Regional News

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

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Courtesy of Betsy Wilkerson

This week we’re profiling candidates for Spokane City Council’s South City Council District. Today, we’re introducing incumbent for District 2, Betsy Wilkerson.

Wilkerson has been a Spokane City Council member since she was appointed in late 2019. She also owns an assisted living facility and is the president of the board for the Carl Maxey Center.

If voters retain her, she said she plans to keep advocating for a collaborative, and inclusive city leadership, and seeking insight from under-represented community members.

SPR City Council Interviews: Betsy Wilkerson

Apr 19, 2021
Courtesy of Betsy Wilkerson

Spokane Public Radio reporter Rebecca White has been sitting down with candidates for Spokane City Council.

This week we're talking to candidates for District 2, which includes the South Hill, East Central and downtown Spokane. Rebecca White discussed homelessness, policing, affordable housing and the environment with candidate Betsy Wilkerson, who is running to retain her seat.

Wilkerson is running against Tyler LeMasters. Interviews and stories with both candidates will air this week and be posted online.

High Winds Cause Outages Throughout Inland Northwest

Apr 18, 2021
Screenshot from Avista outage map

UPDATED Mon. 10:30 am: Avista has crews all over the region, fixing power outages. It reports about 1,000 hundred people still without power in the Spokane and Kootenai County.

WA Students Get Reprieve From Spring Standardized Tests

Apr 18, 2021
Doug Nadvornick/SPR

Students in Washington are getting a reprieve this spring from their annual state-mandated standardized tests.

Washington state school Superintendent Chris Reykdal wanted to try something different when it came to this spring’s federally-mandated standardized tests.

“There’s this significant worry that we have very little instructional time left," he said.

Idaho Governor Signs Initiative Signature Gathering Bill

Apr 17, 2021
Idaho Public TV screenshot

Idaho Governor Brad Little has signed into law a bill that changes the signature requirements for citizen ballot initiatives.

The bill requires signatures from six-percent of registered voters in all 35 legislative districts in order to quality a measure for the ballot, an increase from the current 18 districts.

Screenshot from Idaho Public Television

Idaho Governor Brad Little today [Friday] vetoed two bills aimed at curbing his authority during emergency situations.

Legislative leaders say the governor has kept Idaho in a formal state of emergency for too long.

Nearly a year after the Washington Legislature voted to legalize sports betting, terms have been agreed for the first sportsbook to open. It will be inside one of the two Tulalip tribal casinos alongside Interstate 5 north of Everett.

Doug Nadvornick/SPR

A bill that would adjust the makeup of local health boards in Washington is now headed to the governor.

Spokane Democrat Marcus Riccelli says his legislation brings more health expertise to local public health committees.

SPR City Council Interviews: Mike Lish

Apr 16, 2021
Courtesy of Mike Lish

This week Spokane Public Radio is interviewing every city council candidate from the city's Northwest district.

City Council District 3 Candidate Mike Lish and reporter Rebecca White discuss economic recovery, homelessness, affordable housing, public safety and environmental policy. Interviews with her opponents, Lucrecia "Lu" Hill, Christopher Savage, Karen Kearney and Zack Zappone will be posted this week.

Courtesy of Mike Lish

This week, we’re interviewing people who have announced their candidacy for Spokane city council. We're focusing on the five candidates in the Northwest district.

Mike Lish is the owner of D’Lish’s hamburgers, a company his parents founded in the 1990s.  He is a life-long resident of Spokane and critical of the city’s approach to homelessness.

Doug Nadvornick/SPR

The committee tasked with expanding the county from three to five commissioner districts was unable to agree on a fifth, and final, member.

Doug Nadvornick/SPR

Mass vaccination sites and clinics in Washington are now open to the entire adult population, as well as 16- and 17-year-olds.

State health officials say about six million people are eligible to be inoculated. Those who aren’t are 15 years of age or younger, for whom there is not yet a vaccine.

Idaho Public TV screenshot

The Idaho House has narrowly voted down a proposed constitutional amendment related to the legalization of drugs such as marijuana.

The measure would have sent to the ballot a measure to require two-thirds approval of the legislature in order to legalize one of the drugs on the top two tiers of the state’s controlled substances list.

Much of the Northwest’s high country is still deep in good snowpack but short on rain this spring. That has dryland wheat farmers and cattle ranchers fretting. Cold, wind and dust are even wreaking havoc with produce farmers in the region.

Courtesy of Lucrecia Hill

This week, we’re interviewing people who have announced their candidacy for Spokane city council. We're focusing this week on the five candidates in the Northwest district. Today, Rebecca White introduces us to Lucrecia “Lu” Hill.

Hill grew up in Hillyard. She's a yoga teacher, consultant and owner of several cannabis brands.

SPR City Council Interviews: Lucrecia "Lu" Hill

Apr 15, 2021
Courtesy of Lucrecia Hill

This week Spokane Public Radio is interviewing every city council candidate from the city's Northwest district.

City Council District 3 Candidate Lucrecia "Lu" Hill and reporter Rebecca White discuss economic recovery, homelessness, affordable housing, public safety and environmental policy. Interviews with her opponents, Christopher Savage, Mike Lish, Karen Kearney and Zack Zappone will be posted this week.

Most community members say they want the Joe Albi Stadium rebuilt downtown, according to results of a survey Spokane Public Schools conducted over the last few weeks.

Washington Opens Covid Vaccinations To All Adults Today

Apr 15, 2021
Doug Nadvornick/SPR

Washington opens Covid vaccines to all adults, as well as 16- and 17-year-olds, on Thursday. Health providers say they’re bracing for a big rush of people who have waited patiently for their turn.

In a time of reckoning about historical monuments, Washington state lawmakers found a bipartisan path to change out a prominent statue. A bill signed by Gov. Jay Inslee on Wednesday begins the process of putting a statue of the late tribal treaty rights activist Billy Frank Jr. in the U.S. Capitol.

Screenshot from Spokane Regional Health District

During most of the last week, coronavirus cases in Spokane County have risen back into triple digits, though still much lower than at the peak of the pandemic.

“We had spring breaks. We had Easter, which is also typically a big celebration for a lot of people. And then we had the NCAA Tournament, all of those at the same time, at a time when we were in Phase 3, which means a lot more things are open," said Interim Health Officer Francisco Velazquez.

Courtesy of Reclaim Idaho

A bill that would toughen the signature requirements for initiatives in Idaho has gone to Governor Brad Little’s desk. He has until Saturday to sign it.

This year’s bill would require signatures from six-percent of registered voters in all 35 legislative districts in order to quality a measure for the ballot.

Restaurant host Christopher Savage is one of five candidates vying for an open city council seat in Northwest Spokane.

  

He’s currently a host at Pool’s Public House and previously worked as a Lyft Driver.

 

Savage is also a board member for Spokane Meals on Wheels and has served on various boards for the city, including the salary commission and a water conservation board.

 

SPR City Council Interviews: Christopher Savage

Apr 14, 2021
Courtesy of Christopher Savage

This week Spokane Public Radio is interviewing every city council candidate from the city's Northwest district.

City Council District 3 Candidate Christopher Savage and reporter Rebecca White discuss economic recovery, homelessness, affordable housing, public safety and environmental policy. Interviews with his opponents, Lucrecia "Lu" Hill, Mike Lish, Karen Kearney and Zack Zappone will be posted this week.

The 100 day countdown to the opening ceremony of the rescheduled 2020 Tokyo Olympics begins Wednesday. Yes, the summer games are proceeding amid an ongoing global pandemic. Olympic hopefuls and Pacific Northwest athletes already picked for Team USA invariably said they are eager to go.

SPR City Council Interviews: Karen Kearney

Apr 13, 2021
Courtesy of Karen Kearney

This week Spokane Public Radio is talking with every city council candidate from the city's Northwest district.

City Council District 3 Candidate Kearney and reporter Rebecca White discuss economic recovery, homelessness, affordable housing, public safety and the environment. Interviews with her opponents, Lucrecia "Lu" Hill, Mike Lish, Christopher Savage and Zack Zappone will be posted over the course of this week.

Courtesy of Karen Kearney

This week, we begin a series of profiles with people who have announced their candidacy for Spokane city council. We'll focus this week on the five candidates in the Northwest district, starting today with Karen Kearney.

Idaho Public TV screenshot

The Idaho House on Tuesday refused to approve a budget to pay school teachers because of a continuing dispute about the teaching of social justice issues.

Washington State Department of Health

Several government and private providers in the Northwest have paused use of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine effective immediately after six women who had received the vaccine developed blood clots.

According to a Washington state Department of Health news release, the vaccine will be on hold until the state receives recommendations from the FDA and CDC.

Courtesy of Silver Valley Community Resource Center

Earth Day will be formally celebrated on Thursday, April 22.

Three Inland Northwest environmental groups that share a common focus are combining their efforts to sponsor an early celebration.

Courtesy of Zack Zappone

This week, we begin a series of thumbnail sketches with people who have announced their candidacy for Spokane city council seats. We'll focus this week on the five candidates in the Northwest district, starting Monday with Zack Zappone.  

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