Other News

Interesting news stories from around the Pacific Northwest.

The Urban Rest Stop, which has been serving the homeless population in Seattle for 15 years, recently faced a possible loss of one-third of its budget. But the Seattle City Council voted instead to continue full funding.

I toured the facility with Urban Rest Stop program director Ronni Gilboa. Here's a two-minute recap of what it's like there:

Gilboa, who was the director when the program started in 1999, says she's never wanted to leave.

AP Photo/AeroVironment

  

Commercial drones are taking to the Northwest skies even though the rules aren't clear. Now the FAA has gotten the first reports of close calls between manned aircraft and small drones in Idaho, Oregon and Washington.

Gabriel Spitzer / KPLU

The King County Council has approved a budget that will preserve all 10 of the county’s public health clinics. The move took a patchwork of temporary measures to hold the planned cuts at bay.

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

 The Washington State Patrol has ticketed the driver of an oversize load that collapsed the Skagit River Bridge in May of 2013. 

The State Patrol announced the $550 fine Monday and released its final report, which concludes the oversize load was 2 inches over legal height.

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

Washington's health care exchange will likely be off line until Sunday morning.

The site was working for the first few hours of open enrollment Saturday, until a problem with tax credit calculations was discovered.

Gabriel Spitzer / KPLU

If you want to buy or change your health plan, state insurance marketplaces re-open Saturday for the first time since March. In the first round of enrollment, which ended in March, Washington cut its uninsured rate by more than a third. But recruiting the uninsured could be tougher this time around.

Health workers say they have collected much of the low-hanging fruit. For example, about 140,000 people bought health plans during the first open enrollment period, but three times as many got free coverage from Medicaid.

Kayla Scrivner of the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department said as recruiters focus more on private coverage, the sales job gets a little tougher.

The Eakin Family

The family of a woman killed by a drunk driver on State Route 509 last year also blames King County and the city of Burien. They filed a multimillion-dollar claim stating the accident could have been prevented if a guardrail had been replaced.

Domestic violence calls are some of the toughest police face. Emotions are usually running high and often there’s a weapon in the mix.

On Thursday in Seattle’s City Hall, some domestic violence first responders will be honored for  extraordinary service.

David Sullivan is one of the responders:

Sullivan and the other first responders will be honored Thursday in the Bertha Knight Landes Room in Seattle City Hall at 10 a.m.

Chiang Ying-ying / AP Photo

You might think you know Kenny G, but you probably don't know this Kenny G.

Before smooth-jazz Kenny G, there was funk-in-your-trunk Kenny G, and right here in Seattle, too. Take a listen: 

Austin Jenkins

A crowd gathered at the state capitol today to celebrate Washington state’s 125th birthday. The celebration featured a historic reenactment, a time-capsule ceremony and, of course, cake.

Ted S. Warren / AP Photo

Lynnwood’s Kenneth Bae is said to be reconnecting with family after two years in North Korean captivity. Seattle author Blaine Harden says the timing of Bae’s release is no accident.

Harden, who wrote the bestselling “Escape from Camp 14” about a young North Korean who managed to flee a forced labor camp, says the release of Bae and fellow American Matthew Todd Miller has to do with a recent dose of international pressure.

“North Korea is in the dock for its human rights violations,” he said. “This has got the attention of the government there.”

Anna King

The Carlton Complex fires burned more than 255,000 acres in Washington’s Methow Valley past summer. There are thousands of fire-scrubbed hillsides and slopes that threaten to become torrents of mud running down in nearly every direction.

Some slopes burned so hot this summer that there’s little left alive. Even the seeds are gone. Now federal and state agencies are planting nearly 10,000 acres of native seed by plane on public land. The seed mixture and planes cost about $140 per acre sown.

Gabriel Spitzer / KPLU

Washington’s health care exchange will reopen for business late this week, and exchange officials say people will have more choices and a smoother shopping experience this time around.

Saturday will mark the start of the second open enrollment period under the Affordable Care Act. That means that most individuals will be able to get new health insurance or change plans for the first time since last spring.

Exchange spokesman Michael Marchand said they will find the list of options has grown.

Ted S. Warren / AP Photo

A Lynnwood, Washington man held prisoner for two years in North Korean is back home. Kenneth Bae landed Saturday night at Joint Base Lewis-McChord. He was accompanied by Matthew Todd Miller, another freed American prisoner.

Wong Maye-E / AP Photo

The Lynnwood, Washington man imprisoned in North Korea for "anti-state" crimes two years has been freed. 

U.S. officials say American Kenneth Bae and was released Saturday, as was Matthew Miller. Both are on their way home.

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