Florangela Davila

Freelance Arts Reporter

Florangela Davila  has been a journalist since 1992. For 14 years she worked at The Seattle Times where she covered both news and features. She's been freelancing for KPLU since 2008, reporting and producing as well as helping coordinate the station's "Looking Back to Look Forward" documentary project. She's also a lecturer in the Department of Communication at the University of Washington. Florangela received her B.A. from U.C. Berkeley and her Master's in Journalism from Columbia University. She's been both an arts consumer and an arts practitioner for as long as she can remember.

Florangela Davila

Each March, scientists around the world host open houses to get people thinking about the brain.

The events are all part of Brain Awareness Week.

At the University of Washington, that means the mother of all science fairs in a room decked out with human brains, spinal cords, finch chirping and flying fruit flies.

Take an audio tour of an event that drew more than 650 elementary and high school students.

Seattle's Union Gospel Mission

Seattle’s Union Gospel Mission is getting into the fashion merchandising business with the launch of a clothing line called OLU, or Others Like Us.

The line will include T-shirts, a hoodie, a baseball cap and a beanie featuring a logo that looks like a face. One T-shirt design will also feature a photo of a homeless person.

John Froschauer

There comes a time in people’s lives when an event changes everything in their world.

For Jerry White, that moment came when he was 20, while studying abroad in Israel. That’s when he lost his leg.

White was hiking with friends when he stepped on a landmine.

“Suddenly, I was hiking, and boom! I have no foot,” he said.

Schools should take note of how food is marketed to children on campus, according to new guidelines for school wellness policies proposed by the Department of Agriculture and First Lady Michelle Obama.

The guidelines are the latest step in a process that began four years ago under the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010.

Curtis Cronn / Flickr

The local chapter of the Service Employees International Union has filed a petition on behalf of adjunct faculty members at Seattle University.

The adjunct faculty members, which include part-time, temporary and other contingent instructors, want better teaching conditions, including higher pay.

University of Puget Sound

As a 2007 alum of University of Puget Sound, Nicolas Cary has already established himself. The 28-year-old is the CEO of Blockchain, which runs the world's most popular digital wallet for bitcoin, a virtual currency.

But now he's making headlines for his bitcoin contribution to UPS. Cary has electronically transferred just over 14.5 bitcoins to the university, which was then exchanged into $10,000 actual U.S. dollars. It's reportedly the first donation of its kind to a U.S. college or university.

Florangela Davila

Students at Seattle's John Muir Elementary School are trying to answer life's big questions. Along with reading and math, the school's curriculum includes philosophy. 

Why philosophy? Kids start asking all sorts of "why" questions starting in preschool, says philosopher Jana Mohr Lone: "Why is the sky blue? Why are some things in color and some things aren’t? Can you be happy and sad at the same time?"

Jeff Chiu / AP Photo

The Seattle City Council will consider a pilot program to regulate rideshare services with training and insurance requirements, as well as a cap on the number of licenses. 

App-based services like Sidecar, UberX and Lyft are becoming common alternatives to using taxis. And that's not necessarily a bad thing, says Seattle City Council member Mike O’Brien.

"Technology and new ideas have fundamentally changed the way we all think about transportation, and that’s just part of the reality going forward," O'Brien said.

Washington state could do a better job when it comes to assisting families who’ve adopted children from foster care, according to a report by the state auditor's office. 

That’s especially the case for families who’ve adopted children with special needs or those who have been diagnosed with emotional or physical problems, the office found.

Undated photo via The Associate Press, courtesy of SAM

The movie “The Monuments Men” spotlights a platoon of real-life U.S. soldiers who rescued artistic masterpieces from the Nazis during World War II. 

Overall, there were approximately 350 men and women from 13 nations who fought to preserve art from the ravages of war. Two of them came from Washington state.

Sherman Lee, who was born in Seattle, was an expert in Asian art who served as associate director at the Seattle Art Museum in the late 1940s.

Susan Walsh / AP Photo

The Tulalip Tribes will be among the first Indian tribes in the country to have criminal jurisdiction over non-Indians who commit domestic violence on the reservation.

The Snohomish County tribe, along with the Umatilla in Oregon and the Pascua Yaqui of Arizona, have been granted the authority under a pilot program of the Violence Against Women Act.

For centuries, people have been making a 500-mile pilgrimage across northern Spain known as the "Way of St. James" or El Camino de Santiago, and among them is a growing number of people from the Pacific Northwest.

The pilgrimage was traditionally made for religious reasons. The route ends at the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela where the remains of  St. James the Apostle are believed to be buried.

But Portland filmmaker Lydia B. Smith, whose documentary "Walking the Camino: Six Ways to Santiago" is opening in Seattle this weekend, says there are many reasons people take on the challenge.

"A lot of people do it for the adventure or to ease a transition without looking for something specific," she said. "There really is no right or wrong reason to do the Camino."

Ted S. Warren / AP Photo

The union that represents school bus drivers in Seattle says there’s a “serious possibility”  that the drivers could go out on strike.

Six months have passed since the drivers voted to unionize, and they’re still working without a contract, having failed to negotiate one with First Student, a company headquartered in Cincinnati.

They’re calling it the “Battle of the Batons” or the “Super Bow," complete with maestros in NFL hats.

In a video mashup, the Seattle Philharmonic Orchestra and the Denver Philharmonic Orchestra faced off in a battle of iconic songs representing the two cities.

Gift of John H. Hauberg 91.1.71

It was meant to be a friendly wager with a cultural twist: Seattle Art Museum and Denver Art Museum each bet a temporary loan of a work of art on the Super Bowl.

But SAM has withdrawn its original choice of artwork,"Forehead Mask" by the Nuxalk First Nation, at the request of the Nuxalk, and has replaced it with a different piece.

Florangela Davila

It isn’t just the Seahawks and the Broncos who are facing off in the Super Bowl on Sunday. The big game ups the ante for the teams' superfans — those over-the-top, devoted individuals who are fixtures off the field.

So how do the two teams' super fans match up? We teamed up with Colorado Public Radio to get up close and personal with four of these off-the-charts characters.

Gift of John H. Hauberg 91.1.71

When the Seattle Seahawks take on the Denver Broncos in the Super Bowl on Sunday, the directors at two art museums will be paying close attention to the outcome of the game.

The Seattle Art Museum has bet the Denver Art Museum a temporary loan of a major work of art. The winner gets to display the loser's art, which will be on loan for three months.

cdsessums / Flickr

The first charter school in Washington state will open in Spokane next year. 

Pride Prep was chosen from a pool of three applicants by the board of Spokane Public Schools on Wednesday. Brenda McDonald, a former middle school principal, will run the school for sixth through 12th graders. The school will focus on math and science, and have both a longer school day — eight hours instead of six — as well as a longer school year.

Alex Garland

The president of Eastside Catholic High School in Sammamish has resigned in the wake of the students' protest over the school's decision to force out a gay vice principal who married his partner.

Sister Mary Tracy submitted her resignation to school trustees on Sunday, effective immediately. In an email sent to parents, staff and others on Tuesday evening, the school said a search for her replacement will begin soon.

Friends of Youth Facebook page

Three agencies serving the homeless in King County have received a $450,000 grant from several Seattle foundations. The money will help continue outreach services for runaway and homeless youth.  

Friends of Youth, an agency that serves teens in East King County and one of the grant recipients, will use the grant to support its mobile van that operates at skate parks and malls.

Design in Public

What can be done to improve the school lunch experience? That’s the question behind a new ideas competition in Seattle aimed at fighting child obesity and diabetes.

The Redesigning the School Lunch Experience competition offers a range of practical and playful solutions to inspire kids to make healthier food choices.

"Children spend an hour a day every weekday in their lives in a cafeteria," said Katherine Wimble, associate director of Design in Public, a nonprofit group with the Seattle chapter of the American Institute of Architects. "This is about seeing what innovative ideas could transform the whole experience so they can make healthier choices."   

Those wanting to open up a charter school in the Seattle and Tacoma areas will be making public presentations over the next week and a half.

The state’s Charter School Commission is holding six public forums, which will help the commission decide which schools will open over the next two years.

 

The Washington Supreme Court on Thursday ordered lawmakers to submit a complete plan by the end of April to detail how the state will fully pay for basic education.

The 8-1 ruling said that while the state made progress in last year's budget to increase funding for K-12 education, it was "not on target" to hit the constitutionally required funding level by the 2017-18 school year.

Ted S. Warren / Associated Press

The Obama administration has issued new recommendations on classroom discipline that seek to end the apparent disparities in how students of different races are disciplined for breaking school rules.

Government civil rights data show that black students without disabilities are more than three times as likely as whites to be expelled or suspended. Critics say that creates a "school-to-prison" pipeline because many students enter the criminal justice system for violations.

IPNW

After spending more than 10 years in prison on a wrongful conviction, Brandon Olebar of Seattle is home in time for Christmas.

Olebar had been convicted of robbery and burglary in 2003. The conviction was based on an ID by the victim, his sister's boyfriend, two days after the crime. 

But that identification turned out to be a case of "memory transference."

National Association of Transportation Officials

It used to be that streets were about moving cars from point A to point B.

“Most of our design guidance historically has been focused on freeways and limited access highways,” said Nancy Boyd, an engineer with the Washington state Department of Transportation.

To help think of streets as more than just roadways for cars, WSDOT has become the first state agency in the nation to adopt a new set of urban design guidelines. 

Denis Poroy / Associated Press

Washington state has the largest number of new National Board-certified teachers in the country.

A total of 516 new board-certified teachers have joined the state’s ranks. Washington now has more than 7,000 certified teachers, which puts the state in fourth place nationwide.

Joe Mabel / Wikimedia Commons

The city-operated Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute (LHPAI) will soon be its own self-sustaining nonprofit organization.

Under a five-year plan, Seattle plans to hire a transition coordinator, help LHPAI secure nonprofit status and gradually decrease its financial investment in one of its oldest cultural institutions.

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