Traffic news
8:47 am
Tue January 3, 2012

Highway 520 tolls: Traffic down on morning commute

The Highway 520 floating bridge, including the western high rise, where the bridge passes near the Madison Park neighborhood of Seattle as it heads over Lake Washington.
Associated Press

On the first day of the post-holiday commute, Washington transportation officials say traffic is down significantly on the 520 bridge.

They say about 37 percent fewer drivers than normal crossed the 520 bridge between 6 and 7 a.m. this morning.

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Economy
8:33 am
Tue January 3, 2012

Raising The Minimum Wage: Whom Does It Help?

Originally published on Tue January 3, 2012 11:33 am

For some of America's lowest-paid workers, the new year means a pay raise. Some states set their own minimum wages, above the federal rate of $7.25 an hour, and that rekindles an old debate over whether minimum wages make sense — especially at a time of high unemployment.

Like several other states, Washington state's minimum wage is indexed to the cost of living. This year, the formula has raised the statewide minimum from $8.67 to $9.04 an hour, making it the nation's highest statewide rate.

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Environment
8:25 am
Tue January 3, 2012

82-acres in Pierce County to be wildlife preserve

TACOMA, Wash. — An 82-acre peninsula in Pierce County has been purchased for protection as a wildlife preserve.

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Street Cents
4:30 am
Tue January 3, 2012

Not all condos are buildings in the investment world

When you invest in a parking space ... it can be kinda like investing in a condo.
Steve Rhodes Flikr

When most of us talk about condos, we’re usually referring to buildings with apartment units that are individually owned.  But as real estate appraiser Richard Hagar tells KPLU’s John Maynard, a condominium is technically a type of ownership.

So you can also "condominiumize" other types of property. Hagar says it's a hot trend for investors. 

Condo parking spaces

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Artscape
4:30 am
Mon January 2, 2012

Using art to thaw the winter blues

Jason Christian, the head gaffer at Seattle Glassblowing Studio in Belltown, dips a long pipe into a kiln.
Rachel Solomon

Jenny Solomon has an entire room in her house dedicated to arts and crafts. She usually has 10 projects going on at the same time, and right now, she’s knitting a balloon animal, beading jewelry and learning to draw.

Solomon is wearing a necklace and bracelet she made, too. And in the free time she has left over, she plays the harp, a hobby she picked up from her childhood.

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News
2:42 pm
Fri December 30, 2011

Alaska's Cleveland Volcano spews ash

Originally published on Thu December 29, 2011 4:47 pm

The Alaska Volcano Observatory has raised the alert level for that state's Cleveland Volcano.

Chris Nye works for the Alaska Volcano Observatory in Fairbanks. He says his agency detected an ash cloud drifting from the Cleveland early Thursday morning.

"Cleveland is a volcano that has been sputtering on and off for several months without exploding and producing an ash cloud," Nye says. "And so it's sort of the ash cloud that ups the ante and causes the increase from yellow to orange."

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The Two-Way
2:39 pm
Fri December 30, 2011

Someday, your car may know if that's your butt in the driver's seat

"Oh dear, the car doesn't seem to recognize me." (1960 file photo from the U.K.)
Chaloner Woods Getty Images

Originally published on Fri December 30, 2011 7:00 am

We're a little behind on this story, butt it's too fantasstic not to point out:

Researchers at the University of Tokyo's Graduate School of Industrial Technology have developed an anti-theft device for cars that senses whether the derriere sitting in the driver's seat is or isn't supposed to be there.

Not the right backside? Then the vehicle won't start.

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I Wonder Why ... ?
4:30 am
Fri December 30, 2011

Why can't we toss out our old P-I newspapers?

There they sit. On the shelf in the KPLU newsroom. Two dozen of them. Each in their own day-of-the-week slot.

Seattle Post-Intelligencers from March 2009, the month the paper ceased publication after 146 years.

We wonder: Why haven’t we been able to toss those papers and relegate the printed P-I to the dark depths of the archive stacks at the public library?

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Sports with Art Thiel
9:00 pm
Thu December 29, 2011

Highs and lows in sports for 2011

Leaderless in Seattle: Sounders FC goalkeeper Kasey Keller takes a lap around the pitch on Oct. 15, 2011, in his final regular season game before retiring.
Ted S. Warren AP Photo

There were some bright spots in the local sports scene in 2011. But not many. Find out what KPLU sports commentator Art Thiel named as the high points and low points of the year.

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A Blog Supreme
9:56 am
Thu December 29, 2011

Willie 'The Lion' Smith: Stride piano's uptown Rruler

Originally published on Wed November 23, 2011 7:08 am

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