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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Law & Justice
8:37 am
Wed April 6, 2011

Higher court fines imposed on Latino drug offenders in Washington state

Court fines issued to felons in Washington vary according to the criminal’s ethnicity and location. That’s the conclusion of a University of Washington study published online in American Sociological Review.

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Nuclear weapons
5:06 pm
Mon March 28, 2011

Anti-war protesters sentenced for breaking into Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor

Five peace activists who broke into Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor have been sentenced to prison.  The group cut through fences at the Trident submarine base on November 2, 2009 to reach an area near where nuclear warheads are stored.  Bangor is the largest nuclear weapons storehouse in the United States.

At a trial in Tacoma in December, the Bangor trespassers, also known as the "Bangor Five," were found guilty of conspiracy and destruction of federal  property. 

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Jobs
11:51 am
Wed March 23, 2011

Boeing Company hiring 100 people a week

Boeing workers wait on lifts and platforms for a look at Boeing's new 747-8 passenger airplane prior to the plane's first flight, Sunday, March 20, 2011, at Paine Field in Everett, Wash.
Ted S. Warren AP

Here's some good news in a down economy.  Michelle Dunlop writes in The Herald of Everett that Boeing is hiring 100 people a week and has been doing it for the past several months.

Dunlop writes:

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Theater
9:38 am
Wed March 23, 2011

Seattle actor Mark Chamberlin dies

Mark Chamberlin as Odysseus in Taproot Theatre's just-completed run of "The Odyssey." Chamberlin died Tuesday following a weekend bike accident.
Erik Stuhaug Courtesy Taproot Theatre

Seattle’s theater community is reeling this morning at the loss of one of their own.  The Seattle Times reports actor Mark Chamberlin died Tuesday after a weekend bicycle accident.

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Law & Justice
12:03 pm
Tue March 22, 2011

Are drug courts working?

Magistrate Gordon M. Smith presides over drug court in Providence, Rhode Island, June 2007.
AP

Drug courts have long been viewed as a success.  The courts give drug offenders charged with non-violent crimes the option of treatment rather than prison.

The courts, including those in Washington State, have proven effective in reducing repeat offenses. But some critics say too much money is being poured into drug courts.

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Iraq war anniversary
3:16 pm
Fri March 18, 2011

How important is a protest sign?

Art Boruck in his print shop, March 2011, holding the sign he designed before the start of the Iraq war.
Paula Wissel KPLU

How important is a protest sign?  That’s the question we’re asking on the 8th anniversary of the war in Iraq.

Back in 2003,  in the weeks and months leading up to the invasion of Iraq by the U.S. and Coalition forces, millions of peace activists around the globe rallied against war. 

At every protest you saw the same signs-- red, white and blue placards with the words “No Iraq War.”  All of them came from one place, a family run sign shop in Seattle.

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Medical clinic protests
6:13 pm
Mon March 14, 2011

Justice Department sues anti-abortion activist

Federal prosecutors have filed a lawsuit to prevent an anti-abortion protester from blocking access to a medical clinic in Lynnwood.

According to the U.S. Department of Justice complaint, John C. Kroack walked into a Lynnwood health clinic on Jan. 7, 2010, became agitated as he talked about abortion and tried to force his way into one of the exam rooms. Prosecutors say a nurse had to hold her body against the door to keep him from breaking it down.

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Coffee
8:30 am
Wed March 9, 2011

Starbucks unveils logo, celebrates 40 years

Starbucks baristas and employees at corporate headquarters celebrate new logo with CEO Howard Schultz on March 8, 2011.
Starbucks

In 40 years it went from a tiny store near Pike Place Market to a global brand, recognized around the world.  Starbucks is celebrating its  anniversary with a new, simplified logo that doesn’t have the word "Starbucks" or "coffee" on it. 

On Tuesday, a band played and hundreds of employees gathered and cheered as the logo was unveiled at Starbucks headquarters in Seattle.  CEO Howard Schultz told the crowd there were many doubters in the beginning who didn’t think Starbucks could ever go beyond the West Coast. "But they were wrong," he said.

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Crime
5:05 pm
Tue March 8, 2011

Murder, car thefts at historic lows in Seattle

Seattle Police Department Sgt. Sean Whitcomb holds a sign meant to be placed in cars to deter thieves.
Paula Wissel

The homicide rate in Seattle is at its lowest level since 1958.  Most other major crime is down as well.

Murder, rape, robbery and other violent crime was down 9 percent in 2010 compared to 2009. The 2010 crime statistics were released Tuesday by the Seattle Police Department. As KPLU reported, the  Seattle Police Department has also released a report showing that the use of force by officers is rare and below the national average.

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Former Washington Governor
4:58 am
Tue March 8, 2011

Gary Locke expected to be the next US ambassador to China

Gary Locke, the first Chinese-American governor (Washington) and US Commerce Secretary, is shown here in 1997 during a visit to his ancestral home in Jilong village, southeast China. Locke is expected to be nominated as the next US Ambassador to China.
AP Photo

President Barack Obama is expected to nominate US Commerce Secretary and former Washington Governor Gary Locke to be ambassador to China. Both as governor and Commerce Secretary, Locke has promoted close trade relations with the country from which his father and grandfather emigrated.

If Locke is confirmed as ambassador to China, he’ll become the first Chinese-American to hold the post. He was also the first Chinese American to become a governor and the first to be Secretary of Commerce.

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Culture
3:27 pm
Mon March 7, 2011

King County Libraries unveil giant book covers

A 6 foot tall poster for the book "Appaloosa" by Robert B. Parker is displayed outside the Tin Theater movie house in Burien.
Scott Schaefer B-Town blog

They say you can’t tell a book by its cover.  But maybe coming face to face with one that towers over you will entice you to read a little more.  At least that’s the hope of the King County Library system.

Huge, 6 foot tall posters of book jacket covers have been placed next to coffee shops, paint stores, law firms and other small businesses on main streets in Burien, Bellevue, Mercer Island, Renton, Issaquah, Kirkland and on Vashon Island.  It’s called the Book Cover Walking Tour.

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Seattle Schools Scandal
3:32 pm
Wed March 2, 2011

Urban League says it did nothing wrong

The Urban League of Metropolitan Seattle, which received $595,000 from Seattle Public Schools, insists taxpayers got their money's worth despite a state audit report calling the payments of questionable value.

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Science
12:46 pm
Wed February 23, 2011

New species of spider discovered in Seattle

This new species of crab spider was discovered on Foster Island in the Washington Park Arboretum
Burke Museum

A new species of crab spider was found last spring by Rob Crawford, curator of arachnids for the Univesity of Washington's Burke Museum.  He discovered it on Foster Island in the Washington Park Arboretum.  Seattlepi.com reports a team of students will soon be scouring the island for more information.

Just as intriguing as a new discovery is the question raised by Knute Berger of Crosscut who wonders about the effect a newly discovered spider could have on the Highway 520 expansion.  The highway cuts across Foster Island.

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winter weather
8:02 am
Wed February 23, 2011

Snow, freezing temperatures

Snow falls on Olympia commuters during the 7 a.m. commute today. More is on the way for most of Western Washington.
WSDOT

The brunt of an arctic cold front is expected to hit Western Washington this afternoon, bringing wind and 2 to 6 inches of snow.  National Weather Service meteorologist Art Gable says temperatures "will drop below freezing and remain below into Thursday morning." A winter storm warning remains in effect through 10 a.m. Thursday.

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State of the City
5:12 pm
Tue February 22, 2011

Seattle Mayor says more police should live in city

In his annual State of the CIty address, Mayor Mike McGinn said Seattle needs to think differently about police recruitment to improve the department.
Paula Wissel KPLU

With 82-percent of Seattle's officers living outside the city limits, Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn says it's hard to have a good local police force. It's also difficult to do anything about it because state law prevents cities from requiring officers to live where they work. McGinn says there could be an opportunity, though, when 300 officers who are eligible for retirement leave the force.

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