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TVW Video Voters' Guide

Washington voters will decide races for three state Supreme Court seats in November. In one, Justice Raquel Montoya-Lewis faces Federal Way Municipal Court Judge Dave Larson.

Here are their statements for TVW’s Video Voters Guide series.

Washington's Supreme Court Chief Justice Runs Unopposed

7 hours ago
TVW Video Voters' Guide

Washington voters will decide races for three state Supreme Court seats in November. Two of the races are contested. In the third, Chief Justice Debra Stephens is running unopposed.

Nonetheless, we present Justice Stephens here as part of TVW’s Video Voters Guide series.

New Spartan Axe Puts Attention On Firefighter Suicides

7 hours ago
Courtesy of Sara Blood/Ben Hayhurst

Firefighters share a common bond with police officers and soldiers. Their job is to respond to the most dangerous of situations and protect the rest of us. That kind of pressure takes a toll. Many firefighters die early from stress-induced illnesses. Others take their own lives.

Today [Tuesday], the Spokane Fire Department will call attention to that, using a symbol meant to encourage firefighters to seek help when they need it.

Recent Spokane Covid Increase Driven By Young People

7 hours ago
Spokane COVID Response

After three days of triple digit new Covid cases in Spokane, the weekend and Monday brought better news. The health district reported 192 cases, an average of 64 a day, from Saturday through Monday.

Health Officer Bob Lutz says younger people who test positive are helping to drive recent increases in the count.

Doug Nadvornick/SPR

Several Spokane area school districts have either welcomed or are preparing to welcome some students back to their classrooms. Different districts are moving at different speeds.

Some districts will want to move more quickly than others in adding first and then second graders. Health Officer Bob Lutz is urging them to be flexible in their schedules for doing that.

Doug Nadvornick/SPR

For years, the biggest issues in rural America have revolved around natural resources and access to wild areas. But Covid is bringing attention to another issue.

“When I first got here, I felt like I was the wallflower at the dance. Now I really feel like broadband is the prom king. It is the conversation piece now that everybody is looking to and trying to figure out," said Russ Elliott, the director of the Washington State Broadband Office.

Spokane County Bar Tackles Systemic Racism

Sep 25, 2020
Doug Nadvornick/SPR

 On Saturday, the Spokane County Bar Association and its Diversity Section tackled the issue of systemic racism in the county’s criminal justice system. They held a day-long workshop and invited the public to participate in the discussion.

A new distillery will soon begin making whiskey, vodka and gin on Chehalis tribal land in southwest Washington state. It's the first legal, Native-owned distillery to open on tribal land in the nation. The Chehalis Tribe's effort to diversify its economy by joining the craft spirits boom had to first overcome a nearly two century old prohibition on liquor production in Indian Country.

Dean Hare/WSU Photo Services

College football fans in the Northwest can rejoice. Some of their teams will apparently grace the gridiron later this fall.

The Pacific-12 athletic conference, which includes Washington State and Washington, has announced that its teams will play football this fall, after all. The season had been cancelled because of the risks of players spreading Covid to other players.

Courtesy of Gonzaga University

Construction has begun on a new home for the Gonzaga-University of Washington Regional Health Partnership.

The universities held a virtual groundbreaking ceremony Thursday for the building, which will be located in Spokane’s University District.

Doug Nadvornick/SPR

Spokane’s two largest school districts have begun preparations to bring kindergarten students back to school the week after next.

The districts acted quickly after Spokane County Health Officer Bob Lutz announced he supports the immediate, but slow reopening of schools for children in kindergarten through second grade. He talked about that with reporters today [Thursday].

Spokane Public Schools screenshot

Adminstrators at Spokane County's two largest school districts have announced plans to send kindergarten students back to school the week after next. This follows an announcement early Wednesday afternoon that Health Officer Bob Lutz approved of districts slowly phasing in in-person instruction for kindergarten-through-second grade.

Spokane's Post-Labor Day Covid Spike Hits Another High

Sep 23, 2020
Spokane COVID Response


Spokane County’s daily coronavirus case number was back in the triple digits on Wednesday. That’s the first time it’s crossed the hundred mark since August 8.

It means the post-Labor Day Covid spike continues to grow in magnitude. And it comes just as the flu season approaches.

TVW Video Voters' Guide

Washington voters will vote on Referendum 90 in November. Shall the state’s public schools teach a comprehensive sex education program approved this year by the legislature? Opponents of the bill, in the middle of the pandemic, gathered enough signatures to put it to a vote of the people.

Here are two views, one pro, one con. These are part of TVW’s Video Voters Guide series.

Student Nurses Help With Community Vaccination Efforts

Sep 23, 2020
Connie Young/WSU College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Services

Spokane area health care providers are in vaccine mode as we head into cold and flu season.

MultiCare on Tuesday announced a series of eight flu vaccine clinics over the next two months. The Spokane Regional Health District held a curbside vaccination clinic for both children and adults Tuesday at Rogers High School. Another one is scheduled for next Tuesday at Mead High School.

At some of those clinics, nurses will be joined by students from the Washington State and Gonzaga nursing schools and the WSU College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences.

Last year, a couple who lives near Port Townsend, Washington, agreed to let the federal government drop off a dead gray whale to decompose on their semi-isolated beach. Now, the couple has a permit to keep the whale skeleton and will soon assemble the most amazing yard art.

Thousands of vines roll over the hills like neatly placed stitches on a rumpled bed quilt. 

The sunset on Red Mountain’s Sunset Road near Richland, Washington, is usually spectacular. But on this evening, the sun just slips behind a dirty-white veil of smoke. 

Pickers can’t work as much in the smoke, says Red Mountain winemaker Charlie Hoppes

Planned Parenthood

A Spokane County judge has issued a preliminary injunction that will, for now, stop anti-abortion protests immediately outside the Spokane Planned Parenthood clinic.

Superior Court Judge Raymond Clary ruled Monday in a lawsuit filed against several people who gather outside the clinic under the name “The Church at Planned Parenthood.”

Former Washington state Auditor Troy Kelley plans to ask the U.S. Supreme Court to formally review his federal convictions for possession of stolen funds, filing false tax returns and making false statements.

The move comes after the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals earlier this month denied Kelley’s request for a rehearing of his case by all of the judges on that court. Previously, a three-judge panel rejected Kelley’s appeal seeking to overturn his convictions.

More Than 200 New Covid Cases In Spokane Over The Weekend

Sep 21, 2020
Spokane COVID Response

Spokane County’s Labor Day-related Covid spike continued over the weekend.

Health Officer Bob Lutz reported 228 new cases in the three-day Saturday-to-Monday period.

“This is definitely that spike that we, unfortunately, were concerned about. We hope that, we certainly believe, that our counts will go down as we are able to aggressively address these current cases," Lutz said.

Spokane health officials today [Monday] reported the release of improper personal health information.

The health district says it accidentally released the information on September 8 to Educational Service District 101 and one other party.

Dean Hare/WSU Photo Services

This week, the Pacific-12 Conference in college sports may follow other big-name conferences around the country in announcing a shortened fall football season. The conference cancelled its season because of the health risks to the players.

But other conferences around the country have decided the reward is bigger than the risk and have begun modified seasons.

Greater Spokane Sponsors Second PPE Distribution

Sep 20, 2020
Doug Nadvornick/SPR

Greater Spokane, Incorporated this week will hold a second round of distribution of personal protective equipment to Spokane County non-profits and businesses.

It’s part of Greater Spokane’s Open Together initiative.

Washington Department of Health

Washington public health authorities say Covid is at least partially responsible for a lull in childhood immunizations this year. They’re working to encourage parents to make sure their children are up-to-date on their shots.

Virtual Bloomsday, All 10 Days Of It, Opens This Weekend

Sep 18, 2020
Doug Nadvornick/SPR

A 43-year-old Spokane sports tradition will take place this weekend, about four months later than usual.

The 12-kilometer Bloomsday run is one of the nation’s largest timed road races, with 35,000-to-50,000 participants, depending on the year.

It’s usually run the first Sunday in May. This year, because of the coronavirus, it was postponed. But there will be a 2020 version, in a different form, even with one last obstacle.

Late Monday night, Sept. 14, a fire sparked alongside the winding mountain highway that leads to White Pass, a ski area about 15 miles east of Packwood, Washington.

The fire started a few miles east of White Pass, in steep terrain. A ski area employee traveling U.S. Highway 12 spotted the early flames and reported it.

As President Donald Trump intensifies his attacks on the security of vote-by-mail, county auditors and state election officials sought Friday to reassure voters the state of Washington is well prepared to pull off the 2020 vote-by-mail election.

However, those reassurances were also tempered by ongoing concerns about the United States Postal Service’s capacity to deliver and process ballots in a timely manner.

Idaho Public Television

Idaho Governor Brad Little said Friday the Gem State will remain in the final phase of the state’s coronavirus reopening plan.

“In nearly all the metric categories, we are seeing encouraging trends. However, our Covid hospitalizations statewide remain too high, again, to move out of stage four. Idaho will remain in stage four for another two weeks," Little said.

When fast-moving fires spread through Washington's Okanogan and Douglas counties over Labor Day weekend, the flames threatened the town of Bridgeport, forcing more than 200 farmworkers to spend a night sleeping outside in a city park in nearby Brewster. 

Paula Soto, whose family lives in Bridgeport, says many were not prepared for a wildfire.

Washington Department of Commerce


Washington’s Department of Commerce says it’s working with a Spokane non-profit organization to make money available for rural counties working to improve broadband service.

Better Health Together is distributing about $200,000 to help people in six eastern Washington counties develop stronger cases for federal broadband grants.