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Today So Far Blog

News, factoids, and insights from KUOW's newsroom. And maybe some peeks behind the scenes. Check back daily for updates. And read the Today So Far newsletter here.

Have any leads or feedback for the KUOW Blog? Contact Dyer Oxley at dyer@kuow.org.

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  • Dramatic twist in WA-03 as MAGA candidate overtakes Trump impeacher

    KUOW Newsroom
    Joe Kent
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    The race in Washington's 3rd Congressional District in the state's southwest took a dramatic turn Monday evening, sending shockwaves through the local Republican party.

    Trump-backed Republican Joe Kent pulled ahead of incumbent GOP Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler. The two are vying for second place in an open primary, where the top two candidates from any party advance to the general election.

    Kent now leads Herrera Beutler by 960 votes.

    Thousands more ballots will be counted this week, but if current ratios hold, a recount looks possible. That would happen after election officials finalize the votes later this month. The Secretary of State's office did not immediately return a request for comment on the possibility of a recount.

    Democrat Marie Gluesenkamp Perez has already secured her spot in the general election in the 3rd district. She has 64,718 votes (31%).

    Kent has 47,623 (23%), and Herrera Beutler has 46,663 (22%).

    Kent, a former Green Beret, has boosted Trump's lies about 2020 election fraud and endorsed the racist "white replacement theory." Kent announced his candidacy in the 3rd district shortly after Herrera Beutler, along with nine other Republicans, voted to impeach Trump.

    On Election Day last Tuesday, Herrera Beutler was leading Kent by thousands of votes. But her lead narrowed with each day of counting.

    Earlier on Monday, Kent said he was notified by election officials that his signature was not accepted when he first submitted his ballot. His signature and ballot have since been accepted.

    Meanwhile, in the 4th Congressional District, another Washington Representative who voted to impeach Trump after the Jan. 6 insurrection, Dan Newhouse, is leading his Trump-backed challenger, former gubernatorial candidate Loren Culp, by 6,000 votes. The Associated Press Friday called that race for Newhouse and Democrat Doug White, who advance to face off in the general election in November.

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  • Culp refuses to say whether he'll endorse GOP incumbent who voted to impeach Trump

    KUOW Newsroom
    caption: Republican Loren Culp greets a large crowd, Saturday, Oct. 31, 2020, at a rally near Graham, Wash.
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    Republican Loren Culp greets a large crowd, Saturday, Oct. 31, 2020, at a rally near Graham, Wash.
    Credit: AP Photo/Ted S. Warren

    In the primary election for Washington’s 4th Congressional District, Donald Trump’s pick, Loren Culp, has lost. And so far Culp is not endorsing anyone for the general election.

    Incumbent Republican Dan Newhouse’s vote to impeach Trump drew several Republican challengers, including Culp, a former gubernatorial candidate and police chief. Now Newhouse faces Democrat Doug White in the general election.

    In an email Monday, Culp refused to tell KUOW if he will endorse Newhouse. That “no comment” comes after Culp spent months calling Newhouse names like “swamp monster” and “RINO” (short for “Republican in name only”) over the incumbent’s vote to impeach Trump.

    In 2020, Culp falsely blamed a stolen election for his loss in the Washington gubernatorial race against Democrat Jay Inslee.

    This time Culp told KUOW he blamed four other Republicans for his primary loss: state lawmaker Brad Klippert, businessmen Jerrod Sessler, marketer Corey Gibson, and army vet Benancio "Benny" Garcia III.

    Culp called the four “spoilers” for failing to get out of the way after Trump endorsed him.

    “The biggest headwind was from spoiler candidates who claim to be America First and yet stayed in the race after the endorsement by President Trump — the de facto leader of the Republican Party," the Culp campaign wrote in an email.

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  • Sue Bird's last Storm game (potentially): Today So Far

    Today So Far Blog
    caption: Seattle Storm's Sue Bird looks at the scoreboard during a WNBA basketball game against the Chicago Sky Wednesday, July 20, 2022, in Chicago.
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    Seattle Storm's Sue Bird looks at the scoreboard during a WNBA basketball game against the Chicago Sky Wednesday, July 20, 2022, in Chicago.
    Credit: AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast
    • Throughout her WNBA career, Sue Bird's jersey proudly stated "Seattle."
    • It's National Farmers Market Week.
    • Anxiety over last week's primary election hasn't subsided. If fact, it's become more intense in some races.

    This post originally appeared in KUOW's Today So Far newsletter for August 8, 2022.

    I'm not much of a football fan, but I know who Russell Wilson is. I'm not much of a golfer, but I know the name Tiger Woods. I might not personally be into sparkly vampires, but I am well aware of Edward roaming the Olympic Peninsula in "Twilight."

    And I'm not much of a basketball fan, but I certainly know who Sue Bird is. That's the thing about people who do great things, or moments that are so culturally significant they become part of our collective awareness. Sue Bird is a four-time WNBA Champion and five-time Olympic gold medal winner — to name just a few of her many accolades. Throughout her WNBA career, her jersey proudly stated "Seattle."

    That, and more, is why a sold-out audience at Seattle's Climate Pledge Arena chanted "Thank you Sue" Sunday, as Bird played her final regular season game with the Storm. After Bird was drafted by the Storm in 2002, she became synonymous with Seattle sports, a hometown hero, and a point of local pride. Through time, the city will always remember a class of athletes whose names are known among fans and and non-fans alike — Ken Griffey Jr., Ichiro, Payton, and Russell. And now, Sue Bird. Read more here.

    While this was the last regular season game for Bird, those who still want to see her on the court may have a chance with the playoffs ahead.

    It's a good thing that National Farmers Market Week takes place over a whole week, and isn't just a day, because it takes a whole week to get through all the markets across Seattle.

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  • First-of-its-kind tsunami shelter opens on Washington coast

    Today So Far Blog
    caption: The first free-standing tsunami refuge in North America is now open in Tokeland in Pacific County, Washington.
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    The first free-standing tsunami refuge in North America is now open in Tokeland in Pacific County, Washington.
    Credit: Northwest News Network

    Shoalwater Bay tribal leaders say their new tsunami evacuation platform on the southwest Washington coast should serve as an example and inspiration for other vulnerable communities.

    On Friday, Aug. 5, the tribe held a joyful dedication ceremony for the 50-foot tall tower in Tokeland. This double-decker tsunami evacuation tower resembles things previously built in Japan, but it's the first of its type in North America.

    The two other tsunami refuge structures on the Northwest coast — in Newport, Oregon and Westport, Washington — are reinforced platforms on the roofs of a school or university building. The Tokeland tower platforms have a capacity for more than 400 people, which is considerably more than the population of the Shoalwater Bay Tribe. So, a lot of the tribe's neighbors can escape the waves too.

    The most likely next place in the Northwest to build a tsunami evacuation tower is the town of Ocean Shores, Wash., which is working with an engineering company on the design.

    There's much more to this story. Read the full story here.


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  • Washington high schoolers can get academic credit for a paid job

    KUOW Newsroom
    college school books education
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    About a third of Washington state’s high school students hold paid jobs on top of their studies.

    A new program through the Office of the Superintendent for Public Instruction would honor that work experience with academic credit.

    Superintendent of Public Instruction Chris Reykdahl recently announced that students 16 and older can earn up to four elective credits towards their diploma through their jobs. Students can choose any job as long as it is paid and verified by the school.

    Reykdahl says students learn important lessons at work.

    "Through work experience, students learn employability and leadership skills — skills like interpersonal communication, personal finance, time management, taking direction, receiving critical feedback, and following through on commitments — that support their long-term success in the workforce and in life,” Reykdal said.

    Under the proposal, students would earn elective credits via their jobs — 360 work hours would equal one elective credit, or .5 credits for 180 hours. A student could earn up to four credits this way. No more than two credits can be earned in a single year.

    Chetan Soni is going to be a junior at Lincoln Highschool and works part time as a fellow for the Alliance for Gun Responsibility. He's excited about the program and says getting credit for his job would help.

    “I know it can be hard to navigate school, life, work balance," Soni said. "I think this is a great way (to) like reinforce that upon the new generation of workers.”

    Some business owners say the program might encourage more students to work at a time when many are dealing with staff shortages.

    The superintendent aims to have the program in place for the start of the 2023 school year.

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  • Celebrate Farmers Market week in Seattle

    Today So Far Blog
    caption: Fran Goldman shops at the University District Farmers Market in Seattle before the 2020 coronavirus pandemic. She stopped doing her own shopping during the pandemic.
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    Fran Goldman shops at the University District Farmers Market in Seattle before the 2020 coronavirus pandemic. She stopped doing her own shopping during the pandemic.
    Credit: Courtesy of Ruth Goldman

    Sunday, Aug. 7 marked the start of National Farmers Market Week and the Seattle City Council has issued a proclamation in appreciation of the 17 farmers markets across the city.

    Jennifer Antos is with the Neighborhood Farmers Market Alliance. She said the markets strengthen the region’s food system by connecting producers directly with residents, regardless of their income.

    “Just last year, providing more than $1.2 million in local food, to food-insecure households in Seattle, through programs like Fresh Bucks and SNAP Market match,” Antos said.

    Antos said that farmers markets have also helped incubate small businesses by letting vendors sell their goods before they open brick and mortar shops.

    One of them is Lily Anaya Quintanilla, who sold pupusas and Salvadoran tamales at Seattle farmers markets for more than 15 years before recently opening her own shop on Avalon Way in West Seattle.

    “We are delighted to support and continue to support beginning BIPOC producers from environmentally conscious farmers to food entrepreneurs like Lily," Antos said.

    Antos said the city’s continued backing allows them to serve various neighborhoods from Lake City on down to South Park.

    On any given day of the week, Seattle residents are likely to find a farmers market somewhere in the city. The West Seattle, Capitol Hill, University District, and Ballard markets are held year-round, while others such as Lake City or Columbia City are seasonal.

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  • 'To us, she is the greatest of all time.' Sue Bird plays final regular game with Seattle Storm

    KUOW Newsroom
    caption: Seattle Storm guard Sue Bird (10) plays during the first half of the Commissioner's Cup WNBA basketball game against the Connecticut Sun, on Aug. 12, 2021, in Phoenix. The Seattle Storm star and five-time Olympic gold medalist announced Thursday, June 16, 2022, that the 2022 season will be her last playing in the WNBA.
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    Seattle Storm guard Sue Bird (10) plays during the first half of the Commissioner's Cup WNBA basketball game against the Connecticut Sun, on Aug. 12, 2021, in Phoenix. The Seattle Storm star and five-time Olympic gold medalist announced Thursday, June 16, 2022, that the 2022 season will be her last playing in the WNBA.
    Credit: (AP Photo/Matt York, File)

    WNBA and Seattle Storm star Sue Bird played her final regular season home game Sunday in front more than 18,000 fans — a sold out crowd at Climate Pledge Arena.

    Bird, 41, spent her entire WNBA career with the Seattle Storm. She is a four-time WNBA Champion and five-time Olympic gold medal winner.

    On Sunday, the arena was packed with super fans like Olivia Chiong of Seattle, who said that Bird is Seattle Sports.

    “Because without her, Seattle Storm would not be where we are right now," Chiong said. "We’re one of the best teams in the league and Sue Bird is leading the way. We wanted to be here and we wanted her to know how much she means to us. And to us, she is the greatest of all time.”

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  • It's a nail-biter in 3rd Congressional race

    Today So Far Blog
    caption: Republican U.S. Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, representing southwest Washington state's 3rd Congressional District, poses for a photo in Vancouver, Wash., Aug. 27, 2018.
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    Republican U.S. Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, representing southwest Washington state's 3rd Congressional District, poses for a photo in Vancouver, Wash., Aug. 27, 2018.
    Credit: AP Photo/Don Ryan

    Election officials were still tallying votes in southwest Washington's closely watched 3rd Congressional District, as of Friday evening.

    Incumbent Republican Jaime Herrera Beutler, who voted to impeach Donald Trump last year, is battling to stay in the race. On Friday, she was trailing Democratic challenger Marie Gluesenkamp Perez by almost 16,000 votes. And she was barely holding her lead over Trump-backed Republican challenger Joe Kent.

    The district's open primary means the top two vote-getters advance to the general election, regardless of party affiliation. As of the final ballot drop on Friday, Herrera Beutler was just 257 votes ahead of Kent.

    Tens of thousands of votes must still be counted.

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  • Dan Newhouse, Doug White advance in 4th Congressional race

    Today So Far Blog
    caption: Dan Newhouse
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    Dan Newhouse

    The Associated Press has called the race in Washington's 4th Congressional District.

    Republican incumbent Dan Newhouse will advance to the general election with Democrat Doug White.

    As of Friday evening, each had captured roughly 25% of the votes in that district's open primary election. Newhouse had just 140 more votes than White.

    "The votes have clearly stated that it is time to put someone in office that can do the job for the people of Central Washington," White tweeted Friday.

    Trump-backed candidate Loren Culp, a former police chief, was more than 6,000 votes behind Newhouse and White on Friday. Culp lost a bid for governor in 2020 and claimed — without evidence — there was voter fraud in that race. Earlier this week, he took to Twitter to claim election violations before any votes had been counted.

    Newhouse was one of 10 Republicans who voted to impeach Trump last year.

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  • It's not just about you: Today So Far

    Today So Far Blog
    face mask generic
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    If you're riding in a car, wear a seatbelt. If you're rewiring a house, turn the power off. If you're going to travel through time, you need 1.21 gigawatts at 88 mph. It's basic common sense. So if you're going to be hanging indoors among large crowds these days, wear a mask.

    This post originally appeared in KUOW's Today So Far newsletter for August 5, 2022.

    I attended a large pop culture convention a couple months back. Omicron was driving cases higher at the time. The event was pretty wide open, but I kept my mask on most of the time, including when I was interviewing someone in close quarters (for a non-KUOW related thing). After the event, that person informed me that they came down with Covid. So I lay low and I tested. I never came up positive. The only thing that I can say about that weekend was I stuck around open areas as much as possible and I wore an N-95 mask.

    Now, that tale is entirely anecdotal, but I stand by the main point. If you're riding in a car, you wear a seatbelt. If you're rewiring your house, you turn the power off. If you're going to travel through time, you need 1.21 gigawatts at 88 mph. It's basic common sense. So if you're going to be hanging indoors among large crowds these days, as that pandemic-worthy virus continues to spread, you wear a mask.

    Why do I bring all that up? A few reasons. We have a busy weekend ahead of us. Crowds will be showing up for Seattle's Seafair. Britcon is bringing "Doctor Who" celebrities and fans to Bellevue. And Renton City Retro is slated to fill downtown Renton with gamers and families. It's all going to be a good time.

    Covid cases in King County continue to trend downward from spikes in May. In fact, we're just hovering over that 200-cases-per-100,000-residents metric that officials have always aimed for. Our region continues to phase down. Seattle is now nixing its hazard pay requirement for grocery store workers. That pay was aimed to make up for the risks posed to workers, though the Council itself continues to have meetings remotely. It also voted to make one pandemic measure permanent — a cap on food delivery fees.

    This all doesn't mean drop your guard, however. Emerald City Comic Con just announced that it will be requiring face masks at its event later this month. Rose City Comic Con in Portland is also requiring masks for its event in September. And before folks snicker too much about such comical, nerdy events — these conventions draw in more people than Seafair or a Seahawks game.

    Much of what I referenced above comes with a premise of protecting yourself. But here is the thing — not everything is about you. I know that reality is tough to hear for some folks.

    There are those around you who need you to be careful — at the grocery store, on the bus, on the street. People like a friend of mine who has a compromised immune system after having a heart transplant and still remains largely at home while I attend pop culture conventions and watch "Thor" in a theater. Another friend of mine, who also attends pop culture conventions as an artist, fought off cancer over the past couple years. I watched him shrug off sneers as attendees refused to look at his art because he requested customers use hand sanitizer at his booth.

    And there are people like Keith Porter-Davis II who passed away in March, shortly before his 35th birthday. Keith needed a heart transplant in 2020. He got one. But it meant his immune system took a hit. His family felt they were in the clear when 2022 arrived. But then Keith caught Covid.

    “If Keith had not have caught Covid he probably would still be here today,” Keith's mother Charlotte Baker told KUOW. “I just want people to really think about that for a moment, to take themselves out of the equation, and to think about others.”

    You don't know every person's story, or what they are dealing with. You don't know if someone is battling with health complications and still needs to pick up milk at the store. You don't know if a vendor is recovering from cancer and needs to take extra precautions. You just don't know.

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  • Covid vaccine rates among young children remain low in Washington state

    Today So Far Blog
    caption: Sandino, eight months old, gets his first shot of the Covid-19 vaccine at Seattle Children's on June 21, 2022.
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    Sandino, eight months old, gets his first shot of the Covid-19 vaccine at Seattle Children's on June 21, 2022.
    Credit: KUOW photo/Kate Walters

    I has been about a month and a half since the youngest children in Washington state have been able to get Covid shots, but fewer than 9% have received their first dose.

    The rollout for children younger than 5 has been slow, and the demand has been less than it's been for other age groups.

    Michele Roberts, the assistant secretary for prevention and community health at the Washington state Department of Health, said some parents are still taking a "wait and see" approach, but she disagrees with that strategy.

    "You're choosing a different set of risks for your child," Roberts said. "It is not a risk-free decision to not vaccinate right now, either for routine immunizations or for Covid."

    While children who catch Covid tend to have more mild cases, Roberts said they can contribute to community transmission and can get very sick.

    Hospitalizations for young children, like everyone, rose during the omicron surge.

    Roberts said parents who have questions or concerns about the vaccines need to speak with a health-care provider.

    According to Washington's Covid dashboard, 8.8% of children between the ages of 6 months and 4 years old have had their first Covid-19 shot, and 1.4% have completed their primary series.

    A total of 37% of 5- to 11-year-olds have had their first dose, and 33% have completed the two-dose series.

    The older the age group, the more likely they have completed a vaccine series, with nearly 100% of ages 65 and older receiving at least one dose.

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  • More MPV vaccine coming to Washington state

    Today So Far Blog
    caption: Examples of a monkeypox (MPV) rash.
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    Examples of a monkeypox (MPV) rash.
    Credit: CDC »

    Washington state is authorized to receive 17,000 more monkeypox (MPV) vaccine doses.

    Those additional doses are on top of the 7,000 the state has already received. According to the state Department of Health, much of the current supply has already been used for those most at risk for MPV.

    RELATED: MPV outbreak in Washington state "is not under control"

    Meanwhile, state Health Secretary Dr. Umair Shah said the department is working to close the gap for high-risk patients who need the shots.

    "We do believe we're going to get more, it may still not be enough," Dr. Shah said. "Vaccine is absolutely critical, but even more critical is prevention, prevention, prevention."

    Dr. Shah said that includes limiting sexual partners, keeping an eye out for rashes and other symptoms, and staying home if you are symptomatic.

    MPV is rarely fatal, but the symptoms can be very painful.

    The virus is gaining speed in the Northwest, primarily in King County. Washington state had 166 cases at last count.

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