Regional News

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An Idaho Falls man who fired at - and hit - the White House in 2011, has been sentenced to 25 years in prison on terrorism and weapons offenses. For months before he drove 2,000 miles from Idaho to Washington D.C. 23-year old Oscar Ramiro Ortega-Hernandez had been telling acquaintances that he was on a mission from God to "take out" President Barack Obama.

 

The wedding day for about 7,000 same-sex couples in Washington is just three months away. It’s not a date they chose, but one set by the state’s same-sex marriage law. Some couples are excited, but others never planned to marry at all. Washington state is phasing out same-sex domestic partnerships, now that the couples can marry.

Mayor Vetoes Anti-Sprawl, Urban-Growth Ordinance

Mar 31, 2014

 

Monday, the mayor of Spokane made a rare use of his veto power and rejected a city council resolution regarding the urban growth area. Mayor David Condon says he will veto a recent resolution that barred contested developments outside the city limits from accessing city utilities.

 

The super-sized restaurant chain McDonald’s has planned a new location near Gonzaga University. That came as a surprise to neighbors, who found out in February.

Driving down Hamilton street past Safeway grocery, you’ll see a backhoe moving dirt under a brand new McDonald’s sign. The company chose this spot for a new drive-thru only location, adding to just a handful of its drive-thru only restaurants in the world.

Speed and Ease the Keys to Voter Registration Drives

Mar 28, 2014

 

A new Washington State study shows that people eligible to vote - but not registered to do so - are more likely to become voters if the process is quick and simple. The study done for the Electronic Registration Information Center (ERIC), boiled down to a marketing effort.

The Spokane Indians Baseball team will have new logo this season, the first professional team to use a Native American language.  Spokane Tribal Chairman Rudy Peone says The Spokane Indians Baseball team has worked in conjunction with the Spokane tribe to establish the team name as a tribute.

A well known musical performer who lives in Soap Lake was honored this week, as she celebrated her 91st birthday. Born in 1923 in Seattle as Bonnie Buckingham, Bonnie Guitar received recognition from the state of Washington for her musical accomplishments. Mayor Raymond Gravelle was one of those who paid tribute. He named the day as "Bonnie Guitar Day.”

Twice a year Gonzaga University brings renowned authors and researchers to speak in Spokane. The Presidential Speaker in April is a man who wrote the book on modern slavery. Siddharth Kara has actually authored two books on modern slavery and sex trafficking, documenting more than 1,000 cases worldwide. Kara says there’s much more awareness now, than when he started his research in the late 80’s, but work to stop trafficking hasn’t progressed.

Police Use of Force Progress Report an Improvement

Mar 27, 2014

Spokane’s mayor and police chief have presented their one year update to the Use of Force Commission. The commission set 26 tangible recommendations for the department, and Thursday's meeting was the second of three requested updates.

McMorris-Rodgers Ethics Probe Probably Closed

Mar 25, 2014

 

U.S. Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers probably won't face an investigation from the House Ethics Committee, despite a report from a non-partisan office which found she may have mixed campaign and official funds, office space and staff time. Through her lawyer, Elliot Berke, McMorris Rodgers said the ethics complaint was based on "frivolous allegations from a single source, a former employee who discredited himself by admitting his own improper conduct".

Washington State’s Basic Health program, which helped those with lower incomes gain access to health care, was discontinued when the state created it’s Health Exchange under the Affordable Care Act, and took the federal option of expanding Medicaid. But now, there is an effort to bring it back.

 

You don’t have to live in the country to raise pigs or sell your backyard veggies anymore. Livestock and neighborhood markets are now allowed in Spokane’s city limits, thanks to two measures approved Monday night by the city council. Council president Ben Stuckart sponsored the urban farming measures.

Inland Northwest Threatened by Fire, Not Slides

Mar 24, 2014

 

Western Washington is no stranger to landslides, which prompt road closures and train delays there each winter. The threat is much different in the Inland Northwest, where fire and flood top the natural disaster list.

 

The above freezing temperatures have allowed construction workers to get back on the job, including on the North Spokane Corridor. But after they finish the existing small projects, there’s no funding in place. Al Gilson with Washington’s transportation department says discussions started in the 1940's for a north-south freeway in Spokane.

Rising Water Risks Mean Rising Premiums

Mar 24, 2014

Thousands of home and property owners in Washington, Oregon and Idaho face a rising tide of costs for their mandatory flood insurance policies. A review conducted by the Associated Press found that more than 13,000 federally subsidized flood insurance policies in Washington face hefty premium hikes, despite a rate relief law approved earlier this month.

Area Native Americans met in Spokane this week to discuss various options available to increase salmon runs in the Columbia River. The talks are aimed at eventually getting such discussions included in negotiations for the Columbia River treaty between the US and Canada.

A public hearing Wednesday on a bill to allow people the right to protect livestock and pets from wolf attacks included the story of a very close wolf encounter near the town of Twisp. Senate Bill 5187 would let owners of livestock or pets kill a wolf without a permit if the predator is in the act of attacking or posing an immediate threat to their animals.

While spring prepares us to spend time outdoors, it also welcomes bears back out of hibernation. One wildlife expert wants campers, and northwest residents, to be bear aware. Chuck Bartlebaugh says “The closest they’ve come is the Red Wagon, that’s downtown Spokane.”

Spokane County may see some new companies set up shop on the West Plains soon. As Steve Jackson reports, that’s the word from County Commissioner Al French. In Commissioner Al French’s recent state of the county address, he talked about the importance of expanding aerospace businesses on the West Plains.

In Riverside State Park, you can’t help but notice that there seems to be lots of what appear to be dying Ponderosa pines this year, trees that look like all the needles are turning red. Forester Guy Gifford of the Department of Natural Resources says he has seen this happen before, in 5 to 7 year intervals. The trees are being hit by fungal or insect related pathogens that are related to weather patterns.

City Initiative Directs Volunteers to Groups in Need

Mar 17, 2014

The city of Spokane will use April, the National Volunteer Month, to formally kick off a new volunteer database and a week of doing good. The initiative ‘Spokane Gives’ will direct volunteers to the organizations that need help.

Limerick Written into Plans for St. Patty's in Spokane

Mar 14, 2014

More than 20 years ago, Spokane became sister cities with Limerick, Ireland, a river city and regional capital. This year, Irish people in Spokane are giving a couple nods to the sister city.

Conference Dishes Strategies for Local Food

Apr 17, 2013

In an agricultural area of the state, residents of Spokane County spend only 2% of their food money on goods produced regionally. The goal of Friday’s food economy conference is to brainstorm ways to boost local food revenues.

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