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Cannabis stores in Washington can now offer in store vaccines, with a complimentary joint.

According to a Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board news release, the “Joint for Jab” program goes from Monday until July 12. People getting a first or second vaccine dose at a vaccine clinic in a pot shop will be eligible for one pre-rolled joint.

The program is only for people 21 or older, and does not include any other cannabis products.

Courtesy of Charity Doyl

After a year of organizing and activism against hate, Asian and Pacific Islanders in Spokane are coming together, this time to celebrate their culture and heritage.

The Pacific Northwest is famous for churning out jet airliners, computer software and huckleberry syrup. The U.S. Olympic Track and Field Team Trials beginning June 18 in Eugene will showcase another local product: Olympic distance runners.

Courtesy of Irvine Seed Company

Washington State University has long been known for its agricultural research. Now it’s expanding its emphasis on a crop that was once considered fringe, but is now becoming more mainstream. It has created a center that focuses on marijuana-related issues.

Courtesy of Jacob Frank, National Park Service

Crews battled several small wildfires around the Inland Northwest over the weekend, many of them burning dry brush and whipped up by brisk winds.

TheBackyardGnome.com

Spokane County fire officials today [Friday] announced countywide burn restrictions as the fire danger increases due to dry conditions and brisk winds.


Dry summers are not unusual, says Spokane Valley Fire Marshal Greg Rogers. What’s different this year is the timing.

While Washington’s system has been strained for years, state officials and disability rights advocates say it effectively ground to a halt during the pandemic.

Doug Nadvornick/SPR

This week, Spokane Public Schools has broken ground for two of its three new middle schools.

On Wednesday, the district held a ceremony to formally begin the building of the new Denny Yasuhara Middle School in northeast Spokane. On Thursday, the district celebrated the beginning of construction at Pauline Flett Middle School near Albi Stadium.

TVW

Washington State will offer lottery drawings and other prizes for people who are vaccinated against COVID-19.

In a press conference Thursday, Governor Jay Inslee said the prizes, which include money, gaming systems, tuition and tickets to sporting events, will encourage immunization.

Rebecca White/SPR

The city is changing several of the homeless services it offers, remodeling its newest shelter on Mission Avenue and opening the Cannon Street shelter year-round.

Spokane Mayor Nadine Woodward announced several updates to how the city responds to homelessness at a presser Thursday. She said the city’s newest shelter on Mission Avenue is being remodeled into a service center which will help people staying there get into long term housing, instead of continuing as a night by night shelter.

Doug Nadvornick/SPR

Airway Heights is experiencing growing pains. The Spokane suburb now has about 10-thousand residents, a growing economic base and new houses going up. But it also has a busy highway bisecting it and no real civic center.

It is still, in some ways, that place people drive through to get to Fairchild Air Force Base.

But Heather Trautman says it has also become a town where people come and plant roots.

Nicole Berg's stunted wheat field is so short and sparse she doesn't think the combine can even reach the wheat without, as she puts it, eating rocks.

"Combines don't like dirt and rocks," Berg says, standing amid the damaged rows. "They get indigestion."

Berg is a dryland wheat farmer in the sweeping Horse Heaven Hills of southeastern Washington state. She shows off one head of half-turned golden wheat amid a sea of them. Besides being too short, the plant's kernels didn't fill out properly.

Doug Nadvornick/SPR

Spokane Public Schools is facing allegations of racism after a middle school teacher asked her students to clean cotton in class, an incident that left the only black students in the classroom feeling humiliated, say their representatives.

Vaccine Clinics Available at Spokane Fire Stations

Jun 2, 2021
Rebecca White/SPR

Spokane residents can now get vaccinated at fire stations in their own neighbohoods. 

At the first vaccine clinic at a fire staion in northeast Spokane, Mayor Nadine Woodward said she hopes bringing shots directly to the communiy will make getting vaccinated easier, and bring Spokane one step closer to re-opening.

"We want to continue to push the importance of vaccines in our community. Spokane County is at 50% initial vaccination. We need to get to that 70% statewide in order to fully open June 30."

Sometimes I feel as low as this cold-early-morning snail on the Richland river path. 

June 3 marks a year since COVID-19 blasted through my immune system. I have never figured out how I got it. And my recovery has come in fits and starts. But mostly it’s just been incredibly, snail-slow. 

Nineteen-year-old Nevin Harrison of Seattle has pictured herself competing in the Olympics for many years, mostly as a track sprinter like in the 100 or 200 meter dash.

"My mom always tells the story of me being four years old and watching the Olympics and saying, 'I'm going to go one day, mom,'' Harrison recalled. "She was like, 'Sure, Nevin. Whatever.'"

Later this month, Olympic team trials and Team USA coaches will fill out the roster for the delayed Tokyo Olympics. Some familiar names in women's soccer from Portland and Seattle, as well as the WNBA Seattle Storm's biggest stars and a pack of Pacific Northwest-based distance runners are likely Tokyo bound. Some other athletes from this region have already locked in their spots, including Harrison.

Copyright 2021 Northwest News Network. To see more, visit Northwest News Network.

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Doug Nadvornick/SPR

The Washington Board of Health says it will hold a hearing as it decides whether to take action after the removal of former Spokane Regional Health District Health Officer Bob Lutz.

At Washington’s Capitol Campus, a post-legislative session calm has settled in.

Gone are the State Patrol checkpoints and National Guard troops that were in place for the start of the session in January. A temporary chain-link fence surrounding the domed Legislative Building has also been removed.

Yet, security in the seat of state government is still a top-of-mind issue. So is the safety of elected leaders in these polarized times.

Two Mt. Spokane HS Students Win In WA State Art Show

Jun 1, 2021
Courtesy of Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction

High school students in the region sometimes win awards for their academic achievements. Recently, the Washington state school superintendents’ office recognized students for their artistic accomplishments. The list includes two students from Mt. Spokane High School.

Spokane Falls Community College

Local governments and critical public infrastructure are increasingly becoming the target of cyber-attacks. But some of those governments are working with a network of community colleges, technical schools and state universities to try to protect themselves, and give students an opportunity to get real-world training.

Annual Survey Puts Spokane Park System In National Top 20

May 31, 2021
Doug Nadvornick/SPR

A group that puts out an annual report ranking city park systems in the U.S. has slotted Spokane’s system in its top 20.

The Trust for Public Lands is a national organization that works to conserve land and create parks.

Courtesy of Coeur d'Alene School District

Students at Coeur d’Alene’s Lake City High School got a one-day reprieve from wearing masks Friday. But they’ll have to put them back on when they return Tuesday.

Idaho Public TV screenshot

Masks are back in Idaho, at least for the local governments that want them.

In the latest tiff between them, Lt. Governor Janice McGeachin issued an executive order banning mask mandates while Governor Little was out of town. As soon as he returned, he rescinded it.
 
The incident is an escalation of tensions as the 2022 race for governor heats up.

Public Health Officials Turn Spotlight On Mental Health

May 28, 2021
Courtesy Priority Spokane

There are signs that Covid pandemic life is moving closer to what used to be normal.

Dan Barth from Frontier Behavioral Health in Spokane says that became clear to him last weekend at a cafe in Spokane Valley.

Memorial Day weekend traditionally marks the beginning of the summer camping, vacation and recreation season. Last summer, Pacific Northwest public lands and trailheads were overrun by people seeking COVID-safe getaways in the fresh air. The pandemic may be winding down, but it doesn't look like the crowds are abating.

ID House Speaker Files To Run For Lieutenant Governor

May 27, 2021
Idaho Public TV screenshot

The speaker of the Idaho House of Representatives has jumped into the race for state lieutenant governor.

Republican Scott Bedke says he’s ready for a new challenge after 21 years as a state representative and nine as the leader of the House. He’s the longest-tenured speaker in state history.

Nicole Berg wades into her stunted wheat field. 

It’s so short and sparse, she doesn’t think the combine can even reach the wheat without eating rocks. 

“Combines don’t like dirt and rocks,” Berg says. “They get indigestion.” 

Berg is a dryland wheat farmer in the sweeping Horse Heaven Hills of south-eastern Washington. She shows off one head of half-turned golden wheat amid a sea of them. Besides being too short, the plant’s kernels didn’t fill out properly. 

Spokane School Board Names Three New Middle Schools

May 26, 2021

The Spokane Public School Board has unanimously voted to name their new middle schools after a Japanese civil rights activist, the woman who saved the Spokane Salish language, and a Holocaust freedom fighter.

Spokane’s new middle schools will be named after Denny Yasuhara, Pauline Flett and Carla Peperzak.

Former Washington State Patrol sergeant stripped of right to carry a badge

May 26, 2021

A former sergeant in the Washington State Patrol was stripped of his state peace officer certification on Wednesday over allegations he carried out a sexual affair with a woman while on duty, including two encounters a state hearings panel deemed nonconsensual.

The state Criminal Justice Training Commission (CJTC)’s decision on Wednesday in the case of Sean M. Carr, who resigned from the patrol last July, effectively bars him from again serving as a police officer in Washington.

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