Charla Bear

Education Reporter

Charla joined us in January, 2010 and is excited to be back in Seattle after several years in Washington, DC, where she was a director and producer for NPR. Charla has reported from three continents and several outlets including Marketplace, San Francisco Chronicle and NPR. She has a master of journalism from University of California, Berkeley and a bachelor's degree in architecture from University of Washington.

Charla's most memorable public radio moment: “Sitting alone in a room with a convicted murderer who had just been paroled. The only thing between us was a microphone, as he told me how he had transformed his life and become a priest.”

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Elliott Bay
7:30 am
Thu May 19, 2011

Seattle waterfront redesign moves ahead with presentation of ideas

A rendering of what designers could do with Pier 48 on the Seattle waterfront after the Alaskan Way Viaduct is demolished. This is one of several ideas that will be presented at an event Thursday, May 19, 2011 at Bell Harbor Conference Center.
James Corner Field Operations

Soon, the public will have an opportunity to see some initial ideas for what Seattle’s waterfront could look like after the Alaskan Way Viaduct comes down. The city plans to redevelop 26 blocks along Elliott Bay between King Street and Broad Street.

Designers from James Corner Field Operations will present preliminary concepts and ask for input tonight at Bell Harbor Conference Center on Pier 66.  

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K-12 Education
7:30 am
Tue May 17, 2011

Hundreds of Washington teachers might not have jobs next year

Students in an Issaquah biology class construct molecular models. They might not have as many teachers next year. The school district sent layoff notices to 51 teachers.
Issaquah School District

Hundreds of teachers throughout Western Washington are unsure if they’ll return to their classrooms next year. Many districts have had to layoff instructors to balance their budgets as support at the state level dwindles. Even districts with the most resources are feeling the pinch.

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K-12 Education
5:00 pm
Mon May 16, 2011

Space shuttle blasts off with Ballard High School experiment

An exhaust cloud forms around Launch Pad 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida as space shuttle Endeavour soars into the sky. The shuttle is carrying a Ballard High School experiment.
Troy Cryder NASA

The Space Shuttle Endeavor is headed to the International Space Station after a successful launch. On board is an experiment conducted by students in Seattle

A team from Ballard High School is cultivating E. Coli in space to see how it compares to bacteria on Earth.

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Higher Education
7:49 am
Thu May 12, 2011

University of Washington could train Teach for America recruits

A Teach For America corps member with her students in New York.
Jean-Christian Bourcart

The University of Washington plans to launch a program to train and certify Teach for America recruits. People who go through the program would start teaching after just five weeks of intensive instruction.

Teach for America expects to bring at least 35 of its recruits to Seattle and Federal Way this fall.

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Law
12:05 pm
Wed May 11, 2011

New state law could help Native American families stay together

Decades after the federal government stopped taking Native American children from their homes and putting them in boarding schools, Native families still face challenges staying together.

In Washington State, Native children are more likely to be removed from their homes in child welfare cases than kids of any other race. A new state law aims to strengthen parents' and guardians' rights to keep their kids. 

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Health and nutrition
10:32 am
Mon May 9, 2011

Kids and seniors get a taste of local produce in King County programs

Preschool students in Beacon Hill cut up local, organic red potatoes on May 4, 2011. The potatoes are part of an effort to get more fresh produce into childcare and senior sites.
Charla Bear KPLU

Over the past few years, a lot of people have pushed to get local, fresh produce into meals at public schools. Far less attention has been focused on kids in childcare programs. That effort is finally underway.  

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Jobs
8:26 am
Thu May 5, 2011

Career fair seeks women for jobs in the trades

Leah Scott learns how to operate a cement polisher as part of a program that helps disadvantaged young people gain job experience. A career fair this weekend aims to recruit more women like Scott into trade industry jobs.
Seeking Opportunities Developing Occupations (SODO, Inc.)

The recession has been tough on workers in the trades. The latest state unemployment report showed construction had a particularly bad month between February and March. That’s not stopping a job fair aimed at attracting more women to building and repair industries.

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K-12 Education
5:10 pm
Mon May 2, 2011

Northwest high school in top three in Obama commencement contest

Bridgeport High School is one of just three schools left in a contest to have President Barack Obama speak at graduation. 

Shortly after the announcement came from the White House this morning, principal Tamra Jackson jumped on the intercom to let her students know:

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Higher Education
6:30 am
Tue April 26, 2011

Next University of Washington President: Utah's Michael Young

Michael K. Young will soon occupy the president's office in Gerberding Hall. He's the Board of Regents' pick for the next head of UW.
Charla Bear KPLU

It’s official. The University of Washington’s next president will be Michael K. Young. The Board of Regents says the current president of the University of Utah is the right person to lead UW at a time of shrinking state financial support.

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Environment
8:15 am
Mon April 25, 2011

Seattle City Light tries osprey deterrent on utility poles

An oprey takes his lunch to go along the Duwamish River. Seattle City Light is testing a new way to keep ospreys from nesting on utility poles.
Jim Kaiser

Wildlife experts think they may have finally outsmarted the osprey, at least when it comes to keeping them off of utility poles. The hawk-like birds have caused power outages and harm to themselves by nesting on high voltage power lines.

Ospreys are pretty resourceful birds. When the tall, bare trees they used to nest in disappeared from the water’s edge, they figured out utility poles were a close substitute. Whenever humans try to stop them from using the poles, ospreys find a workaround.

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Apartment Market
4:20 pm
Wed April 20, 2011

Race to build apartments could be good for renters and construction workers

Developers broke ground on the Alto Apartments in Seattle's Belltown neighborhood in November 2010. It's part of a rush to build more rental units in the city.
Charla Bear KPLU

Some industries are slowly creating jobs again, but construction isn’t really one of them. The state lost about 2,400 construction jobs just last month, according to state employment economists. But in Seattle, hope could be on the horizon.

The clanking and pounding sounds of construction are starting to return to the city. Some builders who work on high-rise projects have been able to dust off their nail guns, thanks to a growing demand for apartments.

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Tax Day
6:00 am
Fri April 15, 2011

Teen helps taxpayers file returns by extended deadline this year

United Way of King County helps low-income taxpayers file federal returns at locations such as the Seattle Public Library. The IRS extended the deadline to April 18th this year.
United Way of King County

Tax day is later than usual this year. The deadline to file federal returns is Monday, April 18th.

The IRS didn't extend the cutoff just to give procrastinators more time. It did so to allow its employees to observe Emancipation Day, a holiday in Washington, D.C. to honor when Abraham Lincoln signed a law that ended slavery in the District.

A lot of taxpayer still dread filing their returns, even with a few extra days. That’s not the case for one local teenager. She’s the youngest person out of 650 people to volunteer with United Way of King County to help people prepare their taxes. 

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Law
3:12 pm
Thu April 14, 2011

Seattle may not need new jail until at least 2030

Since 2007, the inmate population at King County's jails has declined, meaning more empty cells and less revenue.
Lynn Aa'isha

It could be two decades before Seattle needs more jail beds for its misdemeanor inmates. City and King County leaders say that’s the expected result of a new agreement.

The deal extends an arrangement the city and county struck last year to house some of Seattle’s jail population in the county’s downtown facility. That brought an end to a controversial search for a new city jail site.

Mayor Mike McGinn says he’s glad that’s off the table for now:

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Education
4:40 pm
Mon April 11, 2011

Drive to sign up low-income kids for College Bound Scholarship

Renton High School students working on a recent edition of the student newspaper Arrow. A push is underway to sign up students in Renton and other South King County districts for the College Bound Scholarship
Gary Davis KPLU

A lot of low-income kids are missing out on Washington's offer to pay their way through college. In South King County, a new campaign is underway to change that. 

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K-12 Education
8:40 am
Fri April 8, 2011

Who belongs in AP classes? In Federal Way, anyone who "meets standards"

Roshni Changela chose to be in AP U.S. History this semester, but some of her classmates were automatically enrolled in the class under a new Federal Way Public Schools policy.
Charla Bear KPLU

Across the country, schools are trying to get more students to take classes that prepare them for college. Some offer special tutoring programs. Others just offer to pay students who do well. School officials in Federal Way say the trouble with those strategies is - it leaves is up to students or teachers to decide who’s sharp enough to take those classes.

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