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Budget crisis
9:04 am
Tue December 6, 2011

Washington parks face emergency budget cuts

OLYMPIA, Wash. – Washington’s state park system is facing an emergency funding crisis. The Parks Commission will meet Tuesday to vote on a plan to immediately cut $11 million from the budget.

The crisis comes as sales of the new Discover Pass lag.

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Books
4:30 am
Tue December 6, 2011

Gerry Hadden covers his years as an NPR foreign correspondent

Central American migrants wait for nightfall just south of the U.S. border outside Sasabe, Mexico.
Gerry Hadden

Any dedicated public radio listener has probably wondered what it's like to be a foreign correspondent for NPR. Reporter Gerry Hadden gives us a glimpse into that world in his memoir, Never the Hope Itself.

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Street Cents
4:28 am
Tue December 6, 2011

For some, the gamble of an adjustable-rate mortgage pays off

Low interest rates making headlines. That's good news for adjusting or locking in a mortgage.

KPLU's John Maynard bought a condo in 2007 – at the height of the market. He took out an adjustable-rate mortgage that's "adjusting" in June.

That's turned out to be good news for Maynard, who's mortgage payment will go down considerably since interest rates are low right now and expected to be so for quite some time.

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Law
3:30 pm
Mon December 5, 2011

Amanda Knox hires top literary agent

Amanda Knox is surrounded by family members shortly after her arrival at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport in October in Seattle.
Associated Press

Amanda Knox says she's hired a Washington, D.C., lawyer to help her land a book deal after an Italian court cleared her and her ex-boyfriend in the killing of her British roommate.

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Welcome Home
3:11 pm
Mon December 5, 2011

JBLM soldiers returning from Iraq

As of Tuesday, nearly all of Joint Base Lewis McChord's soldiers will have left Iraq. 

A group of 170 soldiers is returning to JBLM on Tuesday. It includes members of the 17th Fires Brigade and 62nd Medical Brigade. Their charter flight arrives at McChord Field at 4 p.m.

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seasonal fun
3:03 pm
Mon December 5, 2011

Exposing 'The Nutcracker' in Seattle ... literally!

Lily Verlaine as The Countess of Coffee in the Land of the Sweets burlesque version of 'The Nutcracker.'
Chris Blakeley Courtesy of Land of the Sweets

This is the time of year for many dance and theater groups to make money with big productions of “The Nutcracker” … and in Seattle you can see the show with a twist: a “sexy, but not too sexy” burlesque.

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seattle arts
2:30 pm
Mon December 5, 2011

Seattle seeking affordable space for artists

An art installation at INScape in Seattle’s Chinatown-International District.
Florangela Davila KPLU

It’s been a long running problem – how to keep and create affordable spaces for artists to live, work and perform in.

That’s the focus of Cultural Space Seattle, a two-day event beginning Tuesday at Town Hall. The City of Seattle is asking a wide range of people to roll up their sleeves to look for ways to preserve Seattle’s vibrant arts scene.

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Environment
2:13 pm
Mon December 5, 2011

Like plastic bags? Hate 'em? Let the Seattle Council know tonight

The Seattle City Council is considering a ban on thin single-use plastic bags at checkout stands. The ban will also include a pass-through fee of 5 cents for paper bags.

The council is holding a public hearing on the proposal tonight at 5:30

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Weather report
1:52 pm
Mon December 5, 2011

Stagnant air advisory in place for much of Washington

You've seen it before: bad air stuck over western Washington. And here we are again, a stagnant air advisory is in effect for much of the state.
Andrew W. Sieber Flickr

The National Weather Service says a high pressure system over the Northwest is keeping the lid on air pollutants.

A stagnant air advisory is in effect for much of Washington, except for the mountains and part of the coast, until Friday afternoon.

Forecasters say the high pressure is trapping cooler air near the ground. With poor mixing of the lower atmosphere because of the inversion, wood smoke and car exhausts can build up.

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New tracks
12:50 pm
Mon December 5, 2011

Putting unique Sarah Vaughan in the 'All That Jazz' mix

Sarah Vaughan in 1946.
Wikimedia Commons

Each week in a new feature on our jazz blog – Groove Notes – we'll tell you about a few of the songs added to KPLU’s "All That Jazz" rotation by our music director Nick Francis.

This week’s picks are three tracks from Sarah Vaughan’s first long-play album “In Hi-Fi.”

Read more on Groove Notes.

KPLU Studio Sessions
12:00 pm
Mon December 5, 2011

A rare visit to the KPLU Studios: Jazz piano legend Chick Corea

Chick Corea performing live in the KPLU Studios on Dec. 2, 2011.
Justin Steyer KPLU

In November, Chick Corea celebrated his 70th birthday with four weeks of concerts at The Blue Note in New York. However, when he walked into the KPLU studios in early December it was impossible to see him as a 70-year-old man.

He looks 20 years younger, acts 40 years younger and plays piano with as much passion, creativity and fire as he ever did.

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Transportation
4:30 am
Mon December 5, 2011

520 tolls could push traffic into towns north of Lake Washington

SR 520 toll rate sign installation on the eastbound lane this past summer.
WSDOT

It’s not yet clear exactly when, but sometime in December, the state Department of Transportation is due to start collecting tolls on the 520 Bridge.

Cities along the northern edge of Lake Washington have been bracing themselves for the change. 

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Artscape
7:00 pm
Sun December 4, 2011

'Promising Objects' offers interactive art in Victoria

Alison MacTaggart's demonstrates how her giant gourd emits spooky sounds when somebody comes near.
Katherine Banwell KPLU

Eerie sounds from vegetables and sculptures that look like happy caterpillars. Those are some of the "promising objects" you'll find in an exhibit of the same name. The show is at the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria and features the art of Alison MacTaggart.

MacTaggart likes creating art that has a familiar aspect to it but something unfamiliar as well. The results are quirky sculptures that are cheerful and noisy. They encourage all sorts of communication and show visitors her sense of humor.

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Business
9:00 am
Sat December 3, 2011

Cyber sales tax has winners and losers in Northwest

Amazon is eager to cast the sales tax net over all but the smallest online retailers.
Associated Press

WASHINGTON, D.C. – This holiday shopping season, buying online is bigger than ever. That’s got Congress taking a new look at an old fight: Internet sales tax.

One Oregon lawmaker – and Washington's state online giant – are front-and-center in the debate.

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Protesting Wall Street
5:04 pm
Fri December 2, 2011

Seattle college can evict Occupy protesters, judge rules

A camper at Occupy Seattle pulls on a jacket and walks among the dozens of tents there at Seattle Central Community College Nov. 15. A judge says they all have to go.
Associated Press

A Thurston County Superior Court judge says Seattle Central Community College can evict Occupy protesters who have been staying on campus.

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