Steve Jackson

News Reporter

Steve was part of the Spokane Public Radio family for many years before he came on air in 1999.  His wife, Laurie, produced Radio Ethiopia in the late 1980s through the '90s, and Steve used to “lurk in the shadowy world” of Weekend SPR.   Steve has done various on air shifts at the station, including nearly 15 years as the local Morning Edition host. Currently, he is the voice of local weather and news during All Things Considerd, writing, editing, producing and/or delivering newscasts and features for both KPBX and KSFC.    Aside from SPR, Steve ,who lives in the country, enjoys gardening, chickens, playing and listening to music, astronomy, photography, sports cars and camping.  

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Pandhandle Health District.

The hot temperatures this summer have promoted algae growth at some area lakes, and Idaho officials are warning people to try to avoid contact with contaminated lake water, which can be a health threat.

The algae appears as discolored water, streaks or globs of scum, or thick green matts along the shore.

Spokane has received about half of the precipitation it normally receives by this time in the summer.

Since January 1, the city has seen only 4.88" of precipitation. The 30-year average is 9.58" for the same time frame. Even so, this year comes in as the fourth driest on record for that time period.

Doug Nadvornick/SPR

Coeur d'Alene water officials say the hot weather this summer has translated into much higher water usage by residents. They're hoping they can convince people to conserve the precious resource.

Courtesy of Fairywrenproject.org

A new Washington State University study finds one species of songbird was so impacted by wildfire that it delayed the period where the males molted into bright plumage, thus postponing the breeding season.

The discovery was made in Australia by WSU researcher Jordan Boersma after a wildfire raced through the habitat of the red-backed fairywren.

Flickr Creative Commons/Cannabis Culture

You've probably heard the anecdotal evidence for years from sources as varied as school anti-drug programs to Cheech and Chong. Now, a WSU study seems to confirm what we have heard about cannabis use and memory issues.

Doug Nadvornick/SPR

The unprecedented heat in the region this week poses some extra challenges for those with vegetable gardens.

 

With temperatures in the triple digits for the next several days in the Inland  Northwest many plants could stop producing food and blossoms, wilt or die.

Despite increasing vaccinations and relaxation of COVID-19 regulations across the state, state wildland firefighters will still need to follow strict COVID-19 protocols.

The Department of Health says more than 67% of the state's population over age 16 is now vaccinated against Covid. And while that certainly includes many who work on DNR fire crews, currently DNR managers have no way to determine who that might be.

Courtesy of American Red Cross

American Red Cross officials say they are urgently looking for blood donors right now.

They say there's a shortage caused by an increase in demand, combined with fewer people donating during the Covid pandemic.

Here's one small item that shows state officials are worried about wildfires. The Department of Natural Resources says people may, temporarily, no longer use two of its properties in Stevens County as shooting ranges. They're worried shooters could spark fires in the dry conditions there.

Courtesy Stevens County Fire District 1

Fire crews in Stevens County are urging the community to be cautious when using guns after several fires broke out at shooting ranges.

Officials say the most recent fire at the area known as Bogg’s Pit near Loon Lake was the third since April.

The largest burn was about two acres.

Courtesy of Irvine Seed Company

Washington State University has long been known for its agricultural research. Now it’s expanding its emphasis on a crop that was once considered fringe, but is now becoming more mainstream. It has created a center that focuses on marijuana-related issues.

Courtesy of Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife

As the Covid crisis starts to recede, more people are returning to normal activities, like fishing. A major fish release at Lake Roosevelt should make that location a great destination soon for anglers.

Flikr Commons

Spring means there are a number of new baby animals in the great outdoors.

But experts warn that it's not a good idea to try to care for any animals you assume have been abandoned.

Courtesy of National Park Service

The wildfire season is off to an early start in the Inland Northwest. Over the weekend, local fire agencies responded to several small grass and timber fires.

Steve Jackson/SPR

Researchers are looking into all kinds of quality-of-life issues for people as they age. And now that kind of work is extending into the canine realm.

Washington State University researchers are looking into about how your dog can live a better life.

The Dog Aging Project is a joint effort by WSU and several other higher education institutions.

WSU Researcher Dr. Lynne Nelson says the project is investigating questions about genetics, canine cognition, cardiology and age-related mobility.

Rebecca White/SPR

Spokane County Treasurer Michael Baumgartner is offering a possible solution to financing for preserving some desirable property in south Spokane.

The future of the 48-acre Pilcher property, located between Latah Creek and the bottom of High Drive Bluff Park, has been up in the air for a couple years.

 

Wikimedia Commons

Washington’s Department of Fish and Wildlife is asking people to temporarily take down their bird feeders because of a salmonella outbreak.

Fish and Wildlife spokeswoman Staci Lehman says sick birds are being reported all over the region. The initial reports came in at first from the west side of the state, but after an online page was set up to take reports of sick birds.

Flikr Commons

Washington's Covid vaccinations are getting back on track after harsh winter weather nationwide slowed down shipments last week.

Many scheduled immunizations had to be canceled, but this week picked up pace again. Department of Health officials say one day this week, a record 5,000 doses were administered at the mass vaccination sites.

Flikr Commons

Washington state health officials say they are working to make sure distribution of the Covid vaccine is equitable. That means it’s distributed in the same proportion to minority groups as to the population as a whole.

Recently, the head of the Washington Department of Health, Umair Shah, said further analysis of numbers of those vaccinated shows better progress toward that goal than initially thought.

Wikimedia Commons

Washington’s Senate Ways and Means Committee heard testimony Tuesday on a bill that would put in place more rules dealing with landlords and tenants during the Covid-19 emergency.

Last year, Governor Inslee issued a proclamation that put in place an eviction moratorium to help those facing financial difficulties because of the pandemic.

Courtesy of Washington Department of Health

Washington state health officials say nearly one million residents have received at least one of the Covid 19 vaccinations in the state. That's a major mile marker as they push to meet a goal of vaccinating 45,000 per day.

Even so, they say they are seeing inequity in the number of minorities who are receiving the shots.

TVW screenshot

The Washington Senate is considering a proposal that would protect election workers from harassment. The bill was prompted by threats reported nationwide, and in Washington following last November’s election.

Doug Nadvornick/SPR

Vaccinations against the coronavirus are on track to begin at the Spokane Arena Wednesday morning.

The Community Health Association of Spokane, or CHAS, is the lead provider under the direction of Washington’s Department of Health and the Spokane Regional Health District.

TVW screenshot

A Washington legislative committee heard testimony Wednesday on a bill that would allow businesses shuttered by the pandemic to partially reopen.



More than 1,600 people signed up to weign in on legislation that takes aim at Governor Inslee’s latest re-opening plan.

Natural Resources Conservation Service

Although it hasn't snowed much in recent weeks at lower elevations, the snowpack in the mountains seems to be pretty close to normal this year.



The Spokane-Coeur d’Alene-St. Joe Basin snowpack is at about 92% of normal.
 To the north, the Kootenai-Pend Oreille Basins are at 104% of normal for this time of year.

Doug Nadvornick/SPR

Washington Lands Commissioner Hilary Franz has called for the legislature to support a bill that would provide a dedicated funding source for wildfire response and forest health work.

Franz says the bill would provide $125 million every biennium to fund new firefighters and aircraft and work to upgrade existing helicopters.

Courtesy of Stevens County Fire District 1

The people at the top of the Covid vaccine pyramid are health care workers in high-risk situations and people associated with long-term care facilities.

 

But first responders are high on the list too. In fact, firefighters in Stevens County will receive the Covid vaccine in a matter of days.

Cannabis Regulators Association

When Washington and Colorado became the first states to legalize recreational marijuana, they had to develop their own regulatory agencies and protocols from scratch.

 

Now that more states have joined the party, they’re pooling their expertise as the industry matures.

Courtesy of Idaho Department of Lands

New fire statistics from the Washington Department of Natural Resources show lightning has played a much smaller role in causing fires this year than in the past.

 

The agency has just released its latest data that covers the January through August period for northeast Washington counties.

Doug Nadvornick/SPR

National Weather Service forecasts over the weekend indicated we might see winds early in the week that would move some of the thick wildfire smoke out of the region.

 

But the newest computer modeling indicates the weak low pressure coming in late Monday and early Tuesday won't have much of an impact on the smoke.

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