Other News

Army Suicide
8:56 pm
Tue March 1, 2011

Family faults Army in case of AWOL soldier killed by police

U.S. Army

It was a surreal scene last August 27th in downtown Salt Lake City. A soldier - AWOL from his base in Western Washington - emerged from an underground parking lot. He was dressed head-to-toe in combat gear and carrying a rifle.

Seconds later the soldier was dead. Now, an internal Army investigation has found shortcomings in how the case was handled. The family of Specialist Brandon Barrett blames the Army for not intervening sooner.

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6:48 pm
Tue March 1, 2011

Batten down the hatches! High winds coming

Storm waves at Ocean Shores 1/8/06
MïK Watson (MïK) flickr.com

The National Weather Service has issued a high wind warning for the north and central Washington coast through Wednesday night. Be prepared for sustained winds of 25 to 40 mph with gusts of up to 60 mph. High winds can knock down trees and power lines.

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King County Government
7:41 am
Tue March 1, 2011

Constantine touts progress on budget, reform

Seattle's South Park Bridge was declared unsafe and was closed last summer. Now, a combination of federal and local money is slated to build a new $131 million replacement.

King County is in good shape and getting better.

That’s the message from County Executive Dow Constantine during his “State of the County” speech Monday. Speaking from the Maleng Regional Justice Center in Kent, Constantine touted progress in taming the county’s budget problems and making county government more efficient. 

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News Roundup
6:59 am
Tue March 1, 2011

Tuesday morning's headlines

Cell phone video of the explosion and fire at a Pierce Transit center in Lakewood Monday afternoon, provided to KING-TV. The blast was loud and fire was hot, but no one was injured.

Making headlines around the Northwest this morning:

  • Lakewood Explosion Investigated
  • Seattle Superintendent's Future on the Line
  • Will EADS Challenge Boeing's Tanker Win?

What Caused Lakewood Blast?

A series of explosions at a Pierce Transit center on South Tacoma Way yesterday afternoon is being investigated this morning. Compressed natural gas at fueling pumps ignited somehow, and it spread to storage units on site.  No one was injured.

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10 Year Anniversary
3:21 pm
Mon February 28, 2011

Where were you? Remembering the Nisqually Quake

The Nisqually Quake sent many ducking for cover, as in this school drill. But drills aren't the same as the real thing, according to responses to our question, "Where were you ten years ago?"
AP Photo

We've been asking you today, "Where were you ten years ago when the Nisqually Quake hit the Puget Sound region?" 

The 6.8 shake damaged thousands of structures, notably the unreinforced masonry buildings in the historic downtown areas of Olympia and Seattle. 

Clearly the memories of jangled nerves and scary moments remain strong.

On KPLU's Facebook page, we've had good response to our question:

Many are sharing vivid recollections, like Coleen:

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12:28 pm
Mon February 28, 2011

Five reasons why microfinance is in crisis – and why it matters

TW Collins Flickr

The popular anti-poverty scheme of providing small loans and other financial services to poor people, generally known as microfinance, is in crisis.

“In one sense, you could say it’s a coming of age,” says Alex Counts, CEO at the Grameen Foundation, a leading non-profit microfinance organization with offices in Seattle and Washington D.C.. “Controversy often comes along with growing in size and impact.”

You could also say microfinance is actually suffering from several different crises: An external appearance of a crisis based on a damaged public image; a related, but slightly different, internal “identity crisis” and, at least according to one leading observer, a cash crisis in reverse — too much money.

Here are five reasons for the crisis:

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News Roundup
6:26 am
Mon February 28, 2011

Monday morning's headlines

In this 2001 photo, Paul Riek checks to see if his car starts after parts of the top half of a nearby building fell on it, during the Nisqually earthquake.
Stevan Morgain AP Photo

Making headlines around the Northwest this morning:

  • Tenth Anniversary of Nisqually Quake
  • Viaduct Issue Before Seattle City Council Today
  • Weekend Tacoma Train Derailment Cleared


Nisqually Quake Memories Still Fresh

But what lessons did we learn from the Feb. 28, 2001 quake that jangled our collective nerves? KPLU's Liam Moriarty gives an overview, including the breadth of upgrades to emergency systems, bridges and buildings. 

Following the quake, the number of seismic monitoring sites have tripled around the Sound, according to John Dodge of The Olympian, meant to help us prepare for the type of quakes that could cause devastation:

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6:22 pm
Fri February 25, 2011

Joy riders damage Tacoma parks

Deep ruts likely caused by a 4x4 in the sports field at Jane Clark Park
Metro Parks Tacoma

Vandals have damaged the Jane Clark Park sports field in Tacoma. Officials won't know exactly how bad the damage is until they can test the irrigation and drainage systems in the spring. It appears a 4x4 vehicle left deep ruts running from one end of the field to the other.

The park had recently been upgraded as part of the 2005 Park Improvement bond measure. Joy riders also ripped up half a dozen other Tacoma parks this week.

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News Roundup
7:48 am
Fri February 25, 2011

Friday morning's headlines

Making headlines around the Northwest this morning:

  • Boeing and Region Cheer Contract Win
  • Seattle Schools "Rogue" Manager
  • Cold Weekend Ahead


Upset Victory Spawns Local Celebrations

Boeing was the "underdog" and came out fighting to win, according to U.S. Senator Patty Murray. At a celebratory Seattle news conference with Senator Maria Cantwell and other state congressional leaders, they praised the Pentagon's decision on the $35 billion Air Force tanker contract, as KPLU's Bellamy Pailthorp reported.

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Driver Survey
12:23 pm
Thu February 24, 2011

We're comfortable driving in the snow? Really, Pemco?

But is the driver comfortable navigating on our snowy, icy roads?
@Brycej Twitpic

This statement might surprise you. It sure surprised us. 

Pemco Insurance makes the claim, based on a survey it did of Washington drivers. Most polled (58%)  say they feel 'comfortable' behind the wheel when driving on snowy roads.

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News Roundup
8:58 am
Thu February 24, 2011

Thursday morning's headlines

The backup at 9:20 a.m. today on I-5 in the Olympia area has worsened as snow and freezing fog plague drivers.

This morning's headlines are a roundup of the winter snowstorm and cold temperatures affecting Western Washington communities today:

Updated 8:58 a.m.

Driving Conditions Tough, Dangerous

Stay off the roads if at all possible. That advisory is from state transportation leaders, who are dealing with snow and ice clogged sections of freeways, overpasses, and ramps. While many main arterials are passable, the approaches are tough, especially in south King County, Snohomish, Skagit, Thurston and parts of Pierce County, according to KING-TV:

Drivers stuck on Sahalee Way in Redmond were abandoning their cars. Drivers on southbound Interstate 5 near Sea-Tac were crawling along.

As of 9 a.m., WSDOT cameras show that Thurston and Pierce county roads - including I-5 - are heavily impacted by heavy snow, freezing fog and ice. Accidents have caused backups.

The Olympian's Nate Hulings reports driving conditions are expected to worsen today, as National Weather Service forecasts for Thurston County show accumulations could be significant  through this morning:

Periods of heavy snowfall were expected to continue through this morning, with 2 to 6 inches of snow forecast, meteorologist Carl Cerniglia said.

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Winter Weather
5:37 pm
Wed February 23, 2011

Getting ready for the storm

Transit agencies are grearing up to handle the snow that's predicted to hit the Puget Sound region this evening
Erin Hennessey KPLU News

With frigid temperatures and up to six inches of snow bearing down on the Puget Sound region, transit agencies are getting ready.

The latest forecast says the snow is likely to arrive a little later than previously thought. That means evening commuters may escape the brunt of the blast.

Tom Pearce -- with Snohomish Community Transit -- says its buses are operating on regular routes, for now …

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Nuclear Waste Clean-up
3:04 pm
Wed February 23, 2011

Federal audit: part of Hanford cleanup mishandled

The federal government mishandled the cleanup of the dangerous Hanford K-Basins near the Columbia River. The mistakes cost taxpayers millions of dollars. Those are some of the conclusions of a federal Inspector General report.

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News Roundup
7:57 am
Wed February 23, 2011

Wednesday morning's headlines

The Air Force needs new refueling tankers to replace the aged fleet. The lucrative contract is a dogfight between Boeing and EADS, the parent company of Airbus.

Making headlines around the Northwest this morning:

  • Tanker Decision May Come Tomorrow 
  • Seattle Schools Under Scrutiny for Fraud
  • Town Wants Proof of Citizenship for Contract Workers


Boeing or EADS? 

We may know by tomorrow if Boeing or Airbus-parent EADS gets the lucrative Air Force tanker contract. The Herald of Everett's Gale Fiege reports Senator Patty Murray expects a decision Thursday, and says she's ready for to fight if the $35 billion contract doesn't go to Boeing:

"I can't believe our country would make a decision to go with a company based in a foreign country. I won't tolerate it," Murray said of European Aeronautic Defence and Space (EADS), the Airbus parent that is offering an A330-based tanker. Boeing is offering the Air Force a tanker based on the 767 jetliner built in Everett.

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Hostages on Yacht
4:54 pm
Tue February 22, 2011

Remembering Seattle sailors, killed by Somali pirates

Phyllis Macay and Bob Riggle with their friend Walter Friesen, before a race/rally from San Diego to Cabo San Lucas (Mexico), an event affectionately known as the Baja Haha.
Courtesy of Walter Friesen

Family and friends are grieving the loss of a Seattle couple who were killed as they sailed around the world.  They were captured by Somali pirates, along with another couple from California. 

Walter Friesen  knew them.  He's a member of the Seattle Singles Yacht Club, where the deceased couple met. 

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