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Moratorium Halts Future Drive-Thru’s on Hamilton

Apr 15, 2014

 

The Spokane city council made sure last night that a new McDonald’s restaurant will be the only drive-thru only business on the Hamilton corridor, at least for the near future. Monday night, council member Amber Waldref proposed a moratorium to prohibit certain business permits for the next six months.

The Washington Employment Security Department says a new program with the Federal Treasury has allowed them to collect money from people who received unemployment payments, who actually were working.

 

The rail lines in the Inland Northwest are at capacity, even before proposed coal and oil projects bring more trains through the region. That’s the upshot of a report by a transportation expert from Montana, who presented his findings at Gonzaga University Tuesday. Terry Whiteside is a principal in Whiteside and Associates. His firm analyzed rail impacts from all proposed coal export facilities in the northwest, including two in Washington and one in Oregon.

 

An interim review of Boeing's progress on building a fleet of new aerial tankers for the Air Force gives the company high marks for sticking to a strict budget. But government auditors are worried about some possible hurdles ahead. The first four test tankers have been built - they're essentially engineering test beds - and may be flown by the middle of next year.

The city administration will start the process of creating a police ombudsman commission this month. The commission will be made up of Spokane citizens, and its formation begins with two public hearings. The police ombudsman is tasked with reviewing police conduct and doing outreach with citizens. The commission will monitor the quality of the ombudsman’s work, and can request the ombudsman perform further investigations.

 

Police in Spokane have arrested a second suspect in the murder of Spokane businessman Douglas Carlile. The Spokane Police Department says suspect Robby Wahrer drove the van used in the killing. Suspect Timothy Suckow is charged with first-degree murder in Carlile’s death. Major Crimes Lieutenant Mark Griffiths says officers arrested Wahrer on Thursday for second degree murder and conspiracy to commit second degree murder.

 

When a citizen uses deadly force against another person, their actions are reviewed through the scope of Washington state law. Part of Washington law explains when it is justifiable for a person to commit homicide. Deputy Travis Pendell at the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office says it’s important people know the law in terms of protecting their safety.

 

Officials at WSU Spokane have commissioned a feasibility study to look at the possibility of starting their own medical school. While WSU Spokane is already in a partnership with the University of Washington that offers a four year medical program, WSU Spokane officials believe the Spokane school is a good position to offer its own program.

BPA Water Planners Aren't Celebrating Just Yet

Apr 10, 2014

 

The people who run the sprawling Columbia River water system are giving the current water supply outlook a thumbs up. But they also have their fingers crossed. Bonneville Power Administration hydrologists are still somewhat off balance after a roller coaster winter - from a so-so December to an alarming drought in early February to deluges of rain and snow last month.

4,200 Ponderosas Planted to Kick of Volunteer Week

Apr 10, 2014

The volunteer week Spokane Gives begins Saturday, through collaboration between the mayor’s office and non-profits. The seeds planted Saturday will start a week of growth in the volunteer community. The seeds being planted are literal. Local Boy Scout troops will plant more that 4,000 Ponderosa Pine seedlings along the developing north-south corridor.

Idaho Loses Medicaid Reimbursement Dispute

Apr 7, 2014

 

The State of Idaho took on the federal government in a court case over Medicaid reimbursement rates, and lost. Five Idaho corporations which provide basic life skills - routine functions such as bathing, eating and laundry - sued the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare three years ago in federal court. The Medicaid providers argued that they were losing money under Idaho's budget restrictions because their  reimbursements had been frozen since July 2006.

Deborah Amos is a familiar name to NPR listeners. She has reported for years as a foreign correspondent, often reporting from the Middle East. Amos will be in Spokane this week, taking part in the Get Lit! festival.

Washington insurance commissioner Mike Kriedler is happy with the number of people who have signed up for medical insurance or qualified for Medicaid in the state. Kriedler says prior to authorization of the Affordable Care Act, it was estimated there were a million people in Washington without health insurance.

It seems last ditch efforts by neighbors will not stop McDonald’s from building a drive-thru only location in Spokane. Emails between the two parties this week suggest the drive-thru will open in June, as planned.

Representatives from McDonald’s approached the city for a building permit last spring, and the planning department granted it this February. That’s when Logan neighborhood stakeholders like Karen Byrd found out. 

Medical marijuana patients in Washington State should probably not have to worry about federal intervention at this point. But a member of the Washington Liquor control board says the fate of medical marijuana dispensaries is uncertain.

Poker in the Cards For Coeur d' Alene Casino

Apr 1, 2014

Another political and legal fight may be brewing between the Coeur d'Alene Tribe and the State of Idaho - this one, over poker. The tribe plans to add poker to its attractions at the Worley casino, even though state officials say it would clearly be illegal under state law. The move might also violate the tribe's 1992 agreement with the state, and federal regulations to boot.

Given the amount of rain and snow in eastern Washington and the Idaho panhandle this month. it may hard to think of a drought disaster area in the rich farm region of southern Idaho.

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.

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