Marine Life
12:10 pm
Thu June 26, 2014

This Is What Puget Sound Orcas Sound Like When They Talk To Each Other

An endangered female orca leaps from the water while breaching in Puget Sound west of Seattle, as seen Saturday, Jan. 18, 2014 from a federal research vessel.
Elaine Thompson AP Photo

Ever hear an orca speak? Ken Balcomb, who many regard as the godfather of whale conservation, captured their chatter using a hydrophone on San Juan Island: 

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Jazz Caliente
10:00 am
Thu June 26, 2014

The Rhythm That's A Way Of Living

Roman Diaz, playing at right.
Martin Cohen

Compared to American rock and roll, Afro-Cuban music sounds complicated to the point of intimidation. Sure the rhythms make you want to move, but if you stop to think about what's going on, your feet won't know what to do. And that's just the point — some rhythms are better felt than counted off. NPR's Frannie Kelley learned how easy they can be to play, once you abandon a central tenet of rock: the one.

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Growing Marijuana
8:49 am
Thu June 26, 2014

Legal Wash. State Pot Stores Opening Soon, But Production Lags

Eric and Katey Cooper stand amid their flowering marijuana.
Anna King

Eric Cooper has a sort of "The Dude" vibe: Hawaiian shirt, leather brown sandals and a bushy silver goatee. He smoked weed for the first time when he was about 14. He’s a former contractor and registered nurse. Cooper grew medical marijuana, and now he’s one of the owners of Monkey Grass Farms in Wenatchee, Washington.

Monkey Grass Farms is one of the big boys: a tier-3 Washington state-licensed indoor pot grow. That means they can nurture about 21,000-square-feet of marijuana plants.

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Minimum Wage
7:32 am
Thu June 26, 2014

Washington Supreme Court To Hear Sea-Tac Airport Minimum Wage Fight

File image
AP Photo

Should SeaTac’s voter-approved $15 per hour minimum wage apply to workers at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport? Washington’s Supreme Court will hear oral arguments on that question today.

The case pits airport vendors, Alaska Airlines and the Port of Seattle against supporters of the higher wage.

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Marine Life
5:00 am
Thu June 26, 2014

Key To Saving Endangered Orcas: Chinook Salmon, Says Local Expert

FILE -- In this file photo provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and shot Oct. 29, 2013, orca whales from the J and K pods swim past a small research boat on Puget Sound in view of downtown Seattle.
AP Photo/NOAA Fisheries Service, Candice Emmons

Following the release of a federal report on the state of endangered orcas, one local researcher says there's one factor that matters more to the whales' wellness than toxins and vessel traffic: fish. 

Ken Balcomb, who many regard as the godfather of whale conservation, is the director of the Center for Whale Research in Friday Harbor. For almost 40 years now, the center has been keeping track of every individual whale in the three pods that make up the southern resident population of the iconic orcas that live in Puget Sound.

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Going Places
5:00 am
Thu June 26, 2014

Ireland No Longer The Land Of 'Boiled Potatoes And Overcooked Meat'

Potatoes are seen being sold out of a van in Bantry, Ireland.
Ed Ronco

When you drop below the clouds as you fly into Ireland, it’s as if you’re looking down at a great rock draped in a velvet green blanket. The Emerald Isle is famous for those rich green hues, as well as music, poetry and whiskey.

But Ireland has a newer claim to fame, says KPLU travel expert Matthew Brumley: its food.

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Health And Gender
4:53 pm
Wed June 25, 2014

Insurance Commissioner: Wash. Health Plans Must Cover Services For Transgender People

File image
Petros Giannakouris AP Photo

Health plans in Washington state can’t refuse to cover services for transgender people if the same procedures are covered for others, according to a statement from the state insurance commissioner.

It’s not uncommon for private health plans to exclude gender transition procedures and medical services related to them. That’s what happened to Gwen Yeh of Seattle, who said her Premera plan wouldn’t pay for hormones or the frequent blood work she needed as part of her move toward living as a woman.

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Public Safety
4:40 pm
Wed June 25, 2014

Seattle Mayor Calls For 'Summer Of Safety,' A Coordinated Strategy For Fighting Disorder

File image
Pablo Martinez Monsivais AP Photo

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray has issued a sweeping call for a “summer of safety,” an integrated approach to public safety that would lead to longer-term priority.

Standing before members of the Seattle City Council Wednesday, Murray touched on police reform, racial disparities, infrastructure and mental health. He said up to now, there has been a sense that the city doesn’t really have a clear, coordinated strategy for fighting crime and disorder.

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Environment
11:01 am
Wed June 25, 2014

Decade Of Research Reveals Iconic Orcas' Struggle

An endangered female orca leaps from the water while breaching in Puget Sound west of Seattle, as seen Saturday, Jan. 18, 2014 from a federal research vessel that has been tracking the whales.
Elaine Thompson AP Photo

Scientists studying southern resident killer whales for the past decade now know they are among the most contaminated marine mammals and prefer to eat Chinook salmon.

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Criminal Justice System
10:06 am
Wed June 25, 2014

Inslee Launches Review Of Prison Population Growth In Wash. State

Michael Coghlan Flickr

Washington state’s prison system is projected to need 1,000 new beds by 2018. And that growth has Gov. Jay Inslee concerned.

Inslee on Tuesday announced a Department of Justice-backed review of the state’s criminal justice system. The goal is to look for ways to save money without jeopardizing public safety.

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