Joshua McNichols | KUOW News and Information

Joshua McNichols

Reporter

Year started with KUOW: 2007

Joshua has been the "growing pains" reporter since 2015, documenting the region's growth and change. 

Joshua “took the long way” to radio, working in architecture firms for over a decade before pursuing his passion for public radio in 2007.

By "long way," he means he's also been a writer, bicycle courier, commercial fisherman, bed-and-breakfast cook, carpenter, landscaper and stained glass salesman. He’s detailed animal enclosures to prevent jaguars from escaping the Miami Zoo. Once, while managing a construction site in Athens, Greece, he was given a noogie by an Albanian civil war refugee in his employ. “You do not tell those guys how to place stucco,” he said.

All of which has no doubt made him the story-teller he is today.  

Ways to Connect

KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

You probably know there’s going to be a big Sound Transit package on the ballot next fall. On Friday, Sound Transit released cost studies examining all the different routes being considered.

Eliza Hinkes of Seattle says her cat had a bad experience in I-5 traffic. 'We've never tried to drive him anywhere again.'
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

If you think Seattle has some of the worst traffic in the nation, you’re right. A new traffic study  by the American Highway Users Alliance shows that the spot where Interstate 5 passes through downtown is the 17th-worst traffic bottleneck in the country.

Shabana Khan stands in front of a painting at Pro Sports, Bellevue, that depicts members of her family playing squash. (Shabana is the one in blue, while her brother Azam is in the center of the painting at her left).
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

The world championships for squash are in Bellevue this week -- and it's all thanks to one family. 

Azam Khan, one of the organizers, learned the sport from his dad. His dad grew up working at British squash courts in Pakistan and India. He was one of many boys who fetched stray balls for British officers. But the boys had a secret.

Timothy McCall works in WSDOT's new $17.3 million Northwest Region Transportation Management Center in Shoreline.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

Washington has a new Transportation Management Center in Shoreline. That’s the nerve center where engineers help resolve traffic problems.

Before officials showed me the new center, they showed me the building they used to work out of. It looks like an underground missile control bunker from the Cold War era.

Mayor Ed Murray at the Move Seattle levy party Tuesday night.
KUOW Photo/Kate O'Connell

Seattle Department of Transportation director Scott Kubly had already bought a couple pitchers of beer for his staff and friends at the Belltown Pub when the news came in Tuesday night.

The $930 million Move Seattle levy for transportation projects was solidly ahead in the first election returns.

Doris O'Neal of the YWCA
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

Leaders of Seattle and King County declared a state of civil emergency this week – not due to an earthquake or a mudslide, but because of homelessness.

Yu Deng and her coworker lead moms in exercise at Bellevue's Downtown Park
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

Four Bellevue City Council members are up for election this fall.

The election comes at a time when Bellevue is going through many changes. Downtown is growing, and with light rail on the way, that growth will expand northeast toward Microsoft.

Afghan school girls are treated at a hospital after an earthquake in Takhar province, northeast of Kabul, Afghanistan, Monday, Oct. 26, 2015. At least 12 students at a girls' school were killed in a stampede as they fled the shaking building.
AP Photo/Zalmai Ashna

Seattle’s small community of Afghan refugees is still feeling emotional aftershocks following Monday’s earthquake.

The epicenter of the magnitude 7.5 quake was in northern Afghanistan.

Monica Sweet says cheaper asphalt sidewalks would be a good thing for neighborhoods that have been waiting decades for sidewalks.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray wants to loosen up the city’s standards for sidewalks by building them cheaper and faster. That would let money earmarked for sidewalks in the Move Seattle levy stretch much further.

Darrell Merriweather on a stretch of his route from the bus stop to the senior housing where he lives.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

It’s a sunny afternoon on Aurora Avenue North, at the far northern edge of the city. A RapidRide bus pulls up and drops off a couple of guys in wheelchairs.

One of them is Darrell Merriweather. As he scoots along the road shoulder, only a thin line separates him from cars traveling much faster. He tells me what it’s like getting from his bus stop on Aurora to the senior housing where he lives: “The sidewalk is torn up. Infrastructure, man – they need to improve this infrastructure.”

Drivers wait to cross Mercer Street
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

It’s rush hour on Mercer Street, in Seattle’s South Lake Union neighborhood. Tech workers are getting off work. Lauren Wheeler and Sande Ditt just finished an after-work jog – when I flag them down and ask them to share their traffic horror stories.

“On Mercer?” asks Ditt. At times, she says, “I’ve probably been here at least 45 minutes just trying to get on the freeway.”

Captain Dave Stauffer of Island Tug and Barge steers a cleaner tugboat these days. No longer is the Duwamish river tracked with exhaust from tugboats leaving behind diesel. Still, problems remain with the health of the people who live nearby.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

Tugboat captain Dave Stauffer used to reek of diesel.

“It’s just the smell of a boat,” Stauffer says. “Just like standing by a fire, you’re going to get some of that smoke on your clothes.”

Stauffer’s wife also grew used to the smell. “She’d say, ‘That’s the smell of money,’” he says.

Michael Mattmiller in one of Seattle's secret data centers. He says data helps government work better, but he's trying to cut back a bit and disseminate a uniform data privacy policy across all city departments.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

Somewhere in an office tower in downtown Seattle is a floor filled with data servers. Some of that data is about you. You might show up in a traffic camera video. Your personal information might show up in a utility bill.

Seattle collects a lot of such data. But data can be hacked and information can be misused. That’s why the city’s rethinking how and when it collects your personal data.

The Ballard Urban Rest Stop is having an open house from 4 to 6 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 1, 2015.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

Mark Trimmer is happy: He’s finally got someplace to wash himself besides the Ballard Library.

That place is the new Urban Rest Stop, opening this month in Ballard. It’s a place for people living on the streets to wash their clothes and take a shower.

Mai Nguyen from Vietnam leads the Shoreline Community College Ukulele Club in a song.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

Seattle-area community college students are planning a vigil this week to remember the five international students who lost their lives on the Aurora Bridge. That’s just one example of how students here help each other. Foreign students are thousands of miles away from their families, but they’re not alone.

A woman is taken to an ambulance on the Aurora Bridge after the crash Thursday.
KUOW photo/Liz Jones

They came to Seattle from around the world: Austria, China, Indonesia and Japan. 

They died on the Aurora Bridge on Thursday.

They were mourned at North Seattle College on Friday, where some students said they were frightened by the collision between a large tourist vehicle known as “the Duck” and a bus.

North Seattle College international students Max Putera and Jeffrey Tung.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

Monday will be the first day of school for North Seattle College. The students in the international program will have a lot more than school on their minds. They’ll be thinking about the four students who died in a bus crash on the Aurora bridge Thursday.

An injured person is taken from the scene of the Aurora Bridge bus crash on Sept. 24, 2015
KUOW photo/Liz Jones

UPDATE, 3;10 p.m.: A duck amphibious tour vehicle swerved into a charter bus carrying international students on the Aurora Bridge Thursday. At least four people died and dozens were injured, emergency officials said.

At least 44 people were taken to hospitals.

Demonstrator Alice Tsai takes a photo of the police blocking her group from accessing the Westin Hotel, where Chinese President Xi Jinping is staying.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

Protesters have been trying to get so close to Chinese President Xi Jinping in Seattle that he can hear their chants. But they’re having a hard time.

Architect Rico Quirindongo.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

The Seattle Waterfront is going to change dramatically when the Alaskan Way Viaduct comes down. So what’s going to happen to all the low-income people who hang out on the waterfront now? That’s one of the questions being asked at a public symposium Thursday afternoon about designing an equitable waterfront. It’s part of the Seattle Design Festival.

Thornton Place Apartments in Seattle's Northgate neighborhood has 56 apartments (out of 278) set aside for low wage earners. In exchange for keeping rents for those units low for 12 years, the developer got a tax break.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

When it comes to creating affordable housing, Seattle voters can thank themselves.

Most rent-controlled units built in the last 30 years have relied on a property tax, Seattle's affordable housing levy, first approved by Seattleites in the early 1980s. That's when federal money for affordable housing was cut dramatically under President Ronald Reagan.

Cousins Tiara Jinka and Tiana Jordan can't afford to live in Seattle.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

It’s a tall order: Get skeptical private developers to help build 20,000 units of affordable housing in Seattle in the next 10 years.

Some of them say Mayor Ed Murray’s “grand bargain” doesn’t pencil out, at least as currently envisioned in the city’s new housing plan.

Experts testify before a U.S. Senate hearing on wildfires. The hearing was held at Seattle University.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

Senator Maria Cantwell is trying to build bipartisan support for what she’s calling the Wildfire Management Act of 2015. The bill would change the way we fight fires and secure more dependable funds for fire prevention. At a public hearing this week, she heard testimony from fire experts. 

The 73 currently runs from north Seattle to downtown via the U-District. Under the new plan, riders will have to transfer to light rail to get downtown, which can't get snarled in traffic. Some buses will still go downtown during peak periods.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

It used to be if you wanted to take the bus across town in Seattle, you often had to ride all the way downtown first. But now light rail does some of that heavy lifting, getting people from north to south. And next spring two more light rail stations are opening at Capitol Hill and Husky Stadium.

Under its new plan for rebuilding the bus system in northeast Seattle, Metro isn't going to waste so much time now fighting traffic to get downtown.

Liban Ahmed handles baggage at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. He says he'll use the extra money to buy a car, save for college and visit his mom in Mogadishu, who he has not seen in 15 years.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

About 4,700 workers at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport are about to get a big raise. The Washington Supreme Court has ruled that the city of SeaTac’s $15 an hour minimum wage applies to airport employees.

Zackery Lystedt sustained a permanent brain injury as a result of a football concussion he shook off at age 13. That was almost 10 years ago. Today, he's a spokesperson for concussion safety and the inspiration for the new UW institute.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

Concussions are a big topic in sports these days. This year, the NFL has new rules that will let medical staff stop the game if they think they see a head injury. Now, the National Football League has given $2.5 million so the University of Washington can start up a new institute to study concussions.

Phyllis Porter is a neighborhood activist who lobbied long and hard to get Rainier Avenue S on a "road diet."
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

People have called Rainier Avenue Seattle’s most dangerous street. There’s at least one accident every day. Pedestrians have died. But that could change soon.

This photo, taken last fall, is an indicator of things to come, according to scientists. The warm blob of water off the coast has conspired with low precipitation to amplify problems in Puget Sound. The result: more jellyfish.
Courtesy of Eyes Over Puget Sound, Washington Department of Ecology

Puget Sound is going through a lot of changes. And a trend we reported on earlier this year has accelerated: Salmon are losing while jellyfish are winning.

Car camper Jennifer Smith prepares for her move to a woman's shelter. She's one of several homeless men and women who were asked to leave the area near Gasworks Park.  Her RV will be parked safely in a church parking lot in Lake City.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

Danny Fletcher lives in a motor home on North Northlake Way near Gas Works Park. He says he feels safer in that than he does sleeping in a shelter.

“It’s more comfy, I have a bedroom, I’ve got a kitchen, I have a living room, and it’s all separate rooms," Fletcher said. "It’s an actual house for me, you know?”

But neighbors have been complaining about campers like this.

Eagle Scout Liam Easton-Calabria from Ballard, Seattle: 'it just made me pretty upset to learn that I wouldn’t be able to do what my dad was doing.'
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

Boy Scouts and their families in the Seattle area are celebrating this week’s national decision to allow gay scout leaders. But not all local troops will be implementing the changes. 

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