Sep 24, 2020

Hello, it’s Sunday, August 25. This week, we want to introduce you to Crosscut's new Central Washington reporter, Emily McCarty, and the stories she's aiming to cover across the Cascades.

Wapato citizen stands before the town's police chief

Small-town corruption, uniting the wet and dry sides through economics, and beer parties in the Palouse.
I’m just settling in as Crosscut’s new Central Washington Reporter based in Yakima, but as is clear from my first three pieces, there is a myriad of political, cultural, environmental and data stories to be unraveled east of the Cascades.
When I started to meet with Wapato residents about their grievances with former mayor Juan Orozco, it quickly became apparent that these testimonies weren’t your average small-town concerns. Frances Ayres, who ran for one of the city council positions in the latest election, handed me a thick packet on Orozco. A group of citizens had collected (and carefully photocopied or printed) every news clipping on Orozco from many years past. Her son, Patrick Ayres, had taken it upon himself to file public records requests on Orozco. They were so concerned that they became citizen journalists.
I spent three weeks talking with residents, attending city council meetings, digging through court records and trying desperately to reach Mayor Dora Alvarez-Roa and Orozco for an interview. I spent a lot of time on the Wapato story because it’s about more than just the Yakima region — rural communities across Washington are mirrored in Wapato’s problems. The less populous central and eastern Washington areas deserve quality time and meticulous reporting.
I’ll be travelling around the region wherever the stories take me. The relationships I built in Wapato are just the beginning of a long-term commitment to my fellow easterners. Here’s to rural towns, bridging the East-West divide, the clinking of pint glasses and much more.

— Emily McCarty
Crosscut Central Washington reporter

More from Emily: 
» Welcome to Wapato, the town of 5,000 facing a citizen revolt
» Poll: WA feels good about the economy, bad about Trump’s tariffs​

» Grain to growler: the new farm-to-table approach to beer

» Watch on Crosscut

Video still of architect David Miller looks at a partially demolished Seattle Viaduct

What comes after the Viaduct? This Seattle architect has big ideas

by Brad Curran

In the latest episode of The Teardown, David Miller contemplates the role of Seattle's Viaduct in his life and his city, as well as his role in unmaking it. Watch the video

Poll: WA feels good about the economy, bad about Trump’s tariffs

by Emily McCarty & Mark Baumgarten

A new Crosscut/Elway Poll finds that while there is some alignment on major economic attitudes, registered voters are still divided by partisanship and geography. Read more

» Politics

Photo of Dr. Frederick Rivara at Harborview Medical Center

Backlash to the work of this Seattle doctor led Congress to block funding for gun research

by Melissa Santos

Dr. Frederick Rivara is leading a new effort to study gun violence, decades after his work prompted backlash from the National Rifle Association. Read more

Influential civilian commission urges judge to reject city’s plan for police accountability

by David Kroman

The next court hearing will determine how much work is left for the city to complete a 2012 federal reform agreement. Read more

Gov. Inslee’s re-election bid cools other Democrats’ ambitions — for now

by Melissa Santos

The announcement dashed some politicians’ hopes for higher office. But many believe the governor’s office could still become vacant in 2021. Read more

» Transit

Passengers get in and out of a city of Seattle Via van.

Seattle's 'microtransit' experiment drives people to light rail. Is it working?

by Josh Cohen

Four months in, ridership on the $3.2M Via service is reportedly exceeding expectations. Read more

» Science & environment

A grey wold walks through the North Cascades at night

What the new Endangered Species Act rules mean for Washington state

by Hannah Weinberger

Scientists, conservationists and state regulators warn that changes to the legislation could make species and habitat recovery more difficult.  Read more

» Opinion & commentary

Crosscut columnist Knute Berger's family photos

Would my grandparents have made it to the U.S. under Trump’s immigration policy?

by Knute Berger

New visa and green card rules proposed by the Trump administration threaten the core of who we are. Read more

In Seattle's housing crisis, can backyard cottages help families reconnect?

by Brett Holverstott

Recent zoning changes make it easier to build these dwellings. They could mix up the modern middle-class American life. Read more

After a meager presidential bid, Jay Inslee looks vulnerable in his run for a third term

by John Carlson

Gov. Inslee failed to build momentum around climate change. What's that mean for his reelection prospects back home? Read more

» Culture

People gather at a beer festival in Eastern WA

Grain to growler: the new farm-to-table approach to beer

by Emily McCarty

WA farmers are seeding the craft malt industry. Read more

» This week on the Crosscut Talks podcast

Jennifer Eberhardt at Crosscut Festival

How power and prejudice have shaped the American incarceration system

by Crosscut Talks

Implicit bias and overzealous prosecutors have resulted in an unfair system. Emily Bazelon and Jennifer Eberhardt offer some solutions to fix it. » Listen to the episode here

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