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Homeschooling is becoming more common, and studies suggest that military parents are more likely to homeschool their kids.

Lesley Holdcroft, elevator operator at Seattle's historic Smith Tower.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

Smith Tower re-opens Thursday in Pioneer Square. It marks an important turnaround for the 1914 landmark Seattle building. 

It was once the tallest building West of the Mississippi. But it left that title behind long ago. You could say the Smith Tower hit rock bottom after the recession when plans to turn it into condos didn’t pan out and banks foreclosed on the famous wedding cake of a building.

KUOW’s Joshua McNichols took a tour of Smith Tower to learn some of its history.

Where to send foster kids? For 72 hours, Skookum House

Aug 24, 2016
Skookum House provides 72 hours of shelter for foster kids in Bellingham, giving social workers more time to find them a home.
KUOW Photo/Sarah Eden Wallace

There was a kid they called Peanut at the Child Protective Services office in Bellingham.

“He spent a lot of time with social workers, just going around the office,” recalled Alex Fitzstrawn, a supervisor here. Peanut also slept on the couch in the office.


Growing up in Seattle I spent summer evenings like this picking blackberries.

These days I spend more time trying to fend off blackberry vines in my garden.

If you’ve tried to do that, you’ve probably found that following one long blackberry vine to the source leads to another heading a different direction.

Anna Ponder teaches a dance called stepping at the Steppers Unite Dance Studio - built in her garage. Ponder dances here with her student, Askia Heru.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

Gentrification: It’s what happens when the people living in a low-income neighborhood get pushed out by new people with more money.

But some long-time residents manage to stay in gentrifying neighborhoods and thrive, like Anna Ponder, who teaches a dance style called stepping in Seattle's Columbia City neighborhood.

The only dog park with a beach in Seattle is at Magnuson Park in northeast Seattle.
Flickr Photo/Wonderlane (CC BY 2.0) http://bit.ly/2bT4lEW

In these hot August days, you're likely to see a lot more dogs taking a swim in Seattle. But there's only one beach dogs are allowed in Seattle, and that's in Magnuson Park.

There won't be as many happy test-takers in the new future, predicts the Washington State Department of Licensing. That's because a new test replaces the old one on Monday, and there will be more questions.
Flickr Photo/John Meehan CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 http://bit.ly/2boP91R

A new Washington state driver's test debuted on Monday.

The number of questions has been upped to 40, and there are some new topics.

Gov. Jay Inslee, left, a Democrat, and Bill Bryant, his Republican opponent.
Campaign photographs

The first Washington gubernatorial debate of the season happened yesterday. Incumbent Gov. Jay Inslee – a Democrat –  faced off against former Seattle Port Commissioner and Republican Bill Bryant out in Spokane.  

Wikimedia Commons/Project Gutenberg/U.S. public domain

Last summer, the temperature reached 97 degrees in my toddler son’s bedroom.

We live in Seattle, where few homes have air conditioning, and we’re locals, so we were totally freaking out.

Rebecca Crimmins, 61, spent two years trying to find a job. During that time, her mother died and she got cancer. She must continue working to pay off her medical bills.
KUOW Photo/Ruby de Luna

Eight years have passed since the Great Recession. It almost seems like a distant event. But older workers haven’t completely recovered despite signs of boom times. 

Shiyogi Kawabata, 88, worked on a wooden chain (below) while interned at Minidoka, a Japanese internment camp in Idaho.
KUOW Photo/Marcie Sillman

At 88, Shiyogi Kawabata remembers the harsh conditions he and his family endured in the Minidoka Relocation Center during World War II.

Ticks. Coyotes. Scorpions. Black widow spiders.

Bama Chester and Patsy Tyler have long been fans of the Red Apple grocery store in the Central District, which has held up against the last decade of extreme gentrification.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

The Red Apple in the Central District doesn’t look like much when you drive by – maybe just another grocery store in an old strip mall.

But it’s at the heart of the Central Area, and the African-American community that once dominated this neighborhood.

Angelo Paparella, whose firm PCI, has organized signature gathering campaigns for many initiatives in Washington state.
Courtesy of Angelo Paparella

You may not have ever heard his name, but Angelo Paparella has had a hand in most of the initiatives on your November ballot.

Over the past 15 years, Paparella’s firm has made more money in Washington elections than initiative king Tim Eyman and his associates.

The tent city where Jungle residents are being encouraged to move.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

Seattle is taking new action to move homeless people out of the Jungle, a greenbelt under Interstate 5 near downtown.

Once people are out, the state plans to clear out garbage and improve access roads.

Perseid meteor shower at Mount Catherine off Snoqualmie Pass near Seattle.
KUOW Photo/Kara McDermott

The Perseids come in July, but they burn most bright this week in August. 

This sends people into the woods, into the darkness, where they can see these electric meteor showers that, according to people who have seen them, burn into your memory.  

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