Regional News

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

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Whether it’s due to negligence or arson, thousands of wildfires each year are caused by humans. And the person or business who starts a fire can expect a bill.

BBC Broadcasts Worldwide from Spokane

Jul 9, 2014
Alan Kasujja from the BBC
SPR

A team from BBC News broadcast their program Newsday live from Spokane on Thursday, July 10, showcasing a family that had been relocated here from Rwanda. Spokane Public Radio carried the international broadcast live on KSFC 91.1 FM from 7-10 p.m.

The broadcast features a series of stories about one of Spokane's newest immigrant families on their journey from a Rwandan refugee camp to their new life in America. Newsday co-anchor Alan Kasujja, a journalist from Uganda, met the family in the camp where they lived with no electricity or water.

Idaho Congressman Raul Labrador introduced a bill Wednesday that would allow a parcel of Bureau of Land Management land to be transferred to Idaho County for use as a gun range.

Police say Tuesday, Chris Henderson arrived at his wife Sheena Henderson’s work, at Deaconess Medical Center, and shot her, then himself. They had two children, who are now with relatives. Officers say this is an example of a regional need for mental health resources.

Washington’s recreational marijuana market is open for business. From Seattle to Bellingham to Prosser, marijuana stores opened for business Tuesday to excited customers who lined up, dressed up and celebrated the end of pot prohibition.

A new poll finds Idahoans might not be so tax-averse when it comes to funding improvements to the state's roads and bridges. About 54 percent say the economic benefit is a compelling reason to increase revenue for transportation infrastructure.

Legal marijuana stores opened Tuesday morning in Washington state. One of the earliest locations to open was in the rural Eastern Washington farming community of Prosser.

Washington state's first recreational pot shops open for business Tuesday. Voters there legalized the sale of marijuana for non-medical use back in 2012. The Northwest News Network's Austin Jenkins reports on the lengthy process from that vote to the day's store openings.

Paige Browning / Spokane Public Radio

The line started at 7:00 p.m. Monday night in front of Spokane’s first recreational pot store. Spokane Green Leaf won’t open until two-o’clock today, but a handful of people are waiting in lawn chairs out front so they can be the first buyers.

Mike Boyer was the first to arrive last night. He and his new friends in line are calling it ‘green Tuesday’.

Boyer: “Yeah I’m only here to be the first guy in, I want to be the number one guy in Spokane, I want that title for life, the first guy to buy recreational weed legally in Spokane.”

Idaho Cops Worry About Cross-Border Pot Shopping Trips

Jul 8, 2014

Recreational marijuana goes on sale Tuesday in Washington state, but police across the border in Idaho and Oregon say that doesn't mean the pot will stay there.

Campers, Brides, Crowd Turn Out for Spokane Pot Store

Jul 8, 2014
Paige Browning

Marijuana passed hands from cashier to customer Tuesday across the state. To mark the first day of legal weed sales statewide, Spokane Green Leaf opened its doors at 2:00. To say the least, it was not your average shopping experience. Mike Boyer camped overnight so he could be the first customer.

 

Tuesday was the first day legal recreational marijuana went on sale in Washington. But as when alcohol first became legal after prohibition, there are some areas of the state where sales have been prohibited. Several counties and municipalities have decided that recreational marijuana sales will be banned, despite the public vote to approve Initiative 502.

For many Idaho lawmakers, the word "tax" is a four-letter word. So it may surprise them to discover that most Idaho voters would be willing to absorb tax increases to pay for good roads and bridges. The University of Idaho McClure Center for Public Policy Research found out through telephone polling last spring that boosting spending on highways and bridges should be among the legislature's top three priorities.

Grays Harbor County, Washington, is the first county in the Northwest to strike back against pricey recreation permits now being required by some large timber companies. The county's commission voted unanimously Monday to take a tax deferral away from private timberland owners that charge for public access.

The first legal marijuana stores in Washington are scheduled to open Tuesday. The Liquor Control Board issued the first 24 retail licenses early Monday.

Six More Med School Grads Now Training in Spokane

Jul 7, 2014

When medical students graduate, they must complete at least three years of a physician training program, called a residency. Historically, there are not many residency slots in Spokane, but a health consortium is trying to change that. Through their effort, six new residents began their training this month.

In another significant milestone in Washington’s experiment with legal, recreational marijuana, the first 24 pot retailers in Washington now have their licenses in hand.

Copper Causes Clash in Methow Valley

Jul 7, 2014

A new round in an old fight may be opening in Washington's scenic Methow Valley - a clash between economics and the environment. A Canadian mining company plans to test drill for copper on national forest service land near Mazama in the Methow Valley.

Washington's Sasquatch Defies Discovery

Jul 4, 2014

It's been a bummer of a week for Sasquatch or Bigfoot fans. Leave it to a bunch of dry academic killjoys to squatch, as it were, offerings of physical evidence that Sasquatch exists. An Oxford University professor studied 57 samples of hair or skin, purportedly from mysterious creatures in the Cascades or as far as the Himalayas, and they all fizzled out.

The Idaho Transportation Department has suspended advertising for bids for future highway projects. Oregon and Washington may soon do the same.

The group behind the initiative to legalize recreational marijuana in Oregon is now accepting bitcoin contributions.

The deadline to turn in signatures to qualify initiative petitions in Oregon produced no big surprises Thursday. But Oregonians could still have a range of controversial topics to decide this fall.

Marijuana users may pay some high prices to get high when Washington state’s legal pot market launches next week . The initial price-per-gram could be nearly double what medical marijuana card-holders pay.

Washington’s prison system has announced a major policy change when it comes to inmates who harm themselves. The Department of Corrections said Thursday that it will no longer sanction inmates for cutting or other acts of self-injury.

According to AAA, Americans will see the highest Fourth of July gas prices they've seen in the last six years.

Fourth of July Fireworks Still Banned in Spokane

Jul 3, 2014

The nation’s biggest week for firework use is overlapping with some of the year’s hottest weather yet in Spokane. It could be a nice combination for those celebrating the 4th of July, but it solicits worry for fire officials. Firework use is banned in the city of Spokane, and it has been for 22 years. Fireworks are also banned in Spokane Valley, Millwood, Cheney, Liberty Lake, and the unincorporated areas of Spokane County. 

Water is a common and often contentious issue in the West. But now, farmers across the country are also riled up because the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency wants to revise the 1972 Clean Water Act.

Urban Sprawl Slowed Down by Tapering Access To Water

Jul 2, 2014

In a move to curb sprawl, the Spokane city council Monday imposed new prohibitions on extending water and sewer service to potentially contested developments outside city limits until any legal challenges are resolved.

The Washington State Liquor Control Board plans to issue about 20 marijuana retail licenses on July 7. The first pot stores could open the next day -- after a 24-hour waiting period. But the state cautions many stores may not be ready yet for customers and marijuana could be in short supply.

Oregon voters may get the chance to require food companies to label products that contain genetically engineered ingredients. Sponsors of an initiative to require that turned in more than 150,000 signatures Wednesday in an effort to make the ballot this November.

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