Regional News

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Should SeaTac’s voter-approved $15 per hour minimum wage apply to workers at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport? Washington’s Supreme Court will hear oral arguments on that question Thursday.

A mining exploration company has decided to terminate an exploratory project in the Okanogan, and many are worried what that will mean for the economy of the region. Echo Bay Exploration, a subsidiary of Kinross gold Corporation has announced it is withdrawing from the Buckhorn Mountain exploration project.

‘Christmas In June’, Hoopfest Turns 25

Jun 24, 2014
Hoopfest 1990 poster
Rick Betts / Hoopfest

When the backboards go up and the sneakers are laced this weekend, it will mark the 25th anniversary of Spokane’s Hoopfest. It has remained the world’s largest three-on-three basketball tournament, and the organizers have a few things planned to celebrate.

County Overruled in Negligent Death Suit

Jun 24, 2014

Spokane County and a security firm for the courthouse must answer allegations that they wrongfully let an elderly man freeze to death outside the courthouse seven years ago. 84-year old Kay Mita died on the courthouse steps on a cold November night in 2007, his body covered with two inches of snow. 

Washington state’s prison system is projected to need 1,000 new beds by 2018. And that growth has Governor Jay Inslee concerned.

A federal judge in Portland Tuesday ordered the U.S. Justice Department and FBI to come up with new rules for the government's no-fly list. The court found travelers labeled as potential terrorists had been deprived of their constitutional rights to due process.

Oregon voters might have the chance to overhaul the state's primary voting system this fall. Sponsors of an initiative to create a "top two" primary turned in six cases of signatures to the Oregon Secretary of State's office Monday.

About 30 high school freshmen and sophomores who attended Odyssey Charter School in Idaho Falls, Idaho, may have to repeat classes -- or even an entire grade -- next year after the Idaho Public Charter School Commission found their fledgling school failed to measure up.

Oregon voters will get to decide whether to grant equal rights to women this fall. If that sounds like a blast from the past, it's because the proposed amendment to the state constitution is nearly identical to the version that failed nationally in the 1970s.

The death of a soldier based at Joint Base Lewis-McChord over the weekend highlights the danger of training for war. Private First Class Andrew Sass was killed Saturday in an incident at the National Training Center in California.

Washington Jobs May Evaporate Without Ex-Im Bank

Jun 23, 2014

Two of Congress's loudest cheerleaders for the US Export-Import Bank - Washington's Senators Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell - are rooting hard for a scoring drive before the final gun. But they know their cheers may be for naught.

Back in 2003, a group of Oregon National Guard troops was assigned to guard an Iraqi oil-field water treatment site infused with known cancer-causing chemicals. In an unprecedented move, the veterans later won a suit against the Pentagon's biggest wartime contractor, Kellogg-Brown and Root of Houston.

Native Americans Start Summer Break in the Lab

Jun 23, 2014
Paige Browning / Spokane Public Radio

Native Americans have a statistically low presence in the health care profession, so for the past 19 years, a WSU educator has worked to change that. This month is her annual institute in Spokane for teens interested in health sciences.

It’s a sunny day in June, but 23 high school students are in the classroom at WSU Spokane. They’re attending the 12 day Na-ha-shnee Native American Health Science Institute, a program started in 1995 by Robbie Paul.

The Timberbowl Rodeo, in the town of Darrington, Washington, saw some of its largest crowds ever this past weekend. Neighbors gathered at the event to hug, shake hands and heal up a bit from this year's nearby terrible Oso landslide.

Farmers in Oregon, Idaho and Washington are expected to harvest less wheat this summer. The weather forecast has a lot to do with it.

Members of Idaho’s Democratic Party are set to gather this weekend in Moscow. It’s expected to be a much calmer event than the Republican convention the week before.

Ospreys Arriving At Lake Coeur d'Alene

Jun 20, 2014

Large avian raptors are on their way to take over Lake Coeur d'Alene - not the bald eagles which congregate in deep winter to feast on salmon, but osprey - fish hawks, or as they're known on the west coast, Seahawks.

Hot and dry conditions are expected to create above-normal wildfire conditions in parts of the Northwest this summer. While relatively few people will have to flee the flames, many more will experience a side effect of the fires: thick, acrid smoke.

Oregon's Supreme Court has upheld the conviction and death sentence of Michael Washington. The Gresham, Oregon man is on death row for the 2004 murder of Mohamed Jabbie, an immigrant from Sierra Leone.

Idaho Republican Congressman Raul Labrador lost his bid Thursday for majority leader of the U.S. House of Representatives. But the run may not be a complete loss for Idaho’s ultra-conservative congressman.

One candidate for an eastern Washington congressional seat has hit on a way to appeal to 2nd Amendment advocates and to increase the names on his campaign mailing list.

Sprague Army Solider Remembered this Weekend

Jun 19, 2014

Family, elected officials, and members of the military will remember a soldier from Sprague, Washington at a funeral Saturday, June 21st. 22-year-old Justin Clouse was one of five men killed by assumed friendly fire in Afghanistan.

There's Still Gold in Idaho's Hills

Jun 18, 2014

A small gold mining and milling company in Idaho's Silver Valley has struck gold again in a couple of old, largely played-out mines in central Idaho. The New Jersey Mining company reports that sample drilling in an old mine near Elk City Idaho has turned up  as much as half an ounce of gold per ton of rock.

Thompson Loses Bid For New Trial in Zehm Case

Jun 17, 2014

Ex-Spokane police officer Karl Thompson has lost his bid to get a new trial in the 2006 beating death of Otto Zehm. Thompson's main argument revolved around prosecutors' failure to disclose possibly exculpatory evidence from one of its expert witnesses, Grant Fredericks. 

Senate Hearing on Oil Bill Focused on Industry

Jun 17, 2014

Tuesday, state lawmakers held a public hearing in Spokane about a senate bill on oil train safety. It came about a week after the governor ordered state agencies to study risks from oil spills. Instead of addressing the senate bill, or governor’s order, the hearing primarily served as an update from the oil industry.

At the front of the room were Senate Energy, Environment, and Telecommunications committee members, including Andy Billig of Spokane. Senator Michael Baumgartner of Spokane is not on the committee but also attended, as a bill sponsor. 

After a long, costly and fruitless legal struggle with Indian tribes over salmon habitat, the state of Washington is setting up a new board to oversee removal of fish barriers in the state's streams. It's called the Fish Passage Barrier Removal Board.

State Lawmakers Push Oil Train Safety Bill

Jun 16, 2014

The thought of more oil trains rolling through Spokane and cross-state to western shipping terminals tends to make state and federal lawmakers worry. So they're casting about for ways to reduce risks to public safety.

A Washington state Senate committee will hold a special hearing in Spokane Tuesday morning on a bill to set up a statewide spill prevention and response act.

Idaho’s state Republican Party Convention was a mass of confusion over the weekend, as they failed to agree on a party platform, and the convention adjourned without electing a chairman.

Olympia may be the traditional home for state committee hearings and discussions between city leaders in Washington. This week, Spokane will play host. The talks start with oil train safety, in a hearing with the Spokane city council and state Senate committee on energy, environment, and telecommunications.

Courtesy of Mary Lou Johnson

Two people are challenging County Commissioner Al French this year. Bonnie Mager was in our studio last month, and this month we meet Mary Lou Johnson. French is a current commissioner, and Mager was commissioner until French beat her in 2010. Johnson brings a solid background in criminal justice, and knowledge of county programs. She worked as an attorney in Spokane then for a federal district court judge for 17 years.