Paula Wissel | KNKX

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.”

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For thirty years, it’s been illegal for couples in Washington to pay a surrogate to have their child. A new law signed by Gov. Jay Inslee this week changes that. 

Paula Wissel / knkx

Correction: A previous version of this story stated an incorrect number of deaths of homeless people investigated by the medical examiner. The correct number is 169. We apologize for the error.

Between 2012 and 2018, the number of homeless deaths in King County more than doubled. Last year alone, the King County Medical Examiner investigated 169 deaths of people determined to be homeless.

Paula Wissel / knkx

King County now has a permanent Immigrant and Refugee Commission. King County Executive Dow Constantine joined hundreds of immigrants and refugees in a signing ceremony Tuesday morning at a community hall in Seattle’s Columbia City to celebrate.

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

SEATTLE (AP) — Sixteen years after federal prosecutor Thomas Wales was shot to death in his Seattle home, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said Wednesday the unsolved case remains a top priority of the Justice Department.

Paula Wissel / knkx

The Bellingham Herald reports a 400,000-pound 'acid ball' is moving to its new home on the Bellingham waterfront. The artifact is a remnant of an old pulp and paper mill and will eventually turn into a piece of public art.

KNKX visited the 'acid ball' in 2016. What follows is our original story, published on Dec. 5, 2016. 

Paula Wissel / knkx

The Northwest Flower and Garden Festival opened Wednesday at the Washington State Convention Center in Seattle. It runs through Sunday.

Danny Alpert / No Small Matter via University of Washington

Babies are aware of what’s happening to others far earlier than you might think. That’s what University of Washington scientists found when they studied how the sense of touch is reflected in a baby’s brain.

Matthew Purdy/FLKR

(Updated at 12:30 pm, January 29, 2017 to correct the spelling of Dr. Ojemann's name.)

New research on concussions in young athletes may be the key to better treating or monitoring the injuries.

The study, published in the journal "Neurology," was conducted at Seattle Children’s Hospital. It was indirectly funded by the National Football League, part of the millions of dollars the NFL has spent on concussion research.

Ted S. Warren / AP Photo

(This story clarified at 12:54 pm, January 29, 2017, to reflect what less-lethal training King County Sheriff deputies have received and remarks made by the Director of Law Enforcement Oversight, Deborah Jacobs, regarding implicit-bias training.)

Soon, all King County patrol deputies will have gone through violence de-escalation training. The King County Sheriff’s Office says non-patrol officers will also be trained. It’s part of a broader initiative to promote anti-biased policing in the department.

Ted S. Warren / AP Photo

We aren’t aware of our subconscious prejudices and how they affect our actions. Researchers say this implicit bias plays a role in policing, helping to explain why people of color often receive harsher treatment from police than whites. Some police departments are trying to address the problem through training courses.

Paula Wissel / knkx

A federal lawsuit has been filed over the shooting of 20-year-old Tommy Le last June by King County Sheriff's Deputy Cesar Molina in Burien.  

Will James / KNKX

King County is unique in the state because it requires an inquest to be held whenever there is a fatal shooting by police. But the process can be confusing and controversial, with some critics arguing that it's biased toward law enforcement.

Paula Wissel / knkx

A group of parents in Monroe is suing the school district and the state of Washington, as well as Monsanto, saying toxic Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs) in the classroom made their children sick.

Wikimedia Commons

Health insurers in Washington state are now required to provide 12-month refills of birth control pills.  

Although the Affordable Care Act requires most insurance plans to provide birth control for free as part of preventive medicine, a lot of insurers had limited customers to a 30-day supply at a time.

Ted S. Warren / AP Photo

A Somali refugee who lives in Seattle is one of the people challenging President Trump’s travel ban saying it’s illegally preventing him from reuniting with his family. Oral arguments will be heard Thursday, December 21, before U.S. District Judge James Robart in Seattle. Robart has ruled on a number of travel ban cases and was one of the first federal judge's to grant an injunction temporarily halting enactment of the  travel ban after President Trump signed an Executive Order putting it in place.

Paula Wissel / KNKX

Undocumented young immigrants, including a contingent from Washington State, are descending on Capitol Hill to push for passage of the Dream Act before Congress leaves on Friday. The Act would provide a path to citizenship for more than a million undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States as children.

Paula Wissel / knkx

People selling the street newspaper Real Change are now easier to see.  They’ve been issued bright green reflective vests. 

The paper is sold on the street by people who are homeless or formerly homeless, who pay 60 cents for each paper and sell it for $2.

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan says the Seattle Police Department will continue its reform efforts, even as a search is launched for a new Police Chief. Chief Kathleen O’Toole announced she’s stepping down and will leave by the end of the month.

Paula Wissel / knkx

Not showing up for a court date can result in a warrant for your arrest. But now, anyone with an outstanding warrant from Seattle Municipal Court has a chance to get it cleared.

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

The first woman mayor since the 1920s has taken the helm in the booming progressive city of Seattle.

Former U.S. Attorney Jenny Durkan was sworn in Tuesday at an Ethiopian community center, 91 years after the city elected Bertha Knight Landes as mayor.

Charles Sykes/Invision for Hasbro / AP Images

A consumer advocacy group has released its annual survey of dangerous toys. In addition to warnings about toys that pose physical hazards like choking, the group is sounding the alarm over toys that could threaten children's privacy.

Paula Wissel / knkx

Memorial Stadium at the Seattle Center could be closer to getting a makeover. Seattle Public Schools, which owns the stadium, has signed an agreement with the city of Seattle to come up with a plan for the 70 year old high school sports facility.

Mark Stone / University of Washington

When you think of a smart gadget, you probably think of a phone or an appliance. But, how about a piece of paper? That’s what a team of scientists at the University of Washington have developed. And they say its use could range from manufacturing to medicine.

Monica Spain / knkx

More than a hundred families will gather at county courthouses around Washington state Thursday and Friday to finalize their adoption of children.

The annual statewide event is part of National Adoption Day, which is intended to celebrate adoptees and their families and encourage adoption of kids still waiting for  permanent homes.

Jennifer Wing / knkx

King County Metro Transit fares are being simplified. Beginning in July 2018, bus riders will pay a flat adult rate of $2.75. The new fare system eliminates different fares for peak times and for traveling between zones.

Abhinaba Basu / Wikimedia Commons

If you trek to Mount Rainier National Park every summer to catch the spectacular display of wildflowers, take note: In the future, some flower species may bloom earlier while others could disappear altogether, according to a study from the University of Washington.

Toby Talbot / Associated Press

Those trying to tackle the opioid crisis say solving it will take more than money and government help. It will take a change in attitude. 

Lauren Davis, with Washington Recovery Alliance, says the stigma attached to addiction makes it less likely that people will seek treatment.

Unless Congress acts soon, nearly 18,000 children in Washington state will lose health coverage because Congress still hasn’t reauthorized the Children’s Health Insurance Program or CHIP.

Neil Conway/Flckr

Criminal justice reform advocates say Washington state has room to improve when it comes to making the bail system more equitable. 

A report card issued by the Pretrial Justice Institute, which pushes for bail reform, gives Washington a "C" grade, which is better than the "D" national average grade.

Paula Wissel / knkx

Community leaders in King County are reacting angrily to what they say is a dangerous and divisive flyer targeting undocumented immigrants.

As Crosscut first reported, the mailer sent to Burien residents by the group Respect Washington purports to list the addresses and names of local people who are in the country illegally and have committed crimes.