feature

KUOW Photo/Amy Radil

As German composer Richard Wagner contemplated the Ring cycle in the 19th century, he decided it wasn’t enough to create a four-night saga of gods and humans.

He also envisioned an instrument that didn’t yet exist, one that could sound "strident" one moment and “gorgeous and mellow” the next. He wrote the music for the Ring in the 1860s and 70s with the instrument in mind. Then he commissioned someone to build it.

Flickr Photo/WSDOT (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Washington’s ferry fleet is among the largest and oldest in the country. Last week we learned just how vulnerable it is when, at the height of tourist season, one of the ferries broke down.

Buying a new ferry isn’t like buying a new car, however. The next ferry due to hit the docks is the Samish, under construction at the Vigor shipyard on Harbor Island. It should be in service early next year.

Superfast Internet Service Heads To Seattle Neighborhoods

Aug 6, 2014
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

If your heart stops, a defibrillator can help restart your heart. But how do you revitalize an economically stagnant neighborhood? Seattle Mayor Ed Murray believes he can do it with faster Internet service.

In Eastern Washington, a pair of very different guys teamed up to embark on an experiment to grow Washington’s latest agricultural crop -- legal marijuana. 

In Seattle, Scoffing At The Word 'Scofflaw'

Aug 5, 2014
The Boston Globe archives

Sometimes the words we use cause offense we never intended. That’s what happened on Monday at a Seattle City Council meeting, when one word derailed a bill officials say could bring in $21 million in unpaid fines.   

The word: scofflaw.

Why Drowning Is A 'Cultural Condition'

Aug 5, 2014
KUOW Photo/Phyllis Fletcher

Public health researchers have struggled with a leading cause of death in young children: drowning.

Black children face the highest risk – even when they're supervised. The most recent data for Washington state shows black children have more than 3.5 times the drowning risk of children of any other race.

Taylor Sizemore And Teague

Do you hear that? That’s the sound of a victorious Seattle, winning The Bike Design Project.

On Monday, the project announced that The Denny, a utilitarian bike that would likely cost about $3,000, won the honor. Seattle beat New York City, Chicago, Portland and San Francisco. Fuji Bikes has promised to manufacture and sell the winning entry, as determined by members of the cycling public.

As legal pot growing operations spring to life from urban King County to remote corners of Washington state, an ongoing debate has developed within this new farming community.

KUOW/Kara McDermott

When Seattle Police Department officials dug into the data from its first report about marijuana enforcement they found that 80 percent of tickets were issued by one officer.

One apparently very frustrated officer.

In one citation, the officer refers to Washington state's legal pot law as “silly.” He also added at the bottom of the citations, "Attn: Petey Holmes," a snarky reference to Seattle's city attorney, Pete Holmes.

KUOW Photo/Akiko Oda

A life can change in a moment.

For Jennifer Hopper, that moment was July 19, 2009, the night Isaiah Kalebu broke into the South Park home that Hopper shared with her fiancée Teresa Butz. The man repeatedly stabbed and raped the two women. Butz died on the street in front of her home.

Courtesy of Susie Fitzhugh/Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center

After removing a tumor, surgeons are confronted with an unfortunate reality: They can’t be sure they got it all. It can be difficult to distinguish between normal tissue and cancerous cells while operating.

Dr. Jim Olson, a researcher at Fred Hutchinson Research Center and oncologist at the University of Washington, was inspired by his young patients to find a way to ensure that surgeons didn’t miss anything.

Airbnb

“Sharing” has become a popular suffix in the news these days, mostly in regards to transportation like ridesharing and bikesharing. Your living spaces can now get in on the action with sites like Airbnb and Vacation Rental By Owner, which allow you to rent out your home or a room for short stays.

Courtesy Jorge Lerma

As Jorge Lerma approached the Mexican border from the U.S. side, he felt like he was hooked to a bungee cord, ready to leap into the unknown.

Jorge had lived in the U.S. for 16 years, attended high school and college in California, but his status here as an undocumented immigrant thwarted his dreams to be an engineer. So he decided to move back to Mexico.

KUOW Photo/Liz Jones

Jorge Lerma sorts through his neckties. Dozens are draped across the couch; others get tossed into the give-away pile. 

Jorge rents a tiny room at this house in Bellevue, Washington. The landlord pops in to check out possible bargains and buys a flat-screen TV and a light-weight tripod. The discard pile shrinks, but on top remains a crisp American flag that Jorge used to hang in his room.

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