Around the Nation
12:22 am
Fri April 20, 2012

As Workers Age, Oil Industry Braces For Skills Gap

The Deepwater Horizon oil rig burns in the Gulf of Mexico in April 2010. The rig's crew were new to their positions just before the explosion. Such staffing reorganizations are increasingly common as the industry grapples with a staffing shortage.
U.S. Coast Guard Getty Images

Originally published on Tue May 8, 2012 6:11 am

Two years after the Deepwater Horizon accident killed 11 men and sent oil spewing into the Gulf of Mexico, the oil industry says it has learned valuable lessons from the disaster that are making drilling safer today.

But there's still a pressing issue looming for the oil industry: Oil field workers are retiring in huge numbers, leaving a workforce that's younger and — more importantly — less experienced.

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It's All Politics
12:22 am
Fri April 20, 2012

Ann Romney Takes Center Stage In Tug-Of-War For Female Voters

Ann Romney, wife of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, speaks at his Nevada caucus victory celebration in Las Vegas on Feb. 4.
Gerald Herbert AP

Originally published on Fri April 20, 2012 4:57 am

For the past two weeks, the campaigns of both President Obama and GOP rival Mitt Romney have accused each other of waging a war on women. But what's really going on is a war for women's votes.

The president, like Democrats before him, has an advantage with female voters — who make up 53 percent of the American electorate. Romney is trying to close the gender gap by using his most powerful and popular surrogate: his wife.

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Washington ER Law
6:05 pm
Thu April 19, 2012

Wash. Hospitals Unveil Alternative Plan For ER Visits

Washington state and health care providers are involved in a long-running dispute over unnecessary ER visits by Medicaid patients.
Photo credit: Sarah Gilbert/ Flickr KUOW

The state has been trying to crack down on ER visits for conditions that are not critical. But health care providers say the state’s policies go too far, they’re unsafe for patients, and will shift costs to hospitals.

Hospitals and emergency room doctors want to address the problem their own way. They’ve put together what they call best practices for reducing unnecessary ER visits. A key component of that is using an electronic health information system.

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Sec. Reed Civics Tour
5:08 pm
Thu April 19, 2012

WA Secretary of State Sam Reed on Final College Civics Tour

Photo of Washington Secretary of State Sam Reed.
Courtesy of the Office of Secretary of State

Washington Secretary of State Sam Reed has been on his final college civics tour before he retires next January.
For the past several years, Reed has taken time out every spring to visit college campuses around Washington to engage students in a variety of activities designed to encourage them to register to vote, and to help them become informed voters.

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Gonzaga Grad Speaker
4:33 pm
Thu April 19, 2012

Tutu To Speak At Gonzaga Graduation Despite Alumni Petition

Archbishop Desmond Tutu.
Photo courtesy Desmond Tutu Peace Foundation

The president of Gonzaga University in Spokane is defending the choice of Archbishop Desmond Tutu as the school’s commencement speaker next month. Some alumni say Tutu’s positions on social issues make him an inappropriate choice for the Catholic school.

Nobel Peace Prize winner Archbishop Tutu has expressed support for abortion rights, contraception, same-sex marriage and the ordination of gay clergy. Next month, he’s slated to receive an honorary law degree at Gonzaga’s graduation ceremony.

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Washington Campaign Financing
4:26 pm
Thu April 19, 2012

Role-Reversal: Now It's Wash. Lawmakers' Turn To Ask Lobbyists For Help

Nathan Gorton with Washington Realtors gets more than a dozen campaign finance solicitations a day this time of year.
Photo credit: Austin Jenkins Northwest News Network

Lobbyists have been pounding down the doors of Washington state lawmakers for the last several months. But now that the legislature has adjourned, the roles have suddenly reversed. Just ask lobbyist Nick Federici who advocates for human services organizations.

Nick Federici: “It is a little bit ironic that in a week’s time they went from ‘oh my God I don’t want to talk to you ever again’ to ‘oh, by the way, could you send me a check?’”

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It's All Politics
4:14 pm
Thu April 19, 2012

Congress' Approval Rating Recovers Slightly

U.S. Capitol dome.
Charles Dharapak AP

Americans seem happier with Congress these days. That's what Gallup's two latest polls show: Congress, with an approval rating of 17 percent, has gained a whole seven points since February.

Still, they shouldn't get too cocky on the Hill, because this just means that 79 percent of Americans disapprove of the institution. That's down from a record high 86 percent in December of 2011. We suppose that's like saying in December almost everyone disapproved of Congress and now mostly everyone disapproves.

Here's Gallup's historical chart of Congress' approval rating:

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Hanford Cleanup
3:57 pm
Thu April 19, 2012

Delayed Hanford Waste Decision Nettles Washington Regulators

Workers at Hanford remove low-activity waste from a tank.
Photo courtesy Dept. of Energy

A draft environmental plan for the Hanford Nuclear Reservation puts off a decision on how to treat a big portion of nuclear tank waste at the southeast Washington site. We’re talking about what to do with radioactive gunk called low-activity waste. The delay of that decision is nettling Washington’s Ecology department. Correspondent Anna King reports.

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Alaska Airlines
3:48 pm
Thu April 19, 2012

Alaska Airlines Navigating Through Rising Fuel Costs

Alaska Air Group announced a profit for the 12th-consecutive quarter.
Photo courtesy Alaska Airlines

Alaska Airlines and its subsidiary Horizon Air continue to make money despite sharply higher fuel prices. Executives with the Seattle based airline group Thursday reported a twelfth consecutive quarterly profit. CEO elect Brad Tilden says the 28 million dollar net profit in this year's first quarter is "marginally" smaller than the same quarter last year.

Brad Tilden: "Given this quarter's solid results and the current demand environment, we're cautiously optimistic about 2012. The biggest headwind is high fuel prices and their impact both on our cost structure and on the pocketbooks of our customers."

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Sports
3:29 pm
Thu April 19, 2012

A Century Of Joy And Heartbreak At Fenway Park

The flag covers the Green Monster as the national anthem is played before the game between the Boston Red Sox and the Tampa Bay Rays on April 16 at Fenway Park in Boston.
Elsa Getty Images

Originally published on Fri April 20, 2012 9:09 am

It's hard to pinpoint exactly what it is about Fenway Park. A century after it was built, fans still gush about this "lyric little bandbox," as John Updike called it. To guys like Ed Carpenter, Fenway is history and home, magic and mystique.

"I love this place," he says, tearing up. "I mean, it's not mortar and bricks and seats."

Carpenter first started coming to Fenway with his dad in 1949, when he was 6.

"We walked up this ramp right behind this home plate," he recalls. "I can still see everything was green, emerald green. It was love at first sight."

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