Monica Spain

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.

KPLU News

Capturing and playing back video of your kid’s first steps or a few minutes of concert footage is almost too easy with smart phones. The immediacy kind of makes you forget how much effort it was to break out the Super Eight camera and project it later in your living room. 

This week as the Association of Moving Image Archivists hold their annual convention in Seattle, we are reminded that sometimes there is value in hanging on to outmoded technology. Hear to KPLU’s Monica Spain story by clicking the listen button above.

WSDOT

If you stand at the edge of Elliott Bay on Pier 59 where the Seattle Aquarium sits, you can peer straight down to see a water-stained, barnacle-pocked concrete slab. It's part of the seawall which extends under Alaskan Way, the major surface street along the waterfront. Much of it is deteriorating, especially the old growth timbers that are hidden behind the concrete where the wall has been patched.

Paul Williams / Flickr

Do most of the clothes in your closet range from hiking fleece to dress fleece, or some variations of plaid and jeans?

That’s probably what has fueled Seattle’s reputation as an unfashionable city.

Overdressing – something that’s just not possible in many American cities – can become a sort of phobia.

Read more on I Wonder Why ... ?

The U.S. Department of Labor has ordered cellphone company T-Mobile USA to pay a fired whistleblower more than $345,000.

Hannah Jacobson / For KPLU

Liquor in a hardware store? Mini’s at the checkout stand? Mega-stores around the corner?

Woman on the street: “My parents actually needed a gift for a friend of ours, and they were able to buy it at a convenience store – like a nice bottle of liquor. I think it’s convenient!”

Now that Washington State is out of the liquor sales business, bottles of booze are showing up in some unexpected places.

Monica Spain / KPLU

Advocates for the mentally ill say the federal government isn’t going far enough to help veterans who return from war with psychological wounds. They’re in Seattle this week, demanding a change in military culture and better mental health care for veterans.

The federal law that is famous for elevating women’s place in collegiate sports marks its 40th anniversary tomorrow. But Title Nine isn’t just about athletics. It was designed to focus on the overall success of girls and women in school.

For the story, please hit the listen button above.

Department of Ecology

If you’ve taken a ferry across Puget Sound recently, you may have wondered if someone dumped out cans of tomato soup in the water. Some have worried there's been an oil spill.

Large levels of algae called Noctiluca are visible in Puget Sound and people sailing on the water are noticing. The Washington State Department of Ecology says they are getting more worried calls this year.

Monica Spain / KPLU

Seattle basketball and hockey fans are inching closer to having a new stadium. The mayor and hedge fund manager Chris Hansen announced plans to study transportation and parking impacts south of downtown.

Private investor Chris Hansen announced that he will pay for the fast-tracked study, due to be out in six to eight weeks. 

The Associated Press

Washington state has become the first in the nation to require verification of age for online ads that promote sex-related services, such as the escort ads that appear in backpage.com.

The bill, Senate Bill 6251, was among a dozen anti-trafficking bills signed into law by Washington Governor Chris Gregoire today.

Monica Spain / KPLU

Seattle's historic Smith Tower was sold Friday for nearly $37 million in a foreclosure auction on the steps of the King County Administration Building.

The buyer is CBRE Capital of New York, which acquired the delinquent mortgage last fall after Chicago-based Walton Street Capital defaulted on $43 million in loans. When it bought the building in 2006 it intended to convert the tower into condos, but the condo market collapsed in the recession.

Monica Spain / KPLU

“I know the parking is going to disappear. It terrifies me.”

Groundbreaking is just a few weeks away for a new streetcar line in Seattle. The line will connect the coffee shops and colleges of Capitol Hill with the hospitals of First Hill and the Chinatown International District. As some feared, there will be some disruptions in the neighborhoods.

Monica Spain / KPLU

You won’t hear the gavel sound at this auction. But you may want to pay attention anyway since the fate of your neighborhood liquor store may figure in. The Washington State Liquor Control Board has  opened an online auction as part of the next step toward liquor privatization.

Monica Spain / KPLU

It’s common to see day laborers waiting for jobs outside the big home improvement store. But for many in Seattle, a new community gathering space will ensure a safe haven and access to education while

Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn grabbed a shovel and dug in for Casa Latina’s groundbreaking event near the Central district. 

“Maybe in other places, they think immigrants aren’t a great idea. In Seattle, you make us stronger,” McGinn said.

Lower real estate prices may have a silver lining for those trying to save disappearing farms. A new study on farmland protection shows between the lull in development and the high interest in “locavore” food, the time is ripe to keep Puget Sound farms from turning into urban sprawl.

Since 1950, the Puget Sound region has lost 60 percent of its farmland, mostly to development. 

The Associated Press

Facebook is apparently pretty concerned about privacy – especially its own.

After announcing that Facebook and the State Attorney General’s office would announce a “joint legal strategy" this morning, the AG’s office followed up with an email requiring journos sign a non-disclosure agreement.

The email was sent to all journalists invited to the press conference at Facebook's Seattle office involving company officials and Washington State Attorney General Rob McKenna.

The Associated Press

Washington Attorney General Rob McKenna is joining with Facebook to launch a public attack on the internet scam known as “click jacking.” 

Adscend is the Delaware company behind the so-called click-jacking scam. “Clickjacking” involves computer codes embedded in links that you click on that triggers Facebook’s “Like” feature.

ehpien / Flickr

On Monday, Martin Luther King Junior will be honored in a variety of ways around the region as we observe this federal holiday.

It’s a day of reflection and possibly a time to renew intentions that keep Dr. King’s dream alive.

Charlie Beldon / Flickr

If you didn’t score that 40-inch LCD flat screen for Christmas this year, you might be scanning sales to get one in time for the Superbowl. Whether you’re upgrading or replacing TVs, getting rid of the old clunker can seem like a big project because you can’t just throw it out.

So how do you get rid of electronic waste?

Olivier Roux / Flickr

Some say ignorance is bliss.  Others say ignorance is a drain on society.  But as contrary as it might sound, researchers have found there may actually be a place for the uninformed in group decision-making.

Florangela Davila / KPLU

It’s been a long running problem – how to keep and create affordable spaces for artists to live, work and perform in.

That’s the focus of Cultural Space Seattle, a two-day event beginning Tuesday at Town Hall. The City of Seattle is asking a wide range of people to roll up their sleeves to look for ways to preserve Seattle’s vibrant arts scene.

Catherine Anstett

Salmon spawning is at its peak this time of year and it’s possible to go to local creeks and culverts to watch the salmon, up close and personal. 

Now through early December is prime time to get a good look at chum salmon as they return for spawning around the Puget Sound. And, Piper’s Creek in Carkeek Park is one of the best places in town to see these big fish swimming in a natural environment. They can be so close you might catch a little splash. 

In five years, more than a million members of the armed forces are expected to leave the military and return to civilian life.  Many will be looking for jobs in what’s likely to remain a difficult job market.

Owen McCurty knows firsthand what it’s like to look for a job after a military career.

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