News

Past Wars' Casualties
7:30 am
Tue April 1, 2014

Pentagon Reorganizing How It Brings Home America's War Dead

The Central Identification Laboratory of the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command in Honolulu, Hawaii. The Pentagon announced that it will overhaul how the organization finds, identifies and returns the remains of thousands of service members lost in past wars.
Elyse Butler for NPR

Originally published on Tue April 1, 2014 5:23 am

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel announced an overhaul Monday of the agencies responsible for finding, identifying, and returning the remains of servicemen lost in past wars.

The Pentagon spends more than $100 million a year on the effort, but last year only identified 60 of the more than 80,000 missing.

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Radioactive Waste
7:14 am
Tue April 1, 2014

Washington State Tells Feds Hanford Cleanup Must Go Faster

File photo. Construction of Hanford's waste treatment plant is way behind schedule.
Anna King Northwest News Network

Originally published on Mon March 31, 2014 5:52 pm

Washington Governor Jay Inslee and state Attorney General Bob Ferguson complained Monday that the federal government will likely miss major deadlines for cleanup at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation.

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Natural Gas
7:13 am
Tue April 1, 2014

Washington State To Investigate Explosion At LNG Plant

Google Earth view of the liquefied natural gas storage facility in Plymouth, Wash.
Credit Google Earth

State and federal pipeline safety investigators have been dispatched to the site of an explosion and fire at the Williams Northwest Pipeline liquefied natural gas facility in Plymouth, Wash.

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Open Enrollment Ending
7:10 am
Tue April 1, 2014

HealthCare.Gov Woes Frustrate Last-Minute Shoppers And Helpers

Loretha Cager talks with an applicant at MNSure's call center in St. Paul, Minn., Monday. Monday was the open enrollment deadline for signing up for insurance under the Affordable Care Act.
Ann Heisenfelt AP

Originally published on Tue April 1, 2014 12:30 pm

Last-minute health insurance shoppers turned up in record numbers Monday, both online and in person at clinics, county health departments and libraries. They were there to sign up for Obamacare on the last official day of open enrollment.

Public radio reporters checked out the scene in Ohio, Pennsylvania and Houston — three of the 36 states that are using HealthCare.gov — as well as in Minnesota, which has one of the most troubled state-run marketplaces.

Congested In Cleveland

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EarthFix Reports
7:01 am
Tue April 1, 2014

Court Orders Agencies To Consider Fewer Hatchery Fish For The Elwha

In this 2011 photo, Lower Elwha Hatchery Manager Larry Ward feeds the steelhead and coho that are being raised in a hatchery for introduction to the Elwha.
Katie Campbell

Originally published on Mon March 31, 2014 5:28 pm

A judge has ordered federal agencies to reconsider the number of planned hatchery fish releases into the Elwha River on Washington's Olympic Peninsula

As crews finish the largest dam removal in history on the Elwha, managers are working to restore fish runs above the dam sites. Their plan includes releasing more than 7 million hatchery salmon and steelhead into the river.

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Natural Gas
2:13 pm
Mon March 31, 2014

Explosion At LNG Plant Leads To Evacuations

Smoke rises from the Williams Co. liquid natural gas plant near Plymouth, Wash., on Monday after an explosion at the site. The photo is taken from Umatilla.
Credit Contributed Photo/The East Oregonian

PLYMOUTH, Wash. (AP) — Authorities say four workers were injured and about 200 residents were evacuated after a large explosion and fire Monday morning at a natural gas processing plant in the eastern Washington town of Plymouth.

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Costly Coverage
12:55 pm
Mon March 31, 2014

Federal Disaster Declaration Could Bring Relief To Oso Homeowners Without Landslide Insurance

Governor Jay Inslee signs the request for a Major Disaster Declaration for the Oso mudslide.
Flickr Photo/GovInslee (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Washington Governor Jay Inslee Monday filed a formal request for a federal disaster declaration. If this is granted, it means the survivors of the massive landslide near Oso, Washington, would be eligible for federal assistance. Many of them will be counting on that since they don’t have landslide insurance.

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Healing Ritual
8:59 am
Mon March 31, 2014

The Last Curandera: A Generation Of Immigrants Says Goodbye To An Old Tradition

Esther Davilla's daughter, Maria Ortiz, receives a cleansing ritual from her mother where a collection of herbs and an uncooked egg are dipped in Orange Blossom fragrance and dragged across her forehead, arms and legs.
Credit KUOW Photo/Alisa Reznick

Skagit Valley is home to thousands of Mexican immigrants. Many make their livings working as farmhands. They've brought with them some of their traditions from their homeland. But as the years pass and younger generations move in, some of those traditions die off. One Mexican family in Burlington is trying to keep an old ritual alive.

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Oso Mudslide
7:59 am
Mon March 31, 2014

One Week Later, Prayers For Landslide Victims And Stories Of Survival

Isaac Hall (center) was one of the first on the scene after the devastating March 22nd landslide near Oso, Wash.
KUOW Photo/Kara McDermott

One week after a massive landslide wiped out the community of Oso, Wash., community members gathered at Darrington's First Baptist Church on Sunday to pray and tell stories of survival.

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Oso Devastation
6:52 pm
Sun March 30, 2014

Gov. Inslee: 'We're Providing Every Opportunity To Find That Miracle'

A young boy attends a Sunday church service at the First Baptist Church in Darrington, Wash., a week after the devastating Oso mudslide.
Credit KUOW Photo/Kara McDermott

As the local community held Sunday church services a week after the devastating Oso mudslide, searchers continued their work in the sodden destruction zone.

The Snohomish County Medical Examiner confirmed on Sunday evening that 21 people have died in the mudslide. Of these, only 15 have been officially identified.

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EarthFix Reports
6:06 pm
Sun March 30, 2014

U.S.-China Talks On Shellfish Ban Lead To New Testing For Contaminants

A geoduck clam from Puget Sound. China's ban on importing such shellfish remains in place, but recent U.S.-China talks have led to plans for a new testing protocol to ensure food safety.
Katie Campbell

Originally published on Mon March 31, 2014 9:15 am

U.S. officials say they will develop a new testing protocol to detect certain contaminants in shellfish, following their meeting with the Chinese government to discuss an end to that country's ban on importing shellfish from most of the U.S. West Coast.

U.S. officials said during a briefing with reporters Friday that the Chinese are satisfied with U.S. testing methods for paralytic shellfish poisoning but they’re still concerned about arsenic. High concentrations of inorganic arsenic, a carcinogen, were found in the skin of geoduck harvested near Tacoma, Wash., last fall.

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Landslide Damage
4:05 pm
Sun March 30, 2014

The Landslide Statistic Everyone's Using Is From 1985

Aerial photo of the mudslide in Snohomish County, Wash.
Office of the Governor Flickr

Originally published on Fri March 28, 2014 6:24 pm

The massive landslide in Oso, Wash., has shined a national spotlight on the damage this kind of natural disaster can cause.

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Oso Tragedy
8:38 am
Sat March 29, 2014

Landslide Death Toll Rises, Number Of Missing Drops

Dog rescued from mudslide debris on March 25, 2014.
Flickr Photo/Snohomish County

The death toll has risen to 18 following the devastating landslide near Oso, Washington. One bright spot: The number of people missing has fallen dramatically. It's now down to 30. 

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Oso Mudslide
11:11 am
Fri March 28, 2014

Clear-Cut Crossed Into No-Logging Zone In Oso

Washington Department of Natural Resources image shows 2005 clear-cut (near dotted purple line) extending into no-logging zone (marked with yellow line) at site of Oso landslide.
Credit Washington Department of Natural Resources

KUOW's John Ryan talks with host Ross Reynolds about his report.

State officials say they didn't approve clear-cutting inside a no-logging zone directly above Saturday's deadly landslide that struck the town of Oso. But aerial photos show a clear-cut extending into the zone where a loss of trees would heighten the risk of landslides.

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Oso Tragedy
10:09 am
Fri March 28, 2014

A Hard Day Ahead For Search Operations In The Mudslide

Search and rescue workers on the west side of slide.
Flickr Photo/GovInslee (National Guard) (CC-BY-NC-ND)

With 100 percent chance of rain in the forecast for Friday, Snohomish County Fire District 21 Chief Travis Hots held a brief conference in the morning to update on the progress of the Oso mudslide.

Hots said the rain makes the efforts of the workers in the debris field, now in their seventh day of search operations, slow and complicated. “We’ve got a hard day ahead of us,” Hots said.

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