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Spokane Celebrates Martin Luther King, Jr.'s Birthday

2 hours ago
Doug Nadvornick/SPR

One of Spokane’s traditions is its annual celebration of the federal holiday that marks the birthday of the late Dr. Martin Luther King, Junior.

Today [Monday], people from several generations kept the tradition alive with a rally in the convention center and a march through downtown Spokane.

Many of the people marching Monday weren’t alive when Dr. King was assassinated in 1968. And yet, several people, younger folks especially, carried the words of the late civil rights leader with them.

Wolverines are the largest members of the weasel family, but they look more like small bears with bushy tails.

Conservation groups say the animals need to be listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. Ten groups want to force the federal government to protect the elusive wolverines. 

The groups estimate there are around 300 wolverines left, sparsely scattered across the Mountain West, including Idaho, Washington and Oregon. Their young depend on snowy, high altitude habitat that could disappear as the climate warms.

Google is sponsoring a Spokane event for business owners to get some hands-on learning this week in digital skills.

Google spokeswoman Nicky Rigg says the company will hold classes related to marketing your business at the Spokane Public Library.

Washington state Rep. Matt Shea, a Spokane Valley Republican, has been accused of participating in an act of domestic terrorism prompting top elected officials to call on him to resign. But Friday, Shea found strong support at a gun rights rally at the state Capitol. 

Police-Mental Health Co-Deploy Team Expands In Spokane

Jan 17, 2020
Doug Nadvornick/SPR

A Spokane program that pairs police officers with mental health professionals has expanded.

The program has been widely praised for helping to divert people away from jail to mental health and other needed services.

Frontier Behavioral Health says four newly-hired and trained mental health professionals are now riding with patrol officers as part of a local behavioral health unit. Money to pay them comes from a new grant from the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs.

Women's Marches To Be Held Saturday In Spokane, Sandpoint

Jan 17, 2020
YWCA Spokane

At least two Inland Northwest events will be held Saturday, the same day as the fourth annual national Women’s March.

In Spokane, participants will begin gathering at the Red Wagon in Riverfront Park at noon. A rally is scheduled to begin at 12:30, with a small, but diverse, group of speakers, followed by a three-quarter mile march through downtown.

Effective this October, a standard Oregon or Washington driver's license won't pass muster with the Transportation Security Administration to board a domestic flight. Both Oregon and Washington drivers licensing managers are expecting long wait times this summer as a surge of deadline-driven travelers apply for upgraded IDs that are federally acceptable.

NFL photo

On a day when the Articles of Impeachment were sent to the Senate from the U.S. House, leaders from both parties joined on Wednesday to honor one former Spokanite with the Congressional Gold Medal.

Steve Gleason played football at Gonzaga Prep and Washington State University and went on to play with the New Orleans Saints.

Gleason was diagnosed with ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, but even that couldn’t slow him down, as witnessed by his famous quote, “No white flags.”

US Census Bureau

The U.S. Census Bureau is searching for workers in the Inland Northwest to carry out the once-every-10-years count.  

The bureau is advertising thousands of temporary jobs in the region. Those jobs will last about eight weeks. Pay is up to $16 an hour.

Nicolas found himself driving to a bar last fall, even though he doesn’t drink. He wanted to make sure his friends didn’t drive drunk that night on icy Grant County roads in central Washington.

Nicolas isn’t his real name. We’re protecting his identity because he’s undocumented and he worries federal immigration authorities may target him for speaking to the media.

Cori Kogan/WSU College of Medicine

Washington State University is working to get more Native American students to consider careers as medical doctors. A very small percentage of the doctors in the U.S. are Native and the pipeline is generally empty. WSU’s College of Medicine says, out of nearly 22,000 medical students in the U.S., 44 are Native.

One of them is Grace McPhail. She’s a first-year WSU medical student from Long Beach, Washington.

Doug Nadvornick/SPR

The University of Washington and Gonzaga University have created a program to teach the next generation of doctors how to become leaders.

An introduction to the story is told by Rachelle Strawther, the director of leadership training and development at the Gonzaga School of Leadership Studies.

“One of my parents was in the ER, had a bad fall. I got there, I rushed over there and people were tending to my mom and I remember at one point the doctor had come in the room, didn’t really say much to anyone in the room, very perfunctory, almost like doing a checklist and asking some questions of the nurses," Strawther said.

Fujis and Pink Ladies are some of the most valuable and last to ripen apple varieties in the Northwest. 

And this winter there are huge swaths of them left unpicked in orchards east of the Cascades. 

The trees’ leaves have dropped, and now with a blanket of snow the tracts of unpicked acres glow red even from miles away. The left-behind fruit has many speculating: Trump’s tariffs? Unripe? Bugs? Foul weather? 

On the day when the U.S. House sent articles of impeachment to the Senate, the Senate continued debate on the proposed U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade agreement.

Washington Senator Maria Cantwell rose to support it.

“Continuing to modernize the North American Free Trade Agreement is an important step for Washington and for our economy," Cantwell said.

Washington Department of Enterprise Services

The opening of the Washington legislative session has intensified the debate about whether Rep. Matt Shea (R-Spokane Valley) should be allowed to continue serving in the state House. No determination about his future as an elected official has been made yet.

Shea has been the subject of some rather sharp debate in the Spokane City Council’s public forums during the last two weeks.

Accused in a House investigation of participating in an act of domestic terrorism, Washington state Rep. Matt Shea of Spokane Valley defiantly returned to the Capitol on Monday -- spurning calls for him to resign -- and declared: "I'm not going to quit, I'm not going to back down."

Spokane City Cable 5

The Spokane City Council filled its vacancy Monday night by unanimously electing to appoint businesswoman and civic activist Betsy Wilkerson. Wilkerson will fill the seat in the council’s South district, replacing Breean Beggs, who now serves as council president.

Washington House Elects Its First Female Speaker

Jan 13, 2020
TVW

The Washington legislature opened its 2020 session today [Monday] in Olympia.

House members chose Rep. Laurie Jinkins (D-Tacoma) as their new leader, replacing longtime speaker Frank Chopp. Jinkins is the first woman to serve in that role.

After her swearing in, she talked about the road trip she took last fall to visit nearly every House member in their district. And she vowed to work with her colleagues on problems that affect all families.

Cori Kogan/WSU College of Medicine

Only a tiny percentage of the physician population in the U.S. is Native American. And the pipeline from Native communities to medical schools is providing only a trickle of students.

Washington State University’s College of Medicine is working with two other West Coast medical schools to increase the number of Native people prepare for careers as physicians.

When Washington lawmakers convene a short, election year session on Monday, they’ll confront a range of issues from homelessness to gun control to whether to expel state Rep. Matt Shea.

But first, the 60 day session will begin with a historic vote and swearing-in ceremony of Democratic state Rep. Laurie Jinkins. She will become the state’s first woman speaker of the House and only the second openly lesbian House speaker in the nation after Oregon’s Tina Kotek.

Third North Idaho Avalanche Victim Identified

Jan 10, 2020

The third victim of this week’s avalanche at the Silver Mountain ski resort in Kellogg, Idaho has been identified.

The Shoshone County Sheriff’s office identified her as 33-year-old Molly Elisabeth Hubbard from Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Remember back when it didn't cost anything to visit a state park for the day? A senior Republican in the Washington Legislature says the state's budget surplus should make it possible for park access to be free again.

Mother Nature Brings Us Snow Leading Into The Weekend

Jan 10, 2020
Doug Nadvornick/SPR

UPDATED at 3:20 pm 

The National Weather Service says 1.5" of snow had fallen at its location on Spokane's West Plains as of 2 pm Friday.

“We expect another 3 1/2” or so by midnight and then we’re going to see some lighter snow through the morning hours on Saturday, so we’re probably see another inch of snow after midnight," said Mark Turner from the National Weather Service.

"The snow that we’re seeing here in the afternoon on Friday, the intensity’s really starting to pick up now so we’ll really see the snow start to pile up here for the Friday commute."

Photo by Hank Lunsford

The death toll has risen in the aftermath of the avalanche that hit the Silver Mountain ski resort in northern Idaho this week.

Searchers today [Thursday] located the body of a third person. That person hasn't yet been publicly identified.

Idaho officials say the number of people who signed up for health insurance under the state insurance exchange was down this year.

The decrease was exactly what officials anticipated would occur with the recent Medicaid expansion.

Doug Nadvornick/SPR

Today on Inland Journal, Spokane moves one step closer to determining whether it should consider modernizing its jail or building a new one.

"I think the best financial situation for Spokane would be to put in place these initiatives and continue to expand on them so there would not need to be any new construction.”

Salmon need our help, but solutions aren’t going to come easy. That was the common thought from speakers Tuesday night in Clarkston, Washington.

The panel kicked off the first of three workshops to discuss issues that bog down the fate of four lower Snake River dams in Washington. 

Just before 3 a.m. on Feb. 27, 2019, an overnight caregiver woke up Marion Wilson, a developmentally disabled 64-year-old, so that she could be given a second round of colonoscopy prep medication.

Wilson, who relied on a wheelchair and was said to have the intellectual capabilities of a five-year-old, was scheduled to have the procedure later that same morning. After escorting Wilson to the bathroom, a second caregiver went to the kitchen to retrieve the remaining half gallon of bowel prep that Wilson was supposed to consume prior to the procedure.

But instead of retrieving the GoLYTELY solution from a “squared-off” plastic jug in the refrigerator, it’s believed the caregiver grabbed a round, gallon-sized jug of Heinz All Natural Cleaning Vinegar.

The crash of a Boeing 737 airliner shortly after takeoff from the Iranian capital hit home in the Pacific Northwest Wednesday. The crash victims include immigrant families just across the U.S. border in British Columbia.

Doug Nadvornick/SPR

Spokane County could lower its jail population by nearly 200 inmates during the next five years if it continues with a series of initiatives.

That was the message Wednesday to a committee of Spokane criminal justice professionals and advocates. They endorsed recommendations that could help county commissioners craft a jail-related ballot measure.

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