Other News

Interesting news stories from around the Pacific Northwest.

Paul Morigi / AP Images for National Portrait Gallery

Poet and author Maya Angelou died today at age 86. Her autobiography "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings" broke new ground with its descriptions of overcoming racism and trauma in the South. Throughout her life, Angelou was celebrated for her words. She shared a few of those words with KPLU's Bellamy Pailthorp, in a 2011 interview we're reposting here:

Olympia Nonprofit Group Refurbishing Bikes For Veterans

May 28, 2014
Vetbikes.org

As Wesley Taylor explains it, a piece of his brain is dead.

He got injured in the Army, and while recovering at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, he noticed a group of veterans setting out for a morning ride each day. Taylor decided he wanted to give it a try, and started out on a reclined bike made to accommodate disabilities.

But the desire for speed motivated him to overcome balance problems left over from his injury.

Gabriel Spitzer / KPLU

Nina Garkavi was feeling rotten. She was throwing up. She’d barely slept the night before. And she hadn’t managed a poop without excruciating pain in weeks.

She was halfway through six months of in-patient chemotherapy when a nurse came into her hospital room and started prepping the empty bed opposite hers. The nurse informed her, matter-of-factly, that another patient would be joining her.

Washington state Department of Health

Memorial Day weekend in the Northwest coincides with prime time for ticks. These arthropods can drink your blood for days without you knowing.

So we asked an expert for the definitive answer on how to remove the blood-sucking bugs.

Washington State University

The newest variety of apple developed by Washington State University is one step closer to supermarkets with the announcement of its brand name.

The apple will be called the Cosmic Crisp.

Jessica Robinson

Over three days, the annual pilgrimage of 25,000 rollicking concertgoers to the Sasquatch Music Festival turns central Washington's picturesque Gorge Amphitheater along the Columbia River into the largest city in Grant County.

But not all of them stay there. Some end up at the tiny hospital in Quincy, Washington, with drug overdoses, alcohol poisoning and dehydration.

Bill Kramme / Flickr

Pedestrians of American Indian descent at are at higher risk of death in Washington state, according to a report released Tuesday by the National Complete Streets Coalition, a branch of Smart Growth America. 

Toby Talbot / AP Photo

This week, the four biggest mobile carriers met a voluntary deadline to be ready to allow consumers to send text messages to 911. But don't try that in an emergency just yet. Dispatchers in the Northwest don't yet have the capability to receive texts for help.

The Federal Communications Commission has been pressing cellular companies and emergency communication centers to accelerate text-to-911 rollout. Recently departed agency chairman Julius Genachowski argued, “Access to 911 must catch up with how consumers communicate in the 21st century."

But even when the technology arrives, voice will still be the best choice, according to Washington state E911 coordinator Ziggy Dahl.

Office of the Insurance Commissioner

The cost of health insurance for individuals is probably going up next year in Washington, but in a key test of the market under the Affordable Care Act, the rate hikes will be lower than in recent years.

How Obamacare would affect insurance rates has been one of the law’s big mysteries. There weren’t big price hikes this year, but now that the law has been fully in effect for some months, would there be a big jump for 2015?

According to the Office of the Insurance Commissioner, the answer is no. In paperwork filed with the OIC, the 17 insurance companies have asked for an average increase of 8.25 percent increase. Commissioner Mike Kreidler says that's the smallest increase in seven years.

Courtesy Sasha Shaw

If you find giant hogweed growing in your garden, don't try to remove it without wearing protective clothing and safety glasses. Otherwise, you could end up suffering for a long time, says Sasha Shaw, an educator with the King County Noxious Weed Control Program.

Shaw has seen pictures of people hurt by giant hogweed. She says it's the plant's sap that "makes your skin hypersensitive to sunlight and then the sunlight causes burns and blisters. It can cause reddish to purplish scarring for up to several years.” 

Thank You For Giving Big!

May 7, 2014

We are so thankful for your support and are honored to be included in your philanthropic priorities on GiveBIG day!

Chalk up another win for citizen activists. Coke and Pepsi announced this week that they will no longer use brominated vegetable oil, or BVO, in their soft drinks.

courtesy of Puget Sound Bike Share

It’s official: Seattle’s much-anticipated bike share program will launch with 500 bikes in September, thanks to a $2.5 million grant from Alaska Airlines.

City officials unveiled the plan for the program, called "Pronto! Emerald City Cycle Share," on Monday.

Tomorrow is GiveBIG day!

May 4, 2014

  On that day only, the Seattle Foundation will be partially matching all gifts to KPLU. Make your gift then, and your gift will be stretched to provide even more support for KPLU. 

Your generosity helps us to continue providing the music and news programming that you live.

Find out more about the Seattle Foundation and GiveBIG!

Paula Wissel / KPLU

The May Day violence that happened in downtown Seattle two years ago is still affecting how one Olympia man is living his life.  Matthew Duran, a political activist, wasn’t even in Seattle when windows were smashed in the Nakamura Federal Courthouse in 2012. But he paid dearly for his refusal to talk about who might have been involved.

Ted S. Warren / Associated Press

What’s the best tool when you have boisterous crowds mixing with police officers in a dense urban area? For the Seattle Police Department, it might be bikes. SPD officers took a refresher course last week on managing demonstrations on bicycles. Captain Chris Fowler, Commander of the West Precinct, said when the department trades tactical tips with other agencies, that’s what they always want to know more about.

Aaron Hushagen

As May 1 approaches, downtown business owners are getting ready. In recent years, factions of May Day protesters have broken windows and taken over the streets. Police officers have responded with tear gas and bike barricades. Anarchists have indicated they plan to march again Thursday.

Brianna / Flickr

Warmer temperatures this week mean more people will be out having fun on the water. Authorities say it’s a good time to remember that while the sun might be warm, the water is cold. 

Gabriel Spitzer / KPLU

After a rocky start, Washington’s health benefits exchange is taking a victory lap. Officials say the exchange got the late surge in enrollments it was counting on, pushing up its final numbers.

The first open enrollment period of Obamacare ended in March, and now that the exchange has processed most of the stragglers, it has released new numbers: 164,062 people enrolled in private plans, with another 423,205 enrolling in Medicaid through March 31. Factor in those now required to use the exchange’s website to re-up their Medicaid, and the number exceeds a cool million.

Ted S. Warren / AP Photo

Think twice before clicking on a link soliciting money for victims of the March 22 mudslide that has claimed 41 lives. U.S. Attorney Jenny Durkan says fraud is always a problem as people begin to recover from a disaster. 

Durkan and Snohomish County Prosecutor Mark Roe are urging anyone who is aware of disaster relief fraud to call the toll-free National Disaster Fraud Hotline at (866) 720-5721, send an email to disaster@leo.gov.

Ted S. Warren / Associated Press

The practice of offering relatively inexpensive health plans with bare-bones provider networks has created tension between making health care affordable and keeping it accessible. It’s set to come to a head this week in Olympia.

The growth of “narrow networks” in Washington comes as the Affordable Care Act limits the ability of insurance companies to control their costs. That’s made it harder to offer plans at a range of prices — something the companies want to do as they compete for comparison shoppers on the health exchanges.

Jessica Robinson

An elderly man from Lake Stevens has become a reluctant symbol of resilience in the face of terrorism. 

An image of 79-year-old Bill Iffrig, blown off his feet in an orange singlet near the finish line of the Boston Marathon, went around the world. He was featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated, and interviewed for a 12-minute online documentary titled "The Finish Line." 

Tom Banse / Flags fly at half mast in front of Washington state Capitol.

Flags will fly at half-mast across Washington state until next Tuesday to honor the victims of last month's deadly landslide. Earlier Tuesday, the Snohomish County medical examiner raised the death toll by one to 37. Seven others remain missing.

Courtesy Robin Youngblood

Former Oso resident Robin Youngblood calls the mudslide she survived last month “devastating, horrific and totally unnecessary.” Thirty seven people are confirmed dead, and seven remain missing as crews search for remains. 

Youngblood was pulled from the ruins after her mobile home was flattened. She’s now on a mission to get laws changed to prevent people from building or remaining in slide-prone areas once the danger is known.

Ryan Hawk / Woodland Park Zoo

  People from North Everett to Bainbridge Island are lining up at Woodland Park Zoo to collect the winnings from an exotic lottery. They've won the right to buy a full truckload of composted animal dung.

In all, 743 people submitted their names in this spring’s “Fecal Fest," but only 200 will drive away with the prized loads.

Meet 'The GM Of BM, The Number One Of Number Two'

Mikkel Ronne / Flickr

State agencies have likely given away or sold hundreds of surplus computers without removing confidential data from their hard drives, according to the state auditor.

A performance audit released Thursday says a spot check of more than a thousand remaindered machines found about 9 percent of them still contained sensitive data, such as social security numbers and medical information.

Emergency 911 phone service has been restored in Washington after a 6-hour-long statewide overnight outage.

CenturyLink spokeswoman Kerry Zimmer in Spokane says service was restored about 8 a.m. Thursday in Washington. Service was restored about 6:30 a.m. in parts of Oregon that also were affected.

AP Photo/The Herald, Dan Bates, Pool

Amanda Skorjanc was sitting in her kitchen with her baby son, Duke, when she heard “what sounded like a truck off a rumble strip.”

“And then it continued, and I thought, ‘Oh, maybe it’s an earthquake.’ And then the light started to shake. The light started to blink,” said the 25-year-old mother.

Skorjanc looked out the side door of her Oso home, and saw nothing. Then she looked out the front door.

“It was like a movie. Houses were exploding,” she said, fighting back tears. “The next thing I see is the neighbor’s chimney coming in through our front door. And I turned and I held Duke, and I did not let him go.”

Tania Larson / U.S. Geological Survey

Humans are particularly generous with the flu, otter-wrangling scientists have found.

People shared the 2009 swine flu epidemic with ferrets, dogs, cats, raccoons and pigs, and new research shows even wild sea otters in Washington state got hit. 

"These otters, which we think were living in a relatively pristine environment off the Olympic Peninsula, were exposed to pathogens that are more commonly associated with people," said Virologist Hon Ip with the U.S. Geological Survey, who co-authored the study published in the May 2014 issue of “Emerging Infectious Diseases.”

Courtesy of Dr. David Maloney / Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center

The family of Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos has given Seattle’s Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center its largest-ever single gift.

The $20 million donation will fund research into cancer immunotherapy, a field that uses the body’s own immune system fight tumors. Fred Hutch president Dr. Larry Corey says the line of research is making huge strides.

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