News

Mountain Safety Training
5:18 pm
Tue June 4, 2013

Ranger's Death During Mt. Rainier Rescue Sparks Changes

Ranger Nick Hall, who died on Mount Rainier June 21, 2012.
Courtesy of the National Park Service

The National Park Service said Tuesday it is increasing safety training and altering some rescue techniques in the wake of the death of ranger Nick Hall on Mt. Rainier last June.

Park Service officials made the recommendations following a report released Tuesday, detailing the incident. As a result of the review, they said the Park Service would begin favoring a technique that puts the ranger on a wire dangling from a helicopter, instead of on the ground battling a rescue litter.

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Threatened Plant Species
10:45 am
Tue June 4, 2013

White Bluffs Bladderpod Brouhaha In Southeast Washington

Anna King Northwest News Network

Originally published on Fri May 31, 2013 7:50 am

An ankle-high plant with a funny name is stirring up controversy in southeast Washington. The federal government is considering whether to list a yellow-flowering plant known as the White Bluffs Bladderpod as a threatened species. Landowners worry the listing could curtail farming.

I’m out on the edge of a ridiculously steep precipice on the Hanford Reach National Monument – it’s a swath of protected federal ground. This spot overlooks old nuclear reactors just across the brimming Columbia River.

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Jailtime Skype
10:44 am
Tue June 4, 2013

Inmates' Families Say They're The Ones Punished By Switch To Video Visits

Jessica Robinson Northwest News Network

Originally published on Mon June 17, 2013 4:32 pm

Even if you've never visited a jail, you probably have a pretty clear image of what inmate visitation is like – a shatterproof glass barrier, two people sitting on either side, speaking into telephones.

But that's changing in some parts of the Northwest. More and more county jails are switching to privately operated video conferencing systems. Sort of like Skype, for inmates. But these systems have technical difficulties and come with costs for the inmates’ families.

Delayed visits

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Aging Bridge Concerns
8:58 am
Tue June 4, 2013

King County Plans To Close Kent Bridge Earlier Than Scheduled

King County Executive Dow Constantine (left) accompanies inspectors during a recent review of the Alvord T. Bridge
King County

Correction 6/4/2013: A previous version of this story had a typographical error. The bridge is scheduled to be closed June 5, not June 6.

King County plans to close an old bridge near Kent earlier than originally scheduled, officials said Monday.

The Alvord T. Bridge is both structurally deficient and functionally obsolete. It’s the first such closure since last month’s I-5 bridge collapse in Skagit County.

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DNA Testing
8:52 am
Tue June 4, 2013

Supreme Court Decision Revives Washington State Debate Over DNA Collection

US Supreme Court Building
flickr/afagen

A legislator in Washington state says she will revive a bill that would make it easier for police to collect DNA samples. That’s in the wake of a US Supreme Court ruling Monday. The five-to-four ruling upheld a Maryland law that allows police to collect DNA samples at the time of arrest from people who are charged with certain violent crimes or sex offenses.

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Crime
5:11 pm
Mon June 3, 2013

Seattle Police Advise Vigilance After Three Apparent Child-Snatching Attempts in 24 Hours

Seattle Police are warning parents to keep their young children within sight after a rash of apparent kidnapping attempts involving 3- and 4-year-old boys.

The latest incident happened Monday morning outside Coe Elementary School in Seattle’s Queen Anne neighborhood. Seattle Police spokeswoman Renee Witt says a woman told police she had left her 4-year-old son inside her parked car while she walked her daughter to the school.

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Hospital Mergers
4:50 pm
Mon June 3, 2013

ACLU Calls For Moratorium On Washington Hospital Alliances

The ACLU is asking Governor Jay Inslee to call for a moratorium on hospital mergers and affiliations for six months.  Many of these partnerships involve faith-based health care providers. The ACLU, along with ten other local organizations, sent a letter to the governor saying they’re worried that these mergers will hurt patients in the long run.

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Building More Transit
4:02 pm
Mon June 3, 2013

New Details For Seattle Streetcar Expansion

A streetcar in South Lake Union.
Flickr Photo/Kosmosxipo

New streetcars might be running through downtown Seattle in a few years, under a plan announced Monday by Mayor Mike McGinn. The new route would be a link between the existing streetcar route in  South Lake Union, and the one under construction that will serve Capitol Hill, First Hill and Pioneer Square.

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Tax Debate
11:15 am
Mon June 3, 2013

Still No Budget Breakthrough As Washington Special Session End Approaches

Cacophony Wikimedia

Originally published on Mon June 3, 2013 5:01 am

Washington’s 30-day overtime session of the legislature ends a week from Tuesday. So far there’s no sign of a budget deal between the mostly Republican-led Senate and the Democratic House. Governor Jay Inslee is urging the two sides to pick up the pace.

House and Senate negotiators continue to meet in Olympia. But finding agreement on the next two-year budget and the policy measures to implement it remains elusive.

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Telling Whale Tales
9:21 am
Mon June 3, 2013

Taking Killer Whale Research To Pacific Northwest Classrooms

Jeff Hogan, executive director of Killer Whale Tales, has taken orca research into classrooms from Washington to California.
Ashley Ahearn Earthfix

Scientists believe that lack of food, underwater noise and pollution have contributed to the decline of Puget Sound’s iconic killer whales. One man is taking the latest orca research into classrooms around the Northwest.

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Cancer Bankruptcy
12:21 pm
Sat June 1, 2013

Seattle Woman Experiences Financial Devastation Following Cancer Diagnosis

Celeste Smith was living her dream life when this photo was taken five years ago. A month later, she was diagnosed with breast cancer. Little did she know how the disease would turn her world upside down.
Celeste Smith

June 2 is National Cancer Survivor Day. But surviving the disease is just one challenge facing cancer patients. A recent study by Seattle’s Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center showed that cancer patients are two-and-a-half times more at risk for filing bankruptcy compared to people without cancer.

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1979 NBA Finals
4:09 pm
Fri May 31, 2013

Remembering The SuperSonics World Championship

Seattle SuperSonics playing the Portland Trail Blazers circa 1978, the year before they won the NBA Championship.
Seattle Municipal Archives.

So far, attempts to bring the SuperSonics back to Seattle have fallen short. Fans might be a little down, but 34 years ago the Sonics really gave us something to cheer about.

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Entertaining Lawmakers
11:02 am
Fri May 31, 2013

Washington Lobbyists Routinely Fail To Properly Report Entertainment

Robert S. Donovan Flickr

Originally published on Thu May 30, 2013 5:50 pm

Lobbyists in Washington state routinely fail to properly report dinners out with lawmakers. And dinners over $50 in value do not always show up – as required – on lawmakers’ personal financial statements. Those are among the findings of a public radio investigation – conducted in cooperation with the Associated Press.

The 'Morton Rule'

When retired Senator Bob Morton was in the Washington legislature, he’d go out to lunch with a lobbyist. But he had a rule.

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Liquor Privatization Update
11:02 am
Fri May 31, 2013

Liquor Privatization In Washington State, One Year Later

Tom Banse Northwest News Network

Originally published on Thu May 30, 2013 5:34 pm

As of June 1, it will be one year since grocers, big box stores and other private retailers started selling liquor in Washington state. The voter approved privatization initiative has sent prices unexpectedly higher. Also, the government is collecting more tax revenue than anticipated.

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Genetically Modified Wheat
8:53 am
Fri May 31, 2013

EU, Japan, South Korea Markets React To Modified Wheat Found In Oregon

Flickr Photo/Jonny Boy

WASHINGTON (AP) — World markets are responding to this week’s discovery of genetically engineered wheat on an Oregon farm. Japan has suspended some imports of US wheat, while the European Union and South Korea will increase inspections of wheat imported from the US.

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