Other News

Interesting news stories from around the Pacific Northwest.

Anna King

Residents near the town of Twisp, Washington are digging out from mud that ripped through Finley Canyon last week. Because the record-breaking Carlton Complex wildfires have left soil and rock primed to run downhill, more damage could be on the way.

Jennifer Wing / KPLU

At 7 a.m. on a recent morning, biker after biker whizzed by on Dexter Avenue heading into downtown Seattle. Some wore fancy gear. Others rode in summer shorts and sandals. Most carried backpacks.

This is one of the most popular roads for the city’s bike commuters. Still, if you want to get around Seattle safely on two wheels, you have to always be aware of cars. According to the most recent available data, there were 406 car-bike accidents in 2012.

Taber Andrew Bain / Flickr

The Washington Supreme Court recently ruled it is illegal for the state to “board” mental health patients in emergency rooms and regular hospital beds.

The state of Washington said late Friday it can open 145 new psychiatric beds, but it needs some additional time. The attorney general has now asked the Supreme Court to “stay” its ruling for 120 days.

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

State transportation officials are warning Seattle drivers to brace themselves for long commutes with a busy stretch of State Route 99 scheduled for closure through the weekend and into early next week.

WSDOT

Heavy rains near Twisp, Washington have triggered flash floods and landslides on hills and ranches left charred by the Carlton Complex wildfire. Highways have been closed in Okanogan County and traffic has been rerouted.

Tom Banse

In an emergency, the last thing you want to hear is, "I can't understand you." The reality is emergency dispatchers in the Northwest generally speak one language, English. But in our increasingly polyglot society, some people in distress inevitably can't communicate in English.

So what happens then?

Courtesy of MOHAI, Timothy Eagan Collection

On August 21, 1964, four young musicians from Liverpool performed to an eager crowd of 14,300 at Seattle Center Coliseum, now known as KeyArena. Seattle was the third stop on The Beatles’ first U.S. tour. The concert was also the first one ever held at the coliseum.

“The event was a phenomenon,” said Seattle radio personality Pat O’Day, who introduced the Beatles to the sold-out auditorium 50 years ago. “It opened the door and our eyes to what the concert business could be.”

David Junius

For more than 40 years, a radio station called the Evergreen Radio Reading Service has been broadcasting all day, every day across Washington state for the print-disabled — people who are visually-impaired or unable to hold or turn a page.

But the station is fading to quiet today.

KPLU’s Community Advisory Council will be meeting Tuesday, August 26, 2014 in our Seattle offices from 2pm – 3:30pm Pacific Daylight Savings Time. As a member of the listening community, if you are interested in attending, please contact the GM’s office at 253-535-8732 or email sdye@kplu.org for more information.

Alison Marcotte / / KPLU

On an eight-acre farm in the middle of Seattle, farmers shovel a mountain of compost as sounds of Somali, Amharic, Oromo and English sail over rakes and wheelbarrows.

About a dozen East-African seniors work alongside at-risk youth at the city’s largest urban farm in Rainier Beach. Seattle Tilth, an environmental nonprofit group, runs the program that pairs up the immigrant elders of the East African Senior Farming Project with the homeless and underserved participants of the Youth GardenWorks program. The two groups began working together on a weekly basis earlier this summer.

Washington Interagency Incident Management Team #4

Due to the extreme fire danger across nearly all of Washington from hot, dry weather, the state has expanded its ban on outdoor fires.

Courtesy of Yoshiko Matsushima / The North American Post

Fumiko Uyeda Groves was 11 years old when the atomic bomb “Little Boy” was dropped on Hiroshima on Aug. 6, 1945. She was living in Seattle at the time, having returned four months earlier after being incarcerated at Idaho’s Minidoka Relocation Center for three years.

Ted S. Warren / AP Photo

It's August, which means state fair season is underway in the Northwest. From new names to lower ticket prices, fair organizers are trying hard to get people through the gates.

AP Photo/American Cancer Society

Seattle researchers have found a troubling link between certain kinds of birth control pills and a risk of breast cancer. But the lead scientist says women should not panic.

AP Photo

There are big delays on Washington State Ferries just about anywhere you go this week. The fleet has been redistributed to make up for some out-of-service vessels, which is having ripple effects that are nearly system-wide.

Some examples:

Gabriel Spitzer / KPLU

Washington’s senior U.S. Sen. Patty Murray says a new deal to spend billions on fixing the Department of Veterans Affairs is an essential step, but she warns the reform efforts are likely to unearth even more problems.

Bipartisan negotiators in Congress took a while to settle on a $17 billion package of reforms meant to address long waits for care at VA hospitals and clinics across the country.

As the Senate voted to confirm Robert McDonald as the new VA Secretary, Murray, the former chairwoman of the Senate veterans affairs committee, praised both the nominee and the reforms he’ll be overseeing. But she also warned there could be more troubling revelations to come.

anaxila / Flickr

People can expect to hear the roar of the Blue Angels zooming above Lake Washington this weekend. After missing last year’s Boeing Seafair Air Show due to sequestration cuts, the Blue Angels have returned to Seattle.

The noise of the planes may be bothersome to neighbors, but audiologist Susan Anderson says it doesn’t pose a health risk.

Seattle Tunnel Partners

Just six weeks after the contractor managing the State Route 99 tunnel project laid out its timeline for getting back to digging, the company said it’s about a month behind on repairs to its tunneling machine.

Crews are working to burrow down from the surface to where the machine known as Bertha is sitting idle. An early step is to sink a circle of interlocking concrete pillars that will line the access shaft and protect surrounding structures, but that’s proving harder than what the company was planning for in mid-June.

Barry Sweet / AP Photo

Former Seattle Mayor Paul Schell, who led the city during the World Trade Organization protests in 1999, has died. He was 76.

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray says Schell died Sunday morning.

Washington Governor Jay Inslee said Tuesday President Obama has pledged immediate federal aid to help fire-swept areas of north central Washington.

Ed Ronco / KPLU

In a thick Pacific fog, James Island completely disappears from view. But it sits just a few hundred yards from La Push, a small community on the outer edge of Washington’s Olympic Peninsula. Even with the landmark obscured by heavy gray, Lt. Lance Leone can point to where it all happened. The power lines extended out this way. The helicopter broke apart in mid-air right here. The cockpit hit the water over there.

Of the four on board, Leone was the only survivor of the crash. Four years later to the day, he returned to meet the people who saved him, and to tell them how the crash changed his life and ended his Coast Guard career.

Courtney Flatt

The Okanogan County Sheriff’s Department ordered more homeowners to evacuate Monday afternoon after firefighters saw a brief relief from high winds and hot weather Sunday.

Donations are coming in by the truckload to the Pateros High School in central Washington. Piles of clothes hip-deep fill the gym. Stacks of food, water and pet food line the hallways.

Alison Marcote / KPLU

When 10-year-old Mohamed Mohamed thinks of Yesler Terrace, the word “community” comes to mind.

“It’s not one of those quiet neighborhoods where you’re staying at home playing video games or anything like that,” he said. “It’s somewhere where you can play outside and meet new people.”

Mohamed says he has lived in Yesler Terrace, Seattle’s oldest housing project, his whole life.

“It’s very sad they’re changing it into like houses that have elevators,” he said. “It’s not going to be the same; it’s not going to be low-income anymore. It’s just going to be sad.”

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

The most destructive wildfire currently burning in the Northwest has left thousands of people without air conditioning and refrigeration. The so-called Carlton Complex fire has closed gas stations and shut down ATMs in north-central Washington.

Okanogan County currently estimates 150 to 200 homes burned to the ground. The Okanogan County Utility District says its electrical system is almost a complete loss.

About 80 people woke up in a Red Cross shelter in central Washington Friday morning after a wildfire forced the town of Pateros to evacuate overnight. Initial reports are that 40 homes and a church have burned in the small town on the Columbia River.

AP Photo

The attorney representing rescued POW Bowe Bergdahl expects the Army sergeant to be interviewed by military investigators within the coming weeks. The probe into how Bergdahl fell into Taliban hands while off-base in 2009 is already underway.

Bergdahl's attorney Eugene Fidell says it's hard to find other cases that serve as precedent for Bergdahl. Fidell, who teaches military justice at Yale Law School, met with Bergdahl in San Antonio for the first time last week after Bergdahl asked Fidell to represent him.

Ted S. Warren / AP Photo

Residents of 860 homes have been told they should evacuate as a wildfire burns out of control in central Washington state.

The Chiwaukum Creek fire in Chelan County, believed to have been started by lightning and first detected on Tuesday, remains zero percent contained. It has now burned approximately 4,500 acres.

Anna King

Hanford Nuclear Reservation workers who are worried about getting sick turned out in droves for a public meeting Wednesday night in Richland organized by a Seattle-area watchdog called Hanford Challenge.

About 45 people squeezed into tight rows in a small conference room.

Get ready for some big delays on Interstate 90. Starting Friday night, westbound traffic will have to squeeze down from four lanes to one, beginning at Bellevue Way. Several ramps will also be closed. 

It's going to last an entire week, and yes, the Washington State Department of Transportation says it’s going to be messy.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Public health officials in the Northwest say they're seeing gonorrhea infections at levels they haven't seen in years. Three counties in Washington state are now in the midst of an outbreak, and parts of Oregon and Idaho are set to top even last year's high numbers.

And health departments are seeing some unusual trends in the data.

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