Okanogan Complex Firefight Like 'Eating An Elephant'

Unhealthy smoke continued to blanket large parts of central and eastern Washington state and north Idaho Wednesday. Some workers in north central Washington were sent home because the dense smoke was rated downright “hazardous.”
Read More
Brieana Ripley, KPLU

Not so long ago, before there were self-driving cars, microprocessors or even abundant electricity, the state-of-the-art technology was clockwork. Through cams and springs and gears, craftspeople were able to create precise tools, rudimentary robots and exquisite pieces of art.

Brittany Nicole Cox is one of a handful of antiquarian horologists trained to preserve and restore those objects. She does that from her Seattle workshop where, in gloves and a white lab coat, Cox gingerly removes a box from one of her vintage hardwood cabinets. It’s her specialty-within-a-specialty: A Victorian-era automaton.

Ted S. Warren / AP Photo

It's not the ideal circumstance for University of Washington football players or head coach Chris Petersen. They open the 2015 season next Friday night, Sept. 4, against Petersen's very successful old team, Boise State, in Boise, on national television (ESPN).

KPLU sports commentator Art Thiel said it's a challenging start to a tough season.

photo courtesy of Alyssa Menes

People who love games – everything from ones on the computer to board games – will dominate downtown Seattle this weekend attending the convention known as PAX Prime. People there can try out brand new games, learn how to make their own, or attend panels, including one about writing music for video games.

Alyssa Menes, a young woman composer from New Jersey, is one of the panelists.   

She grew up playing classic Nintendo games from the 1980s, games such as The Legend of Zelda, Mario, and Kid Icarus, and fell in love with those tunes.

AP Images

New tools and new strategies are needed to fight and prevent wildfires nationwide. That was the sentiment at a field hearing held in Seattle by the U.S. Senate’s Energy and Natural Resources Committee.

The hearing  was convened by U.S. Senators Maria Cantwell of Washington, a Democrat, and John Barrasso, a Wyoming Republican. They are collecting testimony for the Wildland Fire Management Act of 2015.

The Act would establish community plans to reduce the risks of fires while also aiming to increase the country's ability to fight major fires more effectively.  

One issue highlighted by Cantwell is the need to solve what’s known as “the fire borrowing problem.” This is when funding for emergency response to wildfire is taken from prevention program budgets. She says since 2002, more than $13 billion dollars was “borrowed” in this way.

Boeing is moving to settle a lawsuit accusing it of mishandling its 401(k) plan for thousands of workers. The case is part of a legal assault by a consumer rights attorney to stop companies from offering employees high-cost, bad retirement plans.

A federal judge in Seattle has made it clear to the state that mentally ill jail inmates need to be evaluated within seven days to see if they’re competent to stand trial.

Washington Lt. Governor Brad Owen traveled to China last year and touted a company that’s now at the center of a federal fraud investigation.

Todd Petit / Flickr

Many of the communities affected by this year's wildfires in central and eastern Washington have economies that rely heavily on tourism.

KPLU travel expert Matthew Brumley says once the wildfire danger has passed, people should consider taking time to visit central and eastern Washington, to inject money back into the economy.

Some places have been evacuated and suffered damage from the wildfires. But others are just in a region people have chosen to avoid, to steer clear of wildfire danger this summer.

Here are some good places to look:

The incident command for Washington’s biggest wildfire requested a mental health team to help people in Okanogan County. A national nonprofit called Green Cross has responded to the call.

KPLU keeps fund drives short, and your pledge now will make our fall drive even shorter. For every $60,000 we raise toward our $300,000 goal, we’ll knock a day off  of the drive. Help us make this the shortest drive ever! You even have the power to eliminate the drive altogether! 

Your support helps us create stories like this that affect your community:  Tacoma Considers Allowing More Density In Single-Family Neighborhoods

MAKE YOUR GIFT NOW to support the news you love!

Pages