Editor Pick

Nimataradji photography / Flickr

Foes of the same-sex marriage referendum in Washington have conceded the law will pass. The group that sponsored Referendum 74 declared victory yesterday.

The streak of dry weather in much of the Northwest is about to come to a soggy end. A weather system fueled by subtropical moisture is bearing down on the region.

Forecasters say some coastal mountain areas could see up to eight inches of rain this weekend, with as much as two inches predicted for interior valleys. Many of those areas have had just a smattering of rain drops since the beginning of July.

Kathie Dello is deputy director of the Oregon Climate Service at Oregon State University. She says dry summers are common in the Northwest, but ...

Brittney Tatchell

For one thing, Kennewick Man – the 9,500-year-old remains found in the shallows of the Columbia River more than 16 years ago – was buff. We’re talking beefcake.

So says Doug Owsley, head of physical anthropology at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History. Owsley led the study of the ancient remains.

KPLU reporters are looking into Washington's marijuana legalization initiative (I-502) to produce a series of stories that will separate facts from rumors and to learn exactly what would change if it’s approved. And on this page, we’re sharing some of the interesting facts as we learn them along the way.

Oct. 3 – If it's legal, you'll need some standards for the "quality" of the cannabis sold in state-licensed stores. But how will that be determined? 

Pacific Northwest Seismic Network

The Puget Sound region is experiencing a record “episodic tremor and slip” event, according to the Pacific Northwest Seismic Network.

The Associated Press

SEATAC, Wash. — Fire trucks spraying rainbows of water Monday morning greeted the first All Nippon Airways 787 to land in commercial service at Sea-Tac Airport.

The Coast Guard has declared the fatal collision of two fishing boats off the Washington coast a "serious marine incident" and an investigation is under way.

After NW fires: Bring on the bugs

Sep 30, 2012

Wildfires have already scorched more than one million acres across the Northwest this year. It may take years before the signs of the burns are no longer visible. But charred Northwest forests are already a-buzz with new life.

Burned forests are not quiet places.

“It’s very lively in the forest immediately after a fire," says Connie Mehmel. "Very lively. And a lot of that liveliness is insects.”

A long, controversial investigation of a polar bear scientist has ended with his government employer saying it does not look like he engaged in any scientific misconduct.

Charles Monnett is a wildlife researcher with the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, part of the Department of the Interior. He and a colleague, Jeffrey Gleason, wrote an influential 2006 report describing apparently drowned polar bears floating in the Arctic, which they saw during a routine aerial survey of whales.

Washington wildlife managers say the hunt for a pack of grey wolves is over. A state marksman killed the alpha male of the pack Thursday in far northeast Washington. The department has killed a total of seven wolves from the Wedge Pack since August.

However, emotions have run strong over the decision, and debate over wolf management in the Northwest will likely remain intense.

“We know these issues spark strong feelings among Washington residents across the state, which is why we are committed to conducting our business openly and transparently,” Washington Fish and Wildlife Director Phil Anderson said in a press release.

Jake Ellison / KPLU

Earlier this month, we wrote about the creation of two huge “daddy longlegs” standing atop the roof of the Armory at the Seattle Center. The harvestmen, created by 3-D mural artist Marlin Peterson, cast long shadows and look pretty darn realistic (considering the widest span between leg tips is 100 feet).

Peterson has released a two-minute video showing the creation of the spiders from concept to paint:

Robert Scoble / Flickr

With 6,000 high-tech jobs on the table, Microsoft said today it has a pay-to-play plan that would increase the number of H-1B visas to the U.S. by 20,000 and raise more than $500 million for education.

Terence T.S. Tam / Flickr

Seattle is the second-best city in the country, according to Bloomberg Businessweek. The news org evaluated and ranked the largest 100 U.S. cities and published its results today.

San Francisco grabbed the gold ring at No. 1.

Ed Troyer / Pierce Co. Sheriff's Department

GRAHAM, Wash. – Dozens of horses were seized Wednesday from a Pierce County property where authorities said they were living in squalid conditions.

The Pierce County Sheriff's Department took 39 sick or starving horses from the property in Graham. Among the horses recovered were a dozen Arabians and some stallions.

MOSCOW, Idaho - The "world's most comprehensive collection" of opium smoking paraphernalia has a new home; it's at the University of Idaho. A writer and collector, originally from San Diego, donated the exquisite antiques.

It's taking weeks to carefully unpack and catalogue all the opium smoking implements and accessories. Collector Steven Martin estimates he donated at least 1,000 pieces... ceramic opium pipe bowls, ornamented heating lamps, traveling kits, scrapers, old photographs and mug shots.

The Associated Press

The twitterverse exploded last night with different reactions to the controversial call on Monday Night Football. The final play of the game, the controversial touchdown by Golden Tate,  gave the Seahawks a 14-12 victory over the Packers.  

Here is a mixed collection of tweets from people around the Seattle area regarding last night's win.

In the U.S., the pap smear has become a routine part of women's health care, and it's dramatically reduced cervical cancer deaths. But in Africa and other impoverished regions, few women get pap smears because the countries lack the laboratories and other resources necessary to offer them.

Evan Hoover / KPLU

The Seattle Police Department is launching a new advertising campaign on buses and billboards in hopes of generating tips about unsolved killings.

John Froschauer / AP

Washington banned indoor smoking nearly seven years ago, but one exception survives: hookah lounges.

Local health departments have struggled to shut them down. 

The lounges say they’re private clubs, not public venues, so the law doesn’t apply. They all charge some sort of membership fee, typically about $5.

That defense doesn’t sway health officials, like Frank DiBiase of the Tacoma Pierce County Health Department. His office inspected three hookah bars in Tacoma last year.

Northwest wildfires not all bad for local economies

Sep 17, 2012

Crews continue to make progress on several wildfires in central Washington. State health officials say the air is smoky enough around Wenatchee to be unhealthy for people with sensitive respiratory systems.

Meanwhile, researchers at the University of Oregon have been looking into the economic impact of large wildfires. Their findings indicated that there can actually be an upside to local economies.

James Maya / Maya's Westside Charters

Researchers in the San Juan Islands say the survival of older female Orcas, after they go through menopause, helps younger males stay alive longer.

That might not surprise many humans, but scientists well-versed in the behavior of Orca whales say it’s a relatively new conclusion. And, in many species, females don’t live long after the end of their reproductive life.

City of Auburn

Are abandoned, dilapidated houses a problem in your neighborhood? They are in Auburn, and that city’s mayor isn’t putting up with it.

Mayor Pete Lewis has been taking photos of abandoned houses owned by far-flung banks and publishing them with the bank’s information on a “Wall of Shame” website. And that's only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the city's efforts.

The Associated Press

Boeing has delivered a contract proposal to its engineers, and an analyst says they may be disappointed. The long-awaited proposal offers pay increases that are less than half what the union wanted.

Scott Eklund / TheArtofTimeLapse.com

Northwest photographer John Eklund spent a year-plus gathering the shots to create this time-lapse video (below) of iconic places in the Pacific Northwest.

“Some scenes took all night and several tries until I was happy with the shot,” he said in an email exchange.

The Associated Press

SAN FRANCISCO – Not ready for a new iPhone? Don't worry. Many software features are coming to older iPhones as well.

Apple has said that its iOS 6 software will sport more than 200 new features, though some won't be available on all devices. The new features include an updated mapping service and better integration with Facebook.

Dave H / Flickr

Support for legal marijuana in Washington appears to be strong among adults, but what will it mean for kids?

This week saw surprising support for the state initiative legalizing marijuana from the Children’s Alliance. The Seattle-based advocacy group, which has dozens of social-service agencies as members, says legal pot would be good for kids.

Don't blame a fish mating call for the humming noise that annoyed West Seattle residents over the Labor Day weekend.

A University of Washington associate professor who studies the Midshipman fish says he placed a hydrophone in Puget Sound, Elliott Bay and the Duwamish River Thursday night and heard no fish calls.

Chris Stevens, the U.S. ambassador killed in an attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, was a very special diplomat. He made a career of going to difficult places and insisting that he witness tumultuous events firsthand.

The city of Seattle wants to crack down on problem rental buildings by requiring landlords to register and get inspections of their units. Tenants’ advocates say they’re hopeful the new system will mean fewer people living in unhealthy or dangerous housing.

Jonathan Grant runs the non-profit group Tenants Union of Washington State. He says he hears from tenants all the time about the poor conditions of their apartments.

Evan Hoover

Local Hip-Hop artists Macklemore and Blue Scholars tout some hometown pride with the release of two music videos shot around Seattle.

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