Monica Spain

With the passage of a complicated minimum wage law in Seattle, officials want to ensure the law is easily understood.  The mayor is proposing a new office called the Office of Labor Standards, that would serve as a clearinghouse for information and enforcement.

Ted S. Warren / AP Photo

It’s a curious time for transit riders in King County. New services like streetcars and light rail are being built. But several waves of bus cuts are looming, and transportation officials are working to streamline transportation efforts in the region.

When you’re a homeless person, finding shelter isn’t easy. But when you’re a homeless family, especially a family with a dad, the options are even more limited.

For Seattle’s homeless families with a male head of household, there are few choices for temporary shelter. There are hotel vouchers and encampments, but otherwise families are split. Women and children go off to one shelter, men end up elsewhere.

This year the Seattle City Council helped fund a new type of homeless shelter, called a congregate model, where families can stay together. As the council prepares for the 2015 budget, council members are reviewing a handful of pilot programs to fight family homelessness.  

The Seattle School Board will hold a special meeting on Friday to select an interim superintendent, district officials said.

The 4:15 meeting, which will be streamed online, will be followed by a news conference around 5 p.m., officials said.

The superintendent position is being vacated by José Banda, who has accepted a superintendent position in Sacramento, California. His appointment was finalized Thursday.

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. 

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.

AP Photo

Rideshare services like Uber and Lyft will no longer operate in a state of legal limbo in Seattle. The Seattle City Council on Monday passed a bill, allowing the app-based companies to operate without a driver cap.

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray brought forth the controversial regulation plan last month after meeting with taxi, for-hire and rideshare companies. But some council members say the regulation overlooks an important insurance gap. And taxi companies says there’s not enough room in the market for all these players. 

Courtesy of Ross Rowsey, Washington State University

At least 15 to 20 percent of all pregnancies end in miscarriage. Biologists puzzling over what can go wrong when egg and sperm get together are now one step closer to solving the mystery.  

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

Gov. Jay Inslee has proposed dramatically increasing the fish consumption rate that drives clean water standards in the state.

Inslee said Wednesday he plans to set the fish consumption rate at 175 grams a day, which would protect people who eat about a serving a day of fish. Current water quality standards assume only one serving of fish per month, or 6.5 grams a day.

Heroin-related deaths used to be associated with users in their 30s on up through middle age. But a new drug use study in King County confirms a new phenomenon: heroin deaths in young adults are on the rise. 

Courtesy of Seattle Municipal Archives

The Seattle City Council is scheduled to vote today on whether to bring back the downtown streetcar.  

The proposed line would traverse First Avenue and link to the existing South Lake Union line and the First Hill line, which is slated to open later this year. 

University of Washington

Depression is one of the biggest risk factors for suicide, and people who seek help for it tend to go to their regular doctor. But, as one Seattle family discovered, doctors aren’t always prepared to deal with a patient who has thoughts of suicide. A new law in Washington state, the first of its kind nationwide, seeks to change that.  

Gerry Broome / AP Photo

Nearly a decade has passed since Washington state banned smoking in public areas and workplaces. 

But smoking has evolved since, and that leaves health officials with challenges as they try to enforce a law that didn’t foresee the rise of new products.

Monica Spain

It happens. People smoke marijuana at the Seattle Center. You’ve seen it or smelled it, but it’s never been—and still isn’t—legal.  

This Friday, there will be an exception. To celebrate the one-year anniversary of pot legalization, the city is allowing a pot party on Seattle Center grounds

Monica Spain

What used to be Nickelsville is now three. The homeless encampment split up into three locations—two in the city’s Central District and the third in Skyway—after being evicted from city-owned property two months ago.

The campsite at Skyway appears to have it the worst in almost every way, but it’s also where campers have found unwavering camaraderie.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation should be more transparent about its aid spending in developing countries, according to an advocacy group that tracks international aid organizations.

The group Publish What You Fund ranked the Gates Foundation 43rd out of 67 humanitarian agencies in transparency. The agency earned scores noted as “very poor” in the aid transparency index report for failing to publish their spending in a useful and timely manner.

Dean Fosdick / Associated Press

Imagine your weekly grocery trip. You come home with four bags, but instead of putting it all away, you throw out one full bag of food.

That’s effectively what the average American household disposes of each week.  And the habit is costing us money, and maybe even our sanity.

Associated Press

On Tuesday, the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing on conflicts between state and federal marijuana laws in Washington D.C., and King County Sheriff John Urquhart will be there to testify.

Simone Alicea

Over the holiday weekend, Seattle’s homeless camp Nickelsville left West Seattle after more than two years. Moving is traumatic for anyone, but it’s particularly complicated when you don’t have a permanent place to live. 

Oh, the hassles of a move—the maze of boxes, packing up everything only to unpack it all later.

Imagine moving 16 times in two years. Instead of boxes, you have platforms and cinder blocks, and a couple of goats, too.

Marco Garcia, File / AP Photo

If lawmakers in Hawaii have their way, homeless people there will get a free ride back home to the mainland. The Hawaii state Legislature has set aside money for free flights.  

With Seattle’s close proximity to the state, the city could become a destination for homeless hoping to get back on their feet. But some say the plan won’t solve any problems.  

Whidbey Arms

A brewing controversy surrounding gun rights is headed to Starbucks locations today.

Gun rights advocates around the country are planning to rally at Starbucks cafes where they’re allowed to openly carry firearms. But a group of moms is trying to pressure Starbucks to stop allowing guns in its cafes.

Editor's note: KPLU has asked all nine candidates in the Seattle mayoral race to tell us about a time when his or her leadership skills were put to the test. One candidate's answer follows.  

As a fourth generation Seattleite with careers in hotels and real estate, as well as his penchant for the arts, Charlie Staadecker has been dubbed “traditional.”  But that doesn’t mean the bow tie-wearing candidate doesn’t enjoy a little bit of campaign fun.

The candidate’s series of YouTube ads parody a Dos Equis commercial.


The State Route 99 tunnel boring machine, better known by her nickname “Bertha,” is poised and ready to begin the dig under downtown.  

To get a bird’s eye view, we climb three stories on temporary metal staircases near Pioneer Square. At the top, we’re standing on what remains of the lower deck of the Alaskan Way viaduct. 

Toby Talbot / AP Photo

Activists across the nation are hosting the first-ever gay blood drive today in an effort to raise the ban on blood donations by gay and bisexual men.

Intravenous drug users can donate blood after a one-year waiting period, so why can’t gay and bisexual men? That’s a question that baffles activists and scientists alike. Since 1977, the Food and Drug Administration has mandated that blood donation centers ask prospective male donors if they’ve had sex with a man. If the answer is yes, the man is deferred, meaning he’s not allowed to donate blood—ever. 

Elaine Thompson / Associated Press

In an industry known for intense labor disputes and protracted negotiations, there seems to be a departure. Alaska Airlines and its pilots agreed on a new contract on their own—with no mediation, no arbitrators.  

Close to 9,000 children were in foster care in Washington state last year, but the majority of these kids will eventually return home. Today, as part of Family Reunification Day, families are celebrating their reunions after overcoming obstacles that range from drug abuse to struggles with parenting skills.

Born addicted to heroin       

Talking to a professionally-dressed Nina Caso, it’s hard to believe that just a few years ago, her life was in total crisis. She hit rock bottom, and lost custody of her 2-year-old daughter.

Alex Kim

As state engineers work around the clock to install a temporary bridge to replace the collapsed Interstate 5 bridge span in Mount Vernon, one nearby restaurant manager is finding creative ways to keep customers coming. 

It’s known as the “Moneyball” approach to policing because it harnesses data to predict crime. 

For a few weeks now, Seattle police have started their shift by consulting a map that forecasts hot spots for property crime. 

The maps use red boxes to highlight areas where officers are more likely to catch a burglar rifling through a home or a car. The boxes are generated by software that analyzes five years of crime patterns to spit out reports highlighting where and when the next break-in could take place.

Bryan Ochalla / Flickr

As warm weather approaches, Seattle is preparing for a spike in crime, particularly at two urban parks that have been sites of recent violence. The city will hire two full-time park rangers to patrol Occidental Park in Pioneer Square and Cal Anderson Park on Capitol Hill. 

Interim Seattle Police Chief Jim Pugel says the rangers are uniformed but unarmed, and work closely with the Seattle Police Department.

Manuel W. / Flickr

Red jumpsuits might be the usual jail uniform in King County. But a new policy has the jail issuing headscarves and yamulkes to inmates.