KUOW News and Information
Mishka the asthmatic otter is doing fine despite the wildfire smoke, the Seattle Aquarium tweeted last week.
Seattle Aquarium

Call it "canary in the smoke-choked city."

While people are struggling with the unhealthy air quality in Seattle, the animals are having similar issues.

KUOW Photo/ Megan Farmer

The number of people arriving in Seattle has dropped by more than a third. A year ago, 74 people were arriving in the city of Seattle daily, now the number is 46 people, according to the Puget Sound Regional Council. 

 J-50 swims with sister J-42 on July 21. NOAA Fisheries photo, permit number 21368.
NOAA Fisheries/Katy Foster

There has been an extraordinary federal-local-tribal effort aimed at nursing the killer whale known as J50 back to health. But is it far enough?

Seattle Times reporter Linda Mapes has been covering the operation, and she told KUOW’s Angela King about it.

Three and a half percent of all Washington students were suspended or expelled in 2016-17.
Flickr Photo/alamosbasement (CC-BY-NC-ND)

The school year starts in a few weeks in Washington. This year, no public school student can be expelled just because they are tardy or have unexcused absences on their record.

Ray Larson, Curator of Living Collections for the UW Botanic Gardens, which helps run arboretum, displays the leafless branch of a birch tree - one of several species stressed by recent warm, dry, summers, and the pests that prey on stressed trees.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

It’s been a hot, dry summer in Seattle. This July was so warm it almost broke the record — you know, the one set way back in 2015.

Year after year of especially dry summers is killing some of Seattle’s trees. But it’s been harder on some trees than others.

The smoke-shrouded Seattle skyline on Tuesday.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Stay inside if you can.

With wildfire smoke billowing into the Seattle area from a number of fronts, that’s the advice of the Puget Sound Clean Agency.

As a nation, we could do a better job at taking time off.

About half of full-time workers recently surveyed by the U.S. Travel Association didn't take all the paid vacation days they earned last year.

More than 700 million vacation days went unused, and we forfeited about 200 million of those days — when vacation benefits didn't roll over. On average, American workers took almost six fewer vacation days than we earned.

There’s a set of massive whale bones resting on the bottom of the bay in Newport, Oregon. Scientists from Oregon State University put them there with a plan for a future display on shore. But they’re having trouble finding the money to retrieve the rare blue whale skeleton from beneath the waves.

Your doctor probably nags you to schedule cancer screening tests like mammograms and colonoscopies. These tests, after all, can be life-saving, and most doctors want to make sure you get them done.

But when it comes to explaining the ways that certain screenings can cause you harm, your doctor may not be doing such a good job.

Courtesy of Penquin Random House

In the struggle to shape what life on earth will be like years from now, visionary futurists inspire us with dread and hope at turns. Author Brenda Cooper captures both in her books. Perhaps her day job as the Chief Information Officer at the city of Kirkland helps her see clearly how things are now and might change in the future.