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This One Time In Sicily, And Other Travel Surprises

4 hours ago
Ed Ronco / KPLU

Picture it: Sicily, 2012.

KPLU travel expert Matthew Brumley is in Palermo, checking in to a B&B for the night. They tell him the room has low ceilings.

“And that’s OK,” he said. “I’m not a tall guy.”

Elaine Thompson / AP Images

Moving to a new home is never easy. It takes time, it costs money and it usually involves a lot of people. All of these factors also apply to elephants.

Ansel Herz / The Stranger

For the past few years, Seattle has experimented with a different approach to handling low-level drug and prostitution crimes, and new research shows that it’s paying off.

Seattle’s Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD) program aims to end the revolving door for people who cycle in and out of the justice system. It offers job training, housing and drug treatment to some offenders instead of prosecution. 

elvis_payne / flickr

When you turn on the tap and water comes out, there’s a tendency to think it’s free.

But increasingly, there’s a push to recognize water as the precious commodity it is, by putting a higher price on it. 

Water as the oil of the 21st Century was the headline on an event in Seattle put on by the Clean Tech Alliance.     

Justin Steyer / KPLU

We’ve been having a great time bringing some of the excellent regional high school jazz bands into the KPLU studios for live performances.  The musicians of the Bellevue High School Jazz band came in loaded for bear.

Bellamy Pailthorp

Highly volatile Bakken  crude oil poses a serious threat to the safety of communities located along rail lines. Just since February, there have been four fiery derailments in the US and Canada.  Now Democrats in the U.S. Senate are pressing for more regulation.

Kyle Stokes / KPLU

This week, eleventh graders at Seattle's Garfield High School were supposed to start taking a state- and federally-required standardized test of their English skills.

But more than 200 Garfield juniors, who don't need to pass the exams to graduate, are refusing to take Smarter Balanced assessments, forcing school administrators to postpone giving the exams until they could come up with a new testing schedule.

Justin Steyer / KPLU

If any three living guitarists have earned the right to the name "The Great Guitars" it's Mundell Lowe (age 92), Bucky Pizzarelli (age 89), and John Pisano (the baby of the group at 84).  From the early days of New Orleans jazz, through the swing era, to accompanying many of America's greatest vocalists in the recording studio and television bands, these guys, collectively, have covered it all.

Supporters of a carbon tax are gathering signatures from Washington voters for a possible ballot initiative.

Governor Jay Inslee has a bill on a cap-and-trade system already working its way through the legislature. But climate change activists are also laying the groundwork for the measure, which would add a tax of $25 dollars per ton of carbon dioxide.

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

Seattle minimum-wage workers at large businesses should now be earning $11 an hour, and workers at smaller businesses should earn at least $10 an hour, plus an extra dollar an hour in either tips or health benefits.

But the city is still searching for the right person to head the office in charge of enforcing that law. 

Kyle Stokes / KPLU

State legislators are considering injecting "unprecedented" amounts of funding into Washington's early childhood education system, advocates say — but not without first raising the bar for child care providers.

Justin Steyer / KPLU

Paying off court fees and fines is a major hurdle for someone getting out of prison in Washington state. Some say these Legal Financial Obligations, or LFO’s as they’re called, create a sort of debtor’s prison and make it difficult for former inmates to turn their lives around.

The state legislature is considering changes to how such fees are assessed.

Daniel Sheehan / danielsheehan.com

On April first, the Jazz Journalists Association announced its list of 2015 Jazz Heroes: advocates, altruists, activists, aiders and abettors of jazz who have had significant impact in their local communities.

The 'Jazz Hero' awards, made annually on the basis of nominations from community members, are presented in conjunction with the JJA's annual Jazz Awards honoring significant achievements in jazz music and journalism and with the month-long celebration of JazzApril.

Ted S. Warren / AP Photo

The past couple of years have been rocky for taxi companies as riders flock to services such as Uber, which has a network of drivers who use their own cars to pick up rides and find customers through a smartphone app.

John Rogers

April is celebrated as National Jazz Month, and the month begins in Seattle with a flurry of activity including both touring and resident musicians playing in the the first week.  One of the visiting groups featured on Jazz Northwest this Sunday is Ryan Keberle & Catharsis (pictured) which begins a West Coast tour at the Poncho Theatre at Cornish College in Seattle on April 7.  

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