Regional News

The latest stories from Spokane Public Radio and the Northwest News Network.

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Courtesy of Terrain

One of Spokane’s annual downtown events is returning this year after taking 2020 off because of Covid. We’re not talking Hoopfest. We’re talking Terrain’s seventh annual art bazaar that celebrates local art and artists.

Rebecca White/SPR

Voters overwhelmingly backed an Eastern Washington University professor and a financial advisor for an open school board position, narrowing a crowded field. A stay at home mom and operations manager at a food bank pulled ahead in the race for the other open school board seat.

Voters Narrow Spokane County Municipal Races

Aug 3, 2021
Doug Nadvornick/SPR

Here are the August 3 primary election results from the municipal races in Spokane County.

In the city of Spokane's Northwest district, former state legislative candidate Zack Zappone won a five-way race. He'll face Spokane hamburger restaurant owner Mike Lish in the November general election.

Office of the Governor

Idaho Governor Brad Little made an appeal Tuesday to Idaho residents to get vaccinated against the coronavirus.

His request comes during a dramatic increase in positive cases.

Idaho Public TV screenshot

The Idaho House Ethics Committee has voted to censure a central Idaho legislator for her role in publicizing the name and photo of a woman who claimed in April that she was raped by another legislator.

Courtesy of Providence Health Care

The trade organization for Washington hospitals is urging its members to require their employees be vaccinated against the coronavirus.
The governing board of the Washington State Hospital Association last week approved a resolution supporting vaccination requirements.

Idaho Public TV screenshot

The Idaho House Ethics Committee today [Monday] questioned a central Idaho state representative who faces allegations that she helped to publicly identify a legislative intern who accused another lawmaker of rape.
The committee is determining whether Rep. Priscilla Giddings [R-White Bird] conducted herself in a way that was unbecoming of a legislator.

This weekend air quality in the Spokane area reached unhealthy levels due to wildfire smoke. This summer air quality in Okanogan County briefly was the worst in the world due to wildfires.

On the afternoon of March 1, 2018, the Washington House took up a controversial bill to privatize the state’s unionized homecare workforce — the roughly 46,000 individual providers who help bathe, dress and feed elderly or disabled clients in their own homes.

Doug Nadvornick/SPR

The drought conditions in the Inland Northwest are changing the way Avista manages the Spokane River system this summer.

The utility has announced that, due to lower-than-normal water levels in Lake Coeur d’Alene, it plans to release less water through its Post Falls Dam.

Spokane Public Schools

This spring two black students at Sacajawea Middle School said their teacher had subjected them to an offensive, and traumatizing lesson where they were told to clean cotton in class. Spokane Public Schools hired a third-party to investigate a complaint filed by the ACLU on the student’s behalf.

That investigation was released to the public Friday.

According to the report, investigators verified that a cotton cleaning lesson did occur, but students were not forced to participate.

Rebecca White/SPR

Spokane City Council will discuss a series of housing, and development incentives during their meeting Monday that could spur new affordable housing projects, and preserve the existing supply of housing in Spokane.

Wildfires burning across the West have now attracted the attention of President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris. They asked Western governors on Friday: How can the federal government help?

New Study Details Immigrants' Effect On Spokane Economy

Jul 30, 2021
Spokane City Council Facebook page

A new study quantifies the economic and workforce impact of people who moved to Spokane from other countries.

The report was issued last week by New American Economy. That’s an immigration advocacy group that’s working with the city of Spokane and local business organizations to highlight the contributions of immigrants.

Four Gonzaga Men's BB Players Head To The NBA

Jul 30, 2021
Screenshot from CBS Sports

Four Gonzaga men’s basketball players are now headed to the National Basketball Association. All were picked in last night’s NBA draft.

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.

National Weather Service

Eastern and central Washington should prepare for an intense, but short, heat wave this weekend.

National Weather Service meteorologist Rebekah Cheatham says temperatures on Friday and Saturday will be close to as hot as they were during the record-breaking heat wave at the end of June.

Doug Nadvornick/SPR

Spokane city council members want police to do a better job communicating with the public about how they’re responding to new state laws that took effect on Sunday. Those laws are designed to lower the risk of violent encounters with the public.

Spokane Sets Average Heat Record

Jul 29, 2021
Courtesy of National Weather Service

Weather forecasters say Inland Northwest temperatures will be back in triple digits as we head into the weekend.

From June 1-July 26, Spokane recorded its highest-ever average temperature, 73.7 degrees.

Fernan Lake Under Health Advisory After Algal Bloom

Jul 28, 2021
Courtesy of Panhandle Health District

The Pandhandle Health District has detected toxins that are dangerous to human health in Fernan Lake.

According to a press release, toxins have been found across the entire body of water due to algal blooms. The dramatic increase in algae looks like thick green mats or scum in the water.

Health officials are urging people who recreate, or fish on the lake to be cautious and avoid exposure to the water. Toxins can’t be removed by boiling or filtration, and can contaminate fish caught in the lake.

Courtesy of Northwest Interagency Coordinating Center

Washington Lands Commissioner Hilary Franz toured two of eastern Washington’s major wildfire sites today [Wednesday], where thousands of acres on Indian reservations have burned. They are two of more than a thousand fires reported this season in Washington, already an all-time record, she says.

Rebecca White/SPR

The Center for Disease Control is now recommending everyone, vaccinated or not, wear masks while indoors due to an increase in infections driven by the Delta variant of the coronavirus.

Dr. Francisco Velazquez, the Spokane Regional Health District’s interim health officer, said the Delta, as well as other variants, have been detected in Spokane County.

Washingtonians who are fully vaccinated should wear masks in public indoor settings, Gov. Jay Inslee said on Wednesday.

Fully vaccinated people who live with young children or someone who is vulnerable to sickness should consider masking indoors even in counties with lower transmission. This is guidance and not a legal requirement.

Conrad Gowell

This summer’s heat wave led to some unhealthy hot water for salmon. But, fish managers said it hasn’t been as devastating for salmon runs as the warm water temperatures were in 2015.

Copyright 2021 Northwest News Network. To see more, visit Northwest News Network.

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.

Algal Bloom Puts Hayden Lake Under Health Restrictions

Jul 27, 2021
Panhandle Health District

Panhandle Health officials are urging people to be cautious when swimming, or fishing in the northern portion of Hayden Lake due to a harmful algal bloom.

Algal blooms can produce dangerous bacteria in high concentrations.  They can look like an algal mat or murky, or scummy water.

Health officials are asking people who use Hayden Lake for drinking water to be careful, because boiling, or filtering it may not remove the toxins.

They are also urging people who are exposed algae to wash with clean water.  

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

After loosening masking recommendations for vaccinated people, the CDC is now urging people in areas with high COVID-19 case rates to put on a face mask when indoors.

WSU Football Coach Talks Covid Vaccination At Media Day

Jul 27, 2021
Screenshot from Pac-12 Conference

Today [Tuesday] football coaches and star players in the Pacific-12 Conference met with reporters to talk about and promote the upcoming season.

Washington State University coach Nick Rolovich was among them. But football was only part of what he talked about.

Spokane Mayor Declares Housing Emergency

Jul 27, 2021
City of Spokane

Mayor Nadine Woodward has declared a housing emergency as housing cost and scarcity continue to skyrocket in the city of Spokane.