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State Budget
11:05 am
Mon April 11, 2011

Taking a broader look at the value of natural resources

Lime Kiln State Park on San Juan Island is a prime spot for watching killer whales from the shore
San Juan Islands Visitors Bureau

Lawmakers in Olympia are struggling to close a $5 billion budget gap, and, like many state programs, natural resource agencies are on the chopping block. A study by a Tacoma-based non-profit says cutting those services too deeply could cost a lot more money than it saves.

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Living in Gangland
10:37 am
Mon April 11, 2011

Rural gangs claim public lands

Washington State Department of Fish & Wildlife officer Chad McGary briefly detains a self-described gang member who was fishing with friends
Austin Jenkins Northwest News Network

This week we're taking a look at what police say is a resurgence of gang activity - especially in rural areas. In part one of our series “Living In Gangland," we go on patrol with a Washington Fish and Wildlife cop. 

Gang violence is mostly a big city problem. But in parts of the rural Northwest, police are grappling with gang rivalries, graffiti and even drive-by shootings.

Just ask Darin Smith, chief of police in Royal City, Washington, population 2,000.

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Medical costs
9:03 am
Mon April 11, 2011

Learning why health insurance rates go up

Health insurance rates are going up and policies are changing for many people who have an individual plan or work at a small business. Those increases can be maddening and mystifying.

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NEWS ROUNDUP
6:05 am
Mon April 11, 2011

Monday morning's headlines

The AAA auto club reports the average price of a gallon of regular gasoline in Washington is $3.88.
AP

Some of the top news stories around the Northwest for April 11th:

  • How High Will Gas Prices Go?
  • Tacoma Police to Focus on Cold Cases
  • Hundreds of Washington Convictions in Doubt
  • Mariners in Free Fall

 

 AAA: Gas in Washington averages $3.88 gallon

If you're looking for cheap(er) gas in Washington state, you'll have to cross over the Cascades.

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Artscape
6:03 am
Sun April 10, 2011

The Mighty Wurlitzer organ stars at Paramount Theatre's "Silent Movie Mondays"

Jim Riggs is the host and Mighty Wurlitzer organist for this month's "Silent Movie Mondays" series at Seattle's Paramount Theatre.
Photo by Bob Cerelli

Each winter and spring, the Paramount Theatre in Seattle hosts a silent movie series on Monday nights.
This month’s classic films showcase New York City and it also features one of Buster Keaton’s best works.

But the star attraction isn’t what’s on screen. It’s the instrument making the music.

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Budget Cut Protests
10:46 am
Sat April 9, 2011

Thousands of union members rally in Olympia

A week of protests over state budget cuts culminated with a large union-led rally Friday at the Capitol in Olympia.

The State Patrol estimated the crowd at 7,000 people. There were signs and chants, and a sea of unionized workers on the steps to the Capitol and Supreme Court. 

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Transit Cuts
3:18 pm
Fri April 8, 2011

Snohomish Community Transit faces more service cuts

CT

If you ride Community Transit buses, brace yourself for longer waits and fewer trips. For the second year in a row, bus service in Snohomish County is facing a 20 percent cut.

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Wildlife
1:17 pm
Fri April 8, 2011

New pack of yearling wolves at Woodland Park Zoo

Yearling wolves in Woodland Park's Northern Trail exhibit
Woodland Park Zoo

The howls of a new yearling wolf pack can be heard at the Woodland Park Zoo this spring. The 4 female gray wolves were born at the New York State Zoo and arrived in Seattle last fall. Until now, they've been secluded from public view, getting used to their new surroundings in the Northern Trail exhibit.

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K-12 Education
8:40 am
Fri April 8, 2011

Who belongs in AP classes? In Federal Way, anyone who "meets standards"

Roshni Changela chose to be in AP U.S. History this semester, but some of her classmates were automatically enrolled in the class under a new Federal Way Public Schools policy.
Charla Bear KPLU

Across the country, schools are trying to get more students to take classes that prepare them for college. Some offer special tutoring programs. Others just offer to pay students who do well. School officials in Federal Way say the trouble with those strategies is - it leaves is up to students or teachers to decide who’s sharp enough to take those classes.

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Law Enforcement
7:49 am
Fri April 8, 2011

Police target Seattle's empty "Citadel" warehouse, now notorious for raves

A still from a video shot March 4, 2011 at Citadel, in South Seattle. Seattle police are cracking down on scenes such as this one.
Still image courtesy of Anzamarch (Junko) YouTube

Clean it up or close it down – that's the choice for the new owner of a vacant property in South Seattle that's become notorious for noisy raves. 

Police have declared The Citadel a chronic nuisance. The boxy warehouse building was turned into a music venue by owner Steve Rauf, who says the dance parties have brought in much-needed revenue. 

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News Roundup
7:02 am
Fri April 8, 2011

Friday morning's headlines

Union protesters are confronted by state patrol officers at the State Capitol building in Olympia, Wash., Thursday, April 7, 2011.
Austin Jenkins Northwest News Network

It's Friday, April 8th. Enjoy the sunshine today. We have a rainy weekend ahead of us, with continued cool overnight temperatures. 

In morning headlines:

  • Protests at State Capitol Bring Arrests, Lockdown
  • Big Service Cuts Ahead for Community Transit 
  • Mystery Oil Spill on Lake Union
  • Mariners Come Home

Rare Lockdown at State Capitol

The State Capitol went into lockdown for a couple of hours Thursday after protests erupted outside the governor's office. More than a dozen people were arrested. They were there to protest budget cuts that have, among others, hit union home care workers and services to the poor.

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Education Reform
6:12 am
Fri April 8, 2011

Despite data, state supe Dorn says new evaluation system needed for teachers and principals

State Superintendent Dorn and Principal Kelly Aramaki. Dorn says Washington's primary schools need new evaluation systems to improve teaching and leadership.
Photo by WaOSPI

If you listen to the numbers, there's no need for any change in the way teachers and principals are evaluated in public schools here in Washington State. 

Data is in from a first-ever statewide survey about their performance. It says very few teachers are a problem: not even 500 were rated unsatisfactory in all of Washington.

That's less than three quarters of one percent (.75%) of the state's public school teachers.  And even fewer principals – only 41 of nearly 3,000 – got a bad write up.

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Sports with Art Thiel
9:00 pm
Thu April 7, 2011

UW's Thomas and Locker: path to pros risky for both

UW quarterback Jake Locker smiles during a pro day workout at UW on March 30, 2011. Locker is participating in this month's NFL draft, after finishing his senior year at UW. Art Thiel says he was a better prospect a year ago.
Elaine Thompson AP

Two of the University of Washington's most prominent athletes in recent years are planning to go pro. Point guard Isaiah Thomas recently announced he's leaving the UW a year early to enter the NBA draft. And quarterback Jake Locker is participating in the NFL draft this month.

KPLU sports commentator Art Thiel says both athletes have taken risks in their paths to professional sports.

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Economic Indicators
4:37 pm
Thu April 7, 2011

March sales at Costco, Nordstrom bode well for large retail

A happy shopper at a pre-Opening event in March of a new Nordstrom's Rack, part of the upscale retailer's expansion strategy in the down economy.
Flickr, @photo

A surprisingly solid March – that's the consensus about last month's retail sales.  Despite cold weather and climbing gas prices, shoppers spent a lot more money last month than they did in March a year ago.

Costco and Nordstrom are among the local companies that are benefiting.

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Hydropower
1:20 pm
Thu April 7, 2011

More snowpack means more electricity this summer

Seattle City Light's Diablo Dam on the Skagit River. 7/22/2001
Flickr user Hunda flickr.com

The Pacific Northwest has emerged from winter with an above average snowpack, and that's good news for the region's hydroelectric dams. Seattle City Light Superintendent Jorge Carrasco says, “The snowfall we have received in the mountains this winter was fantastic.”

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