Paula Wissel

Law & Justice Reporter

Paula reports on groundbreaking legal decisions in Washington State and on trends in crime and law enforcement. She’s been at KPLU since 1989 and has covered the Law and Justice beat for the past 15 years. Paula grew up in Idaho and, prior to KPLU, worked in public radio and television in Boise, San Francisco and upstate New York.

Paula's most memorable moment at KPLU: “Interviewing NPR Senior News Analyst Daniel Schorr about his ability to put current events in historical context. It’s something I aspire to.”

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Mental Health
9:24 am
Mon January 3, 2011

Mental health advocates criticize reporting on funding cuts

Washington State Coalition for Mental Health Reporting

Mental health advocates say news stories of social service budge cuts are unfairly stereotyping people who suffer from mental illness.



They say a case in point is a recent cover of The Stranger, which included the headline "How a decimated state budget equals more unmedicated loons with hatchets."

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Recycling
10:43 am
Mon December 27, 2010

How to get rid of your Christmas tree

artisticconcretellc.com

Your Christmas tree can take on new life as wood chips or compost.  In Seattle and Tacoma, you can recycle your tree for free. 

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Washington State Patrol
3:54 pm
Tue December 14, 2010

Slow down for emergency vehicles

This Washington State Patrol car was smashed while responding to a roadside incident.
WSP

Slow down and move over.  That’s the message from the Washington State Patrol as a new law goes into effect.  It’s meant to better protect troopers and emergency workers who handle car accidents.  

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Winter Weather
7:08 am
Tue December 14, 2010

Seattle preparing for next snowstorm

A man steps lightly on the compact ice and snow that settled on Seattle's streets during the November 22, 2010 snow storm. This is University Street in the First Hill neighborhood.
Gary Davis/KPLU

You may be drying out from the weekend rain storms. But city officials in Seattle are thinking about snow.  They’re learning lessons from the snowstorm in November that turned roads into ice rinks and made for paralyzing commutes.

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Alaskan Way Viaduct
5:50 am
Tue December 14, 2010

Seattle Mayor Still Questions Tunnel

Early concept of proposed bored tunnel's south portal
Courtesy WSDOT

The Seattle Mayor is continuing to question plans to replace the Alaskan Way Viaduct with a tunnel.  This follows last week’s announcement from the state that the contractor could finish the project under budget and ahead of schedule. 

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Seattle Police
12:20 pm
Wed December 8, 2010

Seattle police shoot man at bus stop, 5th shooting of year

Police cruiser at scene of shooting December 7, 2010 near Pioneer Square
KING-TV

A man was shot by Seattle police near a bus stop at Third Avenue and Yesler Way around 10 p.m. Tuesday.  Police say the man, estimated to be in his late 30s, was about to grab a handgun out of his waistband when he was shot.  He's in serious condition in the intensive-care unit and is expected to survive, according to Harborview spokeswoman Susan Gregg-Hanson.

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Health
10:36 am
Wed December 8, 2010

Washington residents smoking less, but they're fatter

Obesity rates have climbed sharply in Washington state in the past 20 years.
examiner.com

Washington state ranks 11th among all states in overall health according to the  annual survey   "America's Health Rankings."  The survey is produced by the American Public Health Association, the United Health Foundation and Parnership for Prevention using data from a number of sources including the Centers for Disease Control.

Green River flooding
1:29 pm
Tue December 7, 2010

King County animal shelter stops taking cats

Big Bert Jr., one of the adult cats available for adoption at the King County animal shelter in Kent on December 7, 2010.
Regional Animal Services of King County

The King County animal shelter  in Kent has temporarily suspended the acceptance of adult cats.  The shelter is trying to reduce its population in preparation for possible flooding along the Green River.   In the event of a flood,  the animals will have to be evacuated to another facility.

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Homeland Security
5:12 pm
Mon December 6, 2010

Homeland Security teams up with Walmart

Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano in video being shown in Walmart stores.
Department of Homeland Security

Next time you walk into a Walmart store, you might see the head of the U-S Department of Homeland Security.  Secretary Janet Napolitano has recorded video messages that are being aired inside Walmart stores in 27 states, including Washington.

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Auto theft
4:08 pm
Wed December 1, 2010

Tweeting for stolen cars

Twiter.com/@getyourcarback

Seattle police are tweeting for stolen cars.  They’re using Twitter to get the word out whenever a theft is reported. Police say making use of the popular social networking site just makes sense. 

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Law
12:01 pm
Wed December 1, 2010

Man charged in hatchet killing is suspect in earlier murder

The mentally ill man charged with first-degree murder in the slaying of  Joseph LaMagno on Capitol Hill on Nov. 22 is a suspect in an earlier killing. 

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"Don't Ask, Don't Tell"
1:44 pm
Tue November 30, 2010

Lesbian flight nurse wants Air Force job back

Major Margaret Witt at a Seattle news conference November 30, 2010.
Paula Wissel/KPLU

A lesbian flight nurse says she's anxiously waiting to rejoin her unit in the U.S. Air Force reserve.  Major Margaret Witt was discharged in 2004 under the "don't ask, don't tell" policy.

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Identity Theft
7:29 am
Fri November 19, 2010

International fraud hits Seattle neighborhood

Federal law enforcement investigators say they're closing in on an international thief who electronically ripped off hundreds of residents in a Seattle neighborhood.   

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King County Government
5:04 am
Tue November 16, 2010

King County passes lean budget

Dawn Walker and her daughter, Jesse, tell the King County Council they've benefited from county social service programs. The Council approved a budget that slashes some services and cuts 300 county positions.
King County Television

The King County Council has voted for a lean 2011 budget that slashes 300 positions, many in law enforcement. Even some council members acknowledge it could hurt public safety.

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Winter Weather
3:16 pm
Tue November 9, 2010

Seattle Lays Out Snow Removal Plans

A rider waits for a Metro bus on 4th Avenue last week. Metro buses were unable to navigate through the snowstorms of 2008, a situation which played a role in voters rejecting a third term for Mayor Greg Nickels.
Gary Davis/KPLU photo.

 Seattle says it can handle the snow this time around.  In 2008, the city was paralyzed by a series of storms.  Buses didn’t run, sidewalks were caked with ice and streets weren’t passable for more than a week.

Reports after the fact showed the city was unprepared. Snow routes weren’t plowed.  There was a communication breakdown between Seattle Department of Transportation and Metro Transit officials.

The city’s poor response to the snow storm is often credited with the defeat of former Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels.

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