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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John T. Williams
11:52 am
Mon February 27, 2012

Update: John T. Williams totem pole raised

Roughly 90 people carried a totem honoring slain First Nations woodcarver John T. Williams from the Seattle Waterfront to Seattle Center on Sunday.
Erin Hennessey KPLU

A 34-foot totem pole honoring slain First Nations woodcarver John T. Williams was carried from the Seattle Waterfront to Seattle Center and raised by some 90 people on Sunday. The pole was carried to its final destination with traditional singing, drumming, and dancing. 

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I Wonder Why ... ?
4:30 am
Fri February 24, 2012

Why don't we in the Northwest honk our horns?

If you live in Boston, Manhattan or Mumbai, the sounds of rush hour include the overwhelming sound of beeping and blaring car horns. But, that’s not the case in the Pacific Northwest.

Honking the horn just doesn’t seem to be part of our driving DNA.

Read more on I Wonder Why ... ?

Boeing 787
6:00 pm
Fri February 17, 2012

President Obama takes Boeing tour in Everett

After touring the Boeing 787 plant in Everett, President Obama walked down the steps of a new plane to greet the crowd of workers, community members, and a sea of media.
Paula Wissel

Speaking in Everett in the massive building where Boeing 787's are assembled,  President Barack Obama praised the aerospace company for succeeding at keeping jobs in the United States.

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Crime
10:58 am
Wed February 15, 2012

Drunk drivers who kill could face stiffer sentences

Drunk drivers who cause deadly accidents in Washington rarely spend more than two years in prison. A bill working its way through the state legislature would increase the maximum sentence to eight years.

Prosecutors and people who've lost loved ones to accidents caused by drunk drivers say it's about time.

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U.S./Canada border
4:12 pm
Fri February 10, 2012

Selling border security map nets man prison time

 A Bellingham man has been sentenced to prison for trying to sell a map showing the location of surveillance cameras along the U.S./Canada border.

According to federal court records,  Leif Rankin planned to sell the map to drug smugglers. 

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I Wonder Why ... ?
7:51 am
Fri February 10, 2012

Why so divided? Exploring the comments in 'Wonder' series

Discussions about Utilikilts and the 'Seattle freeze' were particularly revealing.

In the Northwest, we share some unique attributes. But, like people everywhere, we disagree passionately when it comes to those things that tie us together. That came clear to us after sorting through the comments prompted by KPLU’s "I Wonder Why…?" series.

For instance, in combing through two of our most popular stories, no one could agree on just how friendly we are in the Northwest or whether men in skirts … er Utilikilts is a good idea.

Read more on I Wonder Why ... ?

Economy
4:53 pm
Fri February 3, 2012

Economy does seems brighter to some Seattleites

The economy is looking a bit brighter to the Seattleites we talked to on Friday.
Cellular Immunity Flickr

The unemployment rate is at its lowest level in three years. The stock market is up.  But, are you feeling better about the economy? 

Maybe it was the economic news. Maybe it was the sun coming out for the first time in a while, but most people we talked to on the streets of downtown Seattle this afternoon said they were feeling positive.

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I Wonder Why ... ?
4:30 am
Fri February 3, 2012

Why Don't We Bury Our Power Lines in the Northwest?

Saturday's wind storm knocked over a tree into power lines in Kirland, Wash.
Denise Walker

Did you find yourself in the dark, shivering under blankets, eating cold rations during the recent wind storm? Did it have you wondering why we are so dependent on overhead power poles to keep the lights on?

Could there be a better way?

Read more on I Wonder Why ... ?

Winter storm
6:54 pm
Tue January 24, 2012

Power crews work around the clock to restore electricity

Puget Sound Energy crews worked to restore power near Dash Point Road and Redondo Way in Federal Way on Tuesday, January 24, 2012.
Paula Wissel

Puget Sound Energy  crews working to restore power say they haven't slept much.  On Tuesday afternoon, Rob Brackman, who was redirecting traffic while other workers strung new power lines near Dash Point Road and Redondo Way, said he'd  had just 15 hours of sleep since Friday morning.  But, he says he's been overwhelmed by the kindness of strangers.

"We get a lot of joyous people when we get into their neighborhood. They're so happy to see us. People have been bringing us coffee and donuts. It's been very nice," he said.

Winter storm
4:56 pm
Tue January 17, 2012

Metro Transit seeks to avoid mistakes of the past

During the last major snow storm in the Seattle area, in 2008,  Metro Transit came in for a lot of criticism. Busses slid out of control on icy streets or got stuck in the snow.

This time, the transit agency has new plans it hopes will result in better bus service. For complete details, go to the King County Metro Transit website.

Wrongful conviction
12:30 pm
Fri January 13, 2012

17 years in prison for a crime he didn't commit - should state pay?

Alan Northrop says nerves caused him to fail a lie detector test. After he was picked out of a lineup, the case went to trial and he went to prison for a crime he didn't commit.
Image from YouTube video

Since 2008, four prisoners in Washington State have been exonerated through DNA testing and other evidence. Advocates for granting them compensation say it’s the right thing to do, even in tough budgetary times.

Of the four wrongfully convicted men, Alan Northrop did the most time behind bars. Now that he’s out, he’s trying to put the pieces of his life back together.

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City Government
4:00 am
Thu January 5, 2012

Seattle updates street tree rules

Under a proposed ordinance, homeowners in Seattle will have to follow new guidelines when planting trees in parking strips.
Photo by wanderflechten

The city of Seattle is revamping its rules regarding street trees. The rules clarify what homeowners can and cannot do to trees planted in parking strips and other city right-of-ways.

The ordinance under consideration is the first update of the city’s street tree rules since 1961.

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I Wonder Why ... ?
4:30 am
Fri December 30, 2011

Why can't we toss out our old P-I newspapers?

There they sit. On the shelf in the KPLU newsroom. Two dozen of them. Each in their own day-of-the-week slot.

Seattle Post-Intelligencers from March 2009, the month the paper ceased publication after 146 years.

We wonder: Why haven’t we been able to toss those papers and relegate the printed P-I to the dark depths of the archive stacks at the public library?

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Priest Abuse
12:29 pm
Tue November 22, 2011

Native Americans sue state, allege abuse at Jesuit school

Pictured are three of the plaintiffs in the suit, from left to right: Katherine Mendez, Dwayne Paul and Theresa Bisset.
Paula Wissel KPLU

YAKIMA, Wash. — Eight Native Americans have filed suit against the Washington Department of Social and Health Services, claiming the agency placed them in a mission school where they were sexually abused by a Jesuit priest decades ago.

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I Wonder Why
4:30 am
Fri November 18, 2011

I Wonder Why ... Seahawks fans are loudest in league

Sure they are the loudest, but why? KPLU digs into the story in this first episode of 'I Wonder Why ...?'
Associated Press

This is the first story in a new KPLU series called "I Wonder Why ... ?" Each Friday, we'll explore what makes our corner of the world special – unique attributes that amaze, irritate and sometimes just puzzle us.

In this first story, we tackle Seattle's reputation for having the loudest fans in the NFL. This isn’t a particularly noisy place ... after all, you can get a ticket for honking your horn here.

So, we wondered why we're so loud in the stadium and just how loud are we?

Check out the rest of the story at I Wonder Why ... ?

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