Cover Oregon
3:59 pm
Thu March 20, 2014

Independent Audit Outlines Problems At Cover Oregon

Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber called the audit of Cover Oregon a ' sobering critique' of the state's health insurance exchange.
Credit Office of the Governor

    

Oregon's health insurance exchange was riddled with internal conflict and unrealistic expectations. That's according to a scathing audit from an independent consultant released Thursday. Governor John Kitzhaber announced the findings and said among other things, the director of the Oregon Health Authority will be resigning.

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OR-7 Not Recollared
8:04 am
Thu March 20, 2014

Where, Oh Where Is OR-7?

Oregon’s famous wandering wolf OR-7 may soon be dropping off the maps.

State wildlife officials announced that they don’t plan to recollar the wolf – meaning that his future travels across the West wouldn’t be tracked.

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24/7 Sobriety Program
6:55 am
Thu March 20, 2014

Washington's New 24/7 Sobriety Program Runs Into Snags

Commander Jim Rich of the Centralia Police Department displays the breath test machine used for the 24/7 Sobriety pilot program.
Credit Austin Jenkins

It’s been nearly a year since a repeat drunk driver caused a horrific accident in north Seattle.

A new mother, her 10-day old baby and her in-laws were run down as they crossed the street. The grandparents were killed, the mother and baby critically injured. That tragedy and other high profile drunk driving crashes prompted Washington lawmakers to authorize a pilot program to test repeat drunk drivers twice-a-day to see if they’ve been drinking. But that 24/7 Sobriety program has run into legal and financial snags and now two of the pilot agencies have dropped out.

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Jobless Rate
4:52 pm
Wed March 19, 2014

Unemployment Holds Steady In Washington In Feb., Dips In Oregon

Credit Washington Employment Security Department

    

The unemployment rate in Washington state is holding steady at 6.4 percent. The Employment Department Wednesday released fresh monthly stats covering February. State labor economist Paul Turek says an economy in growth mode is luring discouraged job seekers off the sidelines and swelling the labor pool.

"The labor market was able to sufficiently absorb the new numbers that entered into the labor force in terms of providing some jobs for them. So it is positive even though the unemployment rate did not drop and stayed constant," said Turek.

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Death Penalty
4:37 pm
Wed March 19, 2014

Report: Hard To Pin Down Death Penalty Costs In Idaho

Idaho’s execution chamber.
Credit Idaho Dept. of Correction

Death penalty cases take longer to work through Idaho's court system, but it's hard to put a dollar figure on the extra expense. That's according to a new report released Wednesday. As Jessica Robinson reports, it's unlikely to prompt any drastic changes in Idaho's policy on capital punishment.

Two recent executions in Idaho after a 17-year pause made lawmakers want to get more information on how much capital punishment costs the state. The legislature’s Office of Performance Evaluations has now come back with an answer: hard to say.

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Stinkbug Invasion
6:57 am
Wed March 19, 2014

Something Smells: Invasion Of The Stink Bugs!

Originally from Asia, the brown marmorated stink bug first appeared in Pennsylvania in 1998. It has since made its way across the United States.
Credit Lildobe

Northwest researchers are teaming up to stop an invasion of stink bugs moving across the region. The bugs, which can smell like dirty gym socks, ruin tree fruit and grape vines. Those crops are vital to Northwest agriculture.

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Grand Coulee Salmon
6:30 am
Wed March 19, 2014

Tribes Push To Restore Salmon To Upper Columbia River

A pre-conference tour of Grand Coulee Dam on Monday kicked off a conversation about restoring salmon to the Upper Columbia Basin.
Credit Tom Banse

Once upon a time, salmon and steelhead swam over a thousand miles upriver to the headwaters of the mighty Columbia River, there at the foot of the Rockies in British Columbia.  Those epic migrations ended in 1938 with the construction of Grand Coulee Dam.  This week, tribes from both sides of the U.S.-Canada border along with scientists and policymakers are meeting in Spokane to figure out how Columbia River fish could be restored to their entire historical range. 

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Undercover Agriculture Video
4:53 pm
Tue March 18, 2014

Lawsuits Charge ‘Ag-Gag’ Laws Violate Free Speech In Idaho, Utah

The group Mercy for Animals released video in 2012 of workers at Bettencourt Dairy in Idaho abusing cows. The incident led Idaho lawmakers to outlaw surreptitious video at farms.
Credit Mercy for Animals

A lawsuit lead by the ACLU is challenging Idaho's brand new, so-called “ag-gag” law. That's the law aimed at stopping undercover animal rights activists from making videos of abuse at farms and slaughter houses. As Jessica Robinson reports, Idaho's law isn't the first to be challenged on free speech grounds.

Last year, the Animal Legal Defense Fund filed suit against a Utah law very similar to Idaho’s. Both laws criminalize shooting video without the farm owner's permission.

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Oregon Jobless Rate
4:13 pm
Tue March 18, 2014

Oregon Unemployment Continues To Fall

New numbers out Tuesday show Oregon's unemployment rate continued its gradual decline in February, falling to a seasonally adjusted 6.9 percent.  As David Nogueras reports from Oregon Public Broadcasting, that's the lowest it's been since August of 2008.

The Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that employers in Oregon added 2,900 jobs last month, marking the 8th consecutive monthly gain in seasonally adjusted non-farm payroll employment. Two thirds of those jobs were in the private sector.

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Washington State Ferries
3:53 pm
Tue March 18, 2014

Washington Ferries Chief To Resign

David Moseley, the head of Washington State Ferries, with Washington Transportation Secretary Paula Hammond.
Credit WSDOT / Flickr

The head of Washington State Ferries says he will step down on April 15th after six years on the job. David Moseley made his announcement Tuesday. His resignation comes as the nation’s largest ferry system continues to encounter choppy seas.

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