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Bertha The Boring Machine
4:55 pm
Mon July 28, 2014

Tunnel Company Says Bertha Rescue Is Already A Month Behind Schedule

Placing the concrete pilings, as seen in this conceptual drawing, is taking longer than expected.
Seattle Tunnel Partners

Just six weeks after the contractor managing the State Route 99 tunnel project laid out its timeline for getting back to digging, the company said it’s about a month behind on repairs to its tunneling machine.

Crews are working to burrow down from the surface to where the machine known as Bertha is sitting idle. An early step is to sink a circle of interlocking concrete pillars that will line the access shaft and protect surrounding structures, but that’s proving harder than what the company was planning for in mid-June.

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Earthquake Science
5:00 am
Mon July 28, 2014

USGS Tries Listening To Human Racket To Understand Seismic Hazards

This photo shows a seismic "thumper" used to map earthquake faults.
Horemu Wikimedia Commons

Research geologists have just finished a field trial to test a less invasive way to complete seismic hazard surveys.

The federal scientists attempted to map an earthquake fault under Seattle simply by listening for underground echoes from all the noise we humans create at the surface.

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Youth & Education
5:00 am
Mon July 28, 2014

Downtown Seattle Groups See Golden Opportunity For Their Own Neighborhood Public School

The former Federal Reserve Bank branch building, located at Second Avenue and Spring Street in downtown Seattle, has sat vacant since 2009. Seattle Public Schools officials have submitted an application to take over the property.
Kyle Stokes KPLU

Seattle Public Schools officials may soon get their best opportunity in years to open a public elementary school downtown, and various downtown interests are now pressing district leaders to take advantage of it.

District officials submitted an application earlier this month to move into the vacant building at Second Avenue and Spring Street, which once housed a Federal Reserve Bank branch.

Federal agencies no longer want the property and are considering whether to deed the building to Seattle Public Schools practically free of charge. If the feds grant school officials' application, downtown groups want to make sure the district follows through.

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Artscape
5:00 am
Mon July 28, 2014

Seattle Opera's Jenkins Looks Back At His Legacy, Including Making 'Colorblind’ Opera

Speight Jenkins greets patrons at an event for the 2013 Ring opera.
© Brandon Patoc

Speight Jenkins is stepping down as general director of Seattle Opera after 31 years. And among the things he’s most proud of are the productions of two successful Ring cycles, surviving the economic recession by not resorting to just producing popular operas and advancing the opportunities for African-American men.

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Obituary
12:19 am
Mon July 28, 2014

Former Seattle Mayor Paul Schell Dies

File image
Barry Sweet AP Photo

Former Seattle Mayor Paul Schell, who led the city during the World Trade Organization protests in 1999, has died. He was 76.

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray says Schell died Sunday morning.

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Jazz Northwest
12:00 pm
Sun July 27, 2014

Bill Anschell Trio At Tula's On Jazz Northwest

Bill Anschell
Daniel Sheehan

Bill Anschell Trio on Jazz Northwest

Pianist Bill Anschell is a Seattle native, though he's lived and toured around the US and internationally. Returning to Seattle to live, he quickly established himself as one of the key players through his own trio, accompanying singers and his regular appearance with Floyd Standifer at The New Orleans during the trumpet player's last years.

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Sports with Art Thiel
9:40 am
Sat July 26, 2014

Seahawks Could Defend Super Bowl Title — If These Things Happen Now

Kam Chancellor holds up the Lombardi Trophy during the Seahawks' Super Bowl parade in February. Will the trophy stay in Seattle?
Justin Steyer KPLU

The Seahawks are back at training camp this weekend in Renton. Fans, meanwhile, are looking ahead to the season with a big question on their minds: Can the team defend its championship?

“I think they’re in good position to do it, but it’s really hard,” said KPLU sports commentator Art Thiel.

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Drug Cleanup
6:00 am
Sat July 26, 2014

Northwest Meth Houses To Get Scrubbed Under EPA Program

The Salishan public housing development in Tacoma is one of the sites that will be tested and cleaned through an EPA grant.
Photo provided by Tacoma Housing Authority.

Federal dollars meant to restore toxic areas like old factories, mines and gas stations are now going to clean up after another longtime industry: methamphetamine.

For the first time, the EPA’s "Brownfields" program is covering the cleanup of former meth houses, and the inaugural sites are right here in the Northwest.

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Wildfire Damage
5:53 pm
Fri July 25, 2014

Fire Community Bands Together For Resources, Animals, Mental Health

A DC-10 air tanker pulls up after dropping fire retardant over a wildfire Saturday, July 19, 2014, near Carlton, Washington.
Elaine Thompson AP Photo

The Carlton Complex fire has consumed 300 homes in north-central Washington, the Okanogan County sheriff said Friday. It’s too soon for many people to know what they lost in the fire, including homes, orchards, livestock and pets.

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Weather with Cliff Mass
11:06 am
Fri July 25, 2014

Summer Is Back! Dry Weather And Warm, Sunny Skies In the Forecast

The last week of July is historically the driest week of the year. And despite record-breaking rain last week, the forecast for the days ahead fits the bill for this time of year, says KPLU weather expert Cliff Mass.

“We’re going to have sun, warmth and virtually no precipitation,” Mass said of the week ahead.

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Environment
5:00 am
Fri July 25, 2014

Donors Pay To Test Seawater For Traces Of Fukushima Radiation

Fukushima seawater radiation plume dispersal model by Rossi et. al.
Deep-Sea Research Journal

It's been more than three years since the Fukushima nuclear plant accident resulted in a spill of millions of gallons of radioactive cooling water into the Pacific. Oceanographers projected that it could take until this year for highly diluted traces of that spill in Japan to reach the West Coast of North America.

Radiation experts don't believe there is cause for alarm on our shores, but some coastal residents are stepping forward to pay for seawater testing just to be sure.

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State Economy
6:25 pm
Thu July 24, 2014

Washington Secretly Competed For Tesla ‘Gigafactory' Worth Thousands Of Jobs

An electric plug decal is seen on the back of a Tesla electric car.
Mel Evans AP Photo

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee tried to woo electric carmaker Tesla Motors to build a massive battery factory in the Evergreen state. But according to at least one report, the company may have already broken ground near Reno, Nevada.

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Wildfire Victims
5:54 pm
Thu July 24, 2014

So Far, Federal Wildfire Assistance Doesn't Include Direct Payments To Homeowners

This aerial photo shows structures which were destroyed by wildfires near Pateros, Wash. on Thursday, July 24, 2014.
AP Photo

Federal funds are being used to help fight the wildfires that have raged across the Northwest this summer. But so far, the Federal Emergency Management Agency isn't handing out money directly to owners of the nearly 200 homes lost in the blazes.

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Business
5:43 pm
Thu July 24, 2014

Alaska Air Says It's Holding Its Own Against Delta Onslaught

This photo shows an Alaska Airlines 737 plane.
Alaska Airlines

The intensifying competition between Alaska Airlines and rival Delta Air Lines in the Western skies does not seem to be hurting the bottom line of either company.

Seattle-based Alaska Air posted a record second quarter profit Thursday, a day after Delta toasted its own high earnings.

But Alaska executives are still showing concern about a flood of new seats on their home turf.

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Rail Safety
2:41 pm
Thu July 24, 2014

Oil Train Derailment Under Busy Seattle Bridge Highlights Safety Concerns

Derailed oil tanker cars beneath Seattle's Magnolia Bridge on Thursday, July 24, 2014.
courtesy Dana Robinson Slote Seattle City Council

Three tanker cars derailed at a Seattle rail yard early Thursday while carrying oil from North Dakota to a refinery in Anacortes.

No one was hurt and none of the oil spilled, according to Burlington Northern Santa Fe. But the incident spurred renewed calls from the city for a ban on oil train traffic near neighborhoods.  

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