News

Ralph Radford / AP Photo

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell this week upheld a four-game suspension for Patriots’ quarterback Tom Brady over the controversy surrounding the team’s deflated balls in the AFC title game.

Brady and the Patriots are fighting back. And sports commentator Art Thiel says, as a result, a man with strong ties to Seattle could become the new leader of the NFL.

Erin Jones Campaign / Washington House Democrats

State Rep. Chris Reykdal, D-Tumwater, announced Thursday he will give up his House seat to run for state schools superintendent in 2016, joining Tacoma school district administrator Erin Jones in the race for Washington's top elected education post.

Current superintendent Randy Dorn has not yet said whether he will run for a third term. A spokesman said Dorn is waiting to see what the state Supreme Court does next in the ongoing McCleary school funding case before making his decision.

Andrew Harnik / AP/pool

The more than 50-year freeze in relations between the U.S. and Cuba is finally thawing. Earlier this month, both countries opened embassies in each others’ capitals. 

Earlier this year, three groups of KPLU travelers visited Cuba, including KPLU’s Ed Ronco and travel expert Matthew Brumley. Their tour guides on those trips were Frank Alpizar and Alejandro Infantes, who happen to be in Seattle this week on vacation.

Jennifer Wing / KPLU

 

Affordable housing is one of the top campaign issues in Seattle’s City Council race.Eight candidates have come together to endorse what they call a “progressive housing plan.”

 

Aaron D'Errico

Aaron D'Errico had one dream as a child: To be a soccer star in the same manner as his father, David D'Errico, an original Seattle Sounder and former U.S. Men's National Team captain. 

But where Arron's dreams went, his body couldn't follow. Born with cerebral palsy Aaron was never going to be a much of a soccer player, much less a professional. That wasn't about to stop him, however.

The Friday Harbor man put pen to paper and created Ammon Walker, a comic book superhero and super-spy who uses his status as a professional soccer as his cover. Like Aaron, Ammon has cerebral palsy. But unlike his creator, Ammon has developed technology that allows his body to overcome it.

Kyle Stokes / KPLU

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray is backing away from a controversial proposal to alter nearly all of the city's single-family neighborhood zoning to allow duplexes, triplexes, cottages and other denser housing types.

The idea — one of 65 the city's Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda (HALA) committee recommended this month — drew significant blowback from neighborhood groups who oppose granting greater flexibility to housing developers.

Microsoft

Microsoft’s new operating system, Windows 10, includes a feature they hope people will find particularly useful – a virtual kind of butler ready to help you manage your life.

The digital personal assistant is named Cortana and has already been available on Windows Phones. She takes her name from the artificial intelligence character in the video game Halo.

Shubert Ho

So, a month or two ago my wife (The Lovely & Talented) C. DeGroot woke and spoke but a single word.  And lo, the word that she spake was "Waffles."  I offered to make them but DG insisted on doing it and an hour later we were eating some of the best waffles ever.  More than we could eat.  So we froze the leftovers for  future toasterizing.

Then, just last week while  browsing some fried chicken recipes it hit me!  Waffles in the freezer.  I could make chicken and waffles --  a combination I had first heard of in the Joan Crawford vehicle Mildred Pierce but never tried.    

Paula Wissel

Seattle is making it easier to track development projects in the booming city. An interactive online map on the Department of Planning and Development (DPD) website lets users click on any current permitted building project. There are more than 100 in just the downtown area.

A click on one of the blue dots brings up every document tied to a particular project, from the mitigation being done for building on a steep slope to the construction timeline to architectural renderings.

AP Images

Humans should be part of any consideration of how well Puget Sound’s ecological recovery is going. How we’re thriving and benefiting are critical parts of the equation, according to new research conducted for the state agency in charge of the cleanup.

The agency, called Puget Sound Partnership, is adding indicators of human well-being and quality of life to the “vital signs” it tracks. They’ll be included on the colorful pinwheel “dashboard” that anyone can see online.

Kirsten Kendrick

Friends and fans are remembering true-crime author Ann Rule as a prolific writer, a tireless advocate for victims and an expert about enforcement and crime investigation.

Rule died Sunday at the age of 83. KPLU’s Kirsten Kendrick interviewed Ann Rule three years ago about her life and career. Click on the link to hear the interview.

Ed Ronco / KPLU

From Louis Edelman’s apartment in Seattle’s Lower Queen Anne neighborhood, you can see the Space Needle. Seattle’s iconic landmark is just a few blocks away. But it’s not the only thing popping out of the skyline. Construction cranes dot the landscape, too, as they build office towers and apartments in South Lake Union.

Edelman, who has lived in the 100 block of Roy Street for 10 years. He tends bar down the street and lives in an older apartment building, which he affectionately calls “the bartender projects.”

Erin Hennessey / KPLU

Seattle, Tacoma and Everett have activated their water shortage response plans. The hot, dry weather has increased demand for water just as river levels are at historic lows. Seattle Public Utilities, Tacoma Public Utilities and the city of Everett issued a joint  release announcing the implementation of the first stage of the response plans.

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

Lauding recent increases in state education funding, but ultimately admitting they still have more work to do, state lawmakers have filed an update with the state Supreme Court on their progress toward fulfilling the McCleary school funding mandate.

Now, everyone's wondering what the court will do next.

Bellamy Pailthorp / KPLU

Upgrades to old infrastructure are often needed to help reduce the risk of flooding. That can lead to inconvenient road closures.

But the payoff is not just for humans. Replacing old culverts and pavement can also help endangered fish.

Backhoes and bulldozers will be working alongside SR 522 at Lake Forest Park Towne Center for the next couple of months. The city is re-plumbing the culverts beneath this roadside mall. The main motivation for the work, at least initially, was major flooding.

City Of Seattle

Seattle city officials want to put a stop to a scenario that’s playing out more often in this region’s tight and competitive housing market. It goes like this: landlords issue a staggering rent hike, tenants move out and not to long after that, the building undergoes a big remodel. It’s called an “economic eviction.”

 

This is how landlords avoid the responsibility of paying about $1500 to low-income tenants to help them find a new home. When landlords do this, tenants also lose the opportunity to collect a similar amount of money from the city for a total of more than $3,000.

Ashley Gross / KPLU

If you think Seattle’s already struggling with growth, imagine adding another 120,000 people. That’s the jump in population the city expects over the next two decades.

But where do you put those folks?

People in neighborhoods such as Ballard say there’s already too much construction.

On Jazz Northwest this week, we feature a tune by this all-star group on the 26th anniversary of the above recording. Except for the late Bud Shank, all were teaching and performing again this week at Centrum's Jazz Port Townsend.  Jiggs Whigham will also play with a quartet this Sunday evening (7/26) at Tula's in Seattle.

Also on this week's show is a sample from a forthcoming CD by John Pizzarelli, playing and singing a beautiful ballad from the post-Beatles music of Paul McCartney.  The CD "Midnight McCartney" will be released in September. John Pizzarelli is at Jazz Alley through this Sunday. Also, Jay Thomas & the Cantaloupes at SAM, Barney McClure plays organ with the Central Washington Big Band, Mimi Fox and Greta Matassa team up, and new CDs by Michael Waldrop Big Band and Bobby Medina are included on this week's show along with some best bets for live jazz in the coming week.

AP Images

A year ago Friday, an oil train from North Dakota derailed under Seattle’s busy Magnolia Bridge during the height of the morning commute.

No one was hurt and nothing burned in that accident but the scare has prompted changes to the emergency response to a similar accident should one occur. The reason? As many as two thousand black oil tanker cars now roll through Seattle each week, carrying crude from North Dakota’s Bakken region.

Teamwork: Sound Effect, Episode 29

Jul 25, 2015
mamas.com

 Sound Effect is your weekly tour of ideas, inspired by the place we live. The show is hosted by KPLU's Gabriel Spitzer. Each week's show explores a different theme, and this week our mötley crüe has produced stories for you about teamwork. 

Gabriel Spitzer talks with racer, Rachel Scdoris, about how she worked with a teammate to navigate and finish the Iditarod race even though she is legally blind.

AP Images

Statistically speaking, it generally is the driest time of year in western Washington. Because of this, late July into early August is the most popular time for outdoor weddings and family reunions in the region.

But showers are in the forecast this weekend. If you were thinking of getting outdoors, you’ll have to travel east over the mountain passes, advises KPLU weather expert Cliff Mass. He says there’s a band of precipitation approaching from the west that will definitely dampen the region, pretty much anywhere west of the Cascades.

Paula Wissel

Seattle’s Central District has long been the hub of the city’s African American community -- in part because until the late 1960’s, racist housing covenants and redlining prevented most blacks from living elsewhere in the city.

Even after fair housing laws were passed, the area continued to have the largest percentage of African Americans. Now, long-time residents say they are being forced out by gentrification. And they worry about what is being lost. 

Gabriel Spitzer / KPLU

To get a sense of why many in far-flung Seattle neighborhoods were eager to move to district-based representation on City Council, head to 125th and North Aurora and start walking south.

There are auto shops, shabby motels and several marijuana stores. But it's not the type of retail that illustrates the case for district-specific council representation; it's what the walk to the store lacks. The sidewalk often peters out and disappears, leaving pedestrians nose-to-nose with traffic.

“In 1954 it was like this, and in 2015, it’s just dirt. Just a dirt path,” says retired teacher Richard Dyksterhuis.

John Locher / AP Photo

Investment groups in Seattle, Bellevue and Tukwila did not apply for National Hockey League expansion before the deadline recently expired.

But KPLU sports commentator Art Thiel says the prospect of professional hockey in our region is still alive.

How To Pack Lightly And Still Have What You Need

Jul 23, 2015
Justin Steyer / KPLU

As a tour organizer, Matthew Brumley routinely arrives at a destination a day or so before his clients, and then meets them at the airport. Recently, he was in Johannesburg to greet an arriving flight.

“I was sitting there with South Africans, and we could pick out every single American,” Brumley said. “They were coming off the plane with every single gadget and they were overdressed to the point where you would think they were going on a survival mission.”

You don’t need to pack everything. In fact, you can probably get away with packing much less than you think.

Kyle Stokes / KPLU News

Mary Ann Fordyce didn't think there was anything she could do about the proposed development that will cast a shadow over the garden in her backyard.

After her neighbor died, a developer paid $755,000 for the modest house and a 5,000-square-foot lot on the other side of Fordyce's fence and drew up plans to replace with five townhomes.

Then another neighbor, Catherine Smith, came to her door — she lived just across from the lot in question on North 46th St. in Seattle's Wallingford neighborhood — with an idea on how to fight the proposal.

Austin Jenkins

Washington state regulators are tightening their grip on medical marijuana this week by targeting dubious patient authorizations. But some clinics say the changes, which begin Friday, will put them out of business.

The new Cannabis Patient Protection Act requires any health care provider who authorizes more than 30 medical cannabis patients in a month to report to the Department of Health.

One third of homeless people in King County live out of their cars.  People with large vehicles like RVs and even buses tend to cluster in industrial areas -- until they’re asked to move on. 

Jennifer Smith lives in her RV with her 15-month-old daughter, Willow. “Its basically got a bus back end and a truck front end,” Smith said.

Her vehicle has been parked in this spot in the Wallingford neighborhood of Seattle for three weeks, but she’s lived in the area along North Northlake Way since April. She was ticketed once and received several warnings. Legally a car can’t be parked in the same spot for more than 72 hours in Seattle.

But neighbors say some 15 RV’s have been parked along this stretch of Lake Union and they don’t seem to budge. Until a recent notice.

NASA / Flickr

Boeing says it’s confident the company will still be able to deliver 18 tanker aircraft to the U.S. Air Force two years from now in spite of problems that emerged in the most recent quarter. 

The KC-46 tanker program was the focus of a big fight between Boeing and Airbus for years before the contract finally went to Boeing. Now, the first tankers are being built in Everett.

Jeff Chiu / AP Photo

Microsoft shares slumped more than 3 percent after the company reported a net loss of $3.2 billion in the most recent quarter as it wrote down much of the value of its Nokia acquisition.

Total revenue fell 5 percent in the June quarter, with a 13 percent drop in Microsoft's Devices and Consumer division, which included a steep drop in revenue from Windows due to declining personal computer sales. Revenue in the commercial side of the business was little changed from a year earlier.

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