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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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.

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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.

Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry

The federal government has released results of health tests it conducted on people who drank water pulled from wells in Airway Heights before 2017. The wells contained a chemical used in foam that was used to fight fires at Fairchild.

 

The Airway Heights community is one of at least seven nationwide where blood and urine samples were taken from residents.

Courtesy of Sara Mader

While Covid has wreaked havoc with many businesses across the country, some companies that have teamed up with Amazon are seeing their businesses flourish. That is definitely the case with one Palouse grain grower.

Doug Nadvornick/SPR

Some rural hospitals in the Northwest are struggling to stockpile enough personal protective equipment for employees who care for contagious patients. Those employees say sometimes it means they use that equipment for longer than the recommended period.

 

One Spokane nurse says, because of that, he’s giving up his vocation until he can feel safe again at the workplace.

Doug Nadvornick/SPR


 

The grand experiment begins Monday for at least three Inland Northwest colleges and universities. Washington State, the University of Idaho and North Idaho College will begin their first academic year in the coronavirus age.

All of the institutions have plans on how to put in place various safety procedures, including distancing, temperature checks and mask requirements. And all plan a mix of online and in-class instruction.

Courtesy of Peter Davenport

If you've ever reported seeing something unusual in the sky, chances are the news eventually reached the national tracking center for unidentified flying objects. That center is located in eastern Washington.

The man who directs it, Peter Davenport, has had a lifelong interest in UFOs since first seeing one during a family outing at a drive-in theater in 1954.

Spokane County Fire District 10

Two Spokane County fire levies that were on Tuesday's primary election ballot are passing.

 

In Spokane County Fire District 10, a 10-year levy focused on medical services is passing handily, 66-to-32%.

Washington Department of Agriculture

Washington and Idaho state agriculture officials are warning you to be on the lookout for a surprise package that might arrive in the mail from China.

 

Officials from the respective states' Departments of Agriculture say they have received reports in the last week from people who received unsolicited mailed envelopes from China. Idaho officials say they've heard of about 20 cases.

Spokane County Fire District 10

Two fire levies are on the August 4 primary election ballot in Spokane County.

 

In Fire District 10, which covers much of the West Plains, voters are asked to approve a 10-year levy focused on medical services.

Brownes Addtion Concert Series

 

Washington Governor Jay Inslee's office has modified rules for venues that feature entertainment that strictly prohibit live music in areas that are still in phase two - or even phase three - designations because of the Covid virus.

A Spokane County judge has ruled in favor of a neighborhood group opposed to development of a sports complex in its southeast Spokane neighborhood.

The victory is just one step in the efforts by the Glenrose Neighborhood Association to stop a 20-acre sports complex planned by the Spokane Youth Sports Association.

Wikipedia

A Spokane conservation group is giving a demonstration of a new burning device it hopes forest managers will use to revolutionize the way they deal with forest slash.

Spokane County Sheriff's Department

Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich says he’s happy the FBI is conducting a criminal investigation of Washington State Representative Matt Shea.

 

The sheriff learned about the investigation from a letter sent by the state bar association. It revealed it would forgo its own investigation of Shea until the FBI probe is complete.

 

Natural Resources Conservation Service

Federal officials say the water supply this year in north Idaho is looking good, especially when compared to other areas of the state. 

The Clearwater Basin in north central Idaho had near normal amounts of snowfall last winter. The farther north you went, the better the snowpack.

Photo Heather Keen

The Coeur d'Alene Tribe is making a special effort to keep its elders safe from the Covid virus. 

 

The tribe's Older Americans Program is working in conjunction with its Miramn Health Clinic to provide special Covid Safety Packs to tribal members older than age 55.

Courtesy of Spokane Transit

Spokane Transit Authority is getting a $23 million lifeline in the form of emergency funding from the federal government for funding lost from the Covid virus.

 

The money from Congress was authorized under the Coronavirus Relief and Economic Security Act and it comes at a good time.

Steve Jackson

Spokane city officials would like to hear from the public their opinions on a new section of Centennial Trail to be completed in the West Central neighborhood.

The area of interest will connect a section of the trail at Boone and Summit Boulevard to the trail at Pettit Drive and West Point Road.

Spokane County Solid Waste image

Spokane County officials says its waste transfer stations are open during the Covid-19 lockdown.

Both of the county's waste transfer stations, off Sullivan Road in Spokane Valley and off Highway 2 at Elk-Chattaroy Road, are open and accepting garbage as well as green garden materials and recyclables.

But the lockdown has meant more people have time on their hands to work on their yards and clean out basements and garages.

Steve Jackson photo.

Avista has been adjusting its dam operations on the Spokane River to accommodate the seasonal flow this spring. It's one part optimizing power generation, and one part fine tuning the water level.

Washington Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler says auto insurance companies should consider giving rebates to customers, because of the effect the COVID-19 virus has had on driving in the state.

Kreidler says, because of the statewide lock-down in place, it's estimated traffic levels are about half of what they normally are. And accidents are down.

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The Spokane Riverkeeper group is asking that rulemaking regarding PCB pollution in the Spokane River be put on hold until Governor Jay Inslee's “Stay Home-Stay Healthy” order has been rescinded.

Washington's Health Benefit Exchange has extended a special enrollment period for people who are without health insurance.

The period began March 10, but with thousands of people out of work because of the coronavirus (and 187,000 filing for unemployment during the last week), the exchange has decided to extend the emergency enrollment period until May 8.

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