Charla Bear

Education Reporter

Charla joined us in January, 2010 and is excited to be back in Seattle after several years in Washington, DC, where she was a director and producer for NPR. Charla has reported from three continents and several outlets including Marketplace, San Francisco Chronicle and NPR. She has a master of journalism from University of California, Berkeley and a bachelor's degree in architecture from University of Washington.

Charla's most memorable public radio moment: “Sitting alone in a room with a convicted murderer who had just been paroled. The only thing between us was a microphone, as he told me how he had transformed his life and become a priest.”

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State of the City
5:12 pm
Tue February 22, 2011

Seattle Mayor says more police should live in city

In his annual State of the CIty address, Mayor Mike McGinn said Seattle needs to think differently about police recruitment to improve the department.
Paula Wissel KPLU

With 82-percent of Seattle's officers living outside the city limits, Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn says it's hard to have a good local police force. It's also difficult to do anything about it because state law prevents cities from requiring officers to live where they work. McGinn says there could be an opportunity, though, when 300 officers who are eligible for retirement leave the force.

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K-12 Education
9:50 am
Mon February 21, 2011

Families urge support for schools at PTA Focus Day rally in Olympia

Nearly 1,000 supporters will gather in Olympia to press lawmakers on school issues. Last year's rally (above) drew more than 1,000 people.
Washington State PTA (WSPTA)

Hundreds of families will rally in Olympia today to send a message to the legislature. Despite budget challenges facing the state – they say lawmakers need to keep their hands off school funding. 

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Alaskan Way Viaduct
8:05 am
Thu February 17, 2011

What should Seattle’s waterfront look like? Public event seeks ideas

Early concept of proposed Alaskan Way and the connection to Elliott Avenue and Western Avenue.
Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT)

With the Alaskan Way viaduct scheduled to be demolished in 2016, Seattle area residents are dreaming up possibilities for connecting the waterfront to the city. For decades, the viaduct has largely blocked Elliott Bay, unless you're driving on it or looking out of a high rise building. 

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K-12 Education
10:32 am
Tue February 15, 2011

Private school enrollment down as parents struggle to pay

The recession is forcing Washington families to make tough decisions about their children’s education. As incomes have dwindled, so has attendance at private schools. In the past few years, the schools have lost nearly 3,000 kids, according to data reported to the state. 

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Jayme Biendl murder
4:23 pm
Fri February 11, 2011

Monroe inmate confesses to killing guard Jayme Biendl

Convicted rapist Byron Scherf has admitted killing Monroe Reformatory corrections officer Jayme Biendl, according to a search warrant released Friday.
AP

Byron Scherf, a convicted rapist already serving a life sentence has confessed to the killing of Monroe Reformatory guard Jayme Biendl.

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K-12 Education
7:01 am
Thu February 10, 2011

Seattle school budget cuts to hit staff, support programs and kindergarten

Elementary students could have fewer resources next year because of budget cuts. Andy Trinh, left, James Berrysmith, and Keith Moreland, shown in fifth grade at Stevens Elementary in Oct. 27, 2004
Elaine Thompson AP

As schools across the state grapple with huge budget issues, administrators in Seattle say they need to cut elementary counselors, programs for struggling students and full-day kindergarten classes. Those are some of their final recommendations after months of pouring over options.  

Administrators did manage to shave more than $1.7 million from the budget gap, but they still face a nearly $35 million shortfall.   

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Alaskan Way Viaduct
5:41 pm
Mon February 7, 2011

Seattle City Council approves tunnel deals

Despite threats of a veto by Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn, the city council approved agreements today that make some city departments partners in a plan to replace the Alaskan Way Viaduct with a deep bored tunnel. Supporters say making land-use, utility and design commitments to the state moves the controversial project forward. 

The council voted 8-1 in favor of the agreements. Mike O'Brien is the sole councilman who opposed them.

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Unemployment
9:31 pm
Sun February 6, 2011

Jobs scarce for young adults in Washington

Frank Benish shows Leah Scott how to operate a cement polisher on Aug. 10, 2010. The demonstration was part of the SODO, Inc., program that helps disadvantaged young people gain job experience.
Seeking Opportunities Developing Occupations (SODO, Inc.)

If you’ve been to grocery stores, malls or restaurants lately – you might have noticed the people working there are a little older than usual. Young adults haven’t had much luck getting those jobs or other entry level work for the last couple of years. At least 123,700 Washingtonians between the ages of 18 and 25 years old want a job but can't find one, according to census data and state surveys. 

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K-12 Education
8:12 am
Thu February 3, 2011

Foss High supporters to hold rally to save school from closure

Students across the Puget Sound have made posters in support of keeping Foss High School open. This one was created by students at Gig Harbor High School.
Save our home: Henry Foss High School facebook page

Foss High School students, parents and community supporters will line the streets around the school today in an effort to save it from temporary closure.

The superintendent of Tacoma Public Schools has proposed mothballing Foss and some small elementary schools for at least three years to reduce the district’s budget deficit. He says closing the high school could save $2 Million next year. 

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Road Conditions
2:54 pm
Tue February 1, 2011

Seattle drivers face more potholes

Seattle has three times more potholes this winter than last. The mayor says potholes like this one on Feb. 1, 2011 near Denny Ave and Aurora Ave N may take more than three days to fix.
Charla Bear

Drivers in Seattle may have noticed they’re hitting more potholes this year than usual. City officials say they’re aware of 1,800 holes in the road this winter compared to 570 last winter. Mayor Mike McGinn says Mother Nature has made it tough to fix them:

“The rain, snow, freezing weather has led us to have a dramatically larger number of potholes and an aging infrastructure, frankly, this winter season than in prior years.  We are not currently meeting the 72-hour standard we’ve set for ourselves because of the number of pothole requests.”

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Alaskan Way Viaduct
10:10 am
Tue February 1, 2011

Battle over Seattle tunnel heats up

Dozens of Port of Seattle and construction workers filled a city council meeting to support the replacement of the Alaskan Way Viaduct with a deep bored tunnel
Charla Bear
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Public Space
11:11 am
Mon January 31, 2011

What should happen to Seattle's community centers?

Dancers face off in a competition at Southwest Community Center. Seattle officials say the centers aren't sustainable and want public input on changes.
Seattle Parks and Recreation

If you care about youth sports, neighborhood gatherings or activities for seniors, you might rely on community centers. In Seattle, some big changes to the facilities could be on the way. Officials say they’re too expensive as the city struggles with shrinking revenue. So they're asking anyone who's interested in community centers to help decide their fate.

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K-12 Education
8:44 am
Thu January 27, 2011

Seattle families have say in school bus reductions, start time changes

Some Seattle students could lose bus service and start school earlier next year because of budget cuts.
Eric Gay AP Photo

Seattle Public Schools' latest plan to shore up its budget deficit could mean some students won't have bus service next year and most will have to get up earlier. Families can get more details and voice concerns on these changes and more at a series of meetings starting tonight:

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K-12 Education
5:10 am
Thu January 20, 2011

Many Washington kids not ready for Kindergarten

Casey Doyle's class at Oakville Elementary School is participating in the state's pilot kindergarten assessment

Nearly a third of children in Washington don’t appear to be ready for kindergarten.  And more than half aren’t likely to have necessary language skills.  The findings come from the state’s first attempt to assess some of its youngest students. 

The assessment, called WaKIDS, includes evaluations of four domains:

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Business Technology
8:04 am
Wed January 19, 2011

No cash, no card, no problem with Starbucks smartphone app

Customers across the country will soon be able to use smartphones to buy coffee and snacks at Starbucks.
Starbucks

Technology-savvy consumers could soon be able to leave their wallets behind when picking up a cup of Joe at Starbucks.  

The Seattle retailer is expected to announce Wednesday that customers will be able to use smartphones to pay for goodies at 6,800 stores the company operates in the United States and 1,000 that are in Target stores, according to Claire Cain Miller of the New York Times. 

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