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Boat Woes
5:04 am
Thu July 31, 2014

Ferry Delays Almost Everywhere As State Repositions Fleet

Slow-going on the ferries this week, as the fleet is repositioned to make up for out-of-service vessels.
AP

There are big delays on the Washington state ferries, just about anywhere you go this week. The fleet has been redistributed to make up for some out-of-service vessels, and that’s having ripple effects nearly system-wide.

Some examples:

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Going Places
5:00 am
Thu July 31, 2014

Why You Should Take Your Hobbies With You On Vacation

Fans react as the home team scores during an upset of the out-of-town favorite Havana Metropolitanos, a farm-team of the well-known Industriales, during the Cuban National Baseball Series in Holguin, Cuba.
AP Photo

Traveling, whether around the globe or across the state, doesn’t have to be all about food, lodging and tourist attractions. KPLU travel expert Matthew Brumley says it also can be about trying familiar things in new places.

First of all, this advice isn’t for everybody. If you want to see the sights, lounge around the pool or the beach, or spend the day in museums, by all means, go for it. Those are great things to do on vacation.

But for travelers who enjoy blending in, and almost becoming a local, bringing your hobbies along on vacation can be worthwhile.

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Early Childhood Education
10:51 pm
Wed July 30, 2014

Unions Sue City Leaders, Hoping To Give Seattle Voters A Second Early Ed. Option

Supporters of I-107 silently protest a Seattle City Council vote to pit the initiative they favor against a city-endorsed preschool pilot proposal at a meeting in June 2014.
Kyle Stokes

Seattle voters might not have to choose between the two early childhood education programs slated for the November ballot despite city leaders' warnings that the two questions are incompatible and contradictory.

Union leaders backing Initiative 107, a ballot initiative that would hike wages and mandate training for the Seattle's 4,000 early childhood workers, filed a lawsuit Wednesday seeking to allow voters to give separate up-or-down votes on their measure as well as on a second, city-backed proposal to create a preschool pilot program.

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Law
4:59 pm
Wed July 30, 2014

Court Rules Against Families Of Wildland Firefighters Killed In 2003

Mark Ransdell was a 23-year-old contract firefighter who died in a fiery van crash in 2003.
Courtesy of the Ransdell family.

These days, you can often find contract firefighters on the front lines. They’re usually indistinguishable from government firefighters.

But a recent court ruling has made it clear: if they’re killed in the line of duty, their families are not eligible for federal survivor benefits.

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Aerospace
12:44 pm
Wed July 30, 2014

Boeing Will Handle Final Assembly Of 787-10 In South Carolina, Not Washington

Boeing says final assembly of its 787-10 plane, a planned larger version of its "Dreamliner" aircraft, will take place in South Carolina.

The company says the work will be done in North Charleston, South Carolina, because the plane is too large to efficiently transport it from North Charleston to a facility in Washington state. The 787-10 is still being designed and Boeing expects to start final assembly of the first planes in 2017.

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Controversial Words
9:51 am
Wed July 30, 2014

How Twitter Amplified An NRA Lobbyist's Comments About Anti-Gun Jews

The Yes on 594 campaign used Twitter to quickly disseminate comments by NRA lobbyist Brian Judy.

Supporters of a Washington gun control measure on the November ballot may have just gotten a mid-summer boost. They’re capitalizing on an audio recording that recently surfaced.

The hard-to-understand audio recording first appeared on the left-wing blog “Horses Ass.” The blog’s author said the audio is of NRA lobbyist Brian Judy speaking recently to a pro-gun group. Judy questioned Jewish people who are anti-guns.

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Church And State
9:36 am
Wed July 30, 2014

Pierce County Becomes First In Northwest To Approve 'In God We Trust' Motto Display

This file photo shows the exterior of the Pennsylvania State Capitol in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.
Ad Meskens Wikimedia Commons

A divided county council in Pierce County, Washington Tuesday voted to display the motto "In God We Trust" in its chambers, becoming the first jurisdiction in the Northwest to take part in a national campaign to feature the motto.

But the approval came with a twist.

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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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