KPLU News Staff

Ways To Connect

Mark Henckel / Flickr

Mostly, we’re thinking of your mental health a couple months from now.

You come here in July and August and it’s glorious: There’s two snow-capped mountain ranges, a couple of towering volcanos, lively outdoor markets, flowers and greenery, an expanse of blue water every which way you turn ... miles of lake, Sound and ocean beaches ...

Then come the other 10 months.

Cliff Mass / KPLU

The smoky skies over Seattle are likely from Asia and not Western fires, says Cliff Mass, KPLU weather forecaster and University of Washington professor.

In his blog post on the smoke, he said the air over us can be traced back to Asia at low levels.

Lindsay Lowe / KPLU

The level of intensity around the proposal to build a new NBA arena in Seattle is growing by the minute.

The group of investors – which we learned yesterday includes Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and the Nordstrom family – drew hundreds to a "bring back our Sonics" rally in Pioneer Square today. It was a well-timed event to put pressure on the Seattle City Council and King County Council to back the deal.

“This is a very carefully orchestrated PR campaign," says KPLU sports commentator Art Thiel. "At the same time, the old Sonics – the Thunder – are in the NBA Finals this week. The angst could not be more intense in Seattle among sports fans who care about this because their 41-year passion is being thrown back in their face, mocked by the Thunder’s presence in the league’s championship series.”

The Associated Press

The only survivor of a shooting at a Seattle cafe where four other people were killed is expected to recover.

Harborview Medical Center reports Leonard Meuse has been upgraded from critical to serious condition. Spokeswoman Susan Gregg says he remains in the intensive care unit Thursday.

The two morning shootings in Seattle – leaving four dead and one wounded from the Cafe Racer Espresso on Roosevelt Way near the U-District and one dead on First Hill during a carjacking – were apparently committed by the same suspect, said Seattle Police Department Assistant Chief James Pugel.

The suspect shot himself in West Seattle later in the afternoon as police approached him, Pugel said. He was taken to Harborview Medical Center. The hospital reported Wednesday night that he was dead. A fourth victim at the Cafe Racer shooting also died Wednesday night, according to Harborview Medical Center spokeswoman Susan Greg.

One man wounded in the cafe shooting remained at Harborview. He was in critical but stable condition following surgery earlier in the day

Evan Hoover / KPLU

Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn evoked his emergency powers – during a day of violent protests and six arrests – ordering police to confiscate items from May Day protesters and revelers alike that could be used to damage property.

Some protesters dressed all in black used 3-inch thick sticks, which were disguised as flag poles, and tire irons to break windows in Seattle during rolling protests and marches that paralyzed downtown.

"The police officers will be approaching individuals who’ll be carrying items known to be weapons, confront them and ask them to peacefully give them up.  And if not peacefully given up, they will be confiscated," McGinn said at an afternoon press conference.

Around 4:30 p.m. officers arrested a handful of protesters after one policeman took a pole from a protester at First Avenue and Pike Street. That protester attempted to take the pole back and several others came to his aid, but officers made the arrests and pushed the others back. Both sides then faced off again in the street at the Pike Place Market until the demonstrators migrated back to Westlake Center.

(Photo gallery and videos after jump.)

Konstantin Dimopoulos

A King County arts organization says 56 trees in Seattle and Kenmore will be painted blue starting April 2 in a temporary art project meant to make people aware of global deforestation.

SPOKANE, Wash. — Scientists at Washington State University were able to save a bald eagle that was found in Idaho suffering from lead poisoning, and this week they released the majestic predator back into the wild.

The Associated Press

Rep. Jay Inslee is resigning from Congress to focus full time on running for governor of Washington state this fall.

The Democrat announced his decision Saturday at a news conference in Seattle. Inslee is in his eighth term representing a Seattle-area district in the House.

Less than two weeks ago, Inslee told KPLU that he would remain in Congress while running for the governor's seat.

Inslee said then: “Listen, that did not stop me from putting out my job creation agenda. … Yes, I've got some responsibilities in Washington D.C., but we are pursuing a very vigorous effort to [get] people back to work.”

Cliff Mass / UW

A winter storm is bringing another shot of snow to parts of Washington.

The National Weather Service says a Pacific frontal system will hit the coast and northwest interior Tuesday with gusty winds and rain in most of Western Washington.

Donna Gordon Blankinship / Associated Press

The good news in this week's new Washington state revenue forecast has drawn the attention of everyone who wants some money for their department or program.

But in a statement put out by Superintendent of Public Instruction Randy Dorn, Dorn says the state Constitution and the Supreme Court give Washington only one choice: pay for education first.

A King County Superior Court judge is set to hear arguments this afternoon, in a case brought by kids about climate change.  The young plaintiffs, who filed complaints against the Governor and several state agencies last May, are seeking an effective climate recovery plan from government.  The State has filed a motion to dismiss the case. 

Today’s hearing is part of an international youth campaign launched by the iMatter Trust.  Young people have filed legal actions across the nation as well as a federal lawsuit to compel governments to protect and restore the atmosphere.  According to the organization’s website, a federal hearing has not been set.

Monica Spain / KPLU

Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn announced at a press conference this afternoon that the city has received a proposal to bring NBA and NHL back to Seattle. He said the new facility would be 'self-funded' but would include public money upfront.

McGinn said $200 million from city and county would be invested, but the funds would be paid back through rent and tax revenue generated at the new facility. He said guarantees for paying back the money would be in the agreement.

"The $200 million investment from the county and city would be repaid (from) revenue that would not otherwise exist," McGinn said.

Seattle Aquarium

The Point Defiance Zoo is welcoming a visitor tomorrow for a special post-Valentine's Day tryst with Jaya – a Sumatran tiger named Malosi.

“We’re very excited about Malosi’s arrival and the pair’s potential to produce cubs,” said general curator Karen Goodrowe Beck. “The Sumatran tiger is critically endangered and we are working hard to protect and boost the population of this extraordinary species.”

With an overabundance of cute and a giant fan club already, the baby female sea otter at the Seattle Aquarium will be named possibly on Feb. 27, said Tim Kuniholm, a spokesman for the Seattle Aquarium.

The aquarium will post a range of names on its Website either next Monday or Tuesday and throw open the voting. The baby’s potential names will be a Native Alaskan place name or name from an Alaskan indigenous language, Kuniholm said.

The Associated Press

"I clearly wanted him dead. But I got smart."

OLYMPIA, Wash. – Washington lawmakers are considering a plan to save money by abolishing the death penalty in the state. That idea got a hearing in Olympia.

Karil Klingbeil testified in support of the ban. Her sister, Candy Hemmig, was murdered 30 years ago in Olympia. The killer, Mitchell Rupe was dubbed “the man too fat to hang.” He initially got the death penalty, but after 20 years of appeals, received a life sentence instead.

The Associated Press

OLYMPIA, Wash. — Gay marriage proponents urged their supporters not to become complacent following news the Legislature has enough votes to make Washington the seventh state to legalize same-sex marriage.

More than 250,000 people are without power and all modes of transportation are still a mess, but “this snow/sleet/freezing rain event is basically done,” reports KPLU weather expert Cliff Mass.

However, Mass said on his weather blog, “Now I hate to bring this up ... but the forecast models for the next week indicate some intense weather in store for us. Heavy rains, strong windstorms.”

Alison Wise / AP Photo

The "Matriarch of the Blues" has died. Music legend Etta James died at Riverside Community Hospital in California from complications of leukemia. She was 73. In tribute, here are five songs from James.

Associated Press

OLYMPIA, Wash. — Washington state lawmakers introduced legislation Monday that would require classified-advertising companies to attempt to verify the age of escorts listed in sex-related postings.

The bill was one of a dozen introduced by a bipartisan group of senators seeking to curb sex trafficking.

Flickr

AT&T ends its $39 billion bid to acquire T-Mobile USA from Deutsche Telekom amid antitrust concerns, The Associated Press reports.

Courtesy of David Horsey

David Horsey, a two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning editorial cartoonist and columnist for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, is joining the Los Angeles Times political team in January.

Tom Banse / Northwest News Network

As of this morning, there are fewer than 100 Northwest-based soldiers serving in Iraq. A plane carrying the final large group of returning soldiers touched down at McChord Field near Tacoma at dusk Tuesday. 

The sweetest words for 170 Joint Base Lewis-McChord soldiers and their families: "Captain, dismissed!"

The Seattle City Council is considering a ban on thin single-use plastic bags at checkout stands. The ban will also include a pass-through fee of 5 cents for paper bags.

The council is holding a public hearing on the proposal tonight at 5:30

Alex Galkin / Flickr

It may be drying out this weekend and into next week ... but this past week brought some serious rain.

Ken Douglas / KPLU

We have all the ingredients for a light dusting of snow between midnight tonight and noon Saturday. What are those ingredients? The colder than normal air from British Columbia that could bring the snow level down to between 800 to 1,000 feet and some rain from the south, according to KPLU's weather master Cliff Mass.

Jake Ellison / KPLU

We're getting some beautiful sunrises and until we set our clocks back, we’re all up to see them!

Today and Saturday we’ll get some of those morning sprinkles, but the afternoons clear off with temperatures hitting around 50, and then starting on Saturday afternoon we get some “very interesting” weather for the Northwest, says KPLU’s weather expert Cliff Mass.

Seattle Sperm Bank

You might see a strange looking bicycle around Seattle one of these days and think – Sperm?

And you’d be right! A Seattle sperm bank is using the stylized bike to deliver donated sperm to fertility clinics around town.

Boeing

The same day Boeing announced it is employing more than 80,000 workers in Washington for the first time in nearly a dozen years, Sen. Maria Cantwell said the state needs 21,000 more educated and trained workers to fill jobs in the aviation industry in the next decade.

The Puget Sound region will be in for increasing rain with temperatures hanging up around the mid-50s through the weekend but letting up Sunday afternoon until Tuesday when there'll be more sun, KPLU's weatherman Cliff Mass says.

... unless you live or play under the 'blue hole' over Sequim, Port Angeles, Port Townsend – that area northeast of the Olympics.

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