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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Minimum Wage
3:51 pm
Tue December 17, 2013

Not Yet In Office, Sawant Promises $15 Minimum Wage In 2014

File image
Elaine Thompson Associated Press

Seattle’s newly-elected Socialist city council member Kshama Sawant isn’t wasting any time. At a news conference Tuesday, Sawant boldly promised “2014 will be the year of the $15-an-hour minimum wage.”

Sawant, who won’t be sworn in until January, has already been meeting with council members and labor leaders. But she says she’s also looking for support from ordinary people on the street.

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Smart Lighting
5:01 am
Thu December 12, 2013

5 Tips to Help You Look Better on Skype, FaceTime

Blandine Van de Velde optimizes available light while Skyping by using a towel-covered lamp.
Justin Steyer KPLU

There’s no question more and more people are using Skype and FaceTime to connect with family and friends. And businesses are finding the technology to be a convenient way to interview job candidates to connecting with clients.

But what about how we look staring into those tiny computer and phone cameras? It seems everyone I talk to has a story about looking at themselves on Skype or FaceTime and thinking, “I look terrible.”

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human rights
5:01 am
Wed December 11, 2013

Supporters Rally for Renton Woman Held in Mexican Prison

Grisela Rodriquez, daughter or Nestora Salgado, fights back tears as she speaks at the rally.
Paula Wissel KPLU

Human rights advocates rallied in front of the Mexican consulate in Seattle on Tuesday on behalf of a Renton woman being held in a Mexican prison.

Nestora Salgado, who was the commander of a community police force, was arrested in the Mexican state of Guerrero in August and charged with kidnapping. Her family in the Seattle area say the charges are trumped up in retaliation for her efforts to combat corruption in Mexico.

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Then and Now
5:01 am
Thu December 5, 2013

80 Years after Repeal Day, How Wash. State's Cocktail Culture Has Changed

J. Aronson Liquor sign ca. 1916.
Courtesy MOHAI

It was 80 years ago on Dec. 5 that Prohibition ended. But in Washington state, restrictions on alcohol were around long after Prohibition was repealed, and some remain in effect even today.

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gay rights
5:04 pm
Tue December 3, 2013

Two Same-Sex Couples Sue BNSF over Health Benefits

Michael and Eli Hall, right, hold their marriage license certificate, Tuesday, Dec. 3, 2013 as they talk to reporters in Seattle.
Ted S. Warren Associated Press

Listen to Paul Wissel discuss the story with Dave Meyer.
Listen to Paula Wissel's story.

Two workers are suing BNSF, one of the nation's largest rail companies, saying their same-sex spouses have repeatedly been denied health benefits even though gay marriage is legal in Washington state.

The lawsuit filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Seattle states BNSF refused to add the spouses of locomotive engineer Michael Hall and conductor Amie Garrand to their plans.

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Sports with Art Thiel
2:42 pm
Mon December 2, 2013

Thiel: No Surprise UW's Sark Leaving Job for USC

FILE - In this Nov. 29, 2013 file photo, Washington head coach Steve Sarkisian runs onto the field before NCAA college football game against Washington state in Seattle.
Elaine Thompson Associated Press

University of Washington head football coach Steve Sarkisian has accepted a coaching job at the University of Southern California, USC announced on Monday.

KPLU sports commentator Art Thiel says the news "wasn't a surprise."

“I believe I wrote when he was hired five years ago that he would last in this job until USC has a head-coaching vacancy,” said Art. 

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unemployment
1:15 pm
Mon December 2, 2013

Wash. to Regain Some Long-Term Jobless Benefits

Michael Dwyer Associated Press

A worsening unemployment rate in Washington state is leading to extended unemployment benefits for some.

The state's Employment Security Department said Monday that the state's three-month unemployment rate average has risen back to 7 percent. That means some additional federally-funded emergency unemployment compensation will restart Sunday, extending benefits for nine weeks.

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Help for Homeless
4:25 am
Wed November 27, 2013

Pay by App in the Works for Real Change Newspaper

David Rice sells Real Change on the corner of Third and Madison in Seattle.
Paula Wissel

The lack of actual cash in our pockets is putting the squeeze on vendors trying to sell the Seattle street newspaper Real Change.

Real Change founding Ddrector Tim Harris says vendors, who are homeless or low income, are hearing customers say, “I’m sorry, I don’t have any money.”

“We think it’s more than people putting them off; we think people aren’t carrying cash with them," Harris said.

Real Change is turning to technology for a solution.

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gun violence
2:03 pm
Mon November 25, 2013

King County Campaign: Lock Up Guns, Lower Risk of Youth Suicide

Paula Wissel KPLU

Children who live in homes with an unlocked gun are nine times more likely to commit suicide, according to data compiled by Public Health – Seattle & King County between 1999 and 2012. The same data, released Monday, shows more than 5,000 of the county’s children live in homes with an unlocked firearm.

In response to the new findings, King County has launched the Safe Storage Saves Lives campaign through which ten local and national retailers will offer discounts on secure lockboxes, the county announced Monday.

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Law enforcement
4:30 am
Mon November 25, 2013

Are Former Peace Corps Volunteers Willing to Carry a Gun and a Badge?

A Peace Corps Volunteer in Ecuador.
Peace Corps

The King County sheriff wants to make his police force more culturally aware. So he’s come up with a plan that includes putting former Peace Corps volunteers on the payroll.

Sheriff John Urquhart says the force is “becoming more male and more white every single year," and that's a problem because the force should better reflect the increasingly diverse community.

"And that means we need all colors, we need all races, we need all genders, and we need LGBT, you name it,” Urquhart said.

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Election 2013
5:01 am
Tue November 19, 2013

Seattle Public Campaign Financing Gaining in Vote Tally

This image shows the tally as of Monday, Nov. 18, 2013.

There’s the possibility of another election turnaround.

First there was Kshama Sawant’s dramatic post-election night come-from-behind win over Seattle City Council member Richard Conlin. Now, supporters of Seattle Proposition 1 hope it’s their turn.

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fighting Poverty
5:01 am
Thu November 14, 2013

New Program Offers Financial Counseling to Those in Need

Nadia Olusolo
Paula Wissel KPLU

Learning how to budget and save is something everyone can benefit from, even people who barely have a penny to their name.

That’s the idea behind so-called Financial Empowerment Centers Seattle is setting up with a $1.8 million grant from the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation.

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Election 2013
4:34 pm
Tue November 12, 2013

Socialist Sawant Takes Lead Over Conlin in Seattle Council Race

FILE - In this photo taken Aug. 1, 2013, Seattle City Council candidate Kshama Sawant, right, speaks with a restaurant worker during a demonstration in Seattle.
Elaine Thompson Associated Press

A Socialist candidate has taken the lead as an updated ballot count was released on Tuesday afternoon in a close Seattle City Council race.

Kshama Sawant initially trailed incumbent Richard Conlin by more than 6,000 votes, but is now leading by about 40 votes—79,751 to 79,710.

“I think the results that we got today confirm that people in Seattle and, indeed, everywhere in the country are actually eager and hungry for a big political shift,” Sawant said Tuesday.

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changing times
5:01 am
Tue November 12, 2013

Lawyers Must Adapt to Changing Profession

Lawyers are finding themselves facing the same pressures recording artists and journalists have had to contend with: free content on the Internet. 

Technological changes and a DIY culture are also changing the legal profession in fundamental ways. And how to adapt has been a hot topic at law schools in Washington and at the Washington Bar Association.

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Election 2013
8:39 pm
Tue November 5, 2013

Seattle on its Way to Electing a New Mayor

Seattle mayoral candidate state Sen. Ed Murray, center, is cheered by his husband, Michael Shiosaki, left, and former Gov. Chris Gregoire at an election night party Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2013, in Seattle.
Elaine Thompson Associated Press

 

Seattle may soon have a new mayor.

State Sen. Ed Murray carried 56 percent of the vote in the first round of ballot counting Tuesday night, building a lead over incumbent Mayor Mike McGinn. Because Washington state votes entirely by mail, many ballots were not counted Tuesday.

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