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From the Washington State Department of Transportation: 

Associated Press

NBA star Dennis Rodman, who recently made waves with his visit to North Korea, has called on the country’s leader to free the American man being held captive.

“I'm calling on the Supreme Leader of North Korea or as I call him 'Kim', to do me a solid and cut Kenneth Bae loose,” Rodman tweeted Tuesday.

The uncle of a Boston Marathon bombing suspect is urging his nephew to turn himself in.

Ruslan Tsarni of Montgomery Village, Md., said Friday that 19-year-old Dzhozkar Tsarnaev should turn himself in to police and ask for forgiveness. Officials say Tamerlan Tsarnaev, a 26-year-old who had been known to the FBI as Suspect No. 1, was killed overnight.

KPLU

With spring comes spring cleaning. And Seattle is no exception. The city is asking residents to tidy up their neighborhoods - helping out with everything from picking up litter to painting over graffiti. Another thing the city could use help with is stenciling storm drains as a way to protect Puget Sound.

Report: Seattle considering entering bid for 2024 Olympics

Mar 20, 2013

The Seattle Sports Commission has begun informally exploring the possibility of hosting the 2024 Summer Olympic Games, Sportspress Northwest reported.

“It’s not a bid; it’s just an opportunity for us to consider whether we want to be considered,” Ralph Morton, executive director of the commission told Sportspress Northwest. 

Kelly Gibbs

Billboards depicting the outline of a young girl and a short story about abuse have sprung up across western Washington. Seattle Police Captain Dave Emerick is in charge of the high risk victims unit. He says at any given time, between 300 and 500 young people are being sexually exploited in King County alone. He says the police want to hear from anyone who sees suspicious behavior.

siegridsaldana / Creative Commons

Since shopping on the internet is easier now than ever, you may have gotten comfortable buying gifts in your pajamas. An experiment conducted by Washington State University and Switzerland's University of St. Gallen found that scents in stores can make people more likely to take their Christmas shopping off-line. Eric Spangenberg, Dean of WSU’s College of Business, says the study will help retailers make in-store shopping more enjoyable.

Justin Steyer / KPLU

Today is the last day of our Favorite Things Weekend. Join us as we celebrate December and all the things listeners love most about KPLU. 

In the spirit of the season we hope you will consider making an online gift this weekend in any amount to KPLU.

'Tiz also the season for lists – best of lists, most of lists, longest lists, naughty and nice lists … so, here’s ours in honor of the 12 days of Christmas. Here are the 12 most-read stories of 2012 (so far):

Peterastin / Creative Commons

Though well known for their amorous natures, pet rabbits still aren’t fixed as often as they should be. To help curb the problem, the Seattle Animal Shelter will open its rabbit spay and neuter service to the public in January.

Shelter veterinarian Mary Ellen Zoulas says a common cause of unexpected pregnancy in rabbits has to do with folks mistaking Peter Cottontail for a female.

Bible Dude / Flickr

You may have already run into shop-front bell ringers signaling the season of giving. It’s also a season of discernment when it comes to knowing who’s going to do the most good with your hard-earned buck. To help people make wise decisions about donating to charity, the offices of the Secretary of State and the Attorney General have released the 2012 Commercial Fundraiser Activity Report. Washington Secretary of State Sam Reed suggests doing some research before you give.

Jake Ellison / KPLU

Forecasters say the wet and windy weather with mountain snow will continue this week in Washington, but there may be a lull on Thanksgiving Day. The current deluge so far has resulted in a few mudslides, street flooding and a state trooper’s car being smashed.

The National Weather Service says a series of Pacific storms are aiming to hit the Northwest every day or two.

Getting around

The morning commute around Seattle was tough, but the commute home today may be a bit easier.

Prosecutors for King and Pierce counties announced this afternoon that all misdemeanor marijuana cases in their counties have been dropped.

With legal possession of up to an ounce of pot just around the corner, King County Prosecuting Attorney Dan Satterberg said that dismissing these cases is the right thing to do.

Nimataradji photography / Flickr

Foes of the same-sex marriage referendum in Washington have conceded the law will pass. The group that sponsored Referendum 74 declared victory yesterday.

Kathleen Ann / Flickr

Washington joined Colorado in voting to become the first states to legalize and tax the sale of marijuana for recreational use, but people shouldn't expect to be able to buy a bag of legitimate weed any time soon.

Nor should they expect the law to go into effect with out a fight with federal law agencies, said Sam Kamin, professor of law at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law.

“My gut feeling is that the federal government won’t currently tolerate the commercial recreational sale of marijuana, that is they will not allow it to be regulated like alcohol. That just seems a bridge too far,” he said.

Complete I-502 story.

Same-sex marriage backers say they've won

Washington United for Marriage has declared victory in the same-sex marriage referendum.

“This is a clear win,” the group's campaign manager Zach Silk said in a press release.

Gary Davis / KPLU

"I just phoned our son up in Bellingham and said, get ready for the wedding."

Washington United for Marriage has declared victory in the same-sex marriage referendum. Maine and Maryland became the first states to approve same-sex marriage by popular vote last night.

“This is a clear win,” the group's campaign manager Zach Silk said in a press release.

“We have run the numbers every which way, and we can now confidently say that we have won. This is an historic day for Washington, an historic day for our country and, most of all, for families across the state who have dreamed of this day and the wedding celebrations to come.”

So far, official “Yes” votes have a slight advantage of 52 to 48 percent. Counties were expected to post additional vote results Wednesday afternoon.

However the group said in the press release:

With 60 percent of the vote counted, R74 already has the support of 65 percent of King County and is performing well in key Eastern Washington counties.  Simply put, it’s now impossible for opponents to overcome the 52-48 percent spread for R74.

Video: KPLU videographer David Kellogg captured the hopes and tensions of election night as one same-sex couple waited for elections results:

Gary Davis / KPLU

Washington voters are narrowly approving same-sex marriage in the state, following the lead of voters in Maryland and Maine, where ballot measures on same-sex unions also are holding slim leads.

With about half of the expected vote counted Tuesday night, Referendum 74 was passing with 53 percent of the vote.

The referendum asked voters to approve or reject the state's new law legalizing same-sex marriage. That law was passed by the Legislature and signed by Gov. Chris Gregoire earlier this year, but it's been on hold pending the election's outcome.

Gabriel Spitzer / KPLU

Washington voters have made their state the first in the nation to legalize recreational pot use, setting up a showdown with a federal government that backs the drug's prohibition.

Update: Colorado also passed a law making possession of up to an ounce legal. That state will also allow individuals to grow six marijuana plants. Oregon's pot legalization effort failed.

The first big wave of results for elections in Washington state are expected at about 8:15 pm. Here's a countdown clock set for that time.

OLYMPIA, Wash. – A Washington state congressional candidate says abortion should not be legal, even when it involves "the rape thing."

Less than two weeks to go until Election Day, and some people are still scrambling to register for the Oct. 29 in-person deadline.

Seka Ojdrovic-Phillips / KPLU

With ballots and voters’ guides in-hand, it’s time to narrow in on the issues. For those who prefer an interactive way to exchange opinions on the ballot measures, there’s the Living Voters Guide, sponsored by Seattle CityClub and the University of Washington.

Justin Steyer / KPLU

In an election year when young people, 18 to 30, are disparaged for their apparent lack of interest (and here), KPLU has begun a video project to find out what would drive a young person to vote in this election.

We’ve started gathering our videos on the Tumblr page “Give Me a Reason” and will continue to add to it this week. We also hope you (young person) will add your video to our project by submitting it on our Tumblr page.

Washington State has the highest rate of seat belt use in the nation. That’s according to a report recently released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Bob Calkins with the Washington State Patrol keeps an eye on the statistics.

“The national average is 84 percent. We are first among competing states at 97 and a half percent,” he says.

Following Washington are California, Oregon and Hawaii.

b k / Flickr

Yes, this morning's brief showers showed that in fact our fabulous summer is at an end (but there will be more sunny days to come), says KPLU's weather expert Cliff Mass.

Mass added that forecasters were blindsided by this morning's rain across the region, but they are back on track with predictions of a front moving in this afternoon. That front too will bring some rain, but the clouds will burn off probably by Saturday evening and Sunday will be sunny.

The Associated Press

The twitterverse exploded last night with different reactions to the controversial call on Monday Night Football. The final play of the game, the controversial touchdown by Golden Tate,  gave the Seahawks a 14-12 victory over the Packers.  

Here is a mixed collection of tweets from people around the Seattle area regarding last night's win.

Evan Hoover / KPLU

The Seattle Police Department is launching a new advertising campaign on buses and billboards in hopes of generating tips about unsolved killings.

Today’s going to be hot again, but it's already cooler than expected this morning, says KPLU weather expert Cliff Mass.

“We had some marine air that pushed up the coast, clouds have inundated the coastal areas. So if you're on the coast it's going to be cooler," he says. "And here in the interior we're starting cooler: five to ten degrees in some places. But the trouble is this cool marine air is very thin."

He says that cool marine layer will burn off fast, yielding to hot temps aloft. So today he expects highs of high 80s to 90 closer to the coast. And away from the water, perhaps the low 90s.

"So one more warm day. Then tomorrow a step down. Today's the hottest day."

There's a chance of thunderstorms Saturday afternoon, which could have a big impact on the wildfires in Cle Elum and Thorp. The danger is the chance of lighting without rain.

Erin Hennessey

Bouquets of flowers, cards and special messages written on large, white sheets of  paper are growing outside the KOMO television studios in Seattle in memory of longtime anchorwoman Kathi Goertzen. She died yesterday after a lengthy battle with a recurrent brain tumor. She documented her illness and treatments in appearances on KOMO and launched a foundation dedicated to brain tumor research.

NASA

PASADENA, Calif. — The mysterious Mars photo has been solved.

A NASA engineer said Friday he's pretty sure a Curiosity rover camera caught the rocket stage crashing in the distance after it landed in Gale Crater Sunday night.

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