Washington

Washington Department of Labor and Industries

The new year will mean higher pay for low-wage workers in Oregon and Washington. The minimum wage in both states is set for an increase.

The minimum wage in both Washington and Oregon is tied to inflation. It's going up by 15 cents an hour in both states: to $9.47 in Washington and $9.25 in Oregon.

Washington Consolidated Technology Services

 

     

A foil-wrapped secret room is a plausible use for unused portions of Washington’s new data center. That’s according to a national expert on what Time Magazine has dubbed “spy-proof rooms.”

You’ve likely never heard of a SCIF. Unless you’re a fan of the TV show Drop Dead Diva.

“Excuse me, what’s a SCIF? It is a Sensitive Compartmentalized Information Facility,” the show says.

Katheirne Hitt Flickr

The city of Seattle is developing new rules to license medical marijuana dispensaries and stem their growth.

The city also wants to crack down on illegal marijuana-delivery businesses.

David Mendoza is a policy advisor for Seattle. He’s developing the city’s new medical marijuana rules.
He told the city council today that the Seattle Police Department is looking at seizing marijuana from these businesses, without filing criminal charges.

Washington Consolidated Technology Services

Efforts to lease Washington’s overbuilt data center have so far been unsuccessful.

Picture an unfinished space about the size of an indoor soccer arena with 20 foot ceilings and a concrete floor. The state built four of these data center halls but now it only needs two of them. Servers are getting smaller and attempts to lease this surplus space to the private sector for data center use have been ineffective. Now the state is casting a wider net.

Rob St. John oversees the state data center.

“We’re open to almost any sort of alternate use,” St. John said. 

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'

Overdose Deaths in Wash. Drop Slightly

Nov 18, 2014
AP Images

The number of people dying from opiate overdoses in Washington state stayed relatively the same from 2012 to last year. The Washington State Department of Health released overdose data this week. And the figures show 227 people in the state overdosed and died from heroin last year -- 381 people overdosed and died from opiate-based prescription pain medications. In both cases that’s a slight decrease from the year before.

The highest rate of total opiate related deaths was in Southwest Washington’s Cowlitz County.

Austin Jenkins / Northwest News Network

Astroturfing is when interest groups run a campaign that’s designed to look like it’s grassroots in nature. A document obtained by public radio shows the oil industry is at the center of more than a dozen Astroturf groups in Washington, Oregon, and California.

Austin Jenkins / Northwest News Network

Washington state is 125 years old. There was a celebration Tuesday at the state capitol. It featured a historic reenactment, a time capsule ceremony and, of course, cake.

In the Capitol Rotunda, a member of the Squaxin Indian tribe sang a blessing song.

That was followed by “Lift Every Voice and Sing.”

Then a speech by the governor before the action moved to Washington’s time capsule. The locked vault was opened and a new generation of time capsule-keepers sworn in.

When It Comes To The Apple Club, Washington's A VIP

Nov 10, 2014
Dan Charles / NPR

Monday morning, NPR ran a story about the changing apple market - specifically, about "club" apples, exclusively-branded apples that only some groups are allowed to grow. You probably know a few of these club apples already. The Honeycrisp is the best-known. And more and more club apples are showing up in stores across the country: the Jazz, the Envy, the Ambrosia. These new apples could even some day push out traditional varieties like the Red Delicious.

Joe Shlabotnik / Flickr

It’s election week. Here in the Northwest, Washington and Oregon voters will cast their ballots by mail – or drop box. In Idaho, most voters still go to the polls.

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