News

John Froschauer / AP Photo

It’s illegal to set off fireworks in Tacoma, Seattle and most other cities in the region. But, every 4th of July, so many people ignore the law there’s little police can do. They say calling 911 about violations just overwhelms the emergency system.

Aaron Hushagen / KPLU

Note: Each month, KPLU invites a teen guest DJ to play his or her favorite pieces on the air.  The program is part of KPLU's School of Jazz.  

Joel Steinke from Edmonds Woodway High School is the Student DJ for the month of July.  Joel's hour aired from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. on July 2.

To get to know him better we asked Joel to answer a few questions about jazz:

Which instrument do you play and why?

AP Images

Fewer Washington students passed a new, harder statewide standardized test this year — but the exam didn't trip up as many kids as some had feared.

For instance, roughly 58 percent of fifth graders earned "proficient" English scores in their first year taking the new Smarter Balanced tests, according to early results state officials released Thursday.Compare that with 72 percent of last year's fifth graders who passed the state's old benchmark reading exam, the MSP.

Todd Petit / Flickr

You’re looking to get away for a weekend, but the Fourth of July (or maybe the summer in general) kind of crept up on you. KPLU travel expert Matthew Brumley says have no fear: There are still plenty of options.

First, this late in the game you'll need to be flexible. But there are some tricks you can use:

Tracey Croisier

When Tracey Croisier was five years old,  she began having seizures. 

Her family was living in Taiwan.  By the time she was nine, they had moved back to the United States. Her parents took her to a doctor. He explained to the family that her condition, epilepsy, was so severe it would prevent Tracey from ever driving, holding a job or living independently. 

And then the expert added that she should never have kids.

Paula Wissel

The state is cracking down on handicapped parking abuse. Beginning tomorrow, July 1st, you’ll need a doctor’s prescription in order to get a disabled parking placard. It was rampant misuse and abuse of disabled parking permits that prompted the Washington state legislature to act.

In Seattle, a 2013 auditor’s report showed a loss of $1.4 million a year in parking meter fees due to people cheating the system.

Under the new state law, according to Department of Licensing spokesman David Bennett, penalties for cheating are tougher. 

“Illegally obtaining  or selling a special parking placard is now a gross misdemeanor instead of an infraction,” Bennett said.

Meaning, you could face criminal charges and a fine of $250 dollars.

thegreenbeet.com

As I tell Nancy Leson in this week's Food for Thought, I have had an iceberg lettuce epiphany.  A voice whispered, "Slice it horizontally." 

John Froschauer / AP Photo

Though it includes new funding for schools, state superintendent Randy Dorn says the budget Washington lawmakers passed falls short of meeting a Supreme Court mandate to increase K-12 spending.

In a statement, Dorn called on the state's high court to "take whatever steps necessary to bring the Legislature back into session as soon as possible" to work out solutions to problems justices ordered them to solve in their 2012 McCleary ruling.

Dan Burgard

 

Sewage reveals a lot about our daily habits. With that in mind, the federal government is paying for a study to test sewage water in Washington State to determine how much marijuana people are consuming.

 

Dan Burgard, an associate chemistry professor at the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, has been collecting waste water samples since December 2013, about eight months before the first legal pot stores opened.

Associate Press

 

When a man’s masculinity is threatened in a minor way it can lead him to tell blatant lies. This is the finding of a new study from researchers at the University of Washington and Stanford.

Kyle Stokes / KPLU

It's looking less and less likely state lawmakers will drop a graduation requirement currently standing between hundreds of Washington high school seniors and their diplomas.

This year, roughly 2,000 high schoolers passed all the tests they needed to graduate except one: biology. But with time running out in their session, legislators remain deadlocked over a proposal to drop biology as a graduation requirement.

AP Images

To much fanfare last week, the U.S. Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage and upheld Obamacare subsidies. But those decisions overshadowed another ruling – one that has Washington state legal aid lawyers cheering.

The case has to do with the Fair Housing Act, which aims to eliminate discrimination in housing. In a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court said plaintiffs don’t have to prove intentional discrimination. Instead, they can use statistics to show that even neutral-sounding policies can have discriminatory effects.

antoniosanchez.net

Drummer Antonio Sanchez has been getting a lot of press lately, including a cover story in the July issue of Downbeat magazine.  His award-winning, propulsive drum-solo score for the film “Birdman, Or The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance” and the controversy of it being disqualified from the Oscar Awards had the unexpected virtue of introducing Antonio to audiences beyond jazz enthusiasts.

Fifty years ago this week, vibist and composer Gary McFarland's career was on the rise and he was playing in Seattle at a Pioneer Square jazz club called The Penthouse.  Jim Wilke was there producing another weekly broadcast from the club which featured international talent during the 60s.

McFarland's music from those broadcasts has been issued for the first time as part of a DVD/CD set which includes a documentary by Kristian St.Clair about Gary McFarland. His quick rise to fame ended suddenly with his death under mysterious circumstances at the age of 38, six years after these Seattle broadcasts.  McFarland's "Train Samba" was a popular hit at the time and is featured on this week's Jazz Northwest.

Amelia Bonow

Ten years ago,  Brian Yeager and Amelia Bonow’s lives changed forever. 

Brian was a musician who tended bar at Belltown’s Lava Lounge. Amelia worked as a server next door at Mama’s Mexican Kitchen. They saw each other in passing.  Soon, they saw each other in the specific.

Sparks flew. 

It was a hard and fast love but a sure one. Bonow eventually moved into Yeager’s house in Lower Queen Anne, a home they would share with a menagerie of plants and a cat named Rooster. 

Then came the fire.

Sound Effect, Episode 25: Point Of No Return

Jun 27, 2015
Brian Yeager and Amelia Bonow

"Sound Effect" is your weekly tour of ideas, inspired by the place we live. This week's show is hosted by KPLU's Kevin Kniestedt. Each week's show explores a different theme, and this week we muse over the point of no return. 

To start things off, Kevin Kniestedt talks to Buta Sing about leaving his home and family behind in India after facing religious persecution. Sing is Sikh, and members of his religion face many challenges from the largely Hindu opposition.

Then, we hear from Tracey Croisier from A Guide to Visitors. At nine years old, she was told by medical professionals that she had epilepsy. This was the point of no return for many experiences in Croisier's life — driving, a job, pregnancy. Nearly two decades later, new medical insight restored paths she thought were forever obscured.  

Point Of No Return Cocktail Recipe

Jun 27, 2015
Kevin Kniestedt, KPLU

The Point Of No Return cocktail was created by bartender Keith Waldbauer at Liberty Bar on Capitol Hill. A fiery spectacle guaranteed as fun to drink as it is to prepare, the Point of No Return is a crowd-pleasing classic. 

What you'll need:

Kyle Stokes / KPLU News

(Corrects that Jinkins was not in the car with her wife, Laura Wulf, and corrects spelling of Wulf's name.)

State Rep. Laurie Jinkins, D-Tacoma, was on the way to the airport with her son on Friday when they got the news: the U.S. Supreme Court had made same-sex marriage legal in all 50 states.

The first openly lesbian lawmaker in Olympia, Jinkins married long-time partner Laura Wulf in 2013. There in the car, Jinkins says she teared up. Her son got quiet.

NASA

Two holographic devices made by Microsoft and NASA are scheduled to lift off in a spacecraft from Cape Canaveral this Sunday on a resupply mission headed for the International Space Station. Astronauts on board the space station, including Scott Kelly, will test out the high-tech headsets.

Here's one way they could be used: Say something breaks on the space station and you need to fix it. You're orbiting 200 miles away from earth and need to reach an expert at Mission Control in Houston.

Brenda Goldstein-Young

It's School of Jazz, Canadian-style!  KPLU and Jazz24 host Abe Beeson recorded a studio session this morning at The Farm Studios in Vancouver, B.C. with the award-winning Point Grey Secondary School jazz band and their mentor, clarinetist James Danderfer, under the direction of Brent Taylor. 

Philo Nordlund / Flickr

If you live in the Pacific Northwest, a scary lightning strike isn’t very likely.

But there was one recently in Seattle’s Arboretum that could be a case study in a text book.

“The lightning bolt went right down the moist center of the tree, blew the tree out and so it just spread apart,” Mass said.

He says in this case, the lightning hit just right and heated up the moisture at the core of the tree, causing steam to form and blast it into pieces.

“Pieces of that tree were sent off as projectiles, hundreds of feet away,” and embedded themselves deeply into the ground because of the force of the blow.

“It was amazingly dangerous,” Mass said.

“And there’s been explosive trees around here before; this is not the first incident. But it’s probably the most dramatic I’ve ever seen,” he said.

He says he’s never seen anything like it, at least not in nature.

“It looked like one of those onions you get at Safeco Field,” he said.

In this week’s episode Mass explains why lightning strikes are relatively rare here, why the recent one near the Arboretum visitor center was so forceful and how to position yourself on the off chance that you do get caught in a lightning strike.

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

The Mariners are in Anaheim this weekend to play the Angels after a 4-4 homestand that included the hiring of Mariners legend Edgar Martinez as the team’s new hitting coach.

KPLU sports commentator Art Thiel isn’t expecting anything magical.

Is Love Enough?

"Everybody loves Edgar," Thiel said. "That's, really, I guess, all the m

Steve Bennett / Flickr

Even before the 2010 earthquake that devastated its capital, Haiti was the scene of political unrest. There were government upheavals in 1991 and 2004. Americans are used to seeing those images on TV newscasts, and in newspapers.

But the country also has seen growth in tourism, says Wilbert Denis. He grew up in Haiti, and has watched as visitors arrived on the island.

Sights To See

Beaches are probably Haiti's biggest draw. Denis says Labadee is his favorite. "It's so vibrant," he said. Also check out St. Marc.

Smithsonsian Institute

UPDATE:  After DNA testing confirmed the 8,500-year-old Kennewick man was ancestor of modern Washington tribes, Gov. Jay Inslee sent a letter to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers requesting that the remains be returned to Native American tribes.

A pair of college students discovered the skeleton near Columbia River and Kennewick in 1996. The U.S Army Corp of Engineers took control of the bones that are the oldest human remains discovered in North America. Recent DNA analysis proved that the Kennewick man is genetically linked to modern Native Americans.

“Now that DNA analysis has demonstrated a genetic link to modern Native Americans, including those in the State of Washington, I am requesting that the Ancient One be repatriated to the appropriate Tribes as expeditiously as possible,” Inslee wrote in a letter to the Army Corps of Engineers.

“Our Washington State tribes have waited nineteen years for the remains to be transferred for reburial.

Original Story, published June 18, 2015:

Scientists say they’ve pinned down the origins of a man who lived in the northwest about 9,000 years ago, and their conclusion is the same as what Washington tribes have been saying since the bones’ discovery: Kennewick Man was Native American.

Kennewick Man, known to the tribes as the Ancient One, has been fought over since his discovery in 1996. Researchers have suggested he came from Japanese, Polynesian or even European stock.

But Eske Willerslev of the University of Copenhagen says DNA pulled from a hand bone now makes it clear where Kennewick Man belongs in the world’s family tree.

“Kennewick Man, the Ancient One, is more closely related to contemporary Native Americans than to any other contemporary populations in the world,” said Eske, speaking at a press conference at the Burke Museum in Seattle.

The museum has housed the bones while five Washington tribes have been fighting the federal government over control of the remains. They believe the new finding bolsters their case that Kennewick Man should be given to them, under the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act.

Gabriel Spitzer

In 2004, the city of Seattle installed five, high-tech, self-cleaning public toilets at a cost of $5 million. The toilets -- which opened at the push of a button disinfected themselves automatically -- were hailed as public service that would need little in extra staff hours to maintain.

It didn't turn out exactly like that.

Paula Wissel

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray says the solution to disjointed planning in Seattle is to create a new city office to deal with the city's booming growth.  At a news conference, Murray signed an executive order creating a new Office of Planning and Community Development.

Stein

There can be no doubt that restaurant shrimp cocktails are never big enough.  Oh, the individual shrimp may be sizeable, but though they be proud they are also the few.  Which is why I was compelled last weekend to create a shrimp cocktail big enough to have its own zip code. 

Nancy Leson agrees that size matters, but her idea of what constitutes the crustaceanaceous concoction left me shocked – simply shocked. 

AP Images

Labor groups, including ones in Washington state, have suffered a big defeat. The U.S. Senate has voted to move ahead with the so-called fast-track trade bill, paving the way for the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal, which union leaders say ultimately could result in lost jobs.

For the Washington State Labor Council, blocking this fast-track bill has been high priority for the past 18 months, according to the group’s president, Jeff Johnson.

File Photo

(Corrected spelling of Muilenburg's name.)

Boeing says Chief Executive Jim McNerney will turn over the reins to Dennis Muilenburg, who has served as the aerospace company’s president and chief operating officer since 2013. Muilenburg will take over on July 1st.

McNerney will stay on as chairman of the board and will work at the company to help with the transition until he retires at the end of February 2016, the company said in a statement. Muilenburg has been elected a member of the board.

Muilenburg is 51 and has worked for Boeing for 30 years. He joined Boeing as an engineering intern in Seattle in 1985 and centered his career in the company’s defense business. He headed Boeing’s Defense Space and Security business from 2009 until 2013.  

But the commercial airplane side of the company is where Muilenburg faces a number of decisions to make soon, said aviation analyst Scott Hamilton. 

Decisions To Make

"The more pressing issues for Dennis are going to be what to do about the 747 production rate and whether or not to even continue the program," Hamilton said. Muilenburg will also have to decide "whether or not to acknowledge what everybody else already believes is going to happen and that is a rate reduction on the 777 classic in advance of the 777X."

Ted S. Warren / AP Photo

Federal education officials have opened an inquiry into whether the University of Washington properly handled the case of a student who reported an instance of sexual violence, according to a statement from the school.

The investigation adds UW to a list of more than 100 colleges nationally — including Washington State University and Whitman College — where the U.S. Department of Education is investigating compliance with federal laws protecting victims of sexual assault or harassment.

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