Monica Spain

Kevin Scott / Courtesy of Coltura

Imagine being trapped inside a bubble filled with the hazy exhaust fumes from a car. You might be sputtering, coughing as your throat constricts with the smoke.  This eerie scene will be played out in a performance art piece in downtown Seattle.

When Matthew Metz, a lawyer by trade, switched to an electric car, he wondered why so many people he knew were passionate about the environment, but still so attached to their gas-powered cars.  He decided public art was the best way he could get people to stop and think. 

Benjamin Hollis / Flickr licensed by CC http://bit.ly/2r6d3VD


For lovers of the outdoors, camping season is in now in full swing. It’s easy to book campground reservations online.  So easy, in fact that many Washington State Parks are booked up.  But don’t despair, there are always last-minute opportunities.

Courtesy of Catherine DeBruin

For decades, Canadian shoppers have walked back and forth across the U.S.-Canada border into Sumas, Wash. to shop at a family-owned grocery store called Bromley’s Market

After 57 years, the store is closing its doors for the last time today.

 

Catherine DeBruin, is the front-end supervisor at Bromley’s Market. Her grandparents bought the store in 1960 and she grew up in the family business.  

Seattle City Council

As it becomes more expensive to live in Seattle, the racial and economic disparities in public schools become more glaring. Researchers from a Pacific Northwest think tank say the antidote may lie in updating Seattle’s zoning laws – the rules that determine what types of housing can be built.  

Toby Talbot / AP Photo

Tacoma’s City Attorney’s Office is exploring ways to hold the makers of opioid painkillers accountable for the city’s growing homelessness crisis.

The city is gathering information from law enforcement and other city officials to determine whether to move forward with a lawsuit against drug manufacturers.

Last January, the city of Everett filed a lawsuit against Connecticut-based Purdue Pharma, the maker of OxyContin, alleging the company knowingly allowed pills to be funneled to the black market.

KNKX, city of Seattle

The city of Seattle doesn’t track the number of big, white land use signs that are out there, but as anyone who lives here knows, there are an awful lot of them right now.

After 30 years, the ubiquitous public notices are getting a facelift. Yes, they’ll look nicer and they should be easier to decipher.

City officials say the updated signs will be easier to understand and they’ll feature color images of what the buildings will look like.

Renderings courtesy of Mithun

Six King County African-American groups are vowing to collaborate to break the cycle of poverty in their communities. The groups cite a growing wealth gap between blacks and their white neighbors.

A study commissioned by the organizations explores factors behind this disparity. The groups gathered stories from more than 500 African-Americans who live and work in the Seattle area.  

“Mountlake Terrace TC sign and garage” by SounderBruce is licensed under CC BY 2.0 bit.ly/2pWC31Q

Weather in the Puget Sound might be dreary, but that hasn’t dampened the interest in solar energy. Cash incentives have only fueled the attraction. But one very generous program is being phased out, and others are set to follow suit. 

 

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

It’s been five years since the 2012 May Day protest that left windows shattered in downtown Seattle. May Day events usually turn violent at night, but police were caught off-guard that year when a small group of protesters lashed out in the middle of the day.

Seattle is no stranger to protests that end in chaos, arrests and injuries. In 1999, World Trade Organization protests shocked people around the world. And on every May Day in recent years, after peaceful daytime marches wrap up, mayhem creeps in.

Monica Spain / KNKX

It’s never been easier or more affordable to dress based on fashion trends seen on the runway. But the glut of inexpensive clothing from 'fast fashion' retailers is leaving another mark, and it’s not so beautiful.

It takes about 1,800 gallons of water to make one new pair of jeans. Caroline Fichter, a mom of two boys might not know the exact figures, but intuitively she does. That’s why she dropped off used clothes at Value Village in Seattle.

 

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

Changes in federal immigration policy are stirring up fear for many Washington immigrants. At the same time, state and local employees are unsure about their obligations when it comes to immigration enforcement. But now there are some new guidelines that should help clear up the confusion.

More than 11,000 households in King County rely on federal assistance to pay the rent. And that’s just in the county’s suburban cities and unincorporated areas – not including Seattle and Renton. Starting Wednesday, the waiting list to get this help – also known as Section 8 housing — will open up for only the second time since 2011.

Erin Hennessey / KNKX

Seattle’s bike-share program is in its final hours. The city tried to bail out the little-used system about a year ago, to the tune of $1.4 million. But in the end, there were not enough riders to make a go of it.

Cory Martinsen / Aberdeen High School

It’s going to be a noisy day in Olympia, Monday. The Capitol will be teeming with builders wielding hammers and nails; not inside the dome, but on the lawn outside.

Jared Eaton is a junior at Aberdeen High School. His construction class –what old-timers know as “shop” -- is one of more than 20 from across the state that has carted its handiwork within yards of the Capitol steps.

"There's two windows and a door, which makes it feel really cool," said Eaton.

Seattle Municipal Archives / FLICKR Creative Commons http://bit.ly/2mAIIdM

Seattle’s Green Lake is one of eight city parks with buildings that are in what officials call a ‘desperate’ situation. After considering a remodel of the 1928 community center and the 1950s-era swimming pool, the city concluded the facilities are at the end of their useful life. That is raising questions about the best way to pay for their replacement.

Photo courtesy of Seattle Symphony

Imagine what it would be like to find yourself without a roof over your head. It’s not easy to put yourself in those shoes. But what if you could experience homelessness by hearing and feeling it in music — the uncertainty and trauma, the hope, and the question of how to solve it?

Ashley Gross / KNKX

A new secretary of housing and urban development, Ben Carson, was sworn this week. Officials who help low-income people get housing in Seattle say it’s not clear how the new HUD secretary’s policies might affect this area. But one thing is certain -- there are many more people asking for federal help with housing than will receive it.  

Tiny houses — sometimes known by their clunkier name — accessory dwelling units, have been a thing for more than a dozen years. Lately, we’ve heard more about them as an option to house homeless people. But tiny houses could be the answer for a lot of people.

This weekend it will be at Tacoma’s South Sound Sustainability Expo. It’s the first time the fair has featured a tiny house.

Tacoma Community House


 A 107-year-old Tacoma organization that started in the Hilltop neighborhood to help Italian and Irish immigrants adapt to their new home is still busy today.  At Tacoma Community House refugees and immigrants, along with volunteers, are never at a loss for words.

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

Some big changes are coming to Seattle’s University District. This week, the City Council is expected to pass controversial legislation to increase density in the neighborhood.

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

Seattle has long had a big vision for bicyclists. Planners want to build out a network of protected lanes downtown that would buffer cyclists from traffic. And now there’s a push to accelerate the project.

Seattle City Councilman Mike O’Brien says the money is in the budget to build the separate bikes lanes, but the city is moving too slowly. That’s why he’s asking the Seattle Department of Transportation to come up with a list of what might be do-able now.

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

The city of Seattle severed ties with Wells Fargo bank earlier this month and other cities, including Davis, California are following suit. The money from those cities may be a drop in the bucket to the giant financial institution, but the divestment highlights a growing trend in the finance industry.

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

 

Seattle’s calendar is filled with demonstrations and rallies in response to recent actions by the Trump administration.

To the rest of the country, protests in this city are a given. While they might be predictable, they can play an important role in spreading political causes.

Paula Wissel / KNKX

 

The public will have a chance to weigh in on police reform and accountability in Seattle.

This week, the Seattle City Council will have its first look at a legislative package that features stronger civilian oversight.  

Courtesy Tacoma Public Library, Bowen Collection, TPL-39586.

Tacoma’s Prairie Line Trail has long been a Northwest landmark.  In the late 1800s, it was the terminus for the Northern Pacific Railroad. The intercontinental railroad put Tacoma on the map, but the stories that pre-dated it are often forgotten.

 

Washington State Department of Transportation

 When a major thoroughfare closes for bad weather – like Interstate 90 at Snoqualmie Pass – it's more than an inconvenience.  It might put a damper on your ski vacation, sure, but did you know many things headed to your store shelves might come to a screeching halt?

Most of the time, Washington-grown goods like hay, lentils and onions make their way in trucks across I-90 from Eastern Washington before they’re shipped all over the world. That’s just the export side. There's tons of stuff going the other direction.

Ted S. Warren / AP Photo

Planning for the worst case scenario — that’s where the state’s largest school district finds itself as it prepares its budget for the next school year. Depending on what the Legislature does – or doesn’t do — cuts could be coming to the classroom.

Ted S. Warren / AP Photo

This school year, Seattle’s Garfield High School embarked on a new path. All students are now automatically placed in honors humanities classes, regardless of test scores. Some see this step toward “detracking” in public schools as a negative, because it eliminates gifted or accelerated programs.

Monica Spain / knkx

Washington is adopting the state’s first set of standards for teaching computer science in public schools. By adopting computer science standards, Washington is addressing the skills gap in the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields.

Right now, only one in 10 schools in the state offers classes that teach students more advanced computer skills that deal with problem solving, such as robotics, creating websites and writing software. Computer instruction has been considered an “extra” in schools, with funding coming from local levies.

Tacoma Fire Department

Firefighters and building inspectors spend their days working to prevent deadly fires like the one in an Oakland, California warehouse. That’s why, when tragedies like this strike, it hits especially close to home.

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