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Wildfire Damage
5:53 pm
Fri July 25, 2014

Fire Community Bands Together For Resources, Animals, Mental Health

A DC-10 air tanker pulls up after dropping fire retardant over a wildfire Saturday, July 19, 2014, near Carlton, Washington.
Elaine Thompson AP Photo

The Carlton Complex fire has consumed 300 homes in north-central Washington, the Okanogan County sheriff said Friday. It’s too soon for many people to know what they lost in the fire, including homes, orchards, livestock and pets.

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Weather with Cliff Mass
11:06 am
Fri July 25, 2014

Summer Is Back! Dry Weather And Warm, Sunny Skies In the Forecast

The last week of July is historically the driest week of the year. And despite record-breaking rain last week, the forecast for the days ahead fits the bill for this time of year, says KPLU weather expert Cliff Mass.

“We’re going to have sun, warmth and virtually no precipitation,” Mass said of the week ahead.

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Environment
5:00 am
Fri July 25, 2014

Donors Pay To Test Seawater For Traces Of Fukushima Radiation

Fukushima seawater radiation plume dispersal model by Rossi et. al.
Deep-Sea Research Journal

It's been more than three years since the Fukushima nuclear plant accident resulted in a spill of millions of gallons of radioactive cooling water into the Pacific. Oceanographers projected that it could take until this year for highly diluted traces of that spill in Japan to reach the West Coast of North America.

Radiation experts don't believe there is cause for alarm on our shores, but some coastal residents are stepping forward to pay for seawater testing just to be sure.

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State Economy
6:25 pm
Thu July 24, 2014

Washington Secretly Competed For Tesla ‘Gigafactory' Worth Thousands Of Jobs

An electric plug decal is seen on the back of a Tesla electric car.
Mel Evans AP Photo

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee tried to woo electric carmaker Tesla Motors to build a massive battery factory in the Evergreen state. But according to at least one report, the company may have already broken ground near Reno, Nevada.

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Wildfire Victims
5:54 pm
Thu July 24, 2014

So Far, Federal Wildfire Assistance Doesn't Include Direct Payments To Homeowners

This aerial photo shows structures which were destroyed by wildfires near Pateros, Wash. on Thursday, July 24, 2014.
AP Photo

Federal funds are being used to help fight the wildfires that have raged across the Northwest this summer. But so far, the Federal Emergency Management Agency isn't handing out money directly to owners of the nearly 200 homes lost in the blazes.

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Business
5:43 pm
Thu July 24, 2014

Alaska Air Says It's Holding Its Own Against Delta Onslaught

This photo shows an Alaska Airlines 737 plane.
Alaska Airlines

The intensifying competition between Alaska Airlines and rival Delta Air Lines in the Western skies does not seem to be hurting the bottom line of either company.

Seattle-based Alaska Air posted a record second quarter profit Thursday, a day after Delta toasted its own high earnings.

But Alaska executives are still showing concern about a flood of new seats on their home turf.

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Rail Safety
2:41 pm
Thu July 24, 2014

Oil Train Derailment Under Busy Seattle Bridge Highlights Safety Concerns

Derailed oil tanker cars beneath Seattle's Magnolia Bridge on Thursday, July 24, 2014.
courtesy Dana Robinson Slote Seattle City Council

Three tanker cars derailed at a Seattle rail yard early Thursday while carrying oil from North Dakota to a refinery in Anacortes.

No one was hurt and none of the oil spilled, according to Burlington Northern Santa Fe. But the incident spurred renewed calls from the city for a ban on oil train traffic near neighborhoods.  

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Business
10:38 am
Thu July 24, 2014

Engineers’ Union Files Charges Against Boeing, Alleges Age Discrimination

The Associated Press

The union representing Boeing engineers has filed age-discrimination charges against the company with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Washington State Human Rights Commission.

The move comes in the wake of a series of announcements by Boeing that said the company is shifting thousands of engineering jobs to other states.

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Primary Election Ballot
5:00 am
Thu July 24, 2014

Seattle Ballot Measure On Park District Divides Parks Advocates

Green Lake Park in Seattle
beataT1i flckr

Voters in Seattle will decide whether to establish a special taxing district to help fund the city’s parks.

Proposition 1, which appears on the Aug. 5 ballot, has created a rift in the ranks of park advocates.

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Oil Tankers
5:00 am
Thu July 24, 2014

Expansion Of 13-Year-Old Oil Terminal Just Now Getting Environmental Review

An expansion of the Northwest’s largest oil terminal will be the subject of a public hearing before the Army Corps of Engineers Thursday evening in Seattle. Environmentalists are calling for limits on oil tanker traffic at BP’s docks at Cherry Point, north of Bellingham. 

Environmental impact statements are usually heard before a project is built. But in an unusual twist, this hearing concerns a facility that’s been up and running for 13 years.

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Going Places
5:00 am
Thu July 24, 2014

5 Tips For Using Your Frequent Flyer Miles

Passengers move through the terminal at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport in 2010.
cheukiecfu Flickr

If you get on a commercial airliner more than a few times of year, the chances are pretty good that you’re building up frequent flyer miles, either through your credit card or an airline, or an airline’s credit card. 

Whatever the case, when it comes time to redeem those miles, things can get tricky. KPLU travel expert Matthew Brumley has a few tips.

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Law
6:29 pm
Wed July 23, 2014

ACLU Takes On Case Of Idaho Teen In Solitary Confinement

Eldon Samuel III is charged with murdering his father and younger brother in Coeur d’Alene in March.
Kootenai County Sheriff's Office

In north Idaho, a 15-year-old boy sits in an isolated jail cell awaiting trial for murder. Eldon Samuel III is accused of shooting to death his father and younger brother in March

Juveniles accused of crimes like this are automatically charged as adults in Idaho. But now, Samuel’s lawyer and the ACLU are trying to get him moved out of solitary confinement at the adult county jail. They say his isolation amounts to “cruel and unusual” punishment.

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Marijuana
4:33 pm
Wed July 23, 2014

Do Homeless People Need A Place To Smoke Pot So They Don't Light Up In Public?

A committee has passed on a proposed ordinance to regulate the sale and distribution of medical marijuana.
Flickr

Of the 82 tickets Seattle police officers issued for public marijuana use in the first six months of this year, 38 of them — nearly half — went to people who were probably homeless.

For Seattle City Council member Nick Licata, that raises a question: Don't the economically-distressed need a place to go to smoke pot legally, without doing so in public?

"What we don't want to create is a situation where we literally are giving citations away to people that are going to end up having their record affected for engaging in activity that otherwise would be legal, except that it's just done outside," Licata said.

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Business
3:34 pm
Wed July 23, 2014

Seattle City Light Employee Raises Workplace Safety Concerns To City Council

Dana

On a morning when a fire at a Seattle City Light substation knocked out power to customers including the Monorail, the utility’s CEO happened to be in city council chambers answering questions about safety. 

Seattle City Council members brought CEO Jorge Carrasco into an energy committee meeting to discuss a string of recent embarrassing news stories, including Seattle City Light’s effort to suppress unflattering online search results.

But public testimony at the meeting steered toward the issue of employee safety.

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Legal Marijuana
5:00 am
Wed July 23, 2014

New FBI Head In Seattle Encounters Pot Smokers Near Office

While marijuana is legal in Washington, it remains illegal under federal law.

So a recent encounter in front of the Federal Bureau of Investigation offices in Seattle proved a little awkward for the new special agent in charge of the Seattle division.

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