Is it finally time to get rid of the penny? The question was put to the top currency official in the country this week after comedian John Oliver took a swing at pennies on his TV show.

"Two percent of Americans admitted to regularly throwing pennies in the garbage, which means the U.S. Mint is spending millions to make garbage," Oliver said.

The end of the year is a time that many charities look to donors for year-end giving. It’s also when the Oregon Department of Justice wants to hike an annual fee that nonprofits pay to the agency.

The Washington state Capitol campus could soon be a no-fly-zone for drones. The agency that oversees the 486-acre campus is considering a strict ban.

Federal agents started investigating indicted Washington State Auditor Troy Kelley before he was elected to that office. That’s according to a document prosecutors filed Tuesday in federal court.

Thanksgiving dinnr food
Flickr Photo/Dan Tentler (CC BY NC 2.0)/

In advance of the Thanksgiving holiday, The Record brought in a panel to talk about some of the key issues happening in the news.

  • Race and justice issues provoked protests at college campuses in Washington state and all over the country this month. Students of color are calling for safer spaces on campus. 
  • The Seattle City Council said no to increasing parental leave from four weeks to 12.  
  • And how do you talk politics with your family on Thanksgiving?

Bill Radke talks over the news with Seattle City Councilmember Lorena Gonzalez, journalist Erica C. Barnett and University of Washington philosophy professor Michael Blake.

Other guests include Vancouver Sun columnist Vaughn Palmer, Columbia journalism professor Todd Gitlin, and Lizzie Post, co-host of the podcast Amazing Etiquette.

Bill Radke talks with Vancovuer Sun columnist Vaughn Palmer about Canada's response to the Syrian refugee crisis. President Obama says he wants to admit 10,000 Syrians in the next year, but the Canadian government says it wants to welcome 25,000 Syrian refugees by the end of February. 

Professor Robert Reich at Town Hall Seattle on Oct. 19, 2015.
Flickr Photo/Al Garman (CC BY NC ND 2.0)/

Robert Reich says he’s often stopped by strangers at airports. People walk right up to him, forego any niceties, and get straight to the question: “What are we going to do?”

Reich says that makes him optimistic, because it’s not just liberals asking.

A Pentagon investigation into a deadly U.S. airstrike on a Médecins Sans Frontières hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan, has found the attack was the result of human error, compounded by malfunctioning computers and communication failures.

Gen. John Campbell, the commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, detailed the findings in a Pentagon briefing Wednesday. "This was a tragic but avoidable accident caused primarily by human error," he said.

Three Northwesterners were among those honored at the White House Tuesday with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor.

Sore losers. That’s what Washington anti-tax activist Tim Eyman called opponents of Initiative 1366 Tuesday. This after they filed a lawsuit in King County Superior Court to block the tax-limiting measure voters recently passed.

Q&A: Vancouver Oil-By-Rail Environmental Review

Nov 24, 2015

Washington state released a detailed report Tuesday assessing the environmental impact of a proposed rail-to-marine oil terminal at the Port of Vancouver.

If built, the project would be the largest of its kind in the country.

It could move 360,000 barrels of crude oil daily by train from North Dakota to Vancouver. From there, the oil would be transferred onto ships and sent to West Coast refineries.

Here’s a closer look:

Washington state has released a detailed environmental assessment of a proposed oil terminal at the Port of Vancouver.

The draft report was released Tuesday by the state’s Energy Site Evaluation Council. It considers the oil-by-rail project’s possible impacts to things like environmental health, noise, and emergency preparedness in the event of an oil spill or explosion.

The Alhamdan family -- two parents and six children -- arrived recently in Seattle from Syria. They are joining a tiny community of 25 recent Syrian refugees.
KUOW Photo/Liz Jones

The Washington State Republican Party is accusing Governor Jay Inslee of distorting history when it comes to his open-door policy toward Syrian refugees following the Paris terror attacks.

Inslee has said we should continue slowly resettling Syrian refugees into the U.S. and Washington. To bolster his case, Inslee used the example of Vietnamese refugees who were welcomed here in the 1970s by then-governor Dan Evans.

How right is that comparison? And how should we balance American values in a time of fear?

Bill Radke talks these issues over with Washington state GOP chair Susan Hutchison, former Washington Governor Dan Evans and Democratic Congressman Jim McDermott.

Lorena Gonzalez at her election night party on Nov. 3, 2015, in Seattle.
KUOW Photo/Kara McDermott

David Hyde speaks with Lorena Gonzalez, the first Latina ever to be elected to the Seattle City Council, about her top priorities for her first months in office. 

Shannon Braddock, left, and Lisa Herbold ran to represent District 1, which encompasses West Seattle, on the City Council.
KUOW Photos/Jason Pagano

West Seattle’s ballots from the November election will be recounted, the King County Elections department said on Tuesday.

That's because the race between candidates Lisa Herbold and Shannon Braddock is too close to call. Herbold led Braddock by 36 votes for the District 1 position.