Simone Alicea

Business & Labor Reporter

A Seattle native and former knkx intern, Simone Alicea has returned to the Pacific Northwest from covering breaking news at the Chicago Sun-Times. She earned her Bachelor's of Journalism from Northwestern University. During her undergraduate career, she spent time in Cape Town, South Africa, covering metro news for the Cape Times. 

Ways to Connect

Simone Alicea / KNKX

Apprenticeships are common in sectors like building and manufacturing, but now Washington state is trying to apply the model to the tech industry.

The first cohort of 41 apprentices were pinned by Governor Jay Inslee in a ceremony Friday honoring the state's only registered tech apprenticeship program called Apprenti.

Simone Alicea / KNKX

Amazon hosted a ceremonial tree planting Thursday as work continued on the large glass domes at the center of the company's downtown Seattle campus.

The Australian tree fern is the first plant to call the spheres home. The spheres will house a kind of indoor park for Amazon employees with hundreds of different species of plants from around the world.

"This is an opportunity to link nature to today's office space," said John Schoettler, Amazon's vice president of global real estate and facilities.

Simone Alicea / KNKX

Two security officers who work on the Amazon campus in Seattle say their hours were cut after they marched to the company's headquarters on May Day.

The Service Employees International Union filed a complaint Wednesday to the National Labor Relations Board on behalf of Abdinasir Elmi and Betiel Desta.

Elmi and Desta are employed by Security Industry Specialists, a California-based company that contracts with Amazon.

"This problem has been going on for a long, long time. This is not the first time," Elmi said.

Ralph Radford / AP Photo

Boeing is reporting an increase in profits from the same time last year even though there has been a decrease in plane sales.

The Chicago-based aerospace company did see an uptick in deliveries on its 787 Dreamliner and expects good prospects as it rolls out the 737 Max.

But Boeing is cutting output of the 777 jet, which has consequences for workers in Washington state.

Simone Alicea / KNKX

Since the election, there has been renewed interest in learning about how government works. 

Most high school students said in 2010 that they learned about civics in some form, according to the latest National Assessment of Educational Progress in the subject.

But many adults in Washington state and around the country are finding those high school government lessons difficult to remember. 

What Washington Teaches Kids

Simone Alicea / knkx

For our show this week, we wanted to talk to someone who hears lies all the time: Tow truck drivers. That’s what Sound Effect Executive Producer Erin Hennessey suggested. She sent 88.5’s Simone Alicea to a towing company in Bellevue to talk to someone who’s heard it all.

But it turns out Erin wasn’t being totally forthcoming, herself, about the role she had cast for these drivers. She and Simone sat down to compare notes about their impound experiences.

Courtesy of Bunker Labs

A national nonprofit to help military veterans become entrepreneurs has recently opened up a Seattle chapter.

Bunker Labs aims to help veterans start their own businesses by connecting them to the resources they need to do so.

Courtesty of The BLOCK Project

A Seattle organization wants people to open up their backyards to homeless people.

Facing Homelessness is managing the BLOCK Project, which aims to put 109-square-foot homes in backyards in residential neighborhoods around Seattle to help house the homeless.

Simone Alicea / KNKX

Washington state is one step closer to a widespread earthquake warning system.

Scientists along the West Coast have been developing ShakeAlert for about a decade. It can warn about an earthquake between a few seconds and a couple minutes before it happens.

On Monday, the U.S. Geological Survey announced that pilot projects in Washington in Oregon can now use ShakeAlert.

Until now, scientists and engineers here could only observe what the system was saying.

Doug / Flickr

About a dozen juniors and seniors from Tacoma high schools are helping build airplanes as part of the state's first youth apprenticeship in aerospace and manufacturing.

The Aerospace Joint Apprenticeship Committee launched the program last week with several manufacturers in Pierce County.

Simone Alicea / KNKX

When it comes to issues of public safety, it's usually good for neighbors to get together and talk about it.

That's what Sara Mae thought. She owns 701 Coffee on 23rd Avenue and Cherry Street in Seattle's Central District. 

She recently held a community meeting at the shop to talk about how to make the neighborhood safer. She says there's been a recent spate of shootings, which are up citywide.

But what erupted in Mae's coffee shop on a Saturday afternoon gets at the core of what it's like to live and work in a place that has been upended by change. 

Simone Alicea / KNKX

A federal judge has temporarily blocked a law that would allow for-hire drivers, including drivers for companies like Uber and Lyft, to unionize in Seattle.

U.S. District Court Judge Robert Lasnik's granted a preliminary injunction Tuesday stopping continued implementation of the law until two lawsuits make their way through court.

Will James / KNKX

Instead of a property tax to fight homelessness, Seattle Mayor Ed Murray says he will now pursue a countywide sales tax increase.

Murray and King County Executive Dow Constantine announced Monday that Seattle and King County will coordinate to provide homeless services. 

That effort includes a proposed 2018 ballot measure to increase the sales tax by 0.1 percent.

Courtesy Eric Liu

People have been getting more involved in politics since the presidential election, calling their lawmakers and marching in protests.

Eric Liu, founder of Citizen University, says this "civic awakening" has been in the making for awhile. His new book is called "You're More Powerful than You Think: A Citizen's Guide to Making Change Happen." He argues that individuals can learn the language of power to enact broader change.

Tom Banse / Northwest News Network

An advocacy group will hold a public forum on Wednesday to talk about its proposal to levy a property tax to pay for affordable housing in Olympia.

The Home Fund is a project to encourage cities to dedicate funds for affordable housing around Thurston County.  

The group hopes to get a property tax levy on Olympia's November ballot to build 250 housing units over seven years. The tax would be 36 cents per $1,000 of assessed value and would raise about $2.2 million annually, according to The Home Fund.

Ted S. Warren / AP Photo

The Seattle City Council is starting to ask questions about a potential new arena.

There are two possibilities at play. The first option is a privately-financed stadium in the SoDo neighborhood. The second is the redevelopment of KeyArena.

Both options will require council action in the coming months, leading to the creation of the Select Committee on Civic Arenas. The committee met for the first time Monday.

Elaine Thompson / AP

Starbucks has long taken on the mantle of socially conscious retailer. The Seattle-based coffee chain pledged commitment to those endeavors at Wednesday's annual shareholders meeting at McCaw Hall.

Peter Morrison / AP

To get a first-class room on the RMS Titanic in 1912, it might have cost upwards of $4,300. In 2017 dollars, it's roughly $105,000.

Incidentally, that's how much it costs to get on the private submarine that will take dozens of people to the depths of the Atlantic Ocean, where the Titanic now lies.

Everett-based OceanGate is building that sub here in the Puget Sound. The company will take 54 people along with their crew next spring to comb over the wreck.

A northbound train pulls into Westlake Station in downtown Seattle.
Simone Alicea / knkx

As the president's proposed budget ripples through various sectors of Washington state, one question that arises is what potential cuts to transportation could mean for Sound Transit's ambitious light rail plans.

The biggest potential problem is the president's proposal to eliminate all grant funding for transit projects that don't already have it.

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

Talking about a $15 minimum wage may seem common now. But when that number was pitched to airport workers and then to SeaTac voters in 2013, the concept was far-fetched.

Jonathan Rosenblum was the SeaTac campaign director for Working Washington at the time. He has a new book chronicling that campaign called "Beyond $15: Immigrant Workers, Faith Activists, and the Revival of the Labor Movement."

realtor.com

Seattle could soon become the first city in the country to create a renters' commission.

The commission would comprise 15 members who could comment on city policy. The city has several boards and commissions, including groups for women, immigrants and members of the LGBTQ community.

Elaine Thompson / AP

There will be no criminal charges against two Seattle police officers who shot and killed 46-year-old Che Taylor during an arrest last year in the Wegwood neighborhood.

Taylor was black. The two officers who shot him are white. The decision comes after a King County inquest last month into his death.

County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg said that process and other evidence keeps him from pursuing criminal charges under the law. Specifically, the prosecutor said the officers reasonably believed their life was in danger and their fear justified their actions.

Ted S. Warren / AP Photo

Washington state lawmakers are trying to limit the scope of non-compete agreements.

A non-compete agreement is part of a contract that says an employee can't work for a competitor for a certain period of time after leaving a company.

There have been several attempts to restrict the use of non-compete agreements in Washington. Some states, like California, have all but banned them.

Susan Walsh / AP

President Donald Trump does not always get along with the media.

The president tweeted last month that "the fake news" is the "enemy of the American people," listing the New York Times and CNN among others. Shortly after, he doubled down on those comments at this year's Conservative Political Action Conference and barred several news outlets from a White House press briefing.

PR NEWSWIRE

Amazon has not yet said exactly what caused one of its cloud storage services to go down for several hours Tuesday, but businesses who were affected can learn from the headache.

The Seattle-based tech giant dominates the cloud services market, far outpacing its next three competitors.  

Courtesy of King County Wastewater Division

King County is working to expedite the cleanup at a wastewater treatment plant that flooded earlier this month in Seattle's Magnolia neighborhood.

The King County Council unanimously approved to extend a waiver on the county's competitive bidding process for contractors. 

Will James / KNKX

Seattle police say the city sees about 300 demonstrations every year, but it now seems the rest of the country is following suit.

From the nationwide Women's March to spontaneous demonstrations at airports, more people are reportedly becoming more politically active by going to protests.

The First Amendment grants people the right to gather, but there are limits to that protection. 

Ted S. Warren / AP Photo

A group of historic preservation advocates in Seattle are giving valentines to KeyArena as the city considers whether to build a new arena. 

The city is seeking proposals to redevelop the site as a new arena with the potential to host NBA and NHL events. Those proposals could include demolition.

Courtesy of Seattle City Council

Plans for a special homeless shelter in Seattle called the Navigation Center are underway now that the city has found a location.

The city announced yesterday that the center will occupy the Pearl Warren Building on 12th Avenue South and South Weller Street.

David Lee / Flickr

At a special commission meeting Tuesday, the Port of Seattle responded to a state accountability audit and to the resignation of ex-CEO Ted Fick.

In 2015, the commission approved a one-time payout to certain employees to boost employee morale and retention amid reorganization. Auditors flagged the move during a yearly accountability audit as it was being debated.

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