State Law
9:45 am
Fri January 21, 2011

Reforms to state's medical marijuana system up for debate

Some state lawmakers are proposing major changes to Washington's voter-approved medical marijuana system. 

Associated Press reporter Curt Woodward describes a packed meeting yesterday of the Senate Health and Long-Term Care Committee, which was discussing Senate Bill 5073, proposed by Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles, D-Seattle. It would give medical marijuana users more protections against arrest than they currently have. 

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Police Brutality Charges
9:19 am
Fri January 21, 2011

Testimony describes King County deputy bashing man's head against concrete wall

Grainy surveillance video captures the moment a King County Sheriff's deputy, working with Metro Transit police, knocks Christopher Harris against an outside wall of the Cinerama Theater in Seattle's Belltown neighborhood in May 2009.
MJDArv via YouTube.com

A jury trial has begun in Tacoma, detailing another case of alleged police brutality in Seattle.

The lawsuit was filed against King County by the wife and a court-appointed guardian of 31-year-old Christopher Sean Harris, who a deputy shoved against a concrete wall a year and a half ago outside the Cinerama movie theater in Belltown. A surveillance camera outside the movie theater captured footage of the incident.

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Boeing
6:50 am
Fri January 21, 2011

Senator Cantwell demanding answers in tanker competition after latest Air Force blunder

U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., (right) talks with Boeing 767 employees Anna Karsky (left) and Maeghan Smith Hudon below the wing of a 767 at Boeing's plant in Everett.
Photo by Bellamy Pailthorp KPLU

US Senator Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) says the US Air Force contract for the next generation of refueling tankers should not be awarded until questions are answered about the military's latest snafu. 

A decision on who wins the $35-billion contract is expected as early as next month. 

In November, the Air Force admitted that it had inadvertently mixed up two packages of information.  It sent details of Boeing's bid to Airbus-parent EADS and of EADS's bid to Boeing. 

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News Roundup
6:02 am
Fri January 21, 2011

Friday morning's headlines

A view of Olympiad Drive in Southworth on the Kitsap Peninsula during a January "king tide" from the state Dept. of Ecology's Flickr photo page.
Courtesy Ray Garrido WSDoE

Making headlines this morning:

  • Inquest of Woodcarver's Shooting Raises More Questions
  • Everett to WSU: Shall We Dance?
  • Here Come the High Tides
  • Huskies Zap Arizona for Pac 10 Lead

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Sports with Art Thiel
4:48 am
Fri January 21, 2011

Seahawks start offseason with big changes and challenges

Seattle Seahawks quarterback Matt Hasselbeck talks to head coach Pete Carroll on the sideline during an NFL football game against the San Francisco 49ers, Sunday, Sept. 12, 2010, in Seattle. Will coach and player be on the same sideline next season?
Ted S. Warren AP Photo


There's no rest for the weary at Seattle Seahawks headquarters. Less than a week after the end of the season, head coach Pete Carroll fired offensive coordinator Jeremy Bates and hired Darrell Bevell from the Minnesota Vikings to replace him.


Carroll also has hired the newly-fired head coach of the Oakland Raiders, Tom Cable, to be his assistant head coach and the man in charge of the Hawks' offensive line. How does all of this impact the effort to re-sign quarterback Matt Hasselbeck?

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John T. Williams shooting
4:15 pm
Thu January 20, 2011

Inquest jury split over questions about Seattle police shooting

Four of eight jurors in a coroner's inquest say woodcarver John T. Williams didn't have enough time to put down his knife before he was shot and killed by Seattle police Officer Ian Birk.

Only one juror found Williams had time to put down the knife. The other three answered "unknown." Thursday's conclusions are only findings of fact by the jury, which did not have to be unanimous. 

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Medicine
4:07 pm
Thu January 20, 2011

Hospital courtship: UW Medicine proposes to Valley Medical Center

King County's major medical centers continue jockeying for position in the emerging new health-care world. 

U.W. Medicine and Valley Medical Center proposed this week what they call a "strategic alliance." Valley wants to retain its name, although the news release says Valley would become "part of U.W. Medicine."

Earlier this year, U.W. Medicine took over running Northwest Hospital (in north Seattle), without actually owning the hospital. 

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KPLU Studio Sessions
12:41 pm
Thu January 20, 2011

Jacky Terrasson Trio's masterful live performance at KPLU

In a stunning three-song set on Jan. 18, Jacky Terrasson left no doubt that his group is one of the most exciting piano trios in jazz today.

This studio session marks the first visit from pianist, Jacky Terrasson, to the KPLU/Jazz24 studios.  We hope it’s the first of many.

In a stunning three-song set, Jacky left no doubt that his group is one of the most exciting piano trios in jazz today.

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Elections
11:06 am
Thu January 20, 2011

Washington could become all vote-by-mail state

A voter drops an absentee ballot into a collection box
Elaine Thompson AP Photo

Washington would become an all vote-by-mail state under a bill being considered by a State Senate committee.

Pierce County is the last in the state that still allows polling places and some of the county’s voters want to keep it that way.

Lakewood resident Erika Cranmer testified that she has not missed an election since she became an American citizen in 1951. The German native told lawmakers she does not trust vote-by-mail:

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highways
8:23 am
Thu January 20, 2011

Seattle area traffic tied for 10th worst in U.S.

Traffic on Highway 520 in Seattle's Montlake area
Oran Viriyincy Flickr

Traffic congestion in the Seattle area is tied (with Atlanta) for tenth worst in the nation. 

A decade ago, traffic here made headlines for being second worst, in annual rankings by the Texas Transportation Institute.  But, researchers found more accurate ways of measuring congestion, and Seattle’s dubious ranking dropped, as Mike Lindstrom writes in The Seattle Times:

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diversion from jails and hospitals
7:34 am
Thu January 20, 2011

Crisis center for mentally unstable opposed by neighbors

A diversion program intended to keep drug abusers and troubled mentally ill people out of hospitals and jails has run into opposition.  Neighbors of a proposed new facility in Seattle don’t want it.  They say the "Jackson Park" area between Rainier Valley and the Central District already has enough challenges and has become a dumping ground. 

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Puget Sound Pollution
7:27 am
Thu January 20, 2011

Stormwater runoff: A flood of crud

Heavy rains often wash curbside trash into storm drains and eventually into Puget Sound.
Liam Moriarty KPLU News

We’re still dealing with landslides and flooding from the heavy rains brought by last week’s Pineapple Express storms. But the downpour also washed a flood of gunk and junk off of the region’s streets, sidewalks and parking lots, into more than 4,500 storm drains and right into Puget Sound.

Storm drains usually empty underwater, so nobody sees the flood of crud that pours into rivers and bays across the region.

Well, almost no one ...

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News Roundup
7:18 am
Thu January 20, 2011

Thursday morning's headlines

Video captured at an underwater storm drain in Elliott Bay earlier this week, showing mud and contaminants billowing into the Sound. The images were captured by divers, including Laura James.
Courtesy Laura James

Making headlines this morning:

  • Puget Sound Murky From Stormwater Runoff
  • More Heavy Rains Coming, with Potential Flooding
  • Tacoma Considers Closing a High School

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Lewis County
7:13 am
Thu January 20, 2011

Explosion at Chehalis power plant; no injuries reported

A blast and fire at a natural-gas fired power plant in Chehalis was caused by a transformer explosion. No one was injured, according to a plant spokeswoman.

Jan Mitchell says the PacifiCorp-owned facility’s damage is limited to a large transformer on the edge of the property. 

The fire did not involve the plant itself or natural gas.

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K-12 Education
5:10 am
Thu January 20, 2011

Many Washington kids not ready for Kindergarten

Casey Doyle's class at Oakville Elementary School is participating in the state's pilot kindergarten assessment

Nearly a third of children in Washington don’t appear to be ready for kindergarten.  And more than half aren’t likely to have necessary language skills.  The findings come from the state’s first attempt to assess some of its youngest students. 

The assessment, called WaKIDS, includes evaluations of four domains:

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