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Online Auction
12:34 am
Thu February 10, 2011

The Western States Public Radio Online Auction is open for bidding!

Attention Mariners Fans! Start bidding today to four lower-box seats for a game in the 2011 season!
Wikimedia.org

KPLU is taking part in the second annual Western States Public Radio Online Auction. This 10-day regional event brings public radio listeners, stations, and regional businesses together for a great cause…Supporting Public Broadcasting!

The bidding begins today, so register and bid now! You can browse through a wide variety of popular items, including today's featured item: Four (lower box) tickets to a 2011 Mariners game

You can register and start bidding now!

Anacortes Explosion
6:05 pm
Wed February 9, 2011

Suit filed over deaths at Tesoro Refinery

A security truck outside the Tesoro Refinery on March Point in Anacortes, WA, on Friday, April 2, 2010.
AP

The families of six Tesoro Corporation refinery workers killed in an explosion at an Anacortes site last April have filed a wrongful-death suit against the company Wednesday. 

The Seattle Times' Jim Brunner reports the suit alleges Tesoro was negligent in addressing the conditions that resulted in the blast, which killed seven people. In addition to the six families, a contractor injured in the explosion has also joined the suit.

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Health Care
5:08 pm
Wed February 9, 2011

Obama’s chief defender of health care law in Seattle

Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius was in Seattle this week, to hear about local efforts to make the medical system more efficient.

Sebelius is in charge of implementing the new national health care law – and defending it. The Affordable Care Act has been under fierce attack by Republicans and their allies. Democrats and their supporters recently hired political strategists to launch a campaign in defense of the law.

At the same time, Sebelius has been trying to sell it across the country, alongside sympathetic mayors and governors. 

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Wednesday's Photo
2:17 pm
Wed February 9, 2011

A run in the sun

Gary Davis KPLU

This jogger takes advantage of sunny, blue skies over downtown Tacoma on Wednesday, running along the Thea Foss Waterway near the Dock Street Marina and Museum of Glass. The sunshine drew a few dozen runners, walkers and readers during the noon lunch hour. Still on the chilly side, temperatures did reach into the mid and upper 40's this afternoon.

The National Weather Service predicts more blue skies and sun on Thursday, with highs around the region in near 50. 

Business
1:27 pm
Wed February 9, 2011

Microsoft looking for more technical know-how at the top

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer's Xbox 360 Kinect avatar as seen at his CES 2011 keynote address
Simon Bisson (sbisson) flickr.com

Microsoft wants more engineers leading the company. According to a Bloomberg report, CEO Steve Ballmer wants his senior executives to have solid technical backgrounds in addition to business expertise. Bloomberg's Dina Bass reports the new strategy may be announced later this month. A Microsoft spokesman declined to comment.

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Business
1:23 pm
Wed February 9, 2011

One year later: Did Idaho's "love letter" attract Washington and Oregon businesses?

Idaho Gov. Bruce Otter delivers his 'love letter' to Washington and Oregon businesses, in 2010.
justmaketheshift.com

Valentine's Day is just around the corner. So we thought it was a good time to update a story from nearly a year ago. Last March, Idaho Governor Butch Otter penned a "love letter" to Washington and Oregon businesses. He was trying to romance companies into moving to his state.

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Seattle Police
10:44 am
Wed February 9, 2011

Seattle's horse patrol looking to public to pay for hay

Seattle Police Mounted Patrol Sgt. Grant Ballingham in Belltown in September, 2010.
Gary Davis

Justice, Harvest, Charlie, Tiger, Blaze, Jet and Cody recently got a reprieve.

The horses are in  Seattle Police Department's Mounted Patrol Unit. Budget cuts had threatened to eliminate their jobs. But the Seattle Police Foundation and the Seattle Hotel Association have pledged to pay for feeding, sheltering and caring for the working horses for three years.

The organizations have enough money to cover two years and are asking the public to pay for the rest. At the website, saveourhorses.net, you can make a donation.

Here's a video about the Mounted Patrol Unit produced by the Police Foundation:

Real Estate
8:14 am
Wed February 9, 2011

One-third of homes 'underwater' in Puget Sound region

Data shows increasing number of residents owe more on mortgage than home is worth.
AP

Update Feb. 10, 2011 - The correct percentage of area mortgage holders "underwater" - as reported by Zillow.com - is 34.3%, not of all homeowners. This post has been updated to clarify that point.

Do you owe more on your mortgage than your house is worth? You’re not alone. One-third of homeowners in King, Pierce and Snohomish counties are “underwater” on their homes. "Negative equity" rose faster in this region than anywhere else in the country.

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Washington Legislature
7:47 am
Wed February 9, 2011

Treasurer, lawmakers seek constitutional amendment on pensions

A bipartisan group of Washington lawmakers proposes a constitutional amendment to require pension payments.
Austin Jenkins N3

Washington's pension system is underfunded to the tune of nearly $7 billion. Now the State Treasurer and a bipartisan group of lawmakers say the time has come to force the legislature to pay the pension bill.

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News Roundup
6:58 am
Wed February 9, 2011

Wednesday morning's headlines

Uniformed officers escort the hearse carrying the body of slain Corrections Officer Jayme Biendl to a memorial service at Comcast Arena in Everett Tuesday.
Liam Moriarty KPLU

Making headlines around the Northwest this morning:

  • Thousands Mourn Slain Guard as Investigations Continue
  • Pierce Transit Ballot Defeated
  • School Votes Mixed

 

Guard's Memorial Draws Huge Crowds

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Food for Thought
4:49 am
Wed February 9, 2011

Leson and Stein put feet in mouth – again

Chicken feet -- Claws for our jaws
Courtesy of Nancy Leson

Our diets lay bound, gagged and locked in the trunk as Nancy and I sped toward our date with Wretched Excess.

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Death in the Line of Duty
5:51 pm
Tue February 8, 2011

Murdered corrections officer remembered for courage, commitment and compassion

An honor guard stands before the flag-draped casket bearing the body of Corrections Officer Jayme Lee Biendl during a memorial service held Tuesday at Comcast Arena in Everett. Biendl's family sits in the front row.
Liam Moriarty KPLU News

Several thousand mourners, many of them uniformed law  enforcement officers, gathered in Everett Tuesday to pay tribute to Corrections Officer Jayme Biendl.

Biendl was killed January 29th while on duty at the state prison in Monroe. She was the first corrections officer killed in a Washington prison in over 30 years.

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Humanosphere
4:49 pm
Tue February 8, 2011

Seattle malaria researcher reacts to newly discovered mosquito

Anopheles gambiae
Centers for Disease Control

One of the big news stories in the malaria world recently is the discovery, announced last week in the journal Science, of a previously unknown type of mosquito that some reports said could threaten malaria control efforts in Africa.

Here’s the problem: Most malaria control efforts in Africa — bednets, spraying — are aimed at preventing mosquitoes from biting humans indoors at night. This newly discovered mosquito, dubbed “Goundry” (after the community in Burkina Faso where it was identified), appears to operate outdoors.

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Tuesday's photo
3:44 pm
Tue February 8, 2011

No duckin' the sun today

Gary Davis KPLU

It was webbed-footed on the left side, sneaker-footed on the right at the Green Lake path this afternoon. A chill wind didn't deter sun-seekers at the popular Seattle park. More sunny - and cool - weather is in the forecast for western Washington through Thursday, according to the National Weather Service.

Crime
2:52 pm
Tue February 8, 2011

How deaths are investigated in Washington state

Autopsy table in the morgue operated by the King County Medical Examiner. Every year in the county, about 2,000 deaths are investigated.
Paula Wissel KPLU

In Washington state, if someone dies under suspicious circumstances or suddenly with no obvious cause, an investigation is required. But just how that investigation is conducted depends on where the person dies. It varies county by county.

In King County, Medical Examiner Dr. Richard Harruff has a full staff of forensic pathologists who respond quickly to conduct autopsies and other post mortem investigations.  On a recent morning, he described the bodies that had been brought in over night.

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