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Entities who want permits to withdraw from the Spokane River will face more restrictions down the road. The state Department of Ecology is creating an instream flow rule for the river’s stem in Spokane County, and a portion in Stevens County.

Goats to Get Shrubs That Get the City's Goat

May 12, 2014

Heavy underbrush and voracious weeds on Coeur d'Alene's Tubbs Hill have gotten the city's goat. So, Coeur d'Alene is getting goats. A herd of more than 250 goats will be turned loose Wednesday on the city's unusual 120-acre park on the lake shore with instructions to chomp on shrubs that can turn into fire kindling during the hot, dry summer months.

The Selkirk Mountains are home to the last herd of mountain caribou in the lower 48 states. The southern Selkirk mountain herd of about 30 is listed as endangered under the ESA - endangered species act. But May 7th, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposed changing their status, and neither environmentalists nor snowmobilers are completely happy.

A sobering warning from noted glaciologists at the University of Washington. The enormous ice sheet covering much of the Antarctic is beginning to collapse, a process which will release enough water to raise the world's ocean levels by several feet.

Long-time Coeur d'Alene Indian tribe leader Ernie Stensgar thinks it's time to take away control of Native American trust funds from the federal government and let tribes handle the money. Stensgar, who is now chair of the Trust Reform Committee of the Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians, has some powerful allies in his quest to control more than $4.5-billion in money held in trust for Indians - the entire Idaho congressional delegation.

Urban Goat Farmers Get Trained This Week in Spokane

May 7, 2014
Paige Browning

A goat eats about a ton of hay a year. That helpful little fact is part of curriculum for Spokane’s first ever urban goat-keeping class this Thursday. The new city ordinance that allows people to raise backyard livestock goes into effect on May 9th.

There is a familiar name in the race for Spokane County Commissioner, District 3. Former commissioner Bonnie Mager will try to win back the seat she lost to Al French four years ago. This time Mager has decided to run as an independent, rather than a Democrat. She says she would like to make the position non-partisan, but she's weighing in with some progressive opinions.

Washington State transportation planners are jostling to get part of a surviving relic of the 2009 stimulus package meant to pull the nation out of the great recession. In eastern Washington, the state wants to buttress a rickety old railroad and smooth out a highway bottleneck.

City Unveils $310M Water Plan to Public

May 5, 2014

A proposed clean water plan would divert an unprecedented amount of pollutants from the Spokane River, but cost taxpayers about 300-million dollars over five years. The mayor’s administration and city council are seeking public input on the Integrated Clean Water Plan on Monday.


Jokes about inaccurate weather forecasts are some of the oldest around. But a University of Washington atmospheric science professor says bad weather predictions are no joke.

Sun, Crowd, and Music for New City Hall Plaza

May 2, 2014


Avista Utilities celebrated its 125th anniversary by building Spokane a new City Hall Plaza, and sprucing up the adjacent Huntington Park. Paige Browning reports on the celebration at city hall on Friday. At Avista’s celebration, there was sun, a big crowd, and live music. Local teenage band Acuff and Sherfey played to the crowd outside city hall, where people gathered for the first time at the new plaza.

40 years ago, Spokane leaders were on the brink of hosting the world’s fair. Expo ‘74 made Spokane the city it is today, with a large park along the river, a major performing arts center, and a downtown core. On Saturday, the Spokane Parks Foundation invites the public to remember what happened here in 1974.


A new federal judge for the eastern district of Washington, centered in Spokane, has been confirmed by a unanimous vote of the U.S. Senate. He's 56-year old Stanley Bastian, managing partner of a Wenatchee law firm and a former president of the Washington State Bar Association.

If you are signed up for private insurance through Washington’s Health Exchange, don’t be surprised if you are asked to prove you are not in jail. The question may come as surprise. But it may come, even if you’ve never been convicted of a crime.

WSU Prof Develops Sleepy Driver Detector

Apr 28, 2014


Cars can do amazing things these days - up to and including driving themselves. So some specialized researchers at a WSU lab in Spokane figure a car ought to be able to tell when its human driver is about to doze off.

City Reaches Deal With Former Chief Stephens

Apr 26, 2014

The mayor of Spokane announced Friday a settlement between the city and a police officer. The city will pay Scott Stephens $190,000, equivalent to one year’s pay plus benefits as an assistant chief. When Stephens was demoted in December, the police chief received a report that Stephens made threatening statements due to his downgrading.  The city gave no direct explanation of this at the time, but placed Stephens on administrative leave.

The city of Spokane holds a groundbreaking Friday for a building centered on garbage trucks, plows, and other fleet. The new Nelson Service Center will be a one-stop shop for city fleet. Its primary roles will be as the home of solid waste management, i.e. garbage trucks, and as a fleet maintenance facility.


The Saturday Earth Day celebration will be in a familiar place. After a couple of years holding the event on the streets of downtown Spokane, the location has been changed back to Riverfront Park.

Sherry Urann is an Earth Day organizer. She says "moving Earth Day back in to the park is an opportunity to bring awareness to the beautiful river and the falls, and also to remind us of all the intentions that came with the building of the park during the 1974 World's Fair."

Research Blooms In the Idaho Desert

Apr 24, 2014


A flat, dry desert expanse out in the middle of nowhere may seem an odd place to build a cutting-edge research lab. But Idaho has one.A whole host of state, congressional and federal officials gathered at the Idaho National Laboratory the other day to celebrate opening of a new research lab they call the Energy Innovation Laboratory.

The national zombie craze is going to mean some exciting business for the Spokane area. A local film production company made a big announcement Wednesday, that caught the attention of Mayor David Condon and other city officials.

The Spokane mayor and the county commissioners have signed a joint development agreement that halts urban sprawl, for now. Their development agreement opens the door for public feedback on growth. Mayor David Condon says the agreement is effective April 1st and stands for one year.


At the start of this year's wildfire season, some new research may prove unsettling for forest managers and property owners in Idaho, Oregon and Washington. Wildfires in the western U.S. have been growing larger and more frequent over the past 30 years. And a team of geophysical researchers fears that trend will continue as climate change pushes up temperatures and droughts become more severe in coming decades.


The US Supreme Court's decision upholding Michigan's ban on affirmative action criteria in college admissions is unlikely to set off ripples in Washington State's legal and social fabric. Washington has had a similar ban in place since 1998.


In a long-running wage dispute between the Washington Department of Social and Health Services and hundreds of its disgruntled case workers, the state agency demanded to know the identities of whistle-blowing employees. In an unusual case, a federal appeals court panel firmly said "no."

Even though marijuana has been legalized in Washington State, that hasn’t prevented a Kettle Falls-area family from being charged in Federal court with marijuana manufacturing charges.

Federal DEA agents raided the rural property of 70 year old Larry Harvey and his 55 year old wife Rhonda Firestack-Harvey in August of 2012 and seized 44 immature marijuana plants.

It’s a big weekend for music lovers, Saturday is Record Store Day. Indie record stores nationwide are taking part in the event, and that holds true in Spokane. Bob Gallager runs the 4,000 Holes record store on north Monroe Street. He says the event started about six years ago, when Indie stores were looking to drum up more business, as the economy was starting to fade.


Plans for a new span on the Columbia River I-5 corridor are dead, but some spending in the long and expensive planning process is rising zombie-like to bedevil the Washington State Department of Transportation. Washington State Auditor Troy Kelly has found more than $17-million in questionable - or undocumented - expenditures in the state's bill of $188-million for a long, fruitless study of a new bridge to link Washington and Oregon.

Firefighters Go Digital With Patient Medical Info

Apr 17, 2014

Firefighters in Spokane are phasing out a reporting system in place since the late 1800’s. As of Monday the Spokane Fire Department will collect patient information digitally, instead of by pen and paper. Since 1884, the department has recorded medical info on paper for patients in medical emergencies. Now, firefighters will pull out a tablet computer and type into software called Patient Care Reporting (ePCR).


Inland Northwest Girl Scouts got a rare visit from their national CEO Wednesday. Girl Scouts of America CEO Anna Maria Chavez gave the keynote address at the Spokane chapter’s annual leadership luncheon. With her direction, young girls are ignoring the label ‘bossy’.

Huge Potholes Ahead for Highway Trust Fund

Apr 15, 2014


Washington Senator Patty Murray leaned hard on the horn this week, trying to warn Congress that the federal highway trust fund is going broke faster than anyone thought. The Department of Transportation warned the trust fund will run out of gas completely by the end of August, rather than in October as first projected.