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Tunnel Company Says Bertha Rescue Is Already A Month Behind Schedule

KPLU News - Mon, 07/28/2014 - 16:55

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.

USGS Tries Listening To Human Racket To Understand Seismic Hazards

KPLU News - Mon, 07/28/2014 - 05:00

Research geologists have just finished a field trial to test a less invasive way to complete seismic hazard surveys.

The federal scientists attempted to map an earthquake fault under Seattle simply by listening for underground echoes from all the noise we humans create at the surface.

Downtown Seattle Groups See Golden Opportunity For Their Own Neighborhood Public School

KPLU News - Mon, 07/28/2014 - 05:00

Seattle Public Schools officials may soon get their best opportunity in years to open a public elementary school downtown, and various downtown interests are now pressing district leaders to take advantage of it.

District officials submitted an application earlier this month to move into the vacant building at Second Avenue and Spring Street, which once housed a Federal Reserve Bank branch.

Federal agencies no longer want the property and are considering whether to deed the building to Seattle Public Schools practically free of charge. If the feds grant school officials' application, downtown groups want to make sure the district follows through.

Seattle Opera's Jenkins Looks Back At His Legacy, Including Making 'Colorblind’ Opera

KPLU News - Mon, 07/28/2014 - 05:00

Speight Jenkins is stepping down as general director of Seattle Opera after 31 years. And among the things he’s most proud of are the productions of two successful Ring cycles, surviving the economic recession by not resorting to just producing popular operas and advancing the opportunities for African-American men.

Former Seattle Mayor Paul Schell Dies

KPLU News - Mon, 07/28/2014 - 00:19

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.

Bill Anschell Trio at Tula's on Jazz Northwest

KPLU News - Sun, 07/27/2014 - 12:00

Pianist Bill Anschell is a Seattle native, though he's lived and toured around the US and internationally. Returning to Seattle to live, he quickly established himself as one of the key players through his own trio, accompanying singers and his regular appearance with Floyd Standifer at The New Orleans during the trumpet player's last years.

Seahawks Could Defend Super Bowl Title — If These Things Happen Now

KPLU News - Sat, 07/26/2014 - 09:40

The Seahawks are back at training camp this weekend in Renton. Fans, meanwhile, are looking ahead to the season with a big question on their minds: Can the team defend its championship?

“I think they’re in good position to do it, but it’s really hard,” said KPLU sports commentator Art Thiel.

Northwest Meth Houses To Get Scrubbed Under EPA Program

KPLU News - Sat, 07/26/2014 - 06:00

Federal dollars meant to restore toxic areas like old factories, mines and gas stations are now going to clean up after another longtime industry: methamphetamine.

For the first time, the EPA’s "Brownfields" program is covering the cleanup of former meth houses, and the inaugural sites are right here in the Northwest.

Fire Community Bands Together For Resources, Animals, Mental Health

KPLU News - Fri, 07/25/2014 - 17:53

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 - Fri, 07/25/2014 - 11:06

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 - Fri, 07/25/2014 - 05:00

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