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Social Media Emergencies
6:05 am
Mon July 9, 2012

Tweeting Through Natural Disaster

The next time a big wildfire erupts or an earthquake unleashes near you, Twitter, Google and Facebook might be useful places to turn. And not just you. Disaster response agencies are plunging into social media. They can develop better situational awareness by seeking out your online gripes and observations. Digital platforms also provide an avenue to give more frequent official updates and correct misinformation during a catastrophe. Correspondent Tom Banse reports.

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Hanford Nuclear Reactor
6:01 am
Mon July 9, 2012

Hanford's B Reactor Could Help Remember History, Spur Economy

In this photo from World War II, B Reactor can be seen between the water towers on the right side of the photo, along with other facilities that supported the reactor.
Photo courtesy U.S. Department of Energy

U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell made a visit to Richland, Washington Friday to highlight how creating a B Reactor National Historical Park would create jobs and spur tourism in southeast Washington. The B Reactor at Hanford was the world’s first full-scale plutonium production facility. Correspondent Anna King has more.

Senator Maria Cantwell believes despite its dark history, Hanford has an important lesson to share.

“There is a scientific story here about scientific accomplishment,” she says.

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Washington Coal Terminals
5:53 am
Mon July 9, 2012

Columbia River Towns May Team Up To Export Coal

Only one of the Northwest’s various coal export proposals would rely on two different ports. That has residents in a pair of Columbia River towns in wondering if coal will be good for their communities. EarthFix reporter Courtney Flatt has the first part of our story in Boardman.

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Public School Rebates
5:39 am
Mon July 9, 2012

Corporate Kicker For K-12 Well On Track To November Ballot

An initiative to redirect corporate tax rebates to public schools is on track to qualify for the November ballot. This rebate is called the kicker because it goes into effect when tax revenues exceed projections by more than 2 percent.

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Marijuana Legalization
5:37 am
Mon July 9, 2012

Are Northwest Voters Ready To Legalize Pot?

It looks like voters in both Oregon and Washington will decide this fall whether to legalize recreational marijuana. Backers of an Oregon ballot measure submitted a final batch of petitions Friday to the Secretary of State. In Washington, a pot legalization initiative has already qualified for the ballot. The question now: are Northwest voters ready to say ‘okay’ to getting high? Olympia Correspondent Austin Jenkins reports.

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Wildfire Air Tankers
6:11 am
Fri July 6, 2012

Western US Faces Air Tanker Shortage

As wildfires continue to burn in the West, the U-S Forest Service is going to battle this summer with fewer air tankers. The number of planes that drop retardant on fires has shrunk significantly over the last 12 years. From Boise, Scott Graf has more now on what led to the shortage, and what’s being done to fix it.

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Washington Blueberries
6:07 am
Fri July 6, 2012

Northwest Blueberry Yields Increase Dramatically, But Market Prices Same

Blueberry explosion: Washington state farmers are bringing in more blueberries that ever before this year at more than 60 million pounds. In five years, they are expected to bring in nearly 100 million pounds.
Photo by Anna King Northwest News Network

It’s not news that Washington is producing record amounts of blueberries this year. It happened last year. Next year will likely break another record and the year after that too. The real news is: Where is the fruit going, and why is it still so expensive? Correspondent Anna King explains.

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Washington Initiatives
6:01 am
Fri July 6, 2012

Initiative Deadline Arrives In Wash., Oregon

"Groundhog Day.” That’s what Washington initiative promoter Tim Eyman says it going to feel like Friday. This will be the third time Eyman has submitted signatures for a ballot measure to require a supermajority vote of the legislature to raise taxes. Friday is the deadline in Washington and Oregon for initiative sponsors seeking to qualify for the November ballot. Olympia Correspondent Austin Jenkins has this preview.

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Tsunami Debris Cleanup
5:59 am
Fri July 6, 2012

Hundreds Turn Out To Clean Up Coastal Beaches

Beach cleanup volunteers found this refrigerator with Japanese labels on July 5.
Photo by Shelly Pollock

More than 700 volunteers turned out Thursday to help pick up litter and flotsam on the Oregon and southwest Washington coasts. Volunteers were on alert for debris from last year's tsunami in Japan. There were some possible new finds on Long Beach, Washington. Correspondent Tom Banse reports.

The fifth of July is a traditional beach cleanup day in Manzanita and Seaside, Oregon and on Washington's Long Beach Peninsula. The coordinator of Manzanita's cleanup estimates the three dump truck loads hauled away were "99 percent fireworks" related.

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Potato Disease
5:54 am
Fri July 6, 2012

Detection Of ‘Zebra Chip’ Disease Makes NW Spud Growers Uneasy

Tubers infected with zebra chip disease show dark, stripelike symptoms in the tissue.
Photo courtesy USDA

A recent discovery in an Idaho potato field has Northwest spud growers worried. Researchers this week reported that insects from the Twin Falls area tested positive for bacteria that cause “zebra chip disease.”

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