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UO Grad Strike
4:39 pm
Mon December 8, 2014

UO Grad Students In Second Week Of Strike

The University of Oregon gave its faculty options for administering finals and giving grades during the second week of a labor strike.
Credit Rick Obst / Flickr

It's finals week at the University of Oregon and Graduate Teaching Fellows are in their second week of a labor strike.

University of Oregon spokeswoman Julie Brown said with Graduate Teaching Fellows on strike the school is giving faculty options for administering finals and giving grades.

"In some cases, finals are continuing as have been planned all term. In other situations, students may have the option to be able to take the grade earned on coursework to date," Brown said.

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Child Welfare Lawsuits
7:32 am
Mon December 8, 2014

Lawsuit Payouts Top $150 Million As Washington CPS Requests More Workers

CPS investigator Xyzlora Brownell says one of the hardest parts of her job is deciding to remove children from their parents.
Credit Austin Jenkins / Northwest News Network

The agency that oversees child welfare in Washington wants to hire nearly 100 more child protection workers.

But the budget request comes after years of lawsuits that cost the state more than $150 million. Now the question is whether Washington’s Department of Social and Health Services has taken adequate steps to learn from child welfare cases that went awry.

Part of the problem is fresh reports of child abuse and neglect keep pouring in – up 10,000 over the last two years.

'It truly is a crisis'

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Oregon Capitol Renovation
7:27 am
Mon December 8, 2014

Oregon Capitol Renovation Would Include Seismic Upgrades

Base isolators like this one would be used to stabilize the capitol building in the event of an earthquake.
Credit Oregon Legislature

Oregon's state capitol building could soon undergo a massive renovation. It's a project so big, lawmakers would have to use a temporary capitol for more than three years.
 
Senior project manager Tary Carlson says the idea is to help the Depression-era capitol building withstand a major earthquake.

"When this was built 76 years ago, they did not design for lateral forces of a seismic event such as a Cascadia Subduction Zone," Carlson says.

And so what would be left if the Big One hits?

"A pile of rubble," Carlson says.

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Ferguson March
6:02 pm
Fri December 5, 2014

Ferguson Protesters March In Olympia, Block Rush Hour Traffic

Protesters marching in "solidarity" with Ferguson, Missouri block traffic near an I-5 on ramp in Olympia Friday evening.
Credit Austin Jenkins / Northwest News Network

Protesters chanted the name of the Missouri teenager who was shot by police. They marched on the State Capitol in Olympia Friday afternoon. 

The group of about 50 protestors blocked a traffic circle leading from the Washington Capitol Campus out to Interstate 5.  They brought state employees leaving work to a complete halt.

Protestors surrounded a pick-up truck. They held a sign that said "Black Lives Matter".

There were drivers who were clearly frustrated, trying to do u-turns, and were honking.  It was absolute gridlock at the state capitol.

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Pot Tax Revenues
5:11 pm
Fri December 5, 2014

Washington Cities To Lobby For Cut Of Pot Tax Revenue

The money from Washington's retail marijuana stores fund state agencies and programs but now cities want their share of pot tax revenue.
Credit Brennan Linsley / Associated Press

The city of Vancouver, Wash., already has two retail marijuana stores with another on the way. At some point, it’s possible the city could have as many as six.

“That’s what our future looks like,” said Vancouver Councilman Jack Burkman. “We’re going to have a number of these.”

He said increasing the prevalence of pot in the city is certain to have a cost.

“We don’t know what all those impacts are but we believe there are going to be impacts on police. There’s going to be impacts on education,” he said.

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Hanford Museum
4:40 pm
Fri December 5, 2014

National Defense Bill Includes Museum At Hanford's B Reactor

The latest defense bill would create a new set of national parks including a museum at Hanford's B Reactor.
Credit U.S. Department of Energy

A bill that passed Thursday in the U.S. House included big changes for the Tri-Cities. The National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year 2015 would create a new set of national parks in honor of the top secret Manhattan Project.

That would include a museum at Hanford and other historical sites.

Officials in the Tri-Cities haven’t broken out the bourbon to toast quite yet. This national defense bill still has to pass the Senate intact. And it must be signed off by President Obama.

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From the Top
7:52 am
Fri December 5, 2014

Sempre Sisters: These Two Bellevue Sisters Are String Virtuosos

Charlotte and Olivia Marckx at the Jorgensen Center for the Performing Arts at UCONN
Credit From the Top

Videos like this are why we love From the Top so much.

From the Top, the show highlighting extraordinary young people in music, this week will feature two sisters from Bellevue.

String duo "Sempre Sisters," 12-year-old Charlotte Marckx and her 15-year-old sister Olivia, perform and talk about writing and playing music together.

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Tractor Parade
7:05 am
Fri December 5, 2014

Holiday Tractor Parade In Sunnyside Plows Ahead This Weekend

A tractor wreathed in lights in Sunnyside.
Credit Anna King / Northwest News Network

If you’re from Eastern Washington, nothing says December fun like lighted up tractors.
 
Back in ’89, a couple of Sunnyside farmers and businessmen decided they weren’t going to be outdone.

"If they have a boat parade in the Tri-Cities on the Columbia river," says Ervin Kilian, "why can’t we have a implement parade in the farming country?"

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Safe Driving
5:25 am
Fri December 5, 2014

What You Need To Do To Drive Safely In Winter

Credit Iwona Kellie / Flickr

Winter's here, and that means driving in wet, snowy, and icy conditions. And if you're like our morning team, you might be out on the roads before the snowplows. There are a few things you can do to stay safe (and not get stuck in the snow) through the winter, whether you're driving in town or on the highway or freeway.

Our favorite car show, Car Talk, has a lot of driving tips for winter. Among them:

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Gun Control
5:56 pm
Thu December 4, 2014

Gun Control Leader Unfazed By Gun Transfer Event

Opponents of Initiative 594 plan to openly exchange guns at a rally on Dec. 13 in protest of the new gun law.
Credit Auraelius / Flickr

Washington’s ballot measure requiring universal background checks for gun sales takes effect Thursday. 

Opponents of Initiative 594 are protesting what they see as overly broad restrictions on gun transfers. They plan to openly exchange guns at a rally in Olympia on Dec. 13 under the banner “I Will Not Comply.” But sponsors of the new law said the transfer provision will not infringe the rights of legal gun owners.

Sandy Brown is the president of the Washington Alliance for Gun Responsibility.

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