Paula Wissel

Law & Justice Reporter

Paula reports on groundbreaking legal decisions in Washington State and on trends in crime and law enforcement. She’s been at KPLU since 1989 and has covered the Law and Justice beat for the past 15 years. Paula grew up in Idaho and, prior to KPLU, worked in public radio and television in Boise, San Francisco and upstate New York.

Paula's most memorable moment at KPLU: “Interviewing NPR Senior News Analyst Daniel Schorr about his ability to put current events in historical context. It’s something I aspire to.”

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Ebola Preparedness
5:00 am
Tue October 14, 2014

Sea-Tac Airport Has CDC Quarantine Station In Case Of Contagion

File image
Tetona Dunlap AP Photo

Nervous air travelers might know Sea-Tac International Airport doesn’t have any flights to or from Africa. What it does have is a quarantine station that’s prepared to stop the spread of contagious diseases, such as Ebola.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has 20 quarantine stations around the U.S. In Seattle, the station is located at Sea-Tac, and it’s not new. 

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Coffee Culture
1:42 pm
Tue October 7, 2014

Listen: The Popular Coffee Drink Even Seattle Doesn't Know About

A flat white.
duncan C Flickr

Seattle thinks it knows its coffee. After all, it's the birthplace of Starbucks, and neighborhoods with two or three coffeehouses per block are not uncommon.

So you’d think the new director of Seattle Opera, Aidan Lang, would be happy. He’s a self-described coffee lover. But Lang says what we’re missing is a drink that’s taking the world by storm called a "flat white."

So we set out to find out what a flat white is, and where we can find it in Seattle. Click play below to hear what we found.

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Religion
2:03 pm
Mon October 6, 2014

Blessing Of The Animals At Seattle Church Includes Cats, Dogs And A Boa Constrictor

Reverend Samuel Torvend blesses Griffen, with owner Kelly Vance, at St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Seattle
Paula Wissel

The Blessing of the Animals has long been a tradition in the Anglican Church in England and Catholic and Episcopal churches in the United States. It occurs on the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi.

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FBI
1:13 pm
Wed October 1, 2014

FBI Director Comey Says Homegrown Terrorists A Problem Everywhere

In this photo taken Tuesday, Sept. 30, 2014, FBI Director James B. Comey speaks at a news conference during a visit to Seattle.
Elaine Thompson AP Photo

The Pacific Northwest isn’t immune to home grown terrorists. That’s what FBI director James Comey told reporters during a stop in Seattle.

Comey, who’s been in his position for a year, is visiting all 56 FBI field offices.

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Law
4:47 pm
Fri September 26, 2014

State Pays Wrongfully-Convicted Seattle Man $500,000 After He Spends 10 Years In Prison

Brandon Redtailhawk Olebar in King County Court for the signing of his compensation award from the state.
Paula Wissel

Imagine spending ten years of your life behind bars for a crime you didn’t commit. 

That's what happened to Brandon Redtailhawk Olebar. Now, Washington state is paying him more than half a million dollars.

Olebar is one of the first exonerees to receive a monetary award under a Washington law passed in 2013. The law makes it possible for people wrongfully incarcerated in the state to receive up to $50,000 for each year in prison as well as tuition waivers for themselves and their families to state universities and colleges.

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Workplace discrimination
8:26 pm
Tue September 23, 2014

Black Laborers On Sound Transit Project Allege Discrimination By Contractor

Reginald Wright, Rashad Pearson and attorney Stephen Teller at news conference in Seattle.
Paula Wissel

Charges of racial discrimination are being aimed at a Sound Transit contractor. 

A group of African American laborers who worked on the Sound Transit Link Light Rail project at Husky Stadium are suing, seeking class action status in federal court.

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Legal Marijuana
3:05 pm
Mon September 22, 2014

Seattle City Attorney Seeks To Drop All Marijuana Tickets

File - This Dec. 6, 2013, file photo shows Toby Tackett lighting a marijuana joint at a pot party at the Seattle Center, in Seattle.
Elaine Thompson AP Photo

Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes says he isn’t promoting the use of marijuana in public, but he is calling for all the tickets issued for public pot smoking between Jan. 1 and July 31 to be thrown out.

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Maritime History
5:07 am
Fri September 5, 2014

Missing For a Century, Historic Bell Finally Returns To Puget Sound Ship

The bell that's been missing from Adventuress for 100 years.
John Leven

In a public ceremony Saturday in Port Townsend, a 101-year-old ship’s bell will finally come home. 

The story of the bell is worthy of the name given the wooden schooner it was made for in 1913. The sailing ship is called Adventuress. 

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Business
4:02 pm
Tue August 26, 2014

Weyerhaeuser Moving Headquarters To Seattle's Pioneer Square

File image
Damian Dovarganes AP Photo

Weyerhaeuser is moving its headquarters from Federal Way to Seattle's historic Pioneer Square neighborhood, the company announced Tuesday.

The 114-year-old timber company will "divest the land and buildings it owns in Federal Way, Washington," according to a news release.

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Sex Trafficking
5:05 am
Tue August 26, 2014

Buyers Of Underage Sex Get Little Jail Time, New Study Shows

Arizona State University/Shared Hope International

Men who are convicted of paying for sex with minors are unlikely to serve much time behind bars, says the finding of new research conducted by Arizona State University and released by Shared Hope International, an organization trying to stop sex trafficking.

The study examined 134 cases in Seattle, Phoenix, Portland and Baltimore-Washington, D.C.

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City Cleanup
5:00 am
Mon August 11, 2014

'Find It, Fix It' Walks Urge South Seattle Residents To Point Out Problems

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray signs kids' bike during a recent "Find It, Fix It" walk in south Seattle.
City of Seattle

Imagine being able to turn to the person walking next to you and say, “Could you fix that streetlight?” That’s been the experience for people in south Seattle who’ve taken part this summer in what Mayor Ed Murray calls “Find It, Fix It” walks.

On a recent warm Tuesday evening, I tagged along on one of these walks. There were neighbors, the mayor and city employees holding up “clipboards, clipboards — there we go, we’re talking clipboards,” said Seattle Police Capt. John Hayes, Jr., our guide for the two-hour trek. On the clipboards, they were to record problems residents pointed out.

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Disability Rights
5:00 am
Tue July 29, 2014

Judge Orders Medical School To Reinstate Deaf Student

Zach Featherstone with his wife and daughter
Provided by Zach Featherstone

A Northwest medical school has been ordered to reinstate a deaf student who took the school to court after it wouldn't let him begin classes.

As KPLU reported last month, Zachary Featherstone sued Pacific Northwest University of Health Sciences in Yakima after it admitted him, then wouldn’t let him attend. The university said his admission might harm the training of other students and put patients at risk.

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Obituary
12:19 am
Mon July 28, 2014

Former Seattle Mayor Paul Schell Dies

File image
Barry Sweet AP Photo

Former Seattle Mayor Paul Schell, who led the city during the World Trade Organization protests in 1999, has died. He was 76.

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray says Schell died Sunday morning.

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Primary Election Ballot
5:00 am
Thu July 24, 2014

Seattle Ballot Measure On Park District Divides Parks Advocates

Green Lake Park in Seattle
beataT1i flckr

Voters in Seattle will decide whether to establish a special taxing district to help fund the city’s parks.

Proposition 1, which appears on the Aug. 5 ballot, has created a rift in the ranks of park advocates.

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