Japanese Tsunami
4:30 pm
Tue December 13, 2011

Most tsunami debris must be removed from the ocean by hand

The whole crew of Project Kaisei tries to lift an island of net and plastic estimated at over a ton.
Ryan Yerkley

How do you remove from the ocean more than 100,000 tons of Japanese tsunami debris heading for Northwest shores? By hand, says one expert.

“When you’re talking about open ocean … It’s a very big ocean,” says Andrea Neal, an experienced ocean cleaner. “There isn’t a whole lot being done in the open ocean.”

That’s because most programs devoted to cleaning marine debris focus on prevention and coastal cleanup. When crews do confront debris in the open ocean, cleanup efforts require hands, a ship and supplies which can cost more than $35,000 per day to operate, because the composition of the debris makes it difficult to get out of the ocean.

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Environment
1:46 pm
Tue December 13, 2011

Pierce County burn ban elevated to stage two

Air quality is worsening in Pierce County. 

The Puget Sound Clean Air Agency has raised the burn ban in Pierce County to Stage 2. No burning is allowed in ANY wood-burning fireplaces, wood stoves, fireplace inserts (certified or uncertified) or pellet stoves. The only exception is if a wood stove is a home's only adequate source of heat.

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Space Travel
1:11 pm
Tue December 13, 2011

Paul Allen to open airport operations - for space!

What Paul Allen's new ship -- carrier aircraft with spaceship hanging in the middle -- will look like.
Stratolaunch Systems

Paul Allen’s new company, Stratolaunch Systems hopes to bring airport-like operations to the launch of commercial and government payloads and, eventually, human missions. Plans call for a first flight within five years, according to a company press release.

The air-launch-to-orbit system will mean lower costs, greater safety, and more flexibility and responsiveness than is possible today with ground-based systems, the company declares.

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Economic woes
12:41 pm
Tue December 13, 2011

Extended jobless benefits ending in Washington

OLYMPIA, Wash. — The Washington Employment Security Department says extended benefits will be phasing out over the next month for 85,000 people in the state.

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Other News
12:25 pm
Tue December 13, 2011

Oregon's Unemployment Rate Drops

The unemployment rate dropped 0-point-4 percent from the previous month. At 9-point-1 percent, it’s still half a percentage point higher than the national average.
Oregon’s drop in unemployment is good news, but state employment economist, Nick Beleiciks, warned people not to get too excited.

Nick Beleiciks: "It's just a one month change so far, which is very welcome after months and months of no change in the unemployment rate. So I think we're not ready to celebrate because of one month change, but it's certainly in the right direction."

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Joint Base Lewis-McChord
11:57 am
Tue December 13, 2011

Army won’t say yet if helicopters collided in deadly crash

OH58 Kiowa Warrior.
U.S. Army

THURSTON COUNTY, Wash. – The Army isn’t saying yet whether a mid-air collision caused the crash of two reconnaissance helicopters at a training area on Joint Base Lewis-McChord. The accident Monday night killed four Washington-based Army aviators.

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Jazz & Blues
11:46 am
Tue December 13, 2011

2 ways to celebrate the life of jazz great Clark Terry and ‘Keepin on’

Part of the cover of Clark Terry's autobiography.

Trumpeter, composer, bandleader and jazz educator Clark Terry will be 91 years old this week. His 70-plus year career is being celebrated with a couple of biographical events.

Read more on Groove Notes.

The Salt
11:23 am
Tue December 13, 2011

Oregon Senator Pushes Local Pears For School Lunches

Comice pears are super-yummy, but not approved for schookids.
iStockPhoto.com

Originally published on Mon December 12, 2011 3:18 pm

Mike Naumes thinks Oregon schoolchildren should be eating more Oregon pears. And not just the D'Anjou, Bartlett and Bosc pears approved by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's School Lunch Program, but the lesser-known Comice pears of southern Oregon's Rogue Valley.

Anyone who's ever tasted a Comice pear would have a hard time arguing with that. They're fat and green, extraordinarily sweet and juicy — a world apart from your typical supermarket pear.

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The Two-Way
11:12 am
Tue December 13, 2011

Robocalls To Cellphones? States Marshal Opposition

"No, I don't want to renew my subscription." What if they could reach you anywhere?
Mario Tama Getty Images

Originally published on Tue December 13, 2011 11:51 am

A bill before Congress that would allow some types of "robocalls" to be made to cellphones if consumers have given companies their numbers doesn't have many sponsors and wouldn't seem to be the kind of legislation that would stand much of a chance of passing when an election year looms.

But it's getting an increasing amount of attention this week thanks to something that's very rare these days — bipartisan opposition.

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2012 Elections
9:43 am
Tue December 13, 2011

Poll: Latinos unhappy with both major parties

A national poll released Monday shows Latinos are unhappy with both major political parties. The poll posed several questions to Latino registered voters about their attitudes toward candidates and the 2012 election.

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