Monica Spain

Brian Glanz / Flickr

When President Obama was elected, he made a promise to Native Americans that he would meet with tribal leaders every year. And he has kept that promise.

This week, for the eighth and final time, Northwest tribes will travel to Washington D.C. to meet with the highest levels of this administration.

Before President Obama, there weren’t any regular meetings like this on the White House calendar.

"edited005-1" by Michael Bentley is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Even if your school days are long behind you, there’s something about this time of year that signals a return to routines. For families, high on the list is getting back to a set bed time.

According to Dr. Maida Chen of the University of Washington School of Medicine, you can get bed time under control by walking your kids through the new schedule.

Hope for Gorilla/Flickr

Back to school is a time of transitions for families. But for students in Seattle Public Schools, this fall marks a major change for those trying to get their kids out the door each morning. This school year, the start times will finally align with kids’ circadian rhythms. 

David Nogueras / KPLU

Chinese international students at the University of Washington who were victims of fraud are being given more time to pay tuition. They paid cash to a third party who promised to pay their tuition with a credit card and get them a discount. It was bogus scheme.


They’re flat, they’re white and they’re popping up all over Seattle.  No, they aren’t the latest coffee drink.  They’re “Notice of Proposed Land Use Action” signs, posted to notify the public of coming changes. But for the average person, the notices aren’t always easy to decipher.

Monica Spain / KPLU

When a Seattle art colony was displaced by tunnel construction, preserving the downtown art scene was a tough nut to crack.  With space at a premium, some artists began doing what they do best:  they got creative — and partnered with developers to make space.

Jane Richlovsky is painter who calls herself an "accidental developer."  A new exhibit at her artists' studios,
'57 Biscayne, explores how artists interact with the city, and takes note of its changes.

"Gold bar sheriff lot" by Richard Bauer is licensed by CC BY 2.0

Voters in Snohomish County are deciding whether to increase the county sales tax to beef up law enforcement. While the measure would put more sheriff’s deputies on the street, officials hope additional resources will help get at the root of the problems the county faces.

Snohomish County officials say the twin epidemics of heroin and homelessness are ravaging the community. Proposition 1 would raise the sales tax to tackle these problems. The county wants to hire 35 sheriff’s deputies and add social workers.

David Nogueras / KPLU

Washington state law protects reproductive rights, such as emergency contraception, but that doesn’t always mean you can go to your local hospital in an urgent situation and get what you need. Advocates hope a new website will help patients navigate the fine print.


A University of Washington report on drug addiction in King County confirms that heroin use is still on the rise. But for the first time, researchers say opioid-related deaths are leveling off.

City of Seattle

Some long-time neighborhood activists in Seattle are wondering if they still have an official voice. Last week the mayor said he would break ties with decades-old neighborhood councils because they don’t reflect the city’s diverse population.

Wenatchee Valley College

Washington state is one of largest wine producers in the U.S., second only to California.  As demand for Washington’s silky reds and crisp whites goes up, so does the need for labor. Growing grapes can be a complicated job. You have to learn the right way to prune vines and manage irrigation. 

In recent years, more Latina women are applying for jobs in vineyards. In response, Wenatchee Valley College recently expanded their successful grape-growing program to include classes exclusively for Spanish-speaking women.

Seattle Seahawks

As news has emerged about the devastating, lifelong effects of concussions, football has lost some its standing as the great all-American sport. With parents more wary than ever about letting their kids play, the Seattle Seahawks are inviting mothers to come down to the field and learn how the sport should be taught.

Paul Johns was the starting wide receiver for the Seattle Seahawks in 1984. A neck injury during a game in the Kingdome changed that in an instant.

Seattle Trans Pride

This weekend will be unusually busy for Seattle Police as they staff a number of events. It all starts Friday with the Trans Pride March on Capitol Hill. Around the same time, President Obama is due in town -- and there’s a Mariners game. All that activity has organizers in the transgender community taking extra precautions.

Between Obama’s fundraising visit at the Washington State Convention Center and Friday night’s march, the corridor between downtown Seattle and Capitol Hill will be crawling with police.


Online wishlists circulate for weddings or the holidays. The technology makes it easy for everyone — tell your friends what you want and they know what to buy. Now there’s an app that helps homeless people ask for exactly what they need.

You probably have had the feeling — you want to help, but you aren’t sure of the best way.

Strawberry season is just beginning in Washington. But the disagreements over wages between berry pickers and Sakuma Brothers Farms go back several years. On Thursday, tensions boiled over again when some workers walked off the fields.

More than a hundred berry pickers stopped work because they say their wages are too low. They want a 10 cent increase for every pound they pick, which they say will guarantee them $12 an hour. But a spokesman for Sakuma Brothers Farms in Burlington – Roger Van Oosten says the wage is fair.


Both the city of Seattle and the state of Washington have laws criminalizing voyeurism. But with drones and selfie sticks, comes the ability for cameras to sneak into places where they shouldn’t be. That's one of the reasons Seattle is looking to update its current city ordinance.

Seattle lawmakers want to make it clear that you can’t take pictures or film someone’s intimate body parts in a public place without their permission. It’s already a gross misdemeanor to take a picture of someone, say if their skirt blows up in the wind.

A train rolls through the University of Washington Station, where there will soon be cell service.
Monica Spain / KPLU

The wait for light rail often feels a long way off. So long, that some voters who will make a choice about the latest plan wonder if they will ever get to use it. But the promise of light rail is already transforming communities.

Justin Steyer / KPLU

The community group hoping to preserve 88.5 FM as an independent radio station has hit its $7 million fundraising goal a month ahead of schedule. KPLU General Manager Joey Cohn announced live on the air Thursday afternoon that nearly 18,000 donors have raised enough money to make a bid for the station.

"It's unprecedented, I mean, we've been saying we have made public radio history, and we really have,” said KPLU General Manager Joey Cohn. “To raise $7 million dollars in four and a half months -- that's never been done."

Tech Policy Lab, University of Washington

Artificial intelligence has come a long way since the term was coined in the 1950s, but computers still don’t think and feel in quite the same way humans do. Yet rapid progress has the federal government, and others, thinking about new legal and policy issues.

Common Threads Farm; Bellingham, WA

Candy bars and cookie dough are some of the traditional fundraising offerings for school kids. But with concerns about childhood obesity, selling sweet stuff sends a mixed message. Now, some schools are taking a healthier tack.

By this time of year, lots of families with school-age children are experiencing fundraising fatigue.

Illustration by Olson Kundig Architects/Stephanie Bower Architectural Illustration

From mastodon bones to special baskets used just for clamming, the Burke Museum houses vast numbers of objects from the natural and cultural world. There are so many pieces, in fact, that unless you’re with a curator, there are many items you might never have the opportunity to see. But that’s going to be changing when the Burke moves to a new building in 2019.

Parents use all kinds of tricks to get their kids to peacefully put down devices or turn off the TV. It turns out, one of the most popular tactics – the “two-minute warning” – is also one of the least effective.

It usually goes something like this, “You have two minutes left, and then we’re really going to shut it off.” Three quarters of the parents surveyed by the University of Washington used this exact warning with their one to five year olds.

Felipe Dana / AP Photo

The first case of the Zika virus has been reported in King County. It's the third case of Zika in Washington state. Officials are not concerned about an outbreak in the Pacific Northwest, but more cases are expected.

The King County case involved a man in his forties who recently traveled to the country of Colombia. That's one of the countries where Zika is actively spreading, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

For 10 years, neighbors in Seattle’s Rainier Valley have wanted a Trader Joe’s. That’s the mid-sized grocery chain, known for lower prices on specialty items. Now there’s a unique campaign to lure the store to South Seattle.

You know how stores pull in customers with ads and commercials? Well, what if it was the other way around – what if customers advertised their community to attract a store?

A new web commercial serves as a love letter of sorts. It’s asking Trader Joe’s to move to Rainier Beach.

When the weather turns balmy and the sun goes down, there’s nothing like the coziness of a backyard fire. At least that’s how some people see it. But if your neighbors don’t agree, the law is on their side. 

U.S. Postal Service

Mount Rainier will appear on a U.S. postage stamp, as part of a series commemorating the centennial of the National Park Service. The photo used on the "forever" stamp was snapped by an amateur photographer who was working for a short stint as an interpretive ranger last year.

Harvey Barrison / Flickr via Creative Commons

Washington continues to pave the way for regulation of toxic chemicals with a new state law. It bans five flame retardants used in furniture and children’s products and pushes manufacturers to change their practices.

The Toxic-Free Kids and Families Act knocks out five of the worst flame retardants and sets up a process for the Departments of Health and Ecology to make recommendations on six others. Flame retardants are used in everything from baby bouncers to sofa cushions.

Monica Spain / KPLU

It can be hard to know when to call 9-1-1. And once you're on the line, it can be even harder to stay calm, cool and collected. Eight-year-old Austin Holdt did just that -- and helped save his grandmother's life. 

Mark Woods Photography

Two eagerly-awaited light rail stations open in Seattle on Saturday: one on Capitol Hill and the other at the University of Washington. This is the biggest game-changer in Seattle transportation for quite some time.

One of the first things you notice about the new stations is the art. At the UW Station, the art is intended to help get you acclimated on your journey underground.

Monica Spain / knkx

Neighbors in the Greenwoood area of Seattle spent the day in shock after Wednesday morning’s natural gas explosion. As of Wednesday evening, the area remains closed for business as fire investigators try to figure out what went wrong.

Sarah Cohn stood with her umbrella, a baby on her back and her toddler in a stroller.

“He’s wearing his little firefighter uniform because he wants to help,” she said. “He’s really concerned that the coffee shop is not there. He’s such a little Seattle kid – he’s like, ‘The coffee shop is gone!’”