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Urban Wildlife
2:39 pm
Mon November 8, 2010

Whooo knew?

A barred owl makes a suprise visit to Belltown.
Sandy Stamato/KPLU

This barred owl perched in a tree Monday outside the window of KPLU's Seattle studios.  In short order, it began drawing the attention of passersby in the Belltown neighborhood, and a crowd under the tree attempting to get a good picture. This photo was taken by our own Sandy Stamato.  Other than some pretty upset crows who made a ruccous, the owl's visit been warmly received.

Education
9:20 am
Mon November 8, 2010

Report cards for Seattle schools: grading each building

Seattle Schools will issue report cards on the quality of education at each of their buildings, a move that will reflect the overall quality coming out of this building - school headquarters.
Charla Bear/KPLU

A lot of attention has been focused on improving public schools. But figuring out how schools are doing can be tricky. Some people say test scores and graduation rates don't show the whole picture. Now administrators in Seattle say they've come up with a better system.

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Water Cooler
6:27 am
Mon November 8, 2010

This Morning's Top Stories

King County leaders (including Councilwoman Julia Patterson and Executive Dow Constantine) will have to make cuts to programs long-considered basic services.
AP

King County Weighs 'Painful' Budget Cuts

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Washington State History
3:20 am
Mon November 8, 2010

Woman's right to vote in Washington turns 100

This is one of the historical documents on display at the Washington State History Museum in Tacoma. Celebrations of the 100th anniversary of women's suffrage in Washington take place in Olympia today.
WS History Museum

Today marks the 100th anniversary of a woman's right to vote in Washington State.  A day-long series of events is planned for  Olympia. The Washington State Historical Socety and the Women’s History Consortium have teamed up with  Secretary of State Sam Reed and the Interagency Committee for State Employed Women (ICSEW) on a full day of commemorative moments at the Temple of Justice (home of the State Supreme Court), the Capitol Building and Legislative buildings.

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Environment
2:29 am
Mon November 8, 2010

The Case of the Radioactive Rabbit

A radioactively contaminated rabbit has been caught and killed on the Hanford Nuclear Reservation near Richland in southeast Washington.

The U.S. Department of Energy says that's not unusual. Last year the agency caught 33 contaminated animals. But this rabbit was unusually close to workers and the public.

The bunny was found just a few miles outside of the city of Richland in Hanford's 300 Area. Todd Nelson is a spokesman for one of the federal contractors that clean up Hanford. He downplayed the incident.

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Business
5:19 pm
Fri November 5, 2010

Starbucks earnings double

Starbucks reported strong 4th quarter earnings, a nod the company has overcome some rocky times.
Photo by Gary Davis/KPLU

Just two years ago, Starbucks was laying off staff and closing hundreds of US stores in its efforts to slash costs and restore the chain to profitability. Now it's reporting record earnings for the fourth quarter, with profits up 86% compared to a year ago.

Starbucks says its turnaround has ushered in a new phase of growth. Sales in the US and abroad increased by 8% during the quarter.

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Washington State Legislature
5:13 pm
Fri November 5, 2010

Liquor privatization defeated? Not so, says lawmaker

The latest count of election ballots show both propositions to get Washington state out of the liquor business have failed. But the issue is not going away. A new privatization proposal has surfaced in Olympia on the heels of those defeats.

A state senator from Mason County says he wants to take another run at ending Washington state's monopoly on liquor distribution and sales. Democrat Tim Sheldon claims the election defeat of both liquor initiatives was not a vote for the status quo.
 

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Water Cooler
1:05 am
Fri November 5, 2010

On Earthquakes - political and real

The nation is watching the northwest, with earthquakes - political and real - in mind.

One That Didn’t Happen

What on Tuesday looked like a looming shake-up of the political landscape in Washington subsided.  State voters did not rebuke the Democrats in power. Instead, they returned Patty Murray to the US Senate, and gave the ‘D’s’ the majority in both chambers of the state legislature. 

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Election 2010
7:58 pm
Thu November 4, 2010

Murray widens lead, Rossi concedes bid for US Senate

Dino Rossi (pictured here in an October debate in Seattle) conceded the US Senate race Thursday evening. Patty Murray's lead continues to grow as votes are counted.
AP

Democrat Patty Murray has defeated Republican challenger Dino Rossi after a third day of vote tallying in their closely fought race for the U.S. Senate. In capturing her fourth term, Murray adds to the Democrats' slight cushion in the Senate after Republicans made gains there Tuesday while also seizing control of the House. 

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Business
1:56 pm
Thu November 4, 2010

Tacoma's loss, Seattle's gain: Russell Move Complete

Part of Russell Investment's newly remodeled space in the former WaMu Tower in downtown Seattle. It's now the Russell Investment Center.
Russell Investments

What was once the WaMu Tower is now the Russell Investment Center. The financial services company that was downtown Tacoma's largest employer has now formally opened its new headquarters in downtown Seattle.

Seattle's civic leaders turned out in full force to welcome the company famous for its stock market indexes. 900 well-paid employees now occupy five floors of the skyscraper at 2nd and Union, next door to the Seattle Art Museum.

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Election 2010
7:49 am
Thu November 4, 2010

Vote count increases Murray's lead

Patty Murray shakes hands with supporters on Monday at the Boeing machinists' union office in Everett, Wash.
AP

Democrat Patty Murray has slightly expanded her lead over Republican Dino Rossi in Washington's too-close-to-call U-S Senate Race. Democrats remain confident she will ultimately prevail in her re-election bid.

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Election 2010
6:36 pm
Wed November 3, 2010

Cliffhanger over control of state legislature

New batches of mail-in ballots show Republicans are gaining seats in the Washington state House and Senate but it's not known yet which party will control the Legislature.    

Since the initial vote counts from Tuesday's election, Republicans have been optimistic they can seize the state Senate

More ballots were counted Wednesday.  Democrats have been soundly defeated in three districts.: east King County's 45th and 47th districts, and Spokane's 6th district. 

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Water Cooler
8:41 am
Tue November 2, 2010

E-tools for Election Day; the state gets personal

Home page of the Secretary of State website, an election geek's playground
KPLU photo

Election geeks take note: we've reached a new level of high-tech politics in Washington.  Secretary of State Sam Reed is offering a palette of e-tools for your election day fun.

They include a new iPhone app created solely for getting the latest results on statewide votes. The free download will allow you to get results at the same time the candidates - and the press - receive them. 

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Election 2010
7:02 am
Tue November 2, 2010

Close Margin Expected in Washington Senate race

Supporters of Dino Rossi and Patty Murray, outside a Seattle TV studio on October 21, 2010, where the candidates held a debate.
AP photo

Election lawyers are on stand-by in Washington in the event of a super-close U-S Senate race. Polls show Republican challenger Dino Rossi neck-and-neck with incumbent Democrat Patty Murray.

Rossi knows a thing or two about close elections. He was the Republican candidate in 2004 when Washington’s gubernatorial race ended up in court. He ultimately lost by a mere 133-votes after an election contest trial. Rossi clearly hopes the lawyers aren’t needed like they were in 2004.

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Election 2010
2:17 pm
Mon November 1, 2010

Washington Voters Love Initiatives

A state worker counts initiative signatures in Olympia. A new poll for KPLU shows just how much state voters value the initiative process.
AP photo.

You've heard the complaints about ballot initiatives. Is it right that a corporation with a lot of money can get one on the ballot? And are we, the voters, really qualified to be deciding complicated things like tax policy? But, the KCTS 9 - KPLU - Washington Poll shows that voters in Washington are generally happy with the initiative process.

Here's the question that was put to voters:   Overall, do you think that statewide initiative elections are a good thing for the state, a bad thing or don't make much difference?

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