Going Places
5:00 am
Thu July 17, 2014

Take To The Water For Your Next Nearby Vacation

KPLU travel expert Matthew Brumley (and his dog, Sophie) says locals should take more advantage of the water as a way to get around the region. There are a lot of good getaways, if you're willing to get on a boat.
Ed Ronco KPLU

A pod of orcas makes its way across Elliott Bay. A small seal basks in the sunlight. Children are sailing in Bainbridge Island’s Eagle Harbor, a cruise ship is pulling out of port, and over near Blake Island, the smell of wood smoke makes its way out over the water. Just another summer day in the Puget Sound.

Ours is an area surrounded by water, which not only provides great nature and excellent scenery, but serves as a big liquid highway to a variety of quick and easy getaways. Most of these locations are accessible by road, but our focus here is on using the water.

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Legal Pot Stores
9:08 pm
Wed July 16, 2014

Bumpy Start For State Pot Stores As They Try To Juggle Supply, Demand, Staffing

Margie Lemberger stands in front of her store in Bingen, Washington.
Courtesy of Amber Marra/The Enterprise.

Buying legal pot is turning into a game of Where’s Waldo. Stores are open one day, but closed the next. A small handful of shops are still doing business, but that could change at any time. 

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Unemployment
4:29 pm
Wed July 16, 2014

Washington Jobless Rate At 6-Year Low, But Rural Counties Still Lag

Washington’s jobless rate has dropped to below 6 percent — the lowest level in six years, according to the June jobs report released Wednesday.

Seattle’s King County is leading the recovery, but most Washington counties remain above the statewide average. And some rural counties of the state are much higher.

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Marijuana Banking
4:11 pm
Wed July 16, 2014

House Votes To Allow Marijuana-Related Banking

This July 1, 2014, photo shows packets of a variety of recreational marijuana named "Space Needle" during packaging operations at Sea of Green Farms in Seattle.
Ted S. Warren AP Photo

The House voted Wednesday in support of making it easier for banks to do business with legal pot shops and providers of medical marijuana.

The 236-186 vote rejected a move by Rep. John Fleming, R-La., to block the Treasury Department from implementing guidance it issued in February telling banks how to report on their dealings with marijuana-related businesses without running afoul of federal money-laundering laws.

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Energy Exports
10:33 am
Wed July 16, 2014

Report Shows Coal, Oil Trains Would Quadruple Rail Traffic, Alarming Lawmakers

File image
AP Photo

Lawmakers are expressing concerns over an updated report outlining the combined impacts of coal and oil trains that would roll through the Northwest if plans for export terminals move forward.

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Prison System
10:10 am
Wed July 16, 2014

Long Sentences, Aging Inmates May Strain Washington's Clemency

Layers of barbed wire surround Washington's Monroe Correctional Complex.
Justin Steyer KPLU

In just a few years, Washington will need another 1,000 prison beds. There’s been talk of building a new state lock-up, but that would cost hundreds of millions of dollars at a time when the Supreme Court has said school funding must be the priority.

So what’s the solution? Washington could release some older inmates who are serving long sentences. But lawmakers are wary of a political backlash. The state abolished parole in the 1980s.

That leaves clemency as the remaining pressure-relief valve on the prison system. And that system of mercy may not be up to the task.

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Public Health
9:42 am
Wed July 16, 2014

Northwest Health Officials See Gonorrhea Rising Outside Urban Hubs

Gonorrhea bacterium
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Public health officials in the Northwest say they're seeing gonorrhea infections at levels they haven't seen in years. Three counties in Washington state are now in the midst of an outbreak, and parts of Oregon and Idaho are set to top even last year's high numbers.

And health departments are seeing some unusual trends in the data.

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Food for Thought
5:00 am
Wed July 16, 2014

Iced Tea, Salad Dressing And Other Things Better Made Than Bought

It's just this easy. Tea bags and water.
Stein

I know, I know. It's no concern of mine what other people do with their money in a supermarket.

But for the life of me, I cannot understand how bottled iced tea got to be such a popular item. How could something in a bottle on a shelf possibly be better than what you can get started at home in 10 seconds? One thing I do know — it sure ain't cheaper. And it's not exactly hard to make. You don't even have to boil it.

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Dueling Initiatives
3:54 pm
Tue July 15, 2014

Poll: Gun Rights Initiative Losing Support While Background Check Remains Popular

FILE - Supporters Zach Silk, left, and Cheryl Stumbo deliver boxes of petitions for Initiative 594 to the Secretary of State's office Wednesday, Oct. 9, 2013, in Olympia, Washington.
Elaine Thompson AP Photo

Support for a gun rights measure on Washington’s fall ballot is flagging, according to a new Elway poll released Tuesday. Meanwhile, a dueling measure that would expand background checks remains popular.

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Bridge Collapse
1:07 pm
Tue July 15, 2014

NTSB: Systematic Errors Led To Skagit Bridge Collapse

An Interstate 5 bridge over a Skagit river collapsed north of Seattle Thursday evening May 23, 2013, dumping two vehicles into the water and sparking a rescue effort by boats and divers as three injured people were pulled from the chilly waterway.
Elaine Thompson AP Photo

A series of mistakes led a truck to strike an overhead girder of the Interstate 5 bridge, causing it to collapse into the Skagit River last year, the National Transportation Safety Board said in an exhaustive list of safety recommendations released Tuesday.

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