WASHINGTON DEPT. OF NATURAL RESOURCES

Olympia Seeks Answers - And Maybe A Ban - On Atlantic Salmon Farms

Officials with the company that spilled nearly 160,000 Atlantic salmon into Puget Sound in August say there has been no evidence the spill has done damage to the sound. State officials agreed with that assessment at a legislative hearing in Olympia.

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Washington employers added 58-hundred new jobs in April, lowering the state's unemployment rate for the first time in more than three years. The Oregon jobless rate held steady at 10-point-six percent, the same as in March, making it six straight months without any significant change. But that was still nearly a point less than April 2009, when the rate was 11.5 percent.

The Oregon employment department released job data for April today/ yesterday [Tuesday]. As Amelia Templeton of OPB reports, unemployment in the state is still stuck at 10 and a half percent. 

JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. – They're leaving their jobs and their families to spend a year in Afghanistan. Nearly one hundred and fifty Washington and Oregon National Guard members will deploy this summer. Monday Governor Chris Gregoire led a formal farewell ceremony for the Washington citizen-soldiers. Cindy Rue's son is a helicopter mechanic and back-up gunner. He's been to Afghanistan before.

OLYMPIA, Wash. – Idaho and Oregon are out. Washington is likely in. We're talking about the competition for the next round of federal Race to the Top education grants. Monday is the deadline for school districts in Washington to say whether they're on board.

MOUNT ST. HELENS, Wash. –The Johnston Ridge Observatory at Mount St. Helens is reopening for the season this weekend. That's just in time for the 30th anniversary of the volcano's epic blast. The visitor center re-opens with new short films and exhibits.

The Johnston Ridge Observatory is the closest visitor center to the crater of Mount St. Helens. This spring, highway crews plowed away snow to allow contractors to get in early to freshen up the displays. Monument scientist Peter Frenzen wanted the exhibit material to reflect technological advances in volcano monitoring.

John Ryan photo

Washington state auditors say the agency charged with cleaning up Puget Sound should clean up its own act too. A report out Wednesday says the Puget Sound Partnership has misspent public funds and circumvented various state laws. John Ryan has the story.

MOUNT ST. HELENS, Wash. –Where were you on May 18, 1980? The massive eruption of Mount St. Helens that day is one of those seminal events on par with 9/11 or the JFK assassination. Hard to believe it's been thirty years. The blast zone is once again teeming with life. Even scientists are amazed. Correspondent Tom Banse has more on the wider lessons ecologists draw on this anniversary.

“I can hear the mountain behind me rumbling. An enormous mud and water slide washed out the road...”

That's KOMO-TV cameramen David Crockett scrambling to escape unimaginable devastation.

Idaho's unemployment rate made its largest one month fall in more than a quarter century. The three-tenths of one percent decline in April puts the jobless rate at 9.1 [nine-point-one] percent. That's the lowest in the Northwest…and it's Idaho's second monthly decrease in a row. Bob Fick from the state Labor Department says employers aren't hiring in large numbers. But he says temporary agencies are getting busier.He says employment growth this spring almost looks normal.

The Washington Supreme Court ruled Thursday that public libraries may put Internet filters on their computers. Some librarians are cheering the ruling and say it could lead more libraries around the state to limit access to porn and other controversial material.

BOISE - Religions frequently struggle to find a balance between the spiritual and material world. To some people Heaven and Earth often seem at odds. Today, though, many faith-based organizations are finding that balance...in the garden. In this installment of Edible Idaho, correspondent Guy Hand looks at Northwest churches that believe good soil can nurture the human soul. 

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