business

In Salem and Olympia, some lawmakers are looking for a middle way on raising the minimum wage. In both capitals, there's hope that a modest wage increase with business and labor support could head off or trump oncoming ballot measures.

Starting in 2016, the federal health law requires small employers to offer their full-time workers health insurance. In anticipation of the change, some fast-food restaurants looked to get around the law by making more workers part time. Now some owners are rethinking that approach.

At a Burger King off Highway 99 in California's Central Valley, a half-dozen workers in black uniforms scurry around, grabbing packets of ketchup and stuffing paper bags with french fries.

A construction crane working on a building is shown with Port of Seattle cranes in the background on a foggy summer day, Monday, July 15, 2014, in Seattle.
AP Photo/Ted S. Warren

Bill Radke speaks with Seattle Times economics columnist Jon Talton about why some people see a recession coming our way and what that could mean for the Seattle boom.

A delegation from a tiny eastern Washington farm town is rallying to protect a walking, biking and horse riding trail that spans the state. They trekked to the Capitol to make their case.

Editor's note at 10:51 a.m. ET, Feb. 1: The original version of this post lacked a perspective from the food industry. That post also may have given the impression that NPR has a position on whether food ads should or should not be banned. A new version appears below and the original version follows.

Why is it that we haven't seen ads for cigarettes on television since the Nixon administration?

The Obama administration is proposing a new rule to address unequal pay practices by requiring companies with more than 100 employees to submit salary data by race, gender and ethnicity.

The announcement comes seven years after President Obama signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act — his first piece of legislation as president — which makes it easier for women to challenge discriminatory pay in court.

About 150 workers in Seattle received settlement money in the past year because their employer broke the minimum wage law.

This story was updated at 6 p.m. PST

The City of Seattle is suing Monsanto for manufacturing a cancer-causing chemical that's contaminating the city's Duwamish Waterway.

Monsanto was the sole producer of the chemicals PCBs from the 1930s through the ‘70s. They were used globally to make coolants, paints, lubricants and for other industrial purposes. PCBs also served a fire protection and safety protection for the electrical and other industries, according to the company.

Ever since a tense, armed standoff near Cliven Bundy's Nevada ranch in 2014, a vast and sensitive piece of federal public land adjacent to the Grand Canyon has gone unmanaged and unpatrolled.

It's safe to travel into the area called Gold Butte so long as you're not in a federal vehicle, according to Jaina Moan of Friends of Gold Butte, which wants to see the area federally protected.

The last time there was any known federal presence was last summer, when scientists under contract with the Bureau of Land Management were camped here, gathering field research.

A line extends outside a crowded pot cafe on 'High Street' in Amsterdam.
Flickr Photo/Michael Delaney (CC BY-SA 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/di4HNo

Public consumption of pot continues to be illegal, but a new bill would let Seattle and other cities opt out of the ban and open up pot cafes. 

Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes backs the effort.

Steve Miller has some customers on offer. Millions of them in fact.

The chief medical officer at Express Scripts, the largest pharmacy benefit manager in the U.S., has been essentially auctioning off his 80 million customers to the drug companies that will give him the best deal.

"Who wants my market share?" Miller says. "Whoever will give me the best price, I will reward you with an enormous amount of market share."

chocolate lw
KUOW Photo/Mike Kane

Listener Beth Ann Johnson asked Local Wonder about Seattle's chocolate industry, and reporter Ruby de Luna agreed to report. (We know. Tough assignment.)

The outside of the Francia Russell Center in Bellevue. The Francia Russell Center is part of Pacific Northwest Ballet and will soon have to move because it is in the light rail pathway.
Google Maps

UPDATE: On Monday, Jan. 25, King County Superior Court Judge Theresa Doyle ruled against Pacific Northwest Ballet. The judge said Sound Transit may use fair market value for PNB’s eastside school, rather than the replacement value of the facility. The ruling only determines the method of assessment for the property value. A jury may still place a higher value on the school. A court hearing on the issue is set for June.

Pacific Northwest Ballet has performed in a lot of places.

But Friday the dance company will be on a new stage: a King County Superior Court room.

PNB wants a judge to settle a dispute with Sound Transit.

Olympic Athletic Club on the left and the toxic lot across the street that the gym wants to turn into a 400-stall parking garage.
Google Maps

The lot at 5244 Leary Avenue Northwest doesn’t look like it’s worth $2.4 million.

It’s a toxic site, for one. It used to be a gas station, and there are six leaking gas tanks underground. And it’s small, roughly 8,800 square feet.

At the big annual auto show in Boston, cars slowly rotate on circular platforms and company reps tout their latest and greatest offerings. Many of the high-profile vehicles they’re putting front and center this year are green.

“Here at Toyota, we are not shy about our love for hybrid vehicles, sold nearly 8 million of them worldwide,” says Kristi Pourmousa, introducing Toyota’s new hybrid RAV-4.

“It almost becomes like a game to see how many miles you can get before you fill up,” says Kim Carpenter with General Motors, showing off Chevrolet’s Hybrid Volt.

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