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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Taxis vs. Rideshare Services
12:06 pm
Wed August 28, 2013

Seattle, King Co. Mull Ways to Regulate Rideshare Services

In this Jan. 4, 2013 photo, Lyft passenger Christina Shatzen gets into a car driven by Nancy Tcheou in San Francisco.
Jeff Chiu Associated Press

Taxi drivers are finding more competition on the road these days.  New smartphone-based ride-sharing services are giving consumers a lot of options.

But the highly-regulated taxis call the development unfair since the new companies don’t have to play by the same rules. Both King County and the city of Seattle are trying to figure out how to respond.

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War in Afghanistan
4:40 pm
Mon August 26, 2013

Obama: Medal of Honor Recipient Brave at War and at Home

President Barack Obama awards U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Ty M. Carter the Medal of Honor for conspicuous gallantry, Monday, Aug. 26, 2013, during a ceremony in the East Room of the White House in Washington.
Jacquelyn Martin Associated Press

At a White House ceremony Monday, President Barack Obama bestowed the Medal of Honor on Army Staff Sgt. Ty Carter, a Spokane native currently stationed at Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

Carter was honored for his actions during the 2009 Battle of Kamdesh in Afghanistan.  President Obama said Carter repeatedly put his own life on the line to save others. But Obama also talked of Carter's courage in another battle, a battle here at home.

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Tourist in Your Own Town
5:01 am
Thu August 22, 2013

San Juan Island Park Offers World-Class Whale Watching

Paula Wissel

When you think of going whale watching, you probably envision taking a boat. But there’s a place on San Juan Island that’s considered one of the best places in the world to see killer whales from shore.

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City of Seattle
5:00 am
Thu August 22, 2013

'Smart Meters' Worry Some Seattle City Light Customers

Seattle City Light says new advanced electrical meters will let you monitor your power usage in real time. That way, if you see you’re using too much electricity at any given moment, you can run around and turn off a bunch of lights.

But Seattle is hearing from customers who say they’re worried the meters will collect too much data and also pose health risks.

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victim's voice
5:05 pm
Tue August 13, 2013

Sex-Trafficking Victim: 'I Had Nothing to Run to'

Listen to Nicole tell her story.
Paula Wissel's radio story for KPLU

Nicole was 17 when she met the man who changed her life.

“I met a guy. He put the charms on me, and I fell for it,” she said.

Soon, Nicole found herself on the streets of Seattle and Tacoma, earning money for that same man as a sex worker. 

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Seattle Mayoral Race 2013
8:32 pm
Tue August 6, 2013

Murray, McGinn Leading in Seattle Mayoral Primary

Florangela Davila

KPLU report from Mayor Mike McGinn's election night party.

KPLU report from state Senator Ed Murray's primary election celebration.

A state senator who drove efforts to make gay marriage legal in Washington state was leading in early returns in Seattle's mayoral primary.

Ed Murray had 30 percent of the vote released Tuesday night. Incumbent Mike McGinn, fighting to avoid becoming the second straight mayor ousted by city voters before the general election, had 27 percent.

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Seattle Mayoral Race 2013
10:12 pm
Wed July 31, 2013

A Leading Question: McGinn on the Shape of Experience

Paula Wissel

Editor's note: KPLU has asked all nine candidates in the Seattle mayoral race to tell us about a time when his or her leadership skills were put to the test. One candidate's answer follows.  

Of the nine candidates running for mayor of Seattle, only Mike McGinn has first-hand experience. Leading up to next Tuesday’s primary, KPLU has been asking all the candidates to talk about a time when their leadership was tested.

You could say Mayor Mike McGinn’s leadership skills have been put to the test every day for the past 4 years. How he’s dealt with it has a lot to do with a personal change he made shortly after taking office.

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Driving
5:00 am
Mon July 15, 2013

How Do You Get Out of a Speeding Ticket?

Washington State Patrol

Summer is a great time for a road trip. But if you’re someone who tends to put the pedal to the metal, spending more time on the highway probably increases your chance of being pulled over for speeding. Which raises the question: what does it take to avoid getting issued a ticket?

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Road construction mishap
8:01 pm
Wed July 10, 2013

State says defective support caused lumber to fly off Tacoma viaduct

On June 29th, a defective wood support beam collapsed on the Nalley Valley Viaduct project.
Joe Bushnell

The Washington State Department of Transportation has now figured out what caused construction lumber to fall off the Highway 16 Nalley Valley Viaduct project and smash onto South Tacoma Way on June 29th.

As KPLU reported, the falling lumber barely missed landing on a man on a moped.

WSDOT says the contractor has now determined that the cause was a defective four-by-six wood support beam, which collapsed spilling the construction lumber onto the roadway below.

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Legalized marijuana
4:56 pm
Mon July 8, 2013

Bellingham latest city to place moratorium on pot businesses

Ted S. Warren Associated Press

Bellingham is the latest local government in Washington state to place a moratorium on recreational marijuana businesses.  Some cities say it’s important to put a hold on things while the state works out the details of legalizing the retail sale of pot. Initiative 502, which passed last November, legalized the sale of  marijuana for recreational use.

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4th of July
12:01 am
Thu July 4, 2013

Tacoma man the reason we stand for Star Spangled Banner

Paula Wissel

It seems as much a part of a trip to the ballpark as eating hotdogs.

But, when you hear the announcer say, "Ladies and gentlemen, please rise and remove your caps for the singing of the national anthem," do you ever wonder why you're standing?

As we discovered, you'll find the answer on an obscure plaque in the city of Tacoma.

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Road construction mishap
3:49 pm
Tue July 2, 2013

WSDOT unsure why lumber flew off Tacoma viaduct site onto road

Broken plywood, on which four-by-fours were stored, as seen from under the bridge.
Joe Bushnell

The Washington state Department of Transportation is trying to figure out what went wrong on Saturday when dozens of pieces of construction lumber on the Nalley Valley viaduct project on Highway 16 came loose and fell onto the roadway below, smashing into pieces as drivers watched in disbelief. 

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child welfare
12:02 pm
Wed June 26, 2013

Foster care reform oversight panel disbands

An independent panel that oversees the state’s foster care system is going away. And it isn’t because of budget cuts. The panel was scheduled to disband this year.

The Braam Foster Care Oversight Panel, which held its final meeting earlier this week, was put in place seven years ago as part of a landmark legal agreement requiring foster care reform in Washington.

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Higher Education
4:50 am
Mon June 24, 2013

Fire tragedy prompts study-abroad student to push for safety upgrades

Grace Flott was one of the survivors of a devastating fire in Paris in 2010.
Paula Wissel

Spending a semester abroad is often a highlight of college life. But for one University of Washington graduate, it was anything but.

Grace Flott is still dealing with scars from a tragedy she suffered while overseas. Now she’s working to help others learn from her experience.

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Law
5:00 am
Mon June 17, 2013

U.S. Labor Dept. backs drywall workers claims for back wages

Even drywall workers paid a piece rate are subject to minimum wage rules, according to the Labor Dept.

Hanging drywall is a dirty, hard job. And 250 workers at Summit Drywall, Inc., based in Issaquah, say it was even worse for them because they didn’t get paid the wages they were due.

The U.S. Department of Labor is suing Summit Drywall on behalf of the workers, claiming the company failed to pay minimum wage and time and a half for overtime.

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