women's health
3:26 pm
Wed April 6, 2011

Adding nuance to hormone therapy risks

Estrogen pills, made by Wyeth Pharmaceuticals, from the Women's Health Initiative study of hormone replacement therapy.
Dean Forbes FHCRC

Whether or not to take hormones has become one of life’s difficult choices as women face menopause, and look for ways to relieve the symptoms. A new study suggests women may be able to minimize the risks if they start in their 50’s.

It also shows negative effects appear more common for women if they take estrogen after age 60.

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State Budget Crisis
3:07 pm
Wed April 6, 2011

Confidential memo outlines details of state proposal to lease liquor distribution

Washington House Democrats are considering a plan to lease the state's liquor distribution system for $300 million cash up front. But it wouldn't come cheap.

Initially, the deal could cost the state 80 percent of what it currently collects from the wholesale distribution of booze. That's according to a memo marked "highly confidential." It comes from a newly formed company called Washington Beverage and outlines a proposal to take over from the state the distribution of hard liquor throughout Washington.

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Environment
2:11 pm
Wed April 6, 2011

Washington milk is safe

Bottoms up!
Flickr user purplemattfish/Matthew flickr.com

Worried about radiation from Japan contaminating milk here at home? The Washington state departments of Agriculture and Health say the latest tests show no sign of any radioactivity in milk sampled in Tacoma and Spokane.

Last week, the EPA announced that trace amounts of radioactive Iodine-131 were detected in a sample from Spokane, but at levels 5,000 times below anything that would be remotely dangerous. Officials say drinking a pint of milk with radiation levels that low would amount to less than half of the exposure you would get in a five hour plane flight.

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Emergency Preparedness
11:49 am
Wed April 6, 2011

Japan tsunami heightens interest in elevated 'safe havens'

This is an artist's rendering of the proposed tsunami shelter/new city hall that officials hope to build in Cannon Beach, Ore.
Courtesy Ecola Architects, PC

If you’re near the coastline and a major earthquake strikes, the advice as always is to scramble for higher ground. But sometimes, high ground is far away. For example, if you’re in Ocean Shores or Seaside, Ore., the best option could be to head for the rooftop of a sturdy building, if there is one.

In Westport, and communities along the Northwest coast,  the horrible and gripping images of destruction from the Japanese earthquake and tsunami are still top-of-mind. In this fishing and beach resort town, retiree Linda Orgel is one of hundreds of coastal residents spurred to become better prepared. That interest is being channeled into planning and design meetings for a possible string of manmade refuge towers.

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Museum of Flight
10:59 am
Wed April 6, 2011

State delegation wants space shuttle to land in Seattle

Space shuttle Discovery is towed to the Orbiter Processing Facility after landing at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla., Wednesday, March 9, 2011.
AP

In a bipartisan push to bring the retired Space Shuttle to the Museum of Flight in Seattle, Washington's U.S. Senators Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell, along with the state's entire congressional delegation, have sent a a letter to Charles F. Bolden, the Administrator of NASA, urging him to select the museum as the home for the retired NASA Space Shuttle Orbiter.

In the letter, the delegation says:

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Law & Justice
8:37 am
Wed April 6, 2011

Higher court fines imposed on Latino drug offenders in Washington state

Court fines issued to felons in Washington vary according to the criminal’s ethnicity and location. That’s the conclusion of a University of Washington study published online in American Sociological Review.

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News Roundup
7:21 am
Wed April 6, 2011

Wednesday morning's headlines

A man votes in at a Tacoma polling location last November. Pierce County's polling places are to be eliminated under a bill signed Tuesday by Gov. Chris Gregoire. It moves the state to vote-by-mail only.
Ted S. Warren AP

Making headlines this morning around the Northwest:

  • Where's Spring? Snow Falls in Lowlands, Mountains
  • Farewell to State's Last Polling Places
  • Seattle Settlement Over Domestic Violence Cases

 

Hey, it's April 6th!

Brrr. It's chilly at sea level, and if you live in the Cascade or Olympic foothills there's a good chance you've seen some snow flakes fall, as Snohomish County has this morning. Mountain passes are getting a new dumping of snow, as April marches on.

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Airplane Safety
4:57 pm
Tue April 5, 2011

FAA orders emergency inspection of some 737's

A Southwest Airlines plane sits in a remote area of the Yuma International Airport, after the plane had a section of fuselage tear from the plane during a flight on Friday, seen here Mon., April 4, 2011, in Yuma, Ariz.
AP

Federal officials have issued an emergency order requiring inspections of Boeing planes with similar construction to the Southwest Airlines plane that had a 5-foot tear that led to an emergency landing last week.

The Federal Aviation Administration order Tuesday applies to Boeing 737-300s, 400s and 500s that have a similarly constructed joint where pieces of the plane's skin meet. The joint is at about the midpoint of the passenger cabin.

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Community Culture
4:29 pm
Tue April 5, 2011

Kurt Cobain sculpture commemorates death of a native son in Aberdeen

Kurt Cobain fans explore the underside of the Young Street Bridge in Aberdeen Tuesday. The spot is one of the few places fans can go to pay their respects to the musician, who died 17 years ago Tuesday.
Photo by MACLEOD PAPPIDAS THE DAILY WORLD

Seventeen years after his death, legendary Pacific Northwest grunge guitarist Kurt Cobain is finally being fully embraced by his former home town. 

A concrete sculpture replicating one of his guitars is now installed in a city park in Aberdeen.  Steven Friederich, a news reporter with the Aberdeen Daily World, who has a story on the unveiling on the site today, says for years, Aberdeen rejected Cobain as a drug addict. 

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Science
4:08 pm
Tue April 5, 2011

Scientists propose earthquake warning system

Damage in Seattle from the Nisqually Quake, Feb. 28, 2001. Could earthquake early-warning systems become common place on the U.S. West Coast?
AP

Earthquake scientists are hoping to build an early-warning system for Washington, Oregon and California.  It would give typically about five to 30 seconds of notice that a big quake was starting. The scientists have been meeting this week to craft a proposal. 

There’s no way to predict earthquakes. But once a big one starts, it sends out different kinds of shock waves that move at different speeds. One type is fast-moving, but barely perceptible. These are called P-waves. They arrive before the slow traveling but damaging shock waves (called S-waves).  

So, if you have precise sensors, they can detect the fast-moving waves and send out alarms. 

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Law
3:23 pm
Tue April 5, 2011

Pierce County Prosecutor declares victory against Hilltop Crips

Tacoma's Hilltop neighborhood at night. 1/11/2011
Flickr user Gexydaf flickr.com

A little more than a year after 36 members and associates of the Hilltop Crips were arrested and prosecuted, Pierce County Prosecutor Mark Lindquist is declaring "a victory for the community". Lindquist says the sweep has dramatically reduced incidents of gang violence. 

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Northwest Economy
10:11 am
Tue April 5, 2011

Earthquake rebuilding likely to benefit existing timber exporters

It's likely the big timber exporters, rather than small family-owned forest product businesses like this one in Centralia, that may benefit the most from anticipated timber exports to Japan for rebuilding after the quake.
Ted S. Warren AP

When disaster response in Japan turns to rebuilding, Northwest timber companies and sawmills should see an increase in exports. But an industry consultant says the slow pace of disaster recovery means those new orders may not come for months. 

Stock prices for some North American timber companies spiked in the immediate aftermath of the Japan disaster. Wall Street anticipates a surge in Japanese demand for logs, lumber and plywood to rebuild homes.

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Airline Safety
8:01 am
Tue April 5, 2011

Boeing helps with Southwest Airlines investigation

A Southwest Airlines jet, a Boeing 737-300, takes off from the Tampa, Fla., airport in January. The plane is coming under scrutiny after a section of a Southwest Airlines jet ripped open during a flight in the skies of Arizona last week.
AP

Boeing says it’s providing technical assistance to federal aviation regulators and to Southwest Airlines in the wake of Friday’s mid-flight incident where a hole appeared in the skin of a 737 airliner at 34,000 feet.

The Seattle Times reports that the sudden rupture has experts concerned because the stress-related failure of the aircraft’s aluminum skin occurred mid-fuselage. That's a place that was not previously thought to be vulnerable to that kind of damage. 

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News Roundup
7:50 am
Tue April 5, 2011

Tuesday morning's headlines

Some of the top news stories around the Northwest this morning:

  • New Plan to Target Sea Lions
  • State House Lays Out a Budget Plan
  • Bellevue Tackles Steep Rise in Burglaries

 

Legislators Driving Toward Budget Showdown

Democrats in the state House of Representatives presented their budget plan for the next two years, slashing nearly $5 billion in spending. Cuts come from many areas, including K-4 education spending, and care for the developmentally disabled. Spared? Enrollment for 25,000 slots in children's health insurance program, Apple Health for Kids.

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Street Cents
1:23 am
Tue April 5, 2011

How high and low can you go?

Some Mercer Island properties are among the highest valued on the current market.
Bing.com

It's that time of year again when KPLU's John Maynard and real estate appraiser Richard Hagar look at the least expensive and the most expensive homes on the market. This time around, they're zeroing in on King County.

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