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Artist spotlight: Yuja Wang at Benaroya Hall

Artist spotlight: Yuja Wang at Benaroya Hall »Play Video
SEATTLE - Acclaimed pianist Yuja Wang played to a packed Benaroya Hall last night as part of an 11-stop North American tour.  She performed works by Schubert and Scriabin, followed by three encores which included a piece by Schumann. The concert was part of the Seattle Symphony's "Distinguished Artist" series. 
 
Before her performance, Ms. Wang let us sit in on her rehearsal. She performed two songs, El Contrabandista by Clara Schumann, arranged by Carl Tausig, and Aufenthalt (“Dwelling Place”) by France Schubert and arranged by Liszt.
 
Wang, 27, made her debut at the National Arts Center Orchestra in Ottawa, Ontario at the age of 18, and has performed around the world ever since.
 
She will be back in town on April 1st, performing the Gershwin Piano Concerto in F with the Seattle Symphony and lead by guest conductor Michael Tilson Thomas.

Decades later, Cinerama is still ahead of its time

Decades later, Cinerama is still ahead of its time »Play Video

SEATTLE - The Cinerama opened almost 52 years ago, at the time its three-camera setup and louvered screen was the state of the art. 

On April 20th, 1962, almost a year before the theater opened, the president of Cinerama came to Seattle to tout the new technology. Joe Wren, KOMO's film archivist, dug up footage we shot back then, including a short interview with Cinerama President Nicolas Reisini.

Cinerama closed in August to undergo a massive new renovation, Earlier this week we got a sneak preview of all the upgrades, including brand new concessions, new seating, and a state of the art laser projector and audio system.
 
Vulcan's Ryan Hufford, Christie Digital Systems' George Scheckel and Dolby's Tim Schafbuch highlight the theater's new technical upgrades.

 

Two West Seattle water mains break, water goes everywhere

Two West Seattle water mains break, water goes everywhere »Play Video

WEST SEATTLE - Two 8-inch water mains broke Saturday night, one at 52nd and Charlestown and the other two blocks away at 53rd and Dakota. A crew from Seattle Public Utilities came out early Sunday to repair the pipes. They used a jackhammer and backhoe to dig down to the pipe, exposing the break which geysered 20 feet up into the air. The crew then put a clamp around the break and filled the hole and poured new concrete.

 
This is video from the 53rd and Dakota scene, crews repeated the same process at 52nd, finishing work by early Sunday evening.
 
Water pressure was temporarily reduced to homes on the streets, but no boil water orders were issued.
 
Weather did not play a factor in the pipes breaking, crews believe shifting soil from nearby construction could be the culprit.
 

Sailors lost in forgotten Vietnam disaster honored by shipmates and family

Sailors lost in forgotten Vietnam disaster honored by shipmates and family »Play Video

BREMERTON, WASH. -   A new commemorative stone, recognizing the lives of two local sailors lost at sea, now stands near the USS Turner Joy on the shore of the Puget Sound in Bremerton, Washington.  Seaman apprentice Alan Carl Flummer and Ensign Alan Herbert Armstrong were two of the “Lost 74” who perished on June 3, 1969 when the USS Frank E. Evans (DD 754) collided with the Australian Aircraft Carrier HMAS Melbourne (R21) and was cut in half. The forward section of USS Frank E. Evans (DD 754) sank in 1100 fathoms of water within two minutes. 

 
Survivor Pete Peters vividly remembers that morning. “The steam lines exploding, the water, their cries for help… will forever be etched in the memory of us survivors,” Peters said.
 
The newly erected memorial is one of 13 stones placed across the country, standing as a testament to the 74 lives lost on that tragic day. The Frank E. Evans Association, families of the “Lost 74” and survivors from both the Frank E. Evans and the HMAS Melbourne, were in attendance. They gathered to honor the two Washington sailors with the unveiling of the new stone, and remember the 72 other men who died with a ceremony held on the deck of the USS Turner Joy. 
 
This Bremerton stone is one more step forward towards the recognition many believe is long overdue for the sailors who perished that day. The names of the “Lost 74” were never placed on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall. The reason given for the omission of names; the collision occurred 112 miles outside of the declared combat zone. The Frank E. Evans was participating in a joint Southeast Asia Treaty Organization (SEATO) exercise called "Sea Spirit".  
 
Eldest sister of Ensign Alan Herbert Armstrong, Anne Armstrong-Dailey, says it’s heart wrenching that her brother’s name is not on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall.
 
“I think when their names are finally on the memorial wall we can all sigh a great sigh of relief,” Armstrong said. 
 
Despite operating in Vietnamese waters immediately before the exercise and a schedule to resume activities supporting the war effort immediately after, it was determined that the exercise taking place outside the geographical limit for the combat zone rendered the crew ineligible for inclusion on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall.
 
The sister of deceased Seaman apprentice Alan Carl Flummer, Maxine Hoadley says she will fighting to have her brother’s service properly recognized.
 
“It’s dishonorable to them,” Hoadley said. “They were serving our country and they went out some invisible line on a map.”
 
The USS Frank E. Evans Association has been dedicated to preserving the memory of those lost and working towards the inclusion of the “Lost 74” on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall. For more information about the group and 12 other commemorative stones, please visit their website at http://www.ussfrankeevansassociationdd754.org
 

Wayward raptors get new start away from Sea-Tac Airport

Wayward raptors get new start away from Sea-Tac Airport »Play Video
SEATAC, Wash. - One of the biggest dangers for airplanes at Sea-Tac Airport comes in a small package.
 
That package has four legs – and fur.
 
The hundreds of acres of fields surrounding the airport have become the perfect habitat for the field vole, a small rodent.
In addition to being cute, the field vole is also an attractive food source for predators. During peak times at the airport, their numbers swell to more than 10,000, providing the perfect meal for all types of animals.
 
"They are the plankton of the flats," said Bud Anderson, a raptor biologist. "Everything eats them – Great Horned Owls, Red-tailed Hawks, coyotes, you name it." 
 
Having animals around the runways, however, can prove dangerous for planes in the air and on the ground. While fences can keep large animals like coyotes out, there’s no surefire system to keep birds away. 
 
"There's no way we can really teach them to avoid planes," said Mikki Verhover, a biologist with the airport. "It’s not in their capabilities to understand how fast a plane is moving. So if they detect a plane, by the time they detect it, it's already where they are."
 
When a bird strikes, it can do serious damage to an airplane. It can destroy an engine, rip into a wing, or go right through the windshield. In 2013, there were 11,315 reported bird strikes across the country, although only 601 caused any damage. Here is the FAA bird-strike database.
 
Biologists use a wide array of deterrents to keep raptors away, including pyrotechnics and other scare tactics. While some resident raptors have learned to steer clear of the flight path, for young birds, the lure of the vole can be too much, so workers will try to relocate them.
 
The process begins with a series of raptor traps set up around the perimeter of the airport. When one is tripped, a satellite transponder sends a text message to a team of biologists. The birds are then examined, put in a pet crate, and shipped 80 miles north to the Skagit Valley. 

The program has a unique agreement with the Bellair Airporter, an airport shuttle service. Each bird gets a seat on a van with other travelers. This process means a bird can be relocated within a matter of hours, minimizing crate time and stress.
 
Once the birds arrive in the Skagit Valley, they are weighed and measured. They also are given ankle bands or wing tags and their information is entered in a nationwide database
 
"We want to know where they go. We want to know where they show up. We especially want to know if they come back to the airport or not," said Anderson, who has been working with birds for half a century. “If they come back, then that tells us that maybe we need to move them further."

Raptors typically wander for the first two or three years of their life before finding a mate and settling down. Some of the birds that have been relocated from Sea-Tac have been spotted as far north as Nanaimo, British Columbia, and as far south as Sacramento, biologists said.

In the 13 years of the program, more than 686 birds have been relocated. Only seven have returned to the airport.
 
Anderson added that the Skagit Valley can be a paradise for raptors. 

"Lots of food, open fields, no jets," added Anderson. "There are so many field mice and other sources of food like rabbits. They do very well here."

On board with a Mount Rainier training mission

On board with a Mount Rainier training mission »Play Video

Mount Rainier, Wash. - We had a rare opportunity to join Bravo Company, 1st of the 214th General Support Aviation Battalion (GSAB), for a search and rescue training mission on Mount Rainier.

The search and rescue mission on Mount Rainier has belonged to 1st of the 214th GSAB for many years.  Bravo Company, stationed on Joint Base Lewis McChord (JBLM), utilizes the CH-47 "Chinook" helicopter, which is uniquely suited for rescue missions at altitude and in snow. 
 
This relationship between the National Park service (NPS) and JBLM provides much needed technical search and rescue services for the thousands of climbers who attempt the summit each year. It is expected that 12,000 climbers will make an attempt this season alone.
 
Additionally, the NPS is providing crucial access to an otherwise un-replicable training environment for our pilots and rescue teams stationed at JBLM.
 

Meet the Pacific Science Center's Glasswinged Butterfly

Meet the Pacific Science Center's Glasswinged Butterfly »Play Video
SEATTLE - Seattle's Pacific Science Center has some new additions to its tropical butterfly house, but they might be hard to spot.

The Glasswinged Butterfly's wings lack the colorful scales that other butterflies have, making them nearly clear. Their transparency helps them stay camouflaged in their native habitats of Central America and Florida.

If you'd like to try and spot these elusive little creatures, they'll be at the Science Center for another week.

Pacific Science Center Tropical Butterfly House.

Bremerton to Seattle by water -- in 80 seconds

Bremerton to Seattle by water -- in 80 seconds »Play Video

SEATTLE, Wash. - On our way back to Seattle from Bremerton today we couldn't help notice how dramatic the fall clouds were. So I set up the camera in the back of my news car, pointing towards the stern of the M/V Kitsap. The video picks up about 15 minutes into the hour-long trip.

Now that you can buy pot in Washington, how much pot can you buy?

Now that you can buy pot in Washington, how much pot can you buy? »Play Video

SEATTLE, Wash. - So now that Washington's pot industry is (mostly) up and running, how much of it can you actually buy?

Washington's law states that you can purchase and poses only one ounce at a time. Cannabis City, Seattle's first legal pot shop, has one product for sale that's a good example of what that looks like. 
 
Weighing in at just under the limit at more than 24 grams, "Super Girl" is a giant flower bud that comes in its own jar. It's grown at Buddy Boy Farm in the small town of Ford, WA, near Spokane. 
 
"Super Girl" sells for $850. Cannabis City reports that they've sold 11 of 12 units.
 

 

A river reborn: Rafting an untamed Elwha

A river reborn: Rafting an untamed Elwha »Play Video

PORT ANGELES, Wash. - For more than 100 years, two dams controlled the Elwha river on the Olympic Peninsula. The Lower Elwha dam was built in 1910, 17 years later and 8 miles further upstream the Glines Canyon dam was built.   

When they were completed, the dams helped power the region's booming timber industry. In recent years however the relatively small power output and larger hydroelectric projects on the Columbia River made these two dams obsolete.

Before the dams, the Elwha supported massive runs of spawning salmon. By the hundreds of thousands they took advantage of the river's proximity to the Pacific and it's extensive spawning grounds. But since no fish ladder or other accommodation was made as part of the dam design, when the first dam went up in 1910, no more salmon made it up river.

In 1992 the Elwha River Ecosystem and Fisheries Restoration Act was signed, eight years later the government bought the land and the dams fates were sealed. Work began in September of 2011 with the careful demolition of the Lower Elwha dam. Both of the lakes were drained and the river picked a new path through the former lake beds. The final section of the Glines Canyon dam was removed in late August of 2014. The Elwha was wild again.

Decades of sediment, woody debris, are working their way downstream, while salmon are working their way up the 38 miles of newly accessible habitat. No one knows if they will return in the numbers they once did, but so far the signs are encouraging.

KOMO-TV Reporter Jeff Burnside and I were lucky enough to join a small group of reporters and officials on a decent down the Elwha. We started just downstream of the Glines Canyon and spend the next three hours getting an up close look at the reborn river. Our guides from Olympic Raft and Kayak told us that each time there is a big rainstorm, the river changes its path. The river is in its adolescence, not sure where it wants to go or what it wants to be. 100 years of sediment and old dead wood are working their way downstream, and they change the river's path too.

The rapids would have been more rapid if it was spring, but the summer water flow was still strong. We got splashed pretty good a few times. As we made it down into what used to be Lake Aldwell, we saw how nature is coming back. Native plants, some place by parks staff, have taken hold and are rapidly erasing the last 100 years of control.

We even spotted a few salmon on our trip, finding their way upstream, as if they'd never left.

Park officials hope to have some areas of the Glines Canyon open by the end of 2014.

Much more info here.

UPDATE: Salmon have been spotted upstream of the Glines Canyon project.

 

 

 

Watch: The rescue, rehab, and release of a young black bear

Watch: The rescue, rehab, and release of a young black bear »Play Video
Black bear takes her first steps out into the wild

MONROE, Wash. - An underweight black bear that was rehabilitated after living off a Redmond family's bird feeder was released into the wild Thursday afternoon.

The release of an animal back to the wild is an exciting assignment to cover. Nobody knows quite what will happen and most of the time the animal bolts so fast you only get a few seconds of good video.

So to make the most of the short opportunity we had, I set out 3 extra other small cameras, two GoPros and a Canon S100, and hoped they'd capture the scene.

In June, officers used a doughnut to lure the 1-year-old bear when they realized she was underweight, and brought her to PAWS for rehabilitation. Naturalists reintroduced the bear to her native diet of skunk cabbage and berries, and discovered she doesn't like radishes or watermelon. 

We followed a caravan into a remote mountainous area along the Cascades for the bear's release.

With the encouragement of two barking Karelian bear dogs, as well as beanbag and noisemaker guns, the bear bolted. She was in the woods after just three seconds. 

You can watch our broadcast story Elisa Jaffe and I put together, but there was so much good video I wanted to share this longer visual version of the story.

Learn more about PAWS or help out by visiting their website.

Carlton Complex fire cuts through Pateros

Carlton Complex fire cuts through Pateros »Play Video

 The Carlton Complex fire cut right through the heart of Pateros late Thursday night. Residents had just minutes to grab what they could and evacuate as flames came over the hill.

Lindsay Cohen and I drove into Pateros early Friday morning, as did many of those who had to flee the night before. Much of the town was spared, but homes along the hillside, as well as a few downtown blocks had been destroyed.

It's difficult to describe all of what we saw out there, but the pictures help tell the story.

Watch: Smokey time lapse over Leavenworth

Watch: Smokey time lapse over Leavenworth »Play Video

The smoke of the Chiwaukum Creek Fire hung over Leavenworth all day Thursday. For vacationers and residents it's a constant reminder of the massive fire that's just to the west of town.