Jessica Robinson

Inland Northwest Correspondent

Inland Northwest Correspondent Jessica Robinson reports from the Northwest News Network's bureau in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho. From the politics of wolves to racial tolerance in small towns, Jessica covers the economic, demographic and environmental trends that are shaping communities east of the Cascades.

Prior to joining the Northwest News Network team, Jessica was the news director of Jefferson Public Radio in Ashland, Oregon, where she produced a newsmagazine on Northern California and Southern Oregon. In 2010, she took a year to study Spanish in central Mexico and reported for an English–language newspaper in San Miguel de Allende. Jessica's stories for radio and print have earned awards from the Associated Press, the Oregon Newspaper Publishers Association, and Public Radio News Directors Inc.

A Northwest native, Jessica grew up in an off–the–grid log cabin in the Columbia River Gorge. These days, when she's not agonizing over the perfect piece of tape, Jessica enjoys camping and hiking, amateur photography, and learning the etymology of words.

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Richland Florist
5:49 pm
Fri June 28, 2013

Court Hears Case Of Florist Who Refused Flowers To Gay Wedding

Anna King Northwest News Network

Originally published on Fri June 28, 2013 5:39 pm

A lawsuit against a Washington florist who refused to do the flowers for a gay couple's wedding went to court Friday. Attorneys for the Richland florist disputed the state's claim that her refusal on moral grounds violated consumer protection law.

Attorneys for florist Baronelle Stutzman argue the state shouldn't be in court at all. They say claims of discrimination against gays and lesbians should first be reviewed administratively by the Washington Human Rights Commission.

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Fire Season
4:57 pm
Thu June 27, 2013

Goodbye Rain, Hello Northwest Fire Season

Boise National Forest

Originally published on Thu June 27, 2013 4:33 pm

Say goodbye to the rain. The Northwest and parts of Canada are about to see an abrupt shift from unseasonably cool weather to record-breaking temperatures, in some areas. Triple-digit highs are expected to settle over the region for the next week.

According to federal forecasters, it's going to be a tough wildfire season in the West. But here in the Northwest, it's been hard to see that prediction through all the rain.

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Same-Sex Marriage
5:53 pm
Wed June 26, 2013

Effect Of DOMA Ruling Murky For Idaho, Oregon Couples Married Elsewhere

Charli Deltenre

Originally published on Wed June 26, 2013 5:48 pm

It's still not clear what the Supreme Court's ruling on the Defense of Marriage Act will mean for many same-sex couples in the Northwest. That's because of new legal questions surrounding the hundreds of couples who have marriage licenses from Washington state but live in states like Idaho and Oregon that have banned same-sex marriage.

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Dentist Shortage
5:27 pm
Tue June 25, 2013

Study: Idaho, Oregon Among Top 10 States Facing Dentist Shortage

A study finds Oregon and Idaho are among the top 10 states with the worst shortages of dentists.
Credit Gelmini / Wikimedia

Oregon and Idaho need more dentists. That's according to a new study out Tuesday from the Pew Charitable Trusts. It puts Oregon and Idaho among the top 10 states with the worst shortages.

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Idaho POW
6:49 am
Mon June 24, 2013

Parents Of Idaho POW Call For Diplomatic Solution With Taliban

Jessica Robinson Northwest News Network

Originally published on Mon June 24, 2013 10:17 am

The parents of America's only prisoner of war in the current conflict in Afghanistan are urging the U.S. to reach a peace agreement with the Taliban and bring their son home. The end of June marks the fourth year Idaho soldier Bowe Bergdahl has been in captivity.

On Saturday his parents spoke out at a rally Bowe's hometown held in his honor.

Jani and Bob Bergdahl talk of a son who sought adventure in travels around the world. At 20, they say, he took apart and rebuilt his 1978 KZ-1000 motorcycle.

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Bowe Bergdahl
5:33 pm
Fri June 21, 2013

Idaho Town Marks Soldier's 4th Year In Taliban Captivity

Jessica Robinson Northwest News Network

Originally published on Tue June 25, 2013 8:58 am

Yellow ribbons and black prisoner-of-war flags are lining the streets in Hailey, Idaho today. The town is preparing to honor captured soldier Bowe Bergdahl.

The 27-year-old Army sergeant has been a prisoner of the Taliban for almost four years. Family and friends are getting ready for what they hope will be the biggest and last local rally to bring Bergdahl home.

Members of a POW support group mount flags along Hailey's Main Street. Donna Thibedeau-Eddy has traveled here from Pocatello, Idaho, to participate in the Bergdahl event.

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Bowe Bergdahl
4:13 pm
Thu June 20, 2013

Taliban Statement Renews Hope For Idaho Soldier's Release

IntelCenter

Originally published on Thu June 20, 2013 2:15 pm

News that the Taliban is open to a prisoner swap is bringing renewed hope to supporters of a captive soldier from the Northwest.

Bowe Bergdahl of Hailey, Idaho, has been a Taliban prisoner for nearly four years now, and there's still no timeline for his return.

A senior Taliban spokesman in Doha, Qatar, told the Associated Press that the group would be willing to turn over Bergdahl in exchange for five Taliban operatives held at Guantanamo Bay. It would be the first step – a confidence building measure – in wider negotiations over the future of Afghanistan.

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21st Century Classroom
5:20 pm
Tue June 4, 2013

Idaho To Turn All Public High Schools Into WiFi Hotspots

Christy Green Flickr

Originally published on Tue June 4, 2013 5:17 pm

Across the Northwest, students are wrapping up their school year. By the time Idaho high school students return in the fall, their classrooms will be on their way to becoming wireless hotspots. The Idaho Department of Education is preparing to spend more than $2 million to put high-speed wireless Internet in all public high schools.

It's part of what Idaho education officials like to call the “21st Century Classroom.” They're asking for bids over the summer on a contract to have WiFi up and running across the state by March 2014.

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Inmate Visitation
3:55 pm
Mon June 3, 2013

Inmates' Families Say They're The Ones Punished By Switch To Video Visits

Jessica Robinson Northwest News Network

Originally published on Mon June 17, 2013 4:32 pm

Even if you've never visited a jail, you probably have a pretty clear image of what inmate visitation is like – a shatterproof glass barrier, two people sitting on either side, speaking into telephones.

But that's changing in some parts of the Northwest. More and more county jails are switching to privately operated video conferencing systems. Sort of like Skype, for inmates. But these systems have technical difficulties and come with costs for the inmates’ families.

Delayed visits

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Sarah Palin
4:09 pm
Fri May 31, 2013

Sarah Palin In Tiny Northwest Town For Graduation Address

Republic School District

Originally published on Fri May 31, 2013 3:19 pm

Sarah Palin returns to the Northwest Saturday – though for a much more modest venue than the former vice presidential candidate has had in the past. Palin will give the commencement speech to the Class of 2013 in a high school gym in tiny Republic, Wash.

It came about through social media. On a lark, the senior class of Republic High School, home of the Tigers, decided to see if they could land the conservative star. The class president – a huge Sarah Palin fan – led a lobbying effort via Facebook, Twitter, and the old fashioned way – a letter to Palin's parents.

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