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Christine Chen, the KCPQ news anchor who earned a Northwest Emmy for her local coverage of Sept. 11, has resigned from the station and is leaving local TV news.

In an interview last week, Chen said the decision to leave broadcast journalism after a 16-year career was one she had been thinking about for a long time.

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“I want some new and fresh challenges,” she said, declining to be specific about where she’d like to work next. She said she’s always been interested in how news and information gets disseminated and hinted that her future might lie with the Internet.

Chen also worked as an anchor at KSTW and garnered a regional reporting Emmy. She’s been with Q13 Fox since 1999, helping launch and anchor the morning news show and then, co-anchoring the 10 p.m. news.

Her last day in the anchor chair is scheduled to be tonight. Chen said she’ll remain in Seattle.

Her replacement will be Lara Yamada, an anchor/reporter most recently from KMSP-TV FOX in Minneapolis and a University of Oregon graduate. Yamada begins co-anchoring the 10 p.m. news with Mark Wright on Dec. 3.

Florangela Davila, The Seattle Times

SIFF to get Seattle Center theater

The Seattle International Film Festival is getting a new theater, with a little boost from taxpayers.

Mayor Greg Nickels announced Tuesday that the city will kick in $150,000 toward SIFF’s $350,000 project: a makeover of the Nesholm Family Lecture Hall at Marion Oliver McCaw Hall into a state-of-the-art movie house.

Work should start in December and be completed in January. The finished 400-seat theater will have stadium seating, improved acoustics and the capacity to show any kind of film — from those requiring the latest digital technology to archival film reels.

“It’s essentially a brand-new theater,” said SIFF artistic director Carl Spence. “It’s the first step in the realization of a longtime dream for SIFF.”

Spence said the project will bring new traffic to an under-used venue at Seattle Center, currently housing opera and ballet lectures about 40 days of the year.

While the new theater will be used for the festival, which starts May 24, Spence said it will be open much of the rest of the year as well to show art-house, independent, foreign and genre films that keep with the spirit of SIFF.

America’s biggest film festival, SIFF runs 25 days, shows more than 400 films and draws 160,000 attendees.

In a statement, Nickels said, “We are a city of film buffs, and movies are an important part of our culture and our economy. This flagship theater allows cinema to take its place alongside the vibrant mix of music, theater, dance and opera at Seattle Center.”

Mark Rahner, The Seattle Times

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