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

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. 

Fire Chief James Knisley is one of two paid staffers in his fire department. Volunteers make up the rest of his crew.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

From the top of a mountain in far northeastern King County, the surrounding communities look tiny, just a couple hundred rooftops on a strip of flat land wedged between national forests.

I’m up here with Skykomish Fire Chief James Knisley, who points to U.S. 2 down on the valley floor, where the highway winds its way toward Stevens Pass.

Guards wheel Monfort from the courtroom on Wednesday. Monfort is paralyzed from the waist down.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

Closing arguments continue Thursday in the penalty phase of the trial of Christopher Monfort. Monfort ambushed two Seattle police officers in 2009, killing one of them. 

The state wants to see Monfort executed. The defense hopes Monfort gets life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Lauris Bitners, a North Capitol Hill resident who had a sign stolen from in front of his house,  is fighting back using a GoPro camera.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

Seattle’s primary election is just weeks away, and campaign signs are sprouting in people’s yards. With so much at stake in this election, you can bet some of those yard signs will get stolen.

That’s what happened to Lauris Bitners. He lives in a fancy neighborhood on North Capitol Hill. It’s not exactly ground zero for the debate on rent control. Bitners jokingly describes his neighborhood as “a bastion of white affluence.”

KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

You’d think the University District would be thriving.

It’s right next to the University of Washington, an institution that takes in around $250 million in state taxes each year and turns that into $12.5 billion in economic impact.

Yet businesses in the U-District have struggled for decades.

Joshua Curtis stands behind a foosball table.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

Westlake Park in downtown Seattle has a lot going on. Besides the café tables, the foosball tables and the park rangers, you’ll find free classes almost every day. On Monday at 10 a.m., kids will be building stomp rockets out of paper. Tuesday evening there’s a Yoga class.

But the park is better known for drug dealing than downward dog.

The new activity is part of the city’s efforts to bring more people into downtown public spaces to reclaim them for everybody.

Annette Heide-Jessen's Kaffeeklatsch coffee shop has bet on Lake City Way. A big garage door opens right onto the state highway, which doubles as Lake City's 'main street.' Heide-Jessen sees Lake City as 'the next Columbia City.'
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

North Seattle used to be a place where you could just spread out. People came up north after the great fire of 1889 to escape the crowded tinderbox of downtown Seattle. Later, others came to build malls and for many other reasons.

Tyler Reedus (right) and Joshua Thomas at the Madison Pub in District 3
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

On a map of Seattle's new City Council District 3, one street stands out. That thoroughfare slashes diagonally through the street grid like a samurai sword: East Madison Street.

Decades ago, you could take a streetcar down Madison from downtown to Lake Washington. Today though, we’ll walk.

A view of Mount Rainier from West Seattle, Seattle's new District 1.
Flickr Photo/Chas Redmond (CC by 2.0)

People in West Seattle often complain that no one comes to visit. They say this with some disbelief, because as far as they’re concerned, they live in the best part of the city – and possibly Earth. 

Seattle moms Sarah Weigle and Julia Crouch and their daughter Maya. Although married in Washington state, Crouch chose to adopt their daughter to protect her status as a parent across the U.S.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

The U.S. Supreme Court is set to rule on gay marriage this month. The high court decision could mark the end of a complicated legal era in which same-sex couples have had to jump through legal hoops to legally protect their family unit.

Nelida Martinez, one of the farmers growing their businesses at Viva Farms, a farm incubator project
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

  Strawberries, beware. Blueberries and raspberries are ripening early this year.

A warm winter has given way to a hot spring, which means berries are ripening early this year in the Pacific Northwest. That’s great for some growers in the short term – and the rest of us hankering for juicy fruit – but it’s also created competition among farmers.

KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

Bellevue College wants to partner with Washington State University to expand its slate of four year degrees. It’s a small step in a much bigger transformation.

KUOW’s Joshua McNichols has more.

Db3's Chemist Eric Winterstein measures THC content in recreational marijuana. He has two dreams: bringing science to medical marijuana, and someday enjoying a legal drink made from this mixture of alcohol and THC, a byproduct of his lab.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray says all medical marijuana dispensaries in Seattle are illegal. So he wants to shut half of them down, starting with those that opened recently and haven’t been paying taxes. Those left standing, he plans to offer legitimacy through a city license. 

KUOW’s Joshua McNichols was at the announcement and filed this report.

KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

Teachers marched in the streets of Seattle Tuesday. It was part of a one-day walkout. They were protesting what they call the state Legislature’s failure to fully fund education. 

Parents had to figure out what to do with their kids. Many of them ended up at Seattle Center.

Student Lorena Guillen shows her support for the UW Board of Regents, which on Thursday voted to purge the UW's endowment fund of investments in "thermal coal," a type of coal used in power plants that's associated with higher pollution levels.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

The University of Washington’s Board of Regents voted Thursday night to sell off its investments in thermal coal -- the kind of coal used to generate power.

It’s only the fourth time the university has “divested” its endowment – the other issues were South Africa, tobacco and Sudan.

Gov. Jay Inslee signs a bill expanding the College Bound program. Behind him, middle schoolers from Mill Creek Middle School in Kent. At far left is Sen. David Frockt, who wrote the bill.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee signed a bill into law Tuesday that expands the College Bound Scholarship program. The program places students from low-income families onto a college prep track as they're wrapping up middle school, and it helps pay their college tuition when they graduate from high school.

Christian Cultee, a student at the Northwest Indian College, with a rocket that broke the sound barrier.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

It started out as a joke. 

The students at Northwest Indian College on the Lummi Reservation near Bellingham were launching little rockets made from recycled water bottles as a way to do some hands-on science.

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