Recent Articles

State rankings for reading, math scores

National Assessment of Education Progress for 2011

A ranking of U.S. states for reading and math scores done from national standardized tests for grades 4 and 8. More information, including science and writing scores can be found at the National Center for Education Statistics,


Upgrading to a new personal computer (PC)

A checklist for moving information to a new computer

Documents, photos, programs, music, bookmarks and email addresses all need to be moved or re-installed but the first thing on your list should be to set up anti-virus (AV) protection and activation of the firewall. The AV protection will keep your new machine safe as you move thousands of files, while the firewall will protect a computer that has an Internet connection from a remote installation of malware.

Peace Corps volunteers

A profile of who volunteers -- and the impact the service has on their education and professional development

What happens to former volunteers, who were predominantly in their 20s when they served overseas, as they continue their education and establish professional careers.

Lopez Island Tour

Pastoral and people-friendly, expect the passing traffic to wave a greeting.

Without as much traffic as Orcas or San Juan Island, Lopez is heaven to cyclists both because of fewer cars but also because it is relatively level. Riders can plan a 20-mile to a 40-mile loop on the island — just perfect for a day trip. And the island also boasts one of the nicest campgrounds in the San Juan chain at Spencer Spit.

Paine Field Tour

Home to the Boeing Tour Center and five aviation museums.

This Everett, WA airport hosts the Boeing factory tour and is home to five museums specializing in airplane restoration, antique aircraft and warbirds. The airport, a magnet for general aviation activity, also employs more than 30,000 people at Boeing, Goodrich Aerospace and other businesses.

San Juan Island & Friday Harbor Tour

The island at the center of the Pig War that killed no one.

San Juan Island and the town of Friday Harbor are abuzz with tourists during the summer, with backpackers and visitors swarming the downtown with every ferry arrival. Many come to see the two parks that were encampments for British and American soldiers in the 1860s during the “Pig War”. But Friday Harbor also has a lively nightlife, with a brew-pub, several restaurants and a harbor area that is lively with socializing boaters. And during the day it’s a center for cyclists, kayakers, divers and whale watchers.

How to build a cold frame

Jump start your garden by 30 to 45 days with a temporary "green house"

A cold frame is an old technique to start the spring cool weather vegetables — lettuce, onions, spinach and radishes — up to 45 days before the last frost. They are typically small (4′ x 4′) and can be covered with plastic sheeting, keeping plants 5 to 7 degrees warmer at night — and much warmer with sunshine.

Baking French bread

The perfect French baguette is possible at home, if you avoid some common pitfalls.

Techniques for a crusty loaf of French bread, with detailed troubleshooting tips.

Mukilteo Tour

Gateway to Whidbey Island, home of the Boeing Tour Center and rated by Money Magazine as one of America’s most-livable communities.

For decades Mukilteo was regarded as a sleepy fishing town, a mistaken impression that old-time Seattleites still have, even as the town has grown into a city that’s a major transportation crossroads with attractions of its own.

San Juan Islands Tour

The attraction of this collection of 175 islands in northwest Washington state is that they are frequently sunnier than Seattle.

Washington state’s San Juan Islands are the home to several resident Orca whale pods and are a popular destination for visitors because of the variety of outdoor activities, including biking, boating, crabbing, diving and whale watching. Four of the largest islands are served by the state ferry system and more than a dozen are state parks popular with boaters.