Other News

Interesting news stories from around the Pacific Northwest.

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

A series of mistakes led a truck to strike an overhead girder of the Interstate 5 bridge, causing it to collapse into the Skagit River last year, the National Transportation Safety Board said in an exhaustive list of safety recommendations released Tuesday.

Courtesy of Ross Rowsey, Washington State University

At least 15 to 20 percent of all pregnancies end in miscarriage. Biologists puzzling over what can go wrong when egg and sperm get together are now one step closer to solving the mystery.  

Alison Marcotte / KPLU

Capt. Larry Kezner blows the horn of the Fremont Avenue passenger vessel and undocks his boat from South Lake Union Park. Andy Kim’s popular ‘70s tune “Rock Me Gently” plays through the speakers as Kezner steers the boat around the southern shore of Lake Union. “Funky” background music is a staple of Kezner’s tours.

“Welcome aboard the Fremont Avenue,” he says over the intercom to the 24 passengers on board. “Thank you guys for coming out. Good sports for the cloudy day here.”

If you're a fan of "Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me!", the oddly informative news quiz from NPR, you won't want to miss their live show at Seattle's Paramount Theatre on Sept. 18, 7:30 p.m.

Tickets are now on sale to the public at stgpresents.org.

Heroin-related deaths used to be associated with users in their 30s on up through middle age. But a new drug use study in King County confirms a new phenomenon: heroin deaths in young adults are on the rise. 

Michael B. / Flickr

In honor of American independence, we’ve taken the liberty (sorry) of putting together this list of things to do this Fourth of July. The list is, by no means, comprehensive. If you know of a celebration we missed, please let us know in the comment section below.

Seattle

Courtesy of Jal Schrof/Ethnic Heritage Council

The Fourth of July will carry a new meaning for 431 people at Seattle Center’s Fisher Pavilion. At noon, candidates will be sworn in as U.S. citizens at the 30th annual naturalization ceremony hosted by the nonprofit Ethnic Heritage Council.

“It’s a great reminder of why we celebrate the Fourth of July. It’s not all about fireworks and picnics; it’s about love for this country,” said Alma Plancich, executive director of the Ethnic Heritage Council.

Justin Steyer / KPLU

Washington’s prison system has announced a major policy change when it comes to inmates who harm themselves. The Department of Corrections said Thursday that it will no longer sanction inmates for cutting or other acts of self-injury.

Boise National Forest

scathing new report by a group of veteran wildfire experts says too little has been done to improve firefighter safety since an Arizona fire killed 19 firefighters a year ago. 

The group, called Safety Matters, is asking national wildfire managers to implement a series of changes aimed at putting safety above saving property.

Jessica Robinson

A day of planned celebration of Bowe Bergdahl in his Idaho hometown turned out to be a pretty uneventful one. Hailey, Idaho cancelled Saturday’s event after the city received threats.

Courtesy of Seattle Municipal Archives

The Seattle City Council is scheduled to vote today on whether to bring back the downtown streetcar.  

The proposed line would traverse First Avenue and link to the existing South Lake Union line and the First Hill line, which is slated to open later this year. 

Courtesy of Nathan Martin / Estelia Photography

Nathan Martin got the collecting bug in his early 20s. He accumulated more than 900 retro console games and arcade games — the same games he’d enjoyed playing as a kid growing up in Seattle, which he calls the “the Silicon Valley of video games.”

When he realized his collection was collecting dust on his shelves, he decided it was time to give back.

U.S. Census Bureau

New federal population figures released Thursday show the nation’s youngest county is in the Northwest, and not in an urban area. Madison County, Idaho is in the midst of eastern Idaho's potato country.

To give a comparison, the median age of the U.S. is almost 38 years old. The median age of Madison County is 23. That’s the lowest in the country and there’s one big reason: Madison County is home to Brigham Young University-Idaho.

Petros Giannakouris / AP Photo

Health plans in Washington state can’t refuse to cover services for transgender people if the same procedures are covered for others, according to a statement from the state insurance commissioner.

It’s not uncommon for private health plans to exclude gender transition procedures and medical services related to them. That’s what happened to Gwen Yeh of Seattle, who said her Premera plan wouldn’t pay for hormones or the frequent blood work she needed as part of her move toward living as a woman.

Pablo Martinez Monsivais / AP Photo

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray has issued a sweeping call for a “summer of safety,” an integrated approach to public safety that would lead to longer-term priority.

Standing before members of the Seattle City Council Wednesday, Murray touched on police reform, racial disparities, infrastructure and mental health. He said up to now, there has been a sense that the city doesn’t really have a clear, coordinated strategy for fighting crime and disorder.

Michael Coghlan / Flickr

Washington state’s prison system is projected to need 1,000 new beds by 2018. And that growth has Gov. Jay Inslee concerned.

Inslee on Tuesday announced a Department of Justice-backed review of the state’s criminal justice system. The goal is to look for ways to save money without jeopardizing public safety.

Anna King

The Timberbowl Rodeo in the town of Darrington, Washington saw some of its largest crowds ever this past weekend. Neighbors gathered at the event to hug, shake hands and heal from the tragic Oso landslide.

Alexis Blakey knows nearly everyone in the small town that lies 74 miles northeast of Seattle. A native of nearby Oso, Washington, 20-year-old Blakey said the landslide that made her town infamous is branded on her brain. She was at these same rodeo grounds that day when she saw ambulance after ambulance headed for Oso.

“I don’t know," Blakey said. "We were all just like, 'What is going on? Is this really happening right now?'”

Rachel La Corte / AP Photo

Search and rescue teams are combing the east side of Mount Rainier where a Seattle woman has gone missing amid snowy conditions.

Courtesy of Carolyn Corvi.

Editor's Note: “Senior Thesis” is a special week-long series that brings together venerable veterans in various fields with university students hoping to forge a career in the same field.

Jaime Katzer showed up at the studio in her best business attire, excited but a little nervous. The University of Washington senior was here to meet a woman who from the outside appears fearless.

Photo courtesy Alan Alabastro / Seattle Repertory Theatre

Editor's Note: “Senior Thesis” is a special week-long series that brings together venerable veterans in various fields with university students hoping to forge a career in the same field.

Actors, especially aspiring actors, can't wait for the perfect role to come along, says veteran of the Seattle stage Bob Wright.

"Put yourself in a position to work," said the actor who's been listed in Seattle Playbills with the name "R. Hamilton Wright" since 1979. "It's better to work than not work. Find ways to act."

An administrative law judge who accused the state Office of the Insurance Commissioner of pressuring her to rule in its favor broke her silence Monday, but she told lawmakers she’s not allowed to give them the whole story.

Patricia Petersen appeared before the state Senate Law and Justice Committee. She said she wants to tell the legislators what’s behind her spat with the OIC, including her accusation that the agency’s second-in-command pressured her to rule in the office’s favor.

But Petersen, in her first public comments since lodging a whistleblower complaint against her boss, said the commissioner gave her a gag order on the matter while it’s being investigated.

Courtesy of KING Broadcasting

Editor’s Note: “Senior Thesis” is a special week-long series that brings together venerable veterans in various fields with university students hoping to forge a career in the same field.

The college senior sat across from the retired anchorman. She'd brought a list of questions, but only looked at it once. She knew what to ask; she’d been thinking about it for the last four years.

“Do you feel like your career got in the way of other things?” she said.

“Oh, sure,” the anchorman said.

“I’m scared of that,” she said. “I don’t want to end up with a great career, but still have regrets of things I didn’t do.”

“Life is about choices,” he replied with reassurance, not admonition. Yes, you have to make choices, he said, so why not choose a little of everything?

RMI Expeditions

The big day has arrived for Bruce Stobie, the blind mountain climber featured in a KPLU story last month

Stobie flew to the base camp of Denali Thursday morning to begin his expedition. The Maple Valley man is aiming to become the fourth blind person to climb North America’s tallest mountain.

Bebeto Matthews / AP Photo

New research suggests that bike share programs have a downside, but the program Seattle is launching this fall will have a key feature that could help mitigate it.

Researchers from the University of Washington and Washington State University looked at bicycle injury data from 10 major cities, both with and without bike share programs. They found that when a city gets a bike share program, a higher proportion of injuries to its cyclists are head injuries. 

Courtesy of the Wshington Holocaust Education Resocure Center

The nation’s newest Holocaust museum, and the first in Washington state, is about to be unveiled in downtown Seattle. Its founders hope it will connect lessons from history with present-day issues.

The people behind the Holocaust Center for Humanity have been working in Washington classrooms for decades. Now they’ll have a permanent home in Seattle’s Belltown neighborhood, where teachers, students and the public can come to them.

Anna King

Japan’s crippled nuclear plant is bleeding hazardous radioactive water at a mind-staggering rate. Officials at Fukushima Daiichi are filling 27-foot-tall tanks nearly every other day. Now, in southeast Washington, a company called Kurion is developing and building a mobile filter system to help deal with that troublesome radioactive wastewater.

AP Photo

A would-be marijuana merchant is suing the city of Wenatchee over its ban on pot businesses. The outcome could have big implications for other local governments trying to keep out cannabis.

Shaun Preder of SMP Retail wants to open a retail pot store in Wenatchee. But the city does not grant licenses to businesses that don’t comply with federal law, which still considers marijuana illegal.

Derek Gunnlaugson / Flickr

Letting patients with post-traumatic stress disorder choose how they want to be treated can produce better outcomes for less money, according to a new study co-written by a University of Washington psychologist.

Treating someone with PTSD often comes down to a question of whether they get counseling or pharmaceuticals. The new study offers some evidence about which one works better, but even stronger evidence that letting the patient make the choice produces the best outcomes for the least cost.

Prof. Lori Zoellner, director of UW’s Center for Anxiety and Traumatic Stress, said letting patients decide helps them get the treatment best suited for them, and also increases their buy-in to whichever option they go with.

"You're probably more likely to take your medication regularly, to attend your psychiatrist visits more regularly. And in psychotherapy, you may also be more likely to do the homework," she said.

Washington state DOT

If you tried to make it into downtown Seattle during rush hour this morning, you have our sympathy. Just before 6 a.m., a metal plate popped out of an expansion joint along southbound I-5 just south of I-90. Three lanes of the freeway were closed and the resulting backup, at its peak, stretched more than 11 miles. 

Joe Mabel / Wikimedia

After a slow start, the state of Washington says it’s on track to fill the former headquarters of Amazon.com with tenants. But long-term costs remain a concern.

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