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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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.

KNKX Photo

The American Civil Liberties Union says a proposed new data collection system in the King County Sheriff’s Office could cause people to be unfairly tracked by law enforcement. The ACLU says the county needs to be more transparent on exactly what the Mark43 records management system would do.

University of Washington

Scientists say it’s not a matter of if, but of when a devastating earthquake will hit the Pacific Northwest.

University of Washington researchers have now done detailed simulations to find out just how intense the shaking from such a quake off the Oregon and Washington coast would be.

Paula Wissel / knkx

Two Seattle police officers recently filed a lawsuit against Seattle City Councilmember Kshama Sawant for defamation of character.

They say she defamed them when, shortly after it happened, she referred to the police killing of Che Taylor, an African American man, as a “brutal murder.” They point out they were eventually cleared of wrongdoing in the killing by an inquest jury. 

Paula Wissel / knkx

Puget Sound Energy wants to raise electricity rates by 4.1 percent and lower natural gas rates  by 2.4 percent. The Washignton Utilities and Transportation Commission has to approve the request and is holding hearings this week.

Paula Wissel / knkx

Six nonprofit organizations have been awarded grants from a $1.5 million legal-defense fund the City of Seattle has set up to help immigrants who face deportation or are in danger of losing their legal status.

A Washington state high school football coach took advantage of his position when he prayed on the field after games, and he's not entitled to immediately get his job back, a federal appeals court said Wednesday.

Seth Perlman / AP Photo

Washington law prevents domestic violence abusers from possessing guns. But advocates for victims say the courts aren’t doing enough to enforce the law.

Passed by the Washington state legislature in 2014, the law requires people with protection orders against them because of domestic abuse to temporarily surrender their firearms to law enforcement. 

Paula Wissel / knkx

We weren't in the path of totality, but that didn't dampen the excitement in Seattle and around the Puget Sound region.

Nearly everywhere, people stepped outside their workplaces to look up at the sky and watch as the eclipse obscured 92 percent of the sun.

Paula Wissel / knkx

Restaurants in most of King County, including in Seattle, are now required to post their “smiley face” health department food safety rating.

Public Health Seattle and King County began rolling out the system in January. The final phase will be completed in October, when Auburn is included.

Initial evidence shows the ratings may be having an impact.

Ricardo Arduengo / AP Photo

Middle school students who are severely depressed could be at an elevated risk of developing a problem with marijuana by the time they finish high school, according to a study conducted by University of Washington researchers, published in the journal "Addiction".

#FiveMinutes campaign

Can a five minute video change negative perceptions of people who are Muslim? That’s the goal of a social media campaign started in Seattle by a group of attorneys.

Paula Wissel / knkx

A Yakima man who falsely confessed to rape and served nearly a decade behind bars before being exonerated says he wants the real rapist brought to trial. He says prosecutors should examine new DNA evidence uncovered by a private investigator.

Paula Wissel / KNKX

Are you willing to pay an extra $30  in sales tax a year to help support museums, theaters and other cultural institutions? That’s the question King County voters are being asked in the form of Proposition 1, Sales Tax for Cultural Access Program.

Paula Wissel / knkx

Cuts to Medicaid have been at the heart of much of the Congressional debate over health care. The federally funded health care program for the poor has been a target of most G.O.P proposals to repeal or repeal and replace Obamacare.  The threats to Medicaid have spurred a new level of activism among some recipients in Washington state.

Kyle Fox / KNKX

Seattle area residents and family members of Tommy Le demanded answers from King County officials during a public forum about his fatal shooting by a deputy in June.

King County Sheriff John Urquhart, County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg and County Office of Law Enforcement Oversight Director Deborah Jacobs were among those who attended the forum Wednesday evening at the Asian Counseling and Referral Service in Seattle.

Paula Wissel / knkx

King County election officials are using new vote scanning machines they say will result in quicker vote tallying. The county is the largest vote-by-mail county in the country.  On election nights in the past, King County has often released minimal results because of the pace of processing its ballots.

buzzlab / flkr/Creative Commons

The Presiding Judge of King County Superior Court says open air drug dealing and harassment outside the county courthouse in downtown Seattle has reached a crisis point. The court is asking that measures be taken to make the environment safer for jurors and other courthouse visitors.

Nami Quenby / flkr/Creative Commons

Sheryl Hill is Founder of Depart Smart, a Minnesota-based non-profit  focused on safety and travel. Her personal passion is making study abroad programs more accountable. Her son, Tyler, died while on a study program in Japan. But she says she wants to make travel safer for everyone. Here are five of her safe travel tips that you may not have thought of.

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Wikimedia Commons

Washington CoastSavers is coordinating its annual post Independence Day beach clean up. In past years, the group reports tens of tons of fireworks debris has been collected from Washington's south coast beaches following Fourth of July celebrations. 

Here's where to go if you want to help on the morning of July 5th:

Ted S. Warren / AP Photo

This story was originally published July 4, 2013.

It seems as much a part of a trip to the ballpark as eating hotdogs.

But, when you hear the announcer say, "Ladies and gentlemen, please rise and remove your caps for the singing of the national anthem," do you ever wonder why you're standing?

Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

Most U.S. Army Corps projects don't include the kind of horticultural splendors seen at the Carl S. English Botanical Garden at the Ballard Locks.

SEATTLE (AP) — Seattle residents and family members of Charleena Lyles demanded change from Seattle city officials during a public hearing about her fatal shooting by police earlier this month.

The full Seattle City Council attended the hearing Tuesday evening at the University of Washington, which the Seattle King County NAACP called for last week.

Neil Conway / Flickr

It’s estimated that up to 75 percent of people in jail in Washington haven’t been convicted of a crime. They’re waiting for trial and can’t afford the bail set by the judge. There’s a national movement to change the system. Now judges in Washington state are joining efforts to look at the problem.