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

Seattle’s new minimum wage law went into effect April 1, as did a law meant to ensure workers get paid overtime when they’ve earned it. But not everyone’s complying.

So what’s the city doing to enforce the new laws? 

KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

Expedia, one of the world’s largest online travel companies, is going to be doing some traveling of its own soon. It’s moving across the lake from Bellevue to Seattle.

KUOW’s Joshua McNichols headed to Bellevue to see how people are taking the news.

The Youth Services Center on Capitol Hill in Seattle.
Howard S. Wright/King County

The county is proceeding with its plans to develop a new family justice center, despite ongoing protests. 

The building includes a juvenile detention center, and that’s upset a lot of people who say we shouldn’t be locking up kids, a disproportionate number of whom are African American. Criticisms by protesters have inspired the county to try to reform the system.

Washington state Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler says Premera Blue Cross has been cooperating with an investigation of a cyberattack that exposed data on millions of customers.

Kreidler hopes the investigation will reveal exactly how 11 million customers had their social security numbers and medical information compromised.

One section of Bertha's front body now sits on the ground near the rescue pit.
AP Photo/Ted Warren

A 270-ton section of Bertha’s front body now lies on the ground in downtown Seattle, ready for workers to add steel reinforcing. The Seattle Tunnel Partners hopes to lay the tunnel borer's cutter head nearby in a couple of weeks. 

They’ll be repaired so workers can complete the tunnel that’s replacing the Alaskan Way Viaduct. KUOW’s Joshua McNichols went to Pioneer Square to see how people are feeling about Bertha these days.

The Pike Place Market will expand westward, toward the waterfront.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

The Pike Place Market is going to expand westward.

On Monday, a Seattle City Council committee agreed to pay $34 million from the general fund to build new vendor stalls, senior housing and a public plaza.

The other half of the money comes from tax breaks, grants and philanthropists. The project is part of a larger effort to reconnect the market with the waterfront.

KUOW’s Joshua McNichols has more.

In Puyallup, one of many portable classrooms used to relieve school overcrowding. The portable is decorated with a mural painted by kids: it shows an apple tree, a hand and an American flag.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

Many suburban school districts around Seattle, children crowding into their classrooms, can’t get a bond or a levy past voters. That’s put pressure on schools to find other, less than ideal solutions.

KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

When the Capitol Hill and University link light rail stations open up in about a year, it will change how many people get around Seattle. Something else is changing too: the way King County Metro organizes its bus routes. It’s considering two very different strategies. At a series of open houses this month, it’s asking the public for feedback.

KUOW’s Joshua McNichols has more.

Workers stand on the reddish-gray surface of Bertha.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

Bertha the drill should be back at work on the tunnel to replace the Alaskan Way Viaduct by August. There’s still some unstable soil left to drill through.

Officials will be watching Pioneer Square for patches of settling. After that, the ground becomes more firm, and project managers predict smooth drilling at the maximum rate of 65 feet per day.

Tacoma Link Light Rail train approaches
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

Politicians in Olympia are negotiating the final size of a transportation package. But we found out this week it may not be as much as some people hoped. Transit advocates hope the final package will pay to extend light rail from Seattle to Everett and Tacoma. 

KUOW’s Joshua McNichols went to Tacoma to find out more.

Rachel Martin owns and manages Ballard Blossom. She says she monitors the news, apps and public websites to determine the most efficient route for her delivery drivers.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

Mayor Ed Murray laid out his 10-year transportation plan Monday. The move sets the stage for renewing the transportation levy that expires this year. He plans to reveal a new levy proposal in a few weeks.

KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

Changes are afoot at King County Metro. Bus fares went up over the weekend by 25 cents. Bus drivers started accepting the county's new reduced fare cards, called ORCA Lift. And Metro's gone on a hiring spree as it gears up to fulfill Seattle's custom order, approved by voters last fall, for 10 percent more bus service.

Sahra Farah and volunteers at the Somali Community Center hope development around Rainier Beach station will bring jobs to the neighborhood, where she says young people struggle to find employment.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

The Puget Sound region hopes new growth will spring up in urban villages clustered around mass transit. The goal is to avoid further congestion.

Yet in Seattle’s Rainier Valley, where light rail has been running for over five years, development has been slow to come. 

Bertha, the tunnel boring machine, emerges from more than a year of captivity. The machine's turbines can be seen beneath the plume of dust.
Washington State Department of Transportation

The tunnel machine that’s been stuck underground for more than a year reached daylight Thursday.

Now Bertha is slowly inching into position for repair work to begin. 

KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

United States Labor Secretary Tom Perez sat down Tuesday with both sides in the labor dispute that’s slowed down shipping at 29 West Coast ports. The two sides are stuck on a disagreement over how to handle disputes. The protracted slowdown has begun to hurt some local businesses. 

KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

Some parents don’t know how to parent.

When their lack of parenting skills put the child in danger, that’s when the state comes knocking – to take their children away. Nearly 7,000 kids in Washington state were placed in foster care last year.

Four workers were injured in an accident at the north end of the 99 tunnel project near Seattle Center on Thursday afternoon.

Three of those workers walked out on their own; firefighters had to walk in half a mile to free a fourth worker who had been trapped 25 feet down from where he fell. 

According to Seattle Fire spokesman Kyle Moore, the men were working on a wall project when it broke beneath them, sending them hurtling 25 feet to the ground below. The men were 23, 29, 31 and 36.

Tariq Dyson, a student at Nathan Hale High School, attended a conference at Seattle University about combatting bullying in school.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

At Seattle University Wednesday a small number of high school students chosen from around Seattle were taught how to combat violence in schools. But they weren’t taught how to tackle a shooter, they were taught how to listen.

KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

The Metropolitan King County Council approved an agreement with a developer Monday to build a new juvenile detention center near Yesler Terrace. Civil rights advocates gave four hours of public testimony against the project. 

KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

Bertha, the deep boring machine stuck underneath Seattle, will slide on greased metal rails after crashing into a pit.

That’s the plan, anyway, to free the machine from its den, where it has lived for more than a year. Matt Preedy of the Washington Department of Transportation revealed that new nugget of information during an informal chat in Pioneer Square.

Hannah Webb, a resident of Seattle's Tent City 3 in Feb. 2015 on the campus of Seattle Pacific University
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray wants to open up city land for three new tent cities. The mayor’s staff briefed a city council committee on the plan on Tuesday.

The plan comes in the wake of the recent one-night-count. It found the number of people living on the streets of Seattle went up about 20 percent last year.

KUOW’s Joshua McNichols went to a tent city and has this report.

It's not so bad being stuck in traffic when the mountain is out. Mount Rainier traffic
Flickr Photo/Adventures of Pam & Frank (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Interstate 405 is a parking lot for about eight hours on weekdays. 

The state wants to know how much you would pay to dodge that traffic by using new tolled expressways.

That question is the focus of a series of public meetings starting Tuesday night at Bellevue City Hall (info on that and other meetings here).

KUOW’s Joshua McNichols has more.

Since his arrest last year, William Wingate, a 70-year-old veteran and retired bus driver, no longer stands up for the Seattle Police Department in conversations with his siblings.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

The Seattle Police officer involved in a case involving the arrest of a senior citizen has been reassigned to a job where she has no contact with the public.

The move follows public outcry over a dashboard video showing the arrest of William Wingate, an elderly black man who had been standing on a Capitol Hill corner, leaning on his golf club.

KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

The 12th graders at Tyee High School are frustrated.

About half the class may not graduate because they’re failing state tests. The after-school classes that would help them catch up don’t fit into their lives.

That’s why, at Tyee's Academy of Citizenship and Empowerment, teachers are helping students turn frustration into political change. On a recent early morning, a group of seniors traveled to Olympia to lobby legislators.

Bamboo, one of two elephants at Woodland Park Zoo, will be leaving with Chai.
Flickr Photo/Cara_VSAngel (CC-BY-NC-ND)

This story begins at Amboseli National Park in Kenya in 1987. A young woman named Nancy Hawkes, who would later become general curator at the Woodland Park Zoo, was there researching animal behavior.

She climbed into her tent for the night and stared up at the electric stars through the mosquito net ceiling. 

Then she sensed something stir outside her tent. 

KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

In the quest to reduce traffic and create more sustainable communities, rail-centered communities are poised to make a comeback.

All through Bellevue’s Bel-Red corridor, mega developments like the Spring District are concentrating new housing and offices around future light rail stations.

But the idea isn’t new. In fact, it goes back to some of Seattle's oldest suburbs.

Jaime Chaveste (left) attended Sunday's Seahawks playoff game at the Seattle Public Library's downtown branch. Even when others started leaving, thinking the game was lost, Chevaste loudly predicted a dramatic comeback. He was right.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

When a Seahawks touchdown during overtime clinched victory on Sunday, Teddy Werner of Wisconsin couldn’t have been more surprised. 

The Seahawks fan of 30 years had been at the stadium with his 4-year-old daughter, watching the game. His daughter tugging on his sleeve, he left with five minutes to go.

KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

Just because you have health insurance, doesn’t always mean you have a way to get to the doctor.

That explains why public health officials are starting to think of access to mass transit as a public health issue.

Starting in March, they’ll offer low-income people a special bus card that lets them go anywhere in King County for $1.50. That’s a deep discount. It even works on Sound Transit light rail.

KUOW Photo/Carolyn Adolph

They were not reassuring words.

Engineers hired to rescue Bertha, the deep boring machine stalled under downtown Seattle, wrote to state officials: “If we continue the current ‘repair as we go’ method of excavation, we significantly increase the risk of a catastrophic failure.”

A transport vehicle carries the new front end of the bearing block for Bertha. First though, the machine has to be dug out from beneath Pioneer Square.
Flickr Photo/WSDOT (CC-BY-NC-ND)

They were not reassuring words.

Engineers hired to rescue Bertha, the deep boring machine stalled under downtown Seattle, wrote to state officials: “If we continue the current ‘repair as we go’ method of excavation, we significantly increase the risk of a catastrophic failure.”

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