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Fire Community Bands Together For Resources, Animals, Mental Health

KPLU News - 2 hours 11 min ago

The Carlton Complex fire has consumed 300 homes in north-central Washington, the Okanogan County sheriff said Friday. It’s too soon for many people to know what they lost in the fire, including homes, orchards, livestock and pets.

Summer Is Back! Dry Weather And Warm, Sunny Skies In the Forecast

KPLU News - 8 hours 59 min ago

The last week of July is historically the driest week of the year. And despite record-breaking rain last week, the forecast for the days ahead fits the bill for this time of year, says KPLU weather expert Cliff Mass.

“We’re going to have sun, warmth and virtually no precipitation,” Mass said of the week ahead.

Donors Pay To Test Seawater For Traces Of Fukushima Radiation

KPLU News - 15 hours 5 min ago

It's been more than three years since the Fukushima nuclear plant accident resulted in a spill of millions of gallons of radioactive cooling water into the Pacific. Oceanographers projected that it could take until this year for highly diluted traces of that spill in Japan to reach the West Coast of North America.

Radiation experts don't believe there is cause for alarm on our shores, but some coastal residents are stepping forward to pay for seawater testing just to be sure.

Washington Secretly Competed For Tesla ‘Gigafactory,' State Officials Confirm

KPLU News - Thu, 07/24/2014 - 18:25

Washington state competed to become the location for a massive battery factory for Tesla electric cars, state officials confirmed Thursday as media outlets reported Tesla broke ground near Reno, Nevada.

So Far, Federal Wildfire Assistance Doesn't Include Direct Payments To Homeowners

KPLU News - Thu, 07/24/2014 - 17:54

Federal funds are being used to help fight the wildfires that have raged across the Northwest this summer. But so far, the Federal Emergency Management Agency isn't handing out money directly to owners of the nearly 200 homes lost in the blazes.

Alaska Air Says It's Holding Its Own Against Delta Onslaught

KPLU News - Thu, 07/24/2014 - 17:43

The intensifying competition between Alaska Airlines and rival Delta Air Lines in the Western skies does not seem to be hurting the bottom line of either company.

Seattle-based Alaska Air posted a record second quarter profit Thursday, a day after Delta toasted its own high earnings.

But Alaska executives are still showing concern about a flood of new seats on their home turf.

Oil Train Derailment Under Busy Seattle Bridge Highlights Safety Concerns

KPLU News - Thu, 07/24/2014 - 14:41

Three tanker cars derailed at a rail yard in Seattle early Thursday. They were carrying oil from North Dakota and headed for a refinery in Anacortes. No one was hurt and the railroad said none of the oil spilled.

But the incident spurred renewed calls from the city for a ban on oil train traffic near neighborhoods.  

Engineers’ Union Files Charges Against Boeing, Alleges Age Discrimination

KPLU News - Thu, 07/24/2014 - 10:38

The union representing Boeing engineers has filed age-discrimination charges against the company with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Washington State Human Rights Commission.

The move comes in the wake of a series of announcements by Boeing that said the company is shifting thousands of engineering jobs to other states.

Zoo In Argentina Says 'Sad Bear' Too Old To Go To Canada

KPLU News - Thu, 07/24/2014 - 10:12
Despite a public outcry that resulted in more than a half-million petition signatures and a personal appeal by former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, Arturo, Argentina's "sad bear," has been deemed too old to migrate to Canada.

As we reported on Saturday, Arturo the polar bear, dubbed the "world's saddest animal" lost his enclosure mate two years ago and appears to have fallen into a deep depression.

Who Is Most To Blame For Climate Change?

KPLU News - Thu, 07/24/2014 - 10:10
Here in southeastern Virginia, our biggest city, Norfolk, is saddled with an unwanted claim to fame.

When Federal Privacy Laws Protect Hospitals Instead Of Patients

KPLU News - Thu, 07/24/2014 - 09:55


Air Algerie: Jet Likely Crashed In Mali With 116 Aboard

KPLU News - Thu, 07/24/2014 - 09:30
Updated at 12:30 p.m. ET.

Air Algerie says a MD-83 en route from the capital of Burkina Faso to Algiers with 116 passengers and crew aboard has likely crashed in Mali.

The airline said the plane likely went down in Tilemsi, Mali, about 70 miles from Gao.

Seattle Ballot Measure On Park District Divides Parks Advocates

KPLU News - Thu, 07/24/2014 - 05:00

Voters in Seattle will decide whether to establish a special taxing district to help fund the city’s parks.

Proposition 1, which appears on the Aug. 5 ballot, has created a rift in the ranks of park advocates.

Expansion Of 13-Year-Old Oil Terminal Just Now Getting Environmental Review

KPLU News - Thu, 07/24/2014 - 05:00

An expansion of the Northwest’s largest oil terminal will be the subject of a public hearing before the Army Corps of Engineers Thursday evening in Seattle. Environmentalists are calling for limits on oil tanker traffic at BP’s docks at Cherry Point, north of Bellingham. 

Environmental impact statements are usually heard before a project is built. But in an unusual twist, this hearing concerns a facility that’s been up and running for 13 years.

5 Tips For Using Your Frequent Flyer Miles

KPLU News - Thu, 07/24/2014 - 05:00

If you get on a commercial airliner more than a few times of year, the chances are pretty good that you’re building up frequent flyer miles, either through your credit card or an airline, or an airline’s credit card. 

Whatever the case, when it comes time to redeem those miles, things can get tricky. KPLU travel expert Matthew Brumley has a few tips.

Federal Health Exchange Stays Busy After Open Enrollment Ends

KPLU News - Wed, 07/23/2014 - 21:49
For months, journalists and politicians fixated on the number of people signing up for health insurance through the federal exchange created as part of the Affordable Care Act. It turned out that more than 5 million people signed up using HealthCare.gov by April 19.

But perhaps more surprising is that, according to federal data released Wednesday to ProPublica, there have been nearly 1 million transactions on the exchange since then.

ACLU Takes On Case Of Idaho Teen In Solitary Confinement

KPLU News - Wed, 07/23/2014 - 18:29

In north Idaho, a 15-year-old boy sits in an isolated jail cell awaiting trial for murder. Eldon Samuel III is accused of shooting to death his father and younger brother in March

Juveniles accused of crimes like this are automatically charged as adults in Idaho. But now, Samuel’s lawyer and the ACLU are trying to get him moved out of solitary confinement at the adult county jail. They say his isolation amounts to “cruel and unusual” punishment.

Do Homeless People Need A Place To Smoke Pot So They Don't Light Up In Public?

KPLU News - Wed, 07/23/2014 - 16:33

Of the 82 tickets Seattle police officers issued for public marijuana use in the first six months of this year, 38 of them — nearly half — went to people who were probably homeless.

For Seattle City Council member Nick Licata, that raises a question: don't the economically-distressed need a place to go to smoke pot legally, without doing so in public?

"What we don't want to create is a situation where we literally are giving citations away to people that are going to end up having their record affected for engaging in activity that otherwise would be legal, except that it's just done outside," Licata said.

Seattle City Light Employee Raises Workplace Safety Concerns To City Council

KPLU News - Wed, 07/23/2014 - 15:34

On a morning when a fire at a Seattle City Light substation knocked out power to customers including the Monorail, the utility’s CEO happened to be in city council chambers answering questions about safety. 

Seattle city council members brought the utility’s chief executive Jorge Carrasco in to an energy committee meeting to discuss a string of recent embarrassing news stories, including Seattle City Light’s effort to suppress unflattering online search results.

But public testimony at the meeting steered toward the issue of employee safety.