Crime
6:11 pm
Wed March 16, 2011

$10,000 in equipment stolen from Habitat for Humanity in Tacoma

Tacoma/Pierce County Habitat for Humanity reports thieves broke into a work site Tuesday night in Tacoma, stealing more than $10,000 worth of equipment and building materials. The thieves had to cut through chains securing the project, a development called Founders Circle. Six homes are being built for low income families on the site at 1102 South Shirley Street.

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Earthquake Preparedness
5:22 pm
Wed March 16, 2011

Viaduct closure; Emergency system triggered by seismic sensors

A map showing where automated traffic control gates will go on State Route 99 in Seattle. The automated viaduct closure gates system improves safety by preventing people from driving onto the viaduct after a moderate to severe earthquake.
WSDOT

Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn has been calling for a closure of the Alaskan Way Viaduct as soon as possible.  That's because it's an earthquake hazard.  Other leaders think that's an over-reaction, since a new tunnel is already in the works. 

But the Viaduct will close this weekend for its semi-annual inspection.  Drivers will have to re-route their travel for two days.  Routine maintenance on the old structure was scheduled long before the earthquake in Japan. 

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Japan Quake & Tsunami
3:19 pm
Wed March 16, 2011

Despite scary headlines, local radiation danger is negligible

Pharmacist Donna Barsky measures potassium iodide for a prescription at the Texas Star Pharmacy on Tuesday, March 15, 2011 in Plano, Texas. The pharmacy has been receiving an unusually high number of calls about KI since the Japan quake.
AP Photo

From Chehalis to Chicago, local health food stores are seeing their stock of potassium iodide pills sell out, as public fear over radiation fallout from Japan's damaged nuclear plants continues.

The trouble is the fear doesn't match the risk, say numerous scientists and government officials, both here and across the nation, according to The News Tribune and other reports.

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Arts & Entertainment
2:32 pm
Wed March 16, 2011

Bumbershoot aims for improved 2011, hopes for better weather

Reggae artist Jimmy Cliff is shown here performing at Bumbershoot in 1999.
AP

Seattle's venerable end of summer music festival is making changes to avoid a repeat of last year's event: disappointing ticket sales. Festival organizers cited heavy rains for keeping people away, but the changes suggest last year's tickeing schemes may have played a role.

Bumbershoot producer One Reel announced it will drop a discount ticket plan that excluded main stage shows. Instead, it will return to tickets good for all shows, according to The Seattle Times.

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Nuclear Power
1:17 pm
Wed March 16, 2011

Crisis in Japan could affect Northwest nuclear project

The nuclear crisis in Japan could have repercussions for a proposed nuclear enrichment plant in Idaho. A Congressional subcommittee will hear testimony on nuclear safety, just as other countries re-examine their policies on nuclear power.

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Gambling
8:04 am
Wed March 16, 2011

Non-tribal casinos renew push for video slot machines

Chris Kealy, owner of The Iron Horse mini-casino in Auburn, wants the legislature to allow electronic slots in non-tribal casinos in Washington
Austin Jenkins Northwest News Network

Lawmakers expect to get more bad news tomorrow when the new state revenue forecast comes out. If the budget shortfall grows, pressure will intensify to find new sources of tax dollars to offset some of the cuts. Maybe gambling.

That's what owners of the state's non-tribal casinos are betting on. They're ready with a proposal to allow video slot machines in off-reservation mini-casinos – something they say will benefit the state’s coffers.

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News Roundup
7:07 am
Wed March 16, 2011

Wednesday morning's headlines

Making headlines around the Northwest this morning:

  • Going Back to College Could Get More Expensive
  • Higher Ed Bills Drawing Fresh Faces to Olympia
  • Arson Attempt at Olympia Police Station
  • Sounders Drop MLS Opener

 

Bill Would Hike Fees For College Returnees

If you plan to go back to college you could end up paying a lot more in tuition. A budget-saving proposal in Olympia would apply to people who already have a degree and then go for extra training at a community college, reports The Seattle Times' Queenie Wong:

SB5868 would require students with a bachelor's degree who attend a community or technical college to bear the entire cost of instruction - the price of regular tuition plus the share that the state pays.

That means it could affect current university students who take extra time and credits to get their degree.  State Senator Rodney Tom of Bellevue tells Wong that during a tight economy, government has to prioritize. It’s important to help students attend college, he says, but not for extra training.

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Food for Thought
4:15 am
Wed March 16, 2011

For a good time call John Pizzarelli

John Pizzarelli having a ball along with his audience at the KPLU studios.
KPLU

And for good eats call his Aunt Vera.

What a great time Nancy and I had hanging out with Pizzarelli and talking about food, food movies and his aunt Vera's cooking -- immortalized in song in this segment.  One of the food movies we discussed, Big Night, about an Italian restaurant in the '50s, features a deliriously over the top multi-course feast prepared for an expected visit from Louis Prima. 

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Remembering John T. Williams
5:20 pm
Tue March 15, 2011

Century-old cedar totems to honor native woodcarver at Seattle Center "carve-in"

Late carver John T. Williams' brother, Rick, beams with joy as he and another carver, Dan Martin, make the first cuts on a 120-year-old cedar. Their carve-in will go on for at least 6 months.
Photo by Bellamy Pailthorp KPLU

An ancient cedar tree was delivered earlier today (Tuesday) to the Seattle Center. Several totem poles carved from it in public will commemorate the life and art of native carver John T. Williams.

His shooting by a Seattle police officer last August has escalated tensions between law enforcement and people of color. But Williams' family says the "carve-in" that has just begun is about remembering his cultural legacy. 

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Life in the Northwest
5:18 pm
Tue March 15, 2011

Fee hike for climbing Mt. Rainier

Mt. Rainier 4/13/08
Flickr user as737700 flickr.com

The priceless experience of climbing Mt. Rainier will cost you an extra $13 this year. Rainier National Park officials are now charging $43 for a climbing pass for adults over the age of 25. Climbers 24 and younger get a $30 youth rate. The new rates are effective immediately. Passes are good for one year.

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Washington's Economy
3:36 pm
Tue March 15, 2011

State's jobless rate drops slightly

A few more of us are finding work, according to the latest employment figures released by the state's Employment Security Department on Tuesday. This woman is looking for opportunities at a job fair in Seattle.
AP

Unemployment ticked downward in Washington state in February as hiring picked up. The changes were small, but the job market seems to have “turned the corner,” according to the State's Employment Security department. 

Washington's chief labor economist Dave Wallace, spoke about the fresh data released Tuesday. Wallace says the hard-hit construction industry showed surprisingly strong gains regionally and nationally:

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Business
3:25 pm
Tue March 15, 2011

Ailing retailer Harry & David expected to survive, but shrink

A Harry & David retail store.
Tom Banse N3

One of the best known Northwest brands is on the verge of bond default or bankruptcy according to financial analysts. Gourmet food retailer Harry & David is one of the biggest employers in southern Oregon. It also has a network of anxious suppliers around the region.

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earthquake
1:23 pm
Tue March 15, 2011

Japan’s quake, tsunami and what it teaches the Northwest

A tsunami wave carries cars, houses and other debris across farmlands in northeast Japan, Friday, March 11, 2011.
NHK via YouTube

You may have heard Washington has an earthquake fault similar to the one that devastated Japan.  While there are many fault-lines criss-crossing western Washington, the only one that bears a strong similarity is under the ocean, parallel to our coast-line.  It’s called the Cascadia subduction zone. 

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Law & Justice
9:55 am
Tue March 15, 2011

Prosecutors seek death penalty in murder of prison guard

Snohomish County Prosecutor Mark Roe says he'll seek the death penalty if Byron Scherf is convicted of aggravated murder in the death of Monroe prison Corrections Officer Jayme Biendl.

In announcing his decision Tuesday in Everett, Roe said jurors "should have the opportunity of imposing the ultimate punishment if they see fit."

Biendl was strangled Jan. 29 in the prison chapel.

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Japan Quake
8:11 am
Tue March 15, 2011

Tsunami-hit Oregon county looks for aid

A boat damaged by the tsunami at Brookings Harbor
Sergeant Scott Punch Oregon State Police

A southern Oregon county battered by last Friday's tsunami is turning to the state and federal government for assistance. High waves caused heavy damage the harbor in Brookings. One local official hand-delivered a request for assistance to the state capitol.

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