Jasperdo / Flickr

Western Washington University administrators called off all classes Tuesday after getting word of "hate speech targeted at Western students of color" on social media.

WWU president Bruce Shepard said in a statement there was "no threat to general campus safety," but that he canceled classes in order to give the Bellingham campus time "demonstrate our outrage, to listen to each other, and to support each other."

Waugsberg / Wikimedia Creative Commons

Imagine what your Thanksgiving table would look like without any food that is pollinated by bees.  

It’s a challenge issued by the group Environment Washington, which is highlighting the issue with a campaign called “No Bees, No Food.”

Canvassers for the group say if bees die off, then turkey, rolls and potatoes are all  that would be left on the table. Dairy products would be endangered. And you can forget about vegetables or traditional pies.

Dennis Wise / University of Washington

Researchers at the University of Washington say they have figured out how to make lasers do something they have never done before: make a liquid colder.


Last year nearly 3,000 refugees from all over the world resettled in Washington state. Only 25 are from Syria. That number is expected to increase.

Amber French

A sampling of new and recent releases by resident Northwest musicians is featured on Jazz Northwest this week. One of the most unusual is Recording Ban by Jacob Zimmerman.  The title refers to the musicians' union strike against the recording companies 1942-1944. The Recording Ban occurred at a time when jazz was evolving from Swing to Bop and as a result some significant music was not played in recording studios during those years.


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 we bring you notes from “Underground.” 

This week our gaggle of local journalists includes Kari Plog of the Tacoma News Tribune, Steve Wilhem of the Puget Sound Business Journal and Hanna Brooks Olsen of Seattlish

Elaine Thompson / AP

Recreational pot is legal in Washington, but that doesn’t mean it’s always easy to procure. New legislation could change that by making it legal to “grow your own.”

In Oregon, you can grow four plants. In Alaska, Colorado and D.C. the number is six. But here, that number is zero.

Elaine Thompson / AP

The holiday season might be just getting underway, but a major cold snap is already here. Ski areas are opening across the region and forecasts are calling for the possibly of lowland snow early next week. Specifically, lowland snow in some areas on Tuesday morning.

But whether that will actually come to pass is still a big question.

“I wouldn’t be the house on it,” says KPLU weather expert Cliff Mass, “But I would be prepared, either way.”  

Chances are, you’ve never heard a quartet quite like The Westerlies.  Generally, a jazz quartet is a rhythm section (piano, bass, drums) with a lead instrument (say, saxophone).  Not The Westerlies.  No, no.  Here you have two trumpets and two trombones.  With this unique configuration, they present what is best described as chamber jazz—original compositions, unique arrangements and beautiful improvisation.

LM Otero / AP Photo

The Mariners have been the busiest team in Major League Baseball this offseason, remaking their roster in a big way. KPLU sports commentator Art Thiel likes what he sees.

Kyle Stokes / KPLU

UPDATED — Washington state Supreme Court justices have denied a request from charter school advocates to reconsider an earlier ruling that ends state funding for charter schools.

A spokeswoman for the court said justices original ruling will become effective Dec. 14.

photo courtesy of the Tri-City Americans

Amid all the hubbub in the legislature last session over school funding and transportation spending, lawmakers also passed a bill that, in effect, exempts Western Hockey League players from state child labor and minimum wage laws.

Shortly after that, the Department of Labor and Industries closed a lengthy investigation into the hockey league without taking any action, a move that is troubling to Mary Miller, who was a child labor specialist with the department for more than a decade before she left last year.

Ted S. Warren / AP

Transportation network companies Uber and Lyft have made it easier to catch a ride in Seattle. It’s also changed the landscape for drivers of traditional taxis. In fact, the competition has become so fierce that drivers see a need to organize.

Don Wilson / Port of Seattle

If you’ve flown recently, you’ve also experienced airport security. And you’ve maybe also had to wait as travelers with a certain clearance are let through security ahead of you. It’s part of a program called TSA PreCheck, where travelers can pay $85 and undergo some advance screening once, allowing them to breeze through much shorter security lines without removing shoes and belts.

Ted S. Warren / AP

Seattle School Board members issued a vote of confidence in the district's top administrator Wednesday night, approving a five percent raise and a one-year contract extension for Superintendent Larry Nyland by a 6-1 vote.

But Nyland surprised the board room by saying he would donate the amount of this year's increase in his base salary — more than $13,800 in total — back to Seattle Public Schools' general fund.

Hope for Gorilla/Flickr

Starting next year, all Seattle high schools will push their start times later — most of them by almost an hour — and most elementaries will start significantly earlier under an overhaul of the district's bell schedule school board members approved Wednesday night.

The board's 6-1 vote puts Seattle Public Schools on a relatively short list: by one count, only 70 districts nationwide have pushed back high school start times in an effort to match students' natural sleep rhythms with their school schedules.

Michael Dwyer / AP

Deaths from prescription painkiller overdoses are down in Washington, but new statewide numbers show that progress is being offset by another alarming statistic.

Between 2008 and 2014, the number of people who died from prescription narcotic overdoses dropped from over 512 to 319. But over the same period, the number of deaths from heroin overdose nearly doubled, to 293.

Parker Miles Blohm

For 15 years, The Seattle Women’s Jazz Orchestra has been a mainstay of the Northwest jazz scene, and ever since KPLU has been doing studio sessions in our Seattle studios, we’ve wanted to have them come in and play live for you.  One problem:  our studio isn’t big enough for the entire orchestra. 

Ben Brooks / Flickr

Washington state’s worst-ever wildfire season took center stage once again in Washington, D.C.

Two local fire officials testified before the U.S. Senate’s Energy & Natural Resources Committee Tuesday, appealing to lawmakers for more funding for fire suppression and preparedness.

Ted S. Warren / AP

The housing market may be going up in Puget Sound, but foreclosures are still a reality for many, especially in Pierce County. Now there’s a new effort in Tacoma to reach homeowners — before it’s too late.

Nearly 70 homes were scheduled for foreclosure in Tacoma alone last month. But there might be hope.

Seattle University, working with the city of Tacoma will go door-to-door in hard hit areas. Canvassers will pass out packets with information on free housing counselors and legal aid.

Gordon Werner via Creative Commons / Flickr

King County has signed into law a climate action plan that many local environmentalists are applauding as one of the boldest in the United States. How communities will meet their commitments to reducing greenhouse gas emissions is a big question, as representatives get ready for the U.N. Climate Change Conference in Paris next month.

Brian Liesse / Seattle Thunderbirds

Sports have such a powerful hold on our culture that lawmakers are often willing to take extraordinary steps to keep teams and fans happy. Even the U.S. Supreme Court exempted pro baseball from antitrust laws way back in 1922.

Here in Washington state, we have our own exception to the rule when it comes to sports.

Bridget Coila via Creative Commons / Flickr

Bonding with a new baby could soon become less financially stressful for King County's more than 14,000 employees.

The county is considering an expansion of its paid parental leave program – allowing its employees up to 12 weeks away from the office after the birth or adoption of a child. 

Right now, new parents who work for King County can cobble together paid leave from accrued sick pay and vacation time to be with their babies.

Jim Wilke

An exciting group with blazing trumpet and sizzling organ trio played opening weekend of the Earshot Jazz Festival at Tula's in Seattle, and highlights from their first set will air on Jazz Northwest  on Sunday, November 15 at 2 p.m. Pacific on 88.5 KPLU and streaming at

Kyle Stokes / KPLU

Draped in France's tricolor flag and wiping away tears, a group of at least 150 people gathered at a French bakery in Seattle's Belltown neighborhood Saturday afternoon to mourn the victims of Friday's terrorist attacks in Paris.

Somber mourners spilled out of the tiny La Parisienne French bakery and onto Fourth Avenue, where candles flickered on the sidewalk and a French flag hung next to the door of shop.

Justin Steyer / KPLU

Sound Effect is your weekly tour of ideas, inspired by the place we live. The show is hosted by KPLU's Gabriel Spitzer.

As you may have heard, KPLU is now in a transition period and there is much uncertainty around the future of Sound Effect. So what do we do when we’re feeling frightened or anxious? We watch videos of cute animals.

Elaine Thompson / AP

The Alaskan Way Viaduct in downtown Seattle has continued to sink, according to the most recent inspection. Washington transportation officials say the structure is still safe to drive on and no additional repairs are needed. 

Andrew Harnik / AP

Congressional leaders have emerged from closed-door negotiations in Washington D.C. with a preliminary deal to revise the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, raising hopes that lawmakers might be able to finally pass revisions for a federal law that's crucial to students and schools.

Ryan Kang / AP Photo

The Washington State Cougars are the surprise team of the Pac-12 this season. They're already bowl bound while their rivals, the Washington Huskies, are still trying to get to that point.

KPLU sports commentator Art Thiel explains why both teams are where they are right now.