Monday, January 30, 2023


Massachusetts could restrict police use of facial recognition technology, Wyoming mulls more health coverage for workers, and a report finds low salary contributes to social workers leaving the field.


Civil rights activists push for the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act following the killing of Tyre Nichols, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy says he can reach a deal with President Biden on the debt ceiling, and election experts say 2023 could shape voting rights across the country.


"Brain Gain?" Research shows rural population is actually growing, especially in recreational areas; other small towns are having success offering relocation incentives like free building lots, cash, complimentary dinners and even internet credits; and researchers say the key is flexibility and creativity.

Add a Basement Apartment to Your Home, Fight Climate Change?


Monday, June 25, 2018   

SEATTLE — For most cities in Washington state, cars are the number one source of greenhouse gas emissions. Could a change to the state's zoning policies get more Washingtonians out of them?

Margaret Morales is a senior researcher with Sightline Institute. She said most houses in the Evergreen State are single-family homes, and that's because cities put a lot of barriers in the way of residents who would open up their homes to more people.

She said cities could cut some of the red tape for accessory dwelling units - that is basement apartments, backyard cottages, or other small dwellings in homes - to make neighborhoods more dense, and thus more walkable; and argued the current single-family housing model leads to sprawl.

"Single-family zoning is like this mandate against walking. It's this mandate that kind of requires you to get in your car,” Morales said. “It's this outdated way of thinking about how cities and communities function."

Morales said more dense neighborhoods would attract more local businesses and necessities such as grocery stores. She said people would add more small residences to their homes if they could.

In Vancouver, British Columbia, about 1-in-3 single family homes has accessory dwelling units. In Seattle, it's about 1-in-100. Morales said these cities have similar housing markets, but restrictions for these units are much higher in Seattle.

Research shows there is more driving in urban areas with fewer homes per block, Morales said. Along with making cities more walkable, denser communities could also help build better transit systems.

Morales said there are many reasons why transit is a complicated issue, but ridership is key.

"One of the biggest reasons is that to make public transit viable, you need people to ride it, and that means people have to be able to get to it easily,” she said. “And the way we have our zoning code set up, we make it so that there are very few homes in walking distance of where you could put a bus line or a light rail line."

Morales noted that sprawling zoning policies in Washington cities were put in place at a time when cars were thought of as the future of transit. But with the specter of a warming climate, a change is needed to get more people out from behind the steering wheel.

More information, including Morales' report, is available at

get more stories like this via email

Since the beginning of 2022, seven Western states have initiated programs to maintain wildlife habitat and safe passage, through fencing, signs, overpasses and underpasses, according to Pew research. (TaborChichakly/Adobe Stock)


Reducing the number of wildlife-vehicle collisions is the goal of a bill before the New Mexico Legislature this session. Sen. Mimi Stewart, D-…

Social Issues

A Nevada nonprofit is celebrating a 94% graduation rate among its high school seniors for the 2021-2022 school year. Tami Hance-Lehr. CEO and state …

Social Issues

Super Bowl LVII is right around the corner, which means Arizona will see hefty spending and wide exposure because of the massive sporting event…

Eye doctors warn that kids who spend excessive time on laptops, cell phones and tablets could end up with vision problems as adults. (Marco/Adobe Stock)

Health and Wellness

It is not a pandemic yet, but eye doctors worry the constant use of digital devices could eventually result in long-term health problems for many …


Maine's small farmers are encouraged to complete the latest U.S. Department of Agriculture census to ensure they have a voice in federal decisions …

Wind power is the most productive renewable energy source in the U.S., generating nearly half of America's renewable energy, according to the World Economic Forum. (Adobe Stock)


Environmental groups are pleased with an Iowa Utilities Board ruling that requires MidAmerican Energy to make planning studies public for its Iowa Win…

Social Issues

Under a new project, locally sourced food is part of a food assistance program for members of the Lummi Tribe in northwest Washington. The Food …


By Francesca Mathewes for Reasons to be Cheerful.Broadcast version by Mark Richardson for Illinois News Connection reporting for the Solutions Journal…


Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member- and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021