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Wildfire Season Officially Starts Tuesday in Wash.

April 14, 2014, 5:00 pm

It may be hard to believe, but wildfire season officially starts on Tuesday (April 15) in Washington state. In Oregon and Idaho, there's a rolling start to fire precaution rules depending on local conditions. Fire managers are looking ahead to a fairly "normal' wildfire season in Idaho and Washington this year. Drought-ridden central and southern Oregon though are classified at higher risk.

Does Legalized Marijuana Put Washington Drivers At Risk Out Of State?

April 14, 2014, 5:00 pm

Some drivers from Washington and Colorado say they're being targeted by police when they cross into Idaho. They claim it’s because their license plate shows they live two states that have legal marijuana. But that’s a hard thing to prove.

Moratorium Halts Future Drive-Thru’s on Hamilton

April 14, 2014, 5:00 pm
The Spokane city council made sure last night that a new McDonald’s restaurant will be the only drive-thru only business on the Hamilton corridor, at least for the near future. Last night (Monday night) council member Amber Waldref proposed a moratorium to prohibit certain business permits for the next six months.

Wash. Senate Majority Leader Tom Announces He Won’t Run For Re-Election

April 14, 2014, 5:00 pm

A bombshell Monday from one of the most influential and controversial members of the Washington legislature. Senate Majority Leader Rodney Tom announced that he is dropping his bid for re-election. Tom is one of two Democrats who joined with Republicans last year to help them take control of the state Senate.

Boeing's "Pegasus" Testing its Wings in Puget Sound

April 14, 2014, 12:32 pm
An interim review of Boeing's progress on building a fleet of new aerial tankers for the Air Force gives the company high marks for sticking to a strict budget. But government auditors are worried about some possible hurdles ahead. The first four test tankers have been built - they're essentially engineering test beds - and may be flown by the middle of next year.

Highway 530 Closure Has Deep Impacts on Community

April 13, 2014, 6:39 pm
It’s been three weeks now since the landslide hit the tiny community of Oso. Those residents and people from the nearby towns of Darrington and Arlington are still grieving and still trying to pick up the pieces. And one huge impediment is highway 530: parts of it are still closed.

When Citizens Shoot for Defense, ‘Reasonable’ is the Law

April 11, 2014, 6:41 pm
When a citizen uses deadly force against another person, their actions are reviewed through the scope of Washington state law. Part of Washington law explains when it is justifiable for a person to commit homicide. Deputy Travis Pendell at the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office says it’s important people know the law in terms of protecting their safety.

Second Suspect, ‘Getaway Driver’, Arrested in Carlile Killing

April 11, 2014, 6:26 pm
Police in Spokane have arrested a second suspect in the murder of Spokane businessman Douglas Carlile. The Spokane Police Department says suspect Robby Wahrer drove the van used in the killing. Suspect Timothy Suckow is charged with first-degree murder in Carlile’s death.

Governor Convenes State GMO Panel

April 11, 2014, 7:30 am

Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber convened a panel of regional experts today to discuss the contentious issues surrounding genetically modified foods. Governor John Kitzhaber spoke in downtown Portland before a panel of farmers, grocers, educators and regulators.

Oregon, Washington Consider Alternative To Amtrak For Cascades Rail Service

April 11, 2014, 7:00 am

Oregon and Washington might turn to a private company to operate its Cascades rail service. The two states are testing the waters to see if anyone other than Amtrak is interested in operating the route that includes Seattle, Portland and Eugene.

4,200 Ponderosas Planted to Kick of Volunteer Week

April 10, 2014, 5:30 pm
The volunteer week Spokane Gives begins Saturday, through collaboration between the mayor’s office and non-profits. The seeds planted Saturday will start a week of growth in the volunteer community. The seeds being planted are literal.

Emergency Calls Lost During 911 Outage in Washington and Oregon

April 10, 2014, 5:00 pm
CenturyLink officials won’t say exactly what caused a two state outage of 911 emergency service Thursday. 911 lines were restored in Washington and Oregon after separate but unrelated problems according to CenturyLink.Officials acknowledge there were 911 calls placed that did not get through.

Water Supply Rebounds Across Most of Northwest After March Storms

April 10, 2014, 4:45 pm

Irrigators, hydropower dam operators and tugboat captains are sitting pretty across most of the Northwest. That's according to the latest regional water supply forecast, presented today. A branch of the National Weather Service offers a regional water supply forecast.

WSU Considers Creating Its Own Spokane Med School

April 10, 2014, 12:45 pm
Officials at WSU Spokane have commissioned a feasibility study to look at the possibility of starting their own medical school. While WSU Spokane is already in a partnership with the University of Washington that offers a four year medical program, WSU Spokane officials believe the Spokane school is a good position to offer its own program.

BPA Water Planners Aren't Celebrating Just Yet

April 10, 2014, 12:43 pm
The people who run the sprawling Columbia River water system are giving the current water supply outlook a thumbs up. But they also have their fingers crossed. Bonneville Power Administration hydrologists are still somewhat off balance after a roller coaster winter - from a so-so December to an alarming drought in early February to deluges of rain and snow last month.

'Like a Movie': Landslide Survivor in Her Own Words

April 10, 2014, 8:30 am

Tuesday, Oso landslide survivor Amanda Skorjanc spoke from her hospital bed at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle. She and her 5-month-old baby are among the few who survived the landslide. She describes that moment when the landslide hit.

Bulldogs Go After Daiquiri Factory

April 9, 2014, 4:11 pm
Photo from Spokane Downtown Daiquiri Factory Facebook, on March 23, 2014.The daiquiri bar in downtown Spokane is under fire again, this time from Gonzaga University. The school filed a federal lawsuit Tuesday against the bar, because of its use of a bulldog mascot, the school’s logo, and a drink called Bulldog Lemonade.

It’s Costly To Keep Bones, Cultural Artifacts Safe In Central Washington

April 9, 2014, 4:04 pm

The drawdown of water behind the cracked Wanapum Dam in central Washington is exposing dozens of human gravesites and hundreds of Native American cultural artifacts. Grant County officials are working overtime to protect these sensitive sites. That work isn’t cheap.

Bummer Of A Summer: In June Experts May Know What Cracked Wanapum Dam

April 9, 2014, 3:37 pm

It’s going to be a bummer of a summer in central Washington. That’s because Grant County officials said Wednesday, they won’t nail down the cause of the crack on Wanapum Dam until June. It all means water levels on the Columbia River will stay lowered. That leaves boat launches, resort communities and popular parks high and dry.

Inslee Happy With Federal Aid For Landslide, But Says It Won't 'Make People Whole'

April 9, 2014, 3:19 pm

Washington Governor Jay Inslee says he's pleased with the federal disaster relief flowing to the state for last month's deadly landslide in Snohomish County. But during an interview with public radio Wednesday, Inslee said the arrival of the FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) aid does not replace private charity.

National Fire Mangement Strategy Complete, Regional Plans Still In The Works

April 9, 2014, 3:17 pm

The U.S. Secretaries of Agriculture and the Interior on Wednesday announced a national strategy for preventing and fighting wildfires. It’s been in the works since 2009 but there are still details to be ironed out.

Spokane Schools Considers Longer Class Day

April 9, 2014, 3:11 pm
The Spokane Public School District is looking for public input on a plan to increase the length of the school day. The SPS district has been instructed by the state legislature to increase the amount of time kids spend in the classroom. School District Director of Communications Kevin Morrison says our local students are a bit behind the curve.

Wash. Patrols to Crackdown on Texting Drivers

April 8, 2014, 5:24 pm

You’ve probably heard the slogan “Click It or Ticket” to promote seat belt safety. Now, Washington State is joining in a new national campaign to target people who text and drive. Special patrols will be out statewide, starting Thursday. This campaign comes with its own snappy slogan, too.

Mudslide Insurance Rare, Expensive

April 8, 2014, 3:59 pm

The Oso mudslide death toll in Snohomish County is now at 34 and twelve people are still missing. President Obama has declared a major disaster area which opens the door to federal housing assistance and low-interest loans. But homeowners in the path of the slide aren’t likely to see an insurance payout. That's because standard homeowner's insurance doesn't cover this type of disaster. And mudslide coverage is not only expensive, it's difficult to purchase.

Idaho Senator Backs EPA Grants to Clean up Polluted Land

April 8, 2014, 3:44 pm
Idaho Senator Mike Crapo is not generally a fan of the Environmental Protection Agency, but he's an active booster of one EPA program aimed at turning brown fields into green ones. Crapo is co-author of a new Senate bill to help rehabilitate polluted and abandoned properties throughout Idaho and other states.

Obama To Visit Oso Landslide Site

April 8, 2014, 3:37 pm

President Barack Obama is expected to visit the site of the deadly landslide in Snohomish County, Washington later this month. The scheduled April 22nd visit would be exactly one month after the disaster struck. It's a rare visit to the region for the President, not counting political fundraisers.

Deborah Amos, on Importance of National News in Local Life

April 8, 2014, 6:30 am
Deborah Amos is a familiar name to NPR listeners. She has reported for years as a foreign correspondent, often reporting from the Middle East. She has also had a connection to Spokane Community College in the past. Amos will be in Spokane this week, taking part in the Get Lit! festival.

Northwest Student Code Breaking Competition Launches Soon

April 7, 2014, 5:07 pm
Stuart Boersma is a professor at Central Washington University. He’s organizing a code-breaking completion for Northwest college and high school students. Photo courtesy of Stuart Boersma.Code language is probably as old as language itself. Now, two Northwest university professors have launched a competition to test students’ code breaking skills. The brain-game starts this Thursday. It’s called Kryptos and is geared to undergraduate students all around the Northwest.


Firefighters Go Digital With Patient Medical Info

April 7, 2014, 3:16 pm
Firefighters in Spokane are phasing out a reporting system in place since the late 1800’s. As of Monday the Spokane Fire Department will collect patient information digitally, instead of by pen and paper. Now, firefighters will pull out a tablet computer.

Idaho Loses Medicaid Reimbursement Dispute

April 7, 2014, 6:30 am
The State of Idaho took on the federal government in a court case over Medicaid reimbursement rates, and lost. Five Idaho corporations which provide basic life skills - routine functions such as bathing, eating and laundry - sued the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare three years ago in federal court. 

After Fatalities Nationwide, Washington Regulators Target Party Buses

April 7, 2014, 6:30 am
Party bus owner William Prigmore says his industry helps keep drunk drivers off the road. Photo by Austin Jenkins.Prom season is coming up. That means tuxes, gowns … and limousines. But these days an old fashioned stretch limo can look a bit stodgy. The new rage is party buses. They carry more people and you can even stand up, dance and drink as you cruise down the road. But these parties on wheels can come at a price. Nationwide there’ve been nearly two dozen fatalities on these buses – including one here in the Northwest. Now regulators in Washington state are getting ready to crackdown on the industry.

Northwest Asparagus Growers Trying To Delay Harvest For Better Prices

April 4, 2014, 5:16 pm

Northwest asparagus growers are just starting to harvest spears in the warmer sites around Pasco, . The green points are the first crop harvested in spring. But this year farmers say they might not get the best prices, at least at first. That’s because Mexican and Californian spears have flooded the market.

A Long, Dry Summer For River Resort Communities Behind Cracked Wanapum Dam?

April 4, 2014, 4:45 pm

Boat launches and docks in the community have been left high and dry from the drawdown of water behind the damaged dam. Photo by Anna King.Fresh displays of fringed bikinis are hitting department stores across the nation – a clear signal summer is on its way. But for one resort community in central Washington this summer could be a bust. A crack in the Wanapum Dam there has forced operators to draw down the Columbia River more than 25 feet. That’s left boat docks hundreds of feet from the water.


WA Insurance Commissioner: ACA Here to Stay

April 4, 2014, 12:00 pm
Washington insurance commissioner Mike Kriedler is happy with the number of people who have signed up for medical insurance or qualified for Medicaid in the state. Kriedler says prior to authorization of the Affordable Care Act, it was estimated there were a million people in Washington without health insurance.

Counties in Three-State Area Get Budget Relief

April 4, 2014, 6:30 am
Cash-strapped counties in Idaho, Oregon and Washington get a little breathing room with a new cash infusion - more than $117-million - from the federal Secure Rural Schools program. Local government units in areas of the three states with high proportions of non-taxable federal land have become dependent on the in-lieu of taxes federal payments.

McDonald’s “Respectfully Declines” Neighbor’s Request for Different Design

April 3, 2014, 6:04 pm
It seems last ditch efforts by neighbors will not stop McDonald’s from building a drive-thru only location in Spokane. Emails between the two parties this week suggest the drive-thru will open in June, as planned. Representatives from McDonald’s approached the city for a building permit last spring, and the planning department granted it this February.

Measles Outbreak In British Columbia Crosses Northern Border

April 3, 2014, 4:24 pm

A big measles outbreak in British Columbia has crossed over the border into the American Northwest. Health officers in B.C.'s Fraser Valley (southeast of Vancouver) have confirmed over 350 cases of measles there since an outbreak started in early March.

Goldmark Accuses Anti-Logging Interests Of Exploiting Oso Slide

April 3, 2014, 4:22 pm

Washington Lands Commissioner Peter Goldmark is speaking publicly for the first time since the Oso landslide in Snohomish County. In an exclusive interview with our Austin Jenkins, the two-term Democrat suggests anti-logging interests want to use the disaster to advance their cause.

State Board Says Fate of Medical Marijuana Dispensaries Still Uncertain

April 3, 2014, 3:49 pm
Medical marijuana patients in Washington state should probably not have to worry about federal intervention at this point. But, a member of the Washington Liquor Control Board says the fate of medical marijuana dispensaries is uncertain.

Federal Fishing Agency Likened to Payday Lender

April 3, 2014, 3:22 pm
An ill-managed federal loan program meant to stave off disaster in at the Washington and Oregon fishing industry is under attack by lawmakers of both states in both major parties. A bill up for a hearing this week in the U.S. House Natural Resources Committee has drawn a champion from across the aisle and across the Columbia River.

Judicial Appointment Turns into Contest Between States

April 2, 2014, 5:00 pm
The appointment of a new federal judge for the sprawling 9th Circuit Court of Appeals turned into a war between the states - Idaho and California. John B. Owens of Los Angeles had been nominated back in the summer of last year to take a seat on the court of appeals. But when the Senate was unable to act before that session of Congress ended, the president re-nominated Owens in January this year.

Wash. Public Universities Offer Help For Students Affected by Slide

April 2, 2014, 3:55 pm

Both the University of Washington and Washington State University are prepared to deal with students who have been impacted by the Oso landslide. Washington State University President Elson Floyd sent a letter to the mayor of Darrington, waiving tuition for the 2014-2015 academic year.

Washington Pot Store Lottery Announced; Grow Licenses Lagging

April 2, 2014, 3:53 pm

The timeline for when Washington’s first marijuana retail stores will open has slipped from June to early July. Staff for the state Liquor Control Board made that announcement Wednesday. The next step in the process is a lottery to see who wins a license to open a pot store. The results of that lottery should be known by early May.

The Death Toll At Mudslide Rises-Mountain Blew Out From The Bottom

April 2, 2014, 12:00 pm
It's becoming a regular occurrence, increasing the official tally of the dead in the aftermath of the massive landslide near the community of Oso, Washington. In the latest briefing from the Snohomish County Medical Examiner's office-the number rose by one--to 29.

Oso: A tight knit community takes care of its own

April 2, 2014, 8:00 am

Oso is just east of Arlington on a road that opens to a green valley. The Stillaguamish river winds south of the town, then it snakes north to the disaster site. Oso used to be a peaceful place, a logging town. Not now. Dozens of emergency vehicles are parked around the fire station on the outskirts of town. People are shouting and waving signs. Beyond there, the town itself remains intact.

Logging Crossed Line into Oso Landslide Zone

April 2, 2014, 6:30 am

Seattle just wrapped up its wettest March on record. Geologists say heavy rain in the Cascade Mountains northeast of Seattle was key in triggering the landslide that killed at least people in the town of Oso last week. But they say clearcutting nearby could also have worsened the risk of the hillside collapsing.

Northwest Researchers Document Whales Which Set New Breath-Hold Record

April 2, 2014, 6:30 am

Satellite tag being attached to the dorsal fin of a Cuvier's beaked whale. The tagging arrow can be seen in the air as it detaches from the tag.Think about how long you can hold your breath and then let this discovery blow your mind. Northwest-based whale researchers have documented a new breath-hold record among mammals. They timed a dive by a beaked whale that lasted 2 hours and 17 minutes.

Idaho Man Sentenced to 25 Years for Rifle attack on White House

April 1, 2014, 5:30 pm
An Idaho Falls man who fired at - and hit - the White House in 2011, has been sentenced to 25 years in prison on terrorism and weapons offenses. For months before he drove 2,000 miles from Idaho to Washington D.C. 23-year old Oscar Ramiro Ortega-Hernandez had been telling acquaintances that he was on a mission from God to "take out" President Barack Obama.

Poker in the Cards For Coeur d' Alene Casino

April 1, 2014, 5:00 pm
Another political and legal fight may be brewing between the Coeur d' Alene tribe and the State of Idaho - this one, over poker. The tribe plans to add poker to its attractions at the Worley casino, even though state officials say it would clearly be illegal under state law.

Some Parts of Idaho Declared Drought Disaster Areas

April 1, 2014, 4:45 pm
Given the amount of rain and snow in eastern Washington and the Idaho panhandle this month. it may hard to think of a drought disaster area in the rich farm region of southern Idaho. Elmore County, an arid, sparsely populated county just east of Boise, has been declared a primary natural disaster area.

Winds Hamper Exploratory Drilling On Wanapum Dam’s Giant Crack

April 1, 2014, 4:06 pm

Photo courtesy of Grant County PUD.High winds on the Columbia River are hampering forensic work on the damaged Wanapum Dam in southeast Washington. Workers first noticed a giant crack in the structure over a month ago. Investigators are trying to figure out just how bad it is and how to fix it.


LNG Plant Still Not Safe For Investigators

April 1, 2014, 4:05 pm

State and federal pipeline safety investigators have not yet been able to access the scene of an explosion and fire at a natural gas facility in southeast Washington. But they are interviewing employees who work at the Williams Northwest Pipeline facility where the accident happened Monday.

Seattle Sports Teams Visit Darrington

April 1, 2014, 8:30 am
About a dozen Seattle Seahawks and Sounders players visited the Darrington area Monday. In a statement the Seahawks company said the teams wanted to offer a brief distraction for families devastated by the landslide near Oso.

Mayor Vetoes Anti-Sprawl, Urban-Growth Ordinance

March 31, 2014, 5:39 pm
Monday, the mayor of Spokane made a rare use of his veto power and rejected a city council resolution regarding the urban growth area. Mayor David Condon says he will veto a recent resolution that barred contested developments outside the city limits from accessing city utilities. 

State of Washington to Feds: Cleanup at Hanford Must Go Faster

March 31, 2014, 5:30 pm

Washington Governor Jay Inslee and the state attorney general Bob Ferguson complained Monday that the federal government will likely miss major deadlines for cleanup at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation. They want the feds to stick to agreed upon deadlines and are demanding new tanks to replace the leaking old ones. The feds say they have a plan too.

Landslide Insurance Costly, Rare

March 31, 2014, 5:00 pm

Washington Governor Jay Inslee Monday filed a formal request for a federal disaster declaration. If this is granted, it means the survivors of the massive landslide near Oso, Washington would be eligible for federal assistance. Many of them will be counting on that since they don’t have landslide insurance.

In Wash., First Comes Domestic Partnership, Then Comes Marriage

March 31, 2014, 7:30 am
The wedding day for about 7,000 same-sex couples in Washington is just three months away. It’s not a date they chose, but one set by the state’s same-sex marriage law. Some couples are excited, but others never planned to marry at all. Washington state is phasing out same-sex domestic partnerships, now that the couples can marry.

The Landslide Statistic Everyone's Using Is From 198

March 28, 2014, 5:46 pm

This frequently cited statistic comes from a 1985 report on landslides. Credit: National Research Council
The massive landslide in Oso, Wash., has shined a national spotlight on the damage this kind of natural disaster can cause. But geologists say they don't have comprehensive data on landslides in most places. In fact, the most frequently cited statistic on landslides in the U.S. is out of date.

Bureaucratic Snafu Delays Vietnam Vet’s Medals For 44 Years

March 28, 2014, 5:00 pm

In this photo from 1969, Leon Strigotte (far right) examines a disarmed boobytrap. Strigotte served in an airborne infantry unit and lead a recon team during his second tour of duty in Vietnam in 1969. Photo courtesy of Leon Strigatte.A Vietnam vet from north Idaho on Friday received nine military honors more than four decades overdue. Sgt. Leon Strigotte's medals had been overlooked for years as a result of poor record keeping and, possibly, a sunken ship.


Spokane Indians Adopt Salish Jerseys

March 28, 2014, 5:00 pm
The Spokane Indians baseball team will have a new logo this season. They'll be the first professional team to use a Native American language in their design. Spokane Tribe Chair Rudy Peone says the Spokane Indians has worked in conjunction with the Spokane Tribe to establish the team name as a tribute.

McDonald’s Moving Near Gonzaga, Neighbors Not ‘Lovin’ It’

March 28, 2014, 4:45 pm
The super-sized restaurant chain McDonald’s has planned a new location near Gonzaga University. That came as a surprise to neighbors, who found out in February. Driving down Hamilton street past Safeway grocery, you’ll see a backhoe moving dirt under a brand new McDonald’s sign.

Home Buyers Not Necessarily Warned Of Natural Hazards

March 28, 2014, 8:30 am

The Oso landslide is raising questions about when the public should be warned of a geological hazard. In California, that warning comes when you buy property. But California is unique. Like Washington, California is a poster state for natural disasters: mudslides, earthquakes, wildfires.

Getting “Inside the Business of Modern Slavery” at GU’s Presidential Lecture

March 27, 2014, 6:15 pm
Twice a year Gonzaga University brings renowned authors and researchers to speak in Spokane. The Presidential Speaker in April is a man who wrote the book on modern slavery. Siddharth Kara says there’s much more awareness now, than when he started his research in the late 80’s, but work to stop trafficking hasn’t progressed.

Police Use of Force Progress Report an Improvement

March 27, 2014, 5:00 pm
Spokane’s mayor and police chief have presented their one year update to the Use of Force Commission. The commission set 26 tangible recommendations for the department, and Thursday's meeting was the second of three requested updates.

Officials Pay Tribute to Washingtonian Known For Songwriting

March 27, 2014, 4:45 pm
A well known musical performer who lives in Soap Lake was honored this week, as she celebrated her 91st birthday. Born in 1923 in Seattle as Bonnie Buckingham, Bonnie Guitar received recognition from the state of Washington for her musical accomplishments.

People Find Ways To Help After Landslide

March 27, 2014, 3:31 pm

Scouts in Arlington collect donations for neighbors affected by the nearby landslide. Credit Taylor Winkel.People near the landslide in Snohomish County are looking for ways to help. At first emergency response commanders did ask people to stay away from the slide. But Bob DeYoung of Darrington, the small town on the other side of the landslide, says that wasn’t gonna happen.


Oso Landslide Could Be Deadliest Disaster In State History

March 27, 2014, 3:27 pm

Washington Governor Jay Inslee has acknowledged the Oso landslide could be the deadliest natural disaster in state history. So far 25 people have been confirmed killed and as many as 90 remain missing. If the ultimate death toll reaches 100 that would eclipse even the 1910 Stevens Pass avalanche.

Landslide Death Toll Expected To Rise

March 27, 2014, 12:00 pm

The death toll stands at 25 on Thursday, following the massive landslide near Oso, Washington. Sixteen of those victims have seen by the Medical Examiner. But officials say they've located at least nine additional bodies. These won’t be included in the official death toll until they’ve been examined.

Speed and Ease the Keys to Voter Registration Drives

March 27, 2014, 11:11 am
A new Washington State study shows that people eligible to vote - but not registered to do so - are more likely to become voters if the process is quick and simple. The study done for the Electronic Registration Information Center (ERIC), boiled down to a marketing effort.

Local Toxics Group Feels Threat by National Proposal

March 26, 2014, 4:45 pm
Efforts to ban some flame retardants that pose a human health threat failed in the Washington legislature this year. But, proponents of the ban say they will continue efforts next session. In the meantmie, they have serious concerns about a bill introduced in the U.S. Congress, that they say will overturn efforts to protect the public from toxic chemicals.

Wash. and Tribal Officials Tried to Fend off slides

March 26, 2014, 4:25 pm

Saturday's deadly slide was the latest in a long string of landslides to hit the area known as the Hazel Slide along the North Fork Stillaguamish River. State and tribal officials have been trying to fend off slides at that spot for half a century.

National Guard Searcher Describes ‘Sifting’ Through Crushed House

March 26, 2014, 4:22 pm

Washington National Guard searchers are assisting in the effort to locate victims of the Oso landslide in Snohomish County. Photo Credit: Washington National GuardThe Washington National Guard has now deployed two Blackhawk helicopters to the Oso landslide. On the ground, specially-trained search teams Wednesday looked for victims in the mud and debris. Correspondent Austin Jenkins spoke to one of the National Guard searchers.


How More People Buying Guns Equals More Money For Wildlife

March 26, 2014, 4:18 pm

Credit: U.S. Fish & Wildlife ServiceThe run on firearms last year is turning into a windfall for conservation programs in the Northwest. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service revealed Wednesday just how much money is coming to states from a long-standing tax on gun sales.


Front Line View Shows Why Search For Landslide Victims Is Slow

March 26, 2014, 4:16 pm

Emergency managers in Snohomish County, Washington are allowing a select number of relatives of the missing to join the search for victims from Saturday’s massive landslide. Wednesday, the grim search continued across the mucky, grey debris pile near the village of Oso.

Oregon Health Insurance Deadline Extended

March 26, 2014, 4:11 pm

Oregonians who want to apply for insurance through the state's troubled health insurance exchange now have some more breathing room. Governor John Kitzhaber announced Wednesday that the federal government has agreed to extend the deadline by a month.

Mudslide in Snohomish County: AP UPDATE

March 25, 2014, 5:06 pm
The Associated Press' latest update on the devastating landslide in Snohomish County, Washington.

Study: Sage Grouse Habitat Slow To Rebound After Fire

March 25, 2014, 5:00 pm

A new study suggests creating livable habitat for the dwindling sage grouse may be trickier than originally thought. Wildfires have been tearing through the bird's territory in the West. Now, federal researchers find even 20 years after a fire, the ecology is still not up to sage grouse standards.

McMorris-Rodgers Ethics Probe Probably Closed

March 25, 2014, 5:00 pm
U.S. Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers probably won't face an investigation from the House Ethics Committee, despite a report from a non-partisan office which found she may have mixed campaign and official funds, office space and staff time.

Basic Health Option for Washingtonians Still Part of Talks

March 25, 2014, 4:45 pm
Washington State’s Basic Health program, which helped those with lower incomes gain access to health care, was discontinued when the state created it’s Health Exchange under the Affordable Care Act, and took the federal option of expanding Medicaid. But now, there is an effort to bring it back.

Rain Makes Slippery Search At Deadly Landslide More Complicated

March 25, 2014, 4:05 pm

Light rain is falling on the valley north of Seattle this week, where hundreds of rescuers are still combing through debris from Saturday’s catastrophic landslide. Snohomish County fire district chief Travis Hots says the change in the weather makes air and ground operations more challenging.

Washington Guard Response Includes Fatality Recovery Team

March 25, 2014, 4:04 pm

The Washington National Guard has deployed an 11-member fatality recovery team to Snohomish County. It has also sent a 50-member search and extraction unit. These specially-trained Guard members will help at the scene of the massive landslide near Oso.

Why It's So Hard To Pin Down The Number Of Missing People After A Disaster

March 25, 2014, 4:02 pm

More than 100 people are considered missing after last weekend's devastating landslide near Oso, Washington. That number continues to fluctuate. Experts say it's often difficult for authorities to figure out how many people are unaccounted for in the immediate aftermath of a natural disaster.

County Officials Say Stricken Neighborhood Made Aware Of Landslide Risk

March 25, 2014, 4:01 pm

The death toll is expected to rise Tuesday from Saturday’s catastrophic landslide near Oso in Snohomish County (Washington). County officials and emergency planners are starting to field hard questions about permitting home construction in a known landslide zone.

Washington Senate Panel Approves $30 Per Diem Increase

March 25, 2014, 3:59 pm

Washington state Senators are giving themselves a pay raise. They will get $120 a day in per diem when they are in session – up from the current $90 a day. The Senate Facilities and Operations committee approved the increase Tuesday in a split vote.

High Tech Tools And Tricks Aid Search For Landslide Victims

March 25, 2014, 3:53 pm

Rescuers are employing high technology tools and tricks to help locate victims buried deep under the muck and debris of Saturday’s landslide in Northwest Washington, near Arlington. Rescue and recovery coordinators are now asking the families of possible landslide victims for the mobile phone numbers of the missing.

Spokane Lands “in Episode of Portlandia” With New Urban Farming Rules

March 25, 2014, 12:00 pm

You don’t have to live in the country to raise pigs or sell your backyard veggies anymore. Livestock and neighborhood markets are now allowed in Spokane’s city limits, thanks to two measures approved Monday night by the city council. Council president Ben Stuckart sponsored the urban farming measures.

Irrigators Struggle To Secure Fish Screens And Water In Time

March 25, 2014, 7:00 am

Wanapum Dam, photo by Anna King.Dozens of central Washington fruit farmers are still high-and-dry without water for their valuable fruit trees. Many irrigation pipes don’t reach the lowered Columbia River behind the cracked Wanapum Dam. But it turns out, the farmers’ rush for water is now being slowed because of concerns over endangered tiny-baby salmon.


US Tries to End China's Geoduck Ban

March 25, 2014, 7:00 am
Some U.S. and Chinese specialists are conducting what might be called bi-lateral bi-valve diplomacy.
And Washington shellfish farmers are closely watching their progress. Representatives of the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Adminstration visited Beijing to try easing shellfish bans.

Rising Water Risks Mean Rising Premiums

March 24, 2014, 6:12 pm
Thousands of home and property owners in Washington, Oregon and Idaho face a rising tide of costs for their mandatory flood insurance policies. A review conducted by the Associated Press found that more than 13,000 federally subsidized flood insurance policies in Washington face hefty premium hikes, despite a rate relief law approved earlier this month.

Last Funded Work Begins on Spokane’s North-South Route

March 24, 2014, 5:00 pm
The above freezing temperatures have allowed construction workers to get back on the job, including on the North Spokane Corridor. But after they finish the existing small projects, there’s no funding in place. Discussions started in the 1940's for a north-south freeway in Spokane. Today, about half of it is complete.

Public School Kids' Test to be Test of the Test Itself

March 24, 2014, 5:00 pm
The season of student testing is open in Washington State. But one big test this year won't try to measure what the kids know - rather, the test given will be a test of the test itself. About 180 schools in Washington state will take part in a field test of proposed new national exams under the Common Core curriculum.

Inland Northwest Threatened by Fire, Not Slides

March 24, 2014, 5:00 pm
Western Washington is no stranger to landslides, which prompt road closures and train delays there each winter. The threat is much different in the Inland Northwest, where fire and flood top the natural disaster list.

Why Medical Marijuana Legalization Has No Traction In Idaho

March 23, 2014, 8:30 am

So far 20 states have legalized marijuana to some extent. That includes four of Idaho’s six neighbors and some Republican dominated states. There is an effort to get a medical pot initiative on Idaho’s November ballot. We found out last month that, after a year of trying, organizers only had about 200 confirmed signatures, they’re up to 406 now. Unlike much of the country, In Idaho the issue has gotten nowhere.

Washington State Orders Hanford Managers To Empty Leaking Tank

March 21, 2014, 5:00 pm

Friday the state of Washington ordered the federal government to pump out a leaking double-shell tank of waste at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation. The state says pumping must begin by September first. This move comes after months of polite talks and planning.

MLK Parade Bomb-Builder Fails to Overturn Conviction

March 21, 2014, 12:44 pm
The Kettle Falls, Washington man who left a backpack bomb along the MLK parade route in Spokane in 2011 tried, but failed, to renounce his guilty plea to terrorism charges. 39-year old Kevin William Harpham is serving 32 years in a California federal prison for building and placing the radio-controlled bomb in downtown Spokane.

NW Native Groups Want Fish Passage in Columbia River Treaty

March 21, 2014, 12:00 pm
Area Native Americans met in Spokane this week to discuss various options available to increase salmon runs in the Columbia River. The talks are aimed at eventually getting such discussions included in negotiations for the Columbia River treaty between the US and Canada.

Fish Experts Plan A Salmon Water Slide On Cracked Wanapum Dam

March 20, 2014, 5:00 pm

The ongoing issue with the cracked Wanapum Dam in central Washington is now creating problem for migrating salmon. The drawdown of water between the Wanapum and the Rock Island dams to relieve pressure on the crack is the roadblock.

Independent Audit Outlines Problems At Cover Oregon

March 20, 2014, 5:00 pm

Oregon's health insurance exchange was riddled with internal conflict and unrealistic expectations. That's according to a scathing audit from an independent consultant released Thursday. Governor John Kitzhaber announced the findings and said among other things, the director of the Oregon Health Authority will be resigning.

Spring Brings End to Hibernation, Bear Expert Wants Awareness

March 20, 2014, 4:45 pm
While spring prepares us to spend time outdoors, it also welcomes bears back out of hibernation. One wildlife expert wants campers, and northwest residents, to be bear aware. “The closest they’ve come is the Red Wagon, that’s downtown Spokane."

Serial Killer Wants Sentence Reduced to Life From 408 Years

March 20, 2014, 2:19 pm
Spokane serial killer Robert Lee Yates is under a death sentence for two murders, and a sentence of 408 years in prison for 13 other brutal slayings. Yet he thinks he was unfairly treated when he agreed to the long prison term in Spokane, so he demanded a do-over on the plea bargain.
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