Workplace Tragedy
10:56 am
Fri June 27, 2014

Shows Go On For Northwest Fireworks Company Shaken By Workplace Death

Ken Julian of Entertainment Fireworks stands near where a memorial will go for his friend and employee Bill Hill.
Austin Jenkins

People in the fireworks business say their job is to make people happy. But as the Fourth of July approaches, Entertainment Fireworks in Tenino, Washington, one of the largest fireworks companies in the Northwest, is reeling.

On June 18, a longtime seasonal employee was killed in an on-the-job explosion and fire.

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Weather with Cliff Mass
10:18 am
Fri June 27, 2014

A Dose Of June Gloom This Weekend, But Sunnier Outlook For The Fourth Of July

Tim Durkan

Keep your rain gear handy if you’re headed outside this weekend. KPLU weather expert Cliff Mass says we’re starting to pay for the drier-than-usual June we’ve had this year.

But Mass says sunny days are around the corner; things will improve by the Fourth of July weekend.

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Pew! Pew! Pew!
5:00 am
Fri June 27, 2014

Seattle Retro Gaming Expo Founder Shares Picks For Vintage Games Still Worth Playing

Courtesy of Nathan Martin Estelia Photography

Nathan Martin got the collecting bug in his early 20s. He accumulated more than 900 retro console games and arcade games — the same games he’d enjoyed playing as a kid growing up in Seattle, which he calls the “the Silicon Valley of video games.”

When he realized his collection was collecting dust on his shelves, he decided it was time to give back.

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Sports with Art Thiel
5:00 am
Fri June 27, 2014

As U.S. Advances, Rising Sounder Yedlin's Journey To 1st World Cup Extended

United States' national soccer team player DeAndre Yedlin arrives at the Sao Paulo International airport in Brazil, Monday, June 9, 2014.
Nelson Antoine AP Photo

The U.S. Men's National Soccer Team will take on Belgium next Tuesday in the knockout round of the World Cup. The U.S. men weren't expected to get past the so-called Group of Death. But they did, and they did it with the help of Seattle's own DeAndre Yedlin, a World Cup rookie.

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Supreme Court
6:16 pm
Thu June 26, 2014

Yakima Labor Dispute Leads To U.S. High Court's Presidential Powers Ruling

File image
UpstateNYer Flickr

In a noteworthy decision issued Thursday, the U.S. Supreme Court narrowed the president's power to make recess appointments when the Senate is not in session. 

The unanimous decision held that three appointments President Obama made to the National Labor Relations Board in 2012 were invalid because the Senate was not technically in recess. The ruling stemmed from a labor dispute in Yakima, Washington.

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Youth & Education
5:59 pm
Thu June 26, 2014

Why A Group Of Teachers Protested Outside The Gates Foundation, Ed's Biggest Charity

Protesters are seen gathered outside the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in Seattle.
Kyle Stokes

At first, Julianna Dauble balked at the idea of protesting against the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

"We've all gotten Gates money one way or another," said Dauble, a fifth-grade teacher in Renton. "I don't know a single teacher who has not gotten Gates money for computers, different grants, small schools initiatives — all the things he's done in the Seattle area, especially."

In fact, the Gates Foundation sends more money to K-12 education causes around the U.S. than any other philanthropy, and some teachers have come to regard that influence as a threat.

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Workers' Rights
4:43 pm
Thu June 26, 2014

Judge: Sakuma Brothers Farms Must Provide Housing For Migrant Workers' Families

Martin Barrera is hopeful that he'll be able to live in Sakuma's worker housing this summer along with his wife and three children.
Ashley Gross

A Skagit County Superior Court judge sided with migrant berry pickers on Thursday by ordering their employer, Sakuma Brothers Farms, to provide housing for the workers' family members. 

The workers took the farm owners to court over a new policy to no longer provide housing for workers’ family members. They argued the policy was intended as punishment for workers who went on strike last year.

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Census Data
4:06 pm
Thu June 26, 2014

How A Small Idaho County Became The Youngest Place In America

U.S. Census Bureau

New federal population figures released Thursday show the nation’s youngest county is in the Northwest, and not in an urban area. Madison County, Idaho is in the midst of eastern Idaho's potato country.

To give a comparison, the median age of the U.S. is almost 38 years old. The median age of Madison County is 23. That’s the lowest in the country and there’s one big reason: Madison County is home to Brigham Young University-Idaho.

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Marine Life
12:10 pm
Thu June 26, 2014

This Is What Puget Sound Orcas Sound Like When They Talk To Each Other

An endangered female orca leaps from the water while breaching in Puget Sound west of Seattle, as seen Saturday, Jan. 18, 2014 from a federal research vessel.
Elaine Thompson AP Photo

Ever hear an orca speak? Ken Balcomb, who many regard as the godfather of whale conservation, captured their chatter using a hydrophone on San Juan Island: 

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Jazz Caliente
10:00 am
Thu June 26, 2014

The Rhythm That's A Way Of Living

Roman Diaz, playing at right.
Martin Cohen

Compared to American rock and roll, Afro-Cuban music sounds complicated to the point of intimidation. Sure the rhythms make you want to move, but if you stop to think about what's going on, your feet won't know what to do. And that's just the point — some rhythms are better felt than counted off. NPR's Frannie Kelley learned how easy they can be to play, once you abandon a central tenet of rock: the one.

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World Cup
9:16 am
Thu June 26, 2014

U.S. Advances In World Cup Despite 1-0 Loss To Germany

Rain-soaked fans wait for the start of the group G World Cup soccer match between the United States and Germany at the Arena Pernambuco in Recife, Brazil, on Thursday.
Julio Cortez AP

Originally published on Thu June 26, 2014 12:36 pm

The U.S. men's soccer team has finished second in its World Cup group, after a 1-0 loss to Germany on Thursday. The Americans will advance after Portugal beat Ghana 2-1.

"This is a huge, huge step, and now we can't wait until round of 16," U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann said afterward, according to ESPN. "Everyone said we had no chance. We took the chance and move on. And now we really want to prove a point."

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Growing Marijuana
8:49 am
Thu June 26, 2014

Legal Wash. State Pot Stores Opening Soon, But Production Lags

Eric and Katey Cooper stand amid their flowering marijuana.
Anna King

Eric Cooper has a sort of "The Dude" vibe: Hawaiian shirt, leather brown sandals and a bushy silver goatee. He smoked weed for the first time when he was about 14. He’s a former contractor and registered nurse. Cooper grew medical marijuana, and now he’s one of the owners of Monkey Grass Farms in Wenatchee, Washington.

Monkey Grass Farms is one of the big boys: a tier-3 Washington state-licensed indoor pot grow. That means they can nurture about 21,000-square-feet of marijuana plants.

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Minimum Wage
7:32 am
Thu June 26, 2014

Washington Supreme Court To Hear Sea-Tac Airport Minimum Wage Fight

File image
AP Photo

Should SeaTac’s voter-approved $15 per hour minimum wage apply to workers at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport? Washington’s Supreme Court will hear oral arguments on that question today.

The case pits airport vendors, Alaska Airlines and the Port of Seattle against supporters of the higher wage.

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Marine Life
5:00 am
Thu June 26, 2014

Key To Saving Endangered Orcas: Chinook Salmon, Says Local Expert

FILE -- In this file photo provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and shot Oct. 29, 2013, orca whales from the J and K pods swim past a small research boat on Puget Sound in view of downtown Seattle.
AP Photo/NOAA Fisheries Service, Candice Emmons

Following the release of a federal report on the state of endangered orcas, one local researcher says there's one factor that matters more to the whales' wellness than toxins and vessel traffic: fish. 

Ken Balcomb, who many regard as the godfather of whale conservation, is the director of the Center for Whale Research in Friday Harbor. For almost 40 years now, the center has been keeping track of every individual whale in the three pods that make up the southern resident population of the iconic orcas that live in Puget Sound.

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Going Places
5:00 am
Thu June 26, 2014

Ireland No Longer The Land Of 'Boiled Potatoes And Overcooked Meat'

Potatoes are seen being sold out of a van in Bantry, Ireland.
Ed Ronco

When you drop below the clouds as you fly into Ireland, it’s as if you’re looking down at a great rock draped in a velvet green blanket. The Emerald Isle is famous for those rich green hues, as well as music, poetry and whiskey.

But Ireland has a newer claim to fame, says KPLU travel expert Matthew Brumley: its food.

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