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Climate Change
5:00 am
Wed July 30, 2014

Inslee Touring Wash. Sites That Show Costs Of Climate Change

Constructed in 1966, West Point treats the wastewater generated by approx. 1.5 million people in the greater Seattle area. Its shoreside location makes it vulnerable to sea level rise.
Courtesy of King County Wastewater Division.

Gov. Jay Inslee took a walk through King County’s wastewater facility in Discovery Park on Tuesday as part of his tour of sites affected by climate change. 

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Food for Thought
5:00 am
Wed July 30, 2014

To Bee Or Not To Bee: That Is The Question For Nancy Leson

Here's Nancy's friend and beekeeper Larry Brainard.
Nancy Leson

Nancy Leson's got a brand new bag, and it's full of bees.

In a recent Seattle Times piece about backyard beekeeping, she expressed interest in keeping bees in her backyard. In this week's "Food for Thought" I suggested that she leave them where they always were — in her bonnet. Ms. Leson begged to differ.

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Rail Safety
4:44 pm
Tue July 29, 2014

BNSF’s Proposal For One-Person Train Crews Concerns Rail Workers

FILE - In this Nov. 6, 2013, file photo, a BNSF Railway train hauls crude oil near Wolf Point, Montana.
Matthew Brown AP Photo

Railroad workers are speaking out against a proposal by Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway to have single-employee freight train crews. They say the idea is unsafe, especially in light of the increasing transportation of crude oil by rail.

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Veterans Affairs
4:33 pm
Tue July 29, 2014

Patty Murray Praises VA Reforms But Warns Of More Troubling Revelations

U.S. Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., said the reforms are a step in the right direction.
Gabriel Spitzer KPLU

Washington’s senior U.S. Sen. Patty Murray says a new deal to spend billions on fixing the Department of Veterans Affairs is an essential step, but she warns the reform efforts are likely to unearth even more problems.

Bipartisan negotiators in Congress took a while to settle on a $17 billion package of reforms meant to address long waits for care at VA hospitals and clinics across the country.

As the Senate voted to confirm Robert McDonald as the new VA Secretary, Murray, the former chairwoman of the Senate veterans affairs committee, praised both the nominee and the reforms he’ll be overseeing. But she also warned there could be more troubling revelations to come.

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On Determination
12:39 pm
Tue July 29, 2014

How Blind Seattle-Area Climber Bruce Stobie Fared On North America's Tallest Peak

Bruce Stobie is seen on Denali.
Courtesy of Mark McCcracken.

Editor’s note: This piece is an update to our previous story on Bruce Stobie, which ran in May. 

When Bruce Stobie arrived at Denali last month, he could feel the presence of the mountain, even if he couldn’t see it.

“I felt like a guest — not a welcome guest,” said the blind climber from Des Moines, Washington. “All there was: rock, ice and snow. And cold and warm temperatures. And that’s it. There’s nothing else.”

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Seafair
9:30 am
Tue July 29, 2014

Blue Angels' Flights Won't Damage Hearing, But Will Affect Traffic

anaxila Flickr

People can expect to hear the roar of the Blue Angels zooming above Lake Washington this weekend. After missing last year’s Boeing Seafair Air Show due to sequestration cuts, the Blue Angels have returned to Seattle.

The noise of the planes may be bothersome to neighbors, but audiologist Susan Anderson says it doesn’t pose a health risk.

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Business
9:26 am
Tue July 29, 2014

Seattle-Based Redfin May Get A Higher IPO Price After Zillow-Trulia Deal, Banker Says

Redfin

In the world of online real estate companies, Seattle-based Zillow has dominated headlines lately with its plans to purchase rival Trulia. Is that bad news for Redfin, another competitor based in Seattle?

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Mining Tragedy
9:22 am
Tue July 29, 2014

Penalties On Idaho Mine Still Unpaid Three Years After Miner's Death

Larry "Pete" Marek died in a collapse at the Lucky Friday Mine on April 15, 2011.
Courtesy of the Marek family.

It's been more than three years since a tunnel collapse at a north Idaho silver mine killed miner Larry Marek. Yet federal records show a series of federal penalties issued to the mine's owners still have not been paid.

In 2011, federal inspectors determined the Hecla Mining Company violated rules meant to prevent collapse at the Lucky Friday Mine. The inspectors issued four citations directly related to Larry Marek’s death with federal fines that totaled almost $360,000.

To this day, those fines remain unpaid.

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Wildfire Damage
5:00 am
Tue July 29, 2014

Power Outages Persist In Fire-Swept North-Central Washington

A view of a smoke plume from the Cougar Flat Fire from Liberty Bell High School south of Winthrop, Washington.
Inciweb

The lights are coming back on in fire-swept north-central Washington. A major transmission line was restored late last week, but not everyone has their power back.

As of Monday about 900 customers remain in the dark as a result of the state’s largest wildfire.

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Disability Rights
5:00 am
Tue July 29, 2014

Judge Orders Medical School To Reinstate Deaf Student

Zach Featherstone with his wife and daughter
Provided by Zach Featherstone

A Northwest medical school has been ordered to reinstate a deaf student who took the school to court after it wouldn't let him begin classes.

As KPLU reported last month, Zachary Featherstone sued Pacific Northwest University of Health Sciences in Yakima after it admitted him, then wouldn’t let him attend. The university said his admission might harm the training of other students and put patients at risk.

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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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