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Today's Headlines: July 8, 2024

Spokane City Council considers gun safety measure

Tonight, the Spokane City Council will consider an ordinance aimed at reducing the amount of gun violence in the city.

The measure sponsored by Councilmembers Paul Dillon and Kitty Klitzke has three provisions. It would forbid someone with a firearm to shoot it within the city, except at a gun range. It prohibits the open carry of weapons in city-operated buildings, including sports and entertainment venues, libraries and community centers.

Dillon said it would also allow the police department to confiscate weapons and ammunition and either destroy them or use them for training purposes.

“There’s a direct correlation in cities and states where, when you do pass legislation that does better regulate safety around gun violence, you begin to see a drop and that, ultimately, at the end of the day, is what this is all about,” Dillon told SPR News.

Dillon said the police department has logged more than 40 shootings during the first five months this year, roughly two a week.

Opportunities for advanced nursing degrees coming to Panhandle

Nurses in north Idaho will soon have the chance to earn advanced degrees.

Lewis-Clark State College Provost Fred Chilson said the Lewiston school has offered bachelor’s degrees in nursing since the 1960s. Beginning this fall, it will offer an online master’s in nursing.

“Primarily it focuses on management and leadership,” Chilson said. “We worked with our peer institutions, primarily Idaho State, and came up with a master’s degrees that is unique for the state of Idaho. Others focus more on education, but we’ve felt there was a gap area in developing nurses into management-type roles.”

Chilson said Lewis-Clark State will use existing faculty and practicing nurses as instructors.

Several Inland Northwest institutions have nursing and pre-nursing programs. Washington State and Gonzaga also offer master’s degrees, but Lewis-Clark State is the first in north Idaho to offer one. According to Chilson, it’s the college’s first master’s program of any kind. It also administers several other associate’s and bachelor’s degree program in the health sciences.

Washington elite may wait to part with stocks until after initiative results come in

Washington’s wealthiest residents may be waiting to sell their stocks until the results of the November election.

The capital gains tax is usually paid only by a small group of the state’s rich – selling high-value stocks, bonds and mutual funds worth more than a quarter of a million dollars.

This year, tax revenues are expected to drop almost half a billion. The state’s Chief Economist, Dave Reich, has a few theories on why.

“I have no idea what it's like to be a large capital gains earner, but if I was, I would be thinking, ‘Hmm, maybe should I wait?’” Reich told KUOW.

Why wait until November? Because that’s when Washington voters will choose whether to repeal the capital gains tax.

That’s what Ryan Alderfer would do. He’s a certified financial planner in Bellevue advising clients with their high-dollar assets.

“Yeah, I probably would advise just to, just to hold off for a few, for a few months to see what happens,” Alderfer said.

If the tax stays in place, Alderfer said some of his clients could move out of state – not unlike Jeff Bezos, who moved to Florida last year and is now unloading billions in Amazon shares. Florida has no capital gains, income or estate tax.

Climate change threatens Washington bird

A chubby bird that lives in the high country of Washington has been declared a threatened species due to climate change. Federal officials have added the Mount Rainier white-tailed ptarmigan to the endangered species list.

The “p” at the front of the word ptarmigan might be silent, but the birds aren’t.

The high-country bird is telling a story about how an overheating planet is hitting the Northwest.

Ptarmigans are adapted to cold and snow. Their heavily feathered feet act like snowshoes. But hotter summers and shorter winters mean less snowpack.

The alpine meadows where ptarmigans eat huckleberries and heather are being invaded by trees from below. Trees are spreading into alpine meadows where ptarmigans eat huckleberries and heather.

Less snow means less ptarmigan habitat and more trouble for salmon, hydropower customers, and wildland firefighters. That trouble is expected to get deeper until the world reins in its fossil-fuel pollution.

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Reporting was contributed by Doug Nadvornick, Scott Greenstone and John Ryan.