How'd they build that? The new Rainier 'R'

How'd they build that? The new Rainier 'R' »Play Video

Most of the time, when an icon goes away, it disappears forever.

One Seattle landmark, however, recently proved this wrong.

The Rainier "R" stood atop the old Rainier Brewery for 50 years. In the late 90's, the brewery stopped brewing and the "R" fell into disrepair. Tully's Coffee moved in and replaced the "R" with their own 12-foot tall "T."

13 years later, Tully's had new owners. As they prepared to move their headquarters from the brewery, they asked Rainier if they'd be interested in putting an "R" back up where it used to be.

"We absolutely jumped at the chance," said K.C. Blinn, creative director at Rainier Beer. "It was pandemonium. People in the office freaked out, (knowing) how important this brand was to Seattle." 

"To be able to see that giant red beacon on your way into Seattle," he added, "(you) know that you're home."

Western Neon is located just around the corner from the brewery, and was asked to build the new "R". They had restored the old "R" for MOHAI, and they also built the Tully's "T."  Andre Lucero from Western Neon says during their restoration of the old "R," they took exact measurements for the neon they had to replace.

"We were able to use those documentations in order to build all our new patterns that we're working off of to make the new "R,"" Lucero said.

The new "R" is roughly the same size as the old one, but more modern and efficient. It's the same dimensions, but the new one is made from aluminum, not steel. The old incandescent light bulbs had to be changed all the time, but the new "R" uses efficient, long-lasting LED bulbs. The most noticeable change is that the southern facing side now also has light bulbs, not just the northern facing side like the original "R."

KOMO News got to tag along throughout the entire process. From building the new frame and bending the neon to the dramatic raising and lighting back above the brewery one month ago, here is your inside look at how they raised the new Rainier "R."

Wolf Haven class draws students from around the world

Wolf Haven class draws students from around the world

TENINO, Wash. - Tenino's Wolf Haven held it's tenth annual Wildlife Handling and Chemical Immobilization course this week.  The course attracted biologists and students from around the world who got hands-on experience with endangered Mexican gray wolves.

The Mexican gray was nearly driven to extinction, at one point only 5 were known to exist.

Through conservation efforts from places like Wolf Haven, the Mexican gray has now been reintroduced to the wild in Southwest United States, but its numbers are still perilously low.

The 3-day course focuses on compassionate and safe techniques to capture, immobilize, and examine wild animals. Dr. Mark Johnson, who has been teaching these classes for nearly 20 years, says the work being done here has a world-wide impact.

"These wolves, in their pens, are helping animals all over the world," Dr. Johnson said. "The biologists here are from Mexico, there's a biologist that wants to work with the snow leopards in Nepal... One student here is from Ireland."

The class offered by Wolf Haven provides training for biologists, and medical care needed for the animals. Part of the rehabilitation plan includes regular check-ups, making the class a integral part for the species survival.

Participants received a Certificate of Training upon course completion.

Record shop gives free Nirvana tattoos in honor of 20th anniversary

Record shop gives free Nirvana tattoos in honor of 20th anniversary »Play Video
SEATTLE - To celebrate the 20th anniversary release of Nirvana's In Utero album, Silver Platters record store in SoDo offered free tattoos of the band's iconic smiley face logo to anyone who purchased the remastered CD or vinyl.

The back corner of the store became an impromptu Nirvana convention, with fans who went to Nirvana shows back in the day trading stories with fans who were just babies 20 years ago.

There were supplies for 70 tattoos, and they expected to go through them all. Universal, who is reissuing the album, paid for the tattoo supplies and artists.

Watch: SPD's Operation Orange Fingers a hit at Hempfest

Watch: SPD's Operation Orange Fingers a hit at Hempfest

 Seattle Police Department's Operation Orange Fingers went down this morning as the gates opened at Hempfest. The first thousand people through the gates were given a bag of Nacho Cheese Doritos. Each bag had a sticker reminding festival goers what the marijuana rules in in Washington State are:

HEMPFESTERS! We thought you might be hungry. We also thought now might be a good time for a refresher on the do's and don'ts of I-502.

Dont's: Don't drive while high. Don't give, sell, or shotgun weed to people under 21. Don't use pot in public. You could be cited but we'd rather give you a warning. Do's: Do listen to Dark Side of the Moon at a reasonable volume. Do enjoy Hempfest.

Reminder: Respect your fellow voters and familiarize yourself with the rules of I-502 at

View a photo gallery of Operation Orange Fingers »

Watch: Seattle at night time lapse

Watch: Seattle at night time lapse »Play Video

 It was a slow night at work covering breaking news in Seattle, so I decided to drive around town to shoot a few time lapses of Seattle's beautiful skyline.

I found a great spot just south of town along 12th Ave. I was hoping to get the sun setting, but I got there too late. The sun had already ducked behind the hills. I decided to shoot the city as it dusked into darkness.

It really looked cool as the lights of the city started to turn on.

No ticket? No problem for Paul McCartney fans

No ticket? No problem for Paul McCartney fans »Play Video
Not everyone who enjoyed Friday's night's epic Paul McCartney concert paid for the experience. KOMO News photojournalist Steve Fedoriska was with fans who refused to let the lack of a ticket get in their way of the fun.

Watch: A march and prayer for Trayvon Martin

The United Black Christian Clergy, a ministerial alliance of more than 30 pastors throughout King County, led a peaceful prayer and march through Seattle's Central District Wednesday evening. The opening prayer was given by Rev. Dr. Samuel McKinney of Mount Zion Baptist Church.

The group is calling for the Justice Department to investigate George Zimmerman for civil rights violations against Trayvon Martin, and for the revision or removal of "Stop and Frisk" as well as "Stand Your Ground" laws.

Watch: Sockeye return to Lake Cle Elum

Last week Jeff Burnside and I traveled just over Snoqualmie Pass to Lake Cle Elum to see something that hasn't happened in 100 years. Sockeye salmon, the first to hatch here since the Yakima and Columbia rivers were dammed, returned to the lake to spawn. An effort led by the Yakima Indian Tribe brought 1000 salmon here to spawn 4 years ago, their offspring then traveled out to the Pacific and back again. The salmon needed a little extra help from a truck to get over the last two dams, but the Yakima Tribe hopes this success will be just the beginning and plan to return more species to more lakes.

Here is some of the raw footage we shot, along with the words of 91 year old Yakima Tribal Elder Virginia Beaver.

Check out our full story here:


"Over the Line" Art inspired by the films of the Coen Brothers hits Capitol Hill

LTD Art Gallery on Capitol Hill is currently holding an "art show tribute to the films of the Coen Brothers." 

"Over the Line!", curated by Chris Jackson, features work from more than 50 artists from the northwest and around the country.

Of all the subject matter to choose from, Raising Arizona was the most popular subject, and Nicolas Cage is clearly an artist favorite.

The works will be on display through July 14th.


Preview LeMay's new NASCAR exhibit

Tacoma's LeMay Car Museum has a new NASCAR exhibit opening this weekend. Each stage of NASCAR's evolution is represented with a car from the era. From the early days of running moonshine to today's high tech cars, the exhibit gives a great picture of how NASCAR grew to be the second most popular sport in the country.

The exhibit opens Sunday and is scheduled to run for one year.

The Color Run brightens Seattle Center

 There are no personal bests at the Color Run, a 5k held in Seattle Sunday morning. Race officials don't even time the event, instead focusing on having fun, that and lots and lots of colored cornstarch.

Runners start the race dressed all in white, like brand new blank canvases. Throughout the run they get "painted" at color stations. I showed up in time for the race after party, where any blank canvas got thoroughly covered. 

The clean up station was a guy with a leaf blower.


Local Boston Marathon runners: In their own words

A day later and still visibly shaken, Seattle area runners returned home from Boston. Here is some of what they saw and experienced, in their own words.

How'd we shoot that? The Dummy Downhill

Mission Ridge Ski Resort ends each season with a "Dummy Downhill", sort of a demolition derby on a ski jump. We loaded up the news car with cameras and headed out to Wenatchee to capture the craziness. Click HERE for the full story that Matt Markovich and I put together. 
We brought 5 cameras to cover this event. Our two big cameras were at both at the top and bottom of the hill, we used those to get the majority of our video. The really fun stuff however came from the on-board shots we got with our three GoPro cameras. They are small enough to catch a ride on the dummies, and tough enough to take the abuse.
The real challenge was the steep and snowy hill, Each of the little cameras had to be run up the hill, attached to a dummy, then you had to get back down the hill in time to shoot the run with the big camera and retrieve the little camera from the carnage.
This story was a fun challenge both as a photographer and and editor. We don't normally get to use 2 cameras, let alone 5, and syncing all that action up was a lot of fun. Hope you like it!
Special thanks to Josh Markovich for his GoPro work.

Not a good morning for umbrellas in Seattle

It's been said that Seattle's not an umbrella town. While that may or may not be true, this morning downtown was no place for umbrellas.