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Can a state environmental-protection regulation be considered a “tax”?

That’s a central question in a lawsuit by business interests against Washington’s regulatory cap on carbon-pollution emissions that went into effect on Jan. 1.

The answer could determine whether Gov. Jay Inslee can make progress on reducing global warming emissions in the state, long one of his top priorities.

Apple growers in Washington state, who dominate American apple production, are starting to plant a new kind of apple. It's the fastest launch of a new variety in history.

Rockie Ward  may have a job for you to work at Omax. They make machines that cut metal using water.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

People call it the “silver tsunami,” for those currently in senior positions in Kent's industrial valley. A massive wave of older, experienced workers is considering retirement at around the same time.


Luke Muñoz overcame the obstacles keeping him from leveling up his skills thanks in part to the generosity of an uncle who gave him a quiet room to study away from his noisy siblings.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

Pat Pritchard stood before a group of students at Green River College in Kent. He told his students that he doesn’t train them to be grunts, because what we need from workers is changing. 


Workers watch the ceremonial first planting in The Spheres at Amazon campus on Thursday.
Stephen Brashear/AP Images for Amazon

You've seen the big, glass orbs in Seattle's South Lake Union neighborhood, right?

The Amazon spheres.

Two weeks ago, a hashtag began going viral in India: #LahuKaLagaan. It literally means the tax on blood.

That would be India's tax on sanitary napkins — 12 to 15 percent on top of the 40 to 80 rupees (.60 cents to $1.25) for a package of eight. (Typically sold in an unmarked black plastic bag because India is not big on talking about menstrual topics.)

Joseph Roth in the Puget Sound region's new IKEA. The store now contains model homes to showcase compact living. The smallest is 860 square feet.
KUOW Photo/Carolyn Adolph

IKEA has been in the Seattle area since the 1990s, but until recently its store here has been an anomaly.

Get ready for a new kind of apple. It's called Cosmic Crisp, and farmers in Washington state, who grow 70 percent of the country's apples, are planting these trees by the millions. The apples themselves, dark red in color with tiny yellow freckles, will start showing up in stores in the fall of 2019.

Scott McDougall is one of the farmers who's making a big bet on Cosmic Crisp.

"It goes back to believing in the apple," he says.

"You believe?" I ask.

"I believe!" he says, and chuckles.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

We've been hearing stories about people adapting to a changing economy for our series Brave New Workers.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #1: Do I still see myself as a cowboy? Yeah, I do, and I hope I always do.

It’s a bold move by Washington Realtors and other business groups. They’re taking on the number two Democrat in the Washington House with a TV ad that accuses him of “squeezing” taxpayers.

Public utility commissioners in Chelan County, Washington, take a high stakes vote Monday that could influence whether the aluminum industry and its well-paid, blue collar jobs make a comeback in the Pacific Northwest.

Unionized pilots at Alaska Airlines and recently acquired Virgin America pulled off a virtual barrel roll Wednesday to get management's attention. The union complains that talks to combine both pilot groups under what they hope will be a more generous joint contract aren't moving fast enough.

Nordstrom's flagship store in Downtown Seattle
flickr photo/ Prayitno (CC BY 2.0)/ https://flic.kr/p/93yEzy

Bill Radke talks to Cal McAllister, co-founder and executive creative director of The Wexley School For Girls, about Nordstrom's expensive, faux mud-caked jeans. 

The Trump administration announced this week it would levy up to 24 percent tariffs on Canadian softwood. It’s the latest chapter in an ongoing dispute between the two countries.

President Trump may not talk much about electric vehicles, but there's another American — with better name recognition in China — who does.

The voice of actor Leonardo DiCaprio, popular in China for his role in the 1997 blockbuster Titanic, graces the showroom of Auto Shanghai, the city's biennial automotive expo, accompanied by images beamed on a circular wall showing Beijing covered in smog and children wearing pollution masks.

Bill Radke talks to Emily Parkhurst, editor in chief of the Puget Sound Business Journal about how the Seattle business community feels about the candidates who are running for mayor of Seattle. 

KUOW Photo/Andy Hurst

Last week President Trump signed an executive order that could bring significant changes to the H-1B visa program, which lets companies temporarily hire a limited number of foreign workers. Created in 1990, the program is popular among local tech companies, especially Microsoft.


Should Uber drivers unionize in Seattle?

Apr 17, 2017
After years of requests from drivers, Uber has added a tipping function on its app
Flickr photo/Jason Tester Guerrilla Futures (CC BY-ND 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/kAYh8Z

Bill Radke speaks with Fusion's senior editor Felix Salmon about the effort to unionize Uber drivers in Seattle. Radke also speaks with anti-union driver Debra Jeffs-Grad and pro-union driver Takele Gobena. 

Kevin Butt's job is to find cleaner ways to power Toyota. One of the hardest places to do that is at the automaker's sprawling plant in central Kentucky, a state where nearly 90 percent of electricity still comes from coal.

Butt points out a new engine assembly line, where a conveyor belt moves in a slow circle. He says it was specially designed with a more efficient motor. There are also enormous fans overhead and LED lights, all changes that save millions.

Jeff Bezos speaks at the Apollo rocket engine unveiling at The Museum of Flight, showing the injector plate from an F-1 rocket used on Apollo 12.
Courtesy of The Museum of Flight/Ted Huetter

Jeannie Yandel talks to Alan Boyle of Geekwire about the possibility of taking a hybrid, electric plane for short regional trips and Jeff Bezos' dream of people in space. 

South Lake Union neighborhood, home to many Seattle tech companies
Flickr Photo/Ted Eytan (CC BY-SA-2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/agMkfy

Kim Malcolm talks with Axios tech editor Kim Hart about recent rule changes to the H-1B visa program, and what they could mean for tech workers in the Puget Sound region.

Jeannie Yandel talks with "Feminist Fight Club" author Jessica Bennett and Harvard Business School doctoral candidate Lizzie Baily Wolf about why getting upset at work is so risky, and Wolf's new research finding co-workers are more tolerant of outward emotion if it's framed as passion for the work. 

The U.S. women's national soccer team has agreed to terms on a new collective bargaining agreement with U.S. Soccer, concluding a protracted dispute over their union contract.

Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson
Wikipedia Photo/Joe Mabel (http://bit.ly/2k4mxi4)

Guy Nelson talks with Seattle Times reporter Nina Shapiro about the discrimination allegations against Mukilteo aerospace company Electroimpact. The company is accused of discriminating against Muslims and single people. The company, which denies any wrongdoing entered into a consent decree with the state Attorney General's office.

File photo of Uber driver near the San Francisco International Airport.
AP Photo/Jeff Chiu

The city of Seattle's law to let Lyft, Uber and taxi drivers form a union has been halted in federal court. The law is the first of its kind in the nation.

Titleist golf ball
FLICKR PHOTO/Tord Sollie(CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/5t5b8M

Bill Radke speaks with Zak Kozuchowski, editor in chief at Golf WRX, about a legal battle over golf balls between Titleist and Costco. The local discount giant has become a major player in the golf world. Costco has sold out of its Kirkland Signature golf balls after online reviews said golfers could save $30 over Titleist brand balls, and these cheaper balls were just as good. Now, Titleist is accusing Costco of patent infringement and false advertising.

Amazon.com logo
Flickr Photo/Guillermo Esteves (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Bill Radke talks to GeekWire's Todd Bishop about Amazon's stock and how it will be affected by their grocery business. 

A 1960s sign from an old flophouse in Pioneer Square in Seattle.
Flickr/Matthew Klein (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/4PF4Bn

It’s not an easy time to find an apartment in Seattle. You’d be hard pressed to find a one-bedroom on Capitol Hill for less than $1,400 per month — and rents for similarly-sized apartments in swanky new buildings regularly soar upward of $3,000.

Kobe beef is supposedly the finest steak in the world. It’s very hard to get -- and very expensive -- in the United States. But it's getting easier and easier these days to find more affordable “American style Kobe beef" or “American Wagyu” at your neighborhood steak house or upscale grocery.

Alaska Airlines executives say the integration of former rival Virgin America is proceeding on track. Parent company Alaska Air Group updated Wall Street analysts on the merger at an "Investor Day" briefing in New York City Wednesday.

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