News

Megaload Hurdles
10:23 am
Thu July 25, 2013

Shipper, Forest Service At Standoff Over 'Megaloads'

Bett Haverstick/Friends of the Clearwater. A member of the environmental group Friends of the Clearwater took this photo on July 22 at the Port of Wilma of what appear to be Omega Morgan’s 'megaload' shipments.

Originally published on Wed July 24, 2013 4:02 pm

An Oregon shipping company and the U.S. Forest Service appear to be at a standoff over whether huge pieces of oil equipment will pass through a scenic stretch of Idaho. These so-called “megaloads” are ultimately headed to the oil sands of Alberta, Canada.

The Forest Service says it can’t authorize shipments that are as wide as two lanes and the length of five semi-trailers to use a protected portion of Highway 12. At least, not without a lengthy review.

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Injured Troops
9:07 am
Thu July 25, 2013

Military Disability System Making Progress, Still Falling Short Of Goals

Sgt. Jake Koetje while on deployment to Afghanistan in 2010.
Credit Courtesy Sgt. Koetje

For soldiers who are injured or wounded, the process for determining whether they’re eligible for medical retirement is long.

Many, including the Government Accountability Office, say too long.

In a 2012 report to the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, the GAO found that soldiers at Washington’s Joint Base Lewis-McChord and other military installations were waiting nearly 400 days to get through the system.

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Immigration
2:35 pm
Wed July 24, 2013

Undocumented? A Seattle City Light Bill Could Help

Flickr Photo/Seattle Municipal Archives

The city of Seattle wants to help clear the way for some unauthorized immigrants to get a work visa. Today city officials reminded young immigrants that they can use a Seattle City Light bill to help prove their residency.

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Immigration Enforcement
11:31 am
Wed July 24, 2013

King County Pushes Back On Federal Immigration Hold Policy

A proposal in King County aims to rein in how much access federal immigration authorities have at the county jail. A council committee held its first public meeting on the measure Tuesday.

Several counties in other states have already adopted similar policies, with mixed public reaction.

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Emergency Contraception
4:28 pm
Tue July 23, 2013

Plan B Now Available In Drug Stores

The emergency contraception Plan B is now available in stores like Bartell Drugs.
Credit KUOW Photo/Ruby de Luna

The emergency contraceptive, Plan B, is now available on many drug store shelves. Last month, the  US Food and Drug Administration approved the pill for over- the-counter purchase, with no age restrictions. The pill’s availability doesn’t end the debate over controversial prescriptions in Washington state.

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Plant Species Status
10:14 am
Tue July 23, 2013

Farmers Question Science Behind Endangered Listing For Bladderpod

Anna King Northwest News Network

Originally published on Mon July 22, 2013 5:52 pm

A group of farmers in southeast Washington is trying to stop the federal government from giving endangered species protection to a rare plant. It’s called the White Bluffs bladderpod. And it grows on a narrow ribbon of federal land and farms.

A farmer group is using genetic tests to claim that the plant is not as rare as it seems.

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Negligence Claims
4:08 pm
Mon July 22, 2013

Seattle School District Faces $29 Million In Sex Abuse Liability

Seattle School District Headquarters
From Washington State Department of Ecology site.

According to a letter KUOW has obtained from Seattle Public Schools to the Washington State Auditor’s Office, the district faces $29 million in claims and settlement demands from current or former students who say they were sexually abused by a teacher or fellow student.

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Wage Disparity
2:09 pm
Mon July 22, 2013

200 Berry Pickers Resume Strike In Skagit Valley

Workers have once again walked off the job at Sakuma Brothers Farms in Burlington protesting wages.
From Sakuma Market Stands' Facebook page.

For the second time in 10 days, workers at Sakuma Brothers Farms have gone on strike. More than 200 berry pickers have walked off the job at the farm near Burlington, saying they want the farm to pay more for each box of blueberries and strawberries they harvest.

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Shooting Investigation
8:42 am
Mon July 22, 2013

King County Sheriff's Civilian Overseer "Disinvited" To Meetings

King County Sheriff John Urquhart and Charles Gaither of King County's Office of Law Enforcement Oversight.
Courtesy of King County

The King County Sheriff’s Office directly serves over half a million people in King County. Like the Seattle Police Department, the Sheriff’s Office is reforming the way it handles the use of force. The changes come in the wake of a shooting last year.

Dustin Theoharis was shot 16 times by a King County deputy and a Department of Corrections officer in Auburn in February 2012. He survived the shooting and reached a settlement for $3 million with King County.

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DUI Law
8:23 am
Mon July 22, 2013

Round-The-Clock Alcohol Monitoring Part Of New DUI Law

Originally published on Mon July 22, 2013 5:01 am

Washington’s new DUI law borrows an idea from South Dakota. Starting in January, as many as three Washington counties and two cities will pilot a 24/7 alcohol monitoring program. That could mean offenders wearing high-tech bracelets.

Ignition interlock devices are standard these days for drunk drivers. But there are ways around them. So technology to the rescue.

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Viaduct Replacement
12:09 pm
Fri July 19, 2013

Bertha To Get Send-Off Before Burrowing Below Seattle

Credit Flickr Photo/WSDOT

Very soon, a massive piece of machinery will start to burrow two miles out from Seattle. It’s building the tunnel that will replace the Alaskan way viaduct.

Tomorrow, WSDOT is hosting a big sendoff for the biggest tunneling machine in the world, affectionately named Bertha. The public is invited to check it out Saturday between 11:30 a.m. and 3:00 p.m., provided closed-toed shoes are worn.

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When Elderly Go Missing
12:00 pm
Fri July 19, 2013

Missing Person Cases Involving Dementia Challenge Police

Anacortes Police Chief Bonnie Bowers looks out on the marsh where 69-year-old William Landers' body was found.
KUOW Photo/Ruby de Luna

Memory loss is one of the symptoms of dementia. So is wandering. Over the last five years, at least 10 people in Washington state have died after wandering away from where they live. It’s a problem that communities will have to confront as the population ages. But not all police departments are prepared for these kinds of incidents.

There are different challenges when searching for people with dementia than for other missing person cases. Certain kinds of information play a key role, too. For example, when an elderly person is reported missing medical information is critical; it can mean the difference between life and death.

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Food Safety
11:28 am
Fri July 19, 2013

Home Canning Hobby Leads To Near Fatal Medical Mystery

Austin Jenkins Northwest News Network

Originally published on Wed July 24, 2013 7:17 am

Home canning is regaining popularity as part of the local food movement. If done right, families can enjoy home grown fruits, vegetables and even meat all through the winter. But if done wrong it can be devastating, if not deadly.

A lawyer for the state of Washington recently learned that lesson the hard way.

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Parched Crops
10:23 am
Fri July 19, 2013

Drought Conditions Expand Across Inland Northwest

Droughtmonitor.unl.edu.

Originally published on Thu July 18, 2013 4:19 pm

Federal agencies have expanded how much of the Northwest they think is suffering from drought.

An updated map released Thursday shows 88 percent of Idaho's territory is now categorized in moderate to severe drought. Just over half of Oregon is similarly parched. Washington state is faring better with just a sliver of land on the Idaho border classified in drought conditions.

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Increased Penalties
10:23 am
Fri July 19, 2013

Victim, Prosecutor Say New DUI Law Is Progress, But Not Enough

Austin Jenkins/ Northwest News Network. Dan Schulte, with his sister at his side, speaks at the bill signing ceremony for Washington’s new DUI law.

Originally published on Thu July 18, 2013 3:22 pm

Second-time drunk drivers in Washington will go directly to jail. They’ll also be required to get an ignition interlock device within five days.

Those are just two of the provisions in a sweeping new DUI measure signed into law Thursday. But already there are calls for even tougher penalties in the future.

The bill signing ceremony took place at a State Patrol field office. Governor Jay Inslee was flanked by police, prosecutors, lawmakers and victims.

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