete to build buildings, roads and other infrastructure — and making all that concrete is a big part of our carbon footprint.

Ash Grove Cement Company is shown on Tuesday, December 12, 2017, in Seattle.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Yet another building with 400 offices, first-floor retail space, and underground parking is going up in Seattle’s South Lake Union.

One of the primary ingredients for the building is concrete. As each concrete truck empties its contents into the site, a new one pulls up: that’s a truckload of concrete every five minutes.

The Washington state House Environment Committee hosted public hearings Tuesday on two bills that would restrict a class of chemicals found in everything from firefighting retardant to food wrappers.

Perflourinated (PFAS) chemicals have been linked to numerous health problems, from endocrine disruption to cancer.

In Olympia, state lawmakers are considering stronger protections for the critically endangered population of resident killer whales.

Hillsboro-based SolarWorld is hiring back workers and planning to ramp up its production now that President Donald Trump has approved a 30 percent tariff on imported solar panels.

"My administration is committed to defending American companies," President Trump said before signing a proclamation of import duties on Tuesday, "and they’ve been very badly hurt from harmful import surges that threaten the livelihood of their workers."

A 7.9 earthquake off the coast of Alaska triggered a tsunami watch that stretched from Washington to California early Tuesday morning. But many coastal residents slumbered right through it.

That’s because it was a watch—not a warning—which would have triggered outdoor sirens up and down the coast.

The landslide on Rattlesnake Ridge outside of Yakima, Washington, is turning into a slow grind. The land is moving at a constant 1.7 feet per week.

Tsunami Watch Tests Readiness Along Oregon Coast

Jan 23, 2018

Emergency management officials along the Oregon and Washington coasts woke up to a tsunami watch Tuesday morning, prompted by a magnitude 7.9 earthquake off the coast of Alaska.

The watch was later downgraded when the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration determined a small tsunami observed in Alaska posed no threat to coastal communities in the Pacific Northwest, but local emergency response protocols were still put to the test.

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

Kim Malcolm talks with Crosscut reporter David Kroman about his investigation into the work culture at the city of Seattle's Human Resources department.

Pedestrians cross Pike Street in front of the Convention Center on Tuesday, December 12, 2017, in Seattle.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

You might think that before a massive project like the convention center expansion is approved, Seattle would decide how the city’s ambitious climate change goals might be affected.

You’d be wrong.


Trump Approves 30 Percent Tariff On Imported Solar Panels

Jan 22, 2018

President Trump has approved a 30 percent tariff on imported solar panels in a decision that could both help and hurt the U.S. solar industry.

The tariff approval, announced Monday by a U.S. trade representative, is expected to help U.S. solar manufacturers including Hillsboro-based SolarWorld — but many argue it will hurt the rest of the U.S. solar industry by raising the price of solar panels.

When Team USA marches into a South Korean stadium for the Winter Olympics opening and closing ceremonies next month, they'll be swathed in Northwest wool. Team sponsor Ralph Lauren used wool from an Oregon ranch for the patriotic sweaters, mittens and hats.

Hundreds Rally In Olympia To Protest Reproductive Rights Bills

Jan 22, 2018

Hundreds of abortion rights opponents gathered in the rain at the Washington state Capitol Monday. They were there to protest a number of efforts by lawmakers to expand access to reproductive health services, including one bill that would require health insurers who cover maternity care to also cover abortions.

Young smokers in Washington state may have trouble getting a pack of cigarettes in the near future. State lawmakers are considering raising the minimum age to buy tobacco and vapor products from 18 to 21.

Momentum may be building to repeal the death penalty in Washington state. The Senate Law & Justice Committee is expected to pass a repeal measure—something that hasn’t happened in modern times. That follows an impassioned public hearing Monday.

Screenshot TV-W

Immigrants without legal status are not eligible for government healthcare plans, like Medicaid.

More than a dozen Washington lawmakers want to create a program to cover some of these immigrants' reproductive healthcare needs, including abortion, birth control and family planning.

Farmers, cities, and conservationists rely on melting snow to water their crops, feed their aquifers, and fill streams and rivers for fish. But, usually, no one has any idea how much snowpack--and, thus, snowmelt--to expect until it’s too late.

“It’s important for farmers to understand what can they plant, and when should they plant?” NOAA scientist Sarah Kapnick explained when I caught her on the phone just before the government shutdown went into effect for her agency. “It also matters for people that are really interested in fisheries.”

In the wake of the Oso landslide and the current situation unfolding at Rattlesnake Ridge, Washington state public lands commissioner Hilary Franz is asking the Legislature for more time to review proposals from timber companies to log potentially unstable slopes.

Visitors To Mount Rainier Find National Park Mostly Closed

Jan 21, 2018

When Elizabeth and David Krout of Seattle woke up Saturday morning at Mount Rainier National Park, they were excited to have a weekend of snowshoeing ahead of them.

They had arrived at the park on Friday afternoon, and since they had no cellphone service there, they didn’t receive any messages—including news that the U.S. government partially shut down late that evening.

Christopher Paul Jordan poses for a portrait in front of a wall of spray paint cans on Wednesday, January 17, 2018, at his studio in Tacoma.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

2017 was a banner year for artist Christopher Paul Jordan.

It started with Jordan curating an exhibition of work by African American artists titled "Colored 2017." Mid-summer, Jordan’s temporary installation "Latent Home Zero" was on display at Seattle Art Museum’s Olympic Sculpture Park. The  year ended with him winning the prestigious Neddy Award for painting, along with a $25,000 prize.

The prosecutor of Washington’s most populous county is calling for the repeal of the death penalty. King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg plans to testify Monday in favor of a proposal to replace capital punishment with life without the possibility of parole. 


Raven Healing sings with Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women of Washington group members during the Women's March on Saturday, January 20, 2018, on Pine St., in Seattle.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Tens of thousands of people took to Seattle streets Saturday for the Women's March 2.0. A stream of demonstrators was already heading towards central Seattle at 9 a.m., an hour before the scheduled start.

Flickr Photo/Tony Swartz (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Kim Malcolm talks with Olympia correspondent Austin Jenkins about the outcome of public records lawsuit against the Washington Legislature.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee Friday signed the state’s long-awaited $4.3 billion construction budget.

The U.S. Forest Service gave an update on the conditions of Columbia River Gorge trails Friday, indicating that some of the most damaged trails "may take several years to reopen."

Forest Service employees and volunteers have been working since the fall to assess damage from the Eagle Creek Fire to more than 20 miles of trails.

"Crews found a range of conditions from low burn severity to treacherous sections where washouts, landslides, and heavily burned conditions make trails hard to follow," a press release from the agency stated.

Uncertainty reigns about which federal public lands will be open and which closed if the congressional budget standoff leads to a partial government shutdown Friday night.

After huge cracks appeared on Rattlesnake Ridge last year, geologists expect a landslide is coming at the mountain near Yakima, Washington. But they are having a hard time nailing down just when it will go.

File photo
Flickr Photo/Modes Rodríguez (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)https://flic.kr/p/jqyZJE

At the end of 2017, we posed a question to KUOW listeners on Facebook: Have you experienced increased anxiety or depression this year due to world events and stories in the news?

The responses poured in.

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