News Roundup
7:21 am
Tue March 15, 2011

Tuesday morning's headlines

Former Micosoft Corp. Chairman Bill Gates, right, and former Corporate Vice President J Allard, left, posed for photos in 2007 with Zune media players. Microsoft has now announced that it is giving up its Zune.
Ted S. Warren AP Photo

Making headlines around the Northwest this morning:

  • Boeing Readies for 747-8 First Flight
  • Dozens of Mudslides Block Rail Lines
  • Microsoft's Zune Sails Away

 

First Flight Plans for 747-8

Boeing's newest passenger jet could make its maiden voyage as early as Sunday.  The Herald of Everett Michelle Dunlop reports the  only obstacles are some tests on taxiing the plane and a thumbs-up from the Federal Aviation Administration:

"The team continues to do great work to get the 747-8 Intercontinental into the air," said Elizabeth Lund, vice president and general manager, 747 program. "It'll be a great day for the team when the airplane flies."

In the run-up to first flight, Boeing conducted flight simulation tests last weekend. The freighter version of the 747-8 is already in the air for tests, Dunlop writes. Initial deliveries of the freighter jets are scheduled by year's end.

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Money Matters
4:56 am
Tue March 15, 2011

Worried about pensions?

Are you losing sleep over your pension fund?

Public and private pension funds are under a lot of stress due to the Great Recession. The Washington Post's Peter Whoriskey recently reported state and local pensions may be underfunded by $1.5 trillion more than previously thought. NPR has reported the states are facing a $3 trillion pension shortfall.

But financial commentator Greg Heberlein tells KPLU's Dave Meyer the situation may not be as bad as it looks.Greg says there's cause for concern, but he's optimistic. 

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Embezzlement
3:50 am
Tue March 15, 2011

Alleged embezzlement at judges' association

We have learned of an embezzlement involving taxpayer dollars in case with an unlikely victim: Washington's Superior Court Judges.

No charges have been filed, but a federal investigation is underway into years of alleged theft at the Superior Court Judges' Association of Washington.

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Medical clinic protests
6:13 pm
Mon March 14, 2011

Justice Department sues anti-abortion activist

Federal prosecutors have filed a lawsuit to prevent an anti-abortion protester from blocking access to a medical clinic in Lynnwood.

According to the U.S. Department of Justice complaint, John C. Kroack walked into a Lynnwood health clinic on Jan. 7, 2010, became agitated as he talked about abortion and tried to force his way into one of the exam rooms. Prosecutors say a nurse had to hold her body against the door to keep him from breaking it down.

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KPLU Studio Sessions
3:02 pm
Mon March 14, 2011

John Pizzarelli: Always ‘on’, always John

We've said it before and we'll say it again: Having guitarist/vocalist/storyteller, John Pizzarelli, as a guest in the KPLU studios is always great fun. He loves making music, he loves telling stories and he loves entertaining his fans.

When he visited us recently for this performance/interview with Abe Beeson, several members of the KPLU Leadership Circle attended the event, and John Pizzarelli played to this small group the same way he'd play to a full house at Lincoln Center.

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Japan Quake
10:09 am
Mon March 14, 2011

Danger to U.S. considered unlikely from Japanese nuclear crisis

A resident suspected of being exposed to radiation is taken to medical care by a security team, in Nihonmatsu, Fukushima, northern Japan Sunday, March 13, 2011 following radiation emanation from a nuclear reactor after Friday's massive quake.
AP

A local expert says danger to the United States is unlikely from the nuclear crisis in Japan, following the devastating earthquake and tsunami. That's also being echoed by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, as reported by The Wall Street Journal.

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News Roundup
7:49 am
Mon March 14, 2011

Monday morning's headlines

It will be a rainy and windy Monday around Western Washington, with high temperatures in the low 50's.  Rain is in the forecast all this week. 

Making headlines around the Northwest this morning:

  • Mudslides Affect Commute
  • Northwest Relief Workers to Japan
  • Obama's Education Secretary Here, Virtually

 

Rails and Roads Covered in Mud

Sounder rail lines, Amtrak routes and at least one major highway are blocked by mudslides this morning. Sunday's heavy rains caused at least three separate slides over Burlington Northern Santa Fe tracks: two north of Seattle, and one in southwest Washington near Vancouver. 

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Monday's Photo
7:33 am
Mon March 14, 2011

Wearin' of the green at St. Paddy's Day Dash

St. Patrick's Day Dash participants in a "Seattle showers" costume on Aurora Aveneue North on Sunday, March 13, 2011.
Erin Hennessey

It was a wet and rainy day for Sunday's St. Patrick's Day Dash in Seattle. But that didn't deter about 14,000 people from participating in this 3.8-mile run and walk near Seattle Center. The wearin' of the green was also embraced.

Beer hats, green tutus, and KPLU's favorite - a man in a Seattle "shower" - added color and much appreciated whimsy to the event. The dash was sponsored by the Detlef Schrempf Foundation, with all proceeds going to Camp Fire USA Puget Sound Council and Seattle Children's Autism Center.

Artscape
4:18 am
Mon March 14, 2011

The Official Bad Art Museum of Art, aka The OBAMA

Baby

We all know where to go to see “great” art. But what about really “bad” art? Where do you see that collection?Well, you are in luck because Seattle has its very own Official Bad Art Museum of Art. It’s The “OBAMA.” The collection’s curators are the Seattle couple Marlow Harris and Jo David.

Club House for the Creative

The museum is housed inside Cafe Racer, a blue, nondescript coffee house and bar right at the edge of the University District in Seattle.

The people who hang out here are burlesque artists, cartoonists, musicians and the occasional sword swallower. It’s a club house for the creative. To get into the “OBAMA” isn’t easy. Joe David says the artwork has to meet a certain standard."

“It’s a piece that started out with the right intentions and then something horribly went wrong along the way.”

Yes, the pieces are bad, but they are still interesting to view. The collection goes well beyond "Dogs Playing Poker." 

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Law & Justice
3:44 am
Mon March 14, 2011

State releases disciplinary records for inmate charged with murder

We’re learning more about the Washington prison inmate charged with killing a female correctional officer in January.  Prison disciplinary records were obtained for Byron Scherf. They show two major violations, but not for hurting others.

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Environment
12:07 am
Mon March 14, 2011

Snake, Columbia dams to open after long closure

The second leaf of the new The Dalles downstream navigation lock gate is lowered into position on March 5.
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

The dams on the Columbia and Snake rivers will open for barge traffic soon. Locks were closed for several months during repairs.

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Air Pollution
4:11 pm
Fri March 11, 2011

Auto emission testing changes under consideration

Washington's auto emissions program is being changed to make it more cost effective

For most drivers in Washington’s most-populated areas, getting your car’s emissions system tested is an every-other-year ritual. Now, state environment officials are proposing to make changes they say will streamline the process without compromising the region’s air quality.

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Science
3:45 pm
Fri March 11, 2011

Japan tsunami illustrates risks facing Pacific Northwest coast

UW Brian Atwater (center) points out evidence of the 1700 Cascadia earthquake and tsunami to field-trip participants during a canoe trip along the Niawiakum River.
Brian Atwater University of Washington

The same type of tectonic earthquake that hit Japan - involving the collision of plates that make up the Earth's crust - could happen in the Northwest.  Similar faults lie in the Cascadia subduction zone. 

The head of the Pacific Northwest Seismic Network at the University of Washington, John Vidale, told The Seattle Times' Sandi Doughton the Cascadia fault last ruptured in 1700.  Scientists believe it generated at magnitude 9 earthquake and a tsunami that may have been bigger than the one that battered Japan. 

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Japan Quake
2:00 pm
Fri March 11, 2011

Tsunami waves not visible to the eye on coast

Tidal gauges detected a tsunami wave along the Washington and Oregon coasts Friday morning. But the swell, up to 1.5 feet, went unnoticed by coastal residents who chose not to evacuate.

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Japan Quake Aftermath
10:45 am
Fri March 11, 2011

Threat from tsunami waves lessens; people asked to stay off coast beaches

Waves common for a stormy springtime day crash into the beach Friday, March 11, 2011 in Moclips, Wash. A Tsunami caused by the Thursday earthquake in Japan reached the west coast of the United States early Friday, though its impact was minimal.
Ted S. Warren AP

Updated at 10:32 a.m.

The first wave of the tsunami to hit the Washington Coast measured 1.6 feet at La Push and about half a foot at Neah Bay and Port Angeles, according to the National Weather Service.

Tsunami Adisory Remains in Effect

Science and Operations officer Kirby Cook says the tsunami advisory is still in effect for the Washington Coast and more waves could be on the way. Cook says more waves are landing in California and that means Washington and Oregon can expect more as well.

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