Budget cut could ground rescue helicopters

In a region teeming with hikers, climbers, and outdoor enthusiasts, losing King County’s search and rescue helicopters would be a harmful blow to public safety.
     But that’s exactly what officials are considering because of a budget cut and a $50 million county-wide deficit.
     In 2015, the...

read more →

If you grill with charcoal, upgrade for safety

For some people, Memorial Day marks the start of outdoor grilling season. Others, like our family, grill year-round.
     Either way, it’s good to review a few grilling-safety tips now that the dry season is upon us.
     Some tips are so obvious and rooted in common sense, they hardly seem worth... read more →

Get-rich investment in comics? Not so much

Seattle and Portland home prices continue to surge, as reported in recent stories showing prices are near their 2007 peak.
     Less-common investments also have inflated. Thanks in part to nostalgic Baby Boomers, market values for 1950s and '60s muscle cars have jumped to astounding heights.... read more →

Plan now for summer camping restrictions

Memorial Day weekend marks the unofficial kickoff of camping season in the Northwest.
     For many of us, that typically means blue-tarp camping under soggy skies.
     But we relish that, because we're hearty outdoorsy Northwest people who don’t mind getting wet, right? Whether you camp on the... read more →

Disinterest kills Longview teenage car show

The All High School Car Show, a Longview-area fixture since 1987, has died due to dwindling participation.
     To me, it’s a clear sign of America’s shift away from teenage car culture.
     Kevin Clark, 18, won the final show last Saturday, held at Lower Columbia College. His “pride ride” is a red...

read more →

Airborne embers ignite most homes lost to wildfire

On Saturday I learned that most homes lost to wildfire typically ignite from airborne embers, not direct flames or radiant heat.
     That was a key fact shared at Saturday's Wildfire Preparedness Day in Cle Elum, which I attended. If you live in what's called a Wildland Urban Interface (WUI) – lands...

read more →

High beams not being used enough for safety

Few drivers use their high beams, according to a recent study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and the University of Michigan.
     Drivers need to use them more to improve visibility and safety, IIHS concludes.
     The study revealed 18% of 3,200 isolated vehicles observed –... read more →

Mystery sleeping bag cloaks cold, injured hiker

Good Samaritans and a mystery sleeping bag saved a 59-year-old hiker with a broken leg May 7 high up Mt. Pilchuck.
     The injured Everett man slid 50 feet down a snowy slope and into a tree well, breaking his upper right leg and wedging him awkwardly in the snow. His three companions left him with... read more →

Neighborhood markets awaken for the season

Farmers markets have sprouted all over the Northwest. Summer can't be far away!
     I'm not a market aficionado, but I enjoy fresh food and fun wares whenever I run across them. Bellevue's market kicks off its 12th year this Thursday, May 12, in the spacious Bellevue Presbyterian Church parking... read more →

Alberta wildfire signals it's time to Firewise

Canada's raging wildfire near Fort McMurray, Alberta, has displaced 80,000 residents (photo, left) and torched 1,600 homes. Strong winds now are driving flames south, threatening other communities.
     Northwest residents might wonder, how can a massive fire break out so early in the season, and so... read more →