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Hanford Nuclear Reservation workers who are worried about getting sick turned out in droves for a public meeting Wednesday night in Richland organized by a Seattle-area watchdog called Hanford Challenge.

A Coeur d'Alene nurse - she describes herself as "just a small town girl" - has gotten some powerful legal help in her seemingly Quixotic quest against government snooping in her phone records. 32-year old Anna Smith, a neonatal emergency nurse at Sacred Heart Children's Hospital, was shocked when she found out the National Security Agency collects and stores her phone records.

As wildfires continue to blaze around the Northwest, both Oregon and Washington have issued emergency declarations for fire-ravaged portions of their state. Affected are 20 of Washington's eastern counties and central Oregon, where most of the state's 13 active fires are burning.

According to the June jobs report released Wednesday, Washington’s jobless rate has dropped to 5.8 percent -- the lowest level in six years.

Police in the southern Oregon city of Medford are on the lookout for a serial arsonist. Officials say someone is suspected of setting more than a dozen fires so far this month, including as many as four in one night.

Coeur d’Alene’s police chief has admitted the controversial police shooting of a dog inside a parked van last week  was “a regrettable tragedy”. At this weeks City Council meeting, interim Chief Ron Clark addressed last Wednesday’s fatal shooting of the 2-year-old black Labrador named Arfee. The incident has divided the community.

Number Of Gonorrhea Cases Increasing Outside Urban Hubs

Jul 15, 2014

Public health officials in the Northwest say they're seeing gonorrhea infections at levels they haven't seen in years. Three counties in Washington state are now in the midst of an outbreak. Parts of Oregon and Idaho are set to top even last year's high numbers.

In just a few years, Washington will need another 1,000 prison beds. There’s been talk of building a new state lock-up, but that would cost hundreds of millions of dollars at a time when the Supreme Court has said school funding must be the priority.

Vets Find Home Through Goodwill Grants

Jul 15, 2014

Officials from Goodwill Industries and the City of Spokane held a joint news conference today to announce three federal grants that will help offset homelessness. The funding totals more than eight-million dollars, and its all dedicated to housing for the homeless. 

A new Elway Poll out Tuesday shows support for a gun rights measure on Washington’s fall ballot is flagging. Meanwhile, a dueling measure that would expand background checks remains popular.

The federal Bureau of Land Management plans to capture and remove fewer wild horses from Western rangelands this summer. An agency statement blames budget constraints and already-full holding pens.

Washington Near the Bottom in Road Quality

Jul 15, 2014

To ratchet up the pressure on Congress to replenish the nation's road-building fund, the White House on Monday released a state-by-state assessment of crummy roads and bridges. It probably won't surprise Spokane drivers, who are accustomed to being rattled and shaken by potholes, that Washington has some of the worst roads and bridges in the northwest.

If Sarah Palin thought she would get support from Tea Party House members in her campaign to impeach President Obama, she's been disappointed. Even Idaho's Raul Labrador, a Tea Party favorite, dismissed the possibility of an impeachment process against the president, at least this year.

The investigation into Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl’s capture is ongoing. Bergdahl has retained a lawyer who will be with him during questioning by U.S. Army investigators. In the meantime, the former POW will return to regular duty at an Army base in Texas.

The Coeur d'Alene Tribe in Idaho is asking for information that will lead to the person who wrote “white power” and other racist messages on a reservation historical marker over the weekend.

Wildfires continue to rage around the Northwest. and forecasters say weather conditions are ripe for more fires to develop in the coming days. 

It won’t just be Boeing jetliners flying lumbering test patterns over Moses Lake, Washington. Japan-based Mitsubishi Aircraft announced Monday it has selected Grant County International Airport as its U.S. test flight center to test its new 70 to 90 passenger regional jet. The test flights could start in the fall of 2015.

The Idaho Fish and Game Commission has voted unanimously to oppose creation of a national monument in the spectacular Boulder-White Clouds region of the Sawtooth Mountains. The reason? They fear loss of state control of fishing, hunting and ATV rules.

A handful of recent incidents where police have shot pet dogs in Idaho have angered animal rights advocates. One dog owner in the small town of Filer has issued notice that he intends to sue the city over the death of his dog, Hooch.

Organizers of the next FIFA Women's World Cup hope to leverage the unusually high interest in this year's men's tournament in Brazil to their benefit. Group play and the 2015 World Cup final will take place just across the border in Vancouver, Canada.

Triple-digit temperatures are expected to complicate the effort to battle The Mills Canyon fire in central Washington.  

Paige Browning Talks Pot with BBC

Jul 11, 2014

When a team of BBC reporters arrived in Spokane in mid-July, they were intrigued by a second story: the start of legal marijuana sales across Washington State. BBC Newsday host Alan Kasujja invited Paige to give the global audience a primer on the pot issue.

Salvatori’s Exit Leaves Vacancy on City Council

Jul 11, 2014

There is officially a vacancy on the Spokane City Council. Steve Salvatori, representing district three in northwest Spokane, resigned as of July 8th to focus on the business he runs. Steve Salvatori makes it clear that leaving Spokane has been a very hard decision.

The Northwest is gearing up for a heat wave starting this weekend that could push temperatures into the triple digits in parts of the region. That could make things difficult for firefighters battling flames on the front lines.

Police in Washington can “stop and frisk” individuals they have specific reason to believe may be armed. But if that search goes beyond a “brief and nonintrusive” search, then it’s unconstitutional.

Since the spring, a run of workers at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation have needed medical attention from exposure to chemical vapors. On Thursday, the U.S. Department of Energy led a bus load of journalists to points across the site to show off what they’re doing to keep workers safe.

Washington Governor Jay Inslee is proposing new water quality standards that are designed to limit hazardous chemicals released into area waterways. The Governors proposal, announced Wednesday, would improve water quality by establishing new standards that will give more authority to the Department of Ecology.

Wildfire Money Neutralizes Partisan Politics

Jul 10, 2014

There's one sure way to unite congressional delegations from Idaho, Oregon and Washington, regardless of party affiliation. Warn them that money to fight wildfires is about to run out. Oregon Congressman Peter DeFazio, a liberal Democrat, was so shaken when he emerged from a White House briefing on wildfire season funding that he urged support for a bill written by an Idaho conservative Republican, Mike Simpson.

Police Chief: ‘Public Health Crisis’ in Spokane

Jul 10, 2014
Paige Browning / Spokane Public Radio

This week, law enforcement and mental health officials have been overloaded in the Inland Northwest. Two people in Spokane and two people in Post Falls have died from domestic violence attacks. These tragedies, plus a rise in self-harm cases, have officials putting the spotlight on mental health.

Fire season has come alive in the Northwest. On Monday, 20 homes in Idaho's Sun Valley area were briefly under evacuation when a fire broke out in a nearby canyon. A 5,000-acre fire north of Wenatchee, Washington, continues to threaten houses in the area.

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