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Washington Unemployment
5:12 pm
Wed July 16, 2014

Washington Jobless Rate At 6-Year Low, But Rural Counties Lag

King County is leading the job recovery in Washington state.
Credit Wikimedia

Washington’s jobless rate has dropped to below 6 percent. That's the lowest level in six years. That’s according to the June jobs report released Wednesday. Seattle’s King County is leading the recovery. But most Washington counties remain above the statewide average. And some rural counties of the state are much higher.

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Washington Clemency
7:08 am
Wed July 16, 2014

Long Sentences, Aging Inmates May Strain Washington’s Clemency System

Members of the public raise their hands in support of a commutation for a three-strikes offender at a recent meeting of Washington's Clemency and Pardons Board.
Credit Austin Jenkins / Northwest News Network

In just a few years, Washington will need another 1,000 prison beds. There’s been talk of building a new state lock-up. But that would cost hundreds of millions of dollars at a time when the Supreme Court has said school funding must be the priority. So what’s the solution? Washington could release some older inmates who are serving long sentences. But lawmakers are wary of a political backlash and the state abolished parole in the 1980s. That leaves clemency as the remaining pressure-relief valve on the prison system. As Olympia Correspondent Austin Jenkins reports, that system of mercy may not be up to the task.

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Gonorrhea Outbreak
6:24 pm
Tue July 15, 2014

Gonorrhea Rising Outside Urban Hubs In Northwest

Public health officials in the Northwest say they're seeing gonorrhea infections at levels they haven't seen in years.
Credit CDC

Public health officials in the Northwest say they're seeing gonorrhea infections at levels they haven't seen in years. Three counties in Washington state are now in the midst of an outbreak. Parts of Oregon and Idaho are set to top even last year's high numbers. Health departments are seeing some unusual trends in the data.

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Moccasin Hill Fire
6:23 pm
Tue July 15, 2014

Oregon Fire Displaces Sprague River Residents

Last summer was Oregon’s worst wildfire season in 25 years.
Credit U.S. Department of Agriculture / Flickr

A wildfire near the south-central Oregon town of Sprague River has destroyed as many as 20 homes and burned 2,500 acres. Red Cross volunteers have set up in the community center to help the victims of the Moccasin Hill Fire.

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Skagit Bridge Collapse
6:13 pm
Tue July 15, 2014

NTSB: Systemic Failures Led to Skagit Bridge Collapse

The National Transportation Safety Board says systemic failures lead to the collapse of the Skagit River Bridge last May.
Credit Martha T / Flickr

The National Transportation Safety Board says systemic failures lead to the collapse of the Skagit River Bridge last May. A section of the bridge fell into the water after a truck carrying a tall load hit the top of the structure.

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Immigration
5:13 pm
Tue July 15, 2014

JBLM Could Be Shelter for Immigrant Children

Hundreds of immigrant children held at the southern border could be moved to Joint Base Lewis-McChord.
Credit mcchord air museum

Hundreds of immigrant children held at the southern border could be moved to a military base near Tacoma. Federal and local officials plan to discuss the option tomorrow.

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Gun Regulations
4:43 pm
Tue July 15, 2014

Poll Finds Washington Gun Rights Initiative Losing Support

A new poll shows support for a gun rights measure on Washington’s fall ballot is flagging.
Credit M Glasgow / Flickr

A new Elway poll out Tuesday shows support for a gun rights measure on Washington’s fall ballot is flagging. Meanwhile, a dueling measure that would expand background checks remains popular.

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Wild Horse Removal
7:16 am
Tue July 15, 2014

Feds To Remove Fewer Wild Horses From Western Rangelands This Year

The Bureau of Land Management plans to remove fewer wild horses from rangelands in the coming months.
Credit MTSOfan / Flickr

The federal Bureau of Land Management plans to capture and remove fewer wild horses from Western rangelands this summer. An agency statement blames budget constraints and already-full holding pens. Correspondent Tom Banse has more.

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Bowe Bergdahl
6:33 pm
Mon July 14, 2014

Bergdahl Retains Lawyer For Army Investigation Into His Disappearance

File photo of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl
Credit U.S. Army

The investigation into Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl’s capture is ongoing.  Northwest Public Radio has learned that Bergdahl has retained a lawyer who will be with him during questioning by Army investigators. In the meantime, the former POW will return to regular duty an Army base in Texas.  The investigation into the circumstances of his capture complicates his release from the military.

The Army says Sgt. Bergdahl, of Hailey, Idaho, has completed the final phase of his medical recovery. He’s being moved to what's expected to be largely administrative work at Fort Sam Houston.

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Northwest News
5:38 pm
Mon July 14, 2014

Weekend Lightning Could Lead To 'Sleeper' Fires

Firefighters along Highway 97A are battling the Mills Canyon fire in central Washington state.
Credit InciWeb

Wildfires continue to rage around the Northwest. The Mills Canyon fire in central Washington has charred 35 square miles. In Oregon, the Moccasin Hill Fire has destroyed at least a half-dozen homes near Klamath Falls. Forecasters say weather conditions are ripe for more fires to develop in the coming days.

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