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BirdNote
9:00 am
Wed September 17, 2014

Nighttime Flights Of Songbirds

Credit Composite image by Bob King

  Some cloudless night in September, when the air is clear, you may see birds flying across the yellow face of the moon! September is peak migration time for millions of songbirds heading south from North America to more tropical latitudes. Nocturnal migrants of the same species, such as orioles, warblers, sparrows, and tanagers, call as they fly, enabling flock-mates to stick together. Many of these flight calls are distinctive, enabling those with an excellent ear to identify them as they pass.

Food for Thought
5:00 am
Wed September 17, 2014

Wok This Way — Not Nancy Leson's Way, Says Stein

Still life with curry paste
Nancy leson

Nancy Leson keeps a lot of stuff on hand to do what she characterizes as stir-frying. These techniques include first searing meat on the grill rather than in the wok. Tut-tut.

She also uses "stir-fry" as a noun, as in "my favorite stir-fry." I am left with no choice but to remonstrate.

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News Jokes
5:00 am
Wed September 17, 2014

'Wait Wait' Host Peter Sagal Talks Comedy, News And Microsoft's Cartoon Paperclip

"Wait Wait ... Don't Tell Me!" host Peter Sagal
Alain McLaughlin for NPR

The popular NPR news quiz "Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me!" is coming to Seattle's Paramount Theatre on Thursday. On the weekly game show, a panel of comedians and writers crack wise about the news. The show also features celebrity guests taking the  quiz — everyone from actors and comedians to Supreme Court justices. (This week, it's travel expert Rick Steves.) KPLU spoke with "Wait Wait..." host Peter Sagal about the news, comedy and even a famous incident involving that animated paperclip from Microsoft.

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Infectious Diseases
4:30 pm
Tue September 16, 2014

Suspected Enterovirus Outbreak Widens In Northwest

Jenny Ingram Flickr

Public health authorities in Washington and Idaho are now investigating at least 79 cases of a serious respiratory illness that affects children.

The widening disease outbreak is suspected — but not confirmed — to be enterovirus D68, a rare strain of the virus.

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Space Travel
1:21 pm
Tue September 16, 2014

NASA Picks Boeing And SpaceX To Ferry Astronauts

In this undated image provided by NASA, astronaut Randy Bresnik prepares to enter The Boeing Company's CST-100 spacecraft for a fit check evaluation at the company's Houston Product Support Center.
AP Photo/NASA

NASA is a giant step closer to launching Americans again from U.S. soil.

On Tuesday, the space agency announced it has picked Boeing and SpaceX to transport astronauts to the International Space Station in the next few years.

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Politics
9:58 am
Tue September 16, 2014

PACs Face Quirk In Washington Law Before They Can Spend Money

File photo of Tom Steyer
Steve Helber AP Photo

California billionaire Tom Steyer is poised to help Democrats try to win back control of the Washington Senate. But first, his NextGen political action committee had to satisfy a quirk in the law.

Call it the ten-ten rule. In Washington, political committees have to jump a small hurdle before they can play in Washington’s political sandbox. The rule is the committee must receive $10 or more from at least 10 registered Washington voters. Now that NextGen has this bit of local skin in the game, climate activist Tom Steyer is free to start spending some serious on Washington races.

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BirdNote
9:00 am
Tue September 16, 2014

Ravens And Crows - Who Is Who

Credit Tom Grey

  Is that big black bird a crow or a raven? How can you tell? Ravens (seen right here) often travel in pairs, while crows (left) are seen in larger groups. Also, study the tail as the bird flies overhead. A crow's tail is shaped like a fan, while the raven's tail appears wedge-shaped. Another clue is to listen closely to the birds' calls. Crows give a cawing sound, but ravens produce a lower croaking sound. To learn more about crows and ravens, you can visit All About Birds. Or, get information when you take a class from your local Audubon society.

Swimming Upstream
5:00 am
Tue September 16, 2014

Part 1: Adult Chinook In The Pacific Ocean Prepare For Long Journey Home

A salmon jumps in the Pacific Ocean.
Justin Steyer KPLU

Editor's Note: Fifteen years ago, Puget Sound salmon were listed under the Endangered Species Act. Despite the billions of dollars spent on recovery since, the results remain mixed. Some runs are seeing record returns while others are facing one of their worst years ever.

To learn more about the challenges of salmon recovery, this series follows one Chinook run from the open ocean to Puget Sound, through the Ballard Locks, past Renton and finally home to native spawning grounds on the Cedar River.

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Public Health
5:55 pm
Mon September 15, 2014

King County Clinic Gets Reprieve, But Cloud Still Hangs Over Public Health Budget

The Greenbridge clinic in White Center will stay open, at least for the next couple of years, thanks to help from Seattle and Planned Parenthood.
Gabriel Spitzer KPLU

A King County public health clinic slated for closure is getting a bailout, but three more clinics remain on the line as the health department confronts a big budget shortfall.

The public health clinic at White Center has been on borrowed time this year, along with clinics in Auburn, Bothell and Federal Way. Now the city of Seattle is proposing to kick in $400,000 to keep it open. Public Health Seattle & King County will continue providing WIC services and other support for new mothers, but will turn its family planning services there over to Planned Parenthood.

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Business
4:59 pm
Mon September 15, 2014

How Seattle's Mayor Plans To Enforce The Minimum Wage

A supporter of Seattle's increased minimum wage carries a sign outside city hall.

With the passage of a complicated minimum wage law in Seattle, officials want to ensure the law is easily understood.  The mayor is proposing a new office called the Office of Labor Standards, that would serve as a clearinghouse for information and enforcement.

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Labor Law
12:13 pm
Mon September 15, 2014

Hockey Inquiry Turns On Whether Players Are 'Student Athletes' Or Workers

The Washington Department of Labor and Industries says it can't disclose at this time whose complaint spurred it to open the hockey investigation. The affected teams are the Seattle Thunderbirds, Everett Silvertips, Tri-City Americans and Spokane Chiefs. Their players fall between 16 and 20 years old. Labor and Industries agency spokesman Matthew Erlich says 16 and 17 year olds are covered by child labor laws.

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BirdNote
9:00 am
Mon September 15, 2014

The Pungent Mudflat

Credit Tom Grey

  On the shore of a saltwater bay, the tide goes out, revealing a broad expanse of dark, glistening mudflat. Mudflats are rich in nutrients, such as decomposing organic matter and minerals. Far from wastelands, mudflats also support a bounty of life including vast quantities of tiny snails and clams, worms, crustaceans, larvae, and much more. Millions of shorebirds - including these Lesser (right) and Greater (left) Yellowlegs - follow shorelines and their mudflats each spring and fall, where they feast upon those tiny creatures hidden beneath the mud's surface, a banquet that powers the birds' continent-spanning migrations.

Artscape
5:00 am
Mon September 15, 2014

'Panama Hotel Jazz' Music Project Tells Story Of The Historic Seattle Landmark

This early picture of the hotel was photographed in 1929. The building still maintains much of the original sturcture.
Courtesy of Jan Johnson, the third owner of the Panama Hotel

The muse behind Steve Grigg’s musical project is a brick, six-story, century-old building that stands in what used to be Seattle’s Japantown.

The Panama Hotel, on the corner of Sixth and Main, remains a working hotel. But the historic building is also a time capsule. It features belongings left behind by Japanese Americans who were forced into internment camps during World War II.

Griggs’ project, called “Panama Hotel Jazz,” weaves in music with narration to tell the story about the incarceration of Japanese and Japanese Americans in 1942.

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Subsidized Housing
5:00 am
Mon September 15, 2014

Seattle Public Housing Residents Face The Possibility Of Big Rent Hikes

Many residents of public housing in Seattle are facing the possibility of steep rent hikes. They’ll have a chance this week at two public hearings to voice their concerns about the Seattle Housing Authority’s plan.

Seattle Housing Authority provides subsidized housing for about 13,000 low-income households. The agency sets the rent at 30 percent of the tenant’s income. But now, SHA is proposing to raise rent every couple of years. By the sixth year, it would have jumped more than fivefold. People with disabilities, the elderly and people under the age of 24 would be exempt.

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Youth & Education
5:00 am
Mon September 15, 2014

How Seattle's Involvement In Education Is Unique Among Cities

Mayor Ed Murray pictured prior to his election in 2013.
Kyle Stokes KPLU

Like in many cities around the country, Seattle Mayor Ed Murray says he isn't interested in running the local public school district, but he is interested in how well the city's children do in school.

It's why Murray will propose to roll several youth-focused programs into one new city-level education department when he submits his budget proposal to the Seattle City Council next week.

But unlike other cities where the mayor's office doesn't control the local school district, Murray directs the spending of millions of city dollars on Seattle Public Schools. That's a unique niche for a mayor, policy experts say, and Murray's proposed Department of Education and Early Learning only deepens it.

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