Paula Wissel

Law & Justice Reporter

Paula reports on groundbreaking legal decisions in Washington State and on trends in crime and law enforcement. She’s been at KNKX since 1989 and has covered the Law and Justice beat for the past 15 years. Paula grew up in Idaho and, prior to KNKX, worked in public radio and television in Boise, San Francisco and upstate New York.

Paula's most memorable moment at KNKX: “Interviewing NPR Senior News Analyst Daniel Schorr about his ability to put current events in historical context. It’s something I aspire to.”

Ways to Connect

Paula Wissel / knkx

Starting Wednesday, counties are mailing out ballots in Washington state. Registered voters can expect to receive theirs by the weekend. In King County, more of the ballots going out are in a language other than English.

Nam Y. Huh / AP Photo

E-cigarettes are unsafe and need more regulation; that’s the claim in lawsuits filed against  four vape shops in Washington state. But, one owner says his product is no more dangerous than any electronic device.

Paula Wissel / knkx

Ethiopian immigrants marched through downtown Seattle Tuesday afternoon to protest the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation funding of projects in Ethiopia. Protesters say humanitarian aid going to Ethiopia is being used to support a brutal regime.

Ted S. Warren / AP Photo

For the first time in decades, all of the Washington Supreme Court Justices up for re-election are facing serious opposition. Much of it has to do with the court’s controversial rulings on charter schools and public school funding.

Paula Wissel / knkx

When you register to vote, you have to write down where you live. But what if you’re homeless? As it turns out, in Washington state that doesn’t disqualify you, but it can make voting more challenging.

Jeff Roberson / AP Photo

Keeping guns out of the hands of people who are a danger to themselves or others is the goal of Washington Initiative 1491 on the ballot this election. But opponents worry it will further stigmatize mental illness.

Paula Wissel / knkx

Presidential election years often yield memorable political cartoons.  Every four years, University of Washington librarian Jessica Albano creates a display to highlight the work of editorial cartoonists.

The political cartoon exhibit, which is added to on a regular basis, will be up in the reading room on the ground floor of the UW Suzzallo Library through November. Knkx's Paula Wissel took a tour of the exhibit.

"Cool entrance to The Matador - Ballard" by brewbooks is licensed by CC BY-SA 2.0

The Washington Department of Health is still investigating this month’s E. coli outbreak that forced a Seattle restaurant to close temporarily. The Matador in Seattle's Ballard neighborhood has now reopened, but the source of the E. coli that sickened several patrons remains a mystery. Meanwhile, food safety advocates say this latest scare underscores the need for a promised restaurant grading system to be implemented quickly by public health officials.

Two deaths of cardiac patients at the University of Washington Medical Center have now been linked to the bacteria that causes Legionnaires’ disease. Officials say the bacteria that causes the disease has been found in the cardiac unit’s water supply.

King County

To run for office, you have to meet certain criteria. If you're a candidate for the United States House of Representatives, you have to be at least 25 years old and have been a U.S. citizen for at least seven years. But  there's no requirement that you live in the congressional district you are vying to represent.

Paula Wissel / KNKX

GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump held a rally in Everett, Washington Tuesday night.  He was joined by Reince Priebus, chairman of the Republican National Committee and former mayor of New York City, Rudy Giuliani. Thousands of supporters stood in line for hours to get into Xfinity Arena for the event. Protesters held an anti-Trump event at Clark Park several blocks away, then marched to the arena. / Flkr Creative Commons

Top brass from Joint Base Lewis McChord took to Facebook this week to answer questions on everything from guns to traffic.

KPLU is one step closer to becoming a community owned station. On Tuesday, the Federal Communications Commission approved the assignment of KPLU’s broadcast license to Friends of 88.5 FM from Pacific Lutheran University.

Ted S. Warren / AP Photo

The Seattle Police Department's use of so-called “blast balls” by to control crowds has come under fire.  During May Day demonstrations in 2015, some protesters in Seattle were injured by them, as well as a Seattle Times reporter. But at a briefing before the Seattle City Council, police brass insisted the use of blast balls, which are similar to flash-bang grenades, has made things safer for protesters and observers.


Once-in-a-generation opportunity or harebrained scheme? Both have been used to describe Initiative 123 on the city of Seattle primary ballot.

Ted S. Warren / AP Photo

The Bremerton-based company that’s been serving hot dogs, coffee and other refreshments on Washington State Ferries for more than a decade is fighting to keep its concession. Earlier this year, Olympic Cascade Services lost the ferry food contract to a multi-national corporation based in Connecticut.

Paula Wissel / KPLU

Creating places where drug users could go to shoot up heroin or smoke crack is an increasingly popular idea.  Treatment advocates say it’s a recognition that addiction is a public health crisis. A mock up of a drug consumption site was on display in various Seattle parks this week.

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

A mortgage company’s practice of locking people out of their homes before the owners have been foreclosed on is illegal. The Washington Supreme Court says it’s a violation of Washington’s Consumer Protection Act.

Thomas Hawk/Flickr

Across the country, people with serious mental illness are ending up in county jails in large numbers. A national survey out today highlights the extent of the problem. This comes at a time when Washington state is in trouble over how it deals with mentally ill inmates.

Harvey Barrison / Flickr via Creative Commons

A Washington ballot initiative, I-1431, which would give grandparents the legal right to seek visitation with their grandkids, has failed to get enough signatures. But that hasn't deterred supports who are now seeking signatures for an initiative to the state Legislature, I-877. Grandparents' rights groups decided to go the initiative route after spending more than a decade trying to get a bill through the Legislature.

Barry Sweet / AP Photo

If you're in your 20s, it might be difficult to imagine, but there was a time when there was no web to browse, no Internet to access, and when few people outside of an academic setting had an email address.

This was in the early 1990s.

By the mid-90s, the internet was becoming available to the general public. There was a lot of buzz about it. On late night TV in 1995, David Letterman famously asked Microsoft founder Bill Gates about "this internet thing."

Paula Wissel / KPLU

People in Washington State who would have benefited from President Obama’s plan to stop deportations of some undocumented immigrants are expressing disappointment. The United States Supreme Court effectively blocked implementation of the plan that would have allowed parents of children here legally to stay in the U.S. as well.

Corinne Chin & Lauren Frohne / The Seattle Times

Talking about race can be like walking into an emotional minefield where no one is comfortable. Opening up a discussion online can be even more treacherous. Nevertheless, the Seattle Times has launched an online, interactive project about race called “Under Our Skin.”

Walt Jabsco/Flckr

Why the FBI and other federal law enforcement agencies have placed hidden cameras on utility poles in Seattle, or even where they are, remains a mystery. A federal judge has ruled that the city of Seattle is not allowed to release information about six surveillance cameras the city allowed the agencies to put up.

Paula Wissel / KPLU

As part of earthquake preparedness, Seattle has identified community hubs where people can gather after a quake. On Saturday, the hubs will be activated for an exercise. But, there are no hubs in some of the city’s most popular neighborhoods, including Belltown, Downtown, the Central District and Capitol Hill.

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

Landlords of apartments in Seattle with broken heaters and other safety violations will be prevented from raising the rent under a new Seattle ordinance. The law is likely to be challenged in court.

Paula Wissel / KPLU

Think of it as crowdsourcing emergency CPR treatment. A smart phone app called PulsePoint is now usable in Seattle. The Seattle Fire Department and the Medic One Foundation, which are launching it in the city, say it’s a way for people to be alerted when someone nearby is in sudden cardiac arrest.

Historic Seattle

After being closed for renovations, Washington Hall, a legendary jazz and performance venue and gathering space in Seattle's Central District,  is set to re-open today. Historic Seattle has spent $10 million refurbishing the hall, which will be open to the public from 5 - 8 p.m.

In 2014, Florangela Davila produced this radio feature story about Washington Hall and its importance to Seattle's early jazz scene. 

In 2015, the federal grant to the Washington State Office of Crime Victims Advocacy went up 400 percent over the previous fiscal year. That's an extra $30 million the state is now able to spend helping victims of everything from sexual assault to identity theft.

Washington state is suing Johnson & Johnson over its marketing of vaginal mesh implants. It’s estimated that 12,000 women in the state have the implants.  Washington filed a consumer protection lawsuit in King County Superior Court on Tuesday.